Monday, June 12, 2006

Dr. Mohler Has Eye Surgery

SBTS Student, a friend of The Calvinist Flyswatter, forwarded an email to me from Southern Seminary saying that Dr. Albert Mohler had eye surgery yesterday, June 11.

I hope everyone will pray for Dr. Mohler. Perhaps God will use this time to not only heal him but also awaken him to the many problems at Southern Seminary.

Charles

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

FROM: President's Office [presoffice@sbts.edu]

Dear friends of Southern Seminary,

I write this morning to update you on the health of Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., and to bring before you a matter of prayer. As many of you know, for some years Dr. Mohler has struggled with eye issues pertaining to the cornea. Yesterday, Sunday, at 2:00 Dr. Mohler underwent corneal surgery at Duke University. Evidently the surgery was a success, and we thank the Lord for his gracious providence. However, the next several days will be difficult for Dr. Mohler.

This week Dr. Mohler is in Greensboro, North Carolina at the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Mohler daily has many responsibilities that are public in nature. The eye surgery complicates matters in two areas, and this is where we need your prayers. First, the surgery has left Dr. Mohler's vision greatly impaired. Second, the surgery has also left Dr. Mohler experiencing serious pain. Please join us in praying that the Lord would minimize both of these obstacles and enable Dr. Mohler to complete the tasks before him these next several days.

Thank you so much for standing with us in prayer.

Jason K. Allen
Executive Assistant to the President
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

26 Comments:

At Monday, June 12, 2006 2:53:00 PM, Blogger D.R. said...

Charles,

Your call for prayer for Dr. Mohler is a good gesture from this website, but it is rather tacky of you to assault the man and link the absolutely ridiculous former post to it. Seriously, it's time to either act like Christ or give this blogging stuff up.

 
At Monday, June 12, 2006 3:04:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Charles,

I agree that we should be praying for Dr. Mohler and may he rejoice in the Lord for the great things God has and is doing at Southern in the area of Theology and Biblical evangelism. May God continue to use Dr. Mohler to produce true Calvinistic Baptists.
Also, may the Lord continue to bless Dr. Tom Nettles and other professors at the school. Thanks for your sincerity concerning Dr. Mohler. Pray for our church as we are studying through AW Pink and John Gill on the attributes of God in Sunday School.

 
At Monday, June 12, 2006 4:59:00 PM, Blogger Mopheos said...

Sir Flyswatters,

I had the misfortune of following a link to your blog today - what a tiresome, unedifying read! You two (or however many of you there are), though subtly employing your own brand of yellow-ish journalism, nevertheless end up finally serving only yourselves and your own rather narrow vision of the Kingdom. It is a mercy that you do not find yourselves in heaven now - you would no doubt be extremely unhappy upon discovery of some of her residents and wish to have some thrown out! Thank God (and I use the Name soberly) that you (nor I) are the proprietors.

Though you evidently enjoy accusing a slew of others for their supposed divisiveness, you lead the pack, proving - in grand form - the truth of Paul's indictment in Romans 2:1.

Your unchaste use of the term heresy fails to illegitimate the positions against which you so dogmatically opine, and rather makes you liable to the very censure you would foist upon so many others. Paul's true use of the term in Titus 3:10 is more pertinent to you than to many upon whom you rain down your often faulty judgments.

The body of Christ is not well served by your strivings and contentions. Perhaps a different tact in your blogging would prove more fruitful for the Kingdom in the long run. Otherwise, eternity is going to be a real drag for you fellas.

 
At Monday, June 12, 2006 6:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles you shouldn't request something that you don't mean but think you are doing God's bidding to correct what you believe to be Dr. Mohlers problem(s).

Who needs prayers of and enemy.

I pray not only for Dr. Mohlers health issue but far above that that after this is resolve he can continue to fight the good fight which we can so graciously thank the Lord for regarding his placement of Dr. Mohler at Southern to help the SBC and all of its problems through his position at SBTS.

 
At Monday, June 12, 2006 11:23:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

DR. MOHLER'S EYE SURGERY

D.R. said...


Charles,

Your call for prayer for Dr. Mohler is a good gesture from this website, but it is rather tacky of you to assault the man and link the absolutely ridiculous former post to it. Seriously, it's time to either act like Christ or give this blogging stuff up.


