Friday, April 25, 2008

"Do not sin against the child"

SPURGEON on CHILD CONVERSION
vs DEVER & FLOUNDERSISM

"Let us judge them righteously, but let us not judge them censoriously. Let us be willing to receive them to Baptism and to the Lord’s Table . . ." -- C. H. Spurgeon.

Charles' recent article prompted me to take another look at Spurgeon's great sermon, "Do Not Sin Against the Child" (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 14, Sermon #840).

You can read it on the http://www.spurgeon.gems/ website. Any one who has fallen under the influence of Flounders' minister, Mark Dever, might do well to consider what Spurgeon had to say.

One of Tom Ascol's Flounders-Friendly fellows, Nathan Finn, in his comments on the recent SBC statistics report, has remarked, "Those stats are bloated because of toddler baptisms . . . If we annually baptize 75,000 lost people over the age of 12 who are not already attending our churches’ activities, I would be shocked."

This type of attitude toward child conversions is part of what the Flounders' Hybrid Calvinism is all about -- denigrating evangelism.

"Toddler baptisms," Finn says? And Ascol has the gall to complain about "caricatures"? What balderdash!

Quite a contrast to the attitude of C. H. Spurgeon on the conversion of children!

Spurgeon was so zealous for the conversion of children at his Church he had a Minister, Mr. Hammond, who was gifted in leading children to the Lord for salvation, to come to the Tabernacle for the purpose of winning children to Christ.

Also, Spurgeon was the inspiration for the launching of the "Child Evangelism Fellowship" ministry which is a work entirely devoted to seeking the conversion of children. Spurgeon knew from his own personal experience that an early-life conversion is of great advantage to the youngsters who are blessed to experience it.

Here are a few excerpts from Spurgeon's sermon, introductory to the special series of services by Mr. Hammond to win young souls to Christ:

>>
I thought it meet, beloved Friends, as our friend, Mr. Hammond, is coming among us to labor for the conversion of the young, that I should, as it were, this morning deliver the preface to his series of services.

Perhaps by enlisting the consideration and the affectionate prayers of God’s people for the young, I may be doing more to help my friend in his work than it would be possible for me to do by any other means. . . .

When teachers and others are earnest about the conversion of children, and some of them are converted, they then come into relationship with the Church, and too often the Lord’s people need the advice, “Do not sin against the child.”

How can a Church so offend? It can do so by not believing in the conversion of children at all!

I am persuaded there are hundreds of Christians who, in their hearts, altogether mistrust the worth of regeneration unless the party born-again is of over 16 or 18 years of age! If the inmost thoughts of many professors could be spoken, it would be seen that they are at once suspicious of a conversion if the convert is only 13 years of age, and yet would cheerfully endorse the same conversion if the person were 30 or seventy!

There is a sad respect of persons among us still—a lingering belief that a certain period of years spent in sin must have elapsed before a work can be commenced! And yet, if you were to think, the conversion of a child is, in itself, no more difficult than the conversion of a full-grown man! With God all things are possible!

If it were right to compare two equally Divine works, it should seem to be an easier thing to renew the child than the man! There is less of the dire force of habit to overcome! There is less to forget, less to repent of! Though there is nothing spiritually good in us by nature, yet there is a certain simplicity about the child—a readiness of belief, an absence of cautiousness and questioning— which is exceedingly helpful in receiving the Truth of God.

Where two things are both impossible, except with God, we may draw comparisons. I should really say that the conversion of the child appears to be the simpler work of the two—and how, then, have we come to imagine it not to be so, I can scarcely tell! Surely that same Holy Spirit who can enter into the man of 70, and overcome his sins and make him to become like a little child, can enter, also, into the child and overcome his natural depravity and make him willing, in the day of God’s power, and lead him to faith in Jesus!

If salvation had to do with mysterious doctrines hard to be understood, if to be a Christian one needed to comprehend the Hebrew and the Greek languages, we might admit the difficulty of the conversion of little children. But if it is all so simple that he that runs may read, and he that reads may still continue to run—if it is all so plain as to be nothing more than this, “He that believes in the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved”—why not a child as capable of faith as a man?

And why may it not be as probable that we may see numbers of children converted to God as that numbers of adults may give their allegiance to the faith? Get rid of this base idea, then, lest you be found sinning against the child!

