Jason Brown, Hardshell apologist, recently made some comments about the London Confession of faith and stated that this old confession taught against the Gospel means position. (see here) This is an outlandish claim.
"I have stated already to Brother Garrett he should take the Fulton Confession as the standard for Primitive Baptist orthodoxy. Why drag up a couple of aberrant views of some individuals?"
Why take the Fulton Confession? It clearly upholds Hardshellism. It clearly is in disagreement with the London Confession on effectual calling and the use of means, as well as on the subject of the divine decrees. Does Jason think that the Fulton Confession accurately interprets the LBC? Hardshells are divided over the London Confession. The honest ones, like Elders S. T. Tolley and R. V. Sarrels, admit that the elders who wrote the footnotes to the Fulton Confession were dishonest in altering the clear meaning of the LBC. Others attempt to follow in the steps of the Fulton brethren by insisting that the London Confession did not teach the use of means in regeneration. Is that Jason's position? It seems to be. But, before I confront Jason about this, I want him to tell us frankly. The above words seem to agree with what the Fulton brethren said about the LBC regarding the use of Gospel preaching in accomplishing the new birth.
Further, the views of Cayce, Sarrels, and Richards are not the "aberrant views of some individuals," but are from highly respected men among the Hardshells, recognized leaders. Ironically, most Hardshells would consider the views of brother Jason to be "aberrant." We have consistently asked Jason to provide us with the writings of present day Hardshell elders where they teach contrary to the Hardshell elders we have cited. He has not yet given us these evidences.
"Are a few individuals reflective of the entire denomination in every single belief they may hold? A lot of these views were simply "Cayce see, Cayce do". These particular Primitive Baptists under consideration, i.e. Cayce, and Sarrels, who are the one's particularly to be blamed, took the idea that God is not limited to men to accomplish his will among the heathen, which is perfectly Scriptural to entertain as possible from Ezekiel 3:6, and asserted the heathen idolaters at Mars Hill as certainly born again."
Cayce and Sarrels may not be "reflective of the entire denomination" of Hardshells today, but they certainly speak for at least 95% of them. Again, Jason needs to cite men who today denounce these views.
It is ironic how Jason can condemn following Cayce and Sarrels and yet uphold their essential heresy! Cayce affirmed that the Athenians to whom Paul preached were regenerated before they heard the Gospel and while they were pagans! And, though Jason at the first attacked this view of Cayce, yet here he now endorses it! How does he know that the pagans were "regenerated"? Does the text affirm it? Jason, on one hand, countenances the view of Cayce that polytheists are "born again," and yet says he is to be "blamed" for such a view. "Consistency thou art a jewel."
Further, if the Athenians were "regenerate" while pagan, then it was when they did not know God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, which Jason admits proves they did not have spiritual life. (John 17: 3)
"Now, certainly, some of those that believed the gospel in Acts 17:34 could have been born again previous to the gospel message..."
How could their being "born again" be "previous to the gospel message" if Jesus personally preached the Gospel to them in order to birth them and make them believers in him? Jason, "the legs of the lame are not equal." If they were "born again" before hearing of Jesus by Paul, then why did they testify that these were "new" and "strange" things that they were hearing?
Jason is admitting that the Athenians heard the Gospel by the preaching of Paul, and not by the personal preaching of Christ. But, in this, he is contradicting what he has also affirmed. He has said that only those who have first personally heard the Gospel from the mouth of Christ receive the Gospel heard from the mouth of Paul. So, in affirming that some of these Athenian pagans were "regenerated" Jason is affirming that they were already believers in Jesus and the Gospel before they heard Paul preach it!
"One thing that has to be distinguished is that, though the regenerate can fall into sin and be deceived, as Aaron was in crafting the golden calf, they are brought to repentance from such - this is the clear message of Scripture, according to Hebrews 12:5,6. Therefore, for Afton Richards to depict the regenerate as left to a state of unrepentant idolatry is entirely inconsistent with the entire Biblical emphasis of the providential, shepherding care of those that are His."