You can never "please" some, Charles, regardless of what you say or how you say it. They will always be able to find fault. If you say nothing, they will find fault; if you say anything at all, they will find fault. They are always looking for some way to pounce on you to discredit your integrity.

Despite Dr. Mohler's unfortunate health at the present time, human frailties -- which befall us all -- do not constitute an
"indulgence," as it were, in the category of biblical responsibility to the truth of the Word of God.

When Dr. Mohler is back to 100% normal, he will still be no more nor less responsible as President of the Seminary for what is being taught there as the truth.

Serious as it may be, Dr. Mohler's eye problem is of far less spiritual and eternal significance than his involvement in the aberrant teaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on the vital doctrine of the New Birth.

Dr. Mohler, I hope and belleve, will soon recover from this surgery, and I have an additional hope -- that he will make an even more significant recovery in his spiritual vision which will lead him to get rid of the aberrant teaching of "regeneration before faith" at SBTS for which he must share responsibility.

Our prayers are for Dr. Mohler's recovery both physically in regard to his eye, and spiritually, in regard to his leadership at the Seminary.

 
At Tuesday, June 13, 2006 12:03:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

Thanks, Bob. When it comes to D.R., or Daniel Randle, I just "consider the source." His profile says he is "Searching for a Ministry Position," and his blog has the usual heresy "born again before faith" "ministry links" to the Flounders, Mark Dever, R. C. Sproul, and Monergism.

In other words, he believes, or at the very least, promotes a theology that very few Southern Baptist churches believe. Which means that unless he lies to the search committee, or hides his theological leanings, he is not likely to find a ministry position in a Southern Baptist church.

Which would tend to make some people very bitter after getting a M.Div from NOBTS.

Charles

 
At Tuesday, June 13, 2006 2:55:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

DR. MOHLER - WHAT HE SHOULD HAVE SAID AT GREENSBORO

Bob to Charles:

I noticed on the Founders' blogsite the following comment by Tom Ascol in regard to the Al Mohler-Paige Patterson "encounter" on election (or whatever) at the Greensboro SBC:

Dr. Mohler warned Calvinists not to be more concerned with debating Calvinism than evangelizing. That also was a helpful comment and should be taken to heart by every lover of God's Word.

While "every little bit helps," Mohler could have much more significantly warned professed Calvinists not to be "more concerned with promoting Hybrid Calvinism than evangelizing."

But if he had said that, he would have had to include his own Seminary.

The two greatest aberrancies which now characterize many of those who profess "Calvinism," such as the Founders and the "Reformed," are (1) the non-creedal "born again before faith" heresy, and (2) the abusive misapplication of the pedobaptist-derived, Pharisee-like perversion of the "regulative principle" to destroy use of the public invitation.

On the latter, the most distortive book in print today on this subject is entitled "Worship" by Ernest Reisinger and D. M. Allen, published by the Founders. It would be competitive with any book by the scribes and Pharisees in creating unscriptural laws.

I have not read anything more distortive since reading Alexander Campbell's "Christian System," which also derived from the same Presbyterianism of "command, example, and inference" patternism.

The authors are "hyper-Founders," for they go beyond anything ever said or written by the Southern Baptist founders. The authors have borrowed their version of the "regulative principle" from the baby-regenerationists whom they often quote, such as Iain Murray and John Frame.

The primary purpose of the book seems to be the overthrow of the use of public invitations. They admit that among Southern Baptists the use of the so-called "regulative principle" against public invitations is a recent novelty (page 87).

In fact, one could probably not find this stuff from any source among Baptists other than those influenced by the "baby regenerationists" (page 49) -- such as the Founders who owe a great deal of their theological make-up to Iain Murray's influence on Ernest Reisinger.

The book is unreliable in so many ways, and I may have more to say about it later. But at this time, I just wanted to point out an item in the area of historical inaccuracy.

On page 92, it is alleged that "the invitation system was completely unknown prior to the 1820s."

This is inaccurate, for we have shown that John L. Dagg referred to invitations being used in 1809. See --
http://calvinistflyswatter.
blogspot.com/2006/05/
southern-baptist-
founder-refutes.html

 
At Tuesday, June 13, 2006 4:14:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Bob,

You are still " Eatin Up " with jealously ! No one is paying attention to you and Charles much these days. Tom Ascol pointed that out with his comment to Charles.Whether it is the late Ernie Reisinger, Tom Nettles, Tom Ascol, Gene Bridges, and James White. Just walk with the Lord and let other people " Toot Your Horn".

