Jun 15, 2010

The Seceder Hardshells

Last November, when I had a debate with John Gentry, Campbellite, we held the debate on the campus of SBTS in Louisville. During this two day stay in Louisville, I was able to visit the campus library and look up some old books and records relative to the early 19th century "split" between the "anti mission" or Hardshell Baptists and those who supported missions. I found an old book on the history of the Liberty Baptist Association and on the "split" between the Hardshells and the general body of Baptists. I copied some pages at that time but did not get to copy as much as I had liked. Recently, I was able to find this history on the internet! I was so glad to have found it as it is an able defense against the Hardshell claims and pretenstions. Below are some notes taken from this work with some comments of mine. When I get back to writing and editing my on-going book on the Hardshells, I hope to make use of these notes. All highlighting and emphasis is mine - SG.

The front page of this work reads as follows: "OF THE LIBERTY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION FROM ITS ORGANIZATION IN 1832 TO 1906 Containing Much History Incidentally Connected with this Body ALSO There is presented quite an extended account of the "Split" in Baptist ranks, showing who are the "Primitive Baptists," together with Side-Lights on the "Split."

It was written by Elder Henry Sheets on behalf of the Liberty Association.

Sheets wrote:

"In this place we will offer a few thoughts on the use of means. Regeneration is frequently represented in Scripture as being effected by means: men are said to be born again by the word of God. 1st Peter, 1st, 23d, to be begotten by the word of truth, James 1:18; and Paul says to the Corinthians, in Christ Jesus have I begotten you through the gospel. Some may ask, how is this to be reconciled with making the quickening of sinners properly a supernatural work?" (pg. 20-24)

Bob Ross, who has also written in our time on the "History and Heresies of Hardshellism," has stated that the division between the anti-missionaries and the missionaries did not concern any serious doctrinal difference, but focused on "methods" of evangelism. I have also stated the same. The first Hardshells, represented by men such as Gilbert Beebe and John Watson, believed that means were involved in the new birth. It was not till later in the anti mission movement, however, that many of the Hardshells began to take the extreme position that affirmed that the gospel was no means at all in the new birth. In the above citation, however, Elder Sheets mentions the early discussions regarding means in "regeneration."

The first Hardshells, as I have shown, believed in distinguishing between "regeneration" and new "birth." They believed that no means were used in "regeneration," the first stage in the process, but means were used in the second stage, or in the "birth" of the Spirit. It is easy to see how this view would later cause most of the anti mission brethren to change into full blown "anti meanism." The second generation Hardshells soon discarded the view that regeneration and new birth were distinct but held on to the view that no means were involved in "regeneration," or in new "birth."

The Hardshells have no historical records to show that any Particular Baptist believed that the elect could be saved or born again apart from the means of the gospel prior to their departure from the Baptist family.

Elder Sheets wrote:

"From this it will be seen that the first missionary society that was organized in this State was in the bounds of the Kehukee Association, and its members were mainly instrumental in its organization.

It was not until 1827 that this body took a decided Anti-missionary position."

"We have now clearly shown that the Kehukee Association, which, since 1827, has manifested such hostility to missionary institutions, was for a number of years previous to that date a missionary body; consequently they are not "the Primitive" but the New Baptists. The Regular or Missionary Baptists are now occupying the position that the Kehukee brethren did previous to 1826 and '27."

This is the crucial question in debating the question "who are the primitive Baptists?" I invite any of my Hardshell brethren to come forward, as did Elders Lemuel Potter (late 1880's) and John R. Daily (early 1900's), to debate the question - "who are the real primitive Baptists?" What are they afraid of? Is it not that they shall be exposed? Elder Sheets gives evidence to show how the Kehukee Association, prior to the rise of the anti mission movement, was not Hardshell.

Elder Sheets wrote:

"In 1832, Elder James Osborne, of Baltimore, was present. Through his influence a large majority of this Association declared non-fellowship with all the benevolent societies of the day, and have since assumed the name of "The Old School" or "Primitive Baptists." It is, however, a misnomer, for they were formerly the "Primitive Baptists," but by changing their position, and instead of remaining Missionary Baptists as they previously had been, they became the New Baptists."

Again, this is the crucial point to be decided. Were the Baptists, prior to the "split" with the Hardshells, more like the Mission Baptists or the Anti-Mission Baptists? Did the Baptists prior to the 19th century, support means in new birth, or not? Did they support theological and Sunday schools, or not? Did they support revival and protracted meetings, or not? Did they support missionaries, or not? Elder Sheets is correct, and all the historical evidence proves it - there was no Hardshellism among the Baptists prior to the rise of the Hardshells in the 1830's.

