Jun 12, 2011

Hall Against Hardshellism/Cambellism


J. N. Hall was a strong opponent of both Hardshellism and Campbellism. In the following citations from Hall, from his lectures and writings on the topic, one can see his opposition to both, to the Hardshell theory of regeneration by the Spirit alone and the Campbellite theory of regeneration by the Word alone.

"My proposition does not deny the use of means on God's part, to accomplish his purpose, and while I claim that the Holy Spirit can and does operate on the heart of the sinner, without means, and above all means, I do not ignore the fact that He uses means. I believe in the use of all the means, which God has appointed for the conversion of the sinner. I believe in a preached Gospel, a living ministry and a witnessing Church, I believe that the "gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believeth," and that "it hath pleased God by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe."

"My proposition does not assert that the work of the Spirit is distinct from the written or spoken word, in the sense that he saves men, when there is no knowledge of Christ (Hardshellism denied - SG). But rather, it asserts that the work of the Spirit is in addition to the means used(Campbellism denied - SG). This work of the Spirit may reach the sinner through the instrumentality of means, but its power is distinct from the power of means."

"I quote these passages simply as illustrations of the kind of power that is used, and to show that the power is distinct from the means (Campbellism denied - SG), while it works with and through the means (Hardshellism denied - SG). I and my brethren believe and teach that in the conversion of the sin­ner, God uses means, yet there is a power, called the power of the Holy Spirit, which is distinct from the means, yet works through the means."

"I now address my self more fully to the sub­ject. I think the issue is clear cut between us, and amounts to just this: that in the conversion of the sinner, God works, and God does not work. I know there are a class of Scriptures, which taken by themselves and without reference to any other part of God's word, that seem to teach that the Spirit alone does the work. But there is another class of Scriptures which occupy a "golden mean" between the two, and which, when taken in all their bearings and relations completely harmonize God's word, and these Scriptures teach the doc­trine which I believe and teach, that it is not by the Word alone (Campbellism denied - SG), or by the Spirit alone (Hardshellism denied - SG), but that it by both the Spirit and the Word, in conjunction with each other, each performing the work as­signed to each in the conversion of the sinner."

"The parable of the sower is a striking illustra­tion of these different classes. We are taught in this parable that the seed is the word of God.

Now, suppose we are riding along the road, and I we come across a man in the woods sowing seed. Here he is, sowing the seed broadcast among the trees and bushes, and around over the logs and stumps, and brush — anywhere and everywhere sowing his seed. We ride up and ask that man what he is doing? "Oh," says he, "I am sowing wheat!" " Sowing wheat?" we ask in astonishment, "why you don't expect to get a crop, do you, sowing around the logs and brush?" etc., "Why, yes, sir," says the man." This is a new kind of seed. You see there is a peculiar power in this seed that will clear up the ground, remove the logs, and trees, and brush, and break up the ground, and produce an abundant harvest. This is a splendid kind of seed, sir." (Laughter from audience) This is the man (Cambellite - SG) who believes that all the power is in the Word alone. But here is another man (Hardshell - SG) who goes to work and prepares the ground, and gets it in good condition for sowing, and then goes to his home, folds his arms, and sits quietly down, and expects a harvest. You ask him, "What he has prepared his ground for?" He says, that he "expects to raise a crop of wheat." "Well my friend, you have got your ground in mighty fine condition for sowing, and if you will plant the seed, you may expect a good harvest." "Oh," he says, "I don't need to sow any seed on this ground, it has a peculiar power or element in it, that all you have to do is to get it good condition, and it will produce an excellent harvest without sowing any seed on it at all." This is the man that be­lieves that all the power is in the Spirit alone, and that all a man has to do is to fold his arms, and in God's good time, he will do the work."

"Now, I am going to admit all the power God has placed in his Word, yet I believe that that power is exerted on the sinner's mind and heart, through the personal influence of the Holy Spirit. I do not believe that power is in the Word alone, or that it is in the Spirit alone, without the use of any other means whatever, but I believe that "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." Not one alone, without the other, but both together. We cannot lay stress on one, and exclude the other."

"My first argument in support of the proposi­tion is based on the fact, that MAN IN AN UNREGENERATED STATE, WILL NOT ACCEPT THE WORD OF GOD, WITHOUT THE DISTINCT INFLUENCE OF THE SPIRIT."

"Suppose you go and preach to a man who is dead, will your preaching do any good, unless there is some divine power to ac­company your words? Would this simple preach­ing of the prophet in the valley of dry bones, have accomplished anything had there been no exercise of divine power? You go and preach to these dry bones and see if they will live. It required something more than mere preaching to cause those dry bones to live."

From "Memoirs of Elder J. N. Hall" (CHAPTER XII) - "The Work of the Spirit in the Salvation of the Sinner."

Here is the proposition Hall defended against the Campbellites:

"The Scriptures teach, that in the conver­sion of sinners, there is a distinct, (from the writ­ten or spoken word) personal, (the Spirit himself acting) power of the Holy Spirit, on the sinner's heart."

See here

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