Monday, June 26, 2006

Evangelism: Tom Ascol and James White vs. Charles Spurgeon

Are today's Calvinist Baptists evangelistic? The great 19th century pastor Charles Spurgeon certainly was. Living in London, England, one of the largest cities in the world at the time, Spurgeon won multiple thousands to Christ preaching the simple "ABC"* gospel.

Today's Reformed Calvinist Baptists all say that they are Spurgeon's heirs. "Dr." James White and Dr. Tom Ascol are two Calvinist Baptists who allege theological kinship with the prince of preachers.

Are White and Ascol's claims to Spurgeon's legacy valid? Let's find out.

First of all, White and Ascol are theologically adrift from Spurgeon's Calvinism. Both White and Ascol promote a theology that teaches a person must be regenerated or born again before he places faith in Jesus Christ. This is contrary to not only what Spurgeon believed but is also contrary to historic Baptist confessions. White and Ascol are more extreme in their views that even John Calvin himself! White and Ascol, therefore, are not confessional Calvinists but instead are best described as hybrid / hyper / extreme / neo Calvinists (choose your prefix).

Spurgeon differs with White and Ascol theologically on the new birth. But do they line up with Spurgeon on evangelism, on seeking out lost sheep?

Living in London, Charles H. Spurgeon pastored one of the largest churches in the world. The church was built on the preaching of the Word of God and on the personal evangelistic efforts of Spurgeon. Spurgeon was consistently winning people to the Lord. He loved anyone who preached the simple gospel to lost sinners, an example of which would be when he had the great evangelist, D. L. Moody, for revival meetings.

White and Ascol both say that evangelism is important and is part-and-parcel of their brand of Calvinism. Reading their writings, one discovers that they believe witnessing to the lost is an important duty for every Christian, certainly for Reformed-minded Baptists. But are they truly heirs of Spurgeon?

Since White and Ascol are leaders in Reformed circles and seek to influence Baptists through their writings on church polity and evangelism, it would be prudent to investigate their ministries and churches before swallowing their theological bait. In other words, does their walk match their talk? Let's find out.

Brother James White has lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area for many years. For at least two decades, Phoenix has been one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. Brother James is an elder at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church at 3805 N. 12th Street.

Since James thinks so highly of Spurgeon, one would expect his church to be a growing, thriving Baptist church that is reaching Phoenix newcomers with the wonderful gospel that Spurgeon preached. After so many years, James' diligent efforts at evangelism would have gathered enough of the "elect" to have a pretty good-sized church, wouldn't you think? After reading James' writings on how Reformed Calvinists are so evangelistic, I just knew his church would be one of Phoenix's megachurches.

Since Brother James' church is not a Southern Baptist church I was unable to secure attendance and membership records. Google, however, provides something even better. With one click Google provides us with a satellite photo of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. Be sure and count the number of spaces in the parking lot.

I admit, I was shocked when I saw the satellite picture. I could picture a church this size in rural Alabama but in the middle of metro Phoenix with the evangelistic zeal of Elder James White? Say it isn't so! The church can't be this tiny, can it, especially with all the years James has spent in Phoenix? To provide some context, here is a picture of the area surrounding James' church. It's definitely not a rural area. Could Google have pinpointed the wrong building? Maybe, but I doubt it.

James White: An heir of Charles H. Spurgeon? Not likely.

But what of Dr. Tom Ascol? As the head of Founders Ministries (yes, they really believe what they are doing is a ministry), Tom enthusiastically claims Spurgeon as a model.

For the last twenty years, Brother Tom has pastored the Grace Baptist Church, located at 204 SW 11th Place in Cape Coral, Florida. Cape Coral is in Lee County which is the most populous county is southwest Florida. According to the US Census, in 2000, the population of Lee County was 440,888. A mere four years later, the population jumped to 514,295.

Cape Coral is the largest city in Lee County with a population of 140,010 in 2005. This is up from 74,991 in 1990. The city and county have grown like wildfire since Tom began his pastorate in 1986. For twenty years Tom Ascol has pastored a church in one of fastest growing areas of the Unites States. Many pastors dream to work in such a growing field.

Since Dr. Ascol thinks so highly of Spurgeon, one would expect his church to be a growing, thriving Baptist church that is reaching Cape Coral newcomers with the wonderful gospel that Spurgeon preached. After so many years, Tom's diligent efforts at evangelism would have gathered enough of the "elect" to have a pretty good-sized church, wouldn't you think? After reading Tom's writings on how Reformed Calvinists were so evangelistic, I just knew his church would be one of Cape Coral's megachurches.

Let's look at the data. Lee County is part of the Royal Palm Association, which is part of the Florida Baptist Convention. The FBC reports that after twenty years of pastoring by Tom Ascol, Grace Baptist Church has 212 total members and 201 resident members. In case the numbers are off, Google provides a satellite photo of Grace Baptist Church. (You may need to "move" the picture up a bit to see the church). To provide some context, click here to see a picture of the area surrounding Tom's church.

Tom Ascol: An heir of Charles H. Spurgeon? Not likely.

My opinion is that James White and Tom Ascol are nothing like Spurgeon. Not in theology. Not in evangelism. So when you hear them quoting Spurgeon and saying that their brand of Calvinism is evangelistic, just remember what you have seen today with your own eyes.

So then, why are today's Calvinist churches so small? Brother Bob Ross has the answer. The moral of this story is that if you want a growing, thriving church, don't look to the theology and practice of James White and Tom Ascol for your model.

Charles


* Below is from Brother Bob Ross, owner of Pilgrim Publications, the company that publishes all of Charles H. Spurgeon's sermons.
>>>>>>>>>
At a London meeting at which C. H. Spurgeon presided a young minister was asked to speak. He startedby saying that he was a poor speaker and all he knew was the A. B. C. Gospel.

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

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

"B" stands for --

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

"C" is --

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:28 PM
CORRECTION REGARDING BROTHER TOM ASCOL AND GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH:

Brother Tom Ascol said in an email to another blogger that information from the Florida Baptist Convention regarding his church is incorrect. He reports on the size of his church, "our average attendance on Sunday mornings is between 300-350. Our Sunday night attendance is about 150-175 and our Wednesday night attendance is around 200."

I'm happy to say that, if correct, this makes Brother Ascol's church somewhat larger than reported. Readers can decide for themselves if someone who has a twenty year ministry in one of America's fastest growing cities which yields a church this size can lay claim to being a spiritual and evangelistic heir of Charles Spurgeon.

Charles

85 Comments:

At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 9:51:00 AM, Anonymous Roy G. Biv said...

Spurgeon is a one of a kind. There has not been nor will there be another.

I may be a fan of Michael Jordan and agree with how he played basketball, but I would hope to not be demeaned because I can't dunk a ball like him or shoot like him.

It is tacky at best that you have gone to all this trouble to compare one of the giants of the faith to these two pastors.

I would also wonder if spurgeon could be reincarated in 21st Century America if he would have had the same level of success. These are two different societies altogether.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 1:05:00 PM, Blogger Jon Unyan said...

Hello,

I don't normally speak with such bluntness, but are you really this much of an idiot as you have revealed yourself to be here? Incredible!

--Jon Unyan

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 2:19:00 PM, Blogger eklektos said...

If you actually think that Spurgeon would endorse the foolishness that passes for modern evangelism you are truly deceived. Were Spurgeon actually here I've no doubt he'd refute your argument to your face. It appears all you’ve swatted here is reason. Oh, and Spurgeon was a Calvinist, all five points, as he clearly demonstrated in his writings and adherence to the 1689 confession. Unless of course one uses the Chinese menu method of reading his writings, rather like most modern “evangelical” theology is practiced. I’ll have a little from A and a little from B, and maybe a spiritual appetizer from C. This is the modern ABC’s you defend so passionately. As for me, I prefer the whole counsel.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 2:33:00 PM, Blogger c0ach said...

You should read up on some logical fallacies.

For example, ad-hominem, non sequitur, and red herring.

Your article would be much smaller without utilizing the above fallacies.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 2:40:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

EVANGELISM etc.
Charles said . . .


The moral of this story is that if you want a growing, thriving church, don't look to the theology and practice of James White and Tom Ascol for your model.

Inevitably, Charles, when more emphasis is given to a theological system rather than to the Gospel, the natural result seems to be a smaller church. Hardshell churches, for instance, seldom have even a hundred.

Spurgeon's ministry was certainly a rather exceptional and unusual one. Especially so, since he came up "out of" a pedo and hyper background, and was enabled to evade the "system" shackles that otherwise might have bound him.

He not only freely preached the unfettered, unrestricted Gospel without qualification, but he often smote the pedo doctrine and the hyper doctrine. His primary concern was evangelism, and everything he did was geared in that direction.

With Spurgeon, the Gospel came first. In our time, some who like to refer to Spurgeon in contexts wherein they think he can be "used," seem more interested in promoting the "Reformed" system than they are interested in promoting the Gospel.

The result is inevitable -- small churches.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 2:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles, Charles, Charles. Ascol and White are not like Spurgeon, but like John Gill, 51 years pastoring the same church and run around 250 in attendance.


JNH

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 3:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

:-) A career in theology--probably not. But in comedy--I say go for it.

It seems that your criterion for the evaluation of a ministry is the availability of parking spaces, as per Google Earth. May I suggest that you investigate the popularity of the Roman Catholic Church, and calculate the sum-total of their global parking capacity (though, admittedly, Google Earth is as not as highly functional on other continents).