Elder Sheets mentions Elder Osbourne and his role in the "split." I plan to write some things about the bio of Elder Osbourne. Elder Osbourne played a key role in the "split" and in the creation of the Hardshell denomination. He has not been given, however, much attention by those who have written on the history of the Hardshells. But, Elder Sheets did not ignore him, as the above, and the following, citations show. Hopefully, in the near future, I can put together some pertinent information about Osbourne.

Elder Sheets wrote:

"...antimission brethren are evidently the seceding or New Baptists."

This is a truth. The Hardshells will not admit this, however. They will hold on to their own interpretation of history no matter what facts are presented to them. They did not "exclude" the pro mission Baptists, but rather "seceded" from the Baptist family. They became a "sect," a "heresy," and sectarian and anti in spirit, and certainly a "cult."

Sheets said:

"While Elder Stadler and others were changing and getting up divisions about missions, the Regular or Missionary Baptists went regularly on in support of missions, consequently they are the true "Primitive Baptists."

It is a falsification of history, and injustice to the Regular or Missionary Baptists, whenever the Anti-mission Baptists are called the "Old Side" or the "Primitive Baptists."

Sheets states the matter correctly. All the historical evidence is on his side and supports his charge.

Sheets said:

"The Baltimore Baptist Association, so famous for its antimissionary character since 1836, was, previous to that date, a missionary Association."

Sheets gives historical records from two leading Hardshell Assocations, from the Kehukee and the Baltimore, demonstrating that they were both just like the Missionary Baptists, prior to their "secession" in the 1830's. Will today's Hardshells come forth and explain the historical records of these two associations, prior to the "split," showing us how they were "primitive" or "hardshell"? Will they deny that the "Old Kehukee" and the Baltimore were missionary before the rise of the Hardshells? Will they deny that they supported theological and Sunday schools, protracted meetings, etc., prior to the rise of Hardshells?

Sheets wrote:

"Elder James Osborne, who afterward became a disturber of the churches and a leader in the anti-mission ranks, was present and "cordially received" Brother Rice, and was afterward appointed a Home Missionary!"

What Sheets says about Osbourne, one of the leading founding fathers of the Hardshell denomination, is also true of other founding fathers. Many of them were in favor of missions before they were against them. Daniel Parker applied for a missionary position and financial support for it. But, being denied, he became one of their leading enemies. Wilson Thompson also had a similar experience.

Sheets said:

"In their minutes for 1818, they call themselves, as the Missionary Baptists now do, "the Regular Baptists;" the name "Old School," or "Primitive Baptists," had not then been invented."

"...but after this they, by changing their principles, became New Baptists. They had once practiced the things they now condemn. The great body of the Baptists of the United States went on as they had done before. The anti-mission party, calling themselves the "Primitive Baptists," are but a small portion of the denomination, and yet it has been said that the Regular or Missionary Baptists have seceded from the Primitive Baptists! Who ever heard before of a body of at least four-fifths seceding from one-fifth?"

"There never was an organized body of Baptists in existence that opposed missions until since the beginning of the present century (1800); perhaps not further back than 1820 or '25, and very few until about 1830."

Will the Hardshells come forth now, after so long a time, and give us their historical proof that the Baptists, prior to the 1800's, were just like them in sentiment and practice? Will they produce the evidence to show how the above statement, by Sheets, is false? Will they not see, if they check the records, that he was entirely correct? Will they not see that they are not "Primitive" or "Original" Baptists?

Sheets wrote:

"The English Baptists, the Philadelphia Association, the Sandy Creek Baptist Association, the Charleston, and many others, have never been connected, either in principle or practice, with the Anti-mission movement."

"We have now fully shown that the Regular or Missionary Baptists have not seceded from the Anti-mission Baptists."

Again, Sheets is historically accurate. Can the Hardshells show that they existed in the 16th, 17th, or 18th century? Can the Missionary Baptists not show how all the Baptists, prior to the 19th century, were supporters of missions, salaried ministers, church and theological schools, revival meetings, etc.?

Notes from CHAPTER XXII of Sheet's Work

An Extended Account Of The "split" And Examination As To "who Are The Primitive Baptists."

This is the title of this chapter, and gets right to the heart of the debate.

Sheets wrote:

"It is proposed to throw some light on the question propounded. This would be unnecessary but for the fact that our anti-mission or Hardshell brethren did, after the split, appropriate to themselves the title of "Primitive" Baptists and honored us with that of "Missionery" Baptists. And they have persisted in this course so long that all, or nearly all, of their own people really believe this to be true. Not only so, but many in our own ranks believe it, too.

