Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Children: Mark Dever vs. Charles Spurgeon, part 2

If any reproach us with receiving young children into the church, we will wear the reproach as a badge of honor. C.H. Spurgeon.

I am thankful to Brother Bob Ross for his research into C.H. Spurgeon's views on children. In a day when men like Dr. Mark Dever are reluctant to baptize children under the age of eighteen, it is helpful to see what Baptists have done historically.

Dever, along with Tom Ascol and James White, claims to admire Spurgeon. I have written elsewhere about Ascol and White. Dever is another who "talks the talk" but fails to line up with Spurgeon.

Charles
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

SPURGEON ON BAPTIZING CONVERTED CHILDREN

Bob to Charles:

We publish Spurgeon's little book, "Come Ye Children," and on pages 13 and 20, he makes the following comment, directly relating to baptizing young children who profess faith in Christ:

>>
Another ill-result is that the conversion of children is not believed in. Certain suspicious people always file their teeth a bit when they hear of a newly-converted child; they will have a bite at him if they can. They very rightly insist upon it that these children should be carefully examined before they are baptized and admitted into the church; but they are wrong in insisting that only in exceptional instances are they to be received We quite agree with them as to the care to be exercised; but it should be the same in all cases, and neither more nor less in the cases of children. . . .

Thus in these days certain brethren would hardly like to receive many children into the church, lest it should become a society of boys and girls. Surely, if these come into the church in any great numbers, the church may be spoken of in terms of reproach! The outside world will call it a mere Sunday-school. I remember that when a fallen woman had been converted in one of our county-towns, there was an objection among certain professors to her being received into the church, and certain lewd fellows of the baser sort even went the length of advertising upon the walls the fact that the Baptist minister had baptized a harlot. I told my friend to regard it as an honor. Even so, if any reproach us with receiving young children into the church, we will wear the reproach as a badge of honor. Holy children cannot possibly do us any harm. God will send us sufficient of age and experience to steer the church prudently. We will receive none who fail to yield evidence of the new birth, however old they may be; but we will shut out no believers, however young they may be. God forbid that we should condemn our cautious brethren, but at the same time we wish their caution would show itself where it is more required.. Jesus will not be dishonored by the children we have, far more cause to fear the adults.
>>

In the same book, Spurgeon repudiates the "Reformed" views of Shedd, Berkhof, Frame, Sproul and others who believe in "baby regeneration" and the practice of baptizing the babies born to believers, which is based on the pretext of a supposed "covenant" inheritance.

On page 22 onward, Spurgeon says the following:

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But it is written, saith one, "that the promise is unto you, and to your children." There never was a grosser piece of knavery committed under heaven than the quotation of that text as it is usually quoted. I have heard it quoted many times to prove a doctrine which is very far removed from that which it clearly teaches. If you take one half of any sentence which a man utters, and leave out the rest, you may make him say the opposite of what he means. What do you think that text really is? See Acts 2:39: "The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." This grandly wide statement is the argument on which is founded the exhortation, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you." It is not a declaration of privilege special to anyone, but a presentation of grace as much to all that are afar off as to them and to their children. There is not a word in the New Testament to show that the benefits of divine grace are in any degree transmitted by natural descent:  they come "to as many as the Lord our God shall call," whether their parents are saints of sinners. How can people have the impudence to tear off half a text to make it teach what is not true? You must sorrowfully look upon your children as born in sin, and shapen in iniquity, "heirs of wrath, even as others"; and though you may yourself belong to a line of saints, and trace your pedigree from minister to minister, all eminent in the church of God, yet your children occupy precisely the same position by their birth as other people's children do; so that they must be redeemed from under the curse of the law by the precious blood of Jesus, and they must receive a new nature by the work of the Holy Ghost. They are favored by being placed under godly training, and under the hearing of the gospel; but their need and their sinfulness are the same as in the rest of the race. If you think of this, you will see the reason why they should be brought to Jesus Christ - a reason why they should be brought as speedily as possible in the arms of your prayer and faith to Him who is able to renew them.