You could even postulate a theorem! "The Charles Formula"? Perhaps a more sophisticated nomen would be appropriate. In any case, the algorithm would be simple:

1. Count the number of operational parking spaces owned by a particular church, or para-church organization;
2. then multiply the sum by the average ratio of spaces occupied on a given Sunday morning;
3. calculate a weighted approximation of number of church attendees per car (based on the year, interior automobile capacity, and MSRP of the vehicles shown to be in the parking lot by the satellite image);
4. then add an estimated value that represents the number of church-goers arriving by public transportation each morning;
5. finally, add a nominal handicap value for all Calvinist churches, to offset your potential bias against them...and...Voila!

You've successfully calculated the Biblicallity and merit of the sample church. As a bonus, simple integration of the formula, applied over successive Sundays, yields and accurate estimate of congregational holiness!! Congratulations Charles--you're the man.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 3:11:00 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

Well, this is certainly silly. Don't know why I bothered to comment.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 3:24:00 PM, Blogger brianmcl said...

Surgeon didn't believe that a man needed to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, before repenting and coming to a saving faith in Jesus Christ?

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 3:27:00 PM, Blogger Jon Unyan said...

Hello again,

I just checked in on this blog again to see if there were any more comments and I can't helping laughing at your childishness. Satellite pictures of the area around James White and Tom Ascol's churches? The only thing that makes it so funny is that you're actually serious! Do you think I could get some satellite photos of Bob Ross' church, I'm sure they must have a huuuuge parking lot. I mean, such a great evangelistic preacher who doesn't understand that regeneration must come before faith has to have an enormous parking lot around his church. Hey, Joel Osteen must have a huge parking lot too! He must be a great evangelist. Charles, are you on Bob Ross' payroll? Please cease and desist, because you're making your mentor look like an idiot too...

--Jon Unyan

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 3:39:00 PM, Blogger MarieP said...

I challenge Charles and Bob Ross to post Google map pictures of their own churches. Please also tell us how many people are on the rolls, and how many show up for church services on an average Sunday.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 3:45:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

WESTERN CULTURE?

Bob to Charles:

I suppose you noticed, Charles, that James has reacted to your blog, saying --

"today he attacks Tom Ascol and me . . . What these shallow thinking troublers of the brethren today ignore is the reality of the situation of the church today in Western culture.

First of all, Charles, I did not realize that simply observing the size of a church constitutes an "attack."

Secondly, I did not not realize that "Western culture" accounts for the vast difference between James' church and Spurgeon's.

I don't suppose the great contrast between (1) Spurgeon's primary interest in the preaching of the Gospel and (2) James' primary interest in debating might also account for something.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 4:16:00 PM, Blogger Bryan Lewis said...

Few will find the narrow Gate.It is not in numbers. Read more on Spurgeon to find out what he believed.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 4:20:00 PM, Blogger Mike Miller said...

So, what you're saying is that only those who pastor large churches have good theology? Or at least if their churches are in large areas? I guess every church that agrees with Bob Ross is a large church? Interesting.

We have a very large Catholic church in the area. Must be good theology. I've also seen some pretty big Mormon churches. In fact, the Mormon church is growing worldwide. Must be their good theolgy.

Also, would you say that every pastor who truly adheres (according to you) to Spurgeon's theology would automatically pastor a large and/or growing church?

Can you see now how faulty your reasoning is?

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 5:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm actually reading a book on Spurgeon now full of quotes out of his sermons, and I can disavow most of what you are saying about Spurgeon as anti-Calvinistic propaganda.
Here is one quote among hundreds that prove my point:
"I could not preach like an Arminian, what the Arminian wants to do is to arouse man's activity; what we want to do is to kill it once and for all, to show him that he is lost and ruined, and that his activties are not now at all equal to the work of conversion; that he must look upward. They seek to make the man stand up; we seek to bring him down, and make him feel that there he lies in the hand of God, and that his business is to submit himself to God, and cry aloud, "Lord, save, or we perish." -CH Spurgeon
Spurgeon was the first to give God the glory for his church's numbers and not any evengelistic strategy.
One time speaking of preachers who forsake old Reformed evangelism he said, "If, for a moment, our improvements seem to produce a larger result than the old gospel, it will be the growth of mushrooms, it may even be the growth of toadstools; but it is not the growth of trees of the Lord." -CH Sprugeon
So....I'll leave you to ponder real quotes rather than accusations. And I'd rather be faithful to the Gospel than exhibit "numbers". John 6:60-69 shows how Jesus' followers were reduced from a throng to a dozen, was Jesus a failure here? Or was He being faithful to the message of God? We must be faithful and leave numbers to God. And you musn't decry little churches in big areas. One true prophet versus the myriad of Baal's prophets triumphed by God's power. Faithfulness to Scripture achieves God's intended purposes.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 5:22:00 PM, Anonymous Roy G. Biv said...

the average SBC pastor leads a church about the size (or smaller) than ascol and white's church, to condemn them is to condemn the whole of the convention.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 5:27:00 PM, Blogger bristopoly said...

You know the average size of a NT church was about 30-50 because they didn't have big buildings or parking lots, but houses.

The average size of a church throughout church history was about 70 (and that's with buildings).

The really big churches were about 300.

So I guess according to your logic, the gospel wasn't actually preached until the 19th Cent.

To Bob:
Churches actually get bigger when you don't preach the gospel. The gospel, as all of the things/"theological systems," of God are offensive and must be spiritually appraised. The natural man cannot stand them and will only go to a church that does not insist upon them. He wants to hear how Jesus is his counselor or fairy godmother, but not his Sovereign Lord.
The world would agree with Pelagius or maybe even Arminius, but it would despise Calvinism. I wonder why? I guess we know why so many of them attend Mega churches instead. If I wanted to get self-help advice, be entertained and have a sense of spirituality without dogma or commitment to the Person of Christ the Lord, then I guess I would fill their pews as well.

"Though Israel's numbers be as the sands of the seashore, it is the remnant that will be saved."

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 6:51:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan Hunt said...

www.metropolitantabernacle.org

now, there's a failing reformed baptist church if EVER I saw one. Clearly ruined by 'calvinism'.

Not.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 7:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most Reformed Baptist and the "dreaded" other group that gets discussed here the PCA may have smaller overall congretations but whether large are small when looking at the numbers more of their membership shows up weekly for worship than in the typical SBC where just being on the role is all that matters. Oh, for the Olsten groups, they are packed for man just can't get enough of man!

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 8:23:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

With the exception of some off-topic comments, this is a post from Anonymous at 7:58 PM.

>>>>>>>>>
A. Since James White and Tom Ascol do not affirm objective justification, do not deny that men are effectually called throught the preaching of God's Word, and teach that the relationship between regeneration and faith is logical and causal, not temporal, which is exactly what James Boyce and John L. Dagg among many others affirmed, they are not Hardshells, Mr. Ross, and well within what the founders of the SBC believed.

b. Spurgeon stated he affirmed A.A. Hodge's Outlines with the exception of his views on baptism, "to the letter." What did Hodge say about the logical / causal priority of faith and regeneration?

c. Charles, you didn't bother to tell us that Tom Ascol's church had 163 members in 2004. If they are reporting 212 now, haven't they, in fact, grown by about 50 people?

d. You also didn't bother to tell us the average size of the churches in his association. You didn't tell us where in size his church ranks in his association. I'm reading the latest ACP for Royal Palm Association right now on the FL Baptist Convention website. Here's a sample of the other churches in his association:

60, 51, 55, 125, 21, 30, 80, 101, 410, 28, 65, 204, 57.

It seems the vast majority of the churches in his association are exceedingly small. Now, are they all Calvinists too? There are 86 churches in his association. What is his church's rank in his association by membership numbers? Did you bother to do a Google search on all of them?

I wish to thank you for making yourself into an even bigger village idiot than you are already.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 9:59:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

COMMENTS

Bob to Charles:

I wonder, Charles, if James and Tom roused their church members to write the recent comments?

Looks like you really "struck a nerve" by revealing the size of at least two of the most prominent Reformed Baptist "evangelistic" plants who profess to identify with the evangelism of Spurgeon.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Faith in the living God and his Son Jesus Christ is always the result of the new birth, and can never exist except in the regenerate."

- C.H. Spurgeon

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:17:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

You wrote, Looks like you really "struck a nerve" by revealing the size of at least two of the most prominent Reformed Baptist "evangelistic" plants who profess to identify with the evangelism of Spurgeon.

In the past, Tom Ascol and Gene M. Bridges have both written articles examining statistics of some large SBC churches.

I guess it's OK for them to look at other churches but it's not OK to look at theirs. Can they spell, "DOUBLE STANDARD"?

To be fair, I haven't heard from Brother Tom. I believe he is a bit more "thick-skinned" than Brother James.

Charles

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:25:00 PM, Anonymous Steve Y. Berry said...

Jerry Grace has some comments about Steven Lawson, another Calvinist who is lacking in evangelism.

 
At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 11:32:00 PM, Blogger Jon Unyan said...

Bob and Charles,

You guys are just killin' me. Please stop, my stomach is hurtin' from laughing so hard. You guys are really the Baptist version of Abbott and Costello. If there were one more of you, I would say the Three Stooges. HA HA HA HA...

--Jon Unyan

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles:

Hi...I am the author of the "Charles Formula" above. Just additional note.

I'm not so sure that you "struck a nerve." I am not foaming at the mouth, experiencing coronary difficulties, running for Valium, or any other such act of sorrowful desperation. I am not a member of James White's church, nor am I a member of Tom Ascols. Could it be--just maybe could it be--that people are not reacting to the fiery wit of your intellect, but rather, the utter foolishness which you are displaying. Trying to evaluate the validity, truthfulness, and 'goodness' of a ministry or church by counting PARKING SPACES??? Please. Your methodology is not complex or sophisticated--nor is it eloquent, impressive, etc. It's simply silly. And people are commenting as to the folly of your reasoning.

