What Kind of "Gospel" Are The Founders Trying To "Restore"?
In this article, Brother Bob Ross asks whether Founders Ministries (yes, they really believe what they are doing is a ministry) is "restoring" the true gospel or not.
See also his articles, Founders Fizzle While Florida Burns
, and "Floundering" In Florida
For information regarding the "regeneration before faith" heresy held by most Founders fellows, including Brother Tom Ascol, see Brother Bob's article, "Regeneration in Relation to Faith in Calvinist Theology
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>WHAT KIND OF "GOSPEL" ARE THE FOUNDERS TRYING TO "RESTORE"? [07/27--2007]
The "Founders Ministries," founded by the late Ernest Reisinger and now headed by Pastor Tom Ascol of Cape Coral, Florida, frequently alleges that they are endeavoring to "recover" or "rediscover" the Gospel.
In pursuit of this professed purpose, they have recently indicated on their blog the following report of mailing a DVD to Southern Baptist Pastors in the State of Florida --
Nearly 3000 copies of the "Amazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism" were put in the mail today and should be landing in the mailboxes of Florida Baptist pastors over the next few days. Nearly 3000 copies of the "Amazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism" were put in the mail today and should be landing in the mailboxes of Florida Baptist pastors over the next few days.
As we noted in an earlier email, the Flounders squandered about $20,000 in this project which essentially is a propaganda disk advocating Hybrid Calvinism theology -- a mixture of truth and error as held by modern Presbyterianism which maintains that children born into Christian families are "regenerated" in early infancy. There are at least five (5) ministers whom I recognize as Presbyterian ministers who speak on this disk.
If Tom Ascol and the "Flounders" believe this disk represents the Gospel, they do indeed need to discover the Gospel. If these Presbyterians ministers really believe the Gospel of Christ, why would they in effect deny the Gospel by teaching that their babies are "regenerated" in infancy and do not need to be born again when they grow older?
What kind of "Gospel" is it when ministers baptize babies, receive them into the church as born again members, and teach their congregations that this is what it means to be "born again"?
If the "Flounders" are really interested in promoting the Gospel, why don't they purchase 3000 copies of the book, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SPURGEON, and mail it to the pastors in Florida? It would do far more good than the DVD which promotes modern Presbyterianism's distortion of theological "Calvinism."
-- Bob L. Ross
Rumors Fly That Al Mohler Will Run For SBC President
A well placed source at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has informed me that the seminary community is abuzz with rumors that President Al Mohler may run for SBC President next year.
While there has been no official word, this story
seems to suggest the rumors may be true.
A Mohler presidency would ignite the
Reformed blogging community but in my opinion would be a disaster for the Southern Baptist Convention. Theologically and evangelistically
, Mohler has moved the SBTS away from the SBC churches that pay his salary.
Baby Baptism Attributed to "Downgradism" in England
Another difference between Spurgeon and The Founders
has been brought to our attention by Brother Bob Ross. His recent article is reprinted here for Flyswatter
SPURGEON'S MAGAZINE ATTRIBUTED "DOWNGRADISM" IN ENGLAND
TO THE PRESBYTERIAN PRACTICE OF BABY BAPTISM [07/17--2007]
We have often said that infant baptism perhaps has been contributory to more error and apostasy in Protestant churches than any other teaching or practice-- not to mention the Roman Catholic Church. "Baptizing" babies and enrolling them as bono fide church members has what appears to be a very dubious and disreputable historical tract record, as various forms of apostasy have consistently produced theological, spiritual, and even moral decadence.
C. H. Spurgeon's magazine, The Sword and the Trowel, March 1887 issue, carried the initial article which kick-started what quickly became known as the Downgrade Controversy. The article was written by R. H. Shindler, and alleged that the baby baptizing Presbyterians and their practice of enlisting infants as church members was one of the major causes of downgradism. Here are his words, quoted from pages 123 and 126:
The Presbyterians were the first to get on the down line. They paid more attention to classical attainments and other branches of learning in their ministry than the Independents, while the Baptists had no academical institution of any kind. It would be an easy step in the wrong direction to pay increased attention to academical attainments in their ministers, and less to spiritual qualifications; and to set a higher value on scholarship and oratory, than on evangelical zeal and ability to rightly divide the word of truth. . . .
