Jan 29, 2009

Peck - Hardshell Pretensions

Historian John T. Christian wrote:

"The name by which they designated themselves was Primitive, or Old School, Baptists; and they claimed that all Baptists were originally of their contention, which certainly was not the fact.

"They arrogate to themselves," says J. M. Peck who was a contemporary, "the name of Old School Baptists because they reprobate all these measures (missions, education and Sunday schools, etc.), and declare non-fellowship with all Baptists who have anything to do with missionary work or any of those forms of active benevolence, and with all who hold correspondence with or fellowship missionary Baptists. In this charitable act they cut themselves off from at least nineteen-twentieths of all our Baptists in the United States, unless we can admit that a mere fragment of a party can exclude a vast majority." (J. M. Peck, Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer, July 4, 1839)

("A History of the Baptists" - CHAPTER VII - "The Anti-Effort Secession from the Baptists")

See here

Dr. Peck vs. Anti-Sunday Schoolers

"Sunday schools had made no great progress; and those who favored such schools were usually on the defensive. There was much opposition manifested from many sources. While they had not attained the efficiency and popularity of later times, they had begun to fill a large place in Christian instruction.

"There are many individuals of our denomination in the West," says J. M. Peck, "and sometimes whole churches, who are opposed to Sunday schools. The cause is from misunderstanding the design and plan of such institutions among Baptists. They imagine that Sunday-school teaching by others is to instill into the minds of children sentiments, and form habits, not in accordance with their views of divine truth; or else to teach children head religion merely, and leave the heart unaffected; and that their tendency will be eventually to exclude the Spirit of God in conversion. If these brethren could be convinced that this is not the design, nor the tendency of these institutions, they would not only approve, but cordially cooperate in sustaining them. We pretend not but some unwise persons may have spoken of Sunday-school instruction in an unguarded manner, and produced the impression of this tendency. But let our brethren look at this subject without prejudice, make themselves acquainted with the facts pertaining to it, distinguish properly between the good, the imperfect, and the wrong modes of instruction, and they will perceive that their fears, distrust and jealousies are without foundation.

"The committee pretend not to advocate, or even approve all schools taught on the Lord’s day, and which may be denominated Sunday schools, or of all things that may be taught in such institutions. They wish their brethren, as they do themselves, to make due discrimination. They advocate Sunday schools and Bible class instruction on the same broad principles as they do public preaching, and instruction from house to house. No one approves all kinds of preaching, nor all that is preached even by good men; no one approves all kinds of Sunday schools, nor of all that may be taught therein. And it would be just as unwise and unfair to oppose all preaching, as to oppose all kinds of Sunday-school instruction" (Report on Sunday Schools and Bible Classes, November 7, 1834. Proceedings of the First Anniversary of the General Convention of Western Baptists, 19. Cincinnati, 1835). Such was the spirit and temper of the times in regard to Sunday schools, and these opinions prevailed not only in the West but in many other sections of the country."

See here

Dr. J.M. Peck on Means

J. M. Peck, the great first opponent of Hardshellism, "anti-missionism," "anti-effortism," and "anti-meanism," wrote:

"But there are some things which Regular Baptists have been accused of propagating, and some speculations preached by good men, which cannot be found, or legitimately inferred, by implication from this Confession of Faith (Philadelphia). These things are not there, and can not be implied from the doctrines taught..."

"Some may yet imagine and teach that the Spirit regenerates the elect without means, or the subordinate agency of his gospel. But in this they teach directly contrary to the unequivocal declarations of the Confession of Faith, no less than against the scriptures. The doctrine of means, or the instrumentality of the gospel in regeneration, as well as in all its adjuncts, is taught very plainly and directly in chapters 1st, 7th, 8th, 10th, 13th, 14th, and 20th; and is taught by implication in several other chapters. The only exception made is in chapter X, under "Effectual Calling," sec. 3: --

"Elect Infants, dying in Infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh, when and where, and how he pleaseth. So also all other persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word."

The construction put on the first clause of this section by brethren in the Philadelphia Association was this: That the phrase "Elect Infants" includes all who died in a state of unconscious infancy -- that the second clause referred to adult idiots, and others, who were rendered incapable of being "outwardly called by the ministry of the word," by some providential acts.

The authors and revisors [sic] of this "Confession" would have repudiated with the expressions of horror, the mischievous speculation that God has an elect people, scattered among the nations of the earth -- that he knows his own -- and that he quickens or regenerates these without the gospel or any of the instrumentalities he has provided. REGULAR BAPTISTS were missionary Baptists, and knew the meaning of the great commission to preach the gospel to every creature, specially in view of their conversion and salvation.

The Confession of Faith teaches the doctrine of "particular election," without regard to human merit; but it also teaches the necessity of preaching the gospel to all men, without which sinners capable of hearing the gospel cannot be saved. The anti-christian dogma that the gospel need not be preached to sinners of every class and grade, for the specific purpose of being the instrument of their conversion and salvation through the mighty working of the Holy Spirit, has no place in the Confession of Faith of Regular Baptists."
(THE BAPTISTS - Regular, Separate and United" By John M. Peck, 1855)

See here

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

Howell a Real "Old Baptist"

From "The Baptist" for the year 1838 Vol. IV

Dr. Howell wrote in the Jan. issue:

'The Baptist will contiue to advocate the principles it has heretofore avowed and maintained. What they are, I need not, at this late period, enumerate. They have been before you for the three years last past. I have not changed my ground in any particular. My position was taken, deliberately, sixteen years ago, after protracted investigation, and earnest prayer to God for direction. It cannot be expected, therefore, that I shall be blown about, as some others, by every wind of doctrine. I have been, from the beginning, still am, and ever expect to remain, a Baptist of the "Old School." I do not mean, by this, that I believe in the mummeries gotten up within the last twenty years, mainly by the agency of the noted Parker of "two seed memory, and dubbed, for effect, with this name, now so rife in Tennessee. No--far from it. The Parkerism, Campbellism, Mormonism, anti-effortism, antinomianism, and every other similar fantasy, which has originated, or been maintained, by wrong-headed enthusiasts, in Tennessee, or elsewhere, whether through ignorance, from motives of interest or ambition, or because their imagination has gotten the better their judgment, and their religion, I totally repudiate. I cannot consent to follow any of these fables, however cunningly devised." (Page 2)

"A few years ago the Tennessee Church was like the Dead Sea, still and silent. Only here and there a ripple was to be seen. No tempest lashed its billows, but neither did it bear upon its bosom a single bark freighted with the rich treasure of the Gospel to bless the poor and the destitute. But the scene is now changed. We have renewed proof that where the true Gospel is preached and ignorance and bigoty which drive men into anti-effortism, fly before it like the shadows of night before the rising sun. We have reason for profoundest gratitude to God for the demonstration that truth will prevail, where there are honest hearts, in despite of all the demagogueism in the Church and out of it." (Page 3)

"Our labors, however, have been arduous. Every inch of ground we have gained has been bitterly disputed by numerous brethren in the opposition. They have excited themselves with a zeal worthy of a better cause. Their watchword every where is disorganization. They have with immense pains, succeeded in dividing some of our Churches and Associations; but it is a remarkable fact, and deserves particular attention, as evincive of the approbation of God, that in almost every place where the agitators have broken off and set up for themselves, the Lord has poured out, instantly, upon the neighborhoods, the spirit of revival, and added to the Churches they left nearly twenty young converts for every one of the receding antinomians. This fact has been peculiarly prominent in Wilson and Smith counties. In these counties and in several other places in our State, revivals are now prevailing, and wherever they spread they burn up antieffortism, root and branch. Some Churches and Associations are still kept in inaction and darkness, but this state of things cannot long continue." (Page 4)

See here

Howell on Regeneration II

Dr. Howell wrote an excellent book - "The Evils of Infant Baptism." In it he addresses the topic of "infantine regeneration" (pg. 91) and the method or way of salvation. Here are some excerpts from that work.