Granted, you will probably see my response and say: "see! he's up in arms because he knows I am right. Calvinists are wrong, they don't evangelize, their churches are failures, and given evidence of it." That sort of reaction only bears witness to your pride and predjudice (no pun intended).

Please--if you have something to say, argue on the basis of inspired, infallible Scripture--not your whimsical analyses of parking facillities. Respectfully Yours,

-mt

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:50:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MANY COMMENTS CONSIDERED

Anonymous said...

Ascol and White are not like Spurgeon, but like John Gill, 51 years pastoring the same church and run around 250 in attendance.

If Ascol and White could produce anything like what Gill produced, they could earn a "pass." But so far, it's just whine, whine, and more whine.


Anonymous said...
It seems that your criterion for the evaluation of a ministry is the availability of parking spaces, as per Google Earth.

I think "anony" has a point, Charles. How can you be sure all those parking spaces were full on Sunday morning? You could be overestimating the attendance, couldn't you?


brianmcl said...
Surgeon didn't believe that a man needed to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, before repenting and coming to a saving faith in Jesus Christ?

Just replace "before" with the words "apart from" and you will have it right. Evidently, you have not read much of the materials we have provided on this blogsite which reveals Spurgeon's views. I suggest you research the Archives and you will find a mass of materials that are helpful in understanding his views. He believed in the necessary pre-faith work of the Spirit, but not "born again before faith."


Jon Unyan said...
Satellite pictures of the area around James White and Tom Ascol's churches?

Don't you think Charles has again proved that saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words"?


MarieP said...
I challenge Charles and Bob Ross to post Google map pictures of their own churches.

Right now, we are having too much fun with James' and Tom's.


Bryan Lewis said...
Read more on Spurgeon to find out what he believed.

There's a really wise comment. Hope it creates a lot of reading of Spurgeon.


Mike Miller said...
So, what you're saying is that only those who pastor large churches have good theology? Or at least if their churches are in large areas? I guess every church that agrees with Bob Ross is a large church? Interesting.

How much "White Lightnin'" did you consume before writing?


Anonymous said...
I'm actually reading a book on Spurgeon now full of quotes out of his sermons, and I can disavow most of what you are saying about Spurgeon as anti-Calvinistic propaganda

Since you give no instance of such propaganda, I don't see that I can make a reply to your disavowal.


Roy G. Biv said...
the average SBC pastor leads a church about the size (or smaller) than ascol and white's church, to condemn them is to condemn the whole of the convention.

Well, haven't you taken seriously the claim by the Founders? They have determined the SBC to be an "unregenerated denomination." You would expect better than that from Reformed churches which say they were "born again before faith," wouldn't you?


bristopoly said...
You know the average size of a NT church was about 30-50 because they didn't have big buildings or parking lots, but houses.

You are obviously privy to information which somehow has eluded my attention. Do you have a book, chapter, and verse for this?


fatbaptist said...
www.metropolitantabernacle.org

now, there's a failing reformed baptist church if EVER I saw one. Clearly ruined by 'calvinism'.

Not.


Actually, the MetTab has done quite well, thanks to some generous financial support. I have been there, and they have invested in some excellent evangelistic outreach programs.


Anonymous said...
Most Reformed Baptist and the "dreaded" other group that gets discussed here the PCA may have smaller overall congretations but whether large are small when looking at the numbers more of their membership shows up weekly for worship than in the typical SBC where just being on the role is all that matters.

And by not having so many members, it relieves Brother Ascol of having to advise the smaller churches about what to do about "the missing?"


Charles said...
With the exception of some off-topic comments, this is a post from Anonymous at 7:58 PM.

We do not find White and Ascol in line with Boyce and Dagg, nor with the SBC's statement of faith -- which have been discussed on this blogsite. I would be glad to debate the matter with them both, if they care do so. Just name the time and place, and I will do what I can to be there.

The item mentioned about Hodge includes no reference for my consulting it. At any rate, whatever was said of Hodge would certainly not overthrow the mass of materials we have presented from Spurgeon which denies "born again before faith" in whatever sense.

If Tom's church has grown as much as "anony" says it has in so short a time, it must be using "Arminian" methods! Are you sure all of those additions are firt-time professions of faith?

As for the other SBC churches with smaller numbers, again you must remember that the Founders have duly informed us that the SBC is an "unregenerate denomination," so what else should we expect?


Anonymous said...
"Faith in the living God and his Son Jesus Christ is always the result of the new birth, and can never exist except in the regenerate." - C.H. Spurgeon

And this is why Spurgeon did not teach "born again before faith." The regenerating work of the Spirit in using the Word of God results in faith. We have oodles of materials on this blogsite from Spurgeon which teaches this. He does not have a "regenerated unbeliever."


Charles said...
In the past, Tom Ascol and Gene M. Bridges have both written articles examining statistics of some large SBC churches.

What I don't understand is this -- they have already judged the SBC to be an "unregenerate denomination," so why do they keep prowling around the graveyard, counting the bodies?

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:08:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MORE WHITE WHINE

Even when James says "Thanks" to his followers, he has to whine:

I have been overwhelmed, truly, by the sheer volume of e-mails, and by the deep sincerity, devotion, and passion, almost every one evinces. I have read them, and would love to respond to each one, but I simply cannot. Not only would I not have time to do so, but I have found that even when I do, the result is, "Oh, thanks for writing back! By the way, I've always wanted to ask you..." and this is followed by three pages of theological inquiry.

Do you think, Charles, that James appreciates his disciples?

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:19:00 AM, Blogger Matt Brown said...

Charles: You seem to equate success in God's eyes with success in the world's eyes. To you, number are the only thing that matters - if a church hasn't gone mega by X number of years, their pastoral staff must be doing something wrong.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:47:00 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

I'm no 5PC. I also know that evangelism doesn't necessarily equate to large churches.
I'm a missionary in Japan; there aren't that many large churches here either for some reason. I will tell you that I've been evangelising quite a bit down here. It just don't seem to *catch on.*
Relating 'missionary zeal' and the size of the church is a terrible argument. Our "side" in this discussion is better off w/o such things.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 4:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James White is a wonderful servant of God and I look forward to hearing him at the Met Tab in two weeks time.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 4:33:00 AM, Blogger Tartanarmy said...

"Right now, we are having too much fun with James' and Tom's."

Don't you fools even recognise how hurtful all of this is?
There would be very few, if any, that could keep up with the work and ministry of James White. You should hang your heads in shame.

Tartanarmy

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 6:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm... I heard about you guys from AOMin, but I never looked at any of your writings before today. It seems that James White has been way too charitable in his descriptions of you in the past. I personally find you to be exhibiting intelligence on par with a fruit fly. I'd call you a village idiot, but that would insult whatever village I intended to associate you with. Really, grow up... I think you need more than a 4th grade education to write a blog if you expect to be taken seriously.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:08:00 AM, Blogger Jon Unyan said...

Bob and Charles,

It is clear that you have a personal problem with Drs. White and Ascol because they don't agree with your incorrect prespective on the relationship between regeneration and faith. In fact, Spurgeon doesn't agree with it either (as Gene Bridges has pointed out), but since you have embraced this view, you can't see anything else. Maybe the person who first shared the gospel with you believed this, and you just won't accept the clear testimony of Scripture or the words of Spurgeon on the subject. I don't know. But I do know that gracious, mature Christian men don't act like children when other Christians disagree with them. So you can take your marbles and go home, but stop cryin' and whinin' over here. You accuse Dr. White of whining? Physician, heal thyself! I'm sure you'll have some witty response (you are after all, the Baptist version of Abbott & Costello), but the fact is you can't list sniping, whining, and immaturity as Christian graces.

And one more thing, Bob, bristopoly mentioned that the average size of the early NT churches was 30-50, he got that from something called "Church History", maybe you've heard of it. There is no chapter and verse on it, although I think the clear implication from Scripture is that the early churches were relatively small (since they met in houses, among other places, and were persecuted for their faith). See any Muslim nation where Christians attempt to meet for worship. Maybe you'd like to ridicule them for not having a bigger parking lot. Why don't you Google Earth over Islamabad? You should be ashamed of this foolishness, rather than reveling in it. You have successfully blown up any credibility you may have had. Does anyone in the blogosphere take you seriously? I guess you think that's a good thing, because you're the only one that's right. Well, I'll leave you to your delusional existance....

--Jon Unyan

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:18:00 AM, Blogger Nathan said...

Hey Charles--I'm still wondering how you intend to explain Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. Perhaps you'll enlighten us as to how that Calvinist John MacArthur has built such a large and happenin' church.

But I doubt you'll even mention it, since it doesn't fit your agenda. Sad.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's funny--Bob here is so quick to dismiss comments, becasue they don't contain evidence. He states: "Since you give no instance of such propaganda, I don't see that I can make a reply to your disavowal.

I have no problem with this standard--however, if this is the case, then we certainly shouldn't bother reading any of Bob's comments. He doesn't provide any evidence. In fact, he dances around examples that are given of large reformed churches, and around ctiricisms of his own position:

"Right now, we are having too much fun with James' and Tom's.

How much "White Lightnin'" did you consume before writing?

Well..now there's some powerful argumentation. Even his semantics regarding Spurgeon don't make sense:

The regenerating work of the Spirit in using the Word of God results in faith...He does not have a regenerated unbeliever.

No Bob, he doesn't. And no Calvinist that I know of runs around saying that there are regenerate believers. The point is just the one that you have so graciously made. The Spirit leads men to faith! Without it, they will not come. And the Spirit works in the lives of those who God has chosen. Are you sure, Bob, that you are not a Calvinist? Becasue if you aren't, then perhaps you should point the gun away from your foot.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

please excuse my typo above, in the last post from anonymous (I really need to get an account). It should read, in the last paragraph: "regenerate unbelivers." I think that I am so unaccustomed to using the phrase (as a calvinist!) that my fingers couldn't believe what I was doing, and preemptorily amended my stupidity. Sorry about the error....

