Sunday, May 11, 2008

Apostasy in Great Britain


Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, has a revealing item on his blog for Friday, May 9, 2008: "It Feels as if the Soul of Britain is Dying."

I suggest that the Flyswatter readers go there and learn to what extent professing Christianity has, and is, declining.

Noticeably missing in Mohler's article, however, is any comment on how this decline relates to PEDOBAPTISM. The Flyswatter is one of the seemingly few voices which has emphasized the downgrading consequences of the practice of baptizing babies and enrolling them on the church roll as Christians.

Mohler's track record in recent years of affiliation and cooperation with notable Hybrid Calvinist pedobaptists has no doubt served to somewhat weaken and fog his discernment as to the long-term effects of the belief and practice of pedobaptism.

C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) published an article in The Sword and the Trowel magazine (March 1887) which associated the "Down Grade" in his day to pedobaptism.

The article said:

"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 . . . 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 Down Grade Controversy, page 5. Collected and Unabridged materials from Spurgeon, published by Pilgrim Publications).

For centuries, pedobaptism has reigned in Great Britain via the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England, and the Protestant Churches which practice infant baptism. Only as some revivals of evangelistic preaching of the Gospel have from time-to-time had an impact upon the population has Britain spiritually been spared the eventual consequences of baptizing the unregenerate in infancy.

What has been developing in Great Britain in the last century and in the new millennium, we believe, is related to the long-term effects of pedobaptism and its ecclesiastical promoters. Its ultimate effect is the institutionalizing of unregeneracy in religious bodies, both at the leadership level as well as in the pew. What else but unregeneracy could account for the lack of spiritual attributes in the baptized "Christian" citizenry of Britain?

When I was in England in 1996, visiting at the site of Spurgeon's baptism at the River Lark near Isleham, I conversed with some men who were bull-dozing along the banks of the River to prevent flooding. I asked them if they went to church. They all laughed, and one replied --

"We go to church three times in a lifetime: when we are baptized, when we are married, and when we are buried!" (See my video on Google here.)

The laborer was no doubt relating the common experience of multitudes in England. They were baptized as babies, and most have apparently lived their lives in unregeneracy thereafter.

Now foreign religions have easier access to Great Britain, and the populace is rather "easy pickings" for these religions, considering the lack of Gospel preaching upon which the power of God is promised (Romans 1:16). Where the Gospel is not preached, there is no power which is effectual against false religion.

While Mohler and the Flounders, headed by Tom Ascol, on the one hand talk much about insisting upon a "regenerate membership," yet on the other hand, they are at the forefront in Baptist circles for the promotion of pedobaptists. The Flounders are perhaps the greatest source among Baptists for the promotion of pedobaptist literature in the United States.


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