It is good that Jason does not agree with Richards. But, I am sure that nearly all Hardshells in Texas today will agree with Richards. (note: I met Afton as a young preacher and was a guest in his home)
Jason cited Eze. 3: 6 (as did Sonny Pyles in the sermon I reviewed - see here) and suggested that the heathen had born again children of God among them. But, if that is so, how is it that the Lord did NOT send Ezekiel or the Hebrew prophets to them? By Jason's own reasoning he proves that there were NOT any born again heathen idolaters because they were not delivered from it!
The Psalmist testified:
"He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord." (Psa. 147: 19-20)
If the Lord chose not to send his word to the heathen, to deliver them from idolatry and belief in false gods, then, by Jason's own reasoning, there were no born again children of God among the heathen. Either he must admit this or agree with Richards. As long as he disagrees with Richards, and asserts that all those who are born again will be delivered from belief in false gods, then he must admit that there were no born again people among the heathen. The Lord did not send Ezekiel! He did not choose to deliver the heathen from idolatry!
"Another thing Brother Garrett should take care to discern is whether the Primitive Baptists he cites are addressing the question of whether all the elect will hear the gospel as preached by man. The sovereign, effectual call of the Father by His Spirit surely spiritually reveals the person of Christ, so Elder Vernon Johnson's quotation was intended in terms of the gospel as preached by man. He did not assert the ridiculous idea that the speculative concept of unevangelized heathen must entail the very idolatrous works clearly stated by Paul as the evidence of the damnation of the unevangelized (Romans 1:18-32). Also, his second quotation of Potter falls to the same objection, he was likely talking about the propositional gospel, not the direct revelation of the person of Christ. The same with Elder David Pyles..."
The elders cited did not believe that believing in the Gospel was necessary for being saved. This shows that they did not accept the view of Jason that they all believe the Gospel, though only that which is preached by Christ himself.
Jason says that "unevangelized heathen" denoted the "damnation" of the heathen. I don't think that Elder Johnson is affirming that. It is also not what 98% of today's Hardshells believe and teach. I again challenge Jason to give us the names of the elders who agree with him and to cite their writings.
"The London and Fulton Confessions do not go to either extreme of asserting the certain damnation (something Brother Garrett should heed) or salvation of the heathen. In chapter 10 on "Effectual Calling", sections 3 and 4 stand diametrically opposed to each other. Section 3 is not limited to the context of infants, as it considers by the last independent clause, "...so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word.""
That is a false statement. The London Confession clearly asserts the certain damnation of the heathen who do not know God and believe in Jesus. (see here) So did John Gill. (see here)
"Those incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word" has no reference to heathen, but to infants and idiots. "Incapable" relates to physical inability. The heathen are not physically "incapable" of hearing the Gospel as infants and idiots. Throughout the confession they teach that all the elect will attain to faith and repentance.
Further, Jason is again contradicting himself. He says, on the one hand, that he does not believe all heathen polytheists are lost, but then, on the other hand, says that all the elect will be delivered from faith in false gods.
"Therefore, the historic position of the Primitive Baptists is the logical one of the LCF itself: that the fate of the heathen rests entirely on God, but that, if there were such persons, they certainly did not exist without the person of Christ as the object of their implanted faith."
More doublespeak and contradiction! Christ is the object of faith for all who are born again! But, if this is so, then why argue for the regeneration of those who do not believe in Jesus, and who are heathen idolaters? If a "heathen" has "faith" in Christ, then why are you arguing for the idea of the heathen being saved without belief in Jesus and the Gospel?
"Therefore, Brother Garrett is not in keeping with the LCF or Gill to disallow from Romans 10:14 what is still plainly possible, and universally damn the unevangelized outside of the gospel as preached by man."
Both Gill and the London Confession did not affirm that the salvation of Romans chapter ten was a mere temporal salvation that was unessential for final salvation. It is deceptive of Jason to suggest that the Old Baptists mentioned believed like the Hardshells relative to Romans 10.