 
At Tuesday, June 13, 2006 4:37:00 PM, Blogger D.R. said...

Charles,

You are such a sweet guy to accuse me of being bitter though you know nothing about me. Of course, knowing something about someone has never stopped you from making conclusions about them, as you did with Timmy Brister. Keep up the unChristlike work of treating your brothers with disresepct and distain. It only makes us look better, as shown in the distain more and more non-Calvinists are having for Calvinism bashing in the SBC.

 
At Tuesday, June 13, 2006 6:31:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SKUDZU FROM GAWGA

Scott said...


No one is paying attention to you and Charles much these days.

Yeah, but the pay is so good I am not concerned about anything else. I would not expect much out of Tom Ascol. In fact, I would hope not, in light of the fact Tom thinks James White is a "debater." James seems best qualified for providing forgettable palabber for those who pay to go on his cruise tours.

 
At Tuesday, June 13, 2006 6:54:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MORE WHITE WHINE

Bob to Charles:

James the Exegete is whining again, Charles, complaining that the Moderator of the proposed White-Caner debate wont' reply to his emails.

Al Mohler "warned Calvinists not to be more concerned with debating Calvinism than evangelizing," according to Tom Ascol.

Wonder if James White is one of those Mohler had in mind? James keeps his readers updated on all his debates, but what about his evangelistic work? Is he more concerned about debating Calvinism than evangelizing?

James is apparently obsessed with debating and seeking debates, and even whines when he can't get his emails about debate answered.

 
At Tuesday, June 13, 2006 7:04:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

Our Brother Scott Morgan is referring to a comment I posted over on the Flounders blog. Tom Ascol asked me if "things were slow" here. He never asks that question of James White, Timmy Brister, or others who have blogs and post far more than I do on the Founders blog. I suppose I just get under Tom's skin. Imagine that.

I haven't replied to Tom, but for the record, Bob, things have never been better at The Calvinist Flyswatter! Visits to the blog are higher than they have ever been. People are not only reading the articles, Bob, but they are emailing them to their friends.

Bob, you and I both know that the continued efforts to expose the "born again before faith" heresy at Southern Seminary and The Flounders is bearing much fruit. We can praise the Lord for that.

Scott is worried. Hence, his remarks.

Charles

 
At Tuesday, June 13, 2006 7:35:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

Tom Ascol asked me if "things were slow" here. . . . Visits to the blog are higher than they have ever been. People are not only reading the articles, Bob, but they are emailing them to their friends.


Considering the short time you have had this blog, Charles, plus the fact you are not "head" of a non-scriptural religious entity which claims to be a "ministry," with churches enlisted as affiliates, and seminary professors serving on your Board of Directors, and sponsoring "Flyswatter" Conferences, and all the other paraphernalia like the Founders --
I would say you have done quite well, comparatively.

After all, it seems that the "born again before faith" bloggers all link to and promote one another. Yet you don't seem to have anyone linking to you, yet your blog still draws readers.

Given more time for people to become aware of your blog, your stock should climb considerably.

The reason is, you have something important to say and you are willing to say it. I am just happy to be a part of your effort.

 
At Wednesday, June 14, 2006 10:49:00 AM, Blogger Mopheos said...

bob l. ross sez...
After all, it seems that the "born again before faith" bloggers all link to and promote one another. Yet you don't seem to have anyone linking to you, yet your blog still draws readers.

Given more time for people to becom aware of your blog, your stock should climb considerably.

The reason is, you have something important to say and you are willing to say it. I am just happy to be a part of your effort.

Mopheos sez...
Well, that's surely true, Bob, but only to the degree that the BABF (born again before faith) bloggers want to take a break from reading sound blogging. Reading the BAByMyF (born again by my faith) blog provides the perfect comedic antithesis.

Don't fall for the old tired "numbers=success" rubric - you guys are just a semi-entertaining diversion - and a much appreciated one!

 
At Wednesday, June 14, 2006 1:50:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

NOT HERE TO EXCHANGE BARBS

Mopheos sez...
the BABF (born again before faith) bloggers want to take a break from reading sound blogging. Reading the BAByMyF (born again by my faith) blog provides the perfect comedic antithesis
.

Well, Mopheos, while I am not here to exchange comedic bards and nonsense remarks, but if I were, I would at least try to "get it right" when I referred to another party's point of view.

