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21/11/2011 / Test All Things

Book Review: “Eternal Sonship and Taylor Brethren” – By John Metcalfe

Eternal Sonship and Taylor Brethren – By John Metcalfe;

Paperback; 39 pages;

Published by and obtainable from The Publishing Trust, Church Road, Tylers Green, Penn, Buckinghamshire, HP10 8LN.


The people of God have always been jealous for the sacred doctrine of the Eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ in His divine nature. As B.A. Ramsbottom reminds us in the Gospel Standard magazine, “it was on this issue that in 1860 the separation took place from all Strict Baptists who denied this truth.”

How thankful we are that God raised up men such as J.C. Philpot, William Gadsby, John Warburton, John Kershaw, James Dennett and many other saints at that time who stood for this glorious truth and laboured much in the defense of the person of Jesus Christ against all of the attacks of the enemy on our blessed Saviour.

I begin the review of this booklet by echoing James Dennett’s statement made in the Gospel Standard in 1885 in hope that it will bring to the attention of the reader just how serious this matter is.

No man who denies that Christ is the Eternal Son of God and lives and dies in that error can go to heaven. The Scripture calls such men liars, and we read: “There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that denieth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).

This lie, we believe, has special reference to the lying doctrines of men, which the children of God reject as unscriptural and contrary to the Spirit of truth and the faith which he has wrought in their hearts; but this doctrine, which is of the world and which the world heareth, the saints overcome:

“Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
(I John 5:5)

Hundreds of years before Christ was born of the virgin, Agur asked this question, which none of the deniers of the eternity of the Son of God have ever been able to answer:

“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his Name, and what is his Son’s Name, if thou canst tell?”
(Proverbs 30:4)

We cannot conceive how those who hold the doctrine that Christ is the Eternal Son of God and those who deny it can dwell together in union and peace.
(James Dennett – Gospel Standard – 1885)

With this in mind, let us move forward in our review of this booklet which effectively deals with the lying heresy advocated by James Taylor and others throughout the ages who have denied the Eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus.

James Taylor, Senior, was a teacher in the exclusive brethren cult in the first half of the twentieth century, who had a wide following among the people who called themselves “brethren”. He claimed that there was no testimony in Sacred Scripture of the relationship of divine Persons in eternity. Such claims are contrary to the testimony of Jesus Christ as stated in the seventeenth chapter of John where the Lord says:

John 17:5
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

According to Mr James Taylor, writes John Metcalfe:

“Father, Son and Holy Ghost are relationships that apply to the humanity of Christ alone and never existed before he came as man”

Mr Metcalfe further observes:

According to Mr. James Taylor and those who advocate or imbibe his ministry, Father, Son and Holy Ghost are nothing to do with God in and himself absolutely. They are merely names relating to the position the Deity adopts when Christ came into the world to save sinners.

Then what was God like before that time? In what form was he? The answer to that question is absolutely unknowable.

With this in mind, let us look at another of James Taylor’s bizarre and unscriptural statements. He says:

We may thus see that while it is said the Father sent the Son, we cannot fairly deduce from this that He was actually in that relation with God.
(James Taylor)

Furthermore, we read another outlandish statement from James Taylor, when he affirms:

To insist that (the three persons of the Trinity) and the relation of the persons the one to the other, including their names (Father, Son Holy Spirit)…are the same as existed in the pre-incarnation absolute…is to force or disregard scripture and is intruding into things we have not seen.
(James Taylor)

To this, Mr Metcalfe boldy asserts:

Force or disregard scripture! What a putting of light for darkness, and darkness for light; of truth for error, and error for truth. I say to this man, who teaches his blind followers the way to the dark ditch, telling them that before the incarnation the Father was not the Father, neither the Son was the Son, nor yet the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit, nor did these divine names and relationships even exist, I say to this man Taylor, You are a liar!
(John Metcalfe – Page 12)

And we would agree with him. James Taylor and other men who advocate this lying heresy claim that “Father”, “Son”, and “Holy Spirit”, are names that never existed before the incarnation. According to these men, they came into being two-thousand years ago as a point of origin, before which they were not (page 21).

Such a view as this is completely and utterly contrary to the testimony of Scripture and nothing more than an invention from the minds of men.

In this booklet, Mr Metcalfe clearly and irrefutably shows that a denial of the Eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus is a flat out denial of the persons of the Trinity.

In fact, it is quite astonishing that those who deny this blessed truth even have the nerve to make the claim that they believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, and Mr Metcalfe would agree with this for he writes:

Double-tongued hypocrisy, because this is said merely to create an impression for the orthodox’ sake, in which Mr. Taylor himself does not believe. It is not that this man believes that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God blessed for evermore, abide in eternal divine relationships. He does not believe that. But he is deliberately wording his evasion to give the impression that he does not deny it: when all along it is precisely what he has denied.
(John Metcalfe – Page 29)

Eternal Sonship and the Taylor Brethren exposes and brings to light the error of rejecting the Eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ. It deals with the grave implications of the error and faithfully expounds in enough detail just why such a doctrine as this is a serious departure from the christian faith. With this being the case I cannot emphasize enough how valuable such writings are to the child of God as they seek to earnestly contend for the faith and so we can wholeheartedly recommend this little book.

I’ll end this review with a quote from John Metcalfe on the eleventh page.

Some have supposed one God, Some three Gods. But the faithful-with what Mr. Taylor would call presumption-believe absolutely in three persons in one God, eternally Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
(John Metcalfe)

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”
(2 John 9)

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