Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Blunders of Gene M. Bridges

This article is a series of comments offered by Bob Ross on Gene M. Bridges. Gene is possibly the most prolific "born again before faith" Reformed Calvinist blogger on the Internet.

He posts frequently on issues in the Southern Baptist Convention yet by his own admission he belongs to a church which is "denominationally unaffiliated" and which has for its confession not the Baptist Faith and Message but the "1646 London Baptist Confession."

In a short time, Gene has made a name for himself. Despite his lack of SBC affiliation, Founders Ministries (yes, they really believe what they are doing is a ministry) will soon publish a journal article by Gene. He is also a frequent contributor of comments on blogs of The Founders and others.

Even a cursory examination of Gene M. Bridge's writing will reveal more smoke than substance. In this article, Bob Ross answers some of Gene's strange assertions and erroneous allegations.

Charles


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
ON GENE BRIDGES

Bob to Charles:

I am aware, Charles, that Gene Bridges made a very lame attempt at replying to my comments about his blog, but the man is so discombobulating in his thinking and so pointless in the mass of materials which he quotes, there is little need to reply to his second article. It is an exercise in futility.

To illustrate the man's deficiency, he made the following remark:
>>
Apparently Mr. Ross is confused about semi-Pelagianism and what the confessions say about the freedom of the will as well as what I wrote to him last time. Either that, or his interlocutors in the past are correct, he sees what he wants to see.
>>

Now, any man who could read my materials and make such a nonsensical comment as that is obviously so far removed from polemical ability that "Yogisms" make much more sense.

Here is a case in point to illustrate his deficient of understanding, as he further says --

>>
Andrew Fuller . . . against General Baptist Dan Taylor, who affirms that it [regeneration] is the result of faith (just like Mr. Ross it seems) . . . .
>>

Charles, I assume you read everything that goes up on this blog, and I will stand corrected if you -- or even Gene Bridges -- can show a single statement where I ever said that "it [regeneration] is the result of faith."

I have consistently presented the Creedal Calvinist view that the Holy Spirit by use of the instrumentality of the Word of God is the sole efficient power whichcreates faith. If Gene reads my writings at all, he must read them as carelessly and with as little understanding as he reads the Baptist Confessions and Baptist writers.

In numerous posts I have affirmed this view. I have demonstrated that all the Confessions teach this view, and that it was the view of men such as John Gill, C. H. Spurgeon, John L. Dagg, B. H. Carroll, and numerous others who have been mentioned. Even in materials that Gene quotes, this view is taught, yet he evidently does not even see it!

As for Andrew Fuller, he taught that all the efficient power in the New Birth is by the "immediate agency" of the Holy Spirit, and that this "regeneration is by the Word of God" and the sinner is both "passive" (as to the efficient power) and "active" (in believing) at the very same time the Spirit does His work.

Fuller taught that the terms "regeneration" and "conversion" are "NOT DESIGNED to express the different STAGES of God's work upon the soul, but the SAME DIVINE WORK under different IDEAS or representations."

Fuller said that (1) the "passivity" of the sinner in regeneration as to efficient power and (2) the "activity" of the sinner's faith in regeneration are BOTH "INCLUDED IN REGENERATION."

Fuller says, "It does not therefore seem perfectly accurate to say we are first endued with spiritual life, and then we become active; no otherwise, at least, than as by the order of nature, seeing that ACTIVITY IS OF THE VERY ESSENSE OF SPIRITUAL LIFE." In other words, ACTIVE FAITH and SPIRITUAL LIFE exist TOGETHER.

He also says, "Now, considering regeneration as expressive of that entire change by which we enter as it were a new moral world, and possess a new kind of being (and in this sense I think it is ALWAYS to be understood in the New Testament) it is as proper to say WE ARE REGENERATED BY THE WORD OF GOD, as it is to say that 'Abraham begat Isaac;' though in Isaac's coming into the world he was the subject of a Divine agency in which Abraham has no concern." (Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, on "Regeneration by the Word of God," 1 Peter 1:23, page 529).

Therefore, Fuller affirms, as we have consistently affirmed, that the New Birth and the sinner's faith are the "same Divine work" OF the Spirit as the sole "efficient cause," and the sinner is "regenerated [BEGOTTEN] BY the Word of God" as the Spirit's instrumentality, and the sinner is not regenerated separate and apart from faith, and faith is not separate and apart from regeneration.

Gene Bridges needs to learn "how to think" and "how to read" to go along with his ability to copy an abundance of materials, as if "the mostest on the leastest is the bestest."
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 12:23:02 AM



GENE BRIDGES vs B. H. CARROLL

Bob to Charles:

Gene Bridges demonstrates a sad case of "Attention Deficient Disorder" when he attempts to align himself with the late B. H. CARROLL, Founder of the Southwestern Theological Seminary.

Gene gives a short quote from Carroll and asks a few rhetorical questions as if it is I who has a difference with B. H. Carroll rather than Gene. In this, Gene reminds me of Campbellites I have debated who have quoted Baptists as if they supported the Campbellite view on baptism in opposition to me!
Come to think of it, with his view that the sinner is "born again" without faith in Christ, Gene might make a good Campbellite, for this is at least consistent with the Campbellite contention which denies that one experiences the new birth at the point of God-given faith in Christ.

Just prior to the short quote Gene gives from Carroll are these words from B. H. Carroll which appear in his Interpretation of the English Bible, Volume 10, page 287. I call it CARROLL'S IMPECCABLE SYLLOGISM, which no Hybrid Calvinist can refute. Gene Bridges did not even make a stab at refuting it:

>>
This teaching may be put into a syllogism, thus:

Every one born of God has the right to be called a child of God.

But no one has the right until he believes in Jesus.

Therefore the new birth is NOT COMPLETE WITHOUT FAITH
.
>>

Despite those plain words from Carroll, Gene Bridges nevertheless contends that the new birth takes place before, without, and apart from faith in Christ. In other words, he has a "born again" unbeliever -- such as F. H. Kerfoot described in the first part of this thread.

B. H. Carroll did not hold the "pre-faith regeneration" theory, as can be clearly seen from his discussion of Regeneration on pages 285-288 of chapter 10 on the Four Gospels, Interpretation of the English Bible, Part 1, Volume 10 of the 17 volume set, Broadman Press, 1913 edition published by BP in 1947.

Carroll not only shows the unscriptural nature of this idea, but even states that it is "philosophically impossible" to hold to the idea that one is regenerated "before the subject is penitent and believing" (page 286).

Thus, Carroll lampoons the Hardshell Baptist / Pedo-regenerationist theory of Berkhof-Shedd-Frame-Sproul-Duncan-Murray-James White-Gene Bridges-Mark Dever-Tom Schreiner-Scott Morgan-Tom Nettles-the Founders, etc. at its very heart.

Carroll goes on to say, on page 288 -- which Gene Bridges conveniently failed to quote:

"The Holy Spirit then is the agent in regeneration and the instrumental means of regeneration is the Word of God, or the preaching of Christ and Him crucified, yet the power of the Spirit does not reside in the word as inspired, but the agency is positive and active in the use of the Word."

Obviously, Carroll repudiates the Pedo-regenerationist theory of regeneration "without means," and states that if one should hold that preliminary influences by the Spirit in the soul "is NOT what the Scriptures call the new birth HE WOULD BE ABLE TO SUPPORT HIS VIEW BY MANY SCRIPTURES" (page 286).

Even in the short quotation that Gene uses, there is enough to destroy Gene's theory of "born again before faith." Notice:

Dr. Carroll says, "There is, first of all, a direct influence of the Holy Spirit on the passive spirit of the sinner, quickening him or making him sensitive to the preaching of the Word. In this the sinner is passive. But he is NOT A SUBJECT OF THE NEW BIRTH WITHOUT CONTRITION, REPENTANCE AND FAITH."

This plainly shows that Dr. Carroll did not believe that the preliminary "quickening" work of the Spirit constituted the new birth, for although "quickened" the sinner "is not a subject of the new birth without contritition, repentance and faith" -- contrary to the "born again before faith" heresy advocated by Gene Bridges and other Hybrid Calvinists.

How on earth could anyone who believes what Gene Bridges believes -- which clearly contradicts B. H. Carroll's view -- be so vain as to think he could "pull the wool over the eyes" of even a child who is capable of simply reading Carroll's writings?

There must be some type of "Attention Deficicent Disorder" -- not be be confused with the normal "A. D. D."
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 5:58:26 PM



BRIDGES FALLS DOWN AGAIN

Bob to Charles:

"London Bridge is falling down . . . "

And Gene Bridges has fallen down -- again!

In his deficient effort to reply to my materials, Gene Bridges says the following:

>>
No, sir, I simply interpret the NHC on its own terms in its own context. The NHC is a recapitulation of Calvinistic doctrine as expressed at that time. We see what that context was in statements like:

Daniel Marshall:
"We believe that all those who were chosen in Christ, will be effectually called, regenerated, converted, sanctified, and supported by the spirit and power of God, so that they shall persevere in grace and not one of them be finally lost." Marshall, Article 6, Confession of the Georgia Association)

Notice [says Gene] where he places regeneration in his order of salvation. One is called, regenerated, converted, sanctified, and caused to persevere. (Marshall, Article 6, Confession of the Georgia Association)
>>

I did "notice" that "order," and I see that "EFFECTUALLY CALLED" PRECEDES REGENERATION, according to Daniel Marshall as quoted by Gene Bridges.

Now, if that Article 6 by Marshall means the same thing as the 1689 London Confession, and the Philadelphia Confession, in the use of "Effectual Calling," then this Article 6 is opposed to Gene Bridges and those who teach "born again before faith."

This article has "Effectual Calling" preceding "regeneration" in the "order." Did Gene somehow fail to take note of that?

EFFECTUAL CALLING in the 1689 London Confession is "by His WORD and SPIRIT, (1) out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, (2) to grace of salvation by Jesus Christ; (3) enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to (4) understand the things of God," etc. All of that is categorized under "Effectual Calling" in the 1689 Confession.

Furthermore, those same souls are described as being "united to Christ" (Chapter 13), and they have been "enabled to believe to the saving of their souls," which is said to be "the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word" (Chapter 14).

