Friday, May 30, 2008

Hybrid Calvinist confusion


Some of you may have missed the comment by "Carlton" on the article on "Unscriptural Evangelism," May 22, 2008. I think "Carlton's" post demonstrates the type of confusion about the Gospel which is created by the Hybrid Calvinism heresy of "born again before faith." He said (posted Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:06:00 AM):

"If we don't acknowledge that regeneration proceeds repentance and faith we don't have a clear understanding of God and His Gospel."

"Carlton" apparently thinks that the Gospel can't be "understood" unless one "understands" that "regeneration" precedes repentance and faith. Even if some are so convoluted and discombobulated to think that, it is no part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is to be preached to lost souls.

But --

It appears that Carlton thinks that if one does not understand that notion, it follows that one cannot have a "clear understanding" of the Gospel apart from "acknowledging" the Hybrid Calvinist "ordo salutis" notion that one is "born again before faith." It seems to be, with Carlton, a "condition" of really believing the Gospel.

Carlton may have unfortunately picked up that idea from some Hybrid Calvinist source -- an article, book, or from a "Reformed" or "Flounders" preacher. I really don't think Carlton had any such idea in his head when he professed faith in Christ.

In fact, Carlton probably got saved like most Hybrids get saved -- under what he now might regard as an "Arminian" ministry. The fact is, if it were not for the alleged "Arminian ministries," there might not be but a handful of Hybrids in the Flounders and "Reformed" Baptist groups, as they are primarily composed of those who have been proselyted to Hybrid Calvinism.

We believe the basic fundamental error of Carlton's type of thinking arises from the lack of understanding as to the Holy Spirit's power which is exerted in, by, with, and thru the Word or Gospel (Romans 1:16; John 6:63, Thess. 1:5; 1 Peter 1:23; James 1:l8).

The Holy Spirit's power brings about the New Birth by means of the Gospel, not apart from the Gospel (1 Cor. 4:15).

I am reminded of a few remarks by C. H. Spurgeon on this blessed truth. Whether you agree with Spurgeon's "Calvinism" or not, he preached what is truly the "Calvinist" view of the New Birth in contrast to the non-creedal Hybrid Calvinism which falsely claims to be "Calvinism."

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, #805, pages 205, 206:--

"According to the teaching of sacred Scripture, men are dead, spiritually dead. Certain vain men would make it out that men are only a little disordered and bruised by the Fall—wounded in a few delicate members but not mortally injured. However, the Word of God is very explicit upon the matter and declares our race to be not wounded, not merely hurt, but slain outright and left as dead in trespasses and sin. . . . I say that to all spiritual things the man is quite as unable as the dead are unable to the natural works and services of daily life.

"'And yet,' says one, 'we heard you last Lord’s Day tell these dead people to repent and be converted.'

"I know you did and you shall hear me yet again do the like.

"But why do I speak to the dead thus, and tell them to perform actions which they cannot do? Because my Master bids me, and as I obey my Master’s errand, a power goes forth with the Word spoken and the dead awake in their sleep! They wake through the quickening power of the Holy Spirit — and they who naturally cannot repent and believe—do repent and believe in Jesus and escape from their former sins and live!

"But, believe me, it is no power of theirs which makes them thus awake from their death-sleep, and no power of mine which arrests the guilty, slumbering conscience—it is a Divine power which God has yoked with the Word which He has given forth when it is fully and faithfully preached. Therefore have we exercised ourselves in our daily calling of bidding dead men live — because life comes at the Divine bidding."

"The gospel of Jesus Christ has a far other and higher task: it does not deny the value of the moralist’s efforts, or decry the results of education, but it asks what more can you do, and the response is, 'Nothing.' There it bids the bearers of the bier stand away and make room for Jesus, at whose voice the dead arise. . . . the gospel, and the gospel alone, answers to men’s requirements:"

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, #811, page 284:

"There are persons in the world who will not let us speak a word to the unconverted, because they say, and say very truly, that unconverted men are dead in sin, and therefore we are not to tell them to live, because they have no power to live. They forget that we have the power in the quickening word and Spirit of God, and that as we speak the word for God, power goes with it.

