Friday, April 07, 2006

Al Mohler and Joel Osteen

Dr. Al Mohler of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently commented on the ministry of Joel Osteen. Dr. Mohler asks, "Would anyone watching his television program, or sitting in his vast church facility, hear in Mr. Osteen's message a clear and undiluted message of Gospel proclamation?"

Seeing that he is a seminary president, I am glad that Dr. Mohler is concerned about truth. However, in my article, Southern Baptist seminary professor affirms "regeneration before faith" heterodoxy, I asked why Dr. Mohler would hire someone who teaches contrary to the truth of what most Southern Baptists believe. Dr. Mohler has no problem with his seminary professors teaching the strange doctrine that a person can be born again before they believe in Jesus Christ, yet he appears to be very concerned about Joel Osteen's ministry. Go figure.

I will be the first to say I do not know a great deal about Brother Joel. I have not watched him very much on TV, and I have not read his book. But Brother Bob Ross has, and he has some comments about why Dr. Mohler is questioning Brother Joel's ministry.

Charles

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

MOHLER MULLS MESSAGE OF MY MAIN MINISTER ON SUNDAY A.M. -- JOEL OSTEEN OF LAKEWOOD CHURCH IN HOUSTON [04/06/06]

Paradoxically, I share with my good friend and acquaintence, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky a concern about a certain well-known broadcaster' s message. Dr. Mohler loves Spurgeon, and when he was a Baptist editor in Georgia several years ago, we cooperated with Dr. Mohler and help him obtain an entire set of Spurgeon's sermons. I have met and heard him speak since then, when we were both at a Spurgeon Conference in Liberty, Missouri at William Jewell College.

However, Dr. Mohler's concern and my concern are not about the same man. Dr. Mohler is concerned about my favorite Sunday morning TV preacher, Joel Osteen. My concern is about Dr. Mohler's favorite "Family man," Dr. James Dobson. Both Joel and James are broadcasters and have large listening audiences.

Dr. Mohler is on the Board of Focus on the Family, headed by Dr. Dobson. Unless I have been totally misinformed, Dr. Dobson is a Nazarene. If he is a loyal member of the Nazarene Church for which his father was a minister, he believes in the theology known as "Arminianism" -- Five Point Arminianism -- perhaps even "Pelagianism" in some respects. Some hae been known to even accuse the Nazarene Church of advocating a form of "salvation by works."

Dr. Dobson, as a loyal Nazarene church member, would of course believe in the highly debatable theory of "Entire Sanctification," a rather peculiar notion long held by his church, which they refer to as a "Second Work of Grace," or as some call it, "Sinless Perfection," the "Eradication of the old Adamic Nature."

I have a book in front of me now entitled, "The Second Work of Grace," edited and compiled years ago by Nazarene leader, Dr. D. Shelby Corlett. It was published by the Nazarene Publishing House in 1950. It contains quite a number of individual articles by several Nazarene ministers expounding this theme. The Foreword of the book says:

"The distinguishing doctrine of the Church of the Nazarene is the Wesleyan teaching of ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION as a SECOND WORK OF GRACE" (page 7).

This "second work" supposedly is necessary to make one "holy" and to prevent a believer from having "a sinning religion." Supposedly, the "carnal nature" is destroyed to facilitate this "holiness" in life.

I was raised in the same city as Dr. William ("Billy") Greathouse -- Jackson, Tennessee -- and I was somewhat enabled to pass Algebra and Geometry at Jackson High because I sat next to "Charlie" Greathouse, "Billy's" brother. "Charlie" has a genius IQ, and he hardly needed to "crack a book." He would sometimes snicker at me because I had wrinkles in my brow, struggling with the "theorems" and other such items in class. But due to his wisdom, I was often helped to understand the subject and get by.

I knew William Greathouse later on when he became a Nazarene leader, and I visited him when he was President of the Nazarene Seminary in Kansas City. At my request, he wrote an article of us to use on a jacket of Spurgeon's sermons letting Nazarenes know what a great Nazarene preacher thought about Spurgeon's sermons.

I was also a personal acquaintance and friend of the late Dr. L. B. Hicks, Pastor of the Nazarene Church in Ashland, Kentucky where I once lived. A young R. T. Kendall was converted to Christ at this church, as I recall. After I came to Texas in late 1966, Dr. Hicks also came to hold a big Nazarene evangelistic meeting in Houston at one of Houston's largest auditoriums at that time, and I attended the meeting. Before Dr. Hicks preached to the large crowd that evening, he had me standup and be recognized as his "Baptist friend from Kentucky who had recently moved to Texas."

I say these things to simply say that I know whereof I speak about Nazarenes. I have known them personally and I have read some of the writings. They believe in the "second work of grace," "entire sanctification," and the cleansing or eradication of the old Adamic nature. They also believe one can "fall from grace" and lose his salvation. They are disciples of Wesleyan theology.

I do not believe that Dr. Mohler shares their views. I do not believe he shares the idea that there is a "second work of grace" by which the old Adamic nature is eradicated. I do not believe he approves of the doctrine of "falling from grace." I do not believe he approves of their Arminian system of theology.

But nevertheless, he obviously has no qualms about Dr. James Dobson's being a Nazarene. But Dr. Mohler does seem to have qualms about JOEL OSTEEN, who is more of Baptist than anything else, coming from a Baptist preacher's home background.

Joel does not believe the "second work of grace," and he does not believe one can "lose salvation." After every sermon, Joel addresses his listeners and urges them to repent of sin, trust Jesus Christ as Savior, and get into a Bible-believing church. He has an entire page in his book, YOUR BEST LIFE NOW, presenting that same Gospel message. Millions have read it. Millions have heard it.

Dr. Mohler is correct in one sense -- Joel does not preach the "deep" theological doctrines which have become a "shibboleth" for some of the "Calvinist" or "Reformed" brethren with whom Dr. Mohler fellowships. He is not a systematic "tulip" or "five pointer" by any means. He does not advocate that one is "regenerated before faith."

I listen to Dr. Dobson quite often on the radio as I drive to work. If Dr. Dobson ever preached the Gospel on his radio program, unfortunately I missed hearing him that day. I have heard him talk about family, about politics, about conservatism, about abortion, about public schools, about his being slandered in the media, about homosexuality, erroneously about Spurgeon "losing his sons," and all sorts of things of that nature.

But I have NEVER heard Dobson preach the Gospel.

When I wake up Sunday morning, I look for Joel on TV. I at least know that at the end of his sermon, he is going to make a short but SCRIPTURAL appeal to his hearers to repent, trust Christ, be baptized, and get into a Bible-believing church.

On his website, however, Dr. Mohler has recently said about Joel:
>>
The first question is this -- Would anyone watching his television program, or sitting in his vast church facility, hear in Mr. Osteen's message a clear and undiluted message of Gospel proclamation? Would this person have any reason, based on hearing Mr. Osteen's message, to know himself as a sinner and to understand how the cross of Christ is the only ground of his salvation? Would he come to know that Jesus the Christ is fully human and fully divine, and that He came in order that we might have everlasting life -- not just a good parking space?
>>

You can take it from me, Dr. Mohler, a listener to Joel Osteen WILL hear such a message EVERY week. However, he might listen for years on end to Dr. James Dobson, the head of the Focus on the Family board on which you serve, and he might NEVER hear the Gospel.

And to some degree the same might even be said of your friend, R. C. Sproul, who baptizes babies on the pretext that sometime in their infant years either before, at, or after baptism they are "regenerated" by the Holy Spirit.

Joel does not baptize babies like R. C. Sproul, Dr. Mohler's friend. He does not believe that sinners get "regenerated before faith," like Dr. Tom Schreiner one of Dr. Mohler's teachers at Louisville Seminary. Neither does Joel believe in the "second work" which eradicates the old nature, as does Dobson's church, a man on whose Board Dr. Mohler serves.

Why is Dr. Mohler so greatly concerned about Joel Osteen and yet he apparently gives Dr. Dobson and Dr. Sproul a free "pass" in regard to their doctrinal diversions? Why does simple-message Joel stick in Dr. Mohler's craw to the extent that he feels compelled to denigrate Joel and yet says nothing about "sanctified" Dobson and baby-baptizer Sproul and their heresies?

True . . . Joel's message is not of the "Five Point Calvinism" variety, and he will not be using the word "TULIP" and explaining what that stands for. But Joel's message will certainly qualify as being what C. H. Spurgeon called the "ABC Gospel." And I would put this "ABC" message up against the message by Dobson or by Sproul any day!

At a London meeting at which C. H. Spurgeon presided a young minister was asked to speak. He started by saying that he was a poor speaker and all he knew was the A. B. C. Gospel.

He went on to say "A" stands for the text we should all learn first as it is the very beginning of the Gospel for every sinner--

"All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God."

"B" stands for --

"Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."

"C" is --

"Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."

At the close of the address Mr. Spurgeon, with tears streaming down his cheeks, said --

"Stick to that kind of preaching and you will be a real A. B. C."

Mr. Spurgeon meant by this, an "Able Bodied Christian."

-- Bob L. Ross

68 Comments:

At Friday, April 07, 2006 1:37:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

THANKS, CHARLES

Thanks for posting my "Mohler" article, Charles, and I hope it receives a wide reading.

I just wonder how many of the Faculty members at Southern were out preaching the Gospel this past Sunday, and reaching as many with their message as Joel Osteen was reaching? Suppose they heard any professions from any of their hearers as having been "regenerated before faith," as advocated by Dr. Schriener?

While the Hybrid Calvinists are trying to make proselytes in the seminary classroom and in Southern Baptist Convention churches to the "born again before faith" pedo-regenerationist phantasmagoria, Joel Osteen is preaching the simple Gospel every Sunday to multitudes, calling on his hearers to repent, believe in Christ, and get into a Bible-believing church.

I just hope that Dr. Mohler and his faculty are out there somewhere this Sunday preaching the simple Gospel and calling on the multitudes that may hear them to do the same.

Someone amongst them needs to set an example so that there is not another Hardshell Baptist denomination begotten from the current "born again before faith" hallucination. -- Bob

 
At Friday, April 07, 2006 1:55:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SPEAKING OF THE GOSPEL . . .

Charles, I don't visit the bloggers to much, but I wonder, has Al Mohler ever had a Gospel message blog which one of the elect could read and come to a knowledge of Christ? -- Bob

 
At Friday, April 07, 2006 2:53:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Bob Ross said, has Al Mohler ever had a Gospel message blog which one of the elect could read and come to a knowledge of Christ?

No idea. Maybe he's afraid one of the nonelect would read it and get saved!

I want to add that in many, if not most areas, I am pro-Al Mohler. I am worried that he is emphasizing the wrong things and promoting the wrong men.

Someone amongst them needs to set an example so that there is not another Hardshell Baptist denomination begotten from the current "born again before faith" hallucination.

They are really going down the Hardshell road, aren't they? You have James White preaching for them and having a grand ol' time. You have the "born again before faith" theology at Southern Seminary. WHERE ARE THE D.L MOODYS? WHERE ARE THE C. H. SPURGEONS?