God can save children! He has saved many! He has proved to His unbelieving Church the greatness of His power towards the little ones. Thrust out the thought, then, and expect, from this day forward, that God will save the children as well as others. Having believed that their conversion is possible, when you hear of it, be willing to believe it is so. . . .

Many say, “We must hope for the best, and we must not expect too much of a child;” but I reply, we would do that child most serious injury if we taught him to be satisfied with that which is unsatisfactory and to rest anywhere but in the Lord Jesus! We must expect as much, but what I plead for is we must not expect more!

I am sure that there are some ministers and Church members who discourage, at once, any profession of faith from boys and girls. “Oh yes,” they say, “it is the morning cloud and the early dew. It will soon pass away.” They utter sharp and hard things, which, if Satan needed instruments, would be the very ones to grieve tender hearts! They put on such frowns, and give themselves such lofty airs that humble, timid children shrink back and are to the Church, for many a day, perhaps, kept outside her pale.

Let us judge them righteously, but let us not judge them censoriously. Let us be willing to receive them to Baptism and to the Lord’s Table, and when they are received, instead of thinking of them as though they were less valuable than other members, let us count them to be the very pride of the flock!

I hate to hear people say, “They have received a pack of children into the Church.”

“A pack of children,” yes, and if Jesus carries them in His bosom, surely you are not imitating Christ, nor exhibiting much of His spirit when you look down upon them and despise them! To me, one soul is as good as another. I rejoice as much in the addition of the poorest mechanic to this Church as if he were a peer of the realm!

I am as grateful to God when I hear of repentance in the young as in the aged, for souls, after all, are not affected in value by rank or age! Immortal spirits are all priceless, and not to be weighed in the scale with worlds.

I pray you, therefore, rejoice if the Spirit of God dwells in the lowly or in the great—in the young or in the old! He is the same Spirit! He makes each renewed person equally His temple—and each saved one is equally a jewel of Christ—dear to the heart of the Eternal Father, beloved by Him who redeemed all His people alike with His most precious blood!

Let us not, therefore, as a Church, sin against the child.

12 Comments:

At Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:00:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

Amen! Spurgeon believed that children could be saved because he believed in the simplicity of salvation, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

The Flounders on the other hand believe the gospel is so complicated that they must somehow "recover" it for all of us simple Southern Baptists!

Charles

 
At Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:02:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

I would be interested to know the testimony of Nathan Finn and his family. At what age did they believe on Christ? When were they baptized?

Charles

 
At Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bob walk us through a consersation you would have with a child who wants to be baptized. My experience is that many little kids want to be baptized more than they want Jesus. (Although some are truly saved)

Do you ask them if they love jesus and have them repeat the prayer? My 3 year old will do that.
And that is what a lot of child evangelism consists of.

This is good for our SBC numbers, because 10 years later they come back to the pastor and say, "I had no idea what I was doing when I was young, I didn't understand the offense of my sin and my heart wasn't changed. I"m a believer, now."

Truth be told it is probably not Dever vs. Spurgeon as much as you think. My guess is that if spurgeon saw how child evangelism took place in america he'd say, "Oh that's not what I'm talking about. You guys are just padding your numbers"

 
At Saturday, April 26, 2008 11:39:00 AM, Anonymous JLS said...

Bro. Bob,
I was saved and baptized at the age of thirteen.
I doubted it many times, not because of people doubting it, but because of poor theology in the churches where I was raised.
I'm now 36 and have been in the ministry since I was 19. The Lord has been good to me. I was discouraged from the ministry because I was young. Due to that I made some mistakes that I would not have made had someone taken me under their wings.
How necessary it is to fan the fires of zeal in those who are young. We can still seek to guide them to assurance and stand against false conversions while encouraging the young.
Thanks for the post.
JLS

 
At Saturday, April 26, 2008 1:33:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...

NATHAN FINN

Charles said...


I would be interested to know the testimony of Nathan Finn and his family. At what age did they believe on Christ? When were they baptized?

From what I can gather, Charles, Nathan has a young daughter. Unless he took her to a pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinist Presbyterian church for baptism, on the presumption that she has been "regenerated" as an infant, I don't suppose she has been "born again" and baptized.