11 Comments:

At Wednesday, August 30, 2006 1:08:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SPURGEON'S EXHORTATION

Bob to Charles:

Here is an exhortation from C. H. Spurgeon's book, "Come Ye Children," page 102:

>>
Take care how you treat young piety. Be very tender in dealing with it. Believe that children can be saved just as much as yourselves, I do most firmly believe in the salvation of children. When you see the young heart brought to the Savior, do not stand by and speak harshly, mistrusting everything. It is better sometimes to be deceived than to be the means of offending one of these little ones who believe in Jesus. God send to His people a firm belief that little buds of grace are worthy of all tender care!

 
At Wednesday, August 30, 2006 1:59:00 PM, Anonymous where's dever said...

still no QUOTE or context from Dever.

How can you have Dever vs. Spurgeon part 2, when you did give any Dever in Part 1?

whether he is right or wrong in his views is not the point. The point is that you are alluding to heresy and false teaching without giving any examples from the man of his false teaching.

 
At Wednesday, August 30, 2006 2:02:00 PM, Anonymous Alanis Morrisett said...

Is think its funny, or ironic, not sure which...that Dever can be in one post critiqued for his association with baby baptizers and pedo regenerationists and then in another post be attacked for not baptizing six year olds.

 
At Wednesday, August 30, 2006 4:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

heaven forbid someone doesn't line up perfectly with Spurgeon.

I don't know if anyone should agree 100% with a person whom they admire. ie. Charles' admiration of Bob Ross.

Charles is there anywhere that you don't "line up" with Bob Ross?

 
At Wednesday, August 30, 2006 10:52:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

where's dever said...

still no QUOTE or context from Dever.

You can hear Dever's comments for yourself at the following website:

How do you handle parents who want their children baptized?

http://tinyurl.com/qyj7f

 
At Wednesday, August 30, 2006 11:02:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

CONTRACT WITH CHARLES
Anonymous said...


heaven forbid someone doesn't line up perfectly with Spurgeon.

I don't know if anyone should agree 100% with a person whom they admire. ie. Charles' admiration of Bob Ross.


My Contract with the Flyswatter calls for both Charles and me to "never differ on any subject." This prevents our critics from trying the old device of "dividing and conquering."

 
At Wednesday, August 30, 2006 11:31:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SIX-YEAR OLD BAPTISM?
Alanis Morrisett said...


Is think its funny, or ironic, not sure which...that Dever can be in one post critiqued for his association with baby baptizers and pedo regenerationists and then in another post be attacked for not baptizing six year olds.

The "baby regenerationists" make no claim that the babies believe, yet they regard them as "regenerated" on the basis of their allegedly being "covenant children."

If a six-year olds makes a profession of faith in Christ for salvation, that qualifies him as a subject for baptism.

Dever's mistake, apparently, is in requiring of a baptismal subject than is required by Scripture.

 
At Thursday, August 31, 2006 10:48:00 AM, Anonymous bananabaptist said...

It does seem that there is a trend toward baptizing children younger and younger, even as we are baptizing fewer and fewer teens.

There seems to be an illusion, at least in the SBC, that our baptism #'s are holding steady, when the reality is that we are baptizing children younger and younger, and then we are rebaptizing those people 20 years later when they come to the realization that they were not truly converted when baptized as young children. We have been double counting for decades.

As a youth minister and now as a pastor for sometime, I have found VERY VERY FEW, who were baptized younger than 12, who didn't eventually confess that they were not truly converted.

Let's face it, whether you agree or disagree with CHBC policy, greater discernment is called for in modern evangelism.

quick scenario
A child raised by christian parents in the church is typically going to say the right things when prompted accordingly.

Joey, do you know that you have done wrong and that is called sin? Yes.
Do you know that Jesus died for you because you have done wrong? Yes. Do you love Jesus? Yes.
Great, repeat this prayer after me.
Then it's off to the baptistry.

