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The Genesis of American Anti-Missionism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sylvester Hassell   

The Gospel Messenger--1911 
 
The above is the title of a book of 229 pages written by “B. H. Carroll, Jr., B. A., LL.B., Th.D.”, of Texas, and published by The Baptist Book Concern, 642 Fourth Avenue, Louisville, Ky., and sent by mail, postpaid, for one dollar.

A more correct title of the book would be “The Real Genesis of American Modern Missions, and the Imagi­nary Genesis of American Anti-Modern-Missionism.” More than one-third of the book (84 pages) is devoted to the history and glorification of American Modern-Mis­sionisrn among the Baptists. Mr. Carroll truthfully says that William Carey, of England, was the father of American as well as English missions; and that Luther Rice and Adoniram Judson, Jr., were the real or direct awakeners of the American Baptists to missionary ac­tivity. He might also have said, with truth, as the Cir­cular Letter of 1806 of the Philadelphia Association said—“In modern missions papal Rome led the way.” He does indeed intimate this important fact on the 94th page of his book, when he says: “Reformers have never been missionaries, nor the reforming ages periods of mis­sionary activity in the church. This was true of the Roman church. For three hundred years, while the re­formers were trying by means of councils to cleanse the church in head and members, there was no missionary activity. Not until after the Reformation, when the Council of Trent had finally put a quietus on the reform movements did Roman missionary activity begin. The same was true of the Protestant churches. As long as Europe was filled with the jangling of their warring creeds, missionary effort, though feebly attempted a few times, miserably failed. But in the fullness of time when religious opinions had all clarified and crystallized into settled creeds, Carey arose to set the Christian world on fire with missionary enthusiasm.” Of course if, as admitted by their most zealous and best informed advocates, Modern Money-based  missions originated with the Roman Catholics in the 17th century (Pope Gregory XV. in 1622) and with William Carey of Eng­land in the 18th century (1792), they did not originate with the prophets or Christ or His apostles in the ages of perfect and infallible Divine inspiration., and they were even unknown in the church fm more than fifteen hun­dred years after the last apostle died. But there is noth­ing new in all this—these facts have been well known to informed men for more than a hundred years. If the Scriptures do not authorize Modern Money-Based Missions to a reverent believer in the scriptures who re­gards them as the only infallible standard of faith and practice there would seem to be no use or very little use for the remainder of Mr. Carroll’s book.

In the last or most (but not) original part of his book, he labors to trace the origin of what he kindly calls “Hardshellism” or “American Anti-Missionism,” to two extreme Antinomians—John Taylor, a native of Vir­ginia, but a resident of Kentucky, and Daniel Parker, a native of Tennessee, but a resident afterwards of Illi­nois and Texas, the introducer of the Two-Seed Heresy among the Baptists; and to one extreme Arminian, Alex­ander Campbell, a native of Ireland but a resident of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and the founder of the denomination called the “Disciples of Christ.” He says that Taylor published his objections to Modern Missions in 1819 in a pamphlet called “Thoughts, etc.”; and Par­ker published his in 1820 in an “Address”; and Camp­bell published his in 1823 in a paper called “The Chris­tian Baptist.” Mr. Carroll says that Taylor was the only real. Baptist of the three, and that he was an earn­est, consecrated, self-sacrificing, conscientious, and suc­cessful minister of the gospel, but ignorant and preju­diced, and more favorable to missions in the latter part of his life, although when sixty-seven years old he had denounced them as a New England and Roman Catholic invention; that Parker is said in his earlier career to have applied for appointment as missionary, and, when refused, turned against mission societies, and that he was the reviver of the ancient and disgusting philosophy of Manichaeus, and maintained that God would certainly save all His children, and that the Devil’s chil­dren would certainly be lost, and therefore there was no use for missions; that Campbell maintained that the Roman Catholic missionaries left the heathen no better or worse than they found them, and that the Protestants themselves needed reformation before they could preach the gospel to the heathen, but his rank Arminianism in the form  baptismal regeneration, soon separated him from the Baptists; and his own denomination, to re­tain and increase their popularity and numbers, aban­doned his anti-mission sentiments in which he calls “The Genesis of American Anti-Missionism” or the oppo­sition among the Predestinarian Baptists of the United States to the Roman Catholic methods of evangelizing or proselyting the Word, Mr. Carroll utterly ignores the teachings of the Scriptures and of the Spirit of God, and the methods of preaching the gospel used by the church for sixteen hundred years, and the labors and writings of genuine Baptists all over this country. The poor, ignorant, prejudiced, bitter “Hardshells,” he says, have dwindled down to 126,000; while the rich, learned, unprejudiced, gentle Missionaries have increased to more than four millions of communicants; but that, while the Missionaries have routed the “Hardshells,” the former have a legion of “Omissionaries” among them, and they must be vitalized, and then, inside of five years, the Missionary Baptists could send a whole gospel (not the mutilated message sent by other Missionary denomi­nations) to all the world and have it preached to every creature. “The missionary movement,” he tells us in his last chapter, “has become to us a tree of life, and we have plucked from it its twelve manner of fruits—Foreign Missions, Home Missions, Christian Education, Minis­terial Education, Tract Societies, Bible Societies, Publication Societies, State Conventions, Temperance Socie­ties, District Missions, Sunday Schools, and the South­ern Baptist Convention. Truly its fruit has been sweet and its leaves potent for the healing of the nations.” Thus the Mission Idol seems, in the heart of Mr. Car­roll, to have taken the place of the Lord Jesus Christ and the graces of His Spirit.