They have endeavored long to make believe that the people commonly called Missionary Baptists are of very recent origin and that they are the genuine article, descended from Christ and the Apostles. This we deny. So far as age is concerned, one side is just as old as the other, for we all had the same origin, the same Articles of Faith, up till the split. The difference is as to what is believed and practiced now as compared with what was held and practiced then.

In treating this subject the author wishes to be perfectly candid, for he well knows that nothing but the truth can stand the test of history bearing on this subject. A faithful and honest study of the question will aid in the establishment of the truth.

There was a time when the Baptists were one in sentiment and purpose as to the spread of the Gospel and the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom on earth. They were enjoying the blessings of union and harmony on all questions pertaining to the organization of effort for the spread of the truth. They were growing rapidly in numerical strength and the consequent multiplication of churches and arms of churches. Not only so, but they were organizing Missionary Societies, Bible Societies, Tract Societies, Sunday Schools, etc., and giving encouragement to all these institutions without one word of protest; but, on the other hand, our churches and brethren all seemed as one; not one single note of discord to mar the beautiful, Christ-like harmony.

It will ever be a source of regret that a division along the lines indicated was ever forced upon the denomination by a few designing men. While this division was being worked up, there were many instances of the most intense bitterness on the part of those who were leading, as well as many of the new converts to this new and unheard of doctrine, which was just beginning to be propagated, which was arraying the people and churches against each other."

Some of the old church records show that this bitterness had in some instances developed to such an extent that they positively refused to heed the beseechings and loving entreaties of the brethren and sisters, who pleaded with them to cherish a spirit of love and forbearance toward them, to the end that they all might live on as in former years. But so far as known, they never yielded in a single instance. They did then, and do now, regard all who are not in their fold as out of the true church, and consequently they call no one "brother" unless in their church, in which case many of them regard him then as one of the "elect." Very few of them would lead in public prayer among other people, seemingly thinking it sacrilege to engage with others in worship. And the Baptists which they left, they often call "Arminians," or "Mystery Babylon."

All this is true to fact. Elder Sheets proves his statements, unlike the Hardshells.

CHAPTER XXIII - Time Of The Division—Changes After The Split— Difficulty In Finding A Name.

In this chapter, Sheets says:

"The unfortunate division did not take place all at once, nor in any one year. The first Association to divide was the Kehukee, in 1827. The Abbott's Creek Union, in 1832. And others at various dates, till 1836. Elder Coffey (antimission), in his History of the "Regular Baptists," says: "The strifes and contentions that caused the division were in progress from 1832 to 1840, before the final separation was complete."

So the time in which the split was being consummated, from first to last, was about thirteen years. At the time of which we write, there were many changes. In some instances they were in the majority and held the property, in others our people held it, and people went from one church to another, some coming from them to us, while some went from our churches to them.

Since writing the foregoing, "Outlines of Illinois Baptist History" has come to hand, and as a matter of history, the following is copied:


"December 1, 1817, John M. Peck, a strong missionary, arrived at St. Louis from Connecticut, and the same month Daniel Parker came from Tennessee to Crawford county, Illinois. In 1822, April 30, Mr. Peck removed to Illinois, settling at Rock Spring, sixteen miles out from St. Louis, on the Vincennes road. Mr. Parker became pastor of two Illinois churches belonging to the Wabash (Ind.) Association, and through one of them secured, the passage of an anti-mission resolution by the Association in 1819, which he used as a means of influencing the Illinois churches on the other side of the State. In 1822 it divided the Wabash Association.

In 1824 the Illinois Association became anti-mission. Of the nine Illinois Baptist Associations organized before 1830 all except the Friends to Humanity were anti-mission. But of the nineteen Associations organized in the 30's only six were anti-mission. In 1826 Daniel Parker published his "Two Seed" doctrine, which made a division in the anti-mission ranks and caused him in 1836 to emigrate to Texas. From that time the anti-mission influence began to subside."

For some time after the split, we know not how long, they did not baptize one coming from a Missionary church, because it might have been the same preacher baptized many of those composing both churches. Possibly the pastor of the Missionary church might have baptized the

But after they had succeeded in inducing some of our churches and associations to divide, they found an unthought of difficulty. Before the split we were all one body and known simply as Baptists. Now there are two bodies of Baptists, and one of these is a new body. Never had there been anything known like it.