Charles

 
At Friday, April 07, 2006 7:51:00 PM, Anonymous puworg said...

I guess you guys think you're pretty smart. Atleast that how you come off. Patting each other on the back all the time.

 
At Friday, April 07, 2006 8:13:00 PM, Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

Bob and Charles:

Tell me -- what exactly do you mean by being "born again before faith"? This has been a recurring theme here, and I must admit I'm a little confused by your position. How does faith play into this?

I greatly desire to hear both your views, and eagerly anticipate the response.

SDG,
David Hewitt

 
At Friday, April 07, 2006 10:13:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SMART, ARE WE?

puworg said...
I guess you guys think you're pretty smart. At least that how you come off. Patting each other on the back all the time.

BOB:

Don't jump to confusion, puworg. "Smart" is relative to something by which "smart" is measured.

In my case -- and I can't speak for Charles -- I can't brag that I am "smart" when considered in relation to what I am dealing with on this blogsite.

And that is for the simple reason that I am dealing with things which are (1) Theological and Historical Distortions, (2) Biblical and Biographical Misinformation, and (3)Downright ignorance.

Now, you don't really have to be a genius to look "smart" up beside those less than intelligent elements.

Any one who is a simple adherent of our Baptist Confessions of Faith looke plenty "smart" up beside the likes of James White, the Founders, the pedo-regenerationists, etc. You don't have to be unusually "smart" to know that one is not "born again before faith." You just have to know a few verses in the book of John. A child of reading age knows mcuh MORE about the new birth than exegeeters like James White.

 
At Friday, April 07, 2006 10:24:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

FAITH?

david hewitt said:

>>
Tell me -- what exactly do you mean by being "born again before faith"? This has been a recurring theme here, and I must admit I'm a little confused by your position. How does faith play into this?
>>

Very simple: If faith is the result of the Holy Spirit's blessing on the Word of God to the heart and mind of a "dead in trespasses and sins" sinner, and that Word&Spirit-created faith unites to Christ for His salvation, then one is not born again before and without faith. Rather, he is born again when he has that God-created faith. "He that believes" is born again, and vice versa. The NEW BIRTH is the creation of faith by the Word and Spirit in the "dead" sinner -- according to BOTH the Bible and our Baptist Confession.


As Dr. John L. Dagg, a Founders' hero says, "faith precedes." Which simply means, NO FAITH, NO NEW BIRTH.

Why the Founders don't believe Dr. Dagg is inexplicable. See the article about Dagg on this blogsite -- for which I ask Charles to supply the link. -- Bob Ross

 
At Saturday, April 08, 2006 12:30:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

Bob, I believe you are referring to

DR. DAGG ON THE WORD IN REGENERATION.

Charles

 
At Saturday, April 08, 2006 11:18:00 AM, Anonymous Puworg said...

Thank you for illustrating my point with your comments.

puworg

 
At Saturday, April 08, 2006 1:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please reference
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/20
In this interview with Larry King, Joel Osteen said in regards to whether Jews or Muslims would go to hell for lack of faith in Christ...his response " " I don't know if I believe they're wrong..."
Later in an additional comment when asked if a Jew was going to heaven...his reply " I can't judge someone's heart...it's not my business to say, you know, this one is and this one isn't...and I thnk it's wrong when you go around saying you're not going, you're not going, ...
Dobson claims to be primarily a Christian counsellor...Osteen claims to be a minister of the Gospel. Osteen has since issued a public apology for mis-representing the Gospel on his website, but based on the transcript, it wasn't a one time slip of the tongue. Joel doesn't use the word sinner in his "talks"(by his own admission), so though he gives the right words sometimes as far as the Gospel goes, it appears to get convoluted at times in order to not offend.
I have only watched a very small amount of him, but it troubles me.
Again, I don't agree with everything I hear on Focus on the Family, but Dobson doesn't claim to be a preacher or theologian, Osteen does.

 
At Saturday, April 08, 2006 2:40:00 PM, Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

Mr. Ross:
You said:
The NEW BIRTH is the creation of faith by the Word and Spirit in the "dead" sinner -- according to BOTH the Bible and our Baptist Confession.

So then, when one is born again/regenerated, faith is then created?

DH

 
At Saturday, April 08, 2006 3:25:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

DOBSON AND OSTEEN

anonymous said:
>>
I have only watched a very small amount of him, but it troubles me.
Again, I don't agree with everything I hear on Focus on the Family, but Dobson doesn't claim to be a preacher or theologian, Osteen does.
>>

It would be rather superfluous for Dobson to deny that he is "a preacher or theologian," for that is perfectly obvious. As a theologian, on a scale of l-to-10 he might rate a 1.5.

But he somehow has managed to embellish himaself as a spokesperson of sorts for a lot of Chrisitans on specific or selected agendas, and he courts the support of the churches as if he is a bonafide not-for profit "ministry."

If he is a "ministry," what church or theology does he represent?

If you are trying to defend James Dobson's utter failure to even simulate preaching the Gospel, you have failed.

Dobson is Arminian, Pelagian, and belongs to a denomination committed to the heresy of "the second work of grace," or "entire sanctification," and Dr. R. Albert Mohler serves on his Focus on the Family Board.

Joel Osteen is committed the fundamentals of Christianity held all across the board by evangelical Christianity. He even has Al Mohler's commendation for his "apology" about the interview, and Joel's Confession of Faith is as solid as any on the fundamentals of Christianity.

Joel is not a "5 point" Hybrid Calvinist -- we grant you that -- for whatever comfort it may be to you. But he is preaching the same Gospel under which MOST of the Hybrid Calvinists say they were saved -- the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ. You will at least hear that Gospel at the end of EVERY sermon he preaches on TV, and there is an entire page devoted to it in his book, YOUR BEST LIFE NOW. -- Bob L. Ross

 
At Saturday, April 08, 2006 3:44:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

Anonymous said...

BOB: Just keep listening to Joel, and you will forget all about that LKL interview. -- Bob Ross

 
At Saturday, April 08, 2006 7:27:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

FAITH AND NEW BIRTH

David Hewitt said...

>>
Mr. Ross:
You said:
The NEW BIRTH is the creation of faith by the Word and Spirit in the "dead" sinner -- according to BOTH the Bible and our Baptist Confession.

So then, when one is born again/regenerated, faith is then created?

DH
>>

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF FAITH IN
REGENERATION OR THE NEW BIRTH
[04/08--2006]

1 JOHN 5:4:

For WHATSOEVER is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our FAITH.

This verse affirms that FAITH is BORN OF GOD, and is the VICTORY that overcomes the world.

This verse of Scripture is truly a DOUBLE-EDGED sword to aberrant views on regeneration, or the New Birth:

(1) It slays the Campbellite theory that one is not born again before baptism.

(2) It slays the Hardshell, Hyper and Hrybrid Calvinist theory that one is born again before and without faith.

This is "bad news" for the likes of the pedo-regenerationists, "born again before faith" advocates such as James White, the Founders, Dr. Tom Schreiner, Scott Morgan, R. C. Sproul, and the other "born again before faith" advocates.

The "whatsoever" at the very outset of this verse refers to "faith," as is clear from the latter part of the verse. Faith is "born of God," and faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

The person who has experienced this faith which is "born of God" has experienced the New Birth; the person who has not experienced this faith which is "born of God," has not experienced the New Brith.

There is therefore no New Birth ("born of God") unless and until faith has been born of God -- notwithstanding the dogmas of Shedd, Berkhof, Sproul, Dr. Schreiner, and all the Exegeetin' that was ever exegeeted by the James White Lightnin' Distillery Co. Inc. in Phoenix, Arizona.

Faith is said to be "born of God" because it comes by "hearing the Word of God" (Romans 10:17); it is given or created by the gracious influence of the power of God (1 Thess. 1:5; Eph. 1:13-18); the Word of truth begets us (James 1:17); we are born again by the Word of God (1:23);it is the work of God that we believe (John 6:29); it is God that works faith in us (Phil. 2:13); it is given unto us to believe (Phil. 1:29; Eph. 2:8-10); and it is the Spirit who quickens the Word unto life (John 6:63); etc.

Because the faith that saves is born of God by the instrumentality of the Word and Spirit, it is not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12).

The Seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11), and when it is sown in the heart, the fruit of faith is the result (Luke 8; Matthew 13; Mark 4).

If you want to advocate the CALVINIST VIEW OF THE NEW BIRTH, then this is it, as I understand both the Bible and the Confessions of Faith. -- Bob L. Ross

 
At Saturday, April 08, 2006 9:17:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

THE GOSPEL

Dear Charles:

You have no doubt noted that some who have critized Joel, falsely claiming he does not preach the Gospel.

Forgetting Joel for the moment, I wonder when and where these critics have been "preaching the Gospel"?

I have read about all of the criticisms of Joel on the Internet, and it struck me that the critics themselves do not seem to be engaged in preaching the Gospel.

Dr. Mohler, for example, on his blog -- has he ever expounded the Gospel to lost sinners? or has just talked about the Gospel in various and sundry contexts?

When has his friend, James Dobson, ever testified to the Gospel on his radio program? When has his "born again before faith" professor, Dr. Schreiner, preached a Gospel message to the lost?

Wheere does the iMonk ever present the Gospel on his website? Does he preach it to the handful of Presbyterian women where he is supply minister?

As for the so-called "Apologists," if you can find a Gospel message on their websites, you will have found the proverbial "needle in the haystack"! They are Appallingists!

And what about the Great Exegeeter himself -- James White? Have you ever seen a Gospel message on the A & O website?

These critics are pitifully inconsistent.

Every Sunday -- and you can listen Sunday morning -- at the conclusion of every sermon, Joel Osteen presents the basic truths of the Gospel, urges those who need Christ to repent, believe, accept the Lordship of Christ, and get into a Bible-believing church. And this will conceivably be heard by thousands.

That's more Gospel than I have found on any of the websites of Joel's critics. -- Bob L. Ross

 
At Saturday, April 08, 2006 10:38:00 PM, Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

My thoughts on the matter of Regeneration, since understanding that faith doesn't come from us but rather from God, have been along the lines of this.

The moment we are regenerated, we immediately realize that we are hopeless without faith in Christ and under God's wrath. We then see Christ for how desirable He is, see Him as the only Refuge, and then run to Him.

What would your take on that be?

SDG,
David Hewitt

 
At Saturday, April 08, 2006 11:07:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

BEN WITHERINGTON

Dear Charles:

Are you acquainted with this gentleman? Somehow, I got wind of a critique he wrote on Brother Joel, and he took off against Joel on the "money" theme -- even tossed in the name of flamboyant "Reverend Ike" of years ago to spice up his denigration of Joel. I used to hear "Reverend Ike" on those Mexican stations, and Joel is in no way like that fellow. Did you ever hear Joel ask for money on TV? Sure, he teaches his own church members to give, as do all faithful pastors. But "Reverend Ike" was a regular carnival hawker on radio, soliciting money. Joel NEVER does that.