The principal cause of the quicker descent on "the down grade" among the Presbyterians than among other Nonconformists, may be traced, not so much to their more scholarly ministry, nor altogether to their renunciation of Puritan habits, but to their rule of admitting to the privileges of Church membership. Of course their children received the rite of baptism, according to their views of baptism, in infancy. They were thereby received—so the ministers taught, and so the people believed—into covenant with God, and had a right to the Lord's table, without any other qualification than a moral life. Many such children grew up unregenerate, and strangers to the work of renewing grace; yet they claimed to be Christians, and to be admitted to all the privileges of the church, and their claim was not disallowed. To such the earnest appeals of faithful ministers of Christ would be irksome and unpalatable. The broader road and easier way of the "men of reason and culture," which admitted of laxity of discipline and pliancy of sentiments and habits, was far more agreeable to their tastes and ideas, while the homage paid to reason and understanding, at the expense of revelation, gratified their pride, and left them free to walk after their own hearts in things pertaining to religion. Thus they chose them pastors after their own hearts, men who could, and would, and did, cry "Peace, peace," when the only way of peace was ignored or denied.
In the light of such evident truth, we marvel in our times that some Southern Baptist "Reformed" preachers can't seem to conduct a "conference" without including baby baptizers on the program. We also marvel that Dr. Mohler and Dr. Nettles at Southern Seminary are so cuddly with baby baptizers. We do not marvel so much about the Founders' unionism with baby baptizers, for after all the Founders were founded by Ernest Reisinger whose thinking was greatly influenced by baby baptizer Iain Murray of the Banner of Truth.
Bloggers in the SBC
The Texas Observer
has profiled SBC bloggers Brother Wade Burleson and Brother Ben Cole. Burleson and Cole are charter members of what I call the "I'm Ungrateful and I Hate Paige Patterson Club." Check out, Don't Stop Believing: Renegade Bloggers Besiege the Southern Baptist Convention
Cole has made much of his former affiliation with Dr. Patterson. How much of what Cole says is true? The Observer
reports that "Patterson now denies that he had any substantial relationship with Cole. 'I've tried to think how much time I spent with him, but it was very little,' he says."
Common Denominator of Hybrid Calvinism
THE COMMON DENOMINATOR OF HYBRID CALVINISMBob to Charles:
The common denominator of Hybrid Calvinists -- both the baby regenerationists Presbyterians and the Flounder-type Baptists -- is the "born again before faith"
For instance, I saw where Southern Seminary student, Timmy Brister
, referred to an item by David Wells
on conversion, and the same David Wells was the featured speaker at Tom Ascol's
latest Flounders' conference. Ascol was James White's
choice to assist him in the proposed debate with the Caner brothers, which never took place.
Now, here is how David Wells palabberates the Hybrid Calvinism which is the "common denominator" of all Hybrid Calvinists:The creative, regenerative work of God produces an overwhelming desire to turn from sin and conveys the ability to believe in Christ, though initially God’s regenerative work may take place below the level of consciousness
(Comparing Modern-day Alternatives to Biblical Conversion
, page 202) via http://timmybrister.com/
Wells sets forth this Backdoor Pelagianism
of Hybrid Calvinism, which allegedly gives the sinner "ability
" to obey God's commands.
All of these Hybrid Calvinists are Backdoor Pelagians, teaching that the sinner is given "ability" to repent and believe, contrary to creedal Calvinism which affirms that effectual calling (new birth) is by the power of the Word and Spirit upon the "dead" sinner
, just as in the case of Ezekiel's dry bones (Ez. 37).
The Hybrids do not believe in the CREATIVE power of the Word blessed by the Spirit
in regeneration, as we have demonstrated from Shedd and Berkhof.