It is said that Elder Mark Bennett went with them at the time of the split and remained several years; then his mind underwent a change, and he came back to his old love. In 1854 he published a "Review of the History of the Kehukee Association," in which he tells us about the name which they finally adopted. We quote from the Review, pp. 7 and 8:

"About that time (1826) two or three of her (Kehukee) preachers drafted some 'Resolutions,' in which was bespoken for their denomination the name of 'Reformed Baptists in North Carolina.' In the course of two years they became dissatisfied with this name and abandoned it. For some time they called themselves alternately, 'The Old Baptists,' 'The Old Sort of Baptists,' 'Baptists of the Old Stamp,' 'The Old Side Baptists,' etc. * * * If we recollect the time well, during the period of 1832 to 1835 a meeting of a few Antimission Baptists was held in Maryland, some distance from the city of Baltimore, at a place called Black Rock; at which meeting they resolved to be known among themselves by the name of 'Old School Baptists.' With this name the Kehukee people at first were not well satisfied. But contemporaneously, or nearly so, with the Black Rock movement, a monthly, with the caption of 'Signs of the Times' was issued from New Vernon, in New York, Orange County; which paper unceremoniously dubbed the Anti-mission Baptists with the name of 'Old School Baptists.'"

"After some murmuring and delay, the Kehukeeans adopted it, and became well pleased with it. More recently, say within twelve or eighteen months, we apprehend they are about to throw off 'Old School' and take the name of 'Primitive Baptists.'"

Thus we see that they were something like twenty-five years before they were enabled to adopt a name.

In November, 1871, the Biblical Recorder, in reply to an article quoted from the Primitive Baptist, an anti-mission paper, said editorially: "It is true that this sect is called by many names. Its own ministers have not been able to agree on their name. They call themselves 'Ironsides, Hardshells, Square-toed Baptists, Broad-brimmed Baptists, Old-Sort-ofBaptists, Old School Baptists, Hard-Bined Baptists, Predestinarian Baptists, Kehukees, Primitive Baptists, and some, not ashamed of their true paternity, call themselves Osbournites. Is it any marvel that outsiders find difficulty in naming those who have never been able to name themselves?"

This is quite interesting as regards Osbourne. Sheets, who was well versed in the history of the "split," considers Osbourne the true parent of the denomination. It is true that Elders Parker, Watson, Beebe, Trott, Thompson, and others, represented the "paternity" of the Hardshell denomination, being founding fathers of the sect, but Sheets attributes much to Osbourne. Again, as I said, I hope to write more about the role of Osbourne in upcoming posts and in my book on the Hardshells.

Wrote Sheets:

"If they are the "Old Baptists," indeed, why all this ado about a name ? They called us "missioners" or "missionaries," which has somewhat been accepted as a distinction. But all old Baptist histories published long before the split bears the plain, simple "Baptist," just what we call ourselves now and have ever since long before the split.

They had to do something to deceive the people into believing that they were and are still the Old Baptists. We venture the assertion that they can not produce any Baptist history or other Baptist document printed before 1825, that has any of the above names. The fact is, that their old minutes did not for many, many years print "Primitive" in the title as they do now. The Brier Creek and Mayo Associations did not. The Abbott's Creek Union Association did not till 1879."

"At the session held that year the following item was adopted: "The Association agrees that the words Primitive Baptist be added to the third article of the act of Convention of 1825." This was an afterthought. But it seems strange that they waited fifty-four years to make the change. But why add "primitive" at all if they continued the same as before the split?

Every one at all acquainted with Baptist history knows that in all our denominational literature that nothing but the plain, simple "Baptist" was used before the split, just as we use it now. They were accommodating, indeed, to give us a distinctive name (Missionary), and then adopt the one (Primitive) they liked best. But we shall see further on who are following what was practiced before the split, as well as the teaching of the Bible."

CHAPTER XXIV - The Number That Went Out From Us—The Men Who Led In The Split—Resolutions Of Kehukee AssociaTion '—- Covetousness, The Probable Cause Of The Division.

Sheets wrote:

"This result was secured, it is said, through the influence of a few men. The spirit of opposition was never spontaneous; it was wrought up by a few shrewd leaders. Elders James Osbourn of the Baltimore Association and John Stadler of the Country Line and Joshua Lawrence in the East, contributed more to the result in North Carolina than any dozen others. And it is quite likely true that Elder Osbourn's influence carried Stadler and Lawrence."