Now, ALL OF THAT is categorized under "Effectual Calling" by the Word and Spirit, in the 1689 Confession, and according to Daniel Marshall, Effectual Calling was listed in the "order" BEFORE regeneration, according to the quotation from Gene Bridges.

I'm sure Gene may want to take another look at that and somehow figure out some scheme whereby to get the "order" explained in accordance with Hybrid Calvinism which dares not have one born again other than "before faith."
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 9:13:37 PM



BRIDGES A WEAKLING ON STRONG

Bob to Charles:

Gene Bridges is really "stretching" and "grabbing at straws" when he tries to use A. H. Srrong. Years ago, I wrote an entire pamphlet entitled "Regeneration: Strong vs. Berkhof" in which a contrast is shown between the Baptist position of Strong and the pedo-regenerationist Hybrid Calvinism of Louis Berkhof who advocated "born again before faith."

Bridges must really be in a dizzy spin to try to align with Strong, one of the great theological opponents of the idea of "born again before faith" (Strong's Systematic Theology, pages 809-829).

Bridges says:
>>
A.H. Strong says that regeneration is the efficient cause of conversion and names the immediate agency of the Holy Spirit upon the sinner's heart as the efficient cause (Theology, 625)
>>

Bridges' reference to Strong is altogether superfluous. All Creedal Calvinists affirm that the Holy Spirit is the sole "efficient cause" of the new birth and all of the necessary elements or ingredients involved in the new birth. They likewise affirm that the Holy Spirit uses INSTRUMENTALITY in accomplishing the new birth. Strong is no exception.

Here is what Strong taught -- and whether one agrees with him or not, he clearly is against the "born again before faith" idea:

>>
II. REGENERATION. Regeneration is that act of God by which the governing disposition of the soul is made holy, and by which, through the truth as a means, the first holy exercise of this disposition is secured.

Regeneration, or the new birth, is the divine side of that change of heart or which we call conversion if viewed from the human side. It is God’s turning the soul to himself, conversion being the soul’s turning itself to God; God’s turning it is both the accompaniment and cause. It will be observed from the above definition, that there are two aspects of regeneration, in the first of which the soul is passive, in the second of which the soul is active. God changes the governing disposition, in this change the soul is simply acted upon. God secures the initial exercise of this disposition in view of the truth, in this change the soul itself acts. Yet these two parts of God’s operation are SIMULTANEOUS. At the same moment that he makes the soul sensitive, he pours in the light of his truth and induces the exercise of the holy disposition he has imparted.
>>

By this statement within itself Strong refutes the "born again before faith" idea. The power that regenerates is God's power, and SIMULTANEOUSLY the sinner turns to God, accomplished "through truth as a means," according to Strong. "Simultaneous" means "at the same moment," so there is no "time" for "born again before faith."

Strong:
>>C. The immediate agency of the Holy Spirit, as the efficient cause of regeneration.

In ascribing to the Holy Spirit the authorship of regeneration, we do not affirm that the divine Spirit accomplishes his work without any accompanying instrumentality. We simply assert that the power, which regenerates, is the power of God and that although conjoined with the use of means, there is a direct operation of this power upon the sinner’s heart, which changes its moral character. . . .

4. The Instrumentality used in Regeneration. . . .

B. The Scriptural view is that regeneration, so far as it secures an activity of man, is accomplished through the instrumentality of the truth. . . .

Here we perceive the link between the efficiency of God and the activity of man. Only as the sinner’s mind is brought into contact with the truth, does God complete his regenerating work. . . .

Conviction of sin is an ordinary, if not an invariable, antecedent of regeneration. It results from the contemplation of truth. It is often accompanied by fear, remorse and cries for mercy. But these desires and fears are not signs of regeneration. They are selfish. They are quite consistent with manifest and dreadful enmity to God.

They have a hopeful aspect, simply because they are evidence that the Holy Spirit is striving with the soul. But this work of the Spirit is not yet regeneration. At most, it is preparation for regeneration. So far as the sinner is concerned, he is more of a sinner than ever before. Because, under more light, than has ever before been given him, he is still rejecting Christ and resisting the Spirit. . . .

And so long as these preliminary motives rule, regeneration has not yet taken place. Bible reading and prayers, and church attendance and partial reformations are certainly better than apathy or out breaking sin. They may be signs that God is working in the soul. But without complete surrender to God, they may be accompanied with the greatest guilt and the greatest danger. Simply because, under such influences, the withholding of submission implies the most active hatred to God and opposition to his will. Instance cases of outward reformation that preceded regeneration, like that of John Bunyan, who left off swearing before his conversion. Park: “The soul is a monad and must turn all at once. If we are standing on the line, we are yet unregenerate. We are regenerate only when we cross it.” There is a prevenient grace as well as a regenerating grace. Wendelius indeed distinguished five kinds of grace, namely, prevenient, preparatory, operant, cooperative and perfecting. . . .

Since the relation between the divine and the human activity is not one of chronological succession, man is never to wait for God’s working. If he is ever regenerated, it must be in and through a movement of his own will, in which he turns to God as unconstrained and with as little consciousness of God’s operation upon him, as if no such operation of God were involved in the change. And in preaching, we are to press upon men the claims of God and their duty of immediate submission to Christ. It is with the certainty that they who do so submit will subsequently recognize this new and holy activity of their own wills as due to a working within them of divine power.
>>

Once again, we see how Gene Bridges has failed to enlist a Baptist theologian into the "born again before faith" camp.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 10:53:45 PM



ANOTHER BLUNDER BY BRIDGES

Bob to Charles:

If you have read the mass of materials by Gene Bridges, I am sure, Charles, that you have noted how Gene never seems to find exactly what he wants it to say, so he says it himself.

For example, he quotes some confessions of faith and tells you what you did not read in the confessions themselves, namely that "those confessions affirm that regeneration precedes faith."

Sounds a lot like our friend, Scott Morgan, doesn't he? Didn't I offer some financial rewards for confessions which say that "regeneration precedes faith"?

Gene can't find a single Baptist confession of faith which says "regeneration precedes faith." So he has to "fill in" what the confessions dod not say.

Did you notice how many of the pedo-regenerationists Gene used in his article? He is simply re-affirming what the pedos have been teaching for years, the idea that the elect get "born again before faith," the vast majority of them when they are babies.

Of course, if they get regenerated when they are babies when they are not even capable of believing, regeneration would necessarily be "before faith," wouldn't it?

I wonder when Gene got regenerated -- before he believed on Christ? Did he walk an aisle to accept Christ?

It's too late tonight, but I will have more to say on this.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 1:22:57 AM

23 Comments:

At Wednesday, May 31, 2006 3:27:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

BRIDGES OVER 1646 CONFESSION
COLLAPSES

Charles said . . .


He [Gene Bridges] posts frequently on issues in the Southern Baptist Convention yet by his own admission he belongs to a church which is "denominationally unaffiliated" and which has for its confession not the Baptist Faith and Message but the "1646 London Baptist Confession."

Bob's comment:

Gene is in big trouble with his doctrine of "born again before faith" when measured by teachings of the 1646 London Baptist Confession.

For example, Article 24 definitely makes faith the product of the efficient and effectual work of the Spirit in His use of the Word as His instrumentality in bringing sinners to Christ -- not by their power, but by Divine power:

>>
Faith is ordinarily begotten by the preaching of the gospel, or word of Christ, without respect to any power or agency in the creature; but it being wholly passive, and dead in trespasses and sins, DOTH BELIEVE and is converted by no less power than that which raised Christ from the dead.
>>

Article 23 likewise refers to "this precious faith wrought in them by the Spirit."

That Confession makes it clear that the "dead" are "raised" to life by the Holy Spirit's begetting faith in them by means of the Gospel, thus bringing about their conversion. There is no "born again before faith" heresy in this Article 24.

Also, Article 25 knows nothing of any "pre-faith regeneration" or a "new birth before faith," as it says the "conversion" of sinners requires nothing but "to receive Christ":

>>
The preaching of the gospel to the conversion of sinners, is absolutely free; no way requiring as absolutely necessary, any qualifications, preparations, or terrors of the law, or preceding ministry of the law, but only and alone the naked soul, a sinner and ungodly, to receive Christ crucified, dead and buried, and risen again; who is made a prince and a Savior for such sinners as through the gospel shall be brought to believe on Him.
>>

Concerning FAITH, the Confession is even more deadly to the heresy of Gene Bridges, as Article 22 says:

>>
Faith is the gift of God, wrought in the hearts of the elect by the Spirit of God; by which faith they come to know and believe the truth of the Scriptures, and the excellency of them above all other writings, and all things in the world, as they hold forth the glory of God in His attributes, the execellency of Christ in His nature and offices, and of the power and fulness of the Spirit in its [His] workings and operations; and so are enabled to cast their souls upon His truth thus believed. Eph. 2:8; John 6:29, 4:10; Phil. 1:29; Gal. 5:22; John 17:17; Heb. 4:11,12; John 6:63.
>>

Article 26 also refers to "the same power that converts to faith in Christ," which is an obvious reference to the power of God in His blessing upn the preaching of the gospel, or word of Christ, mentioned in Article 24.

There is no reference whatsoever to "regeneration precedes faith" in this 1646 Confession of faith. Gene borrowed that heresy from the pedo-regenerationists, as it is not found in Baptist confessions.

According to this Confession, no one is "converted" until he is a believer in Jesus Christ -- which faith is not of his own creation but is the "gift of God" through the preaching of the Gospel, blessed by the power of God.

Since the Confession does not even use the word "regeneration," it is obvious that these Baptists viewed "conversion" as being the New Birth.

Gene Bridges would "give his right arm" if he could find the words "regeneration precedes faith" in this or any other Baptist confession.

I took a look at the website of Gene's church affiliation, and it appears to have background "roots" in "Arminianism" as the original source of its "evolution." In other words, another case of those converted under an "Arminian" ministry who have swung to the other extreme, Hybrid Calvinism.

 
At Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:53:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

BRIDGES' BUNGLING BLOGGADOCIO

Bob to Charles:

Gene Bridges has several times referred to me as follows:

"Bob L. Ross is in my estimation a factious man."

One of Gene's supporters even went further and said:

"Bob Ross . . . I have concluded . . . is
severely paranoid,suffering
from dementia,"
etc.

Do you see, Charles, what kind of trouble a fellow can get himself into when he differs with those who advocate an aberrant theology?