For example, Louis Berkhof
(who is the favorite theologian of the Banner of Truth and Iain Murray) specifically denied the use of the Word as an instrumentality in regeneration
. He calls this "regeneration" a creative "hyper-physical operation
of the Holy Spirit" (page 471). Here is how he describes this pseudo-surgery:
"Regeneration is a creative act, by which the spiritually dead sinner is restored to life. But the truth of the gospel can only work in a moral and persuasive way. SUCH AN INSTRUMENT HAS NO EFFECT ON THE DEAD
" (page 475).
In his Summary of Christian Doctrine which is on the Internet, Berkhof says:
It is a creative work in which for that very reason the word of the gospel CANNOT very well be used as an instrument
With this distorted notion, which is an obvious denial of the CREATIVE instrumental power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16), Berkhof attempts to justify the heresy of "baby regeneration."
This perversion clearly conflicts with the Westminster Confession, which is the same on "Effectual Calling" as the 1689 London Confession. Berkhof even admits
that "Effectual Calling" in the Confession "includes regeneration
" (page 470), but he still persists in making a separation.
The Confession teaches that sinners are called by the Word and Spirit
which simply means that the Word is the instrument used by the Spirit in regeneration.
But the Hybrids choose to go the Pelagian route -- making the sinner "alive" and having "ability" beforehand.
The true Creedal or Confessional view is that the WORD AND SPIRIT effectually call the sinner to faith and life, which are simultaneous
James White's "White Lightning" Flowing Again
"WHITE LIGHTNING" FLOWING AGAINBob to Charles:
My good friend, Steve Garrett of the BaptistGadfly
has called my attention to fact that James White has his "White Lightning" Distillery
up and brewing the Hybrid Calvinism intoxicant once again.
The last time I visited James' Arizona White Lightning Distillery, it seemed he was chasing Catholics and Mormons, but it is obvious that his addiction to Hybrid Calvinism has overcome him again. Here's what he says:In other words, the Holy Spirit does not merely whisper in the hardened sinner’s ear and hopes that the rebel sinner will “cooperate”; rather, while the sinner is in a state of hardness and rebellion, the Holy Spirit penetrates in the will of man and performs the miracle of spiritual life (regeneration). That is grace alone. Faith does not precede regeneration, regeneration precedes faith.
Awhile back, when James was squirming around trying to evade what we had written about his brew, I thought he might be showing some signs that he was becoming susceptible to changing his ways in regard to Hybrid Calvinism; but no, that must have simply been mere wishful thinking on my part. Now the Great Exegeeter is once again brewing his "spirits" according to the "Reformed" recipe of baby regenerationists such as Shedd, Berkhof, Frame, and Sproul as a means of intoxicating his readers with what the "Reformed" are wont to call "monergism."
The result is, James' "monergism" would have the reader drunken on the Hybrid Calvinism hallucination that the unbelieving sinner gets "born again before faith" -- a regenerated UNBELIEVER!
We prefer Dr. B. H. Carroll's sober "monergism" to the "White Lightning" of James White's Distillery --DR. CARROLL'S IMPECCABLE SYLLOGISM:
(1) Every one born of God has the right 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."
Page 287 of Volume 10, Part I on The Gospels, An Interpretation of the English Bible
Spurgeon a Cause of Revived Reformed Theology?
Brother Bob Ross is understandably concerned about a reference to the revival of Reformed theology being linked to Spurgeon's sermons. In this article, Brother Bob sets the record straight.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>THANKS, CHARLES!Bob to Charles
I have just read an item on Mark Dever's blog which falsely alleges that Pilgrim Publications' (of which I am founder and director) reprinting of Spurgeon's sermons is responsible for the "prominence of reformed theology among the young in the American evangelical scene
I want to thank you again, Charles, for your generous use of my posts on your blog whereby I can make the effort via the Internet to distinguish Spurgeon's name and teachings from the aberrant "Reformed" or Hybrid Calvinism
of the likes of Mark Dever, the Founders, and the "Reformed Baptists."
I utterly repudiate the allegation that Spurgeon's sermons have promoted what Dever calls "reformed theology." Spurgeon did hold to creedal Calvinism, but "reformed theology" is Hybrid Calvinism, not creedal Calvinism.
