It is the persuasion of this blog that the ‘no means’ view of salvation is an error. We agree with the method of effectual calling as expressed in the great Confessions of Faith:
“Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.” (1689 London Confession of Faith).
It is also our conviction that the denial of this truth, a view which divorces the Word from the Spirit, is not an expression of what constitutes true Old Baptist doctrine. The definitive statement of Elder John Watson in his notable work The Old Baptist Test perfectly expresses what I feel to be the truth in this matter; namely, that it was a modern invention. Writing in the mid-19th century, he tells us:
“Paul, however, does not affirm, like some of our modern innovators, that means or instrumentalities are not employed by the Lord in the divine plan of salvation; for he asks: ‘How shall they hear without a preacher?’ Rom. x, 14”
Recently, an anonymous comment was made to fellow contributor Stephen’s posting on Sarrel’s false claim which I thought worthy of mention, as it illustrates those who still hold to the view of our Baptist forefathers. It is most reassuring.
Our commenter writes:
“Thank you for saying this. I believe you. I am connected (though not in fellowship) with the Gospel Standard Churches of England (where I live) and I can tell you that amongst the particular Baptists of England (and I have been to many churches – perhaps 10) I have found no evidence that they believe at all in so called ‘no means’ regeneration. All that I have spoken to agree adamantly that one must believe the gospel in order to be saved.”