"Dr. A. Clarke therefore confidently says :—"Though infants have not, and cannot have actual faith, yet they are sanctified by being born of religious parents. They are already in some sense, within the limits of the church and covenant of promise." The Westminster Confession, however, is definite. Its language is :—"The visible church, which is also catholic, consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children ; and is the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God." The Directory is still more explicit. It is there affirmed that the children of believers are "Born within the church, have by their birth inheritance in the covenant, and right to [baptism] the seal of it;" "that they are Christians, and federally holy before baptism, and therefore are they baptized." On this subject Mr. Baxter remarks :—" God hath made, and offered to the world a covenant of grace, and in it the pardon of sin to all true penitent believers, and power to become the sons of God, and heirs of heaven. This covenant is extended also to the seed of the faithful to give them the benefits suitable to their age, the parents dedicating them to God, and entering them into the covenant, and so God in Christ will be their God, and number them with his people." Mr. Baxter further says —"As children are made sinners and miserable by their parents without any act ot their own, so they are delivered out of it by the free grace of Christ, not through their own faith, but upon conditions performed by their parents." And still further. "Of those baptized in infancy, some do betimes receive the secret seeds of grace, winch by the blessing of a holy education is stirring in them according to their capacity, so that they never were actual ungodly persons!" The late Dr. Miller says:— "The children of professing christians are already in the church. They are born members. They are baptized because they were members. They receive the seal of the covenant because they are already in the covenant by virtue of their birth."

From these expositions we learn that, according to our pedobaptist brethren, the children of believers are born in the covenant of grace, and have, by right of birth, the enjoyment of all its blessings; are born members of the church, and by hereditary descent arc entitled to the privileges of membership in the house of God, and to the promises of salvation. These are prerogatives arising exclusively from, their hereditary relations. Their parents are holy. Therefore their children are holy. Of all such Dr. Hopkins says :—"The church receive and look upon them as holy. So they are as visibly holy, or as really holy in their view, as their parents are." (pg. 93)

Let now the great principle of justification by faith and the doctrines of infant baptism be compared. If you are justified by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, through grace, you are not justified by baptism, either in infancy, or at any other time ; and if you are justified by baptism, then you are not justified by faith. This conclusion is perfectly plain. These doctrines are therefore as opposite as darkness and light. They emphatically contradict and falsify each other.

Justification by faith, I have said, is a fundamental doctrine of the gospel. It is vital. It is "the faith once delivered 'to the saints." No system from which it is excluded, can ever be justly regarded as embodying the religion of Christ. It was taught by the apostles, and early ministers, constantly, forcibly, emphatically. It was cherished by the primitive churches. (pg. 102)

And Episcopalians and Methodists affirm that by baptism the new birth, the forgiveness of sins, and adoption, are all to the child, visibly signed and sealed. The child therefore in baptism, is pardoned of sin, is regenerated, is adopted, is received into the church, received into the favor of God, and saved. All this certainly involves justification, or the declaring the person innocent of crime. These Confessions teach, therefore, the justification of the sinner by baptism. Consequently on the doctrine of justification by faith, and the doctrines upon which they rest infant baptism, the Confessions, each and all of them, plainly, palpably, unmistakably contradict themselves. If you are justified, pardoned, and saved through grace by faith, and not by works, merit, or obedience of any kind, then you cannot be justified, pardoned, and saved by baptism. But it may be objected that infants are not capable of faith. Neither therefore, I answer, are they capable of baptism. They are saved by grace through Christ, and without baptism. Is baptism necessary to their salvation ? God forbid. Why then baptize them, since the act is without authority, and without benefit ? And especially why teach that baptism gives them pardon, regeneration, adoption, and salvation? (pg. 110)


"Nature of regeneration"

"..the relations of infant baptism to the doctrines of justification by faith, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, are in many respects the same. In the preceding chapter we considered the former. We now proceed to examine the latter. This also is a vital topic. It must not be summarily dispatched. It is necessary to both your happiness, and your safety, that you should understand it. You may easily be misled. God forbid that any obstruction should be thrown in the way of your obtaining a full knowledge of all that concerns your everlasting life.

Our brethren of all the protestant denominations teach that we are regenerated by the Spirit of God; and they also teach that we are regenerated by baptism! Both these propositions cannot be true. This is self-evident, since they are in direct conflict with each otf er. By the word of God, we are instructed that, while, on the one hand, regeneration is a spiritual change wrought in the soul by the Holy Ghost, baptism, on the other, is merely an outward ordinance of our religion. The one is the work of God; the other is the work of man. Believers only, can be admitted to baptism; every believer is regenerate : consequently none but the regenerate can be lawfully baptized. Regeneration must then, as you perceive, come before baptism. And besides, the supposition that baptism is essential to regeneration, or ever produces it, is absurd. He who is regenerate is "born again," " born of God," " born of the Spirit," "quickened" into new life, has "Christ formed in him the hope of glory," and is "made a partaker of the divine nature." The moral image of God, lost by sin, in regeneration is restored to the soul. Is baptism, or any other ordinance, or all the ordinances together, competent to this great work? Why should it be effected in baptism rather than in any other Christian duty? Is it obtained by these, or by any similar acts? Then it is certainly, in part at least, the work of man. But can regeneration be so accomplished? The supposition is at war equally with reason, and the word of God. He only who created us originally, has power to renew, and so to change our nature that we shall be conformed to the character of our Lord Jesus Christ, enabled to love him supremely, to delight in his service, and to overcome all our corrupt propensities, and dispositions. Regeneration is one thing, and baptism is another and wholly different thing; nor are they, in any sense, dependent the one upon the other. How profoundly to be deprecated the fact that they should be confounded, and that, by any class of men, the latter should be substituted for the former! This deplorable evil, to all who truly love our Lord Jesus Christ, and have any just conceptions of the gospel, is matter of the deepest regret. Regeneration is essential to salvation. "Except a man be born again he can in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." "Ye must be born again." But he who has mistaken baptism for the new birth is never regenerated. How then can he be saved? (pg. 117-119)

The Calvinists had evidently a better comprehension of the doctrine than the other protestants. The Westminster Confession thus speaks :—God is pleased "effectually to call [men] by his word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh ; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good."