Perhaps an appropriate question would be, Will Nathan be telling her that "Jesus loves you and died for your sins"?

He might have to ask Tom Ascol if that would be permissible for a Flounders-Friendly person to say that!

I have not found anythng on when Nathan and his wife were saved and baptized, but I will keep looking. You don't suppose they made a profession of faith during an invitation, do you?

 
At Saturday, April 26, 2008 3:00:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...

NATHAN FNN'S PILGRIMAGE

Bob to Charles:

I think I may have come upon an answer to your question, Charles -- at least in regard to Nathan Finn's conversion.

Read his account of converson at this link:
http://nathanafinn.wordpress.com/2008/03/06/my-spiritual-pilgrimage-with-notes-on-some-childhood-friends/

Here is what he says:
>>
But the thing that ultimately convicted me of my spiritual state was the radio sermons of Adrian Rogers. His program came on every day at the one time of day I had a standing delivery to make. Dr. Rogers was preaching through the book of Revelation, and I was cut to the quick. Little by little, over the course of three or four months, all of my legalisms were laid out before me. I was forced to confront every argument I had made to justify my standing before God. One by one the walls came down. I think it was probably during this time, in the spring of 1997, that I began to rest in the finished work of Christ. I verbalized that in my prayer at the North Greenville Centrifuge camp that summer.
>>

Like so many of those of the Flounders-Friendly category, the Lord used an alleged "Arminian" in assisting Nathan to finally be converted to Christ.

Perhaps if Tom Ascol would listen to some Adrian Rogers' sermons, it would be of some help to him in "recovering" the Gospel.

 
At Saturday, April 26, 2008 3:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

selective posting

 
At Saturday, April 26, 2008 7:43:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

As long as the Flounders have been operating, you would think that they would have a legion of followers who could say: "I was saved under the preaching of Tom Ascol," or "Tom Nettles led me to Christ," or "Timmy Brister delivered the gospel to me in a UPS truck!"

Brother Bob, do you know of any Flounder follower who was saved under the Flounders' ministry? There must be one or two out there somewhere!

Seems like all of the hybrid /hyper /neo /extreme /Reformed Flounder types were saved under the ministries of those heretical Arminians, doesn't it?

Well, if it's good enough for Spurgeon and Nathan Finn, it's good enough for me!

Charles

 
At Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:14:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...

CHILD EVANGELISM

Anonymous said...


bob walk us through a consersation you would have with a child who wants to be baptized.

I woul be glad to do so, if I could talk with the child.

I have raised four of my own, and they all eventually made professions of faith and were baptized -- but at different ages.

It is seldom that I have seen any two experiences that match up, so I hestitate to offer any advice other than sticking with the basics of the Gospel.

But let me say this: simply because a child makes an early profession, and later makes another profession, and still later another one, that does not mean the first two (or more) were necessaily without some spiritual value. Those earlier convictions could very well have contributed influence in the person's heart for ultimate and confident faith.

I say this because I made more than one profession in my life, and I years later as I evaluated their effects upon me, I cannot discount the effects that every one had upon me.

You say, My experience is that many little kids want to be baptized more than they want Jesus. (Although some are truly saved).

If that is indeed the case, they should be carefully counseled about the meaning of baptism before proceeding.

You continue: Do you ask them if they love jesus and have them repeat the prayer? My 3 year old will do that.
And that is what a lot of child evangelism consists of.


My observation of what I have seen of CEF workers is not that way. Several of them come into my store, and they are devout and knowledgeable Christians. They, perhaps more than most, have good discernment about the spiritual depth of young children for they work with them so frequently. I admire their patience and ingenuity in being able to attract the attention of young children to listen to and memorize the Word of God. I'm afraid I would be unqualifed for their type of work!

This is good for our SBC numbers, because 10 years later they come back to the pastor and say, "I had no idea what I was doing when I was young, I didn't understand the offense of my sin and my heart wasn't changed. I"m a believer, now."

Forget the "numbers." They don't mean that anyone is necessarily saved or lost.
But who can say that were it not for those earlier teachings and experiences, that person might not "now" be a believer?