This is also interesting relative to Elder Osbourne. Osbourne was well known among the first generation Hardshells. He was more Englishman than American, and spent much time in England in the 1830's and 40's with the Strict Baptists. He was a man who travelled extensively among the anti mission churches, inciting insurrection and promoting division. He wrote many books, which he peddled among the Hardshells on his numerous trips. I feel certain that he had much influence among the anti mission leaders. He was friends with Trott, Thompson, Watson, and Beebe. Why have his books not survived? Why are they not promoted by today's Hardshells, especially seeing how influential he was in creating their denomination? Is it not for the same reason that writings by Watson are largely ignored? Would the writings of Osbourne, like those of Watson, prove detrimental to them in their claims to originality? Osbourne was an intellectual. Lawrence was not. Osbourne led the ministry, while men like Lawrence mostly led the ignorant lay membership.

Wrote Sheets:

"Again we quote from the Biblical Recorder—an editorial— November, 1871: "The Rev. James Osbourn began to preach in the South and to feed the fires of covetousness by declaiming against 'money hunters.' He denounced all publications except his own, and all collections except for himself, and obtained subscriptions for his books before they were written. Elder Joshua Lawrence and many others were led astray."

"The Kehukee Association was induced, after "much speaking," to "discard all Missionary Societies, Bible Societies, and Theological Seminaries, and the practices heretofore resorted to for their support, in begging money from the public; and if any persons should be among us as agents of any such societies, we hereafter discountenance them in those practices, and if under the character of a minister of the Gospel, we will not invite them into our pulpits."

"We do not have to go far to discover that the foregoing was prompted by a spirit of covetousness, for the same association, in 1834, two years after the split, said: "If any minister, although he may be a missionary without the bounds of our association, comes among us to preach the Gospel and not to make collections, we do not reject him."

And this teaching has, all through these years, been so congenial to the flesh that it has been accepted by the children in such homes, thus growing up and developing a bitter spirit toward all our work."

CHAPTER XXV - Strong Opposition- To Mission Work—The Apostles Sent Out As Missionaries By The Church At Antiooh —God's Purpose—His Guiding Hand—Elder Watson's View.

Wrote Sheets:

"Our anti-mission brethren claim that mission work as was at first developed one hundred years ago and as now being carried on, is not of God, but "man's work."

Elder Coffey, an authority among them in the West, taking a very decided stand against us, said: "I wish to be understood to mean the modern system of missions, or men-made institutions, and not Bible missionaries." Just as though we were not Bible missionaries because they reject our methods of work!

Our Baptist people from the days of Christ to the present time have always been missionary in spirit and practice; though at times held back by a spirit of lethargy. The Antimission Baptists claim that the system of modern missions is too modern, and ought therefore to be rejected. But the missionary spirit is no new thing; it is old as the church. We learn that the early Christians "went everywhere preaching the word."

"Neither can they claim the old records as sustaining them. From the organization of this work in England, in 1792, up to about 1826, there was no division of sentiment on the subject of missions (except the Kehukee Association, which divided in 1827), till 1832."

"Elder James Osbourn was perhaps the leading spirit in bringing about the split. Yet this item from the record tells us where he once was: "In 1817 'a committee was appointed for Domestic Missionary Affairs,' and Brethren O. B. Brown, James Osbourn and Spencer H. Cone were appointed as Home Missionaries." James Osbourn appointed a Missionary! He was Then a Primitive Baptist."

"We quote from an able work by Elder John M. Watson, entitled "Old Baptist Test," pages 181-182, one of their best and most conservative men. Writing of "Errors found existing among the Old Order of Baptists," he says: "I was much surprised as well as mortified that they evinced so little concern about the unbrought 'other sheep' which the Saviour said He must bring. They lay great stress on these words of the Saviour, but do not read other things which He connected with the bringing them in as they ought to do. I heard but few prayers for the sending forth of laborers into His field; nor did I see much concern in any way about them. The Lord's foreknowledge, predestination, calling, etc., have the same relation to them, in principle at least, that they had at the beginning—the same to the last one which He will bring that they had to the first. * * * They preach well about the "effectual call" as they term it, but not so well about the outward one. * * * I felt inclined to ask these orthodox Christians if they believed that any of the "other sheep" are now among the heathen nations, and if they were watching the providence of God in regard to them. Moreover, if they felt under any obligations to search them out; to pray unto the Lord to bring them in; and to encourage, aid and send out any who may feel called of the Lord to preach to them. * * * I really fear should any one profess a call of this kind, he would not receive the fellowship and assistance which he would have been entitled to. Thus I fear they do not act as did those who heeded all the commandments of the Lord."