"I am gratified to say, however, that all these denominations, but especially those portions of them who have preserved their evangelical character, have gradually acquired, as they became better instructed in the word of God, more distinct and full conceptions of the work of the Spirit in regeneration, and especially Art. x., sect. 1. (pg. 122)

Here, it would seem, was an insuperable impediment. What was to be done? A most convenient discovery was now made and announced "to the world. It was an effectual remedy. It was found that infants do, by some unexplained and incomprehensible power of God imparted to them, really possess, truly exercise, and acceptably profess repentance of sin and faith in Christ, and are therefore, according to the conditions prescribed in the gospel, the proper subjects, and legally entitled to receive baptism! (pg. 160)

The ancients believed, moreover, that little children brought to baptism are endowed with the graces of repentance and faith, and have therefore the gospel preliminaries required for baptism! Do modern enlightened protestant pedobaptists credit this absurdity? The inquiry is worthy of our attention. (pg. 164)

"...holds that it is lawful to baptize those only who exercise repentance of sin, and faith in Christ; that infants do exercise repentance of sin, and faith in Christ; therefore it is lawful, and indeed obligatory, to baptize infants! (pg. 166)

J Calvin says :—"Though these graces [repentance and faith] have not yet been formed in them, the seeds of both are nevertheless planted in their hearts by the secret operations of the Spirit." The grace and benefit are therefore elective! But if they be hereditary how can they be elective? And if elective how can they be hereditary? These two theories are radically the opposites of each other, and never can be harmonized, unless, indeed, God has elected to salvation only the infants of believing parents, whose faith and election are the faith and election of their offspring ; in which case faith and election are propagated by natural generation, and no man can be saved whose parents before him were not believers in Christ. Thus does infant baptism overwhelm and destroy the scripture doctrine of Predestination! (167)

They [the Anabaptists] say that those that should be christened, must first believe, and then be christened. Children, they say, cannot believe, for faith is gotten by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. So children cannot have faith, say the Anabaptists. Wherefore they say that infants should not be christened. To this reason I answer and say that children may have faith, although they have it not by hearing, yet they have faith by the infusion of the Holy Ghost, as the holy prophets had, and many holy men in the old law had. Also faith is the gift of God and the Work of the Holy Ghost. Who should let [hinder] God to give his gifts where he will, seeing faith is the gift of God? He may give faith as well to children as to old men. Faith also is the work of God, and not of man, of man's will or reason. Who will let God to work where he lists ? Therefore it is not impossible for children to have faith, as these Anabaptists falsely suppose." "God regardeth no persons, but giveth his gifts without all regard of persons. A child, or an old man, he counteth as a person in scripture. Wherefore it followeth plainly that he giveth not faith to an old man, or denieth faith to a child, because he is a child, for then God should regard persons, which he doth not." "And when they [the Anabaptists] say they must express faith before they be christened, what will they do with deaf and dumb men, that get not faith by hearing, nor express their faith by words? Will they exclude them from baptism, and condemn them to hell-pit?" "Christ took little children in his arms and blessed them, and said, 'Of such is the kingdom of heaven.' Here are tokens that God loved these children, that they pleased him, and that they had faith, for without faith no man can please God." (pg. 171, 172)

We believe all infants are saved unconditionally through the application to them, by the Holy Ghost, of the redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ. No matter whether they are in the church or out of the church, whether they are baptized or unbaptized, whether they are the children of believers or unbelievers, of heathens, mohammedans, or Christians, their everlasting blessedness is equally, and in all cases, secure. These, and all other such like circumstances, are irrelevant, and never can affect their relations with Christ. Consequently they can have no bearing upon their future destiny. Every child dying in infancy is saved. This is the doctrine of the Baptist denomination. Not of a few only, nor of our churches, and people, of the present day alone. It is the doctrine which has been invariably held by us in all countries, and in every age. It is the doctrine taught by the word of God. Having thus stated our position, I proceed at once, to the proofs of its truth.

Infant salvation is guaranteed, in the first place, by the nature of the divine government. (pg. 175, 176)

"They (infants) are not impenitent, or rebellious. They have not rejected Christ. They are clearly included in his mediation, since "by his righteousness the free gift came upon all men to justification." (pg. 181)

"from the great enemy, eternal death; secondly, that there was hope for them, since they were all redeemed by Christ, that they should enjoy eternal life; and thirdly, that they should possess the heavenly land, of which the earthly Canaan was a type. These are the grounds upon which our Hearenly Father offers comfort to their parents, and exhorts them to subdue their sorrows. Their children had been foully murdered. The jealousy of the king had, with bloody and relentless violence, torn them from their bosoms. By this means, however, they had gone speedily, and safely, to eternal life. I have selected and laid before you these instances of infant salvation recorded in the word of God, and have drawn them from the children of the good and the pious, such as David ; from the children of the idolatrous and wicked, such as Jeroboam ; and from the children of all classes, such as were the bereaved parents "in Bethlehem, and all the coasts thereof," in order to prove to you that all infants are saved, without any regard to the character of their parents, or the circumstances under which they were removed from the present life.

We have now seen that all children who die in infancy, are saved by the grace of God; that they are saved through the redemption of Jesus Christ; that this redemption is applied to them personally, and directly, by the Holy Ghost; and that we have many instances of their salvation recorded in God's word; it remains only to be proved that their salvation is unconditional.

They are involved, it is true, on account of their connection with Adam, in the consequences of his fall. (pg. 187)

There is but one way of salvation. Infants are saved in the same way that all others of the redeemed are saved, by the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. (pg. 197)

The baptism instituted by Jesus Christ teaches us, I have said, important lessons. 'It holds up to our view incessantly, Jesus as our only Saviour ; it instructs us that he gave his life for our life, and that the great acts by which we are redeemed, were his death, burial, and resurrection. This redemption is made ours personally, by the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. We are one with Christ by faith. For this reason in Christ's death for sin, we died; in his burial, we were buried; in his resurrection, we were raised up; and in his victory we are glorious conquerors. All this we are regarded by the Father as having done, not in ourselves, but in Christ, since what he as our representative did/or us, is justly regarded as having been done by us. For Christ's sake, therefore, he pardons, sanctifies, adopts, and crowns us with eternal salvation. In this form occurred the acts of our redemption; this is the form of our spiritual change, a death to sin, a burial to the world, and a resurrection to a new life; and this, as the apostles repeatedly declare, is therefore the form of our baptism. "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also we are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God who hath raised him from the dead." In baptism, therefore, those great truths are ever before the mind that constitute the sum of the gospel. How, then, can a Baptist ever become a Unitarian, a Universalist, a legalist, or a cold formalist ? As a Baptist he never can. Our very baptism teaches us salvation by grace, through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. But what does infant baptism teach? Nothing, that is salutary. Absolutely nothing."

Notice how Dr. Howell makes the reception of the new life to be the result of a prior forsaking of sin. Death to sin precedes life. In other words, "repentance unto life."

"A believer makes in his baptism a solemn profession of his faith. He has avowed his belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, in whose name that ordinance was administered; in " the freeness of the Father's love, the all-sufficient atonement of the Son, and the regenerating and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit;" and he has recognized his obligations, in all things according to the divine word, to walk with the people of God, in newness of life. Nor can he ever renounce these tenets without at the same time, renouncing his baptism. His baptism also implants all the strongest motives to holy living, since it was his own voluntary act, in which he declared himself dead to sin, buried to the world, and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Such a separation was then pledged between him and sinful things, as is found between the dead and the living. Even the common desire to maintain consistency of character, bears in favor of the Christian life, since he has been publicly and solemnly baptized. Such are his professions, and declarations, and their practical influence, the benefit of all which, in infant baptism is totally lost. The child professes nothing, promises nothing, feels nothing. (pgs. 290, 291)

Christ designs to convert the world; it is to be done by the gospel... (pg. 293)

But how is this amazing moral revolution to be achieved? How are the hearts of all men, now so corrupt, so obdurate, so fixed in sin, to be changed, and brought to love and worship the Saviour? There is but one power capable of producing this result. It is the simple unadulterated gospel of Christ. Reason cannot do it. Philosophy cannot do it. Civilization cannot do it. The forms and ceremonies of religion, apart from its vitality, cannot do it. Nothing can do it." (pg. 294)