MTP, #1516, pages 59, 60:

"The last inference is for YOU WHO DESIRE TO SAVE SINNERS. You must, dear friends, bring the truth before them when you want to bring them to Jesus Christ. I believe that exciting meetings do good to some. Men are so dead and careless that almost anything is to be tolerated that wakes them up; but for real solid soul-work before God telling men the truth is the main thing.

"What truth? It is gospel truth, truth about Christ that they want. Tell it in a loving, earnest, affectionate manner, for God wills that they should be saved, not in any other way, but in this way -- by a knowledge of the truth. He wills that all men should be saved in this way--not by keeping them in ignorance, but by bringing the truth before them. That is God’s way of saving them.

"Have your Bible handy when you are reasoning with a soul. Just say, 'Let me call your attention to this passage.' It has a wonderful power over a poor staggering soul to point to the Book itself. Say, 'Did you notice this promise, my dear friend? And have you seen that passage?'

"Have the Scriptures handy. There is a dear brother of mine here whom God blesses to many souls, and I have seen him talking to some, and turning to the texts very handily. I wondered how he did it so quickly, till I looked in his Bible, and found that he had the choice texts printed on two leaves and inserted into the book, so that he could always open upon them. That is a capital plan, to get the cheering words ready to hand, the very ones that you know have comforted you and have comforted others.

"It sometimes happens that one single verse of God’s word will make the light to break into a soul, when fifty days of reasoning would not do it. I notice that when souls are saved it is by our texts rather than by our sermons. God the Holy Ghost loves to use his own sword. It is God’s word, not man’s comment on God’s word, that God usually blesses. Therefore, stick to the quotation of the Scripture itself, and rely upon the truth. If a man could be saved by a lie it would be a lying salvation. Truth alone can work results that are true. Therefore, keep on teaching the truth. God help you to proclaim the precious truth about the bleeding, dying, risen, exalted, coming Savior; and God will bless it."


At Friday, May 30, 2008 3:57:00 PM, Blogger Carlton said...

Why do you keep putting my name in quotations? Am I not real?

You are so right. I was saved under arminian preaching by the power of God.

How can repentance NOT precede repentance and faith? More than that how can you honestly deny that Baptist's believe that it does?

Article 4.A.
A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

How might we respond by repenting and believing unless that work was done prior. Repentance and faith are clearly responses to regeneration. As I have said before in an formerly unpublished comment. These graces are inseparable and almost instantaneous. There has never been a regenerate man who did not repent, believe and become justified.

You continue putting words in my mouth by proclaiming that I said we have to believe in these doctrines to be saved. Yet you did not publish one other comment I left you that clearly stated that this is not part of the good news, Jesus the substitution for our sins, it is rather an effect of the good news.

Sir, you are either unable to contextually deal with a theological discussion or are being purposefully deceptive to those whom you are trying to sway with your blog.

Once again you have offended me. Not with your theology but with your unbecoming and ardently brash candor.


At Friday, May 30, 2008 4:13:00 PM, Blogger Carlton said...

Typo-"How can repentance NOT precede repentance and faith"

Should be-"How can regeneration NOT precede repentance and faith"

At Saturday, May 31, 2008 8:10:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


Carlton said...

How can regeneration NOT precede repentance and faith

If, Carlton, repentance and faith are constituent elements in regeneration -- both created by the Word and Spirit -- then it follows that, as Dr. B. H. Carroll, stated "regeneration is not complete without faith."

For example, if milk and meal are constituent elements of cornbread, then cornbread is not complete without the meal.

If ham and eggs are constituent elements of your breakfast meal, then breakfast is not complete without the eggs.

If #1 and #2 are constituent elements of #3, then 3 is not complete without #2.

At Sunday, June 01, 2008 12:40:00 AM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


Carlton said...

You are so right. I was saved under arminian preaching by the power of God.

You need not feel like the "lone ranger," Carlton, for your experience seems to be "par for the course" with professing
"Calvinists." It seems that it is easier to find the "needle in the haystack" than to find a "Calvinist" who was not converted under an "Arminian" ministry.
Perhaps most of the "Calvinists" are too busy attending
"conferences" on the "doctrines of grace" to do soul-winning, so they tend to leave that effort to the "Arminians."