I have never taught that faith is anything more or less than the creative gift of the Spirit in His using God's Word -- "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17); "ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man" (1 Cor. 3:5; John 6:63).

Any faith which I have, or will ever have, comes to me by the Lord's own means and power, not mine. I like to compare it to my breath -- He gives me breath, and I breathe.

If you thought I ever taught otherwise, then it seems your wishful thinking perhaps overloaded your mental mechanism.

 
At Thursday, June 15, 2006 6:30:00 PM, Blogger Mopheos said...

My mistake, Bob - my mental mechanism is often overloaded :o) (was that a barb?), and alas! after 51 years, I am still sometimes taken by wishful thinking. My barb (or was it my nonsense?) was more directed towards which side of faith does regeneration occur - although I did characterize your position as "born again by my faith." It probably would have been more accurate for me to say of your position, "born again after faith."

Now I hope you are aware that the theological and doctrinal position which you are disingenuously calling heresy is, in fact, no such thing. You may disagree with it, you may hate it, you may think it mistaken, but heretical it is not. The position arises from sound exegesis of the written text - it is not merely some man's fanciful opinion.

Heresy is, by biblical definition, divisively promulgating one's own opinion, in contrast to what is found in a careful and thorough examination of Scripture. God quickening the dead that they may believe has solid biblical support. So why do you judge another man's servant who faithfully holds to such biblical truth?

It appears that you and Charles are looking for trouble - or more accurately, trying to stir up trouble. And you have absolutely no warrant for such activity in the Lord's household. In fact, you have been sternly warned against the very thing you and Charles appear all too happy to pursue: 1 Corinthians 3:14 - 17 "If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple."

You may know that the pronouns in verse 16-17 are plural, which means they refer to the corporate body, not to individuals per se. I think the work you and Charles are doing comes perilously close to the very thing Paul here condemns. If you work against the temple of the Lord, do you have hope of His approval? It is a false hope, to be sure. Please consider what you are doing, and perhaps the Lord may give you redirection into more useful labor in His household. Thanks for your time.

 
At Thursday, June 15, 2006 10:37:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MORE MOP WORK DUE TO MOPHEOS

Mopheos said...


. . . although I did characterize your position as "born again by my faith." It probably would have been more accurate for me to say of your position, "born again after faith."

Wrong again, Mopper.

If you had read this blog where I have dealt with the creation of faith by the sole power of the Holy Spirit's use of the Word as His instrumentality, before you uttered all your overloaded mental mechism you would not have made another blunder by misrepresenting my view of faith and the new birth.

Instead of repeating former materials, you can consult them on your own time. I am not inclined to obvioiusly waste time and efort on someone who seems to be theoretically intoxicated with the type of "White Lightnin'" palabber advocated by the likes of James White, R. C. Sproul, and other "born again before faithers."

 
At Friday, June 16, 2006 12:04:00 AM, Blogger Mopheos said...

Thanks Bob - you have disabused me of more wishful thinking, particularly in regard to you. "Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone." And so we shall.

Mopper

 
At Friday, June 16, 2006 11:53:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

EXEGESIS?

mopheos said . . .


Mopheos said...
Thanks Bob - you have disabused me of more wishful thinking, particularly in regard to you. "Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone." And so we shall.


Now, if that were Charles or me who quoted that verse and "applied" it as the Mopper has done, we would be immediately rebuked for not "exegeet'n" it correctly.

Maybe you better submit this to the Great Exegeeter himself, the Master Brewer of "White Lightnin,'" so as to get proper "exegeet'n" on this to see if you are using it appropriately.

 
At Friday, June 16, 2006 3:54:00 PM, Blogger Mopheos said...

Bob,

Just so you are not confused, Bob and Charles, I am not a part of the Founders ministry and am not presently serving in SBC circles (though I did from 1979 until 2002). In your attempts to heap scorn upon your theological enemies, don't saddle the Founders folks with any of my perceived errors, nonsense or that dreaded "palabber" (perhaps you mean palaver?).

I did take your advice and read some of your previous writings - particularly on the ongoing calvinism/regeneration issue. I found much upon which we agree and perhaps some on which we do not. I rejoice in the truth and when men walk in the truth, and so can praise God for that.

