Friday, August 10, 2007

Spurgeon's Views Continue To Be Distorted

In this superb article, Brother Bob Ross demonstrates once again that Charles H. Spurgeon did not hold to the "born again before faith" nonsense promoted by The Founders, James White, R. C. Sproul, and certain professors at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Charles
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SPURGEON'S VIEWS CONTINUE TO BE DISTORTED

Bob to Charles:

I have noticed, Charles, that some of the babbling "Babfers" ["Born-again-before-faith-ers"] bloggers are now "engaging" some recent materials of certain critics of the modern "Reformed" version of "Calvinism." The Flounders, Brister, Strangefire, Bridges, etc. -- as I recall recent reading -- are among the distorters.

Once again, snippets are being quoted from Spurgeon and misapplied as if to justify the Hybrid Calvinism of the "Babfers."

In addition to the numerous quotations from Spurgeon which we have given -- which appear in the Archives of this blog, revealing Spurgeon's "views in full" -- let me again remind the readers of what Spurgeon said which very specifically identifies his view with what was taught by the 17th century Puritans, such as Stephen Charnock and Thomas Watson, and with the Baptists who rejected the "pre-faith regeneration" theory of some of the post-seventeenth century Pedobaptists. See Charnock here.

Although we have before cited the following material, it certainly is appropriate to highlight it once again in view of the continued crafty distortion of Spurgeon by the Hybrid Calvinists who are influenced by the Pedobaptists on "regeneration." Spurgeon opposed this theory, stating in his sermon, "The Warrant of Faith" [No. 531, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit page 532] --

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If I am to preach faith in Christ to a man who is regenerated, then the man, being regenerated, is saved already, and it is an unnecessary and ridiculous thing for me to preach Christ to him, and bid him to believe in order to be saved when he is saved already, being regenerate. But you will tell me that I ought to preach it only to those who repent of their sins. Very well; but since true repentance of sin is the work of the Spirit, any man who has repentance is most certainly saved, because evangelical repentance never can exist in an unrenewed soul.

Where there is repentance there is faith already, for they never can be separated. So, then, I am only to preach faith to those who have it. Absurd, indeed! Is not this waiting till the man is cured and then bringing him the medicine? This is preaching Christ to the righteous and not to sinners.

"Nay," saith one, "but we mean that a man must have some good desires towards Christ before he has any warrant to believe in Jesus." Friend, do you not know what all good desires have some degree of holiness in them? But if a sinner hath any degree of true holiness in him it must be the work of the Spirit, for true holiness never exists in the carnal mind, therefore, that man is already renewed, and therefore saved. Are we to go running up and down the world, proclaiming life to the living, casting bread to those who are fed already, and holding up Christ on the pole of the gospel to those who are already healed?

My brethren, where is our inducement to labour where our efforts are so little needed? If I am to preach Christ to those who have no goodness, who have nothing in them that qualifies them for mercy, then I feel I have a gospel so divine that I would proclaim it with my last breath, crying aloud, that "Jesus came into the world to save sinners" - sinners as sinners, not as penitent sinners or as awakened sinners, but sinners as sinners, sinners "of whom I am chief."
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In this same sermon, Spurgeon endorsed the views advocated by Abraham Booth.

ABRAHAM BOOTH (1734-1806), is well-known in Baptist history for his great book, The Reign of Grace. He also wrote a great work entitled, Glad Tidings to Perishing Sinners, in which he thoroughly refutes the view of "pre-faith regeneration." It is one of the works which helped so many Baptists of that age to avoid the pitfalls of hyper-Calvinism, and hopefully the book will soon be in print again, as I understand it is going to be republished.

C. H. Spurgeon said of Booth and his book:

"I have read with some degree of attention a book to which I owe much for this present discourse, a book, by Abraham Booth, called Glad Tidings to Perishing Sinners. I have never heard any one cast a suspicion upon Abraham Booth's soundness; on the contrary, he has been generally considered as one of the most orthodox of the divines of the last generation. IF YOU WANT MY VIEWS IN FULL, READ HIS BOOK" (The Warrant of Faith, page 539, Sermon #531, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 9, year 1863).

