Mar 31, 2008
"Was the commission or commandment of Christ given to the church and ministry or to the ministry exclusively, and if to the ministry to the exclusion of the church, how can we escape receiving alien baptism if we admit that God has called any man to preach that is not a member of the visible church of Christ? From whom does the minister receive his authority to baptize, from the Church or from Christ, and if, from the church, is she not in some sense included in the commission?"
Excellent questions for every Hardshell "apologist"! How will the great "defender of the Hardshell faith" answer? He says:
"To my mind and to the minds of nearly all the Primitive Baptists, and I think to all intelligent, candid, and unprejudiced minds, it is not more certain that two and two make four than it is certain that Christ’s command in Matt. 28:16-20 and Mark 16:14-16 to go everywhere and preach the Gospel and baptize and teach was, according to His plain and simple language, given to the apostles representing the gospel ministry; certainly He did not command the whole church to go into all the world and preach and baptize believers and teach His commandments. And all the churches in the world cannot now call and qualify one single man to preach the gospel of Christ. We know that this is the work of Christ, as well as we know our own existence. But, when Christ calls and qualifies for the work, the church will see the gift and gladly recognize it, and help him on his way, as in the apostolic times. And if the church can be present, he will certainly prefer for them to be satisfied of the regeneration of an applicant before he baptizes him, and if the church, or men whom she appoints for the purpose, cannot be present, she will be satisfied with the baptism of an applicant by the chosen minister of Christ; but if the minister is not a member of the visible church of God, the church will consider the nominal baptism as no real baptism. The authority to baptize comes from Christ in the commission, and the church will always gladly recognize this authority." (Gospel Messenger - February 1906)
From both the questions and the answers given above we can see how the topic of the "Great Commission" was truly a "hot potato" while it was in the possession of the great Hardshell "historian" and "apologist," Elder S. Hassell.
It is to be wondered whether any Hardshell debater and apologist today can better address the penetrating questions that were asked of Elder Hassell? Will any be more honest, or "candid," or "unprejudiced" than Elder Hassell?
Certainly the questions that the questioner asked of Elder Hassell, relative to the Hardshell "paradigm" structure on the "Great Commission," were not answered by Elder Hassell, for he only "danced around" the questions. The apologetic that Elder Hassell gave to the questions put to him clearly show that he was in the proverbial "tight spot" relative to that "paradigm."
As far as whether it is the Hardshells who have been the "candid" and "intelligent" and "unprejudiced" bible students, as regards properly understanding, interpreting, and teaching the words of Jesus in the "Great Commission," it has already been demonstrated in this book that these adjectives do not fit the Hardshells when it comes to their aberritions in doctrine respecting regeneration and the birth of the Spirit, and respecting those scriptures that deal with this topic and others related to it, like the topic of "gospel addresses to the lost," and another central question involved in it, the question of whether or not all men are commanded to believe and repent.
They "twist" and distort the words of our great Baptist forefathers, men like John Gill and Samuel Richardson, and do not stop there, but also "twist" the words of scripture to uphold their unbiblical man-made propositions. I have demonstrated this throughout the seventy chapters now written.
The early chapters, wherein I dealt with scriptures that clearly overthrow the Hardshell "hybrid" view of regeneration "without means" and "without faith," and "without conviction of sin" and "without repentance," is also the place where I gave the leading Hardshell "twisted views" of those "plain" passages, stated as they are in "simple language," that men are born again through faith, and through the gospel.
I also show how they "twist" and distort other scriptures that clearly contradict their Hardshell soteriological system. In my series on "Addresses to the Lost," I went through many passages where Jesus and the preachers he sent clearly addressed dead alien sinners and called upon them to believe, to repent, and to come to Christ for salvation. I showed where these dead sinners were called, in the gospel, to come forth from the dead, and to make themselves a new heart and spirit thereby. I showed how the apostles urged all men, without distinction, to "be converted." I also showed how the Hardshells are anything but "candid" or "intelligent" or "unprejudiced" in all this!
I certainly did show the "prejudice" of Elders Daily and Crouse, and of other Hardshells, respecting what Dr. John Gill wrote about regeneration in his "Body of Divinity" and in his "Cause of God and Truth."
But let me now more particularly address what Elder Hassell stated in his reply to the questions posed to him. Elder Hassell said:
"His plain and simple language, given to the apostles representing the gospel ministry..."
I have already responded to his cloaked sarcasm, wherein he asserts that all who disagree with him and the Hardshells on the "Great Commission" are people who are not "intelligent" or "candid" or "unprejudiced," clearly inferring that only the Hardshells are "candid" and "intelligent" and "unprejudiced." Again, as I said in earlier chapters, this is characteristic of a cult, to speak of themselves often as being the "only ones."
Where in the "plain language" of the "Great Commission" (as recorded in Matthew and in Mark) is the word "represented" used? On what basis does Elder Hassell assert that the words of the "Great Commission" were made to the apostles "as representing" anyone?
Further, what words or language did he cite to prove that the group of apostles themselves represented the larger group of a "God called ministry in every age"?
Before I respond more particularly to this "argumentation" of Elder Hassell, let me first make the observation how Elder Hassell does not share the view of Elder Beebe, who believed that the "Great Commission" was given only to the "eleven" apostles addressed and included no others, not even Matthias or Paul, teaching that such men received, like every other gospel minister in every other age, separate commissions different from the "Great Commission" as given to the "eleven." I will show shortly also how Hassell tried to "soft-peddle" this difference with Beebe.
But, Hassell did state the historical prevailing view of the Hardshells, not Beebe. Even the Black Rock Address, which Beebe signed, ironically and hypocritically, stated the belief that Hassell affirms. They did not believe the "Great Commission" was "fulfilled," nor that it was only applicable to the "eleven" apostles, but was rather applicable to every minister in the church in every age till Christ returns.
Those ministers today who are going back and embracing Beebe's views on the "Great Commission" are accepting an extreme minority opinion, and not one that has been publicly endorsed by conventions like the "Black Rock Convention" or the "Fulton Convention," for these conventions endorsed the view that the "Great Commission" was still binding upon every minister, and was not fulfilled, although they all shared the view that the church of Jesus Christ was exempted from any part in the matter of executing the "Great Commission." But, more on this later. Let me now return to asking how Elder Hassell can honestly, logically, or biblically say that the group of eleven "represented" the larger group of Hardshell ministers.
I will observe first that Elder Hassell's "argumentation" is similar to that of his contemporary, Elder J. R. Daily, who's writings on the "Great Commission" I have already addressed. Recall that Daily argued that the words "eat ye" and "drink ye," as spoken to the twelve apostles during the institution of the Lord's Supper, was not limited to the twelve but applicable to the church because, he said, the "church was in session" then but not "in session" when Jesus spoke the words of the "Great Commission" to the eleven! We will see how Elder Hassell's argumentation is similarly nonsensical and whimsical. It is the kind of "argumentation" that one would expect from a "Sophist."
Where is the "plain and simple language" that says the "eleven" represented the gospel ministry to the exclusion of all others? Oh yes, Hassell makes what he thinks is a "logical deduction" of the words of Jesus wherein he thinks that the church or an ordinary disciple cannot possibly be included in the "Great Commission," but he cites no plain nor simple language of Jesus to prove it! Logical deduction, valid or not, to discover a true proposition is not the same as a clear and express statement of that premise or proposition. Besides, I have already shown many instances where Hardshell "logic" is twisted and invalid.
So, instead of citing words that say the "eleven represent the gospel ministry," he makes a logical deduction, or what he thinks is a valid logical deduction, in order to prove that it cannot possibly refer to the church, and therefore it must be limited to the gospel ministry. Well, let us "put to the test" this another instance of Hardshell "logic."
This is similar to neo-Hardshell Elder Ralph Harris who argued that the "Great Commission" could not possibly have been given to the church because, during the Dark Ages the church was hiding out in caves and therefore could not fulfill the commands of the "Great Commission"! I showed how this same argument would likewise forbid it being given either to the Apostles or to the ministry, however. I showed that all the apostles did not fulfill the "Great Commission," for the Apostle James was martyred before it had gone into all the world.