"...but the cross of Christ...This alone has power to bend the stubborn will to obedience, and melt the frozen heart to love." The lost children of men are to be taught that, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." They will receive the message. They will believe it. They will embrace the Redeemer, and live. (Observe how Dr. Howell puts faith before regeneration here - SG) Nor will they "henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again." The remedy provided in the gospel is effectual. "It has been tried by the experience of eighteen hundred years, and has never failed in a single instance. Its efficacy has been proved by human beings of all ages," from the youthful penitent "to the sinner a hundred years old. All climates have witnessed its power. From the ice-bound cliffs of Greenland to the banks of the voluptuous Ganges, the simple story of Christ crucified has turned men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. Its effect has been the same with men of the most dissimilar conditions." It has alike elevated and purified the degraded and abandoned, "and the dwellers in the palaces of kings. It has been equally sovereign amidst the scattered inhabitants of the forest, and the crowded population of the metropolis. Everywhere, and at all times, it has been, and still is, and ever must be, 'the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.' "

Such are the designs of our Lord Jesus Christ in the gospel, and such is the power by which they are to be executed. The church, we have before seen, is the appointed instrumentality by which these purposes of grace are to be accomplished. Is she ready for her exalted mission? The nations are in her presence. They are covered with misery and death. In her hands is the power by which they are to be delivered and saved. The command from heaven is sounding in her ears, "Preach the gospel to evfery creature." Each day that obedience is delayed, hurries thousands down to irrecoverable destruction! What is she doing? Springing forward to the duty? Grappling with the powers of darkness? Hurling back the hosts of iniquity? Proclaiming Jesus Christ the deliverer? Alas, no! She has ingloriously turned away from her mission! She has indeed, herself become worldly, and corrupt. She is engaged almost solely, in theological conflicts with her fellow-disciples! She is quarrelling about fictions! She has abandoned the nations to perish in their sins! Infant baptism, like the touch of a torpedo, has benumbed all her powers. What to her are the designs of Christ in the conversion of the world? She is, for the present at least, incapable of their execution!

Infant baptism retards the designs of Christ in the conversion of the world, by placing Baptists and Pedo-baptists in conflict with each other. Endless controversies occupy the time, and powers, of the very men who are under infinite obligations to be united in heart, and harmoniously to co-operate in this enterprise of love. Nor is the battle which has been proceeding during so many centuries, relaxing in any degree. It is becoming each day, more and more warm..." (pg. 295, 296)

See here

Howell Refutes Hardshellism III

"In relation to Foreign Missions"

"Why, asks an objector (Hardshell and Hyper Calvinist - SG), trouble yourself so much about the heathen? Is not God able to save his people without your interference? If he have a people among the heathen, he will save them in his own way, and time. I have no idea all the heathen will be lost. In language like this, not a few of your associates are accustomed to express themselves.

In reply, I observe, that we believe as firmly, perhaps, in the doctrine of divine sovereignty as any of our brethren who oppose the "preaching of the Gospel to every creature." We, I know, have been charged with holding the contrary; but I must believe, that those who do so are themselves aware that the imputation is a slander. The Apostles advocated the doctrine of divine sovereignty, and yet, as we have fully proved, they sent missionaries "to the heathen." (Gal. 2: 9.) Why should they have troubled themselves about this matter? Was not God equally able then, as now, to save his people without means, out of all nations? If he did not choose that religion should spread without instrumentality, nor to save men without the knowledge of Jesus Christ, in those days, will he do so now? Has God, in relation to his manner of saving sinners, changed?

But God is sovereign, and will save his own people in his own way—True, my brother; most true. But because God is sovereign, will save whom he pleases, and have all the glory of the salvation of the heathen and all others who ever reach the mansions on high, must we rebel, and refuse to preach, to them! May we cease to care for the souls of men, because without the blessing of God all our labor will be in vain? The Bible teaches no such doctrine. It is equally repugnant to the letter of the Gospel and the spirit of the religion of Christ.

The man who so bitterly opposes sending them the Gospel, has no idea that, for want of it, all the heathen will be lost.

The thought, it is true, is full of horror. The heathen make up more than half the teeming population of our globe. That they are all lost—lost forever, is an appalling reflection; and the sensitive heart, in its contemplation, shrinks back amazed! But why will not all the heathen be lost? I want this question answered.

The heathen will not all be lost, says the opposer of missions, because they are utterly ignorant on the whole subject of the Gospel. The name of Christ they never heard.

Not a ray of light from the throne of God has ever penetrated their mind. And shall they be condemned, it is asked, for not believing or obeying the Gospel, of the very existence of which they never had the slightest intimation! No, no; I will not believe it.

Very well—the argument is specious. Let us look at it, and reason upon it, for a moment. The argument of the opposcrs of Foreign Missions assumes that all those who are perfectly ignorant ol Christ, and the whole subject of religion, will, because of this perfect ignorance, be saved. Am I right? Certainly. But if, at any time, these perfectly ignorant persons should hear the Gospel, and then do not repent and believe before they die, they will certainly be lost. Is not this also true? It follows of course, that if the whole world had been left in the same perfect ignorance, the whole world, for the same reason, would certainly have been saved. All who are lost, therefore, are damned because, after hearing the Gospel, they do not repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. If all this be true, and if the premises be admitted it cannot bo questioned, the conclusion is irresistible that the Gospel has been the occasion, not to say the positive cause, of the damnation of hundreds of millions of souls who, could they only have been kept in perfect ignorance of it, would certainly have been saved. The Gospel, therefore, is the greatest curse (I speak it with reverence) with which the world ever was visited! It is a greater curse than even sin itself; for if this newly discovered anti-missionary doctrine be true, sin would not condemn the soul, if it could only be kept in perfect ignorance of the Gospel.-

I have a question in casuistry to propose to these good brethren, and I will do so through yon, if you please. True, Christ commands us to preach the Gospel to every creature in the whole world. However, if we fail to obey this command it will not (will it?) prevent our salvation; and every man we enlighten of the heathen world, if he does not then repent and believe, before he dies, will be damned; and if we let them remain in perfect ignorance they will all be saved; now had we not better disobey Christ, who seems not to have known any thing of this new and better plan, so lately discovered, and thus save ourselves, and not a part of the heathen world, but the whole of it, not by enlightening but by keeping them in perfect ignorance. Certainly the most benevolent plan. Let us not give them the Gospel. This curses the nations. The most benevolent thing we can do is to burn our Bibles immediately; stop all our ministers forthwith; extinguish the light of the Gospel; and banish, as soon as possible, every vestige of the knowledge of Christ from the face of the earth! This " reductio ad absurdum" is the legitimate conclusion from the premises; and you will forgive me if I express my full conviction that this is the result to which anti-missionary doctrine, were it heeded, would always inevitably conduct us.

This, however, is a small absurdity, in comparison with some others involved in the doctrine I am now controverting. Take, if you please, another.

Some are saved by the knowledge of God. This we all believe. And some are saved by the ignorance of God.— This anti-missionaries pretend to believe. Well, then, ignorance and knowledge,in their results, are equally desirable and beneficial, because they both alike secure the salvation of the soul!! (Letter # 6 to Hardshell Dr. Watson)

Paul was quoted (Rom. 10: 18:) "Have they not heard? Yes, verily their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the end of the world." And (Col. 1: '23:) "The hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature under heaven." "This objection is common with you all, perhaps throughout the Slate.