You say:

How might we respond by repenting and believing unless that work was done prior. Repentance and faith are clearly responses to regeneration.

Sorry, Carlton, but that is not what the BF&M says.
Read it again. It does not say they are "responses to regeneration."

There is indeed a work "done prior" which produces a response, but here is what the Baptist Faith and Message says that it is:

"Through illumination He
[Holy Spirit] enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ."

Now, Carlton, the BF&M says the Holy Spirit, by use of the Word, does all those "prior" works -- (illumination, enabling to understand truth, exalting Christ, convicting, and calling men "to the Saviour") -- and He thereby "EFFECTS" regeneration. At the moment they get "to the Saviour," regeneration is "effected."

Also, if at the "moment" of regeneration the Spirit "baptizes every believer into the body of Christ," it follows that "believing" must exist at the same "moment" of regeneration, otherwise you have either (1) a regenerated unbeliever or (2) an unregenerated believer baptized into the body of Christ.

At Sunday, June 01, 2008 7:45:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


carlton said:

Once again you have offended me. Not with your theology but with your unbecoming and ardently brash candor.

You are much too profuse, Carlton, with your appraisal. I don't think I have ever merited the "ardenly brash candor" category before.

Anyway, your comment easily qualifies for one of my Ribbons, "I Was Offended by Bob L. Ross." Send your address and I'll mail you a Ribbon. I think I still have a few ribbons left around here somewhere, but I must get a new supply at the rate I am going!

At Monday, June 02, 2008 11:41:00 AM, Anonymous Stephen said...

Hi Bob,

I just wanted to throw my two cents in, if I could (if it's even worth two cents). I think we have an issue here with semantics. I think what Carlton is pointing out is that, logically, faith is a result of regeneration, and this is not only the stance of the BF&M where a sinners “respond” due to a change in heart, but it is also what the Bible teaches (and what Spurgeon says below). On the flip side, you are referring to the "moment" of salvation, where regeneration, faith, and repentance (and justification) happen at the exact moment of salvation, and does not happen over a period of time. Carlton even agreed this was true (in one of his other comments), but just because things happen at the same time chronologically, that does not mean they can't have a distinct, logical order.

This view is what Spurgeon also believes, as we can see from this sermon:

“O soul, if thou canst get into contact with Christ by simply trusting him, though that trust be ever so feeble, thou hast the faith of God's elect; thou hast the faith which is in every case the token of the new birth.

“Faith in the living God and his Son Jesus Christ is always the result of the new birth, and can never exist except in the regenerate. Whoever has faith is a saved man.”

I found this while studying for a Sunday School lesson, and I searched for “regeneration precedes faith” in Google, as it was #4 on the list.

He's preaching 1 John 5:1, which says, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him” (ESV). Spurgeon is saying faith is a result of regeneration, which ties them together, so one never exists without the other. Regeneration always brings about faith, and although this is a logical order, it is pretty much instantaneous at the moment of salvation. We are confusing the moment of salvation with the logical (not chronological) order. We will argue in circles until we make the distinction here.

Also, think of this. Are we justified by our faith? Doesn't justification spring forth from faith? If you say this is true and you continue to always refer to the chronological order only, we have believes who are not justified. Here is where it is important we don't confuse logically (justified by faith) and chronologically (where regeneration, faith, repentance, and justification happen at the exact point of salvation).

I have met quite a few Souther Baptists who hold to the doctrines of grace, and I don't recall a single one who believes the way you describe about a “Hybrid Calvinist.” We all believe regeneration precedes faith (logically) along with Spurgeon, but that doesn't mean we have regenerates walking around not believing. It doesn't happen like this: a man is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, wait a while, has faith, wait a while longer, gets justified. That doesn't fit biblically at all. It happens the way 1 John 5:1 says, that if you believe Jesus is the Christ, you have been born of God.


At Monday, June 02, 2008 9:27:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


Stephen said...