"This position taken by Elder Watson is impregnable, it is unanswerable, because it is the truth. He is with us on this. It is just what we believe and constitutes one of the great barriers between us and them. We believe it to be a duty imposed by the great Head of the church to give the Gospel to the whole world—they believe that we have nothing to do with it, that God will raise up men to preach to the heathen when He wants them."

CHAPTER XXVI - Anti-mission Baptists Are Now Opposed To Revival Meetings—Nothing Said About Opposing Such MeetIngs When They Went Out Prom Us—Baptists Had Great Revivals Before The Split—In The Kehukee Association They Invited People To Be Prayed For— George Pope Baptized Large Numbers.

In this chapter, Sheets writes:

"Our Anti-mission brethren are very unlike the Primitive Baptists in their decided opposition to revival meetings. We never hear them pray for a revival of religion or know of them making a protracted effort. Who ever hears one of their preachers exhorting the unconverted to repent?

Before the split our Baptist brethren did this, and they had glorious revivals and large ingatherings into their churches. Even the historic old Kehukee, now so decidedly opposed to revival measures, was at one time much in favor with them; they prayed for them and otherwise greatly encouraged them.

We quote from Burkitt and Read's History, pages 145-46, "The ministers used frequently, at the close of worships, to sing a spiritual song suited to the occasion, and go through the congregation, and shake hands with people while singing. * * * The ministers usually, at the close of preaching, would tell the congregation, that if there were any persons who felt themselves lost and condemned, under the guilt and burden of their sins, that if they would come near the stage, and kneel down, they would pray for them. Shame at first kept many back, but as the work increased, numbers apparently under strong conviction would come and fall down before the Lord at the feet of the ministers, and crave an interest in their prayers. Sometimes twenty or thirty at a time. And at some Union Meetings, two or three hundred would come, and try to come as near as they could. This very much engaged the ministers, and many confessed that the Lord heard the prayers of His ministers, and had reason to hope their souls were relieved from the burden of their sins, through the blood of Christ. It had a powerful effect on the spectators to see their wives, their husbands, children, neighbors, etc, so solicitous for the salvation of their souls; and was sometimes a means of their conviction. Many ladies of quality, at times were so powerfully wrought on as to come and kneel down in the dust in their silks to be prayed for. The same history, page 153, says: "At an Union Meeting at Parker's Meeting-house, August, 1803, it was supposed there were 4,000 people. The weather proved very rainy on Sunday. There was a stage erected in the meeting-house yard; and at about half-past 11 o'clock Elder Burkitt ascended the stage to preach, and it was expected, from the appearance of the clouds, it would rain every moment, and before he was done preaching it did so. Yet, notwithstanding, the numerous congregation still kept together; and although every effort was used to shun the rain, by umbrellas, carriages, blankets, etc., yet we believe one thousand people were exposed to the rain without any shelter; and some crying, some convulsed to the ground, some begging the ministers to pray for them; and composedly stood and received the falling shower without ever being dispersed. And it is not only at particular times, but blessed be God, these meetings are generally blessed."

Burkitt and Read's History from which this quotation is taken is the History of Kehukee Association, now anti-mission, and was printed in 1803, twenty-four years before she turned against missions, Sunday Schools, Protracted Meetings, etc."

It is interesting to note Sheet's reference to Burkitt and Read's History of the Old Kehukee Association. This book, like the writings of Watson and Osbourne, got ignored and buried by the Hardshell leaders. Today's Hardshells accept only one book on their history, the one written by C. B. Hassell and his son Sylvestor, entitled "History of the Church of God." This work was paid for by the Kehukee Association after the split with the Hardshells. The Kehukee Association had been supporting the work of historians to record their history even prior to the split. The first history concerned the time long prior to the split. This history shows that the old Kehukee was not "Primitive" or Hardshell, prior to the 1830's. It is no wonder then that it has been thrown aside and Hassell's post division history accepted in its place.

Wrote Sheets:

"Strange as it may seem to people living now, there is not one word anywhere, in all the old church records or Baptist histories examined, where they opposed revival measures at first. In fact, such a thing seems never to have been thought of. But, on the other hand, they carried them on for some time.

That they ever should have taken such a stand in regard to revival measures is beyond comprehension, unless, in their opposition to us in almost everything else, they thought that they ought to oppose this measure also.

Such a thing as taking a stand against revivals or protracted meetings was never, never heard of amongst Baptists until our Anti-mission brethren separated from us in 1827—1840. Before the split in Baptist ranks they had such revivals and ingatherings as few, if any now living, ever witnessed. And, we might add, that they did not take the stand against protracted meetings till some time after they went out from us, as has been given us by old people who lived at the time, and after the division in Baptist ranks."