Many people have turned conversion into mere mental assent. We've not only done this with kids, BTW.

 
At Thursday, August 31, 2006 10:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I listened to the dever audio and a lot of what he says makes sense.

Personally, I would not agree on where to draw the line with Dever, nor would I be dogmatic about it. But his motives are admirable.

That is what is missing in much of the discussion here and elsewhere. There is very little grace in disagreement, little context and acknowledging of noble motives.

While I would not have the same policy as Dever, I can still say that I admire the fact that he is trying to do the right thing.

Dever is influenced by church history and personally recognizes that it is a modern american phenomenon to baptize young children who have made a profession.

So while I can disagree with the man, I don't have to villify him or mock him.

 
At Thursday, August 31, 2006 11:07:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

REPLIES TO COMMENTS
bananabaptist said...


As a youth minister and now as a pastor for sometime, I have found VERY VERY FEW, who were baptized younger than 12, who didn't eventually confess that they were not truly converted.

Such cases are not necessaryily a bad thing. I myself was baptized early, and made one or two more professions thereafter. I do not discount the significance of those experiences, however, for they played a part in "conditioning" me for ultimate conversion. Sometimes it takes more than one lick to break something.

The fact is, however, the scriptural principle is that once a person makes a credible confession of Christ as Saviour, baptism is to follow -- and there is no precedent for age consideration.

Let's face it, whether you agree or disagree with CHBC policy, greater discernment is called for in modern evangelism.

The only thing I can see in Scripture which is required to be discerned is a confession of faith in Christ as a pre-requisite to baptism.

* * *

quick scenario said:

Many people have turned conversion into mere mental assent.

Since we do not know the state of one's heart, what else is there to go by but one's confession of faith? Belief and confession are all the only things required for baptism, aren't they?

* * *

Anonymous said...

Personally, I would not agree on where to draw the line with Dever, nor would I be dogmatic about it. But his motives are admirable.

How could one's motives really be admired if what he proposes amounts to practicing extra-scriptural barriers to the baptism of those who confess Christ as Saviour?

Perhaps some think that "baby baptizers" have admirable motives, too? Perhaps baptismal regenerationists have admirable motives, also?

Dever is influenced by church history and personally recognizes that it is a modern american phenomenon to baptize young children who have made a profession.

If Dever were more influenced by church history than he is, would he be coddling "baby baptizers"? He should know, if he knows history, that one of the greatest curses to Christianity has been the baptisms of babies.

As for the baptism of young people being an "American phenomenon," C. H. Spurgeon, in London, was a great advocate of the baptism of children who made early professions of faith, and promosted evagelistic efforts to lead children to Christ.

Perhaps Spurgeon's influence accounts somewhat for the practice of Baptists in America who evangelize children. It is a fact that Spurgeon was a specific inspiration behind the "Child Evangelism Fellowship" movemeent started by J. Irvin Overholtzer. See this story at --

http://www.cefonline.com/
about/history.php


>>
Growing up in a religious family, Jesse [Overholtzer] at the age of 12 was convicted of his own sin and sought counsel from his mother. He was told, "Son, you are too young." It wasn't until Overholtzer was in college that he heard the Gospel and trusted Christ as his Savior.

Later as a pastor Mr. Overholtzer read one of Charles Spurgeon's sermons which stated, "A child of five, if properly instructed can as truly believe and be regenerated as an adult." The Lord used this statement in Mr. O's life to lead him to begin the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship when he was 60 years old. The ministry has grown into the largest evangelistic outreach to children in the world. CEF is currently ministering in over 150 countries and in every state in the U.S.

 
At Wednesday, June 15, 2011 5:17:00 PM, Blogger laura said...

Let's not be disrespectful/judgmental. Remember Rupertus Meldenius's words,"In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity." Have love towards your brother in Christ if you are brothers. Our time is better spent praying and sharing the gospel than criticizing others.

 

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