Thursday, May 22, 2008

Murray vs "sudden conversion"


The reason Pedobaptist Iain Murray opposes "appeals" seems to be related to his attitude about "sudden conversion." He is an admirer of the Scottish Pedobaptist John Kennedy,
who discounted "sudden conversion" -- which was the basic reason for Kennedy's opposition to D. L. Moody in the 1870s. In Murray's booklet, "The Invitation System," he complains about "the sudden public confession of Christ" (page 10), which is consistent with his promotion of Kennedy who spoke against "sudden conversion."

C. H. Spurgeon came to Moody's defense, and aligned himself with Moody and "sudden conversion." Pedo Murray takes sides with Pedo Kennedy against Spurgeon in Murray's book, "The Forgotten Spurgeon."

In his sermon in defense of D. L. Moody, Spurgeon boldly identified himself with Moody by saying, "Will you please to notice that this is no quarrel between these gentlemen and our friends Messrs. Moody and Sankey alone. It is a quarrel between these objectors and the WHOLE OF US who preach the gospel; for, differing as we do in the style of preaching it, we are all ready to set our seal to the clearest possible statement that men are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, and SAVED THE MOMENT THEY BELEIVE. We all hold and teach that there is such a thing as conversion" (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 21, Year 1875, Sermon # 1239, Messrs. Moody and Sankey Defended; or, a Vindication of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith, page 337).

Kennedy held the usual Pedobaptist views on infants, their regeneration, baptism, and church membership. He utilized the concept of "preparationism" and the "pre-faith new birth" theory, and maintained that "sudden conversions," even though occurring many times in the Scriptural record, were like miracles, a thing of the past.

Kennedy said:

"The favorite doctrine of sudden conversion is practically a complete evasion of the necessity of repentance. Suddenness is regarded as the rule, and not the exception, in order to get rid of any process preliminary to faith. And on what ground do they establish this rule? Merely on the instances of sudden conversion recorded in Scripture. True, there are cases not a few of sudden conversion recorded in Scripture, and there have been such instances since the Book of God was sealed. There was a wise and gracious design in making them thus marked at the outset. They were intended, by their extraordinary suddenness, to show to all ages the wondrous power of God. But was their suddenness designed to indicate the rule of God's acting in all ages? This it will be as difficult to establish, as that the miraculous circumstances attending some of them were intended to be perpetual." (All quotes are from

Kennedy advanced the idea that conversion was a "detailed and extended process." He said:

"The work of conversion includes what we might expect to find detailed in a process. There can be no faith in Christ without some sense of sin, some knowledge of Christ-such as never was possessed before-and willingness, resulting from renewal, to receive Him as a Savior from sin. If a hearty intelligent turning to God in Christ be the result of conversion, it is utterly unwarrantable to expect that, as a rule, conversion shall be sudden. Indeed, the suddenness is rather a ground of suspicion than a reason for concluding that the work is God's."

The paradox in Kennedy's position is that he practiced a double-standard. In the case of unregenerate infants, he had no qualms about assuming their "sudden" regeneration in infancy and "suddenly" baptizing them and "suddenly" receiving them into the church membership. Some of those who were presumed "regenerated" as infants, in adulthood heard the Gospel as preached by Moody and professed faith in Christ, and this greatly distrubed Kennedy. He became critical of Moody, but the fact is, most all the arguments Kennedy mounted against Moody would have more appropriately applied to Kennedy's baptizing of unregenerate infants.

Kennedy was also greatly upset that some of his fellow Ministers were supportive of Moody. He complained: "Hundreds of ministers have I seen, sitting as disciples at the feet of one [Moody], whose teaching only showed his ignorance even of 'the principles of the doctrine of Christ' . . ."

Kennedy also griped about the hymn singing and the use of musical instruments, using the same arguments used by the Campbellites (who derived from the Pedobaptists via Thomas and Alexander Campbells in the early 1800s, who were Scottish Presbyterians).

Kennedy wrote:

"The singing of uninspired hymns even in moderation, as a part of public worship, no one can prove to be scriptural; . . . The use of instrumental music was an additional novelty, pleasing to the kind of feeling that finds pleasure in a concert. To introduce what is so gratifying there, into the service of the house of God, is to make the latter palatable to those to whom spiritual worship is an offense. . . . And yet it is not difficult to prove that the use of instrumental music in the worship of God is unscriptural . . . "

Of course, Kennedy was very much disturbed about the use of "the inquiry room," a practice used by both Moody and Spurgeon in dealing with concerned souls, and he also complained about "public confession."