Spurgeon is only used by such Hybrid groups in a piecemeal
manner whenever they perceive something from Spurgeon can ostensibly serve their cause -- just as Dever has done on his blog. Spurgeon cannot be rightly used to justify the decadent and aberrant "Calvinism"
which prevails in these groups.
For example, we have shown how Spurgeon view on child conversion
is in effect repudiated by Mark Dever. We have also demonstrated that Spurgeon was not opposed to aggressive methods of urging and securing public "decisions for Christ."
We have shown that Spurgeon was not a Hybrid Calvinist who taught "born again before faith
We have also shown that Spurgeon was the friend and promoter of D. L. Moody's evangelism in Great Britain, and had Moody preach at the Tabernacle, whereas Moody is generally excoriated by modern "reformed" advocates as "Arminian."
I just wanted you to know, Charles, that your blog is a blessing in this matter of my having the privilege of vindicating Spurgeon's good name and his teachings.
The Founders: Church "Planting" or Propagandizing?
In this missive, Brother Bob Ross asks a great question about Founders Ministries. Are they really interested in church planting or are they more interested in making converts to their warped theology?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>"PLANTING" OR PROPAGANDIZING?Bob to Charles
Do you recall, Charles, a few months (March 30, 2007) I quoted from Brother Tom Ascol of the Founders as follows:
"We also plan to become more involved in helping churches become actively involved in planting new churches."
Since then, to my knowledge, Tom has published nothing substantial about any "church plantings," but instead continues to waste time and money on "conferences" and mailing out a basically Presbyterian DVD to all SBC pastors in Florida, propagandizing in promoting Hybrid Calvinism.
His idea of "church planting" must mean the planting of Hybrid Calvinism which will either "reform" or split existing non-Hybrid churches.
What think ye?
Hybrid Calvinist Iain Murray
-- after nearly 50 years of promoting pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinism -- has said that "Calvinists" such as those in the Flounders "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 the souls of men"? (Spurgeon v. Hyper Calvinism
, page xiv).
To quote Iain Murray again:
"It is apparent that the recovery of doctrinal Christianity is not necessarily our chief need today
. . . the priority which soul-winning had in Spurgeon's ministry is not commonly seen to be our priority
. The revival in doctrine has scarcely been matched by a revival of evangelism." (ibid, pages xiii, xiv).
It is obvious that Tom Ascol has yet not come to appreciate Murray's insights into the lack of evangelism on the part of self-professed "Calvinists" who are in reality non-creedal Hybrid Calvinists.
How many more Hybrid Calvinist churches must dry-up and die before Tom and the Flounders come to see what Murray has come to see? I was invited to fill the pulpit recently at a church where "Calvinism" obviously has had priority over evangelism, and the few members let me know they have so declined that they are now regrettably at the point of selling their lovely church building and adjoining property.
Founders Fizzle While Florida Burns
In this article Brother Bob Ross once again demonstrates that the purpose of Founders Ministies (yes, they really believe what they are doing is a ministry) is to convert Christians to Hybrid Calvinism.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>FOUNDERS FIZZLE WHILE FLORIDA BURNS -- WARRING FACTIONS WASTE CHURCH MONEY [06/22--2007]
It appears that leaders at the Florida Baptist Convention
headquarters in Jacksonville have spent a lot of money on a mail-out to Florida pastors which ostensibly opposes "Calvinism."
In response, now the "Founders Ministries
," headed by Tom Ascol of Cape Coral, is going to raise and spend $20,000 to send out a DVD to the same pastors which is ostensibly designed to propagate "Calvinism" and expose "Arminianism."All this while Florida burns -- both in sin and in the world to come -- if it does not hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Both of these parties give lip serve to believing the Great Commission to preach the Gospel
to every creature is incumbent upon the churches, yet neither side seems to have any compunction of conscience against spending thousands of dollars to promote an old and bitter theological controversy which has been extant for hundreds of years and is still unresolved.