Now, people around here know about Joel's well-deserved success, and what kind of money he makes, about his home, about the 1996 model car he inherited from his Dad and drives, and other such things. I have friends on his staff, and I know about these things.

But I don't know anything about Ben Witherington, and I wonder how he measures up to the high standards of "modest" living in regard to wealth which he promotes in his article about Joel? Is Ben practicing what he preachers?

I wonder, what kind of salary does Ben makes? How much money does he have? How much did he sacrifice for the poor and needy last week? What kind of home does he have, and what kind of car does he drive? How much did his wardrobe cost? Does he have any financial investments? Does he spend any money on anything but what is necessary? Does he play golf, go to any movies or shows, eat out, pay for any type of entertainment, etc.?

When somebody starts using Bible verses and examples of frugality and pointing to John Wesley's sermon on money, I wonder if that person is actually a living example, in accord with the high standard he is applying to others?

Ben says, "If you want to know where a person's heart really is--- follow the money. This could be said of all of us."

I wonder if Ben would divulge for us his own personal status as to wealth, etc. and let us see if he is a "doer of his word"? Would he let us "follow the money" in his case?

The reason I mention this, there was a fellow from Arizona who was criticizing Joel, and even used the case of Jesus riding a donkey for His transportation, and not having a house to live in. Come to find out, that fellow drove a late model air-conditioned auto and lived in the air-conditioned comfort of a condo. I told him when I saw him riding on the Arizona streets on a donkey I would take him seriously in his criticisms of Joel.

So, wonder if Ben will tell us about his financial condition? What are the chances?
Would you post it on The Flyswatter, Charles?

Do you think there just might be a tiny bit of jealousy of Joel, seeing how he never went to Seminary and was not even interested in pastoring, and yet now all this fame and prosperity has come to him and his church? He has thousands listening to him and reading his books, and these other highly educated preachers can hardly draw a crowd of any noteworthy size?

NOTE: This description is part of a profile on Ben's website:
Bible scholar Ben Witherington III is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. A graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill, he went on to receive the M.Div. degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Durham in England. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious SNTS, a society dedicated to New Testament studies.

-- Bob L. Ross

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 12:06:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

David Hewitt said...
My thoughts on the matter of Regeneration, since understanding that faith doesn't come from us but rather from God, have been along the lines of this.

The moment we are regenerated, we immediately realize that we are hopeless without faith in Christ and under God's wrath.


BOB: You want to "know my take" on that?

You say you are without faith, yet you are "regenerated"?

My take is, you are still lost since you claim you are "born again" but evidently don't have faith in you, created by the Word and Spirit.

Salvation is by faith, not by some imaginary "regeneration" you supposedly got. When you have God-given faith in Christ, then you can say you are born again.

As Spurgeon said, "No faith, no life."

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 2:24:00 AM, Blogger nickg said...

Mr. Ross, I'm about to throw up. Are you really telling Mr. Hewitt that he is a lost sinner condemned to eternal hell because he does not hold to the same ordo saludis that you do? In that case, salvation is not by faith, nor by grace, nor by regeneration, but salvation is by theology. Basically, it is not Mr. Hewitt's sin that separated/separates him from God, it is a faulty intellectual apprehension of the theological technicalities in a systematic theology. I am not convinced, sir. I'll stick with the Apostle Paul who said that it is by grace we are saved, through faith, only as a gift of God--not as a work of theological mastery. I think I'll boast in Christ and His work on the cross rather than in my faith or my intellect. I pray that you do the same and you merely got carried away in making your comments.

If you folks think you are representing a "simple" Gospel, you are sadly mistaken. Your conversation is so full of in-speak and jargon and coined phrases and Christianese that no non-Christian (elect or not) could possibly penetrate your meaning. I am all for theological discussion and theological precision; it is perfectly fine to discuss such matters of "in-house" debates. But it is shameful to me and honestly embarrassing to read the way you lambast other blood-bought lambs of Christ in the name of defending orthodoxy. I hope that no non-Christians take the time to read the kind of sloppy, rude language with which you critique those who disagree with you. If that is the way you treat other Christians, I'm sure non-Christians can only imagine the sort of treatment THEY would receive from you.

Regarding Joel Osteen: the Gospel is not something we tack on to the end of a "talk" about self-esteem. Rather--and especially in the context of the sermon during public corporate worship--Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen ought to be the theme and heart of every sentiment in the sermon. Sure, there are various ways to accomplish this. But I've never heard Mr. Osteen use one of them.

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 10:48:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

nickg said,

Regarding Joel Osteen: the Gospel is not something we tack on to the end of a "talk" about self-esteem. Rather--and especially in the context of the sermon during public corporate worship--Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen ought to be the theme and heart of every sentiment in the sermon. Sure, there are various ways to accomplish this. But I've never heard Mr. Osteen use one of them.

As for the Gospel, it is the same Gospel wherever it is "tacked," and in whatever size it may come. The thief on the cross just heard a few fragments, but God used it to save him.

For your sake, I hope you can watch Joel's program today and that you get the entire hour. They are observing the Lord's Supper, and you will hear a thorough explanation of the blood and body of Jesus Christ, and how He died for our sins.

You may also like Joel's great message on "The Potter's Wheel," wherein he magnifies the sovereignty and providence of God.

-- Bob L. Ross

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 11:17:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

OF COURSE NOT!

nickg said...
Mr. Ross, I'm about to throw up. Are you really telling Mr. Hewitt that he is a lost sinner condemned to eternal hell because he does not hold to the same ordo saludis that you do?

BOB:

Of course not! We are simply talking "theoretical" matter.

Theoretically, David had himself "regenerated" but he was still "without faith."

Scripture says, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life." And we "have the Son" by faith (1 John 5:12; John 20:31; 3:14-18).

If David had been regenerated, he would have faith -- he would not have been "without faith."

Do you know any biblical case where one who was "regenerated" was yet "without faith"?

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 11:46:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

"THE POTTER'S WHEEL"

Dear Charles:

Just wanted to let you and the Flywatter readers know that Joel has a great TV message today on "The Potter's Wheel."

Wonder if he's been reading James' book, "The Potter's Freedom"? Probably not, since I didn't hear him repeat any of James' mistakes, like "born again before faith" and Paul's being "knocked off of his horse."

Anyway, in the first half of the hour-long program, Victoria leads the crowd in observing the Lord's Supper, and she did a great job explaining the meaning of the body and the blood. It was a great Gospel message within itself. I think even Dr. Mohler would be proud of it!

Speaking of Dr. Mohler, I hope he is out there somewhere today preaching the Gospel to a large crowd of dead, lost sinners, like Joel perhaps reached via TV today, and will do like Spurgeon did and like Joel did at the end of his sermon today -- encourage the lost sinners to pray the sinner's prayer, repent of sin, trust Christ, make Him Lord of their lives, and get into a Bible-believing church.

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 1:20:00 PM, Blogger Grafted Branch said...

I have to agree with nickg. I thought I'd like to blame it on the comment format, but I think I'm just lost in the conversation. Too many words. I'm sure though, that you don't mean this to be an evangelistic blog, so I guess it's fine.

Here's what I know: I was blind, lost and had absolutely no desire for God before He did something (regeneration?) to bring my soul to life. He accomplished something quite spectacular in me that allowed me to acknowledge Him, sense my need, seek Him, and eventually find peace in the work of His Son.

Perhaps I don't know the proper terms, but I do know the bible later confirmed what I knew by my own experience: He is willing that all should come, but none will unless drawn by Him. No one calls Him Lord but by the Holy Spirit.

Mostly, I'm glad that neither I nor my children have to understand any of that to be called His.

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 1:24:00 PM, Anonymous brownback said...

I think its funny how Bob takes one email written by James White and uses it to forever mis-define his position on the eternal sonship of Christ. Despite the fact that he has very explicitly said and written that he believes in it.

Yet Joel Osteen, can demonstrate an embarasment of the gospel world-wide and he will defend him to the hilt. Grace for Joel, justice for James.

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 2:34:00 PM, Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

No, Mr. Ross, that is not what I said. I said:
"The moment we are regenerated, we immediately realize that we are hopeless without faith in Christ and under God's wrath."

That is, without faith in Christ we are hopeless. Had I put a comma in between the words "hopeless" and "without" then I would have bee indicating something else. :)

So then, my question still stands about regeneration. Now that you know what I meant, what is your take on the whole of it? That is,

"The moment we are regenerated, we immediately realize that we are hopeless without faith in Christ (that is, without having faith in Christ we are hopeless, condemned)and under God's wrath. We then see Christ for how desirable He is, see Him as the only Refuge, and then run to Him."

I look forward to your response.

And rest assured, I have put faith in Christ alone for my salvation. :)

SDG,
David Hewitt

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 2:50:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

JAMES AND THE FLOUNDERS --
BASKING IN "PROSPERITYISM"?


BOB TO CHARLES:

Since the Kentucky Wonder and other fellow anti-Joel bloggers-on-keyboards are concerned about Joel's success in Houston, it has aroused some degree of concern that James White and the Flounders may have backslide on this issue, and are not setting a very good example of frugality in regard to the criticizing Joel.

What about those cruises, Charles? Is that not a little on the "prosperity" and "extravagant" side, in the light of the standards which are used against Joel by Dr. Ben Witherington, which are applauded by the iMonk?

Spending all the time and money to loaf on a boat for a few days, just to hear James exegeet and debate, doesn't seem to be within the scope of John Wesley's sermon about the spiritual use of one's money.

How much did James say it would cost to go the cruise to enjoy his exegeet'n and debating performances?

Is that really what the Lord had in mind in the Great Commission, and contending for the faith once delivered?

About the only cruises I read about in the New Testament were those which took Paul to preach the Gospel to lost, dead in sins sinners. I never knew Paul to solicit believes to go out to sea for "Sovereign Grace" affairs, did you?

On top of that, we could read all that exegeet'n about "born again before faith" and James' great debates without putting out so much money -- money which could be donated to the poor and needy, like John Wesley exhorted.

Wonder what Dr. Ben Witherington thinks about such extravagant spending as that of the James Gang and the Flounders? -- Bob L. Ross

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 5:17:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob Ross said, "About the only cruises I read about in the New Testament were those which took Paul to preach the Gospel to lost, dead in sins sinners. I never knew Paul to solicit believes to go out to sea for "Sovereign Grace" affairs, did you?"

It does seem to go against the regulative principle!

Charles

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 6:56:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

ONE EMAIL?
brownback said:
I think its funny how Bob takes one email written by James White and uses it to forever mis-define his position on the eternal sonship of Christ.

BOB: It was not merely one email; it was several of them. -- Bob

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 7:05:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

David Hewitt said...
No, Mr. Ross, that is not what I said. I said:

BOB:

Whatever you are saying, if you are saying you have "regeneration" and yet there is no faith at the very point of your supposed "regeneration," then you do not have life. You have a phoney "regeneration." You MUST RECEIVE FAITH or you do not have life.