This is not unusual at all for me, however, for over the years I have "taken on" so many aberrants that this type of "analysis" has become rather common. Ruckman, for example, the champion of "King James Onlyism," declared me "certifiably insane."

Gene Bridges, as a "Johnny-come-lately," has simply joined the company of Campbellites, King James Onlyites, Landmarkers, Preterists and perhaps a few others who in past times have "analyzed" me similarly so as to make an effort at discreditation.

It's merely the desperate old game by aberrants of "attacking the messenger."

I think Gene has found his appropriate polemical "company" among these aberrant theologs.

But Gene is so "cornfused" in how to go about his efforts agains me that he is even irritating some of his own supporting readers. I noticed a few complaints by his respondents, one of which sort of sums up the attitude of some of them:

"I also agree with David as to the length. I found this post particularly difficult to follow. Gene writes of what Ross said Gene said and then Gene denies that's what he (Gene)said, but because of the length of each section of the post I found it difficult to follow what was being denied and who was asserting what."

Evidently, your blog, Charles, is getting a wide reading audience, if we can believe Gene. He says:

In the past week, I have received emails incredulous and sad that he has been doing this, ranging from “this is sad,” to “he doesn’t know what he is saying,” to “he is paranoid and delusional.” This should not be. These range from folks that are seminary students, to evangelists, to elders in churches. One of my own elders has read his latest rant and has noted that it is Mr. Ross, not I who seems to be the "Semi-Pelagian."

Gene also seems to be "reaching out" for a little assistance from his "Reformed" brethren, for he says:

I call on my fellow Reformed bloggers to call him to repentance and either begin addressing him yourselves or, if this fails, shun him in accordance with Titus 3:9 – 11.

Do you here detect, Charles, some of the same type of irrational response which was demonstrated by our friend, Scott Morgan, whose wife finally stepped in to "cool his heels"?

As for what Gene says about several Baptists I have quoted, my presentation of their views does not have to be repeated, for Gene has done nothing of any significance to counter my presentations which are available on this blogsite.

His denial that he is semi-Pelagian is not consistent with Gene's theories, so that also stands unblemished.

Gene makes one comment which seems to imply that he has "tilted" more toward pedo-regeneration than he would perhaps admit. He says:

There is no such thing as a regenerated infant who does not immediately convert when his or her faculties are able and they hear the gospel,"

Does this imply that Gene agrees with the pedo-regenerationists that there is "such thing as a
regenerated infant," as is taught by the likes of Shedd, Berkhof, Sproul, Frame, Duncan, and other pedo-regenerationists who teach that the "elect" inherit "regeneration" in their very early infancy -- or even before birth, as per John Frame?

Gene erroneously states, We and our modern Presbyterian brethren affirm, as our forefathers did, that the ordinary means of regeneration is the Holy Spirit, through the instrumentality of the gospel.

No, Gene, as we have seen in our other threads, these "brethren" teach that "regeneration" is a "direct operation" apart from the use of means -- for which you can see Shedd's Theology, Volume 2, pages 506, 507 where he says:

"Regeneration is NOT EFFECTED BY THE USE OF MEANS . . . regeneration is A DIRECT OPERATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT . . . the word and truth of God, the most important of all the means of grace, IS NOT A MEANS OF REGENERATION . . . regeneration is NOT EFFECTED BY THE USE OF MEANS."

The fact that Gene tries to defend the "no means" heresy of Shedd and his "Presbyterian brethren" demonstrates "where his heart is" -- with the pedo-regenerationists, not the Baptists.

 
At Thursday, June 01, 2006 3:00:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

DEAD MEN BELIEVING?

Bob to Charles:

Charles, Gene Bridges seems to have a "problem" with the idea of "dead men believing."

Gene just doesn't seem to have a handle on the miracle of Holy Spirit-created faith in dead sinners who thereby are born of God (1 John 5:4, 1; John 1:12, 13; John 6:63; 1 Cor. 4:15; etc.)

Yet dead men are the ONLY kind of men who ever get born again, just like dead bodies are the only kind that will ever be resurrected.

The dead hear and live, according to Jesus. But Gene seems to think that it is the "living" who hear after they are first made alive. He can't seem to grasp the miracle that God raises the dead thru the power of His "Word and Spirit," as both the Scriptures and our Baptist confessions teach.

Yet, doesn't even Gene defend the idea that the Gospel is supposed to be preached to "all" dead mean, and the dead men are called upon to hear and believe? Didn't God command Ezekiel to preach to the dead bones and call upon them to hear the Word of the Lord (chapter 37).

So why does Gene have a problem with "dead men believing"? It seems that Gene does not think this is "logical." He says --

>>
B. I do not deny this, and I never have, but the question you must answer is “how can dead men” breathe? You’re the one stating that men believe PRIOR TO regeneration. We affirm the logical priority of regeneration for the very reason you cite.
>>

Notice that Gene's "hermeneutical rule" seems to be what is "LOGICAL" rather than what what is SCRIPTURAL. Was it "logical" for Ezekiel to tell the dry bones to hear the Word of the Lord? Let Gene explain how that was "logical." Did they bones have to get "regenerated" first, according to Gene's logic?

Was it "logical" for Jesus to command a man who was so dead that he was reportedly stinking from decay to "Come forth"?

Was it "logical" for Jesus to tell the wind to obey Him and "be still"? Did Jesus have to first "regenerate" the wind to enable it to "hear" and respond to His command?

Gene's apparent problem is, he doesn't seem to believe that the POWER of the Holy Spirit accompanies the Word of God and dispels all "logic" to the four winds. The Holy Spirit performed the "illogical" in the case of Ezekiel's bones, and they came together and lived. He does the same thing with the dead sinner who hears and responds to the Gospel -- not by his own power -- but due to the power of the Holy Spirit upon the Word of God (John 6:63).

Gene wants to make "regeneration" the "cause" of the sinner's faith when the truth is, the Holy Spirit's instrumental use of the Word of God in the heart, mind, and soul of the dead sinner is the "cause" of regeneration (New Birth). Regeneration is not the "cause" of the sinner's faith, but the Holy Spirit is the "cause" of the sinner's faith which is what is called being "born again" or "regeneration." See 1 John 5:4, 1.

The sinner's faith is begotten by the Word of God as it is empowered to the dead sinner by the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Peter 1:23.

True, this is not "logical," but we are not dealing here with logic, but with the revelation of God's Word as to what He uses to make the dead "come forth" believing in Jesus Christ as Saviour.

C. H. SPURGEON:

But I glory in the avowal that I preach Christ even to insensible sinners—that I would say even to the dry bones of the valley, as Ezekiel did, "Ye dry bones live!" doing it as an act of faith; not faith in the power of those that hear to obey the command, but faith in the power of God who gives the command to give strength also to those addressed, that they may be constrained to obey it. But now listen to my text; for here, at least, there is no limitation. But sensible or insensible, all that the text saith is, "Whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely." (New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. 5, page 436).

Why don't you try it sometime, Gene? -- preach the Gospel to dead sinners like Spurgeon did, and see how the Lord blesses it to their regeneration! Stop just longer enough in your efforts to make proselytes to the Hybrid Calvinism of your "Presbyterian brethren" to preach the Gospel like our Baptist forefathers said in our confessions of faith that we should do.

 
At Thursday, June 01, 2006 4:49:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

GENE BRIDGES vs SPURGEON

Bob to Charles:

You know, Charles, that we have given enough material from Spurgeon, the Baptist confessions, and writers on this blogsite to sink Hybrid Calvinism deeper than the Titanic.

Gene can't seem to discern that faith and regeneration are "effects" which are "caused" by the Holy Spirit's using the Word of God.

In doing His work of the New Birth, faith and regeneration are themselves not "causes," but both are "effects" of the Spirit's blessing on the Word of God to dead sinners unto New Birth.

The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message says that the Spirit "calls to the Saviour" (by the Gospel, of course) and "effects regeneration" (Article 1-C).

So regeneration is an "effect," not a "cause."

But Gene Bridges still seems to have difficulty understanding this and even accepting Spurgeon. Spurgeon said he preached to the dead and expected them to believe, while Gene doesn't seem to think that would be "logical." Spurgeon testified that he was saved when he "looked and lived," but it seems that Gene would have it in reverse -- "live and look."

I wonder if Gene is really serious about wanting to agree with Spurgeon? Maybe if Gene started using the "Sinner's Prayer" in accord with Spurgeon on this, we could consider the possibility that Gene is really serious. See --

http://writingsofbobross.tripod.com/0108.htm

Some in Spurgeon's time perhaps likewise had some difficulty agreeing with or understanding Spurgeon's view, so Spurgeon referred to a book by Abraham Booth which he said expressed "my views in full."

Spurgeon said --

"I have read with some degree of attention a book to which I owe much for this present discourse -- a book, by Abraham Booth, called Glad Tidings to Perishing Sinners. . . . If you want MY VIEWS IN FULL, read his book"
--(The Warrant of Faith, page 539, Sermon #531, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 9, year 1863).


Here are excerpts from Booth's book, which is now out of print:

>>
It is objected, 'Though it be not necessary for a sinner to know that he is born again, before he believe in Jesus Christ, yet regeneration must precede faith. For the heart of a sinner being naturally in a state of enmity to the Divine Character, he will never turn to God, while in that situation, for pardon and acceptance.' [Sounds much like the "logic" of Gene Bridges, does it not?]

In answer to which, the following particulars are proposed for consideration. . . .

[Theory:] Regeneration must precede faith.

This, though assumed as a certain fact, may be justly doubted: for the page of inspiration does not warrant our supposing, that any one is born of God, before he believes in Jesus Christ; or, that regeneration is effected by the Holy Spirit, without the word of grace. For we are taught, by the sacred writers, to consider the word of truth, with regard to adults, as the means of regeneration, and of many other happy effects. They teach, for instance,

   That it is the instrument of enlightening the mind, of awakening the conscience, and of softening the heart.

"The entrance of thy word giveth light" -- Psalm 119:130.

"The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" -- Ephesians 6:17.

"Is not my word like as fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer, that breaketh the rock in pieces?" -- Jeremiah 23:29.

Compare 2 Corinthians 1:4, 5; Revelation 1:16, 2:12, l16; 19:15, 21.

   That it is the instrument, or seed, of regeneration.

"The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live" -- John 5:25.

"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" -- John 6:63.

"In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel" -- 1 Corinthians 4:15.

"My son, Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds" -- Philemon 10.

"Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures" -- James 1:18.

"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever" -- 1 Peter 1:23.

See also 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:4.

    That they only, who believe in Christ, are the children of God.

"As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" -- John 1:12.

"Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" -- Galatians 3:26.

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God" -- 1 John 5:1.

    That it is the mean, in the hand of the Spirit, of conversion, of sanctification, and of salvation.

Of Conversion:

"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul" -- Psalm 19:7.

"He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" -- 2 Thesssalonians 2:14.

Of Sanctification:

"He that received seed into the good ground, is he that heareth the Word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit" -- Matthew 13:23.

"Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" -- John 15:3.

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" -- John 17:17.

"That they also might be sanctified through the truth" -- John 17:19.

"God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed, from the heart, the model of doctrine into which ye were delivered" -- Romans 6:17.

"The new man, which after God is created in righteousness and holiness of the truth" -- Ephesians 4:24.

"The gospel, which is come unto you, as it is in all the world, and bringeth forth fruit" -- Colossians 1:5, 6.

"The word of God, which effectually worketh in you that believe"  -- 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

"You have purified your souls in obeying the truth, through the Spirit" -- 1 Peter 1:22.

Of Salvation:

"The gospel of Christ -- is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth" -- Romans 1:16.

"The gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved" -- 1 Corinthians 15:1, 2.

"The word, or doctrine of the cross, is to us who are saved the power of God" -- 1 Corinthians 1:18.

"The engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" -- James 1:17.
>>

Booth continues on page 122:

>>
Such is the language of inspiration, relative to the high importance of revealed truth, in the great plan of salvation by Jesus Christ! Hence, it appears, that few things are more evidently contained, or more strongly asserted, in sacred scripture, than the INSTRUMENTALITY OF DIVINE TRUTH IN RENEWING THE HEARTS OF SINNERS.

For it is there described as the honoured mean, as the seed of God ((1 Peter 1:23-25), by which the Holy Spirit effects regeneration, the sanctification, and the consolation, of those that are saved.

But it is impossible for us to conceive of the mind being enlightened, of the conscience being relieved, of the will being regulated, and of the affections being purified by the word of truth, any further than it is believed. It may therefore be concluded, that regeneration is not, in order of time, prior to faith in Christ, and justification by him.

To contend, indeed, that regeneration must be prior to faith, and to justification, is like maintaining that the eldest son of a nobleman must partake of human nature, before he can have the filial relation to his father which constitutes him an heir to the paternal estate, and entitles him to those honours which are * hereitary in the family. For the human nature, derived from his parents, and the relation of a son, being completely of the same date; there is no such thing as priority, or posteriority, respecting them, either as to the order of time, or the order of nature. THERE ARE INSEPARABLE, NOR CAN ONE EXIST WITHOUT THE OTHER.

Thus it is, I conceive, with regard to regeneration, faith in Christ, and justification before God. For, to consider any man as born of God, but not as a child of God; as a child of God, but not as believing in Jesus Christ; as believing in Jesus Christ, but not as justified; or as justified, but not as an heir of immortal felicity; is, either to the last degree absurd, or manifestly contrary to the apostolic doctrine.

Consequently, as they are the ungodly whom the Spirit regenerates by the truth, so persons of that character are warranted to believe in Jesus.
>>

Mr. Booth then gives the quotes from Charnock to which we have often referred, contained in Stephen Charnock's A Discourse of the Word, the Instrument of Regeneration. Available on the Internet at --

http://www.ccel.org/c/charnock/
instr_regen/instr_regen.html


He follows the Charnock quote with one from Dr. John Owen:

>>
This [regeneration] is wrought by the word. We are born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God. Wherein, not only the thing itself, of our regeneration by the word, but the manner of it also, is declared. It is by the collation of a new spiritual life upon us, whereof the word is the seed.

As every life proceeds from some seed, that hath in itself virtually the whole life to be deduced from it, by natural ways and means; so the word in the hearts of men is turned into a vital principle, that, cherished by suitable means, puts forth vital acts and operations. BY THIS MEANS WE ARE BORN OF GOD, and quickened, who, by nature, are children of wrath; dead in trespasses and sins.

So Paul tells the Corinthians, that he had begotten them, in Jesus Christ, by the gospel. It is the INSTRUMENT OF GOD for this end; and mighty and powerful, through God, it is for the accomplishment of it. (Owen on Hebrews 2:2, 3, 4, Vol. I, page 178).
>>

Abraham Booth goes on in his book to consider some of the objections and arguments of the hyper-Calvinists of his day who taught "pre-faith regeneration." It is noteworthy that some of the very same thought is expressed today by hypers, Hardshells, and hybrid Calvinists -- including Gene Bridges.

 
At Thursday, June 01, 2006 5:54:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

The distortions of Gene Bridges, "Dr." James White, Steve Camp, Tim Brister, and the Flounders regarding Spurgeon are astounding. The all "claim" Spurgeon but they are nothing like him.

At first blush, one would think they were scholarly. After about five minutes of reading their blogs, you realize that they have no idea what they are talking about. It's like the Flat Earth believers, no matter how much you show them the facts, they refuse to believe it.

Moreover, the James White/Flounders disciples all crosspost and copy from each other to the extent that if you have read one of their blogs, you have read them all!

Bob, you have exposed the "born again before faith" error in such a manner that there can be no doubt that it is not only unbiblical, but also unbaptistic!

Charles

 
At Thursday, June 01, 2006 11:21:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

BERKHOF BURNS BRIDGES

Bob to Charles:

It seems that Gene Bridges just can't resist trying to put in a "good word" for all his pedo-regenerationist "brethren" and winds up "burned" by them.

And would you believe it, Charles, he even attempts to whitewash one of the very worst proponents among the "baby regenerationists," Louis Berkhof?

He finds a quote from Berkhof on "calling" which he evidently thinks can be used to give the "baby regenerationist" a coat of whitewash, and he uses it.

Yet he totally ignores the more prominent fact that Berkhof spent a great deal of effort and space in his Systematic Theology to heretically dissect "effectual calling" from "regeneration" (pages 469-472).

The simple reason for this aberrancy obviously was that Berkhof felt it necessary to devise some scheme to justify the heresy of "baby regeneration" in light of the fact the supposed "regenerated babies" were still very much in a state of unbelief, not yet "effcually called."

Berkhof therefore alleged that the infant's "regeneration" takes place "long before they (the babies) are able to hear the gospel" (page 471) and therefore "long before the effectual calling" by the Gospel (page 472).

So Berkhof's scheme calls for the separation of "regeneration" from "effectual calling." He granted that "in the apostolic age . . . in that missionary period . . . regeneration and effectual calling were generally SIMULTANEOUS," but nowadays he thinks "we should carefully distinguish between calling and regeneration." He says the "ordo salutis" is more "fully developed" today than it was in the past!

He even admits that in the Westminster Confession
"effectual calling includes regeneration"
(page 470), but he nevertheless departs from the Confession and performs his surgical wizardry, dissecting effectual calling away from regeneration.

This makes it possible for him to have the babies "regenerated" in infancy "long before before the effectual calling" (page 472).

As for "regeneration," Berkhof specifically denied the use of the Word as an instrumentality. He calls this "regeneration" a "hyper-physical operation of the Holy Spirit" (page 471).

Here is how he describes this pseudo-surgery:

"Regeneration is a creative act, by which the spiritually dead sinner is restored to life. But the truth of the gospel can only work in a moral and persuasive way. SUCH AN INSTRUMENT HAS NO EFFECT ON THE DEAD" (page 475).

In his Summary of Christian Doctrine which is on the Internet, Berkhof says:

>>
It is a creative work in which for that very reason the word of the gospel cannot very well be used as an instrument.
>>
http://www.ccel.org/pipeline/1-html/5-berkhof-summery/Berkhof%2019.htm

With this distorted approach, which is an obvious denial of the instrumental power of the Gospel blessed by the Spirit (Romans 1:16; John 6:63), Berkhof attempts to justify the heresy of "baby regeneration."

This perversion clearly conflicts with the Westminster Confession, which is the same on "Effectual Calling" as the 1689 London Confession. Berkhof even admits that "Effectual Calling" in the Confession "includes regeneration" (page 470), but he still persists in making a perverted separation.

The Confession teaches that sinners are called by the Word and Spirit, which simply means that the Word is the instrument of the Spirit in regeneration.

So Gene Bridges is "burned" again by one of the "baby regenerationists" to whom he tries to give a clean bill of theological health. When will Gene, the Founders, and other Hybrid Calvinists learn that pedo "communications corrupt good" theology?

 
At Friday, June 02, 2006 3:19:00 AM, Blogger Rob Mart said...

Charles

Nice blog! I agree with you about how all of the Gadflys and Founders all seem to cut and paste everything. There is a 5solas guy named Matt who does the same thing.

Bob Ross's writings seem to really bother James White. I have read a few of his writings and enjoy his take on "Calvinism." Which reminds me, I wonder why no one at Flounders talks about the debate White had with Bob Wilkin?

Anyway, I am new to your blog but I look forward to seeing what you have to say.

Rob

 
At Friday, June 02, 2006 3:58:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

BRIDGES' SEMI-PELAGIANISM ON THE WILL

Bob to Charles:

If you read Gene Bridges deficient effort in replying to me, you no doubt took note of how much wasted space and verbiage he misspent in a vain effort of trying to compete with Edwards and Luther regarding theology "on the will," all the while maintaining a semi-Pelagianism.

For some reason, Bridges alleges I am playing word games. This is obviously a mere ruse, a diversionary tactic on his part.

He says:

>>
As we shall see, Mr. Ross has simply looked for statements of “free will,” without considering the difference between “free agency” in the NHC and “free will” in a Free Will Baptist Confession. They are not the same thing. The NHC goes out of its way to choose a particular term and avoid others. Ross has committed a classic example of the word/concept fallacy.
>>

That "word/concept fallacy," of course, is Bridges' own concoction. His use of the word "regeneration" is the REAL WORD/CONCEPT FALLACY!

He mistakenly alleges that I hold to ideas which I have never entertained nor even implied.

So far as I recall, the subject and role of the will in Creedal Calvinism has not even been of any primary focus in my own writings on the Flyswatter blogsite. I have always referred to "free will" and "free agency" according to how they are dealt with in Creedal Calvinism.

While Bridges "reads into" the New Hampshire Confession his own peculiar ideas on the subjects of "free agency" and "free will." His impositions are about as valid and significant as his imposition of the "regeneration before faith" heresy upon the Confession and Baptist writers.

But the fact is, it seems reasonable to conclude that it is Gene Bridges who has man's will front and center in regard to the matter of "saving faith." His doctrine implies -- at least to me -- that man is the source of saving faith in contrast to the Word and Spirit of God.

Since one is saved by faith, if faith is the product of man, then this would make man his own saviour, would it not?

I know that Gene would deny this, just like the Campbellites will deny that they are saved by their "obedience." But let's just take a look at Gene's doctrine -- as least as best as I can understand him in his own peculiar rambling presentation:

As I understand him, saving faith supposedly derives from "regenerated" man's will -- not from the creative power of the Spirit as He blesses the Word of God to the creation of faith in the hitherto dead, unregenerate sinner. ("Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God," not by the will of either unregenerate or regenerate man).

The dead, unregenerate sinner is called upon by the Word of God to "come forth," and by the accompanying power of the Holy Spirit he does come forth -- not by the power of his own will, but by the power of the Spirit accompanying the Word. ["Born again by the Word," The Gospel comes "in power," etc. per 1 Cor. 4:15; John 6:63; 1 Thess. 1:5; Roman 1:16; 12:3) -- all true faith is God's gift given thru or by the instrumental means of God's Word blessed by the Spirit -- not from man, whether he is regenerate or unregenerate].

But as I understand Gene Bridges, he has a man "regenerated" although not yet a believer, -- and after that imagined "regeneration" by which the unbelieving "regenerated" man supposedly has been capacitated to believe, he then exercises his will and becomes a believer. The supposed "regenerated" unbeliever can subsequently do this "on his own" since he has been "made alive," has been "regenerated," has already been "born again before faith," -- and therefore now has the "ability" or "will power" to choose to believe.

Since this "elect" unbeliever is thus first "regenerated" in order to be "able" to believe, although he is yet an unbeliever, he now has all the spiritual capacity or power he needs to believe -- so he obviously does not need the power of the Spirit to believe. No need for the Spirit's power, if he is already "able," is there?

Now if that is not Bridges' doctrine, what good did the "regeneration before faith" do the man? If after he was given all that "spiritual ability" in "regeneration before faith," what value is it to him if he still is unable to believe by the his own will-power?

This doctrine obviously puts the "regenerated," "born again" UNBELIEVER in the same predicament that the lost UNBELIEVER is in according to semi-Pelagianism -- namely, "capable" of believing.

This differs considerably from Creedal Calvinism, for as I understand Creedal Calvinism, the sinner is so "dead in sin" that he will not, therefore cannot, believe unless and until he is convicted by the Holy Spirit's quickening use of the Word of God so as to bring about repentance and faith. He does this repenting and believing, not bacause of the power of his own carnal will, but because of the power of the Word of God as accompanied by the Spirit with quickening power (John 6:63).

This is Creedal Calvinism, as I understand the Confessions.

We see this power displayed in the case of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37, which had no power whatsoever of their own, but were moved and restored to life by the power of God accompanying His Word. Their life came about under the preaching of the Word of God, accompanied by the power of God's Spirit.

C. H. SPURGEON spoke on the power of the Word of God in his great sermon, THE WORD AS A SWORD, #2010. Spurgeon said:

"The Word of God is that by which sin is slain and Divine GRACE IS BORN in the heart. It is the light which BRINGS LIFE WITH IT."

This is how LIFE comes -- not by some imaginary "regeneration" of an unborn baby, or an infant, or an adult who is "born again before faith." Spurgeon's high regard for the power of the Word conflicts with the Berkhofian denial of the "creative" power of the Word of God, and as I have noted before, Gene is an obvious sympathizer or something of a follower of the "baby regenerationist," Berkhof and others of his "baby regenerationist" "Reformed" brethren.

SPURGEON:

"How active and energetic it [the Word] is, when the soul is convicted of sin, in bringing it forth into Gospel liberty! . . . O Beloved, what a wonderful power the Gospel has to bring us comfort! It brought us to Christ at first and it still leads us to look to Christ till we grow like Him. . . .

"The Word of God, then, is quick and powerful in our own personal experience and we shall find it to be so if we use it in laboring to bless our fellow men. Dear Brethren, if you seek to do good in this sad world, and want a powerful weapon to work with, stick to the Gospel, the living Gospel, the old, old Gospel. There is a power in it sufficient to meet the
SIN AND DEATH OF HUMAN NATURE.
. . .

"This is a weapon made of sterner stuff than steel and it will cut through coats of mail. Nothing can resist it. “Where the word of a king is, there is power.” About the Gospel, when spoken with the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven, there is the same omnipotence as there was in the Word of God when in the beginning He spoke to the primeval darkness saying, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Oh how we ought to prize and love the Revelation of God. . . .

"There was one who went to hear Mr. Whitefield—a member of the “Hell-fire Club,” a desperate fellow. He stood up at the next meeting of his abominable associates and he delivered Mr. Whitefield’s sermon with wonderful accuracy, imitating his very tone and manner. In the middle of his exhortation the Lord converted him and he came to a sudden pause, sat down broken-hearted and confessed the power of the Gospel. That club was dissolved. That remarkable convert was Mr. Thorpe, of Bristol, whom God so greatly used afterwards in the salvation of others. . . . You cannot come near the Gospel without its having a measure of influence over you. And, God blessing you, it may cut down and kill your sins when you have no idea that such a work is being done. . . .

"It quickens and gives new life to all that is of God. But the old depraved life which ought to die, it hews in pieces, as Samuel destroyed Agag before the Lord. 'For the Word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.' . . .

"In fact, there is no spiritually penetrating the heart of any natural man except by this piercing instrument, the Word of God. But the rapier of Revelation will go through anything. Even when the “heart is as fat as grease,” as the Psalmist says, yet His Word will pierce it. Into the very marrow of the man, sacred Truth will pass and find him out in a way in which he cannot even find himself out. As it is with our own hearts, so it is with the hearts of other men. Dear Friends, the Gospel can find its way anywhere."

I call upon Gene Bridges to embrace this truth as preached by Spurgeon, repent and renounce the Hybrid Calvinism of Louis Berkhof, R. C. Sproul, John Frame, James White, Tom Schreiner, Mark Dever, Tom Nettles, the Princeton "baby regenerationists," the Hardshell Baptists, the so-called "Monergists" and "Reformed," etc. etc. and if you want to be a real "Calvinist," come on over to the Creedal Calvinism of John Calvin, C. H. Spurgeon, John Gill, John L. Dagg, B. H. Carroll, James P. Boyce, Abraham Booth, Alexander Carson, and the Baptist Confessions of Faith.

Cease trying to make proselytes to the "born again before faith" heresy, and start preaching the Gospel to lost sinners, which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes it

 
At Friday, June 02, 2006 4:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

REPENT CHARLES !

 
At Saturday, June 03, 2006 12:23:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

FOR SCOTT MORGAN'S BENEFIT:

Bob to Charles:

If you happen to hear anything from the would-be debater, Scott Morgan -- our Hardshell-type Hybrid Calvinist in Georgia who got saved as a result of the witnessing work of "Arminians" -- please give him the following -- a little item I saw last night when I was reading a Spurgeon sermon before going to bed.

Since Scott got saved, he later changed to Hybrid Calvinism, believing that one has to be "born again before faith," and I thought he might get some discomfort from what Spurgeon said in Sermon #2590:

"Poor sinner, you do not know how easy it is to be saved. 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' You do not know how hear that salvation is to you. 'The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

Since Scott seems to have failed to read what I have said in time past on the matter of the New Hampshire Confession on the necessity of regeneration, the foregoing by Spurgeon will explain to him how regeneration is "effected" by the Holy Spirit.

Regeneration is the EFFECT [not the "cause," NHC, Chapter 7] of the Holy Spirit's power operating on the dead sinner "in connection with divine truth" [the Word of God]. This operation of the Spirit by the Word or Gospel secures the sinner's voluntary obedience to the gospel -- the evidence of such Spirit-secured obedience to the gospel simultaneously appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith.

When that operation of the Spirit in connection with the Word is done, the "regeneration" mentioned in the NHC has been "EFFECTED" and the dead sinner has therefore been born again. (1 John 5:4, 1).

"Obedience" to the Gospel involves repentance and faith, according to Romans 10:13-17. Without securing that, there is no regeneration "effected."

However, Scott's Hardshell idea of "born again before faith" does not consist of "obedience to the gospel," so there is no evidence of such obedience appearing in any fruits. He might show you a load of Georgia Kudzu, but no "fruits" or "evidence" of any obedience to the gospel.

 
At Saturday, June 03, 2006 2:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for pointing me to such gifted Bible teachers as Mohler, White, Nettles. I am indebted to you.

 
At Saturday, June 03, 2006 3:33:00 PM, Anonymous flounder said...

"Bob Ross's writings seem to really bother James White."

Whatever

 
At Sunday, June 04, 2006 1:04:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

BRIDGES' RUSE ABOUT "LOGICAL AND TEMPORAL ORDER"

Bob to Charles:

One the favorite polemical ruses, Charles, repeated by Gene Bridges -- which he borrowed from other Hybrid Calvinists as if to respectfully disguise the heresy of "born again before faith" by using palabber -- is his referring to the "LOGICAL priority of regeneration," but denying that this means "the TEMPORAL priority of regeneration."

Bridges says, "These, Mr. Ross, are not the same things at all. In fact, I have repeatedly stated that this is a question of LOGICAL, causal order and not TEMPORAL order."

The problem with this argument in regard to the New Birth is that what is really "logical" must determined by what is really "temporal." It is not logical to have one thing contradicting another.

A believer is born again, and a born again person is a believer (1 John 5:4, 1). An unbeliever is not born again, and a person who has not been born again is an unbeliever. That is both logical and temporal.

What is "temporal" is the simple fact that the New Birth is the New Birth when the dead sinner has been effectually brought by the Word and Spirit to repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ.

This constitutes the New Birth -- not some imaginary something done by a "direct operation" in the sinner apart from the use of the Word of God.

Therefore, it is not "logical" to talk about the New Birth "preceding" faith, for faith is a vital element in the Spirit's use of the Word in begetting the dead sinner as a "new, living creation in Christ" -- which constitutes the New Birth.

The sinner is "born OF the Spirit," "BY the Word of God," and that is both a "logical" and a "temporal" work only when all of the elements of the New Birth are complete (1 Peter 1:23).

R. C. Sproul wrote an entire book in which the primary effort focused on trying to prove that a sinner is "Born again" before the sinner is born again according to the Scriptures (1 John 5:4, 1; 1 Peter 1:23). Sproul had sinners "born again in order that we may believe," -- which simply means he has sinners "born again" BEFORE AND WITHOUT faith (Chosen of God, page 73).

James White wrote a book in which he apes Sproul and argues that "spiritual birth precedes all actions of the spiritual life,"-- which means that he has sinners "spiritually born" BEFORE AND WITHOUT the spiritual action of Spirit-created faith (The Potter's Freedom, page 286).

W. G. T. Shedd spent several pages in his theology book, alleging "That the influence of the Holy Spirit is directly upon the human spirit, and is independent even of the word itself, is further proved by the fact that it is exerted in the case of infants without any employment of the truth" -- which simply means that one is "born again" apart from the Spirit's creation of faith by the use of the Word (Dogmatic Theology, Volume 2, page 501).

Louis Berkhof alleged in a significant part of his theology book that "Regeneration is a creative act, by which the spiritually dead sinner is restored to life. But the truth of the gospel can only work in a moral and persuasive way. SUCH AN INSTRUMENT HAS NO EFFECT ON THE DEAD" (Systematic Theology,page 475) -- which simply means that faith is not created by the Spirit in the new birth.

"Temporally," according to these Hybrid Calvinists, one is "born again before faith," unless "logic" has changed its meaning.

If Gene Bridges wants to "cross" swords with these Hybrid Calvinists, fine; but don't try to tell us that their palabber is referring to something "logical but not temporal."

What they are saying is not true by any standard.

 
At Sunday, June 04, 2006 2:48:00 AM, Blogger Rob Mart said...

Poor Flounder! No real argument?
Come on, Flounder.

 
At Monday, June 05, 2006 12:40:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SPURGEON AND THE "INQUIRY ROOM"

Bob to Charles:

I saw an item recently posted on a popular blog, Charles, which uses a quotation from Spurgeon in which he has some words to say in regard to the use of the "inquiry room."

While it is true that Spurgeon did advise against the abusive use of it, neither the quotation nor the article presents the whole of Spurgeon's view and practice related to the "inquiry room."

No, Spurgeon did not oppose the use of the "inquiry room," for he used it himself.
He simply wanted to protect against the abuse of it.

Pedo-regenerationist Iain Murray, the "father" of most of the modern anti-invitationalism was perhaps the first in our time to express criticism of the "inquiry room." Murray fails to appropriately use quotations from C. H. Spurgeon in his booklet on "The Invitation System" to properly represent Spurgeon. I have articles on our website refuting Mr. Murray.

http://www.pilgrimpublications.com/
invite1.htm#_MURRAY


Spurgeon himself used the "inquiry room" and while he wanted to guard against the abuse of it, he never opposed its use, nor did he oppose "the invitation system," as has been falsely alleged. Spurgeon approved of any reasonable method which tended to bring men to repentance and confession of Christ as Saviour.

Spurgeon said of D. L. Moody, for example --

"I believe that it is a great help in bringing people to DECISION when Mr. Moody asks those to STAND UP who wish to be prayed for.   Anything that tends to separate you from the ungodly around you, is good for you." (MTP, 1897, page 516).

Awhile back I wrote an article and put it on our website, entitled "Was C. H. Spurgeon the Innovator of the Modern Public or Church Invitation?"

http://www.pilgrimpublications.com/
invite2.htm


Here are a few excerpts from that article --

"C. H. Spurgeon earnestly exhorted those who had accepted Christ as their Saviour to come forward amongst his people and avow their attachment to His person and name. - The Sword & The Trowel Magazine, 1865, pg. 70.

When Spurgeon first came to London in late 1853, the Baptist preachers and churches of Park Street Chapel variety were mostly either hyper-Calvinists or ultra-Calvinists, or something on the order of what the "Hybrid Calvinists" are in our time. The killing effects of "mere doctrine" and too great an emphasis upon "the Calvinist system" had virtually killed evangelistic efforts in England.

Spurgeon's success in preaching the "simple Gospel" made him the object of resentment, jealousy, criticism, and even cynical ridicule by some of the Baptists, especially some of the respected leaders among the professed "Calvinists."

In a letter to his family, Spurgeon wrote of the "Calvinism" which prevailed at the church at that time. "It is the Calvinism they want," he said:

“December __, 1853.

“My Dear Father,  . . .

    . . . The London people are rather higher in Calvinism than I am; but I have succeeded in bringing one church to my own views, and will trust, with Divine assistance, to do the same with another. I am a Calvinist; I love what someone called ‘glorious Calvinism,’ but ‘Hyperism’ is too hot-spiced for my palate. . . . It is Calvinism they want in London, and any Arminian preaching will not be endured.”

Spurgeon not only literally knocked out the windows of the dingy old Chapel to let in the air, he began to strike blow-after-blow at what he often called the "false Calvinism" of his "ultraists" brethren. Some of his very worst enemies were those who loudly proclaimed their "Calvinism."

One of the innovations which Spurgeon put to good use, out of the practical necessity for the hearing of confessions of Christ by those responding to his evangelistic preaching, was the use of inquiry rooms.

D. L. Moody, before he ever started preaching, went to London to hear Spurgeon for the first time in 1867. Moody became Spurgeon's devoted disciple and ardent protege. In this regard, Moody was indeed a sort of "Timothy" in relation to C. H. Spurgeon. 

Moody -- after he later started his own preaching ministry -- began to adopt many of Spurgeon's means of implementing the work of the Gospel, including starting a Bible Institute similar to Spurgeon's Pastor's college, a colportage or publishing work similar to Spurgeon's, preaching to the masses in large halls as did Spurgeon, and using the inquiry room to deal with converts, as did Spurgeon.

The latter method, in its essential elements, became the forerunner of what we today call the "public invitation."

This method did not derive from Charles G. Finney's "anxious seat," as some allege, for the inquiry room was not on that order at all. Moody never even heard Finney preach, nor saw the "anxious seat" used in a Finney revival meeting. By 1860, Finney could not even travel, much less hold revival meetings, and that was long before Moody even started preaching.

But Moody did hear Spurgeon, followed Spurgeon around to hear him, read everything of Spurgeon's, and he saw how Spurgeon dealt with souls. He adopted Spurgeon's methods.

Here is an example of Spurgeon's method, later adopted by D. L. Moody, demonstrated in the year 1865.

This is from the March 1865 issue of The Sword and the Trowel, Spurgeon's magazine, page 128, during a high period of intense, ongoing revival, with many being converted to Christ, and a fervent spirit abounding in the church:

>>
NOTICES
[Reported by George Rogers, Principal of Spurgeon's Pastors' College]

The second proposed special prayer meeting, mentioned in our last number, was held in the Metropolitan Tabernacle on the evening of the 6th February. . . .

Between six and seven thousand persons assembled -- not to witness a theatrical exhibition -- not to hear an eloquent preacher -- not to witness a select and diversified display of platform oratory -- but for a prayer meeting!

This was a sight that could not fail to gladden the hearts of good men, and prepare them for the higher enjoyment that followed. It was evident that the impression of the former meeting had not passed away, but it influence had become more widely extended, as the attendance was not only more numerous, but some hundreds were unable to gain admission.

No extraordinary efforts were made to provide for the meeting; no sensational speakers were engaged; no novelty was either thought or desired. The ministers of the new fraternity, as on the former occasion, in the spirit of prayer, and confident reliance upon the Spirit of God, quietly and solemnly came upon the platform. Several of the ministers who took part in the proceedings, and two of them were students yet in the college; but all were of one mind and of one heart.

Mr. Spurgeon, after a few words of gratitude and joy for the return of such an occasion, gave out some verses of the 100th Psalm, that all might join in a song of praise.

He then suggested that their next duty was to give thanks for the blessing which had attended the former meeting of the same kind, the effect of which, upon his own people, was that ninety-three [93] had set down on the previous evening, for the first time at the table of the Lord.

Mr. Marshall and Mr. Barnard presented the incense of praise. Mr. Spurgeon then gave out the hymn, commencing with -- "Just as I am, Without one plea."

This was a prelude to confession of sin, which, after a silent confession of two or three minutes of each for himself, was offered in the name of all by Mr. Clark. Some verses of the hymn, "I will praise Thee every day," were then sung, after which petitions for the revival of the Churches were presented by Mr. Warren and Mr. Offord: those of the latter were preceded by a touching and powerful appeal to the hearts of believers.

Now came the direct reference to the unsaved.

This was introduced by a most earnest and awakening address by Mr. Spurgeon, and was responded to in prayer by Mr. Stott and Mr. Varley. A hymn followed, commencing thus, "Once a sinner near despair."

Mr. Teal and Mr. Burton then prayed, and Mr. Spurgeon closed with prayer.

INQUIRERS were then encouraged to retire to the lecture hall, where ministers and elders would be glad to converse with them'; and MANY RESPONDED TO THE INVITATION.

This was one of the most sober, the most impressive, and, we should judge, the most effective meetings we have ever witnessed. . . . [Note: You can read the balance of this article on our website].
>>

Later, in the same article, we read: "His own ministry had begun in a storm of opposition, but he had been enabled to outlive it, and to obtain a position of comparative quiet in the denomination to which his Church belonged . . . He had to remind the Church how greatly God had blessed the preaching of the Gospel in their midst during the past year. Conversions had been frequent in the Sunday-schools, in the Bible and Catechumen Classes; and never had the Word come with greater power to the great congregation. The Church had received by Baptism 381 members; . . . the present number of members on the Church books, 2, 881."

Here observe that all of the essential elements which characterize a sane, sound, Baptist public invitation are present: (1) Preaching, (2) Prayer,  (3) Encouragement to respond, and (4) and Invitation to be conversed with. Even the great invitation hymn, Just As I Am, was used by Mr. Spurgeon at this meeting, from his hymnbook, Our Own Hymnbook, #546..

Moody's "model" was Spurgeon, not Finney.

Moody and Sankey in Great Britain
[The Sword and the Trowel, February 1876, pages 84-87]

When D. L. Moody was engaged in evangelistic work, he held meetings in Scotland and in England. His work in Scotland began rather hopelessly, with but a scant few -- "only eight persons were in attendance."

However, by "hanging in there" and "fighting the good fight of faith," Moody's work gradually gained ground and finally became extraordinarily productive, with multitudes eventually saved.

In England the professed conversions were not quite so numerous, primarily because so many of the recent enthusiastic converts were filling up the seats in the meeting place, therefore many of the unconverted were thereby "kept out" -- not purposefully, but circumstantially.

Also, Spurgeon cites the lack of significant interest in the meetings by the PEDOBAPTIST English churches, due to their own peculiar evangelistic coldness toward enthusiastic evangelistic preaching.

Here is and excerpt of how Spurgeon describes the Moody-Sankey evangelistic efforts:

>>
The work in Edinburgh was repeated in many other towns of Scotland such as Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, etc., and with similar results, the people going so far as to tolerate Mr. Sankey's "unsanctified musical machine." The campaign in Ireland which succeeded was still more remarkable when we take into account the national prejudices of the population. In Dublin the Great Exhibition building was hired for the meetings as being the only place in the city capable of accommodating the multitudes who came to hear.

This success of the evangelists in the Emerald Isle was a fine testimony to the power of the simple gospel; for while no fierce denunciations of the apostate church were heard from the platform, the converts came alike from the ranks of Romanists as well as from the houses of the Protestants. The Romish leaders raised the voice of warning, but to no purpose; and their machinations were aided by a club of atheists, who penetrated into the inquiry rooms to endeavor to turn the whole into controversy. [Note: These Romanists and Protestants were supposedly "born again" when they were babies. The were probably hearing the Gospel for the first time! -- Bob]

". . . . This man was coming upon the stage one evening to sing a comic song, when a verse of a Sunday School hymn, which he had learned years ago, flashed through his mind, producing so deep an impression that he was unable to drive it away. He attempted to sing his song but failed, and on retiring from the stage was summarily dismissed by the manager. For three weeks he plunged into the deepest dissipation, being scarcely sober for a single hour all that time. During this debauch he wrote a comedy, which he finished off with a burlesque upon Messrs. Moody and Sankey, who had just then arrived in Liverpool; and in order to give greater point to his satire, he attended one of the services in Victoria Hall, to hear them for himself. While thus watching for something of which to make sport upon the comic stage, the Holy Spirit so impressed the truth upon his heart that he remained to the after-meeting for inquirers, was instructed in the way of his duty, and that very night found peace with God. He has now entered into training for the purpose of becoming a missionary."
>>

From another one of my articles, here are some excerpts:

Spurgeon indeed often made negative comments which were intended to either expose or guard against abuses of methods and practices, but those remarks do not convey his total image of Spurgeon on such matters. He likewise often commented in a negative vain about abuses associated even with Calvinistic theology, baptism, the name "Baptist," church attendance and membership, the use of music, miscellaneous financial schemes, and similar activities, but such remarks must not be isolated if one is to avoid an erroneous impression of Spurgeon. For example, though he often rebuked "worldly" methods as to church finance schemes, his own church conducted a Bazaar to raise money for the construction of the Tabernacle, which some might view as contradictory to what he sometimes said against things of this sort. 

The fact is, as to the matter of methods in regard to professions of faith, it is stated in The Sword and The Trowel, January 1890, page 45:

"That which is admirable with one congregation may not suit another."

Spurgeon was for any method which incorporated the Gospel message in relation to accepting and confessing Christ as Savior.

In the 1890 bound volume of The Sword and the Trowel magazine, there are reports of Tabernacle-sponsored evangelistic meetings which demonstrate that Spurgeon favored an evangelism which sought to obtain immediate professions of faith by various ways and means

Spurgeon and the Tabernacle Church actually sponsored Evangelists who conducted special evangelistic campaigns or missions. The foremost two were J. Manton Smith and W. Y. Fullerton. There are quite a number of reports in this 1890 volume of their meetings which refer to the "decisions" made, the "after-meetings," and the "inquirers" who went into the "inquiry rooms."

A report appeared in the January 1889 Sword & Trowel which is illustrative of the work done by the Metropolitan Tabernacle-sponsored Evangelists.

>>
The hopes that we expressed last month respecting Messrs. Fullerton and Smith services at the Tabernacle were more than realized before the mission closed. The numbers in attendance increased nightly, until, at the closing service, not only was the Tabernacle densely packed, but overflow meetings were held in three rooms in the College, and some thousands of persons were unable to gain admission.

All who had professed to find the Saviour were asked to meet the workers in the lecture-hall, at the close of the public services, and very soon the hall was quite full. Those who were present will not soon forget the scene when, in response to Mr. Fullerton's request, some hundreds of hands were held up in token of blessing received during the mission. . . . Messrs. Fullerton and Smith came over from Bloomsbury for the first half-hour, and gave wise and weighty counsels to those who had been brought to decision. . . .

Mr. Chamberlain sang and spoke, and then asked any who had been brought to decision during the mission just to rise, and declare that fact. In less than half-an-hour, no less than fifty-one persons bore oral testimony to what the Lord had done for them at the special services, and many more would have spoken if there had been time.

The converts were of all ages, and of both sexes; there were 'young men and maidens, old men and children,' praising the name of the Lord for the great things done for them.
. . . .Let us pray that the work of revival may continue to spread until thousands more are won for the Saviour.
>>

In the February 1889 issue of S & T, Spurgeon published a number of comments from Pastors and Churches in regard to meetings held by the Tabernacle-sponsored Evangelists. Here are a couple of those:

"Had you been present at the large enquirers' meeting which we held in the lecture-hall last night, your heart would have been rejoiced to hear the testimonies of God's power to save; and many steady, matured Christians added their witness to the fresh power and renewed consecration which they had experienced during the mission."

"Seldom have we known a finer blending of the instructive with the earnestly exhorting to immediate decision than was nightly listened to from Mr. Fullerton. . . . Best of all, great spiritual results have followed. No fewer than 150 persons went into the enquiry-room. Many of these have avowed their conversion to God, their newly-found faith in Jesus. Amongst these some are the children of the officers and members of the church, some restored backsliders, and others are men and women who for many, many year have never gone inside a house of God. . . . souls have been born again, and the Saviour has been greatly honored."

While there are some today who are trying to utilize a few remarks by Spurgeon which were obviously focusing upon real or possible abuses of evangelistic methods, you will most likely not find such reports as the foregoing, from Spurgeon's own magazine, called to the readers' attention. They demonstrate that Spurgeon favored a very aggressive evangelism, one that pressed for immediate response, decision, and public confession.

Unlike the Reformed pedo-regenerationists, such as Mr. Murray, who are apparently inactive in aggressive evangelistic missions such as those by Smith and Fullerton, Baptists such as Spurgeon did not have the practice of infant baptism and baby "regeneration" to fall back upon to make "disciples" and church members, and so they used the Biblical type of evangelism of preaching the Gospel to those who would give it a hearing, be convicted of sin, come forth publicly to acknowledge faith in Christ, and confess Him as Savior.

 
At Tuesday, June 06, 2006 3:09:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

"KEACH'S CATECHISM" vs GENE BRIDGES
AND HYBRID CALVINISM


Bob to Charles:

"Keach's Catechism" is on the Internet, and may be read at --
http://www.creeds.net/baptists/keach.htm

Benjamin Keacn's name is often cast into the pot of Hybrid Calvinism cauldron, as if he was a Hybrid Calvinist. Gene Bridges has recently mentioned his name in his spiel against me.

Here are the significant statements in the Catechism which demonstrated that Hybrid Calvinism was not the view advocated in this Catechism. It affirms the same view for which we have described as "Creedal Calvinism," and there is no doctrine of "born again before faith" to be found in it.

>>
Q. 34. How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?

A. The Spirit applies to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling. (Eph. 2:8; 3:17)

Q. 35. What is effectual calling?

A.Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, He does persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the Gospel. (2 Tim. 1:9; John 16:8-11; Acts 2:37; 26:18; Ezekiel 36:26; John 6:44,45; 1 Cor. 12:3)

Q. 92. What does God require of us, that we may escape His wrath and curse, due to us for sin?

A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption. (Acts 20:21; Acts 16:30,31; 17:30)

Q. 93. What is faith in Jesus Christ?

A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation, as He is offered to us in the Gospel. (Heb. 10:39; John 1:12; Phil. 3-9; Gal. 2:15,16)


Q. 96. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?

A. The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith unto salvation. (Ps. 119:11,18; 1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Peter 2:1,2; Rom. 1:16; Ps. 19:7)

Q. 97. How is the Word to be read and heard that it may become effectual to salvation?

A. That the Word may become effectual to salvation we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation and prayer, receive it in faith and love, lay it up in our hearts and practice it in our lives. (Prov. 8:34; 1 Peter 2:1, 2; 1 Tim. 4:13; Heb. 2:1, 3; Heb. 4:2; 2 Thess. 2:10; Ps. 119:11; James 1:21, 25)
>>

As you can see, Charles, there is no "regeneration precedes faith" or "born again before faith" heresy taught in Keach's Catechism. It is "standard" Creedal Calvinism -- effectually called to faith in Christ by the means of the Word or Gospel, applied by the Holy Spirit.

The only way to get Hybrid Calvinism into the Cathecism is the Bridges' way, by "reading into" the Catechism what Bridges wished it had said.

When one adopts the pedo-regenerationist (Presbyterian) theories of men such as Shedd, Berkhof, Sproul, etc. -- who arbitrarily separate "regeneration" from "effectual calling" as a means to justify the "baby regeneration" heresy, then it leads to a perversion of this Catechism and the various Confessions of Faith -- including the Westminster -- to accommodate the pedo heresy.