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:54:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother (or Sister) anonymous, Hello!

You wrote, "And no Calvinist that I know of runs around saying that there are regenerate believers"

I believe you meant to say UNregenerate believers.

anonymous, you display a lack of knowledge about the subject matter.

You should review the words of John Frame, professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, and Wayne Grudem.

Frame was once asked, "What doctrines must one believe to be saved?" He responded by saying, "None. I hold the Reformed view that children in infancy, even before birth, can be regenerated and saved, presumably before they have any conscious doctrinal beliefs."

If a child is regenerated in infancy or even before birth and holds no "conscious doctrinal beliefs," you have a REGENERATED UNBELIEVER.

Charles

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Anonymous, hello!

You wrote, please excuse my typo above, in the last post from anonymous

No problem, it happens to the best of us, my brother (or sister).

Remember, you can always post your disagreements on The Calvinist Flyswatter (unlike James White or Al Mohler's blogs). The remarks by James' disciples on this thread is proof of that. You'll have to ask Dr. Mohler and "Dr." White as to why they refuse to allow postings on their blogs.

And despite James White's disdain for your lack of identity, you can always post as "anonymous" on The Calvinist Flyswatter (unlike The Founders blog). The Flyswatter does not require your blood type, DNA sample, eye/hair color, SSN, phone number, or even shoe size before you can voice an opinion. (But if I start selling T-shirts, I may have to modify this rule!)

Charles

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:28:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

CORRECTION REGARDING BROTHER TOM ASCOL AND GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH:

Brother Tom Ascol said in an email to another blogger that information from the Florida Baptist Convention regarding his church is incorrect. He reports on the size of his church, "our average attendance on Sunday mornings is between 300-350. Our Sunday night attendance is about 150-175 and our Wednesday night attendance is around 200."

I'm happy to say that, if correct, this makes Brother Ascol's church somewhat larger than reported.

Charles

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:35:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

VARIOUS COMMENTS

Matt Brown said...
Charles: You seem to equate success in God's eyes with success in the world's eyes.

Charles can speak for himself, but what I saw in his article was the contrast between (1) Spurgeon's church, and (2) a couple of "prominent" Reformed churches which gratuitiously associate themselves with Spurgeon's success in a context designed to embellish what they call "Reformed" theology -- a term Spurgeon didn't even use as they use it. Notice that Tom even uses a photo of Spurgeon on his blogsite, as if Spurgeon is one in hisotry who was in line with the Founders' Hybrid Calvinist theological flounderings.

The fact is, Spurgeon's church was successful, under God, on account of its preaching the Gospel and promoting local evangelism in London -- not because of Hybrid Calvinism. It had missionaries going all over the city, and quite a number of mission-stations where the Word was preached. Spurgeon didn't build a great church preaching Hybrid Calvinism week after week, but by preacing the Gospel. Do what the young man said -- "read Spurgeon," and learn what he believed.


Rhology said...
I'm no 5PC. I also know that evangelism doesn't necessarily equate to large churches.

Well, someething equates to large churches, and in most cases the only explanation is evangelism. Whatever we think of the "message" pro-or-con, somebody had to take it to the people by some evangelistic method.
The scenario with "Reformed" churches is that their "evangelism" more focused upon converting Christians to "Reformed" theology, thereby proselyting them away from the churches where they were evangelized with the Gospel. Spurgeon did not build his church thru proselytization, but evangelization.


Anonymous said...
James White is a wonderful servant of God and I look forward to hearing him at the Met Tab in two weeks time.

I note he is going to speak on the Da Vinci Code. Hope he can successfully "equip" all those folk in London against it! Seems like so many "Reformed" sources appear to have such a need, if we can judge of the many "appallingists" who are making sales-pitches for their DVC "equipping" products. Imagine, paying James to come to London to speak on the DVC!


Mark a.k.a Tartanarmy said...
Don't you fools even recognise how hurtful all of this is?
There would be very few, if any, that could keep up with the work and ministry of James White. You should hang your heads in shame.


In regard to any of James' work in the interest of the Truth, we have made no objection whatsoever. But in regard to his promoting the false doctrine of "born again before faith," we have made objections. So why should we have any shame? We are for everything he stands for that is true, and we are against everything he stands for that is wrong. Where are we being unfair?


Anonymous said...
I personally find you to be exhibiting intelligence on par with a fruit fly. I'd call you a village idiot, but that would insult whatever village I intended to associate you with.

If you believe the Hybrid Calvinist doctrine of "born again before faith," then we understand how you would likewise associate us with the "village idiot." As for the fruit fly, I suspect its intelligence is probably greater than those who believe one is "born again before faith."

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:45:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

I COMMEND YOU, CHARLES
Charles said...


Remember, you can always post your disagreements on The Calvinist Flyswatter (unlike James White or Al Mohler's blogs). . . .
you can always post as "anonymous" on The Calvinist Flyswatter (unlike The Founders blog).


I commend you, Charles, and it sets your blog apart from those who are evidently do not care to listen to opposite points of view. You demonstrate that Truth has nothing to fear from different views, rebuttals, palabber, ignorance, insults, epithets, and denuniciations.

You are not a WHINER like James White and the Founders!

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:49:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

I added the above correction to the main article and also included these words,

"Readers can decide for themselves if someone who has a twenty year ministry in one of America's fastest growing cities which yields a church this size can lay claim to being a spiritual and evangelistic heir of Charles Spurgeon."

Charles

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles,

Check out the largest SBC Calvinistic Church. Riverbend Community Church ! They are growing " Big Time".

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:04:00 PM, Blogger Bret said...

Greetings Charles the Brave. My name is Bret, and I guess you would consider me one of those Hyper/Hybrid Calvinist Baptists. I'm one of the elders and pastor of Grace Fellowship in Mountain Home, Idaho (www.gracefellowshipmh.org).

Your post seems to lean towards a successful church being based on results only. Would you put all those small non calvinist baptist churches in the same catagory as Brother Tom's and Brother James' churches? I thought Acts 2:47 said "and the Lord added to the church those who are being saved." And that Jesus said "I will build my church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it." I thought 1Cor.3 said that one plants and one waters, but the Lord gives the increase/growth?

Yes, the Lord uses His word and His means to save His people and build His church. But it is the gospel that is to be preached. Nothing more and nothing less. I think if someone were to do an honest investigation, that they would find that most Mega-churches are proclaiming less (compromising the gospel by not dealing with sin and the need for repentance) or more (the need for events, activities and more of the world to help 'draw' people to the Lord).

I'm thankful to the Lord for both Elders Tom Ascol and James White, who do not evangelize and differently or less that say, John Piper and John MacArthur ;-).

Thank you for you time and consideration.

In Christ....

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:42:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

NO EVIDENCE?

Anonymous said...


I have no problem with this standard--however, if this is the case, then we certainly shouldn't bother reading any of Bob's comments. He doesn't provide any evidence.

It does not appear that you have read the various posts I have on this blogsite since I started a few months ago. If you know of any particular or significant item that has not been referenced as to source, I welcome your letting me know. I learned in debating, always be able to "back up" with documentation what you present.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:43:00 PM, Blogger bristopoly said...

"Well, someething equates to large churches, and in most cases the only explanation is evangelism"

Actually, the best explanation in our culture is that the "gospel" taught by most Megachurches is a secular humanistic one. If you preach secular humanism in a culture of secular humanists, your church will be as the sands of the seashore.

To Bob:
I think, rather than give you a lesson in what we can know a part from the NT via archaeology and historical witness, the only thing I might be privy to is logic. Here it is.

1. The early church met in houses.
2. Even the largest houses could only support around 30-50 people in a single room.
3. The local church could be no more than 30-50 people.

At first, there seem to be a lot of outside meetings where the Apostles are teaching the people. But when persecution comes, they begin more and more to meet in houses. Now if your logic tells you that a space that fits 30-50 miraculously fit 500-2,000 people that's fine, but I tend to doubt it.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:46:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

EVANGELISTIC CONVERTS?
Charles said...

I added the above correction to the main article and also included these words,

"Readers can decide for themselves if someone who has a twenty year ministry in one of America's fastest growing cities which yields a church this size can lay claim to being a spiritual and evangelistic heir of Charles Spurgeon."


I think the "point," Charles, may be missed by some. It is not so much the "size" of the church, but idea that "Reformed" churches want to come under Spurgeon's shadow, when in fact they have not developed from evangelism, but from proselytism, and do little by way of evangelization.

How many of Tom's were first-time professions?

The vast majority of Spurgeon's members were evidently first-time professions. Spurgeon did not focus on making proselytes to theology, but converts to Christ.

A chart in Charles Ray's biography of Spurgeon has a year-by-year total of 14,692 baptisms during Spurgeon's pastorate from 1854 thru 1891 -- a growth from 232 when he became pastor.

Hybrid Calvinism did account for those conversions, but they were made by the preaching of the Gospel. Hundreds, if not thousands, of those baptisms were of young children, reached in either Sunday School or the Orphanage. Nothing pleased Spurgeon more than the conversion, confession, and baptism of a young child.

The attempt to embellish modern Hybrid Calvinism by identifying with Spurgeon's evangelism is a farce.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:52:00 PM, Anonymous The Pope said...

In addition to a correction. An apology is called for.

Even just, "sorry for putting up the wrong numbers when I was publishing my critique of your church, world wide. That was something important to get right and I should have been more careful."

We'll never see it, but it is never the less called for.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:03:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SUPERFLUOUS ARGUMENT
bristopoly said...