I know there are some who perhaps hold to a view of regeneration which excludes the necessary instrumentality of the word and the Spirit (although I cannot imagine regeneration taking place in any other context), but I don't know of any personally (including the few men I know in the Founders). That is why I am puzzled by the unwarranted antipathy and mockery which flows from men like you and Charles. As I noted in a previous comment (to which you did not respond), I think you are gravely mistaken in your idea of what and who is a heretic. You are not a pastor, do not feel called to be one, do not want to be one. Understood and well said. Shepherds do not treat sheep as you have, and I hope the sheep who graze in your pasture are able to sift through, and not ingest, the vitriol and mockery, while still benefiting from whatever is of good report on your website. But you make it hard.

In any event, it seems that the internet and blogging apparently gives some men the notion that they may leave off treating the members of God's household as God has commanded them. Unfortunately, some of my own posts are evidence of this. Please forgive me any such indiscretion - returning evil for evil is so unseemly, not to mention wrong.

So again, do not lay any of my comments to the Founders' account - it's all my palabber. Oh, and by the way, "Mopheos" is a contraction (of sorts) of my first name - Timotheos (Timothy). "Mopper" is cute...if you're three years old. But just in case you mis-typed, that's the name.

Timotheos

 
At Friday, June 16, 2006 7:06:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MOPPINGS FROM MOPHEOS
Mopheos said...


In your attempts to heap scorn upon your theological enemies, don't saddle the Founders folks with any of my perceived errors, nonsense or that dreaded "palabber" (perhaps you mean palaver?).

Well, the word is "palabber," which was adopted from Shemp of the Three Stooges who used it about some type of nonsense.

What I have written is not specifically focused on the Founders, but on the "born again before faith" idea which is promoted by the Founders. They borrowed this from the "baby regenerationists" such as Iain Murray and Louis Berkhof (who borrowed from Shedd). This heresy was designed to justify the idea of the pedos that infants inherit regeneration because they are born to parents (at least one) who are believers.

If it seems we are focused on the Founders, it probably is because the Founders have attacked us and this generated some response to their attack.

Before I ever wrote a single blog on anybody's blog, the Founders published on their blog that I was a "goofball." That's how I first heard of Charles -- thru the Founders' blog calling me a "goofball" in a comment one of them made to Charles. A friend of mine informed me about it, and I checked it out. Charles has the rest of the story somewhere on this blogsite, and maybe he can give you the link.

It is a known fact that Founders such as Mark Dever and Tom Nettles promote "regeneration precedes faith," as did the Founders' founder, Ernest Reisinger. Scott Morgan affiliates with Founders, and he promotes the same heresy. They had Tom Schreiner speak at a local Founders conference, and he teaches the same heresy. They promote R. C. Sproul, John Frame, and other pedos who teach the same.

When it comes to "heresy," here is my understanding;

(1) "Heterodoxy" is not necessarily either heresy or damnable heresy. Specifically, heterodoxy is simply a distinct diversion from Creedal or Confessional Christianity on some issue of importance. It simply means that the view expressed by the Creed is not consistent with the aberrancy of a notably different view on the subject.

(2) "Heresy" has more of an application to internal teachings in Scripture about which a person may be aberrant. It may be a major error, or it may be minor. But due to the fact it is not acceptable as scriptural teaching and therefore erroneous, it is called "heresy."

(3) "Damnable heresy" is heresy which is so serious it is most likely "damnable" to believe it. This would always be a major error, an error to the point that if one holds it, he is obviously not saved. Like, for instance, if one taught that Christ did not come in the flesh, that would be "damnable heresy" to deny it. "If you believe not that I am He," Jesus said, "you shall die in your sins."

Since questions have arisen about "regeneration precedes faith" in recent days, I wish to state that on this issue --

(1) We believe it is heterodoxy, as it is a diversion from the Creeds.

(2) We believe it is heresy, as it is not the scriptural teaching on the new birth.

(3) We do NOT believe it is "damnable," for it is more of a theoretical error in theology than anything else. Those who profess it nevertheless confess that salvation is solely by Jesus Christ. They simply and erroneously fantasize that they got "regenerated" before they believed on Christ. They seem to confuse preliminary influences by the Spirit as being evidences of the new birth. But there is no new birth until born is born (1 John 5:4, 1, 12).

 
At Friday, June 16, 2006 7:35:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

CORRECTION

Bob to Charles:

I don't usually bother to correct spelling or other minor errors, Charles, but this one is different.