 
At Wednesday, June 07, 2006 7:35:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

A SPECIAL TERM NEEDED FOR
JAMES WHITE'S "CALVINISM"?


Bob to Charles:

I noticed the following remark on James White's "White Lightnin'" website, and I think it may call for a "unique" or "special" term to describe James' non-creedal views on "Calvinism." He says:

I am not a hyper-Calvinist. R.C. Sproul is not a hyper-Calvinist. John Piper is not a hyper-Calvinist. To believe in all "five points" is not to be a hyper-Calvinist. To believe God's choice of election is eternal in nature is not to be a hyper Calvinist. The term "hyper-Calvinism" has a meaning in and of itself, and it is irresponsible to think any one person, or group of people, has the right to redefine language itself so as to violate all standards of truth, honesty, and integrity. [06/07/06]

Your article, Charles, on John Calvin on regeneration, demonstrated that all of those who advocate that "regeneration precedes faith" are clearly in disagreement with Calvin, but this evidently is not enough to make them "hypers," according to James White.

Also, we have shown that this heresy of "born again before faith" conflicts with the Calvinist Creeds such as the Westminster Confession of Faith -- which conflct is candidly admitted by both Shedd and Berkhof -- is likewise not enough to make one "hyper," according to James.

So, in addition to "Hyrbrid Calvinist," I propose that an appropriate term for James White's "Calvinism" might be "Distorting Calvinist." At least, in his book on "The Potter's Freedom" and in his debate with Dave Hunt, "Debating Calvinism," James distorted Calvinism.

This is not to say that James may not also actually be a "hyper"-- at least according to someone's standard, for after all there is no single "final authority" in the theological world which is recognized by all as "definitive" on what constitutes "hyper Calvinism." There are various thoughts on this.

No hyper-Calvinist is going to define the term so as to categorize himself as hyper, and obviously any definition by Creedal Calvinists would not be admitted by those who are truly hyper-Calvinists.

In contrast to Arminianism, where there are those who openly profess to be Arminians, there are no hyper-Calvinists who openly profess to be hyper-Calvinists.

Furthermore, I have never known of a person who was categorized as "hyper Calvinist" who admitted that he was a hyper Calvinist. If you can find an admitted "hyper" anywhere, you have found the equivalent of the proverbial "needle in the haystack."

But to do what we can to satisfy James, we will not call him a "hyper-Calvinist," we will simply "allege and charge" that he is a "Distorting Calvinist" and a "Hybrid Calvinist," as well as being something on the order of a "Hardshell Baptist," -- for after all, he must hold something in common with them so as to be invited to preach for them.

 
At Wednesday, June 07, 2006 10:06:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

Since he goes beyond Calvin I think hyper-Calvinist is a good word for James White, Scott Morgan, Mark Dever, Tom Nettles, and others who cling to a "born again before faith" theology.

Blogging Calvinists usually refer to Phil Johnson's article on hyper-Calvinism. Phil Johnson, however, is not the final authority. As you stated, no one has ever self identified as a hyper Calvinist. A hyperCalvinist would do anything in his power to keep from being identified as one.

Your use of "hybrid" and "distorting" is accurate also. Someone described Mark Dever recently as a "neo-Calvinist" and that might also be a good term to use for the "born again before faith" crowd.

For James White and Phil Johnson to assume that they alone (with other Reformed Calvinists) can define the terms is like the fox guarding the henhouse. No thanks!

Charles

 
At Thursday, June 08, 2006 1:30:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

"HYPER-CALVINIST"

Charles said:


Since he [James White] goes beyond Calvin I think hyper-Calvinist is a good word for James White, Scott Morgan, Mark Dever, Tom Nettles, and others who cling to a "born again before faith" theology.

So far as I can find, Charles, none of these writers would measure their "Calvinism" by Calvin on "regeneration," although they say they are "Calvinists."

I think they would prefer the theology of Shedd, Berkhof, Sproul or some other pedo-regenerationist on "regeneration." And of course, Shedd, Berkhof, and Sproul conflict with Calvin's theology on
"regeneration," and even with the Westminster Confession.

Since the men you name define "Hyper-Calvinism" to their own satisfaction, they naturally exclude themselves. Although they are indeed "hyper" when measured by Calvin, or even by Dort and Westminster, they will simply squall "misrepresentation" if they are called "hypers."

They appear to be similar to Black "racists" -- if one is Black, that automatically excludes one from from being "racist."

 
At Thursday, June 08, 2006 10:26:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

JAMES WHITE'S DILEMMA
ON "INVITATIONS"


Bob to Charles:

It is always "revealing," Charles, when James White ventures to make remarks which relate to his Hybrid Calvinism. Note the following remark on his website about "invitations" on 06/08/2006:

Next, we are told that if you do not use that modern invention called the "invitation," and if you dare point out that the vast majority of invitations offered today utilize emotional appeals that produce false conversions that fill our churches with unregenerate people who could completely care less about Christ and His kingdom so that two years later you haven't a clue where they are but they are now part of the religious lost and are even more hardened to the gospel---well, you are bad.

The obvious implication, Charles, is that James White's mental and spiritual capacity is so great that he not only has the knowledge of the "vast majority of invitations offered today," but he also has even spiritually discerned the "false conversions that fill our churches with unregenerate people," -- as if to say he is a competent judge of the hearts of those who profess faith during invitations.

We are not at all surprised at James' professed ability, but we wonder why no mention is made by James of the many others -- including perhaps the majority of his "Calvinist" brethren among the "Reformed Baptists" -- who were not "false conversions"?

Even the father of modern "anti-invitationalism," Iain Murray, grants that "some are converted" where the invitation is used (The Invitation System, page 24), and many Christians testify to this fact -- even Fred Zaspel and Michael Spencer, who are now anti-invitationalists.

Even more significant is the fact that Dr. R. Albert Mohler established the Billy Graham School of Missions Evangelism and Church Growth in 1994 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

Billy Graham was converted during an invitation given by Evangelist Mordecai Ham. Billy Graham has always used invitations in his evangelism.

Evidently, Dr. Mohler does not think that such invitations used by Graham are contrary to orthodoxy in the matter of evangelism. Does James countenance Dr. Mohler's embellishment of Billy Graham?

If Dr. Mohler viewed invitations as James White denigrates them, surely Dr. Mohler would not have named this school the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. After all, Graham has probably seen more professions during invitations than any other evangelist in history.

James White also says:

What I do have a big problem with is what I was taught in a Southern Baptist Bible college: that my sermon should be focused entirely upon that invitation at the end. That my text choice and presentation should be such that I will be able to transition into the invitation successfully. The fact that a large portion of the texts of the Bible simply defy this strategy (well, unless you are willing to mess with the text, anyway), didn't seem to cross anyone's mind. Of course, since this whole invitation system stuff is a modern creation anyway, I guess Neo-Calvinists did not exist prior to the 19th century. That's oddly comforting in a strange way.

James seems to imply that if a practice is "a modern creation," it has a strike against it. One wonders if it ever "crossed James' mind" that the practices of his brethren among the "baby regenerationists," whom he is in the habit of embellishing as "Calvinists" and "scholars," are also defied by "a large portion of the texts of the Bible" and that their practice is "a modern creation" when compared with the Scriptures?

Does James think that "baby regeneration" has any foundation in the "texts of the Bible" which are clearly "messed with" by the "baby regenerationists" such as Shedd, Berkholf, Sproul, and others?

While James strikes blows at those who use invitations, alleging that the practice produces "false conversions," what does he think of all the alleged "regenerations" and infant "church members" which have been recorded by the millions over the years by his friends among the pedos?

Since James obviously does not hold "baby regeneration" against his pedo brethren as of any great significance, we perhaps can conclude that "the love of the doctrine of regeneration before faith covers a multitude" of false doctrines.

 
At Friday, June 09, 2006 10:09:00 PM, Anonymous SBTS Student said...

I'm glad someone finally took on Gene Bridges. Great stuff, Bob.

 
At Saturday, June 10, 2006 12:52:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

GENE BRIDGES, A NOVICE

sbts student said...


I'm glad someone finally took on Gene Bridges. Great stuff, Bob.

Thank you, sbts student, for your comment. I'm pleased to know that not every one at SBTS is a follower of the thinking represented by the likes of Gene Bridges.

Gene Bridges is a novice who has read just enough to be vainly puffed up with pedo-regenerationist Hybrid Calvinistic theology.

So far as I recall, I never knew Gene Bridges existed until he showed up to expose his deficiencies on this blogsite.

Gene reminds me of several impertinent Campbellites who have absorbed the heresies of Campbellism to the extent they think they can take on and refute a Baptist. They generally popup and last just long enough to put their foot into their mouth and find they can't get it out.

Somehow, over the years, apparently the providence of God has put several of this type in my path, and it has consequently fallen upon me to burst their bubbles. I did not seek them out, but they mounted their attacks upon me. Such it was the case with Gene Bridges.

Such persons fulfill the "spirit" if not the "letter" of passages such as Job 12:3 and Proverbs 18:2, 6, 7.

 
At Sunday, June 11, 2006 12:05:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

WHITE AND CANER DEBATE -- WHY?

Bob to Charles:

After reading materials by both of these disputants, Charles, I really wonder "why" they would want to hold a debate. I noted the following POINTS OF AGREEMENT deduced from their writings:

White and Caner --

1. Agree: The Gospel is to be preached to all mankind, since to our knowledge it is theoretically possible that any one could be saved.

2. Agree: All of those saved in the future will be those who believe on Jesus Christ for salvation.

3. Agree: The Atonement of Christ will be efficacious to the salvation of all of those who believe on Christ for salvation.

4. Agree: All the "elect" saved in the future will be those who believe on Christ -- regardless of how election was determined in "eternity past" in the counsel of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

5. Agree: All those who are born again in the future will be born again by the power of the Holy Spirit.

6. Agree: All those who are born again will endure to the end, and not lose salvation.

So why do they want to debate? Simply to argue their theoretical theory on some issue in "theology" that really has no essential relationship to actual salvation?

When you really think about it, no one is ever saved because he believed one or more of the theoretical differences involved in "Arminianism" and "Calvinism." And perhaps White, Caner, and majority of those that say they are saved didn't even know there were such things as "Arminianism" and "Calvinism" when they got saved.

 

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