Actually, the best explanation in our culture is that the "gospel" taught by most Megachurches is a secular humanistic one. If you preach secular humanism in a culture of secular humanists, your church will be as the sands of the seashore.

Again, this is a superfluous argument -- like the former one you made and failed to prove from Scripture. We are not talking about "humanists" churches but churches where you can hear the Bible, the Gospel of Christ, and salvation by faith. The early church is Jerusalem had thousands, despite both the Jewish and Roman cultures of the time. Was it a "secular humanist" or "culture" made church? The Gospel is the same in all cultures.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:16:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

You wrote, biography of Spurgeon has a year-by-year total of 14,692 baptisms during Spurgeon's pastorate from 1854 thru 1891

If I did the math right, that averages over 1 baptism per day! Acts 2:47, "and the Lord added to the church those who are being saved," certainly fit Spurgeon.

Another point, Brother Bob, which many commenters have failed to see, is that Spurgeon was pastor at his church for many years. The comparisons of Tom Ascol's church to other churches in his association are invalid. Did the other churches have the same pastor for the last twenty years?

Another commenter said the "average SBC pastor leads a church about the size (or smaller) than ascol and white's church, to condemn them is to condemn the whole of the convention." Not so! The "average" SBC pastor faithfully pastors in a small, rural community, unlike Ascol and White who both pastor in two of America's fastest growing cities.

Very few SBC churches have had a pastor for twenty years, as in the case of Ascol's church. I'm not sure how long James White has been an elder at his church but I believe it has been for several years.

A long pastorate in a "boom-town" city - Spurgeon took advantage of the situation and worked to win his city to Christ.

What of White and Ascol?

Charles

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:35:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

"The Pope," Hello!

You said, "In addition to a correction. An apology is called for."

The numbers came from the Florida Baptist Convention website. I also said, In case the numbers are off, Google provides a satellite photo of Grace Baptist Church.

I believe the correction is sufficient. Thanks for reading The Calvinist Flyswatter. How are things in the Vatican this time of year?

Charles

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well...it's "anonymous" again. This will be my last post (well...at least, that's what I anticipate).

I think it's sad that you have drawn an equality between church size, and the quality of the ministry, etc. Look at the RC church!

I have known many evangelical mega-church goers as well. And many (not all) of them are simply there for the Sunday morning concert, or fellowship lunch. Many, as was pointed out, don't even go. They are members, but they don't attend. Not the case in most small calvinist churches.

The fact is, man does not like hearing the blunt truth about his sinfulness. Churches that preach hell and justice will naturally be smaller. How do you think John Edwards ministry (or even Spurgeon's!) would fair in today's society. I think the conclusion is obvious.

And as far as this being a game--that you have "fun" being critical of the congragation size of Dr. White's and Dr. Ascol's church--is just pathetic. Calvinist or non-Calvinist, this blog entry is a disgrace to the unity of the body of Christ. It is not edifying, nor does it bring glory to God. That you "are having too much FUN" at the moment picking on other churches. Exhorting and admonishing for the truth is one thing--ENJOYING the criticism your brothers or sisters in Christ is another. There is a Christian way in which to properly debate issues, and its sad when plain insults are means of argumentation (note that this applies equally to both non-calvinists and calvinists).

Many of the most evangelistic people that I know are calvinists--they proclaim the truth to all. The truth of the Bible--not the easy believism professed by so many churches. Not the mere 'walk the aisle and feel good about yourself' doctrine. Not even the 'profess, get baptized, and have a free meal on us soup kitchen outreach' (which is a true example from the most arminian church in our area).

I recognize that I have written this hastily, and it may lack some cogency. And I can only imagine the eagerness with which that last sentence will be quoted in a later comment. I just hope you will read and consider my honest conviction. Thanks for your attention,

-mt

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 4:33:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

anonymous (mt), Hello!

You wrote, That you "are having too much FUN" at the moment picking on other churches. Exhorting and admonishing for the truth is one thing--ENJOYING the criticism your brothers or sisters in Christ is another. There is a Christian way in which to properly debate issues, and its sad when plain insults are means of argumentation (note that this applies equally to both non-calvinists and calvinists).

I appreciate you saying that. Will you please go to Timmy Brister's blog and say the same thing to him. He posted funny "cut-and-paste" pics of Pat Robertson recently. He also enjoys trashing past SBC presidents such as Jack Graham.

After you have posted on Timmy's blog, please visit The Calvinist Gadfly and say the same thing that you have said here. Brother Alan has a cool clock on The Gadfly ticking off the minutes that have passed by since James White challenged Norman G. to a debate. I'm thinking of doing the same thing here since James has been running from Brother Bob Ross like a scalded dog for months now!

After you post your rebukes on Timmy and Alan's blogs, head over to The Founders and let them know you do not appreciate their trashing of past SBC presidents such as Bailey Smith, Bobby Welch, and Jack Graham.

Anonymous (mt), after you post all that, come back here and provide me with the links to your posts. I want our readers to see how fair you are.

You also said I use, "plain insults." I try to avoid that. I have said James White is a "whiner" and acts like a "baby" because his email correspondence with the Caners speaks for itself.

But unlike James and Tom's disciples, I have never said that James or Tom is "an idiot," or a "bigger village idiot," a "fool," or "exhibiting intelligence on par with a fruit fly."

Please read my article and comments again. I merely provided information and drew a conclusion. Almost immediately, James and Tom's disciples began hurling invectives.

Unlike James, I allow objectors to post criticism, much of it harsh, of my views. Allowing criticism makes The Calvinist Flyswatter much more fair than, say, James White's blog.

Charles

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 4:34:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan Hunt said...

Bob Ross wrote:

Actually, the MetTab has done quite well, thanks to some generous financial support. I have been there, and they have invested in some excellent evangelistic outreach programs.

Ah, so money is what makes churches grow. Funny, I always thought it was the Holy Spirit.

Mr Ross, you claim an insight into private church finances which I assure you, as a member of the Tabernacle until 2003, you clearly do not have. Many people have 'been there' once or twice. I was there for 24 years and retain a close association.

Very recent gifts may have made possible certain publishing and international endeavours, but until that point everything was funded by the giving of members.

I find your comment astounding. The Tabernacle has been engaged in vigourous outreach for years, with most members playing an active role, and giving sacrificially to the work.

To ascribe 'excellent evangelistic outreach' to 'generous financial support', especially in the context of the Tabernacle, is ludicrous.

I am pleased, however, to note that you concede that this is one Calvinistic Baptist Church which has 'excellent' evangelism.

As an aside, I appreciate the work of Pilgrim Publications and I am enjoying the 4-in-1 edition of the 'Lectures'.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 5:21:00 PM, Blogger bristopoly said...

"Again, this is a superfluous argument -- like the former one you made and failed to prove from Scripture. We are not talking about "humanists" churches but churches where you can hear the Bible, the Gospel of Christ, and salvation by faith. The early church is Jerusalem had thousands, despite both the Jewish and Roman cultures of the time. Was it a "secular humanist" or "culture" made church? The Gospel is the same in all cultures."

Bob,
1. The NT indicates that they met in houses. Are you denying this now?
2. We know how big the houses are from archaeology. No, the NT writers didn't bother to interupt the divine teaching in order to give us the dimensions of the houses or the membership roles of a given local church. I guess I can't prove it to you from the NT then. I also can't prove to you that the early church had anyone with red or blonde hair. Again, it's never mentioned. You got me.

3. You made a switch there when you spoke about the number of people in a city who made up the universal church in that city vs. the number of people within that group which had to meet in separate houses. Please make that distinction and then note how your argument above would be irrelevant.

4. The facts are that most of the largest churches in OUR culture today are not built on the gospel. Olsteen, Hybels, Warren, Copeland, Dollar, etc. all preach some sort of secular humanistic/anthropocentric gospel, which primarily teaches that one should come to Christ because He makes his or her worldly life happier in some way. That is not the gospel. I belonged to an SBC church that was growing like no tomorrow. You would be proud of it. The people pretty much lived the way everyone else lived, but they "felt" different about Jesus. I belong to a church now that is small in size, but dwarfs most Megachurches in its pursuit of Christ through the truth. It's seems to me by the comments you made that you would bless the former and curse the latter. How unfortunate. How big is your church, Bob (and by that I mean how many people go to Bible Study or Sunday School)? And in what part of the country is it located?

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 5:56:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

TABERNACLE SUPPORT
fatbaptist said...


To ascribe 'excellent evangelistic outreach' to 'generous financial support', especially in the context of the Tabernacle, is ludicrous.

All I know is what was told to me when I was there in 1996 and was given a short tour of the premises. For example, the large billboards used in the Underground -- I don't recall the exact amount, but it seemed to me to be quite a handsome sum. Also, I think I recall their having a bus ministry at the time -- which was rather costly. I assumed such efforts were the result of "generous financial support." I know they don't come free in the U. S. A.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 7:07:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan Hunt said...

Bob Ross:

The examples you quoted were all funded solely from the giving of the congregation. They still are. The church has about six billboards and eighteen buses. Any external support has always gone into extraordinary projects, not the basic work of the church.

There is a lot of sacrificial giving, for sure. It was just the way you expressed yourself that I felt could be misleading to the other readers.

Keep publishing!

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 7:18:00 PM, Blogger Michael Spencer said...

Charles,

I am not a Calvinist and anyone on this thread will tell you I am no fan of James White.

This post is the lowest thing I have read in the Christian blogosphere. Ever. You've outdone the people insinuating that Tim Keller is a newe ager.

The amazing thing is I'm sure you aren't even close to being done.

You are an embarassment to whatever cause you espouse.

If you can take some time off from going through WHite and Ascol's trash cans, you ought to reconsider whether you can look yourself in the eye and say "This is the right thing to do."

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 7:31:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

YOUR CONVERSION
bristopoly said...