The following --

But there is no new birth until born is born (1 John 5:4, 1, 12).

SHOULD READ:

But there is no new birth until faith is born (1 John 5:4, 1, 12).

 
At Friday, June 16, 2006 11:03:00 PM, Blogger Mopheos said...

Bob,

If the point of contention is an issue of chronology on the time line of salvation, could not a Scriptural case be made from John 3, for instance, that before a man can either "see" the kingdom or "enter" the kingdom, he must be born again (from above)? In terms of chronology, it is clear that John 3 makes new birth a prerequisite ("unless one is born again") to both seeing and then entering the kingdom.

So I only ask, is this an understanding that arises from the text of Scripture itself? If so, then it can be neither heterodoxy nor heresy.

If I were to go on and say further that the Spirit and the Word play no part in this new birth, that preaching and praying are unnecessary and that people are regenerated from the foundation of the world, that would be what Paul calls "different doctrine" or "other doctrine" as he says in I Timothy 1:3 and 6:3. Such teaching would be at least heterodox, at worst false teaching. But John 3 comes directly from the mouth of our Lord, which Paul makes something of a criterion for wholesome doctrine.

My only point is that John 3 is just as much Bible as the I John passage, and at least one of them presents specific biblical data that gives credence to faith following new birth (new birth, then seeing and entering - all of course in the context of the word and the Spirit). This may be a departure from certain creeds, confessions or church dogma (which would be heterodox in the more modern sense of that word), but that is all. You or I may believe something to be heresy, but that does not necessarily make it so.

The contemporary use of the term heresy indicates that it has been transformed from a more precise, technical word into an extremely broad term to condemn just about anything (or anyone) who does not conform to any given standard (theological or otherwise). No one wants to be called a heretic, and many down through the church's history have found themselves (unjustly) accused and condemned. I just don't think one can be called a heretic for believing what John 3 teaches.

 
At Saturday, June 17, 2006 12:30:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

JOHN 3
Mopheos said...


I just don't think one can be called a heretic for believing what John 3 teaches.

I do not recall ever saying that anyone who believd John 3 is a "heretic." Why do you imply such a foolish thing?

Aren't you simply "begging the question" by imposing your own interpretation upon the text as if that is what it actually says?

Have you been reading the so-called "exegesis" of the likes of Hybrid Calvinist, James the Exegete? If so, he will have you believing that God "knocked Paul off his horse" and other "exegeeted" novelties.

As I understand the chapter, I would say that if one believes the Hybrid Calvinist notion that one was born again apart from God-given faith, he believes a heresy on the new birth.

Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:14-18 how it is that one is saved, or born again. He illustrates it by the healing of the serpent-bitten Israelites, and I see no reason to think they were healed either before they looked or after they looked -- rather, they were healed in the selfsame instant that they looked.

The Hybrid Calvinist idea that one is born again before, without, separate and apart from the Spirit's using the Word of God to create faith in the sinner makes John 3:14-18 superfluous.

John 6:63 shows that it is the Word which the Spirit uses to bring life.

Those taught by the Lord come to Christ (John 6:45). When this faith is born, one is born again (1 John 5:4, 1, 12).

Sinners are begotten of the Spirit of God by the Gospel (1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Peter 1:23).

If you think you were born again before and without God-given faith, you hold a heresy, and you May even be relying upon a "feeling" you experienced and not the Son of God.

May I ask what you mark as the time and circumstance of your spiritual "birthday"? Did it involve believing in Christ?

SPURGEON'S TESTIMONY:

The minister rose in his pulpit, and, as I have done this morning, read this text, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." I looked that moment; the grace of faith was vouchsafed to me in the self-same instant; and now I think I can say with truth,

"Ere since by faith
I saw the stream
His flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die."

"Look! look! look!" This is the simple method of salvation.

"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth."

http://www.spurgeon.org/
sermons/0060.htm

 
At Saturday, June 17, 2006 6:22:00 PM, Blogger Mopheos said...

The "foolish" implication I made was in the context of our previous post concerning textual support for believing that being born from above happens before one believes. Since you take that to be a heretical position, I simply asked how, given the statements made by Jesus in John 3, could one be charged with heresy for believing what those phrases state. You perhaps extrapolated my comment farther than I intended given the context of our conversation.