"Certainly He did not command the whole church to go into all the world and preach and baptize believers and teach His commandments. And all the churches in the world cannot now call and qualify one single man to preach the gospel of Christ. We know that this is the work of Christ, as well as we know our own existence."
Here are more instances where Hardshells use Sophist tactics by throwing out "Red Herrings" and by building "straw men" to fight. What Missionary Baptist believes that men or a group of men, or the church, are the entities that "call" other men into the bishoprick? None! That is a non issue and certainly a "non-sequiter"! But, while we are on this point, let us consider how the Hardshells have "gone to extremes" in their opposing an extreme, or at least what they thought was an extreme, by their completely eliminating the church from the matter of a its members receiving spiritual gifts, including the gift to preach and to teach.
Paul, in I Corinthians 14:1 said to the whole assembly at Corinth - "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy." And then, in further elaboration of this, he said:
"What then shall we say, brothers? (Notice how he is not addressing only elders and that he does exclude women) When you come together, everyone (not just the elders, but the whole church) has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way." (verses 26-39 NIV)
There are a number of important points in this line of instruction from the apostle that bear upon our discussion of the "Great Commission" and on the question of who is "authorized" to preach, and teach, and to baptize in the church and in the community in which they live.
Notice that Paul is addressing the whole church, or at least the male members, when he speaks in this chapter. Those to whom he speaks are addressed as "brothers," and not as "elders." The Corinthian letters were not addressed to the pastors or elders but to the general membership, or at least the general male membership.
"When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church."
Who is the "you" in the above words of Paul? Is the you the ministerial "you" and thus spoken only to the ordained clergy? Clearly not! And, if the "you" refers to the whole church, or at least to all the male membes of the church, then it is obvious that the norm in the New Testament Church was for each member, or each male member, to have opportunity to teach, instruct, and to speak in the assembly, especially as it concerns some new revelation (growth in understanding) a member has recently received from the Lord and the apostle wants each member to have opportunity to share it with other members.
Paul does not forbid or discourage each member coming to the public gathering with a hymn or a word of instuction but rather commends it, saying "all these must be done for the edifying of the body." In fact, Paul is so anxious to encourage member participation in the public teaching of the church that he tells the speaker who has the floor to STOP his speaking if he sees that someone else has just been shown something and needs to immediately share it. How many preachers are willing to do that? To give the floor temporarily to others?
"If a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged."
Who is the "you" in these words? Is the "you" only the ordained eldership? Certainly not. The "you" is either the whole church, or all the "brothers" or male members. But, Hardshell doctrine on the "Great Commission" forces them to exclude any teaching done by any member other than ordained elders! So, they would have to make the "you" in the above verses to be limited to the eldership!
Recall that Elder Pittman, in his testimony in the "Mt. Carmel Church Trial" (cited in this series), affirmed that no one could teach anybody any gospel truth unless he was ordained! How then would he handle the above passages that clearly encourage every member to teach and speak in the church as they feel led of the Lord to do?
Every member, taught Paul, ought to be allowed to share their faith with other members in the public gatherings of the saints, with of course, the restrictions placed on women which he enumerated in this chapter.
"Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored."
What penetrating questions for many cults and apostate churches! Do not the Hardshells have an attitude that says "the word of God originated with us"? The Hardshells think they are the "only ones" who have the "pure unadulterated gospel" and that all others are preaching a false gospel. If you want the gospel, you will have to go to those with whom it "originated" or have remained pure, i.e. the Hardshells! Yes, it reflects the same "haughty spirit" that Paul was condemning, by the above words, in the spirit and attitude of the Corinthians.
"Are you the only people it (the gospel) has reached?" Do not the Hardshells think so? The Campbellites too? All false cults also? Paul was attacking a "know it all" attitude on the part of many of the brethren in Corinth, an attitude that manifested itself in their aloofness from other Christians, and in their arrogant pretensions of superiority over other Christians and other churches?
Besides this, let us look at the questions of Paul in a little different light. He asks (KJV) - "did the word of God come unto you only?" If a group of people have had someone bring the gospel to them, then the question is - "has that same group not taken it to someone else?" I think it is obvious, from the history of the Hardshell cult, that they fit the description of someone who have received something to share but who does not share it. The gospel has come to them, but it has not gone out from them, not being missionary minded.
Also, Paul, to my mind at least, seems to allude to the cult mentality of the Hardshells as respects the "Great Commission." When Paul speaks of what he writes, in this chapter, about all being allowed to speak and to teach a word of instruction to the whole assembly, he says that this is in agreement with the "commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ." Is he excluding those commands given in the "Great Commission"? Hardshells would say that he IS excluding those commands! But what does Paul say about those who disagree with what he has written in this chapter about all being allowed to teach (in keeping with Christ's Commission)? Let him be ignorant or ignored!
Hassell argues that since it is not possible for every member of the church to physically "go into all the world," then it cannot apply to them! Oh more glorious Hardshell "logic"! Does he not see how this "logic" also overthrows his view that the "Great Commission" was given to the entire ministry? Has the Hardshell ministry obeyed the "Great Command" then? Has one even gone outside of the United States till recent times? Has one gone to an foreign area where no one knew who was Jesus?
Recall from the last chapter where I cited these words from Harris and which are similar to that of Hassell.
"Not even the modern so-called Missionaries have been able to go into all the world, even with all their organizational machinery and fund-raising apparatus. After two centuries of their supposedly trying to "take the world for Christ" over half of the earth’s population has never heard any form of gospel, much less the true gospel. And are we now to imagine that God has laid it upon the shoulders of a few Old Baptists to over-spread the whole world with the gospel?"
What were the precise questions asked of Elder Hassell? Let me list them and then see if Elder Hassell truly answered the man's questions.
1. "Was the Great Commission given to the ministry to the exclusion of the church?"
2. "How can we escape receiving alien baptism?"
3. "From whom does the minister receive his authority to baptize?"
4. "If from Christ, then the church is excluded in the matter of baptisms?"
5. "Do we admit that men other than Primitive Baptists are called of God to preach the gospel?"
6. "Does the minister receive his authority to baptize from the Church?"
7. "If authority to baptize is given to the church, then is she not in some sense included in the commission?
None of these questions were answered by Elder Hassell. If we were to guess at "which way he is leaning" then we would have to say that he seems to say that the ministry, and not the church, has the responsibility and commission to do the baptizing. But, then he later seems to reverse that view when he concludes by saying that -
"When Christ calls and qualifies for the work, the church will see the gift and gladly recognize it, and help him on his way, as in the apostolic times. And if the church can be present, he will certainly prefer for them to be satisfied of the regeneration of an applicant before he baptizes him, and if the church, or men whom she appoints for the purpose, cannot be present, she will be satisfied with the baptism of an applicant by the chosen minister of Christ; but if the minister is not a member of the visible church of God, the church will consider the nominal baptism as no real baptism. The authority to baptize comes from Christ in the commission, and the church will always gladly recognize this authority."
There can be no ministry without Christ. Okay, we all agree on that. But, no one can be "ordained" to the ministry apart from the church. Also, has the church no authority over the minister after he has been ordained? If the ordination or appointment by the church is what constitutes one a minister of the gospel with authority to baptize, then how can Elder Hassell exclude the church as he does?
Notice also how Elder Hassell wants to give all the authority for baptizing to the ministry and yet says that "in every case" the church will acquiese in the minister's decision! Really, in every case? What if in one case she does not? Is the man baptized or not? Is the baptized man a member of the church or not? Hassell clearly does not want to even admit the possibility that such could occur! And why would he not want to admit the possibility? Because it reveals the weakness of his "paradigm" on the "Great Commission" wherein he takes all responsibility for authorizing baptisms away from the church and makes it the sole perogative of the minister!
It has been argued historically by the Hardshells that they cannot accept the baptisms of Missionary Baptists and others because those churches are not orderly or sound churches. Is that not saying that baptism's correctness depends upon the soundness of the church that votes on its administration?
The traditional Hardshell apologetic response on this has not been to say that the baptisms of the Missionary Baptists are invalid because of the preacher not being "called," but because the church of which he is a member is not sound. Most Hardshells have allowed that God had indeed "called" men to preach who were Missionary Baptists. In fact, those Missionary Baptist preachers who joined the Hardshells all say that they were called to preach before they became Hardshells.
Elder Hassell, after implying that the minister has the sole authority to decide when to administer baptism, then tries to sweep away any "paradigm problems" that the questions asked of him clearly revealed, by saying there is never a conflict! He says the minister will always want the church's approval, even though this is not necessary, and that the church likewise will always approve of the baptisms of her ministers performed without that acquiesence. Is that not a dodge? An evasion? A slippery way of trying to get out of the "tight spot" he is in?
Many years later Elder Hassell is asked another question relative to the "Great Commission."
"To whom did Christ give the commission or commandment to "teach all nations," and "preach the gospel to every creature" (Matt. 28:19,20; Mark 16:15)?"
"Primarily to the Apostles, as shown by the connection, and as fulfilled by them initially - (Acts 1:8; 2:5; Rom. 10:18; Psalm 19:4; Col. 1:23), who went and preached the gospel both to Jews and Gentiles, wherever, in all the world, they were directed by the Spirit and Providence of God; and secondarily to all other true ministers of the first and succeeding centuries, as they are directed by the Spirit and Providence of God; and when the latter shall have preached the gospel of Christ (first preached by the Apostles) "in all the world for a witness unto all nations, then shall the end come," says Christ (Matt. 24:14). The end of the world or the age or the Christian dispensation has not come yet, but even until that time Christ will be with His true ministry (Matt. 28:20). The "every creature" referred to in the above passages evidently does not mean every object of the Divine creation, every human being and beast and bird and fish and insect and plant; nor does it mean, I think, every human being on every continent and island and river and lake and sea and ocean; but it is a general term for all human beings, both Jews and Gentiles to whom the Lord sends His ministers to preach His gospel. There are yet millions of square miles on the earth's surface where we have no reason to think that the gospel has been preached." (Pittman & Hassell- Advocate and Messenger - November 1927)
Notice how in this later writing by Hassell that he adds the statement that the apostles "initially fulfilled" the "Great Commission." That is typical of Hardshell hermeneutics. Have it both ways! It was fulfilled and it wasn't fulfilled! It was given to the apostles "primarily" and to the gospel ministers "secondarily." Oh yes, but according to them, all this is but "rightly dividing the word of truth"!
I suspect that Elder Hassell took that position for two reasons. First, he saw it as a compromise with men like Beebe and others who held to the view that the "Great Commission" was completely fulfilled. Secondly, he no doubt had to explain the passage in Colossians that spoke of the gospel as having been preached in all the world to those men who used it to argue for its complete fulfillment. But, he could not accept the completely "fulfilled" view either, for the reasons he gave, reasons, I might add, that do in fact show that the "Great Commission" has not been fulfilled!
Elder Hassell believed what Jesus said. The end of the age will occur when the gospel has been preached as a witness in all the world!
Hassell then speaks of how so many have not heard the gospel yet. But, one must ask this one question - "what have the Hardshells done to take the gospel to any?" Hassell seems to put his hopes on his Hardshell ministry to bring about this universal witness! On the other hand, Elder Harris did not think that a few "Old Baptists," like those with Elder Bradley, could possibly fulfill it! Hassell hopes the Hardshell ministry can do it so Christ will return soon! Where do modern Hardshells stand on this? With Beebe or Hassell, or with both?
Stay tuned for much more as I attempt to complete this series.
Mar 16, 2008
In my last chapter I looked at the argumentation of the great Hardshell debater and apologist, Elder John R. Daily, wherein he attempted to prove that the "Great Commission" was not given to any but to the clergy, and that it contains no commands that are general for the body of Christ.
Elder Daily was of course upholding the "traditional view," or the majority view. This view says that the "Great Commission," though not given to the church, was nevertheless given to the ministry (in a "secondary sense" to that of the apostles).
So, Elder Daily did not argue for its fulfillment or annulment, as did Elder Beebe, and as others have since his day. In this chapter I will begin to look at what neo Hardshell, Elder Ralph Harris, and others, have written in defense of the "strict view" of Beebe and others.
Harris's defense was written to uphold the "Pitt's Resolution" with its stated opposition to the belief that the "Great Commission" is yet operative (not fulfilled), and was also written to convince all Hardshells that the observing of the Great Commission's command to go and preach and teach all the heathen nations (which is now newly being done by those who are alligned with Elder Lasserre Bradley Jr. - or the "Bradleyites") is "heresy," and is not to be suffered nor allowed, certainly not supported or applauded.
If you support a missionary in preaching the gospel to the heathen, then you are a heretic! "Hear oh Heavens and give ear oh earth!" Who hath heard such things as these?
Elder Ralph Harris wrote:
"I am persuaded that if what is commonly called "The Great Commission" was not fulfilled in the days of the apostles, unto whom it was given by Christ (Matt 28:16-20 & Mark 16:14-16) then it will never be fulfilled, for since their day, and since the withdrawal of the gift of tongues, the conditions have never again been in place that would be necessary for any group of ministers or any religious organization to go into all the world and preach the gospel as the Commission required."
Where in the bible is the spread of the gospel made to depend upon the gift of tongues? Elder Harris cites scripture to show that Christ commissioned disciples to go announce the glad tidings, but where did he cite any scripture that made the fulfilling of the "Great Commission" to depend upon the supernatural gift of tongues? He must have gotten that out of II Harris 2:15, for it is not in the bible. It is Elder Harris' attempt to try to add another argument to the arsenal of weapons forged to fight the belief that the disciples at large or church in general is under obligation to spread the gospel of Christ.
Elder Harris mentions his "necessary conditions" for the "fulfillment" of the "Great Commission" and reasons that one of these is the presence of the gift of tongues! But he implies other "necessary conditions" by speaking of "conditions" (plural) being either "in place" or not "in place," for the "fulfilling" of the "Great Commission."
But history and the obvious present state of things in the world prove him wrong! History proves first that the gospel did not in toto go to every creature and to every "uttermost part" of the earth, the verses cited by the Hardshells notwithstanding. It did go to many parts of the Roman Empire, but there is no reliable historical evidence to prove the gospel was known beyond those borders till many years after the death of the apostles.
Secondly, many Hardshells, like Hassell (both father and son), have correctly pointed out how providence had made things ready for the apostles to take the gospel to a large part of the world as it existed at that time. For instance, the Roman road system was perfectly used by the Lord for his apostles and evangelists to take the message of Christ to the further parts beyond the land of Israel.
But, if such were a providential opening and means existing then, why then is it not even more so now? By Elder Harris's reasoning, there are impossible roadblocks existing now, rather than greater opportunities for taking the message to the "uttermost parts of the world"! Unbelievable!
I mean really, has not modern technology provided a greater way of taking the message of the cross to the heathen nations? Has not better roads? And airplanes and automobiles? And radio and television? Besides, there are far greater means available now for translating the bible into scant and local dialects than ever before. Are we to suppose that these are not superior means, but the supernatural "gift of tongues" are superior means? And not only superior, but what was and is necessary? By Elder Harris' logic, all the modern means for disseminating the gospel of Christ can avail nothing without the supernatural gift of tongues!
But, observation of the facts surrounding us today show him to be in some kind of "fog" for the gospel is now going further by these modern means and without this gift of tongues!
Besides, as I shall more fully develop later, Jesus clearly taught that the "end of the age" would come immediately upon the heels of the fulfillment of the "Great Commission." (Matthew 24: 14) Will he, or is he, a "Preterist" like many of his brethren?
Besides all this, where in the bible is the gift of tongues said to be given for the purpose of translating scripture? Or for the purpose of spreading the gospel to nations that spoke languages unknown to the evangelists?
I really do not think that this hybrid argument of Elder Harris will "pass muster" and stay in the arsenal of "tried weapons" for the Hardshell apologist who defends the Hardshell denomination on the "Great Commission"! Hopefully too, by the time this series is over, there will not be a single "weapon" or "argument" left remaining!
Elder Harris writes further:
"Not even the modern so-called Missionaries have been able to go into all the world, even with all their organizational machinery and fund-raising apparatus. After two centuries of their supposedly trying to "take the world for Christ" over half of the earth’s population has never heard any form of gospel, much less the true gospel. And are we now to imagine that God has laid it upon the shoulders of a few Old Baptists to over-spread the whole world with the gospel?
What can we say to all this?
Before I begin to address particularly what is said by Harris in the above citation, I desire to refer the reader to an interesting exchange that occurred between the editor of the "Baptist Builder," a Missionary Baptist publication, and Elder C. H. Cayce, a well known Hardshell debater, at the beginning of the 20th century.
The first exchange is recorded in Elder Cayce's first volume of his "Editorial Writings," which writings were published within the pages of the famed Hardshell periodical called "The Primitive Baptist" (not to be confused with the first periodical by that same name in the early 19th century).
On page 149 of Volume I Elder Cayce copies the following from the "Baptist Builder," wherein the editor was suggesting propositions for a debate with the Hardshells on "missions," a subject that Elder Cayce was continuously decrying in the pages of his paper, and lambasting the Missionary Baptists in their belief in and support of missions, especially foreign missions. Here is the advertisement that occurred in the "Baptist Builder."
"Notice the following clear cut propositions:
1. "Missions as taught and practiced by the Missionary Baptists are authorized by the word of God."
2. "Missions as taught and practiced by the so-called Old School Baptists are authorized by the word of God."
Did Cayce readily accept? No! And why not? The answer is obvious to anyone who has a smidgeon of information about this cult. But, upon this point I will surely have more to say later.
Here is some of what Elder Cayce wrote in response to the proposed propositions for debate that were published in the Missionary Baptist paper, the "Builder."
"It is evident that the Builder man does not intend to meet the issue. Instead of doing that, he tries to confuse the minds of the people, and throw dust in the air, to draw their minds away from the issue. It is the teaching and practice of the Missionary Baptists on the mission question that has been assailed and called in question."
Why is the historical practice of the Hardshells, regarding their own missionary work, not an integral part of "the issue" in dispute between the Hardshells and the Missionary Baptists?
Could it possibly be because they have been "all talk and no action" in respect to missionary work? Oh how they love to "occupy the negative" when it involves them attacking the missionary practices of others!
But ought not the Hardshells, who have steadily "dished out" criticism of the Missionary Baptists in their missionary endeavors, not be themselves willing to let others "occupy the negative" in regard to their practices regarding the missionary work of their ministers and of their denomination?
If the champion debater of the Hardshells would not sign a proposition which made him defend his brotherhood's record on missionary activity, then I have little doubt that any of today's Hardshells will want to do so! It is more of that "hypocrisy" that characterizes this sect and of which I wrote about in earlier chapters in this book.
Cayce, writing to the Missionary Baptist, who was willing to let him "occupy the negative" on the question of the historical practice of missions, but only so long as Cayce was willing to do the same with the record of his people, said in response:
"However, if you wish us to affirm a proposition, we will affirm this:
"The church of which I (C. H. Cayce) am a member, known as Old School or Primitive Baptists, is Scriptural in doctrine and practice." We will affirm this. Will you deny it? And will you affirm that "Missions as taught and practiced by the Missionary Baptists are authorized by the word of God?" (Page 363, 364)
Look at this glaring hypocrisy and think about what it reveals about this cult group. Cayce wants the Missionary Baptist elder to defend his church's record on Missions but he will not do the same himself for his own Primitive Baptist record on the same!
Why is he so reluctant to do so? Could it be because he must defend such things as were said in the "Mt. Carmel Church Trial"? Such foolish things? Such shameful things in regard to evangelism?
Surely every person wants to ask every Hardshell the same question that the attorney asked Elder Pittman, in regard to missionary and evangelistic work, "What have YOU done?" Surely Christ will ask the same question of every Hardshell in respect to what he or she has done in telling others about Jesus!
He and others testified that they did not even like the term "missionary," casting doubt about its scriptural validity, and clearly showing a distaste for the term, and not really wanting to be considered, in any sense, a "missionary."
Others, however, though speaking more favorably of the term, yea, even claiming that Hardshell preachers are the only "true missionaries," yet they say this when they really have no love or affinity for the words mission, missionary, or commision. It is not a part of Hardshell cult jargon, being rather terms associated with the enemy!
Later Cayce and the editor of the "Builder," Elder Clifton, continue to talk about missions, Cayce continually decrying all the missionary work then in progress among the Baptists. On pages 380 and 381 Cayce writes:
"There are many of the Lord's children who have never heard an Old Baptist sermon delivered...The very best way in the world to let them know what Old Baptists teach is to go into the neighborhood where are and preach the gospel to them, as the Lord opens the way."
Well, he must be very disappointed in his Hardshell ministry on that score!
"The Fuller and Carey plan, as practiced by the New School Baptists, is for a board or society to assign the minister his field of labor and send him out. The Bible plan is that the Lord sends them out and assigns them their field of labor, and they go trusting the Lord for guidance and for support."
What is this "bible plan"? Do you recall how the attorney tried to get Elder Pittman to tell him what that plan was? And, how the Hardshells have historically practiced it? Did he ever get an answer? Did Elder Pittman ever point to some historical practices of his Hardshell minister brothers who were being missionaries on the "bible plan"?
By Cayce's line of reasoning, he puts the blame on the Lord for not assigning Hardshell ministers to any other regions outside of their own neighborhoods!
But, getting back to the flaky reasoning of Elder Harris, and his statement that "Missionaries have not been able to go into all the world" and his "argument" that this non-fulfillment somehow proves that all missionary efforts of the church and ministry thus far to fulfill it, have all been in vain since the apostles. It is such a silly argument that is not hardly worth a response. But, I add it here just so the reader can see the degree of blindness to the truth that is prevalent in the sect and to also demonstrate how stubbornly resistant they are to spreading the gospel of Christ.
He speaks of about half of the present population of the world as now ignorant of Jesus and the precious saving gospel. Does it bother him that many of his idol worshipping yet "regenerated" brothers in heathen land are starving for his "gospel food"? We shall see as we further examine what he wrote!
Plus, according to Harris' reasoning, the half who know the gospel know it 1) without any thanks to him or to the Hardshells! and, 2) without the gift of tongues being a means or reason for it!
And, further, by his distorted reasoning and logic, he makes it absolutely impossible for the other "half," who have not yet heard the gospel, to ever hear it (unless he believes the gift of tongues will be given again)!
Further, seeing he believes that the gospel has already been preached to every creature, then why is there any "half" at all"! "Half" who have never heard the gospel preached by the apostles? How can that be if it has been preached to every creature?
Finally, consider the fact that the "gift of tongues" was not given merely to the apostles, nor simply to the ministry, but to the whole church!
If Elder Harris connects the gift of tongues integrally with the fulfilling of the "Great Commission," then his argument proves too much, for the gift of tongues was given to ordinary disciples, including women!
Elder Harris continues:
"At the time the apostle Paul wrote the epistle to the Colossians, the gospel had already come unto "all the world" and had been preached "to every creature which is (was) under heaven" (Colossians 1:5-6 & 1:23), and there is no other period in the history of the church in which this can be said. This clearly shows that the commission Christ gave to His apostles has already been fulfilled by them."
This is but a repetition of a previous argument, except that he throws in his assertion that some verses in Colossians teach that the "Great Commission" has been fulfilled. I will not address the issue of fulfillment at this time, saving that question for a chapter all its own, but I do wish to remark that his statement that "there is no other period in the history of the church in which this can be said" is a gross falsehood.
Today there are more avenues for fulfilling the "Great Commission" than every before, not vice versa as Elder Harris argues.
He then writes:
"If the "Great Commission" was given to the Church as a body, can we suppose that during the Dark Ages when they had to hide in the dens and caves of the earth they were complying with the requirements it laid upon the apostles? I don’t see how anyone can think so. They had to remain as inconspicuous as possible and could not have even attempted such an undertaking."
Let us ask Elder Harris this question in response to his - "was the gift of tongues given to the church?"
And this question also - "did the ministry of the dark ages hide out in caves?" He seems to think that since the church was persecuted to such a state where it could not preach the gospel to every creature, then it must not have been given to them to do! Oh more glorious Hardshell "logic," hey?
The argument I brought up earlier in this series, about the death of the Apostle James, surely destroys this reasoning of Elder Harris. If hiding out in a cave is a hindrance to fulfilling the "Great Commission," then why is his death not a hindrance? Why does Elder Harris not see the death of one of the apostles as proof that the apostles could not fulfill the "Great Commission"?
I might also ask Elder Harris, in view of his argumentation as expressed above, - "when Peter was imprisoned, after the death of James, was he fulfilling the Great Commission"? Was the Apostle John "fulfilling" it while he was an exile on Patmos? Was his writing and sending out the Book of Revelation a fulfillment or a hindrance to the "Great Commission's" fulfillment?
Elder Harris continues:
"It appears to us that if Christ gave the "Great Commission" to the Church, or even to its ministry, then He laid a requirement upon them that it was, and is, impossible for them to fulfill, and I am sure the Lord has never operated that way."
Well then, answer the arguments above about the death of the Apostle James, and about the imprisonment of the Apostle Peter, and about the exile of the Apostle John.
No, he did not lay upon them a task that was impossible for either the apostles or the church to fulfill, but he did give them one that he knew would take "till the end of the age" to fulfill! But, more on this too later.
Elder Harris continues:
In all my study of Old Line Primitive Baptist history I have never found where they have ever undertaken to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to "every creature," whatever that may or may not entail. Why, then, if as some are contending, our Primitive Baptist forefathers believed the Commission was given to the Church, did they not at least try to "go into all the world"… "And teach all nations," etc., and why did they withdraw fellowship from those among them who started advocating such a venture?"
Excellent questions for the Hardshells and, ironically, uttered by a Hardshell himself! So blind are they! That is precisely the point I raised earlier! It is the reason why Elder Cayce did not want to defend in debate the historical record of the Hardshells on how much they have helped to spread the gospel! Recall Elder Dalton's statement that he does not believe that the gospel is something that "spreads" very well!
I don't care if we are considering the Hardshell "church" or the Hardshell "ministry," for neither, as Elder Harris confessed, has done anything to help spread the gospel! They have not helped to print or to pass out one bible! They have not given one cent to a missionary who is taking the gospel to those who have never heard the precious name of Jesus!
Why indeed are the "Bradleyites" now doing what other Hardshells have historically refused to do? Maybe they reject all this devilish opposition to the spread of the gospel? Besides, as I will show in upcoming chapters, Elder Bradley and his movement and attempted reforms, have all been tried before, by others who attempted to "stem the tide" of the "ultras"!
Elder Harris asks this question about his Hardshell forefathers - "why did they not at least try to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature?"
Another excellent question! Since the majority view has been that the "Great Commission" has not been fulfilled, and is yet binding upon all whom God calls into the ministry and whom the church sets apart in ordination, then why has NOT one single minister risen to do it? Does it not make one think of the old proverb that says "actions speak louder than words"? Does it not show that they really do not believe their ministers are under the "Great Commission" no matter what they may say otherwise in their "sophisticated" writings.
Elder Harris continues:
"Are we to conclude that the Old Baptists have been rebelling against the "Great Commission" all these many centuries and that in these last days the Lord is just now impressing a few Old Baptist preachers to start trying to fulfill it? I hardly think so. And if these men are being impressed of God to fulfill a commission that they say applies as much to the Church as it did to the apostles, are they actually going to try to comply with what that commission required of the apostles? Are they now going to "go into all the world and teach all nations," etc.? And are they going to do it like the apostles did it, and not first make up money for the journeys. Unless they do I cannot see how their conduct is going to be consistent with their professed beliefs."
Oh how unwilling is he to admit his and his denomination's errors in regard to their duty under the "Great Commission"! He wants to argue that no Hardshell can be correct today in trying to obey the Great Commision, since his forefathers did not! Is that not some powerful argument? He is really arguing from a premise that affirms that his Hardshell forefathers, like the pope, cannot possibly have erred in their understanding and practice of the "Great Commisssion"!
How does Elder Harris know that the Apostles did not take money with them? Did he cite a verse that said such? No, and further more, there is no such verse! But, upon this point I will also enlarge in future chapters.
"Consistent with" what "professed beliefs"? It certainly doesn't contradict the Old Baptist Confessions of faith, neither the London nor the Philadelphia. It certainly doesn't contradict Calvinism and the doctrines of grace. Even Elder Cayce had to acknowledge this, saying of Missionary Baptists - "There are many of those who are identified with the Missionary Baptists who are sound on the doctrine of salvation by grace." ("A Call For Prayer And For Peace" in Volume IV, page 119)
Elder Harris continues:
"If the commission of Mark 16:14-16 was given to the Church as a body, and if it was given to them for all the ages of its existence, how many times does the Church need to "go into all the world," etc.? A new generation arises about every twenty years, no doubt numbering in the billions. Does God require His Church to go into all the world and preach to every new generation and baptize every believer into their body? Or is just one time around enough? How are we to imagine a few thousand relatively poor Old Baptists coming up with enough money to over-spread the whole earth with the gospel, even one time, much less many times?"
Is this not the silliest argumentation you ever heard? Again, this is another argument that should not "pass muster" and make it into the Hardshell apologetic's arsenal or arguments to defend their non-compliance with the "Great Commission." It is another "argument" that really deserves no response but is included because I want to give "full vent" to what Elder Harris has written, just as I did for the defense that Elder Daily made for the Hardshell denomination.
Every unbiased reader, outside of the cult, ought to be able to see how Elder Harris, while handling this "hot potato" issue, has not done very well while it is in his possession, and so the best he can do is to just yell "hot potato" and pass or toss it to some other better "sophisticated" Hardshell to handle!
Elder Harris continues:
"There are presently over two hundred nations in the world, and a world population of well over five billion people. Many nations will not even allow modern missionaries to enter their borders. How, then, are a few Old Baptists going to penetrate those barriers and overcome innumerable other such impossible hindrances and obstacles?"
Oh the faithlessness of this Elder! Is it not ironic that he is one who "gave up before he even started" or even tried, and yet he condemns others for trying? And ironic also how he has decried Missionary Baptists who tried to get financial support, before leaving on the mission field, as not trusting in God in doing so, and then here are some of his own Hardshell brothers trusting God to help them and all Elder Harris can do is to criticize it and call it a vain and unprofitable enterprise!
"If the Commission was given to the Church as a body, isn’t the Church commanded to "go"? And if the Church is supposed to "go," can they fulfill the commission by sending someone else? And if the whole Church "goes," will they have to vacate their meeting houses and let them stand idle until they get back home? And if so, will there be no church left here in America until they get back? The absurdities multiply more and more the further a person looks into the heresy of the Commission being given to the Church as a body."
No, ironically, the real "absurdity" is in this whole line or argumentation by Elder Harris! No, obviously, as I have already shown, the words "go ye" do not require that those to whom it was spoken must themselves, individually, go into each part of the world and personally speak the gospel to each human being. Not even Elder Harris believes, surely, that any, certainly not all, of the apostles, did exactly as he thinks the words of the "Great Commission" require! But, again, I will enlarge upon this more in upcoming chapters.
