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Are the Heathen Saved without the Gospel?
By James M. Pendleton
From the Tennessee Baptist, 1859
      An esteemed brother in an adjoining State wishes this question answered, for he says some Baptists take the affirmative. I am sorry to learn this. I have known some Methodists to express the opinion that heathen notions are on an equality into unconscious infants. This is not a Baptist sentiment; it is not a scriptural sentiment. Paul, in the tenth chapter of his epistle to the Romans, lays down the comprehensive proposition, "For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Then he adopts a process of interrogative logic, as follows: "How, then, shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent?"

      What are we here taught? That all men are in a lost condition - that calling on the name of the Lord precedes salvation - that belief in the Lord - in his existence, I presume - must precede calling on his name - that hearing of the Lord must precede this belief - that preaching must precede the hearing - and that preachers must be sent before they can preach. So I understand the Apostle, and so no doubt he intended to be understood; for he says in the same connection, "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God."

      The name of Jesus is the only name under heaven given among men whereby we Must be saved. This is a general declaration. It contains no exceptions in favor of any man [rest of sentence blacked out on microfilm] [First word blacked out] nothing, now, to do with infants. It is clear from the whole tenor of the gospel that those who have reached the period of accountability cannot be saved without faith in Christ. He that believeth not shall be damned. This universal statement is appended to the command, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. But it is argued by some that after men hear the gospel, and reject it they incur damnation, but that they would not incur this awful doom if they did not hear the gospel. This view supposes thn [the] rejection of the gospel to be the original basis of man's condemnation. This is not true. Man's violation of the divine law is the basis of his condemnation, while an abuse of the gospel immeasurably enhances the condemnation. There would have been no gospel if man had not been condemned by law. The gospel is good news because it proclaims how deliverance from condemnation may be obtained.

      The apostles went forth and preached to the heathen. Their proclamation of salvation implied the lost condition of those to whom they preached. The proclamation did not bring ruin on those to whom it was made, but it was made to men already ruined, and made because they were ruined, and that they might be extricated from ruin. The jailer was a heathen, and he tremblingly inquired, What must I do to be saved? The answer was, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. The question implied the jailer's lost condition. The answer disclosed the only way of rescue therefrom. I may refer to this subject again. - P.


[From the Tennessee Baptist, November 26, 1859, p. 2, via microfilm on CD edition. Source location from Thomas White, Cedarville U, OH, Selected Writings of Pendleton... Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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