CHAPTER XXVII - A Departuee From Baptist Usage—They Oppose MinisTerial Education—Young Ministers Educated In England—The Philadelphia Association EncourAged It.

In this chapter, Sheets wrote:

"In preceding chapters we have shown that our anti-mission brethren have departed from Baptist usage before the split in some very important particulars. They are very decidedly opposed to the education of young ministers, called of God, as a part of our work. But long before there were any Antimission Baptists, the Baptists favored ministerial education. They claim, that while ministerial students are receiving an education that souls are dying and, therefore, they ought to go at once.

But our Saviour did not take that view, when he kept His disciples with Him for three years. Neither did our brethren in the years gone by.

As early as the year 1250, our Baptist brethren had schools where their young men called of God were educated, being supported by contributions from the churches.

Dr. John Rippon, of England, in a "Brief essay towards an History of the Baptist Academy," throws much light upon this important subject. Hear him: "We had at that time literary men, whose abilities reflected honor on themselves, and on the cause they espoused; and of these, some who ranked high among the learned were disposed to teach. Such, however, was the unsettled state of affairs in the protectorate, and so great the persecutions of our brethren and other non-conformists afterwards, from the Restoration, in 1660, till the glorious Revolution, in 1688, that we must not be surprised if we find no splendid seminaries of learning among the Baptists, or any other Protestant Dissenters in those early days.

Indeed several of the ejected or silenced ministers, in different counties took under their care a few young men of promising abilities for the ministry, and, without regard to our distinguishing sentiments, assisted them in their preparatory studies for sacred service. * * * It is not easy for me to say with precision how early in the last century our learned brethren in this country began, among themselves, to educate their juniors for the work of the ministry."

Again Dr. Rippon says: "That the ministers and messengers of more than one hundred baptized congregations in England and Wales met, in a General Assembly at London, in September, 1689, to consult the good of the whole denomination.

At this Convention they resolved to raise a fund or stock for the advantage of churches who were not able to maintain their own pastors or teachers, etc., and for assisting members of churches who had promising gifts, were sound in fundamentals, and inclined to study, in attaining to the knowledge of the Latin, Greek and Hebrew." From the above it will be perceived that our brethren engaged in ministerial education at as early a date as was possible for them to do so.

They were not allowed by their enemies to engage in such work; and so desirous were they to do something along this line that before they could project colleges and seminaries, they taught young men for the ministry in a private way.

Let us now follow our brethren across the Atlantic and see them in the new world. The Philadelphia Association, the oldest on the continent, was constituted in the year 1707. For the year 1722, one hundred and ten years before the split, it was proposed that the churches make inquiry among themselves, if they have any young persons hopeful for the ministry, and inclinable for learning; and if they have, to give notice of it to Mr. Abel Morgan before the first of November, that he might recommend such to the Academy on Mr. Hollis' account. (Minutes of Philadelphia Association, page 27.) Even at that age, Mr. Hollis was so much interested that he was to pay the bills.

At the sessions for 1756-57 we find this same Association encouraging education. At the session for 1764 it was agreed to inform the churches to which we respectively belong that, inasmuch as a charter is obtained in Rhode Island government, toward erecting a Baptist College, the churches should be liberal in contributing towards carrying the same into execution. In October, 1766, we find this: "Agreed to recommend warmly to our churches the interest of the college, for which a subscription is opened all over the continent. This college has been set on foot upwards of a year, and has now in it three promising youths under the tuition of President Manning." Two thoughts here are noticeable, viz: "Agreed"; and "warmly agreed to recommend."

A subscription is opened all over the continent. They were heart and soul in favor of ministerial education and had never been disturbed with a thought of anti-ism.

But why multiply authorities? These are only a few of what might be produced."

CHAPTER XXVIII - Anti-mission Baptists Oppose Stated Salary For PasTor—Scripture Teaching On The Subject—Eldee John M. Watson's View.

In this chapter, Sheets wrote:

"Our anti-mission brethren are very much opposed to an understanding between church and pastor, relative to a salary. They speak of such as a "hireling" ministry. With them there must be no agreement as to what the pastor must have for his support. It is strange that this should be so in regard to pastoral support and not practiced in any other calling in life.

There is just as much reason for a carpenter amongst the anti-mission brethren being asked to build a new meetinghouse and let the brethren pay him as they say preachers ought to be paid—just what the brethren think he ought to have. How many of them would take a contract on such condition? Not one. They ought not be asked to do it. It is not good business. And yet if ministers insist on knowing what they are to receive for their work, they are at once branded as "money hunters" or preaching for "filthy lucre." O for shame!