He then writes:
"If the ministers of the Church are under the command to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, why was the gift of tongues withdrawn before the close of the apostolic age? I do not know how many different languages there are in the world, but I only know one, and I don’t know that one very well. The World Almanac lists over 220 languages that are presently being spoken in the various countries around the world. How many Old Baptist preachers do we know who can fluently speak more than one language?"
He is just being repetitious here in his continued argumentation. I have already overthrown his twisted Hardshell "logic" on this point.
"If we are now under a command to go into all the world and teach all nations, how are we to overcome this barrier? And if we are under such a command does this not require some kind of Divine direction? Does it not require the opening of a great many doors by the Holy Spirit and corresponding impressions on the part of the ministry to "go"? How many preachers would it take; how many leadings, openings and impressions would be necessary for such a commission to be fulfilled now? Where is the evidence that God is opening the prodigious number of doors it would require? Where are the host of preachers it would take, and how many of them are impressed to undertake such an overwhelming task? I personally have never had the slightest desire to go into other nations, not even to go on a vacation to such places, much less to preach to people that don’t want to hear me in the first place. But if I have been commanded to "go" as a result of being under a divine commission, does it not follow that I ought to "go" whether I have any impressions to "go" or not?
Perhaps I should here insert a citation from Elder John Watson and from his famous book, "The Old Baptist Test" which will address some of what Elder Harris has written above. And Elder John Clark also. Both of these men went on record as saying that they believed that the Old Baptist ministry ought to be ever on the alert for openings in divine providence to take the gospel to those who have never heard. Is Elder Harris blind? Does he not see all kinds of doors "open" today or he is blind? Surely he is blind.
Do you also see how Elder Harris seems to put himself in the Lord's place in the way he questions how everything will work? How it will be successful? Why does he not simply do what the Lord says and let the Lord deal with the hurdles and the hindrances, and with the success of it?
Elder Harris has never felt impressed or burdened to be a missionary and to take the gospel to a foreign country. What does this prove? To Elder Harris it proves that no one else should feel impressed or burdened to do so either! After all, no one is more holy, zealous, or evangelistic, than he, right? How does he know the heathen do not want to hear him? I can understand them not wanting to hear him as a man, or to hear his Hardshell errors, or his "anti" preaching, but surely they would want him to tell them some "good news," perhaps?
Elder Harris continues:
"I understand that a number of churches have now been established in the Philippines. When those churches were given a charge, were they told that they are now under the obligation to go into all the world and preach the gospel, etc.? I have been told by reliable sources that those people live in great poverty and that their ministers cannot even come to America unless someone pays their way. In such a case how are they going to comply with the requirements of "the Great Commission"?"
"These are just a few of the problems I find with the contention that the Church is under the obligation to fulfill the "Great Commission." I believe that if Christ had placed His Church under the enormous burden of evangelizing "all nations" He would also have given the Church inspired answers to these and all other questions regarding the matter. The epistles would give clear and detailed instructions as to how such a prodigious work was to be performed and achieved."
"I realize that I cannot express my concerns along this line without being further accused of being opposed to Scriptural evangelism, but that is of no great importance to me. The Lord knows my views on the matter very well, and He also knows how hard I have labored over the last forty-five years in the interest of His cause and the spread of His truth. And, if He ever says to me, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel," etc., I will start looking for Him to provide the way. However, until He does I am sure it would be very wrong for me to go presumptuously."
("To Whom was the Great Commission Given?" - Essential Baptist Principles - Volume 4 Current Article June 1, 2005 issue 6)
Well, again, all this needs little comment. Elder Harris mentions modern Hardshell missions in the Philippines and elsewhere, and I will discuss this modern phenomenon in upcoming chapters. He states also that he is not concerned about being accused of not caring about evangelism, and he does not care about this. Why should he? He has already shown that his chief concern is to put roadblocks in the way of any Hardshell who desires to fulfill the "Great Commission."
Elder Harris mentions the "problems" (as he has enumerated them) that those who do not believe the "Great Commission" is fulfilled, have to face. But, I have shown that the supposed "problems" are really no problems at all, but are all in his head and stems from his perverted logic. Actually, it is the fulfilled Commission view of Beebe and Harris that has all the problems associated with it. Besides this, Elder Harris is out of line with most of his Hardshell Baptist forefathers on what he writes.
More on all this in the remaining chapters of this series.
Mar 14, 2008
"The commission is still made (1906) a bone of contention. Eld. J. V. Kirkland continues to advocate what the Missionary Baptists have held since their separation from us, agreeing with Throgmorton and differing from Potter in the position those leading men took in their discussion on church identity.
We affirm that the Scriptures teach that the commission, as recorded in Matthew xxviii. 18-20, was not given to the church, but directly to those called and sent forth to preach the gospel."
Why does Elder Daily only mention the commission to evangelize as given in Matthew 28: 18-20? Believe me when I say that this is probably no accident, but was what was carefully worded and intended. Why then does he not mention the commission as given by Mark, or by Luke, or by John? But, I will enlarge upon this point shortly.
Why does Elder Daily say that the Missionary Baptist "separated from us"? Is that the way it was? Or, is he trying to "re-write" history like many of his brethren? Actually, many of his brethren have not shunned to admit that they withdrew from the Baptist denomination, and formed their own, and not vice versa.
Who declared non-fellowship against whom? Who assembled brethren together to make a formal declaration of non-fellowship? Who refused to recognize the other as having valid baptisms? Who became a separate denomination with a new name? Who went across the country in the 1800's getting churches, ministers, and associations to take up formal declarations of non-fellowship? Was it the "Missionary Baptists" or the "Primitive" or "Old School" Baptists?
Daily knows better (or should), but he is just trying to either convince himself, or his owned blinded brotherhood, of what is clearly not the historical truth. Again, as I have said, you have to watch these slick and wily Hardshells in how they cite people (often in a deceptive 'piece-meal fashion'), and in how they phrase things, in how they distort facts, both of scripture and of history, and how they redefine words.
Daily speaks of how the issue of the "Great Commission" was a "bone of contention" (or "hot potato"?) in splits with those Primitive Baptist, like Elders J. V. Kirkland, E. H. Burnam, and many others, who did not believe the "Great Commission" was as limited as Elder Daily believed it was. Then why do the Hardshells, at other times, write as if they have always been united on their understanding of the "Great Commission"?
What they do is "cover up" all the historical information that shows that there were far more Hardshells, particularly in the 1800's, that held to the view that the "Great Commission" was not fulfilled, nor binding only upon the apostles, nor only upon ordained ministers, but upon all disciples. Such information, as it is discovered and revealed, will further show that the view of Elder Daily, the "traditional view," was not the "only one" that was believed. But, I will have more to say on these divisions later when we take up more historical issues.
Who cares what Elder Potter or Throgmorton believed? Daily uses an ad hominem argument, for use only with his Hardshell brothers, over which view, on the "Great Commission," is the "primordial view" of their "forefathers," Elder Daily saying that Elder Potter (his protege, by the way, but more on this later) is a criterion for judging whether a view is correct and Baptistic. In other words, if you agree with what Potter believed and taught, then you are "old liner," and have the "right" to the "claim" of being "correct," and of being truly "Primitive" or "Old School"!
Oh is not this "argument" convincing?! Why has it not historically "won over" many more Missionary Baptists? Why did Elder Daily not mention Elder Clark as a "criterion" for judging soundness and orthodoxy on the matter of evangelism and on the "Great Commision"? especially seeing that Elder Clark was the "forefather" who began the famed "Zion's Advocate" periodical, and which he later took editorship, after Elder Clark's death, and at the turn of the 20th century?
Why did he not mention Elder John Watson as a criterion, one who was there at the beginning of the division in 1832, and before Elder Potter? Could it be because Elder Watson wrote, before he died, in his famous book, "The Old Baptist Test," how he and his Hardshell brothers in the ministry had "violated our commission"? Why does Daily not go back and quote the first Particular Baptists? Why not cite Spilsbury, or Richardson, or Knollys, or Kiffin? Why not cite Keach? But, more on this too in upcoming chapters.