God breathed into Adam the breath of life, and he was alive.

Ezekiel's dry bones came to life when breath was breathed into them.

Lazarus was alive when he had breath again.

Sinners live by faith, and so they are alive once they have faith.

As Spurgreon said, No faith, no life.

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 7:06:00 PM, Blogger nickg said...

Mr. Ross,

In looking forward to your reply to Mr. Hewitt's clarification, let me offer another way of putting it. I don't know any sensible person who argues that there is a TEMPORAL priority to regeneration before faith. That is, no one says there is any time lapse between the gift of regeneration and the gift of faith. It is merely a case of a LOGICAL priority. Because we humans live in space and time (though God does not) it is hard for us to fathom distinct concepts like regeneration, faith, justification, etc., without giving them some kind of order. Thus, many people find it to be a logical necessity for regeneration to preceed faith (again NOT temporally--once more for clarity's sake NOT TEMPORALLY) because dead men don't have faith. Lazarus did not start walking out of the tomb toward Jesus and then come alive. He was brought back to life by Christ and then responded to His call to come. You might argue: Lazarus coming back to life was his response. And I will say: precisely. These things are all wrapped up together and arguing over them is only interesting from an intellectual perspective, it is really not that important. That is, unless one blows them out of proportion and starts leveling inflammatory charges at fellow blood bought lambs of God. There are drug-addicted homeless people, abused prostitutes, college students with eating disorders, and alcoholic business people in every city in this country who could not care less about this issue. They just want to know if anyone cares about them and if anything or anyone is more powerful that the issue to which they are in bondage. We know Christ IS more powerful. Do you care about them? Or do you care more about beating Mr. White, et. al., at theological fine points? I haven't seen much discussion on this blog about the weightier matters of justice and mercy and faithfulness. Even technical theological discussion (which is fine in itself) should lead us to a better understanding or a better pursuit of those things. Please note, I don't simply point the finger at you, or Charles, or anyone else. But observing and entering into this discussion leaves the shortcomings of my own heart bare. I wonder, how can you, I, we, use this forum to really lead to iron sharpening iron, and not just idle bickering?

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 9:17:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

NO FAITH MEANS NO LIFE

Grafted Branch said...

Here's what I know: I was blind, lost and had absolutely no desire for God before He did something (regeneration?) to bring my soul to life. He accomplished something quite spectacular in me that allowed me to acknowledge Him, sense my need, seek Him, and eventually find peace in the work of His Son.

BOB'S COMMENT:

Something I learned very early in my Christian life is that we are not to create doctrinal and theological concepts based upon our experience. If we did that, we would perhaps have as many doctrinal/theological concepts as there are experiences.

The Bible nowhere refers to any pre-faith experience as "regeneration" or the "new birth." The sooner you accept that fact the sooner you will understand that where there is no faith, there is no new birth.

Christ is our life (Col. 3:4; 1 John 5:12).

We receive and have Christ by faith (John 1:12, 13; 2 John 9).

Therefore -- as Spurgeon said, no faith means no life. (John 3:36).

-- Bob L. Ross

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 9:33:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

nickg said...
Mr. Ross,

I don't know any sensible person who argues that there is a TEMPORAL priority to regeneration before faith. That is, no one says there is any time lapse between the gift of regeneration and the gift of faith. It is merely a case of a LOGICAL priority.


BOB'S COMMENT:

Then you certainly are not very well read on this subject. Both Dr. Shedd and Dr. Berkhof contend for very probable long intervals between infant "regeneration" and faith, not to mention their erroneous teaching about adults, and these are the two primary "fathers" in Hybrid Calvinist theology on their "pre-faith regeneration" and their alleged "more fully developed ordo salutis."

When you have studied further, come back to discuss it.

As for the designed-for-the-naive distinction of "temporal" and "logical," there is NEITHER a temporal "priority" nor a "logical" priority except in the minds of those who have been duped by the supposedly more fully developed "Ordo Paludal" of the Hybrid Calvinists.

It is very illogical to allege that regeneration is an act which takes place before faith and in order to faith when the truth is the creation of faith by the instrumentality of the Word and Spirit of God consitutes regeneration or the New Birth (1 John 5:4).

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 9:54:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

nickg said...
Mr. Ross,

These things are all wrapped up together and arguing over them is only interesting from an intellectual perspective, it is really not that important.

BOB'S COMMENT:

I agree it is "not important" for it is not scriptural to contend for "born again before faith."

The Bible NOWHERE presents such a hallucination, fabrication, obfuscation, or phantasmagorical notion -- and so it should have NEVER EVER been a matter of consideration by any one with any Biblical comprehension.

But the Hybrid Calvinists are obsessed and infatuated with it so strongly that you cannot pick up one their writings which deal with the new birth without encountering this piece of theological hokey-pokey.

And I am happy to report that Charles and I will be pounding the daylights out it whether it is in James White's so-called "works," the Flounders, the Pedo-regenerationist disciples of Shedd and Berkhof, or any other.

I have been standing against it for at least 50 long years, and plan to go to my grave refuting it, the Lord willing. When they bury me, place a writing of some description on my grave which teaches this theological idiocy, and if I do not get up and refute it, you will know for certain that I am dead!

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 10:12:00 PM, Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

Mr. Ross, you said:
Whatever you are saying, if you are saying you have "regeneration" and yet there is no faith at the very point of your supposed "regeneration," then you do not have life. You have a phoney "regeneration." You MUST RECEIVE FAITH or you do not have life.

You aren't answering my question -- perhaps I should phrase it differently. What I am saying has been said by another, a respected theologian, like this:

"No sooner is the soul quickened, than it at once discovers it's lost estate, is horrified thereat, looks for a refuge, and believing Christ to be a suitable one, flies to him and reposes in him."

Really, what I was trying to say before was merely a rephrasing of the above quote. Tell me -- what are your views on the quote I just posted?

DH

PS -- Oh, and Nick -- good comment about logical order.

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 10:53:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

ONE BIBLICAL CASE, PLEASE

Dear Charles:

This whole thing about "regeneration" or the "new birth" can be settle in a minute or two.

Let the Hybrid Calvinists produce JUST ONE INSTANCE of a person who was descried by Scripture as "regenerated before faith" or "born again before faith" -- or words to that effect -- which would really mean that the person was "saved" before faith was produced in him/her by the Word and the Holy Spirit, and they have won their case.

Every single convert I read about in the Bible heard the Word, believed it, and was saved. I have yet to read of a convert who did not hear the Word first, then became a believer subsequently.

This "ordo salutis" detroys pedo-regenerationism because they can't find a single baby in the Bible who is described as "regenerated" before he heard the Word and believed. Of course, the same is true of adults.

-- Bob L. Ross

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 11:04:00 PM, Anonymous brownback said...

the point still stands that you have two different standards for osteen and white.

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 11:10:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

JAMES IS BIKE RIDING

Dear Charles:

I took a quick peek at the Great Exegeeter's website to see how he is amusing himself since he announced his "final adendum," and he is out riding his bike!

I can think that you, Charles, will perhaps interpret this in a rather "symbolical" sense -- like "Getting out of Dodge!"

I sent a SECOND email yesterday to the Elders of the Reformed Baptist Church, Phoenix, to invite them to Pasadena. They never have responded to the first one. Here is the second one:

>>

TO THE ELDERS OF REFORMED BAPTIST CHURCH, PHOENIX, ARIZONA
April 8, 2006

Dear Brethren:

We have received no reply to the following. Please inform us if you will be responding. -- Bob L. Ross

>>
Subj: PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT [04/05--2006]
Date: 4/5/2006 5:35:18 PM Central Daylight Time
From: Pilgrimpub

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT

Posted on The Calvinist Flyswatter, April 5, 2006.

Sent to the Elders of Reformed Baptist Church, Phoenix, Arizona:

The Elders of the Reformed Baptist Church of Phoenix, Arizona are hereby formally invited to come to Pasadena, Texas for the presentation of charges against Bob L. Ross by James White before Park Temple Baptist Church.

Proceeding according to Scripture, Matthew 18:15-18, Brother White is first invited to confer with Brother Ross privately.

If they cannot settle the complaint, then Brother White is invited to take one or two more to discuss the complaint with Brother Ross, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

If that does not settle the matter to Brother White's satisfaction, then he is invited to present the matter before the church here in Pasadena where Brother Ross is a member and subject to discipline.

Our church hopes that the third step does not become necessary, but if it does, we hope a cordinal settlement is reached.

I am acting for the church where I am a member, Park Temple, and hope this matter may be resolved to every one's satisfaction. --
Bob L. Ross
>>

Now, isn't this church just a dandy example of responsibility? -- claiming to follow the much ballyhooed "regulative principle," yet not even giving our church the courtesy of a reply, one way or the other? Are they a disgrace to the "Reformed Baptists," or what? -- Bob

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 1:05:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

David said, "What I am saying has been said by another, a respected theologian, like this"

Why don't you just come out and say who it is, David? Or are you trying to see if Bob and Spurgeon disagree?

You're learned well from James White. Now drop the debater's tricks and be nice.

Bob, I believe David is, what is the phase James uses, "beyond correction"?

Charles

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 4:02:00 AM, Blogger nickg said...

wait, wait, wait...Mr. Ross,
You're inviting people to bring charges against you? That makes no sense to me common-sensically or biblically. The point of Jesus' command in Matthew is that, just as God in Christ took the initiative to repair the broken relationship between Himself and humanity, we as His children must follow His example and take responsibility to initiate reconciliation with those in the Body with whom we are at odds. If the issue is that important, maybe you ought to go to Phoenix and seek out your brother.

Oh, and I would like to see your comment on the quote provided by Mr. Hewitt.

Further, I'm the first to admit that I'm "not very well read", so I appreciate any opportunity to be educated. I suppose I was speaking a bit beyond my scope to say that "no one" argues such and such. But certainly, I would not argue for a time lapse between regeneration and faith, and I believe Mr. Hewitt was likewise avoiding such a claim. Thus, you have still not dealt with this articulation of the issue--except to dismiss it as "naive" without providing evidence of its naivete. Let me ask you: do you purport a time lapse between receiving faith (first) and then receiving regeneration. Or do they take place immediately (i.e., with nothing in between them)?

Regarding your reference to 1 John 5:4, it was very interesting because if anything I think the passage argues against your position. Consider: in 1 John 5:1 we are told, "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God." On the face of things, it doesn't look like we can tell whether the believing or the borning came first. Although, the believing is taking place in the present and the borning was in the past. Of course, a person is only born again once but he believes for the rest of his life. It is interesting to look at the Greek, though, because "has been born" is from gegennetai which is a perfect, passive, indicative verb. The perfect tense often (admittedly not always) indicates a past action with continuing results in the present. This perhaps indicates that at any time you find a person who believes in Christ, it is the case that his being born of God has already taken place. No, I don't want to build a plank of theology off of the perfect tense of one verb of of one verse, but it is interesting.