I belonged to an SBC church that was growing like no tomorrow.

Is thie church where you were converted? Why did you join it?

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 7:55:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MEETINGS IN HOUSES
bristopoly said...

1. The NT indicates that they met in houses. Are you denying this now?

I do not find any designated "church buildings" in the Bible.

The "point" of Charles' article had nothing to do with "buildings" other than their being a tangible means of at least idicating the PROBABLE SIZE of the membership. For example, if the large church at Jerusalem met in houses, as you say, then how many houses did it take to house those thousands Peter baptized and "added to the church" on Pentecost?

The "Reformed" brethren like to claim kinship to Spurgeon on "evangelism," but their church houses do not indicate that they are growing like Spurgeon's church. Why? If they are "like Spurgeon," then "where's the beef"?

From our perspective, one of the reasons for their not being "like Spurgeon" in evangelism is that they have an approach which is different than Spurgeon's, even contrary to it. Spurgeon put the Gospel first, and his various efforts demonstrate that fact. If you are not familiar with his several methods of evangelistic outreach, then you can avail yourself of that information by reading the available materials which reveal it. His mission stations, his Evangelistic Associations and their special evangelistic meetings sponsored by the Tabernacle, his Colportage (literature) Association which sent witnesses all over London, his Sunday School, his Orphanages, his Homes for the aged -- all were committed to getting souls saved, not designed for making them Hybrid Calvinists or even Creedal Calvinists. Salvation came FIRST with Spurgeon.

As Arthur Pink said, in the quote I gave in another thread, if a church does not evangelize "it will fossilize."

On the whole, I would say the greatest need of the "Reformed" camp is to reform its attitude about evangelism. They now view evangelism as an "idol." With that attitude, they will certainly fulfill Arthur Pink's warning.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 8:13:00 PM, Blogger Berean said...

It's nice to know that with a rapidly growing Islam, a resurgent Catholicism, an expanding cult and new age movement, an agressive secularism, and now, the Emergent Church Heresy, that us Baptists are doing so well on all these issue that we have time for fraticidal nonsense as this.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:14:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Michael Spencer, Hello!

You wrote, "If you can take some time off from going through WHite and Ascol's trash cans"

No trash cans, Michael, just pictures of churches. What is wrong with that? I don't see how you can equate the two.

Both Ascol and White are trying to influence Southern Baptist churches to accept their theology and church polity. Do you deny that?

Your position seems to be that in no case can we look at the size of a church to help evaluate the effectiveness of a ministry which claims to be evangelistic. I disagree with your assessment. Many factors need to be looked at and I believe the size of a church is an important factor, especially after a long period of time in a fast growing metropolitan area. Looking at the size of a church is not the same as looking "in trash cans." We are not looking for dirt here, Michael. You speak as though a picture of a church is something shameful which belongs in a trash can.

You should take some time and reread the Book of Acts. God is concerned about the growth of the church.

Charles

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:21:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MORE MONKEY SHINES
Michael Spencer said...


This post is the lowest thing I have read in the Christian blogosphere. Ever.

Bob to Charles:

You know, Charles, that you have done the right thing when you inspire the "iMonk" to make such comments. He says he got "saved" during an invitation, then says he was "ruined" by the Hybrid Calvinists.

He recently resigned his pastorate of 20 Presbyterian women who evidently were past the age of child-bearing and therefore there was no hope of any "regenerated" babies being added to the church -- which is the method of "evangelism" by the "Reformed" presbys.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:38:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Berean, Hello!

You said...

"It's nice to know .... that us Baptists are doing so well on all these issue that we have time for fraticidal nonsense as this."

I agree with your point of view more than you know! Please read my comments to "anonymous" and go and do likewise.

Please provide me with links to the comments that you make on the other blogs. I want to show my readers how fair you are. Thank you!

Charles

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:59:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

THE MAIN MATTER -- or, SPURGEON vs HYBRID CALVINISTS

By C. H. Spurgeon, Volume 27, #1631
:

Yes, Charles, I see where Hybrid Gene Bridges is again twisting, distorting, perverting, and otherwise abusing Spurgeon.

It is indeed revealing when one reads Spurgeon and discovers how different is his Gospel from the likes of the "interpretations" you see in Hybrid Calvinist writers.

I was reading one of Spurgeon's sermons this evening, and selected a few lines for the edification of those who are really interested in the Gospel that Spurgeon preached. It is far from the disfigured Spurgeon of whom we read in writings which twist, distort, and misrepresent the simple Gospel preached by Spurgeon.

Here are some selections from "The Main Matter."

>>
THE DESIGN OF ALL SCRIPTURE IS TO PRODUCE FAITH. . .

Of the whole canon of inspiration we may say, as we read every detail, “These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” . . . The one intent of Scripture is that ye may believe on Jesus Christ. . . . John never takes his eye from this one point. You will soon perceive that his Book contains a series of testimonies borne by persons led to faith in Jesus as the Christ. . . .

That memorable third chapter concerning Nicodemus, shows us how that enquiring master of Israel came to believe in him; and how the Lord was revealed to Nicodemus as both the sent one and the Son, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” . . .

Every time John dipped his pen into the ink he breathed the prayer, “Lord, bring men to believe in Jesus by that which I have written,” and he closed his gospel by declaring the innermost longing of his living soul, “These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”

My dear hearer, your immediate conversion to faith in the Lord Jesus is the object of this book. . . . He is the Son of God . . . accept it for yourself . . . Accept Jesus as he is set forth, for to “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” The faith which receives Christ as he is revealed as the Messiah, and as the Son of God, is the faith which hath eternal life, and the Scriptures are written that you way have this faith. . . .

THE TRUE LIFE OF A SOUL LIES IN CHRIST JESUS AND COMES TO THAT SOUL THROUGH FAITH IN HIM. . . . The life of Christ is infused into them by the Spirit of the living God, even as the Lord Jesus hath testified. “Verily, verily, I say unto you he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” . . .

The new life enters the soul in and through believing, and is the same life which we shall exercise for ever at the right hand of God, even as Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”

I want to enlarge a little upon the fact, that this life comes WITH believing, because I want it to be noticed that it really comes WITH believing, apart from any other necessary circumstances. . . . Do not worry yourself, therefore, about that; if you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and are resting in him, it is well with you. . . . Faith in Jesus begets life, and this life will flourish or decay very much in proportion to our faith. . . . This sacred Book was written on purpose to make you believe; the Spirit is given to lead you to believe; the object of every preaching of the gospel is that you may believe; therefore come and welcome, and at this hour believe on the one saving name, and live thereby. God grant it for his name’s sake. Amen.
>>

Contrary to the "born again before faith" heresy, Spurgeon says that "LIFE COMES WITH BELIEVING."

Gene Bridges and others of the Hybrid camp, say they had life before believing. Spurgeon says "life comes WITH believing."

Spurgeon's Gospel won souls; Gene's "gospel" makes Hybrid Calvinists.

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 12:19:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

IAIN MURRAY'S OBSERVATION
Bob L. Ross said...


On the whole, I would say the greatest need of the "Reformed" camp is to reform its attitude about evangelism.

Mr. Iain Murray, for years the primary director of the The Banner of Truth Trust, the Scotland-based publishers of many great theological works and writings by notable Calvinistic and Puritan writers, has likewise leveled some very serious, insightful, observations about the lack of evangelism on the part of Calvinists of our time.

In his book entitled, SPURGEON v. HYPER-CALVINISM, Mr. Murray writes in the Preface as follows:

>>
As a Puritan once said, 'The devil does not allow the wind of error to blow long in the same direction.' In the 1960s it seemed to many of us that Spurgeon's continuing significance had to do with his witness to the free-grace convictions of the Reformers and Puritans over against the shallow and non-doctrinal evangelicalism of our day. Thirty years later that witness remains relevant and yet it is apparent that the recovery of doctrinal Christianity is not necessarily our chief need today.

In many churches there has been a real increase in knowledge and a resurgence of Calvinistic belief has occurred across the world. The word 'forgotten' is happily far less applicable to Spurgeon than it was forty years ago.

But it may well be that the time has come when we need to be MUCH MORE FAMILIAR with a rather different emphasis in Spurgeon.

While I know of no evidence that Hyper-Calvinism is recovering strength, it would appear that THE PRIORITY WHICH SOUL-WINNING HAD IN SPURGEON'S MINISTRY IS NOT COMMONLY SEEN TO BE OUR PRIORITY.

The revival of DOCTRINE has scarcely been matched by a revival of EVANGELISM.

While not accepting the tenets of Hyper-Calvinism it may well be that we have not been sufficiently alert to the danger of allowing a supposed consistency in doctrine to OVERRIDE THE BIBLICAL PRIORITY OF ZEAL FOR CHRIST AND SOULS OF MEN.

Doctrine without usefulness is no prize. As Spurgeon says, 'You may look down with contempt on some who do not know so much as you, and yet they may have twice your holiness and be doing more service to God.'

The danger with Hyper-Calvinism is not so much what it believes, but that IT DOES NOT BELIEVE ENOUGH. By bringing light in the controversy of the 1850s Spurgeon has left a vital testimony and one as 'immensely important' now as it was then.
>>

No, reader, that was NOT written by Charles or Bob, but it is from IAIN MURRAY, the man who is probably most responsible for the "Founders" movement.

Essentially, Murray is saying the same thing we have been saying on this blogsite.

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 12:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. It's anonymous (mt). One last post, perhaps. I just want to say this: I am not the Christian blogospere sheriff. My job is not to visit blogs, admonishing people to fairness and kindness. I haven't read any of the other blogs that you mentioned--were I to, and were I to notice the same tactics employed here, I hope that I would not hesitate to post similar criticisms. The fact is, I don't need to send you URLs as evidence of my comprehensive blogosphere activism in order to make what I have posted here, valid. I hope that you would be so kind as you take my observations at face value.