In reply, I ask whether it is true that the extensive spread of the Gospel, in apostolic times, described in the passages quoted, did really fulfil the command contained in the apostolic commission, to preach the Gospel to every creature? If you sustain yourselves in this assumption, you will soon find that you have proved vastly too much. By our success in the proof of this, you will destroy fundamental doctrine held by us all, in common with all other evangelical denominations—the divine call to the ministry. I say nothing in reply to the inquiry whether the commission does not require that the Gospel be preached in all the world to every creature, in every successive period, and is not therefore, incapable of fullilment while consecutive ages of men continue to live. I briefly call your attention to the fact, that if the apostolic commission has been long since fulfilled, its claims are satisfied and like a cancelled bond, is of course no longer obligatory! There is not now, therefore any such thing as a call to the ministry, because there is no commission under which for ministers, if such a class of men could legitimately exist, to act! Still, however, all of you preach, and profess to be called of God to the work. How is this! Your doctrine on missions is in conflict with your doctrine in relation to the ministry. By taking the ground that the commission is fulfilled, you proved, as 1 said, vastly too much, and consequently nothing at all. Now I wish you to remember that when an intelligent congregation hears a man. preach, who, to avoid obedience to them, finds it necessary to represent the most prominent commands of the New Testament as old abrogated obligations, they set him down, and with good reason, either for an infidel or a heretic. Do you admit that ministers are called of God to the work, and act legitimately under the commission? If so you are obliged to reject the doctrine of your party..."

"...our doings are unauthorised in scripture? This has been repeated a thousand times, and denunciations sent forth in all their bitterness, from the pulpit and the press, in innumerable circulars and resolutions of Associations andChurches, acrimonious pamphlets, and little newspaper sheets, north and south. In all this, brother Watson, I am sorry to know you have been, and are personally active. Sometimes you write them, generally you circulate them, and always when called upon in Associations and Churches, you vote for them! And yet you profess to be liberal, and to Foreign Missions even friendly! These missiles have for the most part, recoiled upon the heads of those by whom they were sent forth, and produced that "distress among the Churches," which you have so often set down to our account, as a most grievious offence. Yes, my brother, your party have produced the whole of the "distress" yourselves. We can truly say:—" We have wronged no man, we have defrauded no man, we have corrupted no man." I am willing that the whole question shall be tried by the spirit which animates the two parties. Is not the spirit of your party wormwood? Is this the spirit of Christ? We read of a star which is called wormwood, but it shall fall.. No, brother Watson, the Churches never were disturbed by us. Who are going about continually, persuading the Churches to divide; urging them to exclude their members; advocating prescriptive resolutions; calling upon Associations, as you all did lately upon the Concord, to break up and form under new constitutions, such as you dictate to bind the souls of men, and which are not Baptist? Who are doing all this and much more? Are the friends of the Convention so engaged? No sir. We are conservatives. You are the men who are thus cutting up and dividing the body of Christ.— Every body knows this to be true. Who then are disturbing the Churches. Nathan said unto David - "Thou art the man." This I will not say of you in all its extent, because some others are even more active than you are, hut you assume a position by their side, "parnobilefratrum."

It is often objected to us that these missionary operations lead to Arminianism—indeed, some assert that all missionaries are Arminians. This, I am told, is your own favorite objection, and which you never fail to urge when opportunity permits.

Of this objection I can very readily dispose...the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, (I suppose you have it,)...On the contrary, many of your own party do not receive it, because they say it is hyper-Calvinistic. The Philadelphia Association, however, as I proved to you in a former letter, and you cannot dispute the fact, by whom that confession was adopted, is now, and has been from the beginning, a missionary body. How does this fact accord with your allegation? Does it not crush it at once?

The confession was first drawn up—it was, at all events, adopted during the seventeenth century, I do not remember the exact date- by the "Baptist Churches in and about London," I have before proved to you that those Churches were, at that time, actively engaged in missionary labors." Facts are stubborn things." We could recite many more to our purpose, but time and room forbid, and besides it is unnecessary. Will any one ever again presume to assert that missionary operations lead to Aminianism? The facts prove the contrary to be true. With the same propriety you might plead that missionary operations lead to Mohamedanism or Mormonism. The idea is absurd. Missionary operations are obedience to the commands of God. Can It be that the doctrines of the Bible stand opposed to obedience to its commandments! Is the word of revelation inconsistent with itself? It certainly is, if your doctrine of anti-missionism be true. But no, my brother, the error is in your construction of it, not in God's holy word.

I will, in my next letter, notice two or three more of your objections. For the present adieu."
(Letter 8)

See here

Jan 26, 2009

Howell Refutes Hardshellism II

"It is objected, inasmuch as the Church cannot go to preach the Gospel to every creature, that there is an evident unfitness in imposing such a command on her.

In reply, I would beg you, my brother, to remember, that although Christ has made the work hers, he has not left the Church without the proper arrangement by which it is to be done. He has given to the Church a certain class of servants, called by himself, and qualified to preach, which, also, he has placed under the direction of the Church for this especial purpose. Their very name—ministers—which signifies servants, is expressive of this relation. The Church obeys the commission of Christ by calling forth, ordaining, sending out, and sustaining in the field of labor, these servants, so called of God, and by him qualitied and sent forth "to be alight of the Gentiles, and for salvation to the ends of the earth." So far, therefore, from this being an arrangement unsuited to the end had in view, it is in fact the most efficient that can be conceived...indeed, the only one at all likely to succeed in accomplishing the benevolent designs of the Gospel of our salvation. "

If it be again objected, that because the ministry does the work of preaching, therefore, the Church is not responsible; I will ask whether to make a particular work mine, and to render me responsible for its accomplishment, it is essential that I do it with my own hands? ...and because it is done under my direction, by my servant who is qualified for the task, is it therefore not my work? A planter cultivates his crop, and reaps the rewards of his care and industry, but he docs not, perhaps, with his own hands, touch a plough, or hoe, or any other implement of husbandry, during the season; he does his work by his servants; is it, therefore, not his farm, and crop; and was he not responsible for every thing in relation to it ? Such are the relations, under Christ, of the Church, the ministry, and the field of labor, and such her obligations and responsibilities in relation to preaching the Gospel to every creature.

Paul confirms the correctness of these views of the subject under consideration, when he says to the Corinthian Church, speaking of the apostolic ministers (2 Cor. 4: 5,) "We preach, not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." Ministers the servants of the Church—to do what? The passage itself tells us what—to preach, as the servant of the Church, "Christ Jesus the Lord," and, of course to preach him as commanded, in all the world, to every creature. This, therefore, is the work of the Church, and, as the Church cannot go as a body, the ministers are her servants, under her direction and superintendance to do the work, and while so employed, look, (as do all other servants to their employers,) unto her, as the representative of Christ on earth, for countenance and support of a temporal character, and to Christ himself, the great Master, for spiritual sustenance and success. The ministry are responsible both to Christ and his Church for the faithful performance of the trust committed to their hands. So far as the Church is concerned, it is on this ground alone, that she has authority to silence a heterodox or disorderly minister, and deprive him of the sacred office. Were he not her servant, engaged in doing her work, and for the faithful execution of which she is responsible to Christ, the Church would have no right either to license a minister, try him for his heterodoxy, or depose him from his office."

(Letter Number 4 to Hardshell Dr. John M. Watson)

See here

Howell Refutes Hardshellism

In the following, Dr. Howell gives one of the greatest arguments against the view of the Hardshells that affirms that the Great Commission was not given to the church. I used this same argument against their view in my series "Hardshells and The Great Commission," in my book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult."