On to the particular verse you mentioned. 1 John 5:4 says, "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith." Consider the original audience John was writing to. They were not theologians. They were farmers and sailers and slaves and soldiers and the like. In their world view, a person has to be born before he can do anything. Certainly, a person would have to be born before he can overcome the world. As with the last verse, I don't think this one dictates a necessary view on one side or the other of the issue we have been discussing. But, doesn't it make sense that John would have spoken in a way that made sense to his hearers? So, what would have made sense to them? "Brothers, overcome the world (i.e., have faith in Chist.) so you can be born again." Or, "Brothers, when you are born again by God, you will be able to overcome the world (i.e., have faith in Christ)." Thus, if a person finds himself believing, he knows he has been born again. You never have to worry about whether you have enough faith to be born again, because any faith you have is a gift that accompanies new life.

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 9:12:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

INVITING CHARGES?

nickg said...
wait, wait, wait...Mr. Ross,
You're inviting people to bring charges against you? That makes no sense to me common-sensically or biblically.


BOB:

You are apparently a little "behind" on this matter.

JAMES WHITE demanded that he be allowed to come and present charges before our church against me for my alleged offenses.

Our church simply responded and invited him and his Elders to come and do so, that this case might be settled in a brotherly mannner, according to whatever Scriptures apply to such cases.

-- Bob

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 9:40:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

David Hewitt said...

What I am saying has been said by another, a respected theologian, like this:

"No sooner is the soul quickened, than it at once discovers it's lost estate, is horrified thereat, looks for a refuge, and believing Christ to be a suitable one, flies to him and reposes in him."

Really, what I was trying to say before was merely a rephrasing of the above quote. Tell me -- what are your views on the quote I just posted?


Please identify the "theologian" so I can perhaps know from what context of theology he comes.

Also, I do not see that this quotation identifies the "quickening" mentioned as being "regeneration" or the new birth. I do not know who the theologian is, but if he thinks that is regeneration, he has no Scripture to support his view.

There can be many "quickenings" by the Word of God of sinners before they are born again by the creation of faith by the Word and Spirit.

Jesus told Paul, "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks," which pricks were from the convicting power of the Word of God before Paul was saved. Ezekiel's dry bones had a lot of activity BEFORE they came to life.

This is sometimes called "conviction," and it takes place in sinners prior to their coming to saving faith. Saving faith is produced by the Word and Spirit and is the NEW BIRTH.

The Holy Spirit uses the Word, His Sword, to bring conviction. Conviction leads to repentance toward God and faith in Christ, and when one has faith in Christ, then he has life or has been born again at that point.

All is of the Lord as to the "efficient" cause. Although the sinner is active in conviction, repentance, and faith, his actions are all due to the Word and Spirit working in him. So "salvation if of the Lord." -- Bob

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 10:08:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MONEY, THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL

Dear Charles:

One brother said "Follow the money," and if you follow the money in regard to the "born again before faith" pedo-regenerationist heresy, you really get to the ROOT OF THE MATTER.

Religious entities such as churches, Charles, are greatly dependent upon money. Nothing is necessarily wrong with their using money, but it does become "filthy lucre" when it is used to propagate false doctrine. And their securing the money is dependent upon membership.

As to the pedo-regenerationists, such as the Presbyterians for example, where do they obtain their money to sustain their operations? From the church members, right?

And where or how do they get their members? Primarily, from baptizing babies, right? And if they did not baptize babies, how many members to you suppose they would have, and how much money would they have to operate?

So what makes their baptizing babies "legitimate." Why, the idea that babies are "regenerated" in infancy (1) before, (2) at, or (3) soon after baptism. This justifies them in obtaining members when they are babies.

Being "regenerated," these babies are qualified to become church members. When the baby members grow up, they will become wage earners, and as faithful members of the church, they will contribute to the church, and the church will have the financial wherewithal to continue propagating this process.

So, you see Charles, MONEY is at the root of the pedo-regenerationist doctrine. It's design is to insure that there will be filthy lucre sustaining the "ministry" of the church.

If it were not for this doctrine, they would dry up and blow away. And this is what usually happens to Baptist churches which adopt this theory, for Baptists do not baptize babies, therefore they have no certain method such as the pedobaptists have to replenish the membership. This is one of the reasons why Hybrid Calvinist churches are usually so small, and why many of them eventually die. -- Bob

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 10:28:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

A THICK HEAD OR WHAT?

One brother said, "Let me ask you: do you purport a time lapse between receiving faith (first) and then receiving regeneration. Or do they take place immediately (i.e., with nothing in between them)?"

Has this party not been reading my writings? Evidently, not.

I have forever said that the creation of faith by the Word and Spirit IS REGENERATION, as I understand the Scriptures.

So how in the name of common sense could there be any LAPSE of time either before or after faith?

1 JOHN 5:4.

- Bob

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 10:45:00 AM, Anonymous brownback said...

I had never heard of Mr. Ross before stumbling onto this blog.

But it is obvious that he has a fixation with James White which is unhealthy and sad. Life is too short for such things.

I can only assume his preoccupation stems from boredom or a misplaced need for attention.

Sorry to be so harsh, but this seems to be the case. I pray that Mr. Ross will move on with his life and kingdom building.

My guess is that other than having to respond to Mr. Ross's latest reprisal of critique, James White spends next to zero time thinking about Mr. Ross.

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 11:16:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

nickg said...

>>
Consider: in 1 John 5:1 we are told, "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God." . . . This perhaps indicates that at any time you find a person who believes in Christ, it is the case that his being born of God has already taken place.
>>

This is true, and that is why a person cannot say he is born again BEFORE he can say I am a believer. As soon as he believes, he can then say he is born again.

When he can say "I am a believer," then he can say, "I have been born again."
Like, when one Adam could say, "I can breath," he could at the same time say, "I am alive."

>>
1 John 5:4 says, "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith." . . . . Thus, if a person finds himself believing, he knows he has been born again.
>>

Exactly so, and this is why it is foolish to talk about being "born again before faith."

One cannot know he has been born again unless he knows he has faith. When he has faith, then he can know he has been born again.

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 11:25:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

WAS THAT A TRICK QUESTION?

Charles said,
>>
Bob, I believe David is, what is the phase James uses, "beyond correction"?
>>

You are very sharp, Charles! That is an old trick David tried, isn't it? I must confess I have used it myself when debating Campbellites -- quote A. Campbell and see how the Campbellite debater reacts.

David is really gagging for support if he is trying to use Spurgeon! Spurgeon was one of the most obstinate opponents of the view that one is "born again before faith." -- Bob

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 6:37:00 PM, Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

Oh, Charles, come now:
David said, "What I am saying has been said by another, a respected theologian, like this"

Why don't you just come out and say who it is, David? Or are you trying to see if Bob and Spurgeon disagree?

You're learned well from James White. Now drop the debater's tricks and be nice.

Bob, I believe David is, what is the phase James uses, "beyond correction"?


First of all, I'm not employing anything I've learned from Dr. White. I've long asked questions to try to understand someone's point of view.

Yes, I am also trying to see if Bob and Spurgeon disagree. It didn't take much to Google that, did it? :)

Mr. Ross is constantly touting Spurgeon, and it seems clear from what Spurgeon said (that I agree with), is that when one is regenerated, they then immediately come to faith in Christ.

Are there paedo-baptists that insist that one can be regenerated as an infant and then live for many a year before being regenerated? I've never read that directly, though Mr. Ross appears to have located some of them. That being the case, allow me to annouce my disagreement with them too.

I'll also agree with Mr. Ross when he said:

Every single convert I read about in the Bible heard the Word, believed it, and was saved. I have yet to read of a convert who did not hear the Word first, then became a believer subsequently.

I agree! No one is saved without hearing the Gospel. I've never doubted that! What my whole case in regeneration is, and what I strongly suspect Dr. White's is, when someone hears the Gospel (and either right then or later, though ALWAYS in response to the Gospel), God works in them to bring them to faith. He gives them new birth which comes along with faith and repentance as gifts. The faith and repentence are immediately used when one is regenerated. Effectively, there is no time lapse, save maybe a nanosecond or something. What Nick said about the logical order is very useful.

The main point in saying it (and yes, there is Scriptural support for it) is to say that the faith, when it comes out of us, is not of us. The faith we place in Christ is also part of His act of grace to us, a fruit of the new birth.

As far as I can tell, Spurgeon agrees with me, as does the Scripture. Yet, it also agrees with what you said, Mr. Ross, in relation that there are no examples of people being born again who have not put faith in Christ. This is why the immediate nature of faith being exercised is critical.

So then, there you have it. I hope this exchange has been helpful!

Oh yes, Charles -- when are we going to have some exegesis on here? Let's bring the Word out and divide it rightly, so we can get at the truth.

SDG,
David Hewitt

PS -- I'm not above correction, though what you said serves as a good reminder to make sure we don't think we are. I did some confessing to a couple of brothers last night, and was grateful they forgave me. God is awesome!

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 6:41:00 PM, Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

Nick:

I enjoyed your short bit of exegesis as well. I just may have to drop by your blog one of these days and strike up a conversation! :)

SDG,
DH

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 10:36:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

David Hewitt said...

BOB'S COMMENT:

David, it is a stretch of my credulity to pay serious attention to you when you make statements such as this;

Are there paedo-baptists that insist that one can be regenerated as an infant and then live for many a year before being regenerated? I've never read that directly, though Mr. Ross appears to have located some of them. That being the case, allow me to annouce my disagreement with them too.

I think I have referred you to Dr. W. G. T. Shedd and Louis Berkhof, two notable pedobaptist theologians, both of whom are as clear as a bell on the regeneration of infants either (1) before, (2) at, or (3) after baptism.

Baptism, according to the Westminster Confession, is a "sign and seal" of that regeneration, and the infants become members of the church.

This is how pedobaptists get MOST of their members, and they would probably meet their ecclesiastical demise were it not the baptism of infants.

Why should I attach any serious weight to your comments when you do not demonstrate a knowledge of the subject we are refuting -- namely, the theory of "regeneration" as it advocated by the pedo-regenerationists and others who have either adopted or are advocating their theory?

-- Bob L. Ross

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 10:46:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

brownback said...
I had never heard of Mr. Ross before stumbling onto this blog.

BOB'S COMMENT:

Since you seem to have had your otherwise tranquil life disturbed by this blog, I think Charles is such a nice guy he may want to send you some expression of his regrets.

As for me, I recommend that you spend a little extra time each day reading James White's exegeetin' and you will recover in no time. That "White Lightnin'" really works wonders! -- Bob L. Ross

 
At Monday, April 10, 2006 11:10:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

BLOGGING OFF

BOB TO CHARLES:

I told you the other day that I would have to spend more of my spare time here at my store on finishing my Tax Returns.

That time has come, so I suppose my blogging will be less than usual, if any at all for a few days.

I don't know that I will be totally out of it, but just don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed.

I'm sure there is great joy in Hybridsville and at "White Lightnin'" headquarters in Arizona, but in due time "I shall return," the Lord willing.