Daily says it very loudly and emphatically - The "Great Commision" was "not given to the church"! It was "given directly" to someone, he affirms, but to whom? He says it was "to those called and sent forth to preach the gospel."
Well, that would certainly be at odds with Elder Beebe, clearly one of the "fathers" of Hardshellism! So, where would that put Elder Daily if he were alive today to answer? Where does it put those today who agree with him? Where does it put dad, and the men who signed the "Pitts Resolution"? Where does it put Elder Ralph Harris, whom I shall cite shortly on this matter, and who presents other arguments to uphold the "strict view" of Elder Beebe and many of today's neo sophisticated Hardshells, but one that is against the traditional view as reflected by men like Elder Daily?
If Elder Daily is right in saying that the "Great Commission" is "given directly to" every ordained gospel minister, then the view that says it has been annulled, or fulfilled, and that it is "no longer binding upon any," in any sense, is clearly false! Elder Daily must have realized this when he wrote this treatise on the "Great Commision" because he does not advocate the view that says the "Great Commission" has been fulfilled," nor advocate the view that says that it is "no longer binding in any respect," but argues rather that it was given to the ministry, albeit not to the church.
Daily believed, like Potter, that the "Great Commission" was not "fulfilled," but still in force and operative, and that every gospel minister is under it, in some measure at least. Thus, the view that says it was "fulfilled" is not correct nor "primitive" teaching, if one uses them as criteria. On the other hand, if one takes Beebe as a criterion, then the view of Daily and of most Hardshells, is not correct nor primitive. Now, which "faction" today is correct on the "Great Commission"?
Daily, and other Hardshell apologists like him, have no problem saying that the "Great Commission" was given to a group (although they might squirm on this point, it being a "hot potato" you know), but they will be careful to qualify exactly which group he gave the Commission, they being sure that all understand that they mean the "apostolic group," or the "ministerial group," but certainly not the general group of disciples, or the church. Why are the Hardshells so determined to eliminate the ordinary disciple from this Commission? Are thet for or against what they have traditionally decried as "priestcraft"? Which?
Elder Daily, after giving us the negative proposition he intends to affirm, i.e., proposing that the "Great Commission" was not given to the church, no not, in any sense, he then continues with his "proofs" of that proposition, affirming that the "Great Commission" does not apply to any and every disciple, but only to the ordained clergy of the Hardshell cult.
"Our first argument we deduce from the language of the commission itself. The Saviour said, "Go teach all nations," not send and teach them. We insist that if the commission had been given to the church, as an organic body, the Saviour would have said, Send teachers into all the world. If the commission had been given to the church, the Saviour would have used language susceptible of such an interpretation. To parry the force of this argument, the Missionary Baptists insist that, "as the Lord's Supper was instituted for the whole church to observe, so the commission, 'Go teach all nations,' was in like manner intended wholly for the church." But the church was then in session, and so this ordinance was given as a church ordinance for all to partake of it, because it was a commemorative service. The Saviour gave laws and ordinances for the whole church, but he likewise gave a special command to his ministers to go and preach his gospel, and they only are sent forth under it into all the world."
Elder Daily here repeats the one argument that probably "gets the most play" from Hardshell "defenders of the faith." It is the one "argument" that gets "played" and repeated by both views, by the "strict view" and by the "traditional view," by both those who believed the "Great Commission" has been "fulfilled" and by those who say it is still binding upon all those called into the ministry. He says the "language" of the Savior, in the words "go ye," absolutely cannot, by any laws of philology or linguistics, be made to include any idea of "sending" others, no, not in the least.
He admits his "argument" is merely a presumed logical "deduction" from the words "go ye," and affirms that it is a great violation of language to suggest that those words could possibly include any kind "sending" being done, either by the apostles, or by the ministry, or by the church. But, I have already shown how faulty is Hardshell "logic," have I not? So, what they might think is proper and valid "logical deduction," is not always so. As a side note, recall how I mentioned in an earlier chapter how Elder Daily, in his many debates, often used the term "reductio ad absurdum," being very fond of it, but yet, ironically, he did not always use good logic, as I have shown, and will show yet further.
I will deal with this oft repeated "argument" later in this series, but wish to call attention now, however, to a few things in the above citation, that call for dealing with now while it is fresh in the reader's memory. In dealing with this "argument," I wish to deal with it fully and adequately, and so will not address it fully as yet.
Elder Daily says that the rebuttal argument that had been raised historically against the novel Hardshell view on the "Great Commission," by the "Missionary Baptists," or by those who rejected the hybrid Hardshell interpretation on the "Great Commission," in regard to similar language given to the same group in regard to the Lord's Supper. Recall that Jesus, the night before his was crucified, said to "the eleven" - "take ye" and "eat ye" and "drink ye." It is similar to "go ye," is it not? The rebuttal argument is simple. If Elder Daily's "argument" is correct, then when the Lord said to "the eleven," "eat ye," he meant to exclude all except apostles! Or, perhaps he meant to exclude all except the ministry! Clearly, by Daily's logic and argumentation, the term "eat ye," like the term "go ye," absolutely MUST exclude the ordinary disciple, or the church!
How does Daily deal with this mighty argument, one that absolutely overthrows the Hardshell view? He says - "the church was then (at the time of the Lord's Supper) in session," and therefore it was not for the apostles as apostles, or as assembled, or for them alone, but as a church group!
Well, how does he know that the church was not "in session" when the Lord uttered the words to "the eleven" in Matthew 28? Is there something in the passages, dealing with the Lord's Supper and with the "Great Commission," which make it necessary for the honest exegete to make such a distinction? Or, is it rather a sophisticated tactic of a wily debater, who is not concerned with finding the truth on this subject, but one who simply wishes to defend his cult's hybrid views?
So, let me summarize, before proceeding further with this review of Elder Daily's "arguments" against the idea that the "Great Commission," as given in Matthew at least, was restricted to the ordained clergy, the leading arguments that have been thus far presented in this series and which annihilates the Hardshell hybrid view on the "Great Commission."
1) "Teach them (the discples) to obey (observe) the command to 'go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.'"
2) "Eat ye" the Lord's Supper.
So, really, all the mustered "argumentation" of Daily, and all the other "leading lights" and "apologists" of the Hardshell denomination, against the "Great Commission" being binding upon the church, and upon every disciple, mean absolutely nothing! Nothing they say can overthrow the two arguments above. I still repeat what I said earlier in this regard.
The Hardshells read the words of the "Great Commission" and see it with added words (as they often do), and as saying - "teach every disciple, yea, the whole church, to obey every command I am personally giving to you, EXCEPT FOR THE COMMAND TO GO AND PREACH the gospel, for this command is given alone to you eleven, and applies to no one else, and so don't teach others to obey this command to go." But, as I said, I will enlarge later upon the argument about the words "go ye" necessarily excluding any idea of the apostles or church "sending" anyone to fulfill the "Great Commission."
Elder Daily continues with his next "argument," saying:
"Our second argument we deduce from the fact that women are forbidden by the Scriptures to teach in public. Now if the commission was given to the church, it necessarily follows that all the church, including women, are thereby commissioned to preach the gospel. See I. Cor. xiv. 34, 35. But this the Scriptures contradict, for the apostle says, "Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak, and if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." See also, I. Tim. ii, 11, 13. The fact that the Missionary Baptists send forth female preachers grows out of their view of the great commission, for if the commission was given to the church, (then) they cannot consistently refuse to ordain them to the work.
What silly argumentation! He is really deficient if this is the best he can come up with, hey? Again, it is obvious that the hybrid and extreme view of the Hardshells has forced (logically, ironically!) them into practicing and promoting the very thing, as I have said, that they have historically decried as being characteristic of Missionary Baptists, which is "priestcraft"!