Here are a few comments and subheads excerpted from Booth's book. This kind of teaching won't be found in the writings of Shedd, Berkhof, Sproul, James White, Tom Nettles or any other assortment of Hybrid Calvinists.

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It is objected, 'Though it be not necessary for a sinner to know that he is born again, before he believe in Jesus Christ, yet regeneration must precede faith. For the heart of a sinner being naturally in a state of enmity to the Divine Character, he will never turn to God, while in that situation, for pardon and acceptance.' In answer to which, the following particulars are proposed for consideration.

Before this objection can be justly considered as valid, it must be evinced, not only, that regeneration precedes faith; but also, that it is necessary to authorise a sinner's reliance on Jesus Christ: than which, few sentiments are more foreign from the genuine gospel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of Conversion:


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

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

Of Sanctification:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of Salvation:

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

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

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

"The engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" -- James 1:17.
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Booth continues on page 122:

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

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

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

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

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

Consequently, as they are the ungodly whom the Spirit regenerates by the truth, so persons of that character are warranted to believe in Jesus.
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Mr. Booth then gives the quotes from Charnock to which we have often referred, contained in Stephen Charnock's A Discourse of the Word, the Instrument of Regeneration.

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

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This [regeneration] is wrought by the word. We are born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God. Wherein, not only the thing itself, of our regeneration by the word, but the manner of it also, is declared. It is by the collation of a new spiritual life upon us, whereof the word is the seed. As every life proceeds from some seed, that hath in itself virtually the whole life to be deduced from it, by natural ways and means; so the word in the hearts of men is turned into a vital principle, that, cherished by suitable means, puts forth vital acts and operations. BY THIS MEANS WE ARE BORN OF GOD, and quickened, who, by nature, are children of wrath; dead in trespasses and sins. So Paul tells the Corinthians, that he had begotten them, in Jesus Christ, by the gospel. It is the INSTRUMENT OF GOD for this end; and mighty and powerful, through God, it is for the accomplishment of it. (Owen on Hebrews 2:2, 3, 4, Vol. I, page 178).
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Abraham Booth goes on his book to consider some of the objections and arguments of the hyper-Calvinists of his day who taught "pre-faith regeneration." It is noteworthy that some of the same thought is expressed today by hypers, Hardshells, and hybrid Calvinists.

I looked in the index of James White's book, The Potter's Freedom, and noticed he has no reference to great passages used by Mr. Booth which teach the necessity of the means of the Gospel or Word in regeneration. No reference to John 6:63; 1 Corinthians 2:4, 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14; 1 Peter 1:23. The absence of such passages in White's books is consistent with his "pre-faith regeneration" theory.

2 Comments:

At Thursday, August 16, 2007 6:26:00 PM, Blogger www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Here is a quote from Calvinist, D. James Kennedy, who has gone on record as having taught that man is to pray to God to receive new birth:

“Our faith and our repentance are the work of God’s grace in our hearts. Our contribution is simply the sin for which Jesus Christ suffered and died. Would you be born anew? There has never been a person who sought for that who did not find it. Even the seeking is created by the Spirit of God. Would you know that new life? Are you tired of the emptiness and purposelessness of your life? Are you tired of the filthy rags of your own righteousness? Would you trust in someone else other than yourself? Then look to the cross of Christ. Place your trust in him. Ask him to come in and be born in you today. For Jesus came into the world from glory to give us second birth because we must--we MUST--be born again.” (Why I Believe, p.140, emphasis mine)

 
At Monday, August 20, 2007 6:00:00 PM, Blogger Stephen Garrett said...

Amen! Very good stuff! Keep it up!

God bless

Stephen M. Garrett
www.baptistgadfly.blogspot.com

 

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