We all know that the New Testament Scriptures don't say in so many words that a stipulated amount may be mentioned, but we contend that it is not contrary to Scripture teaching on this subject.

Paul says, "Have I committed an offense in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I preached unto you the Gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service." "The laborer is worthy of his reward."

"The workman is worthy of his meat." "The laborer is worthy of his hire." It seems that "wages," "reward," and "hire" are not contrary to the genius of New Testament teaching on this subject, but fully in accord with it . The trouble with our Anti brethren is that they have made a hobby of this, while they are receiving money in handshaking and on the sly generally. If a church or churches ought to support a pastor, there can be nothing wrong in understanding what would be sufficient to support him. In that case, the church just knows what is expected and therefore has something to work to.

Elder John M. Watson, one of their preachers in "Old Baptist Test," has an article under the caption of "Ministerial Deviations," from which I wish to quote. He says: "The Scriptural relations between pastor and church is not regarded by us as it should be. Our ministers do not teach the churches their duties towards themselves. Human pride constrains them to shun to declare the counsel of God on the subject; because so many are preaching at fixed rates per sermon, per month, or per year, they forego their just rights, as ordained of God, rather than seem like such are. These have not only caused the way of truth to be evil spoken of, but our ministers to deviate from the line of duty. The plain commandments and exhortations of the Lord have been left unpreached, until some of our churches—judging from their conduct—have forgotten that these duties are enjoined in their Bibles. This deviation is mutual; it is difficult to say which party is most blameable; one fails to teach and exhort, and the other to perform."

"No one would suspect him being an Anti-mission Baptist preacher from reading the above deliverances. But he was.

According to his position on the support of the ministry we are carrying out the instructions of the New Testament more nearly than they. Therefore we must be Primitive or real Bible Baptists, instead of them."

CHAPTER XXIX - Opposition To Sunday Schools—Baptists Had Them Before The Split—County Line Association EncourAged Them—Afterwards They Oppose Them And BeCome New Baptists.

In this chapter, Sheets writes:

"How there ever could have been open opposition to teaching the people the word of God is more than can be known now. Can it be a sin for one to stand before a class and teach God's precious truth? Is the Lord displeased with those who teach or those taught? We think not, when perhaps seventy-five to ninety per cent of those coming into our churches are from the Sunday school. Moses evidently believed in teaching the children. (Deut. 6:5-9.) After exhorting them to love the Lord God with all the heart, and with the soul, he added: "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children," etc.

There have been many foolish and unwise things said about this great work by our Anti-mission brethren. They have treated the Sunday school and its work as though it were an engine of the devil. But such a thing as abuse of this institution was unknown till our brethren split off and set up opposition to this work.

Of course they changed from what they were and became a new kind of Baptists, for there never had been seen such Baptists before the split.

CHAPTER XXX - They Are Declining In Numbers And Moral Powee— Cathcart's Encyclopedia Gives Statistics—The BapTist Year. Book, 1880—Elder John Culpeper's StaTistics, 1834—Comparative Statistics Kehukee And Chowan Associations—Miami Association In Ohio— Red River Association, Kentucky—Abbott's Creek Union Association, North Carolina.

In this chapter, Sheets wrote:

"Because of such decided, emphatic opposition to, and willful neglect of the means, which have been so signally blessed of God for the spread of the truth and consequent upbuilding of the Redeemer's kingdom, our Anti-mission brethren have been on the decline numerically almost ever since they went out from us.

"In 1844 the Baptist Almanac attempted to distinguish between the Regular or Mission Baptists and those who opposed missionary work in formal organizations for that purpose. The record of 1844 reported 184 Old-School Associations, 1,622 churches, 900 ordained ministers, 2,374 baptized in the year preceding, and 61,162 members.

"The Year Book for 1880 returns 900 Old-School churches, 400 ordained ministers, and 40,000 members,—a loss of onethird in thirty-six years. The Old-School brethren have declined in numbers almost every year since they made the division."


In this chapter, Sheets wrote:

"The reader will readily see that every author quoted bears testimony to certain truths:

1. That our anti-mission brethren went out from the great body of their Baptist brethren.

2. That almost everywhere they manifested the same spirit of—shall I say it?—of bitterness toward those who stood for the development of the Lord's work as it was being carried on before 1820 or 1825.

3. That they can not give us credit for being sincere in our views, but always regard us as of the world.

See a here here for the book by Elder Sheets.

No comments: