In the February 2010 issue of The Banner Herald Elder Scott Riner wrote a very good article entitled "The Old Paths - An Historical Response". It basically served as a return volley to the charge of modernism made upon those of the Progressive faction of the Primitive Baptists. It was a delight to read, and though outside of our present scope to relay it all, there are many things stated with which I agree. At the beginning reference is made to the importance of returning to the old paths in our worship. Yet before one does so, he of course must know what they are. As he says...
"But, this also begs the question, 'What have Primitive Baptists always believed historically?' I say that for the simple reason that often it depends upon how far back one goes to either define or defend their understanding of 'old paths'."
He writes again:
"There are several teachings that are often presented as 'orthodox' doctrine, along with the assertion that Primitive Baptists have always believed these things. However, original source documentation demonstrates that this is simply not the case."
Bingo number two!
Riner calls to remembrance Elder Sylvester Hassell's 1892 article New Theories and, in his own words, summarizes some of the innovations that the elder and historian noticed while on a 72-day preaching trip:
"Some of the 'innovative' interpretations include: 1) the denial of any real fundamental change made in individuals by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, 2) labeling all of the grounds in the parable of the Sower, the five foolish virgins, persons represented by the dog and the swine, the idolatrous as "children of God," 3) the only purpose of preaching is to comfort the people of God, and 4) the limiting of scriptural references which up to this point were said to be referring to eternal heaven, now believed to be speaking of only a present spiritual enjoyment of the believer here in time."
These interpretations are simply the fruits of conditionalism and its stripping down of salvation to be a more or less empty experience in many cases. If there indeed exists a desire to return to the "old paths", the first question must be what they are.
For its answer, the London Confession would be a good start.