-- Bob

 
At Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:32:00 AM, Blogger nickg said...

Charles: I apologize for letting this comment get so long. I did not intend for it to be so.

Mr. Ross, all this time I thought we had some sort of significant disagreement on the regeneration/faith issue, but we are much closer than I thought--certainly much closer than you seem to think. You said, "a person cannot say he is born again BEFORE he can say I am a believer. As soon as he believes, he can then say he is born again." You also said, "One cannot know he has been born again unless he knows he has faith. When he has faith, then he can know he has been born again." I agree with both of those statements 100%. I think the differences between us are matters of emphasis (as David pointed out) and perspective. You want to emphasize and protect the necessity of people having faith in Christ for salvation (obviously without denying the necessity of the new birth). I want to emphasize and protect the necessity of being born from above for salvation (without denying the necessity of having faith in Christ). We are emphasizing different aspects of the package deal that is salvation by grace, while denying none of those aspects. I think we also are coming at the matter from different perspectives. You have emphasized that a person cannot KNOW he is born again until he has faith. I would agree with that too. My emphasis has been that a person cannot have faith until he has been born again. Your perspectival emphasis is on what a person can know; mine is on what a person can possess. Let me try to clarify this last point. Being born again is a spiritual reality that is acted upon a person. Having faith is a volitional act that a person engages in (though, as you have stressed and I completely agree with, faith is also a gift of God). A person has no awareness of the moment they are born again, yet once they have faith they can come to understand it has taken place. That seems to be the perspective you are taking. I on the other hand emphasize the perspective that a (spiritually) dead person cannot engage in the volitional act of faith, thus they must be born again in order to have faith. You will note that I carefully avoided saying "born again before they have faith". If that language is a stumbling block for you, I have no problem avoiding it. For, as I have said, the "before" is not intended to indicate a sequence through time but only a logical way to prioritize what is essentially a package deal--namely salvation. Maybe it is sort of like the way James talks about faith and works. If you have faith, you have works, because faith without works is dead (i.e., it is not even faith). Thus, no one has faith for a few years in preparation for doing works. In the same way, nobody is born again for a few years (or days, or minutes) in preparation for having faith. I don't know if this has helped. I feel as though I have been less clear than I would like--but I am very tired.

On to another matter...I don't get offended very easily, peoples' words and opinions are their own and my identity and sufficiency are found in Christ alone, but, if I were to get offended, your hateful and inflammatory comments about Presbyterian churches and paedo-baptistic believers in Christ would do it. But I think I'm calm enough to respond to your comments point by point.

First, the Scripture actually says, "the LOVE of money is a root of all KINDS of evil." But please, don't let a little thing like misquoting the Bible get in the way of your argument.

Second, you once accused me of being "not very well read" on an issue. I must say in turn that you are not very well read on Presbyterian theology (regarding paedo-baptism) or polity. Apparently, you also have no Presbyterian friends with whom you can confer before hurling accusations. That is sad, I have friends who are Baptists, Lutherans, Pentacostals, non-denominational Christians (and even garden-variety pagans and Mormon cult members) and I think those relationships have made me more patient and compassionate toward Christians of different theological convictions.

Let me state firmly: Presbyterians do not believe that infants are regenerated when they are baptized, as you claim. I will not go into a full explanation of the significance of covenant baptism (a term that many Presbyterians prefer because we certainly do not ONLY baptize infants), if I did, this already ridiculously long comment would become obscenely long. But you ought to at least know that we understand baptism to be a sign of God's covenant with His people in a way parallel to the sign of circumcision in the Old Testament. The OT makes it clear that circumcision does not automatically mean that a person is saved. For instance, Jeremiah 9:25 says, "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh." Certainly, Presbyterians don't claim more for baptism. Tell me: Did God have Israel circumcise their children so that they would stay rich?

I will repeat what I said earlier: I don't know of anyone who says there is a time lapse between the moment of receiving the gift of regeneration and the moment of receiving the gift of faith. Certainly there would not be the lapse of time required between infancy and conscious faith later in life. You say I am not very well read on the subject, and that may be. But, at the Calvinist & Presbyterian seminary I attended for four years, we were never required (and I don't remember being suggested) to read Shedd, so either he has fallen out of favor or out of importance. Of course, we were required to read (and hear about) Berkhof, who you say held such a view. I did not encounter that in his writings, (if you could provide a reference it would be helpful, and enlightening) or maybe I just forgot about it. Maybe a professor mentioned this view of Berkhof while I was zoning out. Maybe a professor mentioned this view of Berkhof, but said that we don’t hold this view any more, so I dismissed it as important. In any case, the fact of the matter is, neither I nor any Presbyterian I know believes that babies are regenerated at baptism and then receive faith later.

I have been a Christian for 8 years, I have been attending (2) Presbyterian churches for 6 of those years. I am familiar with many other Presbyterian churches and/or their ministers. No one in leadership of those churches holds to the view you accuse us of teaching. Further, in today’s world, most children move away to college and often settle in cities other than where they grew up. So, it is not a very efficient way of fundraising to hope that baptized children will grow up and “become wage earners” supporting the same churches they grew up in. I guess, maybe it would be a good scam if you were a church in a college town with a good college ministry. But, what about friends I have who are pastors in Grand Island, Nebraska and Wichita, Kansas whose covenant children usually go to bigger cities for college and often find they like it enough there to stay permanently?

On a more serious note, I hope you will be relieved to know that baptism is not an automatic qualifier for church membership. In order to become a member of a church in the Presbyterian Church in America, one has to be able to give a testimony of faith in Christ to the elders, and then make a public confession of Christ along with vows before the church. I have known covenant children in their teens who were not admitted to membership because the elders could not in good conscience affirm that the young person gave a credible profession of belief in Christ. So no, baptized babies are not “members” of the church in a technical sense. We are not pressuring pre-schoolers to donate to the church so we can build a workout facility or an indoor food. (Though, I will teach my children to tithe their allowance because, as Paul often points out, giving is a spiritual activity, not a financial one.

Furthermore, why must you speak with such vitriol against those with whom you disagree? Can you not understand how hurtful it is for a parent to be accused of parenting their child out of a love for money and not out of love for the child? That is really what you are saying. A parent must be awfully cold-hearted to dupe their children into believing that their baptism meant something when really its only purpose was to fill the coffers of their church. And I wonder, what is the conversation like when the parent convinces their adult child to continue the charade with the next generation? “Daughter, I know I told you that your baptism was a sign of God’s love and commitment to you for the sake of Christ. Really though, it was a way to trick you into growing up to become a contributing member of the church. Now it’s time for you to carry on the tradition with the grandchild you are about to give birth to.” If that’s the kind of dynamic you think goes on in a Presbyterian church between parents and children, I hope you visit a gospel-centered Presbyterian church some day (of course, there are some that are not). If you are ever in St. Louis, please visit Memorial Presbyterian Church; you can have a seat by me. We are a community of sinners, redeemed and being redeemed by God’s grace. Some of us are farther along than others. Some of us are not redeemed yet. But we are tasting the goodness of the promises of God. The promises which are for us and for our children (Acts 2:39).

That reminds me of one further point. We have no fear of preaching the Gospel to the non-elect, as I think you’ve accused us of. We have no fear of the non-elect expressing faith in Christ, and we have no fear of people who express belief at one point and then denying it later—both of which I think you’ve accused us of. There are about 250 members of our church (not including their children) and about 300-350 who attend regularly on any given Sunday. Of those 50-100 extra attenders, I would estimate that half to ¾ either are not ready to express faith in Christ or are not even interested in expressing faith in Christ. They are checking out our community and whether or not we actually believe and live what we claim. We have no interest in becoming a large church—though we could. We worship in a beautiful gothic cathedral that was built in the 1920’s to be home to a Presbyterian “mega-church” of the time. Our sanctuary and balcony could probably hold about 700-800 people comfortably at one time. Instead our interest is in planting churches for years to come within our city. Our first plant will probably be in about 5 years. We would rather see many small to medium sized churches that reflect the diverse and unique neighborhoods of our city, which can support and minister to those neighborhoods in personal ways, than to become one large church that people from 20-50 miles away will have to drive for a long time to attend. Clearly, though we are committed to passing down the faith to our children, our longing is that the promise of God would be received by “all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). Oh, and I would estimate that 60 – 70% of our adult members were not raised Presbyterian (as both my wife and I were not). I am confident that many Presbyterian churches (especially those I know in this area and Nebraska where I used to live) have similar makeups.

David (if you or anyone else is still with me after this dissertation): thanks for the compliment. I don’t discuss much theology on my blog (though there is a little), mostly because the people who I know read it are mostly people with whom I’ve had many, many conversations about theology over dinner, or coffee, or a beer (which, I’m sure Luther would agree, are much better settings for theological discussion). I have toyed with the idea of beginning another blog in which would focus more on my interest in theology and church history. The discussion here the last few days is getting the juices flowing and just may spur me on to doing so. I need to check out your blog a bit more too.

 
At Tuesday, April 11, 2006 10:33:00 AM, Anonymous c.h.spurgeon said...

No sooner is the soul quickened than it at once discovers its lost estate, is horrified thereat, looks out for a refuge, and believing Christ to be a suitable one, flies to him and reposes in him.

Sermon 182

 
At Tuesday, April 11, 2006 1:13:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

c.h.spurgeon said...
No sooner is the soul quickened than it at once discovers its lost estate, is horrified thereat, looks out for a refuge, and believing Christ to be a suitable one, flies to him and reposes in him.

BOB'S COMMENT:

If this is being posted as if to indicate anything significant to the view on the new birth for which I have been contending, what is it?

Are you trying to impl that a pre-faith work of the Spirit consitutes the New Birth, according to Spurgeon? If so, you have Spurgeon contradicting himself over and over again.

ALL CALVINISTS have always taught that there is pre-faith work done by the Holy Spirit, and Spurgeon perhaps above all. He cites the case of Ezekiels' dead, dry bones many times an an illustration of "movement" before the ultimate restoration to life when breath was breathed into the bodies.

No Calvinist, to my knowledge, denies that there is a pre-faith done by the Holy Spirit.

So what is you point? If you are trying to argue that this constitutes the New Birth, you have to dig a little deeper, don't you think? -- Bob

 
At Tuesday, April 11, 2006 3:53:00 PM, Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

Bob, you ask a good question:
Why should I attach any serious weight to your comments when you do not demonstrate a knowledge of the subject we are refuting -- namely, the theory of "regeneration" as it advocated by the pedo-regenerationists and others who have either adopted or are advocating their theory?

The reason is that I'm not talking about it. I mentioned in my previous comment, which you even quoted, that I would disagree with that as well. I am not advocating somene getting regenerated and then being in that state for however long before they have faith in Christ.

I have rather maintained that when one is regenerated, they immediately come to Christ. I think I've said that a few times in this blog. :)

In any case, it definitely appears that Spurgeon agrees with what I just said. Note: I didn't say he agreed with Shedd or Berkhof. I said he would agree with faith in Christ being "the very first effect of regeneration." The quote from Spurgeon before I used -- and this one -- is available in greater context here.

This is really part of what I've thought all along, and I do think is why you say you disagree with Dr. White so much about this issue. You think he is advocating the paedobaptist position you have identified - which he is not. I'm not advocating it either. However, I am advocating a kind of regeneration that does happen before faith, which produces faith immediately, and that God works through His Gospel to bring about this regeneration and faith.

It appears to me that this whole disagreement is little more than a misunderstanding of what I believe and what Dr. White believes.

I hope that helps!

SDG,
David Hewitt

 
At Tuesday, April 11, 2006 6:33:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SPURGEON vs. JAMES WHITE

David Hewitt said...

However, I am advocating a kindof regeneration that does happen before faith, which produces faith immediately, and that God works through His Gospel to bring about this regeneration and faith.

BOB'S COMMENT:

It is always nice to not have to get out of the same sermon by Spurgeon which is quoted in order to refute the theory on the "kind" of regeneration which David advocates. Spurgeon's kind is the kind that has one who is born again as also having faith; James' kind has a man being born again BEFORE he has faith.

We have not so learned Spurgeon's "kind" of regeneration as David has learned James White's "kind"! If you had read that sermon on Human Inability, you would have found the following statement by Spurgeon which is totally contrary to the James White "kind" of regeneration:

>>
He [Holy Spirit]goes to the secret fountain of the heart, and he knows how, by some mysterious operation, to turn the will in an opposite direction, so that, as Ralph Erskine paradoxically puts it, the man is saved "with full consent against his will;" that is, against his old will he is saved. But he is saved with full consent, for he is made willing in the day of God's power. Do not imagine that any man will go to heaven kicking and struggling all the way against the hand that draws him. Do not conceive that any man will be plunged in the bath of a Saviour's blood while he is striving to run away from the Saviour. Oh, no. It is quite true that first of all man is unwilling to be saved. When the Holy Spirit hath put his influence into the heart, the text is fulfilled—"draw me and I will run after thee." We follow on while he draws us, glad to obey the voice which once we had despised. But the gist of the matter lies in the turning of the will. How that is done no flesh knoweth; it is one of those mysteries that is clearly perceived as a fact, but the cause of which no tongue can tell, and no heart can guess. . . .

Then the heart sinks, and the man is ready to despair. And saith he, "I never can be saved. Nothing can save me." [Please note David, he NOT SAVED YET!]

Then, comes the Holy Spirit and shows the SINNER the cross of Christ, gives him eyes anointed with heavenly eye-salve, and says, "Look to yonder cross. That Man died to save sinners; you feel that you are a sinner; he died to save you."

And he enables the heart to believe, and to come to Christ. And WHEN it comes to Christ, by this sweet drawing of the Spirit, it finds "a peace with God which passeth all understanding, which keeps his heart and mind through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Now, you will plainly perceive that all this may be done without any compulsion. Man is as much drawn willingly, as if he were not drawn at all; and he comes to Christ with full consent, with as full a consent as if no secret influence had ever been exercised in his heart. But that influence must be exercised, or else there never has been and there never will be, any man who either can or will come to the Lord Jesus Christ.
>>

Do you see, David, that all those pre-faith INFLUENCES by the Holy Spirit are simply designed to bring the lost sinner to the cross, to believe, to come to Christ.

Spurgeon does not say that the sinner is ALREADY BORN AGAIN!
You get that kind of thinking from the Great Exegeeter, James White.

The SINNER is not born again till he gets to the cross! And it is by the Holy Spirit's pre-faith influences that he gets to the cross -- not by being born again before he gets to the cross!

You seem to be staggering over Spurgeon, David, under the influence of that "White Lightnin'" and you need to stop drinking from that jug and drink more from the Spurgeon Fountain of Life. You are currently "Reading Under the Influence of White Lightnin'".

The "secret" to understanding Spurgeon is to always remember that he never has a man saved, born again, before he is a believer. That is the difference between Spurgeon and James White.

In James' debate with Dave Hunt, he has the sinner born again before he is a believer. (Debating Calvinism, chapter 7). You do not find Spurgeon teaching that.

Start reading Spurgeon, if you want to be enlightened. James White will only make you drunk on the "White Lightnin'."

 
At Tuesday, April 11, 2006 7:39:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MORE QUOTES FROM SPURGEON
ON PRE-FAITH WORKS OF THE SPIRIT


Here are a few of the quotes from Spurgeon used in my "Regeneration-Calvinism" item on this blogsite.

>>
C. H. SPURGEON presents the view of Baptists and of the Confessions of Faith.

He says, "Where there is no faith, there has been no quickening of the Holy Spirit , for faith is of the very essence of spiritual life."

And whereas there is some pre-faith workings of the Holy Spirit, Spurgeon says one is "NOT SAVED" at this stage of the Spirit's operations. Notice --

MTP, Sermon #656 on PREVENIENT GRACE __
>>
Now let me show you how God’s grace does come to work on the human heart so as to make it good soil before the living seed is cast into it, so that before quickening grace really visits it the heart may be called a good heart, because it is prepared to receive that grace.

I think this takes place thus: first of all, before quickening grace comes, God often gives an attentive ear, and makes a man willing to listen to the Word. Not only does he like to listen to it, but he wants to know the meaning of it; there is a little excitement in his mind to know what the gospel tidings really are. HE IS NOT SAVED YET, but it is always a hopeful sign when a man is willing to listen to the truth, and is anxious to understand it. This is one thing which prevenient grace does in making the soul good.

In Ezekiel’s vision, as you will recollect, before the breath came from the four winds the bones began to stir, and they came together bone to his bone.

So, before the Spirit of God comes to a man in effectual calling, God’s grace often comes to make a stir in the man’s mind, so that he is no longer indifferent to the truth, but is anxious to understand what it means.
>>

These few quotes demonstate what Spurgeon often said in reference to the PRE-NEW BIRTH WORK OF THE SPIRIT. But he never had a man BORN AGAIN BEFORE THE MAN HAD FAITH IN CHRIST. -- Bob L. Ross

 
At Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:53:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MORE FROM SPURGEON

In this excerpt, you will not find one "born again before faith."

You will here find that the Spirit's work of regeneration is simultaneous with the act of man in believing.

Hence, the creation of faith is regeneration, for faith would not exist without the Lord's producing it by His Word and Spirit as the "means." -- Bob L. Ross, 1 John 5:4.

Open Heart for A Great Saviour, #669 Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 12, 1866:

SPURGEON:

It is perfectly true that the work of salvation lies first and mainly in Jesus receiving sinners to Himself to pardon, to cleanse, to sanctify, to preserve, to make perfect.

But, at the same time the sinner also receives Christ. There is an act on the sinner’s part by which, being constrained by Divine Grace, he opens his heart to the admission of Jesus Christ and Jesus enters in and dwells in the heart, and reigns and rules there. To a gracious readiness of heart to entertain the Friend who knocks at the door, we are brought by God the Holy Spirit, and then He sups with us and we with Him. . . .

The act of trusting Jesus Christ is the act which brings a soul into a state of Grace and is the mark and evidence of our being bought with the blood of the Lord Jesus. Do you trust Him, dear Hearers? Then, if so, you receive Him. ....

THE GREAT WORK, WHICH IS NECESSARILY INVOLVED IN THIS ACT OF RECEIVING CHRIST.

Every man who trusts the Lord Jesus has been born again. The question was once argued in an assembly of Divines as to whether a person first had faith or regeneration, and it was suggested that it was a question which must forever be unanswerable. The process, if such it is, must be simultaneous—no sooner does the Divine life come into the soul than it believes on Christ. You might as well ask whether in the human body there is first the circulation of the blood or the heaving of the lungs—both are essential ingredients in life, and must come at the same time.

If I believe in Jesus Christ I need not ask any question as to whether I am regenerated, for no unregenerate person ever could believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! And if regenerated I must believe in Jesus, for he who does not do so is clearly dead in sin.

See, then, the folly of persons talking about being regenerated who have no faith! It cannot be! It is impossible! We can have no knowledge of such a thing as regeneration which is not accompanied with some degree of mental motion and consciousness.

Regeneration is not a thing which takes place upon matter—it is a thing of spirit. The birth of the spirit must be the subject of consciousness, and though a man may not be able to say that at such and such a moment he was regenerated, yet the act of faith is a consciousness of regeneration.

The moment I believe in Jesus Christ my faith is an index to me of a work that has gone on within. And the secret work within, and the open act of faith which God has joined together let no man put asunder.

Those who believe not are unregenerate, though they may have been sprinkled by the best priest who ever had Episcopal hands laid on his head!

If a man believes not he is unregenerate, whether baptized or not. But if he believes, he is regenerate, though he may never have been baptized at all. Baptism may outwardly express regeneration after it has been received, and then the symbol becomes valuable—but WITHOUT FAITH THERE CAN BE NO REGENERATION, even though Baptism is administered a thousand times!. . . . .

Now faith is the “tell-tale” of the human soul! Where there is faith there is new life. Where there is no faith there is no life. . . . . .

[More of the same later.]

 
At Tuesday, April 11, 2006 11:26:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SPURGEON'S IMMACULATE SYLLOGISM

Charles, we have seen Dr. B. H. Carroll's Impeccable Syllogism in another post on this blogsite.

Now, here is C. H. Spurgeon's Immaculate Syllogism, which is based on 1 John 5:4. This is on page 142 of Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 17, 1971, Sermon #979, "Faith and Regeneration."

1. "Whatsoever is BORN OF GOD overcometh the world."

2. But FAITH overcomes the world.

3. Therefore, the man who has FAITH is REGENERATE.


There is no way, Charles, to squeeze a "born again before faith" situation into that syllogism! FAITH is that which is BORN OF GOD, therefore the REGENERATED man is the man who has FAITH -- and NO OTHER! That rules out the faithless infants of "regenerated" pedobaptists, and it rules out the imaginary "pre-faith regenerates" of the "White Lightnin'" Distillery Co. Inc. Phoenix, Arizona.

In this same sermon, Spurgeon says of faith:

>>

Now, let me say a word or two in reply to certain questions. But must not a man repent as well as believe?

Reply: No man ever believed but what he repented at the same time.

Faith and repentance go together. they must. If I trust Christ to save me from sin, I am at the same time repenting of sin, and my mind is changed in relation to sin, and everything else that has to do with its state.

All the fruits meet for repentance are contained in faith itself. You will never find that a man who trusts Christ remains an enemy of God, or a lover of sin. The fact that he accepts the atonement provided is proof positive that he loathes sin, and that his mind is thoroughly changed in reference to God.

Moreover, as to all the graces which are produced in the Christian afterwards, are they not all to be found in embryo in faith?

"Only believe, and you shall be save," is the cry which many sneer at, and others misunderstand; but do you know what "only believe" means? Do you know what a world of meaning lies in that word?