Kennedy had "the sky is falling" attitude about Moody's evangelism, even fearing dire consequences to his Pedobaptist sect and their practice of baptizing infants as if they were the children of God: "I look on my Church, in a spasmodic state, subject to convulsions, which only indicate that her life is departing, the result of revivals got up by men. It will be a sad day for our country if the men, who luxuriate in the excitement of man-made revivals, shall with their one-sided views of truth, which have ever been the germs of serious errors, their lack of spiritual discernment, and their superficial experience, become the leaders of religious thought and the conductors of religious movements. Already they have advanced as many as inclined to follow them, far in the way to Arminianism in doctrine, and to Plymouthism in service. . . . And if there continue to be progress in the direction in which present religious activity is moving, a negative theology will soon supplant our Confession of Faith, the good old ways of worship will be forsaken for unscriptural inventions, and the tinsel of a superficial religiousness will take the place of genuine godliness."

Mr. Kennedy is the hybrid who was "resurrected" by Pedobaptist Iain Murray of The Banner of Truth in his unfortunate book, The Forgotten Spurgeon, and in other writings, and with whom Mr. Murray "takes sides" against both Spurgeon and Mr. Moody in regard to evangelism.

Evidently, Mr. Murray is infected with the same type of religious paranoia about "sudden conversion" as Mr. Kennedy, which may account for Murray's zealous opposition to public invitations.

Pedobaptists obviously do not appreciate the invasion of the plain Gospel of salvation by faith as preached by Spurgeon and Moody into the adult souls of those who were assumed to have been regenerated when they were infants. If you have nothing better to do with your time, you may read Mr. Kennedy's spiel of palabber at the following Hybrid Calvinist website:

Instead of viewing men such as Moody and Spurgeon as enemies on account of their preaching of "sudden conversion" thru believing in Christ for salvation, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Murray, and others of their sect might more appropriately say with Pogo, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." If they had their way, evangelism would be strangled to death by hyperism/hybridism.


At Thursday, May 22, 2008 5:41:00 PM, Blogger ide said...


If Kennedy were alive today he might have used “Decisionism” or “Decisional Regeneration” (or other such terms bandied about by many in our day) in place of “Hyper-Evangelism” in the title of his essay, “Hyper-Evangelism: Another Gospel, Though a Mighty Power.” This should give pause to those Baptists who minimize ‘simple faith in Christ’ as valid for salvation of an individual, for Spurgeon himself contended that one need only believe in Christ and he or she was saved.


At Thursday, May 22, 2008 8:34:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Outstanding, Brother Bob! You are one of a very few who know the history behind the Flounders and I thank God you are willing to expose them for what they are.


At Friday, May 23, 2008 1:49:00 AM, Anonymous orthodad said...

Wow Bob. You've really degenerated over the years. Seems like ever since you began slandering morey you've withered into a bitter beachhead for Satan. You should seek Gods forgiveness and rededicate yourself to him afresh while you still have time left. You may once again experience the joy of the Lord. That is, if you have not backslidden to perdition.

At Friday, May 23, 2008 2:11:00 PM, Blogger ide said...


Where is your anaylsis of the substance of Bob's article? Is he incorrect? If so, please explain.

I also did not read anywhere in this article where Bob questioned the salvation of either Iain Murray or John Kennedy as you have Bob's.

It seems Bob was more gracious to Murray and Kennedy, even with his critique, than you were to him.


At Friday, May 23, 2008 4:45:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


orthodad said...

. . . Seems like ever since you began slandering morey . . .

Speaking of Morey, I imagine he could use your brand of balderdash out in California.

Apparently, a few dozen of his California ex-followers have taken to "slandering" him of late, and may even ber in danger of becoming "withered into a bitter beachhead for Satan." I understand they are even putting their complaints on the Internet.

Truth-Seeker Bob would probably welcome you to his crumbling kingdom.

At Friday, May 23, 2008 8:06:00 PM, Anonymous orthodad said...

Speaking of crumbling, you used to at least give the impression that you were a man of God raised up by Him for ministry and service. Now you give the impression of a cornered spider hiding out in the recesses of a webbed log somewhere in the middle of the forest. I heard those tapes of you and Larry slandering Morey and you have never been the same since. Its like He took his hand off you and let you slip into wherever your depravity would go. You may have never been saved Bob. You could have just been externally conforming to the "Christian" morals of your environment growing up, and may have never had a new heart. When we look for fruit, we dont see any Bob.

And as old as you are Bob, now would be a good time to work out your salvation with fear and trembling because relative to us, you will soon have to deal with God.

a] In Christ = new creation.
b] Not new creation = not in Christ.

Bob youre either a or b. And it looks like b. For what its worth, consider if I'm right before it's too late.

At Saturday, May 24, 2008 10:26:00 AM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


orthodad said...

. . . I heard those tapes of you and Larry slandering Morey and you have never been the same since.. . .

I'm sorry you listened to those tapes.

That means you are now without excuse for continuing your infatuation with "Truth Seeker" Morey.

Well, my only advice is, HOLD ON YOUR POCKETBOOK! Morey's most unique gift is his love of money.

Don't come crying on my shoulder when you lose your britches!


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