As far as the countdown clock from the Norman Geisler invitation--yes, it’s slightly sarcastic. But I see nothing wrong with moderate sarcasm--see Elijah and the prophets of Baal. What I take issue with is the effort expended to go out of your way to criticize a brother, motivated by partisan beliefs, and supported by absurd estimates of parking (church size)--surely a valid Bible standard.

And as far as Dr. White running from Bob Ross--I don't know Dr. White's reasoning. I don't even know if he has been asked to debate. What I do know, is that he certainly wouldn't be running from the likes of such frivolity as has been presented in this thread (the only one by you that I have read). Maybe--just maybe--Dr. White doesn't have time to engage and entertain every less-than-legitimate request that comes his way. Before he can debate you, he must take you seriously. And that, Mr. Bob Ross (if, in fact, a separate entity from Charles) is why I suggest you consider a career in painting.

This will be my last submission--acting in the great footsteps of those confronted by the Borg, I have realized that resistance is futile. Resistance, in this case however, comes not in the form of meaningful dialogue, but in empty (and ultimately tiring) rhetoric. All the best. Soli Deo Gloria,

-mt

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 1:18:00 AM, Blogger Jon Unyan said...

Bob to Charles:

We've got to stop using the behavior of others as an excuse for churning out this utter nonsense. We should humbly study the Scriptures, speak graciously to others even if we disagree, and seek to honor the Lord in all that we do. In fact, I repent of my pride and my childishness. Furthermore, I would like to ask James White and Tom Ascol, and all our Christian brethren out there to forgive us. Charles, we need to shut down this web site immediately and do something meaningful for the Lord. Let's go share the gospel with unbelievers and love the brethren! I also repent of that absolutely reprehensible thing I said about Michael Spencer, that was lewd and I'm sorry. Well, farewell Christian blogosphere....

--Bob L. Ross

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist that. It must have been a dream or something....

--Jon Unyan

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 10:33:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

OR A NIGHTMARE?
I'm sorry, I couldn't resist that. It must have been a dream or something....

--Jon Unyan


I suppose you must be trying to simulate Bunyan.

But Bunyan had dreams . . . you have nightmares!

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 10:43:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

anonymous (mt), Hello!

You wrote, I am not the Christian blogospere sheriff. My job is not to visit blogs, admonishing people to fairness and kindness.

You could have fooled me. Isn't that what you claim to be doing here?

I don't need to send you URLs as evidence of my comprehensive blogosphere activism in order to make what I have posted here, valid.

No, but your "one-sidedness" shows that you have an agenda. If you really believed what you are saying you wouldn't just spend all your time here.

You hybrids are all the same. You trash the SBC, the altar call, great evangelists and pastors, and the simple gospel. One blog entry leads to another, and so forth. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon.

Finally, when someone exposes you for what you are, you start WHINING. "Don't be mean!" you say. "How dare you look at the size of our churches!" you cry.

Set your own house in order, first.

Charles

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 10:50:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

NO CHALLENGE
anonymous said . . .


And as far as Dr. White running from Bob Ross--I don't know Dr. White's reasoning. I don't even know if he has been asked to debate.

He's "running" all right. He wanted to come and make charges against me to the elders at our church, but after being invited to dome and do so, he and his elders won't even respond to our invitation!

It is not my practice to issue challenges to debate. I have sometimes volunteered that I will participant in debates on certain issues, if someone invites me to do so. I would never issue a direct challenge to James White for it would fall on deaf ears. James likes to "pick" his opponents, and after the "spankings" he has suffered at my hands in the past, he would never for his life pick me.

He has plenty of "legitimate" reasons to not challenge me. Even after we invited James and his Elders to show up here to present his "charges" against me, we have since not heard so much as received an email from any of them. James complains about not getting emails from the Caners . . . well, James and his Elders have not responded to our invitation for him to come to Pasadena and present his charges against me? He said that is what he wanted to do, and yet he has evidently "backed off." He evidently is not as dumb as he sometimes appears.

This is just another case of James' double-mindedness.

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 1:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brother Charles,

It's mt once again. This, though I know I've said it before, will be my last post. The desire, however, to correct your last comment has lead me to post once more. I understand that none of my feeble ramblings will change your mind. If you can honestly think that Ergun Caner is the one being mistreated in the Caner-White dialogues, then nothing I can say will change your mind. But I felt the need to write anyway....

Charles, you said: No, but your "one-sidedness" shows that you have an agenda. If you really believed what you are saying you wouldn't just spend all your time here.

Well, I haven't been spending all my time here. This is not an obsession, merely blog that caught my interest. I'm not big into blogging--in fact, I've never visited most of the blogs that you have mentioned throughout this thread. And, though it may be to your utter surprise, I have encouraged my calvinist friends to humility and gentleness as well (though I can't provide you a URL to a chat room). While I don't necessarily expect that you will believe me, it is the honest truth.


You said: You hybrids are all the same. You trash the SBC, the altar call, great evangelists and pastors, and the simple gospel. One blog entry leads to another, and so forth. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon.

Well, I wasn't aware that I was a "hybrid"...but in any case.... I don't believe that I have ever trashed the SBC--I certainly haven't even mentioned it in this blog, and don't recall ever having "trashed" it. As far as alter calls, I disagree with them. Period. No trashing there. Now...I "trash the great evangelists and pastors?" I don't recall doing that either--in fact, many of their books are sitting on my shelves--I have respect for them, and admire their zeal for evangelism (whether Calvinist or non-).


Ahh, before I forget, I'd like to address something that Bob Ross said. He wrote: He recently resigned his pastorate of 20 Presbyterian women who evidently were past the age of child-bearing and therefore there was no hope of any "regenerated" babies being added to the church -- which is the method of "evangelism" by the "Reformed" presbys.

This is one of the most ludicrous examples I have ever heard. If this story is even true, I can assure you that it is in no way representative of calvinism as a whole. The example, if true, which I find hard to believe, is disgusting and thoroughly unbiblical. To try to caricature reformed beliefs (specifically, the misunderstood notion of regeneration before faith) using this example is flatly inaccurate. You can hack away at straw all day....

Charles, you said: Finally, when someone exposes you for what you are, you start WHINING. "Don't be mean!" you say. "How dare you look at the size of our churches!" you cry.
Set your own house in order, first.


I wrote to you regarding the manner in which your partisan beliefs have lead you to criticize those who you call "brother." Not for their edification or encouragement, but apparently, for the "fun."

...give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

I suppose that you consider that "whining".

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Phil 2:3

I suppose that this is likewise whining?

And Romans 12:3, and Romans 12:16, and Col 3:12, and James 3:13--these are all whining? You see, Charles, an exhortation toward humility--and a complaint to the effect that gentleness and reason are not even being shown--is never whining.

Lastly, I would like to once again revisit the notion that church size is an indicator of a proper ministry. This fact has yet to be shown Biblically. I understand that often, numbers of people being added to the church is a sign of the Holy Spirit working greatly. Often, however, it is not. Look at the Roman Catholic Church--an example which keeps getting passed over.

Moreover, the inverse--numbers not being added to a church--is not a sign of a poor ministry. The fact is, Charles, that huge evangelical churches are not a historical commonplace--see John N. Vaughn-- Megachurches & America's Cities. What's more, the reasons that large churches exist are often not that they are Gospel-centered. While I don't think that you are advocating, necessarily, the Megachurch, my point is simple: small ministries may be just as, if not more, viable and vigorous then large ones.

What about Hudson Taylor's first decade or so in China--with 6 converts--would you say he was a poor evangelist? What about the multitudes of missionaries in Africa and Asia who can count the number of converts on their two hands...are they poor evangelists? You see Charles, I know many devoted, impassioned, zealous calvinists who came to Christ in a church of 50 or so members. And I know many worldly, noncommittal, capricious believers who were saved in large churches, where the Gospel is preached! And, to be fair, the opposite occurs too! There are many devoted, sincere Arminians in huge churches! And there are, sadly, many make-believe Christians in small calvinist churches.

You see, the premise is flawed. Church size is not an indicator of the fabric of the convert. Nor are baptism statistics an accurate measure of success--I know a church where baptisms abound, and where evangelelism is the utmost priority; and yet the desire to serve and love Christ, and to keep his commands, is missing from a large percentage of the congregation.

What I've come to realize is that the work of winning souls to Christ is our responsibility--we are to have a true love for those unbelievers around us, and a passion to see them saved--but ultimately, a passion for the Glory of God. In the end, God does the work on heart. I don't presume to know why he gives huge increase to the apostate Roman Catholic Church, or why many churches who preach the gospel (even non-calvinist churches) are so small. But I could have expected it: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Don't think that I am saying that calvinists are the only true Christians--that our churches are small because we're the ones in the right (also keep in mind that it has been pointed out that there are many large calvinist churches). No, that would be just as errant as it is to assert that the bigger churches have the truer ministry.

We--all Christians--are to be engaged in the travail of witnessing throughout our entire lives. That fact is upheld in calvinist theology as well. But it is God who gives the increase--God who changes the heart--God who saves whom he will, of his Divine wisdom and decree--and GOD who gets the glory--and that is why I am a Calvinist.

Charles, thank you for the opportunity to comment on your blog, and for entertaining my replies. And no, I don't think any less of James White's blog because there is no comment feature--though I know how much you love to tout that. I don't anticipate I will be commenting on this thread any further--you have the privilege of being able to dissect my last comment without the prospect of a reply. God Bless, Soli Deo Gloria,

-mt

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 2:20:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

anonymous (mt), Hello!

You wrote, I don't anticipate I will be commenting on this thread any further--you have the privilege of being able to dissect my last comment without the prospect of a reply.