I have met quite a few Souther Baptists who hold to the doctrines of grace, and I don't recall a single one who believes the way you describe about a “Hybrid Calvinist.” We all believe regeneration precedes faith (logically) along with Spurgeon, but that doesn't mean we have regenerates walking around not believing.

First, on Spurgeon, we have quotations by the ton on this blog which demonstrate that Spurgeon did not hold to the Reformed "ordo salutis." You can do the research on our Archives. He believed that one is born again at the point of faith in Christ.

Second, the argument about "logical but not chronological" has also been dealt with on this blog more than once. Basically, the New Birth cannot be said to "precede" faith since repentance and faith are constituent elements of the New Birth, as Dr. B. H. Carroll has so clearly stated. At the instant the Holy Spirit, by the instrumentality of the Word applied by His own power, has brought forth the constituent elements of repentance and faith, then one is, or has been, born again. The believer has been born of God only upon the birth of faith (1 John 1:1, 4). Since faith is born of God, then a person is born of God when that faith is born. Therefore, it is not logical to say that the new birth exists when its constituent elements do not exist.

Thirdly, if you do not understand the Reformed view has people "walking around not believing," you don't really understand the Reformed view. That view is that "covenant children" receive
"regeneration" either before birth or shortly thereafter, before they are capable of believing. We have quoted Reformed theologians such as W. G. T. Shedd, Louis Berkhof, and John Frame, and they all teach that infants are regenerated long before they become believers. Indeed, they get "born again" so early they are even "crawling around not believing." This "pre-faith regeneration" is the model of their idea that adults likewise are "born again before faith," although in the case of most of the Reformed Pedobaptists, they don't have many of the adult cases. They get most of their "converts" in infancy.

At Monday, June 02, 2008 9:55:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...

BELIEVING, says Spurgeon

c. H. Spurgeon (MTP, Volume 27, pages 661, 662):

THE TRUE LIFE OF A SOUL LIES IN CHRIST JESUS AND COMES TO THAT SOUL THROUGH FAITH IN HIM. . . . The life of Christ is infused into them by the Spirit of the living God, even as the Lord Jesus hath testified. “Verily, verily, I say unto you he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” . . .

The new life enters the soul in and through believing, and is the same life which we shall exercise for ever at the right hand of God, even as Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”

I want to enlarge a little upon the fact, that this life comes WITH believing, because I want it to be noticed that it really comes WITH believing, apart from any other necessary circumstances. . . . Do not worry yourself, therefore, about that; if you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and are resting in him, it is well with you. . . . Faith in Jesus begets life, and this life will flourish or decay very much in proportion to our faith. . . . This sacred Book was written on purpose to make you believe; the Spirit is given to lead you to believe; the object of every preaching of the gospel is that you may believe; therefore come and welcome, and at this hour believe on the one saving name, and live thereby. God grant it for his name’s sake. Amen.

Bob's comment: Why does anyone try to twist Spurgeon around in the fain effort to make him say that a person is "born again before faith"? Probably due to reading Iain Murray or one of his disciples in the Flounders.

At Monday, June 02, 2008 10:32:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


Now, here is Spurgeon's Immaculate Syllogism, which is based on 1 John 5:4. This is on page 142 of Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 17, 1971, Sermon #979, "Faith and Regeneration."

1. "Whatsoever is BORN OF GOD overcometh the world."

2. But FAITH overcomes the world.

3. Therefore, the man who has FAITH is REGENERATE.

NOTE: The Hybrid Calvinist Pedobaptist who has been so influential upon the "Flounders," Iain Murray, in one of his latest books, admits that Spurgeon taught that regeneration and faith are "SIMULTANEOUS," and that "faith 'occurs at the same time as the new birth" (The Old Evangelicism, pages 63, 65).

At Saturday, June 07, 2008 4:50:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


Anonymous said...

Your assumptions are based on what you knew of Lasserre Bradley 20-50 years ago.

You did not cite any specific material which says Bradley has recanted his position on regeneration being before and without faith. His Statement of Faith is still consistent with what Hardshells teach.

He may have changed some of the methods or peripheries, but I see no evidence he has changed on the core of Hardshell doctrine, which is regeneration by the Spirit before and apart from repentance and faith.


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