Not only so, but to further emphasize the utter futility
of such a waste, even the materials which are being used by both parties do not properly represent the issues in involved. Both sides misrepresent historic, creedal Calvinism
The Founders are using a DVD entitled "Amazing Grace
," which presents a non-creedal pedobaptist
view of "regeneration" or the new birth which alleges that sinners are "born again before faith." This is what we call "HYBRID CALVINISM
," for it is a mixture of truth with error.
I do not know if any of my readers has the "Amazing Grace
" 2-disc DVD, but I will nevertheless document for the readers the Hybrid Calvinist heresy
of this unfortunate caricature of creedal "Calvinism."
On the DVD, disc #1, at 1:32:22, under the theme of "Born Again
," the Narrator, Eric Holmberg
, spins the Hybrid Calvinist Presbyterian palabber about being "born again before faith
." This was expected since there are at least five "Baby Regenerationist" Presbyterians
among the twelve men who appear on the DVD, in addition to Tom Nettles
of Southern Baptist Seminary who also teaches this same error.
Holmberg says the following, in summation of his comments:
"Being born again is the first act of God's grace
. It makes us new creatures in Christ, and as new creatures, we are no longer haters of God, no longer at enmity with God, . . . and as a result we repent and have faith in God and what He has done for us through the cross. BEING BORN AGAIN MUST OF NECESSITY PRECEDE FAITH
Holberg therefore has the sinner as a "BORN AGAIN UNBELIEVER
This is classic non-creedal HYBRID CALVINISM
, as taught by "Baby Regenerationists
" theologians such as Shedd
in his Dogmatic Theology, by Berkhof
's Systematic Theology, by R. C. Sproul
, by "Reformed Baptist" James White
, by Tom Ascol
's "Founders" website, by Tom Nettles
at Southern Seminary, by Iain Murray
of the Banner of Truth, and by others who have been deluded by this travesty
of Creedal Calvinism on the New Birth.
This heresy was originally hatched in the post-Reformation nest of the "Baby Regenerationist" Presbyterians
who teach that "covenant" infants born to believers are "regenerated" either before birth or shortly thereafter, LONG BEFORE they are believers in Christ
Evidently, Tom Ascol wants to make BaptoPresbyterians
out of Florida Baptist preachers!
This is the modern distortion of Creedal Calvinism on "Effectual Calling"
wherewith Tom Ascol wants to waste $20,000 to propagandize the Pastors in the Florida Baptist Convention as if this is "Calvinism."
This is more grotesque than the "chads" ordeal in Florida in the last presidential election. $20,000 wasted to promote Hybrid Calvinism!If a Florida pastor swallows this heresy
, he will soon probably stop giving a public invitation, his evangelistic emphasis will be retarded, professions of faith and baptisms will decline (apparently much to Ascol's delight), and perhaps even a church split will develop. At least, this is the usual "pattern" when a preacher adopts and starts preaching Hybrid Calvinism. I have seen it happen for over 50 years.IS THERE A BETTER WAY TO SPEND $20,000?
A few years ago, we selected 35 sermons by Spurgeon, all of which were on the Gospel. We called it, "The Gospel According to C. H. Spurgeon
< [The book is also available in Spanish].
We had the financial assistance of several contributors for this project in which as many copies as possible were donated to Seminary and Bible school graduates
. Hundreds of copies went to the graduates of Southern Baptist seminaries, and hundreds went to graduates in other schools. We believed it would be a wonderful tool to assist these young graduates to get the best possible grip on how to present the Gospel of Christ. No one did it better than Spurgeon.
Don't you think that a better way
for Tom Ascol to spend $20, 000 would be to send this book, or Spurgeon's "The Soul Winner
" book, to the Pastors in the Florida Baptist Convention?
I believe either of these two books would do more to assist pastors in their ministries in evangelizing the "elect" in Florida than the DVD, featuring Holmberg, Tom Nettles and the Presbyterian "Baby Regenerationists," who advocate the "born again before faith" Hybrid Calvinism.
After all, preachers are first and foremost commissioned by the Lord to "preach the Gospel," not the theological phantasmagoria of Hybrid Calvinism.