Read that famous chapter to the Hebrews, and see what faith has done and is still able to do, and you will see that it is no trifle. Wherever there is faith in a man let it but develop itself and there will be a purging of himself from sin, a separating himself from the world, a conflict with evil, and a warring for the glory of Christ, which nothing else could produce.

Faith is in itself one of the noblest of graces; it is the compendium of all virtues; and as sometimes there will lie within one single ear enough seed to make a whole garden fertile, so, within that one word "faith," there lies enough of virtue to make earth blessed; enough of grace, if the Spirit make it to grow, to turn the fallen into the perfect.

Faith is not the easy and light thing men think. Far are we from ascribing salvation to the profession of a mere creed, we loathe the idea; neither do we ascribe salvation to a fond persuasion, but we do ascribe salvation to Jesus Christ, and the obtaining of it to that simple, child like confidence which lovingly casts itself into the arms of him who gave both his hands to the nail and suffered to the death for the sins of his people.

He who believes, then, is saved—rest assured of that. "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God."
>>

Thus, Charles, according to Spurgeon -- they all "go together" and they reach their ultimate fulfillment when one has been brought to FAITH. When one has arrived at faith, he may rest assured that he is BORN AGAIN, and not before, James White the BABFers notwithstanding. -- Bob L. Ross

 
At Wednesday, April 12, 2006 9:47:00 AM, Anonymous brownback said...

I believe it is fair to say that Spurgeon was not completely consistent.

I think it also fair to say that if anyone but Spurgeon had said this you would be saying, "There's that born again before faith, heterodoxy."

“COMING to Christ” is a very common phrase in Holy Scripture. It is used to express those acts of the soul wherein leaving at once our self righteousness, and our sins, we fly unto the Lord Jesus Christ, and receive his righteousness to be our covering, and his blood to be our atonement. Coming to Christ, then, embraces in it repentance, self-negation, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and it sums within itself all those things which are the necessary attendants of these great states of heart, such as the belief of the truth, earnestness of prayer to God, the submission of the soul to the precepts of God’s gospel, and all those things which accompany the dawn of salvation in the soul. Coming to Christ is just the one essential thing for a sinner’s salvation. He that cometh not to Christ, do what he may, or think what he may is yet in “the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.” Coming to Christ is the very first effect of regeneration. No sooner is the soul quickened than it at once discovers its lost estate, is horrified thereat, looks out for a refuge, and believing Christ to be a suitable one, flies to him and reposes in him (emphasis mine). Where there is not this coming to Christ, it is certain that there is as yet no quickening; where there is no quickening, the soul is dead in trespasses and sins, and being dead it cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 
At Wednesday, April 12, 2006 11:55:00 AM, Blogger nickg said...

Mr. Ross: you said, "according to Spurgeon -- they all [believing, saving, regenerating] "go together" and they reach their ultimate fulfillment when one has been brought to FAITH. When one has arrived at faith, he may rest assured that he is BORN AGAIN, and not before."

Nothing that I or anyone else on this blog have said is in opposition to this view. In my comment on April 9, 7:06 p.m., I said, "these things [meaning, believing, saving, regenerating] are all wrapped up together." Maybe Mr. White does indeed teach the view you are opposing, but no one on this blog espouses it. Maybe that should reassure you that Mr. White is not having the destructive influence upon the church that you fear. I am not thoroughly familiar with Mr. White's work, though I have found some of it helpful in the past, but he is certainly not my hermeneutical key into the Scriptures.

Brownback: I don't know that it's fair to say that Spurgeon is inconsistent (though, as a mere human being, it would not be the end of the world if he were). Instead, I'd be willing to bet that he merely found opportunity to stress or emphasize different aspects of our salvation by grace in different settings for homiletical effect. The gospel is a wonderful tapestry of truth and dynamic interaction in relationship with our Lord. We cannot hear all of it in every sermon, so we need all parts of it given to us piecemeal. Consider Jesus: sometimes He preached about the new birth as necessary for salvation, sometimes He preached about faith as necessary; sometimes He claimed one had to "repent and believe" in order to be a disciple; sometimes He claimed one had to "take up his cross and follow" to be a disciple. Emphasizing those different truths at different times does not make Him inconsistent.

 
At Wednesday, April 12, 2006 11:56:00 AM, Anonymous effectualcall said...

What do you think is the difference between and "effectual call" and "regenerations before salvation"?

What exactly does God do to the enslaved will of a man who is dead in sins and transgressions?

I think some regeneration before faith people and efffectual call people think that God is doing the same thing, they just label it differently.

 
At Wednesday, April 12, 2006 12:19:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

brownback said...
I believe it is fair to say that Spurgeon was not completely consistent.

I think it also fair to say that if anyone but Spurgeon had said this you would be saying, "There's that born again before faith, heterodoxy."


BOB'S COMMENT:

Spurgeon did not have a very high regard for "consistency." He preferred to appear inconsistent rather than appear to hack and hew on Scripture to make it fit his theology.

In sermons #1516 in the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 26, page 49, Spurgeon said:

>>
My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture. I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater. I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God. I never thought it to be any very great crime to seem to be inconsistent with myself; for who am I that I should everlastingly be consistent? But I do think it a great crime to be so inconsistent with the word of God that I should want to lop away a bough or even a twig from so much as a single tree of the forest of Scripture. God forbid that I should cut or shape, even in the least degree, any divine expression.
>>

I always try to understand a person "in context," and not merely on the basis of a snippet of comment. I have Spurgeon's thousands of sermons which give an immense context from which to form an understanding of his views. I do not base my understanding of Spurgeon on just a line or two here and there, but on the whole of what he says on a matter.

I would not want to make a judgment about anyone's views if I had to base it on a mere line or two. On James White, for example, I have two volumes of his which are probably sufficient to understand his views -- The Potter's Freedom and his debate book with Dave Hunt. It is clear that he teaches "born again before faith."

 
At Wednesday, April 12, 2006 12:35:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SOUTHERN BAPTIST SEMINARY HAS PEDO-REGENERATIONIST TO SPEAK

In a message dated 4/12/2006 8:00:40 AM Central Daylight Time, charles writes:

Look who the honored guest speaker is at Dr. Mohler's seminary:

The link provided was to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, and the guest speaker announced for the Lecture sponsored by the Gheens Lectureship
is pedobaptist R. C. SPROUL.

While Dr. Mohler has expressed concern about Joel Osteen's Gospel, what has he said about Sproul's? To my knowledge, Sproul "makes disciples" by baptizing babies, and if he has ever addressed the Gospel to lost sinners, I missed it.

Sproul is also an advocate of the Shedd/Berkhof theory of "pre-faith regeneration" and regeneration apart from the necessary use of "means."

Pitiful! Pitiful!

Why does a Baptist Seminary have a man to speak whose denomination stands for (1) the supposed "regeneration" of babies, and the (2) "regeneration" of adults by a "direct operation" without the use of means and before faith in Christ?

Here is what Spurgeon said about the pedobaptist Presbyterians such as Sproul who think that the children of believing parents are the "seed of Abraham," heirs of regeneration, and qualify for church membership:

>>
"We do not expect to be saved by virtue of our parentage. We cannot boast of fleshly descent from Abraham. Neither do we rest upon the fact that we are, some of us, the children of godly parents and that from generation to generation saintly names occur in our pedigree. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and no more, however pure the flesh may be. The children of God are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God. Carnal descent leaves us heirs of wrath even as others. We have no belief in a pretended Abrahamic Covenant made with the seed of Believers according to the flesh" [such as held by Pedobaptists].

"We have no reliance upon anything that comes to us by the way of the natural birth, for that would make us like that son of the bondwoman who was born after the flesh. Those who glory in their birth may do so at their leisure—we have no sympathy with their glorying."
>>
MTP, Volume 21, 1875, Sermon #1228, page 207. May be read at http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols19-21/chs1228.pdf

 
At Wednesday, April 12, 2006 3:36:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

nickg said...

Maybe Mr. White does indeed teach the view you are opposing, but no one on this blog espouses it. Maybe that should reassure you that Mr. White is not having the destructive influence upon the church that you fear. I am not thoroughly familiar with Mr. White's work, though I have found some of it helpful in the past, but he is certainly not my hermeneutical key into the Scriptures.

BOB:

It is clear that James White teaches that a sinner is BORN AGAIN BEFORE HE RECEIVED JESUS CHRIST BY FAITH.

Nick, you either agree or disagree with that view, for there is hardly any "middle ground."

I disagree with James, think his view is aberrant and heterodox when compared to our Confessions of Faith and noteable scholars.

What is so paradoxical with James White is that while he espouses that view, he nevertheless is trying to pervert the Confession and Spurgeon as if they were of the same view.

I would have far more respect for him if he were candid and simply admitted that his view is the same view of Shedd and Berkhof and the pedo-regenerationists.

Shedd and Berkhof both ADMITTED that their view was not the same as the 17th century Puritans and the Confession. Their "excuse" was that the "ordo salutis" was not yet "fully developed" in that past.

James is demonstrating that he is a double-minded man. In my judgment, he demonstrated this in the MacArthur "Sonship" case, and now again on this "born again before faith" issue.

 
At Wednesday, April 12, 2006 3:48:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

effectualcall said...
What do you think is the difference between and "effectual call" and "regenerations before salvation"?

BOB:

The primary difference is that the "effectual call" Calvinists do not believe that anything is the NEW BIRTH until a person is a believer in Jesus Christ.

In other words, whatsoever may be done by the Holy Spirit before faith, and by howsoever it is described, does not constitute the New Birth. Until the sinner has been brought by the workings of Divine Grace to exercise the Word-Spirit produced faith, he is not yet BORN OF GOD. When he, by God's grace, gets to the point of faith in Christ, THEN he is BORN OF GOD.

 
At Wednesday, April 12, 2006 9:51:00 PM, Anonymous effectualcall said...

do you think that the "born again before faith" believers are just misdefining their terms by calling the work which enables a person to believe, the new birth. It doesn't seem to be that extreme of a difference between what you have stated. Since the main point is that God has to do something to man's nature, either quickening it or enabling it, so that it can believe.

also, do you believe that the effectual call is irresistable?

 
At Wednesday, April 12, 2006 11:08:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

effectualcall said...
do you think that the "born again before faith" believers are just misdefining their terms by calling the work which enables a person to believe, the new birth. It doesn't seem to be that extreme of a difference between what you have stated. Since the main point is that God has to do something to man's nature, either quickening it or enabling it, so that it can believe.

There is a big difference. In the 1830s, the Hardshell denomination took this same doctrine as the basis for opposing all forms of outreach to the unregenerate world.
If judged by its fruits, it apparently has a detrimental effect upon attitudes about child conversion, public invitations, witnessing, evangelism, and missions.

also, do you believe that the effectual call is irresistable?

Let's just say that as this relates to the issue of the New Birth, until one's resistance has been overcome so that he believes in Christ, he is not born again. If his resistance is overcome and he becomes a believer in Christ, he is born again.

 

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