“All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out, but will raise hint up at the last day” (John vi. 37-40). These infallible words of God manifest in the flesh demon­strate the falsehood of the idea at the root of Modern Missionism that millions of human beings are perishing everlastingly for the lack of human efforts for their salvation. Whom shall we believe—God or man? Primi­tive Baptists say, with the Apostle Paul, “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Rom. iii. 4). A perverted gospel, a gospel of salvation by grace and works com­bined, but really a gospel of salvation by works, is not the gospel of Christ, but heathenism, and the heathens are already full of that false philosophy, so that there is no need of sending any more of it to them. But, us in apostolic times, so now among Primitive Baptists, whenever and wherever a true minister of Christ is im­pressed of the Lord to go to preach the pure gospel of the Son of God, the gospel of salvation by grace, the Lord will open the hearts and purses of His people to help him on his way, and the hearts and homes of the people to whom he is sent to receive him and his message, and the good seed sown on good ground will take root down­ward and spring up and bear fruit, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold, to time honor and glory of God alone. Our ministers travel almost all over the United States and in Canada, a region twice as large as time Roman Empire, over which the apostles traveled. and, like the apostles, they go depending upon the Lord, and not sent out by human boards or supported by human societies. There are tens of millions of heathens in this country, which has become, with all its wonder­ful religious societies, one of the corruptest in the world; and, if the Lord should send any of his ministers to foreign heathens, His people would gladly help them and they would go, and the Lord would go before and with them and would bless and prosper their labors in His holy cause. Upon the great systems of heathen religion Modern Money-Based Missions have made scarcely the slightest impression; but when God wills, these hoary bodies of error will fall instantly, struck 1w the lightning of Omnipotence, and will fall to rise no more.

The ingathering of large numbers of unregenerate per­sons into a religious denomination is a curse instead of a blessing, and is one of the strongest Bible proofs that such denomination is not the church of God. Only eight persons were saved in the ark (Gen. viii. 13). Ancient Israel were the fewest of all people (Dent. vii. 7). Christ said, in His Sermon on the Mount, that many go the way of destruction, and few find the way of life (Matt. vii. 13, ii); and he called His flock a little one (Luke xii. 32); and asked, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Luke xviii. 8. And Paul declares that “evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived”; and that “in the last days perilous times will come, during which men will be lovers of their own selves and or pleas­ures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Tim. iii). If great numbers are the proper test of the correctness of a re­ligious profession, the Missionary Baptists stand but little showing. The most correct religionists would be the Chinese Buddhists; then the Roman Catholics; then the Mohammedans; then the Brahminists then the Greek Catholics; then the Confucianists; then the Taoists; then the Lutherans; then the Episcopalians; then the Presbyterians; then the Methodists; then the Shintoists; then the Jews; then the Missionary Baptists, etc.—the latter occupying the 14th place in time scale. The United States census shows that Primitive Bap­tists are not dying out, but increasing about as fast as the population, while the Missionary Baptists are in­creasing faster than the population. Not numbers but the Scriptures furnish the true test of a religious denomination being the church of Christ.

 S. H.

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.