Unlike Brother James White, I'm not interested in always getting the last word. It's yours.

Thank you for your comments.

Charles

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 2:40:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SPURGEON, CARROLL, AND DAGG vs "BORN AGAIN BEFORE FAITH"

Bob to Charles:

Gene Bridges (again) and others, Charles, simply ignore Spurgeon when it comes to the fact that he insisted that faith and the new birth are SIMULTANEOUS,
being the effect or result of the powerful begetting means of Word and Spirit in what the Confession calls "effectual calling."

If this were admitted by the Hybrids to be the case, it would conflict with and overthrow the pedo doctrine by which they attempt to validate "baby regeneration," -- so the Reformed Baptists seem committed to preserve at any cost the pedo theory of "born again before faith."

Despite the fancy twistings and turnings by Gene Bridges and other Hybrids as they ignore and misconstrue Spurgeon, here is Spurgeon's view which conflicts with Hybridism's separation of "regeneration" from "effectual calling:"

From an "Open Heart for the Great Saviour," MTP, #669:
>>
It is perfectly true that the work of salvation lies first and mainly in Jesus receiving sinners to Himself to pardon, to cleanse, to sanctify, to preserve, to make perfect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPURGEON'S IMMACULATE SYLLOGISM

On this blogsite, we have seen Dr. B. H. Carroll's Impeccable Syllogism in another thread [see below].



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

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

2. But FAITH overcomes the world.

3. Therefore, the man who has FAITH is BORN OF GOD.

There is no way to squeeze a "born again before faith" situation into that syllogism!

FAITH is that which is BORN OF GOD, therefore the REGENERATED man is the man who has FAITH -- and NO OTHER!

There is simply no room here for the pedo doctrine of "born again before faith," that "regeneration" is a separate act from effectual calling by the Word and Spirit.

DR. CARROLL'S IMPECCABLE SYLLOGISM

Dr. Carroll's view is summed up in the following syllogism, on page 287 of Volume 10, Part I on The Gospels, An Interpretation of the English Bible:

>>
(1) Every one born of God has the right to be called a child of God.

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

(3) Therefore the new birth is not completed without faith."

>>

JOHN L. DAGG

I will just add that Dr. Dagg did not teach the "born again before faith" theory of the Hybrids. He says (Manual of Theology, page 279):

>>
Faith is necessary to the Christian character; and MUST therefore PRECEDE regeneration, when this is understood in its widest sense. Even in the restricted sense, in which it denotes the beginning of the spiritual life, faith, in the sense in which James uses the term, may PRECEDE.
>>

Despite these clear statements, Charles, the Hybrid Calvinists ignore these great Baptists in preference for the pedos such as Shedd, Berkhof, Sproul, Frame, etc.

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 2:48:00 PM, Blogger Jon Unyan said...

Hi Bob and Charles,

One last thing, Iain Murray is one of the most gracious Christian gentleman out there today. When he points out the failures of a particular movement, or the weaknesses of a position, people really listen to him and respect what he says. He took flack from some evangelicals after he wrote "Revival and Revivalism", and he held his ground with dignity, and disagreed with his opponents with humble, brotherly love. How do you two stack up to that? I think the answer is embarassingly obvious to all, except possibly you two. Now you may go back to church parking lot size analysis and brethren berating in the name of "truth".....

--Jon Unyan

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 4:40:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Jon Unyan, Hello!

If Iain Murray was "one of the most gracious Christian gentleman out there today" does that mean we can ignore his playing "fast and loose" with the facts?

Brother Bob Ross has addressed Murray's errors on more than one occasion.

Charles
>>>>>>>>>>>
ANOTHER INSTANCE OF IAIN MURRAY'S CRAFTY
MISAPPROPRIATION OF C. H. SPURGEON [07/01/04]
,

IAIN MURRAY'S MURKY MIRAGE
ON PUBLIC INVITATIONS [06/11/04]
,

ARE THERE DANGERS WHICH MAY INHERE IN NOT GIVING
AN INDISCRIMINATE "PUBLIC INVITATION" [05/22/04]

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006 11:14:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MURRAY
Jon Unyan said...


Iain Murray is one of the most gracious Christian gentleman out there today. . . . How do you two stack up to that?

I don't recall any criticism here of Mr. Murray's personal attribute of "graciousness," but we have noted the fact that his writings sometimes arouse questions as to his candidness, accuracy, and even-handedness.

For example, in his biased discreditation of John Gill, why did Mr. Murray find it necessary to prejudicially change wording in a quote attributed to Gill (Spurgeon vs Hyper-Calvinism, page 128)? I have asked Mr. Murray about this, but he has never replied.

If you will look at Mr. Murray's overall endeavors, it is obvious that he is primarily devoted to promoting pedoism and its supportive theology. He misuses Spurgeon primarily in contexts which promote his pedo-related Hybrid Calvinist interests, particularly in the attempts to discredit evangelism, what he calls "sudden conversion," public invitations, inquiry rooms, and evangelists.

Mr. Murray favors the opposition offered in the 19th century by Hybrid pedo, John Kennedy, against both Spurgeon's and D. L. Moody's Gospel, which moved Spurgeon to preach an entire sermon in defense of Moody and all who shared the Gospel of salvation by faith (MTP, Volume 21, #1239).

In that sermon, Spurgeon said:

>>
Will you please to notice that this is no quarrel between these gentlemen and our friends Messrs. Moody and Sankey alone. It is a quarrel between these objectors and the whole of us who preach the gospel; for, differing as we do in the style of preaching it, we are all ready to set our seal to the clearest possible statement that men are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, and saved the moment they believe. We all hold and teach that there is such a thing as conversion,—and that when men are converted they become other men than they were before, and a new life begins which will culminate in eternal glory. We are not so dastardly as to allow our friends to stand alone in the front of the battle, to be looked upon as peculiar persons, holding strange notions from which the rest of us dissent. So far as salvation through faith in the atoning blood is concerned, they preach nothing but what we have preached all our lives; they preach nothing but what has the general consent of Protestant Christendom. Let that be known to all, and let the archers shoot at us all alike. . . .

The objection is not against Messrs. Moody and Sankey, but against all evangelical ministers; not against them only, but against our common protestantism; and yet more, it is against the inspired word of God; for if this book teaches anything under heaven, it certainly teaches that men are saved by faith in our Lord Jesus. . . So that the objection is against the Bible; and let those who shoot their errors understand that they fight against the Eternal Spirit of God and the witness which he has borne by his prophets and apostles.
>>

Not only so, but Spurgeon editorialized in his magazine, expressing his rejection of Kennedy's opposition to Moody. Murray, however, has sided with Kennedy and has helped perpetuate Kennedy's opposition to Moody and "sudden conversion."

It is at least commendable that Mr. Murray is a "gracious Christian gentleman" in contrast to the likes of Charles and Bob, but unfortunately that fine attribute does not dispel the poor judgment he demonstrates in "taking sides" against Spurgeon, Moody, and their styles of evangelism.

See HYPERS ATTACKED SPURGEON & MOODY --
http://writingsofbobross.
tripod.com/0037.htm

 
At Friday, June 30, 2006 1:07:00 AM, Blogger Jon Unyan said...

Hey, I guess you're right Bob. That line of reasoning really justifies your juvenile behavior. Way to go....

--Jon Unyan

 
At Friday, June 30, 2006 12:24:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

YOUR VERY BEST?
Jon Unyan said...

Hey, I guess you're right Bob. That line of reasoning really justifies your juvenile behavior. Way to go....

Flattery will get you nowhere! Is this the best you can do?

 
At Friday, June 30, 2006 1:06:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

WHITE APOLOGIZES TO CANER

Bob to Charles:

I noticed on the "White Lightnin'" blogsite, Charles, that James the Exegeet is making an apology of sorts for something he said about Caner.

The irony of this -- at least to me -- is that James never bothered to apologize to me for his gratuitious attacks upon me in the mid 1990s when I published critical writings of John MacArthur's error on the Sonship of Christ. This matter was thoroughly discussed in a thread awhile back --

What Does James White Believe About the Eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ? -- JAMES WHITE and the JOHN MacARTHUR MATTER

http://www.blogger.com/
comment.gblogID=23354593&
postID=114400575233207631


Of course, that was not as "public" as his palabber about Caner, and so he could more readily ignore that he got "egg on his face" when MacArthur later recanted the very views which I had criticized.

This duplicity by James is the primary reason I would not trust the man any further than I could throw an automobile. I can forbear with theological differences, but I have nothing but contempt for duplicity.

 
At Friday, June 30, 2006 3:11:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

CORRECTION

The Link to the James White-John MacArthur thread should have been the following:

http://calvinistflyswatter.
blogspot.com/2006/04/
what-does-james-white-
believe-about.html

 
At Friday, June 30, 2006 3:38:00 PM, Anonymous steve y. berry said...

Charles,

Regarding your "correction," the FBC reported the number of members. Dr. Ascol's e-mail addressed the number of people attending the services. If he did not mention membership numbers then there may not be a dispute over the numbers from the Florida Convention.

Membership and attendance are two different animals. It is not uncommon for Reformed churches to have a larger attendance than membership. I do not know if this is the case with Dr. Ascol's church but it may be.

The call for an apology by "the pope" was absurd. It needs no further comment.

I appreciate all that you and Bob are doing to raise the level of awareness as to the harm that Founders Ministries is causing.

I would also like to say that Johnny Hunt is a pastor who is being proactive and teaching his young people about the dangers of this movement. May his tribe increase.

SYB

 
At Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was one of the worst and most unbiblical attempts to refute calvinism that I have ever seen.

 
At Thursday, July 13, 2006 4:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the tribal remark about Johnny Hunt. What Stupidity!

 

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