Friday, May 7, 2010

Hardshell Liberal Movement

Stephen Garrett on the Hardshell
"Liberal Movement"

Bob L. Ross' note:

Stephen Garrett, at the BaptistGadfly, has written a very enlightning summary of modern "Hardshellism," especially in relation to Pastor Lasserre Bradley Jr. of Cincinnati, the "radio voice" of the Hardshells (aka Primitive Baptists) for many years. We are publishing a few of his opening paragraphs and the remainder can be read at BaptistGadfly. The modern Reformed "regeneration precedes faith" heresy is at the heart of Hardshellism, as it was in the case of Bradley when he left missionary Bapists for the anti-missionary Hardshell sect.

Also, you may view a video on Hardshellism which I made with Stephen Garrett, a former Hardshell preacher, at --

Hardshell Liberal Movement
by Stephen Garrett

Since I began writing my book against those today who call themselves "Primitive Baptists" (see the link titled "Hardshellism" for chapters published in my ongoing book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult"), I have had several interactions with elders in the PB church. Some of the discussions have involved the "liberal movement," which began among the Hardshells in the 1990's, chiefly as a result of Elder Lasserre Bradley Jr., pastor of the Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church.

Elder Bradley began his ministry as a young teenager among Sovereign Grace Baptists until the late 50's when he and his flock became converted to "Primitive Baptist" teachings and were re-baptized and reconstituted as a Hardshell Church. This event was heralded and applauded by the "Primitive Baptists" as a second Pentecost. Elder Bradley became an overnight sensation among the Hardshells and was the most popular preacher among them, travelling far and wide to hold meetings for them. His radio program, the Baptist Bible Hour, became a leading voice in promoting the denomination.

I know Elder Bradley personally. I have been in his home and have had several telephone conversations with him during the years when I preached for the PB's. I was invited by him to stand in for him at the Cincinnati church. When a young preacher, living in the Cincinnati area, in the mid 70's, I use to visit the Cincinnati church frequently.Elder Bradley and the Cincinnati church were instrumental in constituting my dad's church, which had also formerly been a Sovereign Grace Missionary Baptist church, into a Hardshell church in the mid 60's. They re-baptized my dad and his small church, after they united with the Cincinnati church, and then reconstituted them into a church.

What led Elder Bradley, and my father, and some other Sovereign Grace Missionary Baptists, to join the Hardshells was their coming to see that regeneration precedes [faith] in the new birth. This led them to believe that the gospel, and faith and repentance, were not means or accompaniments in regeneration, and were therefore not necessary for regeneration. They embraced the idea that regeneration was distinct from conversion, that the former was necessary for salvation, but the latter was not. They were also led to believe that this view was the view of the Baptists prior to 1832, the formal date when the Hardshells declared non-fellowship with Mission Baptists and became a distinct denomination.

This view also led Elder Bradley to take an unbiblical view of what constitutes the experience of regeneration and what it means to "persevere." He was given the Hardshell hermeneutic regarding passages which seem to teach the necessity of faith in Christ, and the means of the gospel, in order to be eternally saved. He was told that those passages which teach the necessity of faith in Christ for "salvation" did not relate to "eternal" salvation from sin and eternal hell, but to a "timely" salvation from errors, a topic I have addressed exhaustively in my book on the Hardshells.

After several years of preaching for the Hardshells, however, Elder Bradley seems to have become disillusioned with the Hardshells, just as I had in the early 80's. He began to swing back to his older views.

His turning back seems to have started when he organized a "preacher's school" at the Cincinnati church, at first designed for the benefit of young preachers, to help them counsel with their members on many social and spiritual issues. He at once began to be attacked by the hardliners, they accusing him of being "liberal" and departing from the faith and practice of PB's, who had stood against the practice of having anything akin to a seminary, Sunday School, or bible classes.

See here and here for more information by the hardliners against Elder Bradley.


1 comment:

  1. Brother Garrett has done a vast amount of research and writing on Hardshells to bring attention and insight to a group that is not that well know or flies under the radar for many. It's good to see his work is having a positive effect to warn and turn some from this error.