One can only get the saving gospel from an ordained Hardshell elder! No one else can tell others about Jesus, or announce the good news! According to Daily's interpretation on those passages that forbid women teachers in the assemblies, as leaders and chief spokespersons, a woman cannot even tell her children the story of the gospel! According to Daily and the Hardshells, a woman cannot even witness to her sister!
Daily also "shows his colors" and his extreme hatred for those who believe in preaching the gospel to every creature when he says that it is a "fact" that "Missionary Baptists send forth female preachers," if he means that they ordain them and send them out as formal pastors and evangelists.
But, he is not so careful in his language when he is talking about the wicked Missionary Baptists, as when he tries to speak apologetically for his cult. He knew that the Missionary Baptists, at least in his day, did not ordain women as pastors and formal ministers of the gospel. He also knew that the Missionary Baptists taught all their members, every disciple, male and female, young or old, to "go and tell others about Jesus!" He knew that Missionary Baptists taught disciples to obey the apostolic command to go! But, I will also enlarge upon this also later in this series.
"Our third argument we deduce from the fact, that, after his resurrection, and after the church was fully organized, by the installation of Deacons, and thousands had joined it, Christ sent forth preachers who traveled and preached extensively and successfully before they were authorized by the church to baptize. Paul and Barnabas both traveled and preached extensively before they were ordained at Antioch. Compare Acts ix. 20-29 and Acts xi. 23-25, with Acts xiii. 2-4. By no other than the immediate authority of Christ did they thus travel and preach the gospel. Paul said, "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel." I. Cor. i. 17. May it not be concluded from this that the authority to preach the gospel is not to be confounded with the authority delegated to the church?"
How does all this prove that no disciple has either the authority or privilege to announce the good news to others? Also, does the "Great Commission" not give the right to baptize to the same ones to whom he gave the commission to preach and to teach?
I heard Elder Sonny Pyles, one of the most famous of Hardshell preachers of the last 5o years, say in a sermon one time - "the ones Jesus commanded to do the preaching are the same ones that Jesus commanded to do the baptizing."
He was surely stating Hardshell and Landmarker views when he said that; however, does that statement not contradict what Elder Daily says above? To whom did Christ command to authorize baptisms? Elder Daily says the church has the final authority on the matter. Elder Daily says that the ministry was given the commission to do all the teaching and the preaching and the church was to do the baptizing!
Pyles and other Hardshells who share his view are apparently at odds with their forefather, Elder Daily, on this point. But I will deal with this further in my series on "Hardshell Landmarkism." But, the question is - Did the Lord command the ministry or the church to do the baptizing? And I can but repeat again, "consistency thou art a jewel"!
All this reveals how the Hardshell departures in soteriology have led to departures in other areas of bible doctrine, like in ecclesiology, and in eschatology, but of this more in a planned series on "Hardshell Hermeneutics" and on "Hardshell Landmarkism."
Is the church part of the ministry or is the ministry part of the church? Is a church wholly subject to a minister but not vice versa? If the authority to administer baptisms was given to the church, and yet in some sense to the ministry as well, then obviously one does not exclude the other, at least in the area of having authority to baptize; And, if the authority to baptize could be given to the ministry and the church, then why can't the authority to teach and preach the gospel not also be what is jointly shared?
Notice also, from the last citation, how Daily continues to "deduce" Hardshell premises and propositions from scripture rather than just citing plain and express scripture statements to prove them!
Daily, however continues:
"Our fourth argument we deduce from the fact that the church of Christ is merely the executive body in the kingdom of Christ, hence it cannot be said with propriety that it has authority to send forth ambassadors abroad. There never was an instance in the history of nations where a subordinate body, such as the executive or judiciary department, was authorized to send forth ambassadors. The king or chief executive always retains this authority in his own immediate hands. He sends them when and where he pleases without consulting any subordinate body in his kingdom. Christ, who alone is the King in Zion, sends forth his ambassadors into all the world to preach his everlasting gospel."
The church is merely an "executive body"? Well, what about his Hardshell ministry? That group that he and his brethren are always wanting to completely divorce from the church? Is it too merely an "executive body"? What about the apostolic group, was it too merely an "executive body"?
What is an "ambassador"? Is this term restricted only to ordained elders in the bible? To ordained pastors alone? Or, is it not like the words "minister," and "servant," and "messenger," in that they are used in scripture to sometimes refer to all the Lord's people, and then sometimes more narrowly to particular officers in the church?Did not Daily already say that the Church at Antioch "sent out" Paul and Barnabas? Is an "ambassador" not one who is "sent out," one who has been "commissioned"?
"As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ." (II Corinthians 8: 23 New American Standard Bible)
On this verse John Gill wrote:
"They (messengers of the churches) were chosen and sent forth by the churches, not only to preach the Gospel, but particularly to take care of the ministration to the poor saints. They were messengers appointed by the churches for this service, and were also appointed to the service of the churches..."
It is good to be able to pit Gill against Daily once again, seeing he is the one who grossly misrepresented the writings of the good doctor in his famous debate with Elder Throgmorton! Would he take Gill on this point today? No! Oh yes, but Gill is the "father of Hardshellism"!What is the Hardshell church doing when it "ordains" a man to the "ministry" IF it is not in order to send him forth to preach? And to baptize? The authority to authorize baptisms they seem willing to admit, as Daily does, is what belongs to the church to grant to the minister, but not to authorize the preaching and teaching of the gospel?! The thing that precedes baptism, and is an essential requisite to baptism?!
Daily wants to say that only the Lord can send out preachers to preach, and in his mind, this excludes the church, in any way, "sending" them out! Oh glorious Hardshell logic again!
Okay, let us try that "logic" in other similar areas. If the Lord "ordains" a man to preach the gospel, does this exclude the church from "ordaining" him? Well, Daily's "logic" would say yes!
If the "chief executive" of our country (president) "sends" out an ambassador to represent him, does that exclude others from "sending" the ambassador? Does it exclude the Secretary of State also "sending" him? Does it also exclude the citizens from having "sent" him out? No! Stupid "logic"! Again, I say in regard to this argument, like others the Hardshells put forth, "that dog just won't hunt"!
Besides, does Elder Daily and the Hardshells really want to affirm that no ordinary disciple represents Christ and his word? How then can ordinary disciples even teach their children then?
I have said it before in this book - "you fight one extreme, and if you are not careful, you will go into the opposite extreme"! This has been true, in large measure, in reviewing the history of the Hardshells. The Hardshells will end up forcing themselves into saying that parents cannot even teach their own children, if they stay with this kind of perverted logic and flaky argumentation.
Oh, please note again how Daily again "deduces" this his fourth argument! Yes, good deduction there!
But, Daily continues:
"Our fifth argument is deduced from the following words of the commission, "Go teach all nations, " "go ye into all the world." If the Saviour had delegated the church to send forth the ambassadors, then the church could limit the field of their operations (like the Hardshell ministry?!) to certain countries, as China or the South Sea Islands, as many churches of the world are now doing. Thus the church could abrogate the commission given by Christ, and substitute one of her own in its stead. As Christ's commission is unlimited, in its extent of territory, no church has the right to nullify, repeal or abrogate it by limiting it to some definite country (again, like the Hardshells have done?!). The very fact that the church dare not interfere with the field of labor which Christ has assigned his ministers, is proof positive and certain that the act of ordaining a man confers no authority respecting the work of preaching the gospel." ("A Loving Appeal To Primitive Baptists" 1906)
Well, besides the comments I put in parentheses behind Daily's false statements, I really need say no more. Has Daily proven his case for the Hardshell "traditional view"? I trow not.
In my next chapter I will continue to cite the Hardshell forefathers and leading apologists and demonstrate their grave error. I will take up an interesting article on the "Great Commission" by Elder Ralph Harris, an Elder I met in my younger days in the Hardshell cult. He wrote his article on the "Great Commision" for the same reason the brethren did who wrote the "Pitt's Resolution" against those Hardshells today ("Bradleyites") who are making some attempt to finally do as the Great Commission requires of them. Stay tuned!