Nashville, March 12, 1837.

"When I closed my last letter I was presenting to you my third argument to prove that the apostolic commission was given to the Church. The scriptures declare, as plainly as if the statement had been made in so many words, that the duty of preaching the Gospel to every creature is a work which belongs to the church individually and collectively. "Go ye,"' said Christ to the Apostles, "and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." By this means they are brought in and form the Church of Christ. What further is to be done? "Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you." Observe, the Church is to do all things which Christ commanded his Apostle to do. And what is the principal thing he commanded them? It was to "go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." If the Church is to observe all things, she is surely to observe this, which I have just said is the principal thing. It is therefore proved, beyond all question, that the work of preaching the Gospel devolves upon the whole Church collectively and individually."

See here

Dr. Howell on Regeneration

"Our views on the subject of regeneration are explained in a few words. The following are the 2nd 3rd, and 4th articles of the Declaration of Faith of the Nashville Baptist Church, written by the Editor, and the truth of which we most firmly believe.

II. "We believe that man was created holy; but, by wilfully violating the law of his Maker, he fell from that state; as a consequence of which he, and his descendants, became corrupt, and sinful, and that, as all have sinned, all are by nature, the children of wrath, justly exposed to death, and other miseries, temporal, spiritual, and eternal."

III. "That the only way of salvation from this state of guilt, and condemnation, is through the righteousness, and atonement, of Jesus Christ our Lord, who, by a miraculous union of human with his divine nature, became incarnate, for the suffering of death, and whom God hath set forth to be the propitiation for our sins, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins. Whosoever believeth in him, evangelically, and truly, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

IV. "We believe that all those who are the subjects of faith, and repentance, become such in consequence, not of their own merits, but of God's own purpose and grace, which was given us, in Christ Jesus, before the world began. That the Holy Ghost, without whose influence none would repent and believe, performs the work of regeneration in the heart, and that such, and such only, who are truly converted and become new creatures are proper subjects for membership in the visible Church of Christ.

These articles, let it be remembered, were written, several years ago, when Mr. Campbell was denouncing the Editor, in his Harbinger, in the bitterest, and most vulgar terms, as the "most abominable" of his opponents. They, therefore, may now be quoted, not as made up for the occasion, but as the unchanging doctrine we ever have maintained, and to which we still firmly adhere. Campbellism as the last thing with which any man, at all informed on the subject, would think of charging us.

This very point is strictly guarded in the article itself. We have there remarked (p. 36, 37). "Experimental religion is a science which cannot be learned but by the operations of grace in the soul. The Spirit of God, which dwells in us, bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. Upon this evidence is that faith founded by which being justified, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." With these facts before his eyes, who could suppose that even an anti would have the hardihood to charge the Editor with "ascribing the regeneration of the soul to the word of God independently of his Spirit and grace!" On this part of the matter we need add nothing more."
(Page 105)

For citations see here

Clearly, Dr. Howell rejected both the "word alone" view of the Campbellites, and the "Spirit alone" view of the Hardshells. Clearly he defined regeneration as being the same as conversion, or being made a subject of faith and repentance.

"New Test men"

"A Name" By Dr. R. B. C. Howell

"The name given by them to the antimissionaries is the most appropriate we have yet seen--New Test men. We propose that the self styled Old School, be hereafter called New Test. What say you brethren? It is not reproachful, and conveys the exact description of those brethren and Churches, who have done so much evil by introducing a new test of fellowship that is, making friendship to the Convention a crime for which they will exclude a member, and enmity the ground of his reception." (Page 38 - "The Baptist" - Vol. V. Jan. 1839 No. 1)

For citations see here

Dr. Howell & Hardshellism

Over the past several days I have been heavily involved in reading old issues (and taking notes) from "The Baptist" for the years 1838 and 1839 and edited from Nashville by the late great president of the SBC, Dr. Robert Boyte Crawford Howell.

Dr. Howell was a sound creedal Calvinist and was an avid opponent of both Campbellism and Hardshellism. If one reads the old issues of "The Baptist" and of "The Baptist Banner," and the later "Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer," he will see several interesting articles involving issues with the "Hardshells," or as Dr. Howell called them, "Hardsides," and "New Test Men," and "anti-effort Baptists," etc.

I found it interesting, historically and otherwise, the reference to the "circular letter" sent out by the newly formed "Stone's River Association" which was created when the anti-missionaries declared non-fellowship with those Baptists who supported missions, theological schools, and benevolent societies. Elder (Dr.) John M. Watson, whose writings I have often cited here in "The Baptist Gadfly," and in my ongoing book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult," was the "leader" of this Association, and who, it is said, crafted the words of anti-missionary propaganda contained in the "circular letter." Dr. Watson believed in gospel means, and was not a father to today's Hardshells, in this respect. He was "anti" however as regards the "Arminianism," pretended or real, among the "Missionary" Baptists, and against some of their views on the Great Commission, and on the methods of evangelism, theological education and Sunday schools, and church structure.

This "circular letter" was highly circulated by the "antis" and thus necessited that Dr. Howell and Elder Gayle, and other leaders of historic creedal Calvinism, and of missions, and who fought against Hyper Calvinism, answer the charges and accusations in this letter.

In the January, 1838 issue, in an article titled - "Stone's River Association," a writer for the paper wrote of this newly formed association in Tennessee, created out of its opposition to missions, theological education, and such like, wrote these words (excerpts - most emphasis mine - SG):

"A new Association, with this appropriate name, (for it is stony in doctrine, stony in heart, and a stony ground affair, any how) was formed in August last, in Wilson county, the minutes of which now lie before us. It is made up of some Churches and some fragments of Churches, decoyed off for the purpose, amounting in all to eleven. The old constitution of the Concord, which is a transcript from the Kehukee, or nearly so, would not do for them. It did not suit their new anti-missionary doctrine, with which it would seem from their circular, they have been "spiritually enlightened" within a year or two past. As they left the "Old Baptist" platform and concocted new articles of association, it was hoped they would cease to pretend longer to be Baptists. But they with equal gravity, and ridiculousness, now claim to be almost the only "old Baptists" in Tennessee. Like a hungry pig they darted into the heap, and snatched what they thought to be an ear of corn, but it was only a "cob," and now they run about squealing for life, afraid some one will get their treasure from them, when if they would only take time to look, they would find they have not a grain of corn upon it.

Well, thought we,
"Those who went out into Arminianism say they are the "true Baptists, so say "the Campbellites" etc., --It does really "seem if a part of the old Baptists were to go into Mormonism itself they would contend that they had not changed. Those who have once bourne (borne) the title of old Baptists seem loth, very loth indeed, to give it up, but we "would say for the benefit of such that when it is associated with the popular Arminianism (Antinomianism) of the day, or modern innovations, it loses all its charms, and the title of old Baptists then becomes a reproach, and the sooner dropped the better."

Now these Stone's Riverans have "gone out" from Baptists principles and doctrines, have gotten up a hotch potch faith of their own, of only a few summers growth, and they will let us, who still retain the old documents, and adhere to the old principles, pursue our own course unmolested. With these feelings we turned over to the circular, written by Elder John M. Watson M. D. when lo, and behold, we there found the identical words quoted above gravely printed and applied, now to who do you think? Why positively to us. What do you say to that eh! These Stone's Riverans ridiculing the Concord Association--yes, the Concord Association, and for what? for pretending to be what every body knows they have been ever since they had a being at all, old Baptists! (pages 13, 14) Well done Stones Riverans!"