Continuing: Truth be told it is probably not Dever vs. Spurgeon as much as you think. My guess is that if spurgeon saw how child evangelism took place in america he'd say, "Oh that's not what I'm talking about. You guys are just padding your numbers"

I don't agree. Have you read Spurgeon's writings on children, such as "Teaching Children," Come Ye Children," "Jesus and the Children," etc. Those items are so spiritually challenging they make one want to go out and try to win children! In my bookstore, I always try to give every child of reading age a pencil with a Scripture or message on it, and encourage them to read it. I hope to sow a seed which might be of some spiritual influence. I also stock a lot of tracts, specifically directed to young readers.

Spurgeon was a great promoter of child conversion rather than encouraging pessimism. He sponsored "Tabernacle Evangelists," Fullerton, Smith, and others, who would even have special services at the Tabernacle, specifically devoted to winning children.

Spurgeon claimed that the young converts generally became better Christians than those converted later on.

 
At Saturday, April 26, 2008 10:15:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...

LOOKING IN ALL
THE WRONG PLACES?

Charles said...


As long as the Flounders have been operating, you would think that they would have a legion of followers who could say: "I was saved under the preaching of Tom Ascol," or "Tom Nettles led me to Christ," or "Timmy Brister delivered the gospel to me in a UPS truck!"

You must be kidding, Charles!

That is not now and never was the design or purpose of the Flounders!

The Flounders were not flounded to "by all means save some," or to "seek and to save" the lost "elect" sheep, or to "endure all things for the elect's sakes that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."

But they were formed to "recover," "reform,"
and "resurge" in the promotion of what they call "Calvinism"!

The Flounders were not called to evangelism, to "come over and help us" (lost souls), like Paul was called to Macedonia; they were not formed to "go every where, preaching the Word" to the unsaved; they did not organize to "go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in that the Lord's house might full."

They leave such as that to others. The "lost" elect are not "prospects" for the Flounders' "Ministry," but the saved "elect" who need to become "Reformed."
Let the "Arminians" win them, and the Flounders will "Reform" them.

No, winning the lost "elect" is not their calling. The Flounders were formed to propagandize the saved "elect" among Southern Baptists, to promote their Hybrid Calvinist version of "Calvinism," which they are wont to call "the doctrines of grace."

They were formed to make "5-point Calvinists" out of "Arminian" and "Pelagian" "elect" Southern Baptists who have no interest in the Great Commission and are willing to read Banner of Truth books as a means to learn "Reformed" doctrine.

So, Charles, you need not expect to find converts to Christ made by the Flounders, but you will find "ex-Arminians" who have been "reformed" and "resurged."

You say, Seems like all of the hybrid/hyper
/neo/extreme/Reformed Flounder types were saved under the ministries of those heretical Arminians, doesn't it?


I am afraid it might appear so, Charles. I personally don't know any Flounders who don't have the "Arminians" to "thank" for being the "means" of their being won to Christ.

You concllude: Well, if it's good enough for Spurgeon and Nathan Finn, it's good enough for me!

And don't forget, the Founder of the Flounders, Brother Ernest Reisinger, was also won due to witnessing efforts of an "Arminian."

Since they were won by the "Arminian" Gospel, and they say they are now seeking to "recover" the Gospel, do you suppose they are really looking for the Gospel in all the wrong places? Like, say, the "Reformed"?

 
At Sunday, April 27, 2008 11:25:00 AM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...

TIMMY'S SPIRITUAL
FATHER?


Bob to Charles:

I was referred to the Hybrid Calvinist "Strange Baptist Fire" blog by one on my email list for an item about Timmy Brister.

According to a piece of bio material on SBF, it seems likely that Timmy -- who will soon become Tom Ascol's man "Friday" -- was influenced to become a Christian by an "Arminian."

From the brief comment about the gentleman, it does not seem to fit a Hybrid Calvinist.

So some (if not all) of the younger "reformers" among the "Reformed" also owe their "thanks" to "Arminians" for influencing their conversions, similar to Ernest Reisinger and Nathan Finn.

I suppose one might appropraitely raise the question, "Is there a 'Reformed' Baptist minister in the Flounders' camp who was won to Christ by a 'Reformed' source?"

 
At Sunday, April 27, 2008 2:01:00 PM, Blogger Stephen Garrett said...

Good stuff Bob! In fact, I am going to copy and paste some of your comments in my baptistgadfly blog!

God bless

Stephen

 

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