Jun 13, 2011

Hall"s Notes on Hardshellism


J. N. Hall wrote these things concerning Hardshellism. (emphasis mine - SG)

"To know Daniel Parker is to understand his times and his people. About him cluster all the elements of anti-Missionism that were crystalized by him into Hardshellism. Eliminate Daniel Parker and his kind and Hardshellism becomes an enigma." (pg. 32)

"The conditions of special importance among Baptists in these regions are those creating a relentless contest between the spirit of missions and that of anti-missions. In the early part of the last century this was supposed to have been fought out to a finish. The ultra Calvinistic or fatalistic doctrines of Parker and Taylor and others prevailed to a large degree, and their dead­ening influences were deeply felt. The fatalistic interpretations of the London creed disputed the progress of the gospel. But a man arose who was endowed by both nature and grace, for the superb work of preaching and defending the truth. That man was Elder Rubin Ross. One cannot read "The Life and Times of Rubin Ross" and not be impressed with both the man and the times in which he lived and labored. He was a [p. 32] lasting breakwater in the trend and flow of anti-Missionism, and the narrow and fatal doctrines out of which it grew. He boldly stood up and preached the glorious gospel of redeeming love to all men, the glad tidings of great joy to all people. The fierce opposition that he met with from that gospel of doom that, instead of bringing hope and joy, brought awful forebodings of destruction by election, did not deter the preacher of the gospel, but lent beauty and attractiveness to his hopeful message of light and life. But Rubin Ross died. Did his works die with him? Far from it. Oth­ers were in readiness to take up and carry it on. As the son of Rubin Ross, J. S. Wilson and others dropped toward the horison of life, there arose the stars of J. M. Pendleton and J. R. Graves."

"But there arose in the wake of Calvinistic theology, a sentiment of fatalism. This took advantage of the old fundamental doctrines of election and salvation by grace, and distorted these into a system of iron doom. This proved to be the greatest internal enemy that had yet appeared among Baptists. It is remarkable that this asserted itself just at a time when conditions became more favorable for the wider propaga­tion of the gospel. This fatalistic doctrine grew as the opportunities and spirit of gospel propaga­tion asserted itself, and when a determination to carry the gospel into the heathen world was announced, this idea became clearly defined in its active opposition to such evangelistic enterprise. It first clearly defined itself in England when William Carey proposed to carry the light of truth into the regions of benighted India. The funda­mental basis of this opposition lay in two ideas: (1) That Christ made atonement for only a por­tion — a certain and definite number of the human race, and (2) that all for whom he died would be saved, by election, and without any conditions, contingencies, agencies, means of instrumentalities on the human side. The conclusion was inev­itable, that the preaching of the gospel as a mes­sage of salvation, was not only unnecessary, but an insult to the Almighty who would save the elect by unconditional decree."

"The fiercest conflicts between the dominant genius of Christianity and this ism occurred in this country of special Baptist liberty. The acute stage was produced by the announcement of the conversion of Adorniram Judson to Baptist views, and an appeal to American Baptists for his sup­port. Among American Baptists, and especially [p. 35] in the regions with which this volume deals, this anti-Baptistic, or anti-Christian, or anti-Missionism became relentless, as the spirit of missions grew in the churches, until at last the necessity came for either the active co-operation in this great missionary work or a positive and active opposition to it. At this point Hardshellism dis­covered its opportunity for a plausible excuse for planting itself forever against the real progress of the gospel. This is now known as the "Black Rock Memorial." Here is anti-Missionism veiled in a just and righteous protest against the growth of another spirit and method that must bring its troubles further on. "The Black Rock" and sim­ilar documents recite opposition to "the soci­eties," and disavow opposition to missions as such. This brought decisive division. Had the principles of the "Black Rock Memorial" been adhered to and practiced, there never would have been any Hardshell or Anti-Mission Baptists, —but there would have been many Gospel Mission Baptists. But the real genius that was veiled in that just protest displayed itself in its true colors in the teachings and works of a class of men, of whom Daniel Parker was the most perfect repre­sentative and exponent, and by these men, this new Baptist Protestantism was crystallized into historic and contemporary Hardshellism."

"Hardshellism became largely a negative force and system, that corresponded with its negative doctrines. The only positive feature has been its positive opposition to the doctrine and work of missions, otherwise it is noted mainly for doing nothing."

"In the battles with Hardshellism in this sec­tion loom up Ross and Tandy, and Bourne and Wilson. Then come Pendleton and Graves and others contending against both Hardshellism and Protestantism..."

"Pendleton and Graves appeared almost simultaneously, as it were, to meet the double opposition of Campbellism and Protestantism. Standing in the closing conflicts of a defeated Hardshellism, they hoisted afresh the ancient Baptist ensign and in the face of a brazen simper­ing."

"When Pendleton and Graves were called away, they left the battle going, and the forces against them still being Protestantism, Campbellism and Hardshellism. In the tri-cornered conflict comes up, with almost startling sudden­ness the titanic figure of John Newton Hall. It fell to his lot to combat all these forces. Hard­shellism kept comparatively quiet during his life but came stalking forth upon his death."

(Chapter III - For Such A Time As This)

See here

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