Howell then himself writes:

"Since writing the above, we have received the following communication from father Whitsitt. It utterly annihilates the Stone's River circular. Its facts and arguments are perfectly conclusive. We are almost inclined to be sorry for Dr. Watson. The old soldier handles him as a lion would a kid. Our astonishment is, that, as the Doctor is a man of some judgment, he does not, as he must see it, confess and embrace the truth. We shall see what he will do."

Then follows a "review" of the Stone's River circular by a spokeman for Howell and the Missionary Baptists.

"I requested Bro. Howell not to review that Circular, for I thought it would be paying too much attention to it, and it would be keeping up the strife, which has continued too long already. I have long venerated the character of Dr. John M. Watson. True, I am not so fond of Elder John M. Watson; but could I consistently do it, I would let him alone. He sent some copies of the Stone's River Minutes to a Church which I attend, and must have known that I would receive one, but I suppose he has sent me one. True, I did not so particularly observe the backing, but I took out a package for Dr. Whitsitt at the same time, put up in the same way, and backed J. M. Watson. I am told that he wrote the Circular....No doubt, Elder Watson and his adherents think his letter a masterpiece, for I hear he has circulated it far and wide.

Supposing that Elder Watson sent me this copy, he may expect my reply, which if I withhold, he will use my silence as a triumph, I am therefore under the necessity to reply. I have no idea, however, that I can render any service to him, further than to stop him from boasting. I shall place this review under three heads. The first is PERVERSION."

Was the commission given to the church?

"It is believed by all christians as far as I know, the Stone's River churches not excepted, that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is a church ordinance; as such the Lord acknowledged the Apostles to be the church, for he gave the Supper to them in the absence of the 500. According to his own showing, the writer of this letter is a very singular character in the Baptist church, for he is a non-commissioned officer. The commission to teach and baptize having never been given to the church, she can never confer the commission on any of her members, for it is impossible for her to confer what she never had; hence his act in baptizing, and solemnizing the rites of matrimony, are both done without a commission. But it may be, the writer claims his office by succession to the Apostles. If he does, his claim is not good, for the Apostles are now on their thrones, and can have no successors while they sit there. Read Matt. 19: 27, 28. If he claims this succession he is not a Baptist, for they never did allow their ministers to sit on thrones. If the writer claims this succession he is a Catholic; they have thrones and dominions. St. Peter's chair has been filled (they say) by one of their fraternity, ever since his decrease.

We are now at the forks of the road, one leads to a clerical government, the other to a democratic. The one leads to thrones, the other to seats. In order to see which road this writer has taken, we will quote again. "We admit these things were given for the benefit of the church, but to particular individuals. Now if the commission had been given to the Apostles as a church, then the church should have appointed them their respective fields of labor afterwards, as the Convention folks do now, but this was not done by the church then, neither should it be now. The church is only called upon to fellowship and acknowledge what the Lord as the great Head of the church does in these respects." (Page 8) Here lies the foundation of Episcopacy. The Church prays for, prays to, and obeys those whom the Lord may appoint to office from time to time. Althougth I have already proved, that the commission to teach and baptize, was given to the Church, yet as I have men to deal with, strongly prejudiced against that idea, I will enlarge the proof." (page 20)


"First, "We are now just what we were when we joined the United Baptist Church; then there was no Convention." Page 3

Every word of this is true, and I am very sorry that it is true. This writer is the man who drew the "Bethesda resolutions," in which (if I recollect) he rebuked the churches for having neglected to sustain their ministers, and from the above avowal they still neglect it. 2nd. It was then agreed to furnish supplies not only for domestic, but for those who might wish to go into foreign lands. This they also disavow, as they "are just what they were." 3rd. "Then there was no Convention." And because we were wrong then, it seems we ought to have continued so. Then the whole church were under the same obligation to "preach the Gospel to every creature" that they are now, and in order to do it, the whole church were under obligation to support a whole ministry. And when the church felt this obligation, anciently, there was a combination of churches, and agents sent out to solicit and receive funds for benevolent purposes. But we have all slept over our commission, and if these brethren intend to sleep on, it is no reason we should. When a whole ministy give themselves wholly to the Lord's work, and a whole ministry live of the Gospel, then, and not till then, will the Lord's whole work be done." (page 21)

"2nd item. "Wherever we may see preachers starting out, under a spiritual exercise of soul concerning the heathen, and going in the way of the Saviour commanded, without gold or siler, or with their own purse only, in the wisdom and power of the Lord, and in his providence connected with their work, we will hear of a spiritual work abroad." (Page 6)

Yes, we will so. But where did we ever see this? not in the New Testament..." (Page 22)

"3rd item. "We are bold to affirm that no portion of the primitive Church ever went out into a distinct society, and assumed to themselves the right of hiring and sending out ministers, on pay per sermon, per month or per year." (page 4)

Yes, and I am bold to affirm, that no portion of the primitive Church, ever went out into such a society as the one which wrote this letter. (page 23)

"The Baptists are mixed with the high and low Calvinists, and have sometimes split on it; the missionary Baptists are mixed in the same way, yet get along in that respect without difficulty." (page 24)

"The position of the authors of this charge is just this. They will not carry out the commission, because they say it was not given to the church. They cannot carry it out, because their system will not admit of it. Hence they will not, they cannot, and we shall not. To go out and obey Jesus Christ, is heresy, but to stay in and disobey him, is othodoxy." (Page 25)

"There is something like argument in this letter, which at first view is imposing. It is said that the missionary system is not like the apostolic system. But it ought to be remembered that the apostoloc community and the Baptist community, as regards missionary operations, are entirely different. We will take the Stone's River community as a sample. The whole of the apostolic community acted under a commission to preach the Gospel to every creature, and strove to carry it out. The Stone's River community it seems have no commission to preach the Gospel to any creature, and stive to hinder it. Hence, as the systems stand connected with people so different, some disparity may appear. But we will examine the alleged difference. It is said that apostolic men went forth without a pledge, but missionary men fo forth under a pledge. This is a grand mistake, which I now prove." (Page 26)

"It is said that our missionaries depend on the Convention, and not on the Lord. Another mistake."


"Item 1. "He that knoweth God heareth us: he that is not of God heareth not us." I John 4: 6. This is their text, set at the head of their letter, in all the majesty of St. John himself."

Now reader, I want you to understand that these letter writers have got into the shoes of the Apostles--their successors: the truly orthodox. And we who are spending our money to spread the gospel are 'the carnal' and 'worldly minded;' and although they believe some of us to be regenerated, ye twe "are weak professors;' hence those who love their money better than they love their duty are 'the orthodox Baptists,' and those who spend their money with a view to obey Jesus Christ, are 'the heretics.' As their proceedings accord with their letter, I will now quote from their minutes." (pages 26, 27)

"Item. 2nd. "This Association shall not exercise any control over the internal rights of the churches." Government, Art. 7.

This is just as it ought to be; each church is considered to be an independent body, with a full right to judge the conduct of her own members. This is the law of Jesus Christ; I will give an example."

"Legislative authority is alone the perogative of Jesus Christ. Executive authority is alone the perogative of the church of Christ. That body of men who may pass a law to bind the church, assumes the perogative of Jesus Christ; and takes from the church here executive power, and strips her of her internal rights. These positions will not be denied by any real Baptist. Having made these remarks, which I wish the reader to keep fully in mind, I pass on to quote from the proceedings.