I do make a concerted (and sometimes educated) attempt to avoid imposing my own interpretation on the text, but everyone interprets for themselves. The question is one of faithful interpretation to the words, phrases, paragraphs, books and canon as it is written. As far as John 3:3-5 is concerned, the conditional clauses ("unless...unless") indicate that the Kingdom which John and then Jesus preached and which was at hand (Matthew 3:2 and 4:17) cannot be seen nor entered ...unless one is "born again" and "born of water and the Spirit." One does not see and then enter the kingdom in order to be born again - the exact opposite is stated. Unless words and sentence structure are meaningless, such an interpretation imposes nothing that is not said by Jesus himself.

We are in complete agreement on John 3:14-18. I believe (as all the calvinists I know believe, including perhaps most at the Founders) that when anyone believes in Him, they will neither perish nor be condemned, but will be saved. The new birth is not in view per se in John 3:14-18 - what is in view is the result of the Spirit "blowing where it wishes" - and that result is men believing in Him and being given eternal life.

I suppose the difference we may have has to do with the statement, "Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:14-18 how it is that one is saved, or born again." I would not interpret the terms "saved" and "born again" as being identical terms describing the exact same thing. As there are various theological terms which describe differing aspects of salvation, so I believe the Bible employs these two terms differentially, rather than identically or synonymously.

But again, I wholeheartedly agree with the other passages you mention - I do not believe a person can be saved apart from the ministry of the Spirit and the preaching of the gospel...period.

Concerning my own salvation, when I was 23 years old and in the last months of a naval tour of duty, God began to convict me through the awesome testimony of creation (thousands of miles from land out in the vast ocean is exceedingly humbling, and not a little frightening) and a conscience increasingly burdened by my own sin. A shipmate actually read the Bible to me a couple of times (much to my chagrin), and there were a few shipmates who were consistent in their Christian testimony before me. Although I was burdened by my conscience over my lifestyle, I was in bondage and unable to help myself. The realization of this fact was extremely depressing to me. At one point during all of this turmoil, I "happened" to be at a friend's house who was a Christian (quite backslidden at the time, but turning back to the Lord), and in the process of talking that night, I asked him if it was true that he had started going to church. This puzzled me, and subsequently a four hour conversation ensued, during which the gospel was explained to me, and which - for the first time in my life - I clearly understood and believed with all my heart. It was ME He suffered and died for. Now I see.
Though there were many and deep feelings connected to this dramatic event, the gospel was in clear focus, and glad repentance and faith were in my heart and on my lips. That was 1978, and now here - in the amazing providence of God - I find myself serving Him among His people. It's all very extraordinary. Looking back on it all, the only explanation for the sudden change in interest, understanding and affection is that, "His eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth and followed Thee." I believe the "quickening ray" was the work of the Spirit.

I apologize for the length of this post. I pray it is not too laborious, nor too offensive, to read. If my views in this matter are deemed heretical by you, then so be it. I can rest in such a judgment, as I know whom (and what) I have believed, and I will put my confidence in Paul's words recorded in I Corinthians 4:1-5. Grace and peace.

 
At Sunday, June 18, 2006 1:15:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

EXPERIENCE CONSISTENT WITH OUR VIEW

Mopheos said...


This puzzled me, and subsequently a four hour conversation ensued, during which the gospel was explained to me, and which - for the first time in my life - I clearly understood and believed with all my heart. It was ME He suffered and died for. Now I see.

Your testimony is consistent with what we contend for -- that salvation takes places as the Word of God is presented and is empowered by the unseen work of the Holy Spirit. "Now I see" was the result of the Spirit's effecting the new birth by empowering the Gospel.

To "see" and "enter" the Kingdom of God, the new birth is essential, and this "seeing" and "entering" takes places at the instant the Word comes in the power of the Spirit (1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Peter 1:23, James 1:l8)-- which is what constitutes the new birth.

Born "of" the Spirit, "by" the Word. See Stephen Charnock's presentation:

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

"Saved" in Scripture is not always referring to the new birth, but when one experiences the new birth he is "saved" in that initial stage of eternal salvation.

I think most knowledgeable Christians understand that when one becomes a believer, he is "saved" in this sense of initial salvation. He is "passed from death to life." But he did not have life until he had the Son thru faith (1 John 5:12; John 3:18, 36).

The only one with life without the Son is the fellow you read about in Hybrid Calvinist writings by men such Shedd, Sproul, and James White.

 

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