Item 3rd. "The following resolutions were offered, and unanimously adopted by the Association."

1st. "This Association shall be wholly disconnected from the Tennessee Baptist Convention, and all others.

2nd. "This Association will not receive the delegates or letter of any church connected with the Tennessee Baptist Convention, or any other."

Now reader, take notice, here is positive law, made to govern the church of Jesus Christ. As positive as it would have been with a "Be it enacted." This law nullifies the 7th Article, for they cannot both be enforced." (Pages 27, 28)

"And now reader, you have seen in this review the kind of weapons with which we are opposed, or rather weapons with which the Lord is opposed, for they have not only shut out the obligation of the church, to preach the Gospel to every creature, but have stript her of the means in the divine arrangement, by which she might carry out his work. You see too the dilemma into which the party have brought themselves. It is a pity for the Stone's River churches, for there is a number of fine people among them, but they have lent themselves to a few headstrong men, who are determined to go ahead, regardless of consequences. These churches have now shut themselves in, or rather, have shut out, three fourths of the American Baptists. "Beware of the concision," saith Paul." (Pages 28, 29)

"In justice to the Stone's River Circular, I must say, that it is famous for its money saving policy, and no doubt many think it to be a great display.

I have now done with the Circular, and I will conclude by remarking that, perhaps the reader will think me severe, but I can assure him that I have studied a different course. To have been less severe, I must have lost the ideas which I have conveyed. The truth is, I have reviewd this review carefully, and have stricken out every thing which I thought severe, that I could strike out. I ask the reader seriously, if it is not a hard case to have our characters traduced and influence destroyed, merely for complying with a plain duty, when we are not pushing ourselves where we are not welcome. The whole matter is a voluntary thing, and always will be so, for every man to have control of his own purse. We only ask to be let alone, to pursue the path of duty in peace. But this can't be done, for we have been opposed from the word go; slandered and misrepresented. And to stand in our defence, is nothing more than what ought to be expected. In the days of Nehemiah "they which builded the walls, and they that bare burdens with those that leaded, every one with one of his hands erought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon." It is even so now. Those who opposed the work then, were non commissioned people, and they are professedly noncommissioned who oppose the work now. Missionary operations bring covetousness, and pride to the test. Covetousness in withholding, and pride in seeing others doing, and they neglecting. On these two rotten legs stands the opposition of many."

James Whitsitt, Solitude, Dec. 13th, 1837 (page 29)

A person then writes to Bro. Howell:

"I am trying to give effect to your letters to Watson, by circulating them through the country. Having a friend for whom I feel the warmest affection, but who belongs to the new fashioned denomination called "Old School"--alias Hardsides, I sent him a copy. Last week he came to see me and thanked me very much for the opportunity of reading the letters, and told me "if it had not been for a passage in the seventh letter, he hadly knew what they would have done with him." Not having, myself, observed any thing objectionable in them, I asked him to direct me to the item. It is in the latter part of the seventh letter, in these words: -- "Some are saved by the knowledge of God, and some are saved by the ignorance of God etc." He does not understand you, and may it not be supposed that, as he is, others may also be at a loss. I place this matter before you that you may have an opportunity to explain. (page 79)

Yours truly, H. P. Carney

Dr. Howell responds:

"We will explain with very great pleasure, and thank brother Carney for the suggestion. In the place refered to we were exposing the absurdity of old school doctrines. They maintain that all the heathen will not be lost, because they are perfectly ignorant on the whole subject of religion. Then, we said, if they are not lost they are saved, and if our old school friends are right, they are saved by their ignorance. This they profess to believe, not we. But it is evident, with us, that those who are saved on the Bible plan, are saved by the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. This we know is true; and assuming the doctrine of "the hardsides" to be true also, then some are saved by the ignorance of God and some by the knowledge of God. We laid down these grounds and then, to show the absurdity, of antiism stated, if this is true, ignorance and knowledge are equally beneficial. We believe that no one will be saved but though the blood, and righteousness of Jesus Christ, and that all who have arrived to years of maturity, heathen or not, who do not repent and believe in Christ will be lost.

That God knows all things from the beginning we believe and maintain. That portion of knowledge which he thought proper to communicate to us, is contained in his word, by which we are governed in our conclusions. We are to be guided, not by what, perchance, may be the secret will of God, but by his revealed word.

We thank brother Carney for the circulation of these letters. They have been published for some time, and we hope those who subscribed for them, will take them, and give them an extensive dissemination." (page 80)

Dr. Howell, and Dr. Whitsiit, in reply to some incidents and questions, write:

"How can we, my brother, oppose the more extensive preaching of the truth? Our blessed Redeemer said (Mark 16: 15)-"Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." We have not yet done this. We certainly ought to do it. But some of our brethren-brethren, too, whom we love-say to us-You shall not do it; if you do, we will declare nonfellowship with you!" (page 136)

"Why should our brethren cast us off for this? Really, I think, that, instead of disowning us, they ought to join us in the good work; and I believe, if they would throw away prejudice, and take some pains to understand the matter, they would do it." (page 137)

"An impression has prevailed that the doctrine of predestination and the principles of the Convention are at variance, and that if one be embraced the other must be abandoned. There never was a greater mistake. I am myself a predestinarian Baptist. So are the friends, and members of the Convention of Tennessee, and of the General Association of Virginia, with which I was for many years connected. The ministers whose names you mention Kerr, Fife, Baptist, Tinsly, and a hundred others of similar character, and usefulness, are old acquaintances, and beloved brethren, with whom I have spend many a joyful day. I was eight years pastor of the Baptist Church in Norfolk, Virginia. The Churches, and brethren there, are all predestinarian, and all missionary. The doctrine of predestination is missionary doctrine. If God carries on his work by means--in other words, if he accomplishes his purposes by instrumentalities--and you believe he does--then the purposes are the doctrine, and the missionary labors are the means, or instrumentalities. The true doctrine of predestination is one thing; and the antinomian doctrine, preached by many, and called predestination, is another, and a very different thing. Antinomianism discars the use and efficacy of means, and leads men to oppose missions; but predestination teaches men the right us and value of means, and leads them to embrace missionary principles. (page 137)


"When Jesus Christ commanded, that the gospel should be preached to every creature, he meant every, new creature. The following reading is designed to elustrate this:

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every new creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but 'the new creature,' that believeth not shall be damned;" Mark, 16: 15, 16. "That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, 'to new creatures,' beginning at Jerusalem;' Luke 24: 47. "Then Paul and Barnabas became bold, and said, it was necessary that the word of God should be first spoken to you: 'new creatures,' but seeing ye reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles;" Acts, 13: 46." (page 187)

"Admitting this doctrine true, and that the word of God has no agency in the regeneration of the soul, and that the elect of God will be saved any how; what does all that avail against positive laws, when it is admitted, that the commission was carried out by the first Church, to the full extent? If it was necessary that the elect, then, in every part of the world, should hear the gospel and believe, is it not equally as necessary now?"

These are indeed interesting historical citations. I will be posting some additional citations with comments in upcoming postings.

I was glad to find these copies of "The Baptist" on the internet. I am still hoping to find the first two or three years (1835-1838).

I will be having more historical information on the first major Hardshell periodicals also, and on the Letters that Dr. Howell wrote to Dr. Watson, a series of letters that answered the charges of the Hardshells, and which, to my knowledge, Dr. Watson and the Hardshells never rebutted. More to come.

For citations see here