Thursday, June 12, 2008

John L. Dagg not a Hybrid Calvinist


I noticed on Tom Ascol's Flounders' blog and on Timmy Brister's blog, references to materials by Dr. John L. Dagg, and it served to remind me that Dr. Dagg was not of the same faith and order as the Flounders and Brister.

I don't believe Dr. Dagg would appreciate being identified with those who adhere to the "Hardshell" doctrine of "born again before faith." Dr. Dagg lived during the time when Hardshellism arose and split the Baptists, and he rejected their doctrine.

Despite the fact we have previously revealed on this blog that Dr. John L. Dagg (1794-1884) was not an advocate of the Reformed "born again before faith" Pedobaptist heresy on regeneration, the Hybrid Calvinist Flounders continue to use Dagg's picture as "wallpaper." The Flounders would have you believe the implication that they agree with and represent the views held by Dr. Dagg.

Also, they have other information about Dr. Dagg on their website as if to indicate that Dr. Dagg held the same views on "Calvinism" as advocated by the Flounders.

In fact, the Flounders even have Dr. Dagg's Manual of Theology book available on their website, although this very book itself contradicts Flounders' Hybrid Calvinism on the new birth.

The Flounders' website carries this statement by Tom Nettles about Dr. Dagg -- "For clarity, cogency, and sincerity of expression, no theological writer of the 19th century surpasses John L. Dagg."

The Flounders' website has an article on Dagg by Mark Dever, who says: "Dagg served at Mercer University, in Georgia, as President (1844-1854), and as professor of theology (1844-1855). There he labored to build the theological department until, in the early 1850's, it was perhaps the most celebrated theological school in the south. . . . Evidence of enduring appreciation for Dagg's work can be seen by the fact that almost forty years after his retirement, when a new theology professor was to be appointed at Mercer in 1893, he was recommended by the simple statement that if this person 'needed any endorsement, it would be sufficient to say that he was a student under that incomparable theological teacher, Rev. J. L. Dagg, D. D., and that he uses his Systematic Theology, as a text book.'"

But contrary to the Flounders' Hybrid Calvinism view on the new birth, here is what Dr. Dagg says about (1) THE SPIRIT'S USE OF THE WORD OF GOD AS THE MEANS in regeneration, and about (2) FAITH as PRECEDING REGENERATION:

We know, from the Holy Scriptures, that God employs his truth in the regeneration of the soul. "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth." Love to God necessarily implies knowledge of God, and this knowledge it is the province of truth to impart. . . . What accompanying influence the Holy Spirit uses, to render the word effectual, we cannot explain: but Paul refers to it, when he says, "Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost."--"but in the demonstration of the Spirit, and with power."

The term regeneration is sometimes used in a comprehensive sense, as including the whole formation of the Christian character. At other times it is used for the first production of divine love in the heart. In the latter sense, the work is instantaneous. There is a moment known only to God, when the first holy affection exists in the soul. Truth may enter gradually, and may excite strong affections in the mind, and may for a time increase the hatred of God which naturally reigns in the heart. So Paul says, "Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence." But, in his own time and manner, God, the Holy Spirit, makes the word effectual in producing a new affection in the soul: and, when the first movement of love to God exists, the first throb of spiritual life commences.

Faith is necessary to the Christian character; and must therefore precede regeneration, when this is understood in its widest sense. Even in the restricted sense, in which it denotes the beginning of the spiritual life, faith, in the sense in which James uses the term, may precede.

Dr. Dagg then goes on to discuss the difference between that "spiritual" faith and the "faith" which exists beforehand, which is sometimes called "natural" or "historical faith." Later on, he says --
This change, by which true love to God is produced, results from the direct influence of the Holy Spirit, accompanying his word, and making it effectual. It was this direct influence which rendered the word so effectual on the day of Pentecost, which opened Lydia's heart, so that she attended to the things that were spoken by Paul; -- which gave the increase when Paul planted, and Apollos watered,--and which has ever brought the word to the heart, in demonstration of the Spirit, and with power. . . .

By the will of God, the truth has its regenerating and sanctifying power; for he works in us to will and to do, according to his pleasure. It belongs to the Holy Spirit, in the economy of grace, to produce divine life in the soul, as he brooded over the face of the waters, at creation, reducing the chaotic mass to order, and filling it with life.

He is pleased to work with means; and he employs the truth as his instrument of operation.

This instrument he wields at his pleasure, and he renders it effectual by his divine power: "My word shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

It is clear that Dr. Dagg taught that spiritual faith actually "precedes" in the so-called "ordo salutis." It is also clear that the Word is the "instrument" the Spirit uses in regeneration.

I believe the Flounders probably realize that Dr. Dagg contradicts their theology, and they apparently are careful not to quote him when he does. For example --

In a Flounders' article on "Regeneration" by Founders Board of Directors member, Bill Ascol, he quotes from Dr. Dagg but fails to quote Dagg's statement that faith "precedes regeneration."

In fact, Bill Ascol's quotation appears to carefully and, I think, perhaps very deliberately, stops just short of where Dagg makes that statement that faith "precedes regeneration."
(See here for Bill Ascol's quote and see here for Dr. Dagg's presentation).

Dr. Dagg's view is clearly contrary to the "pre-faith regeneration," "born again before faith" heresy advocated by the Reformed Pedobaptists and their disciples among the Flounders.

So Dr. Dagg was not a Reformed theologian, nor a Flounders' type, on the new birth. He taught the Creedal view. He was of the same mind as B. H. Carroll who contended that "regeneration is not complete without faith."

Since the Flounders flounderously continue to try to exploit both Dr. Dagg and Dr. Carroll, we will continue to expose this misrepresentation as well as their Hybrid Calvinism heresy on what they call "regeneration."


At Thursday, June 12, 2008 7:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as usual these kind of diatribes presume hypocrisy, a charge which is based on the presumption that the founders have some sort code that they can never affirm, associate or honor someone who doesn't say things exactly the way they would or even agree on every issue.

At Friday, June 13, 2008 12:10:00 AM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


TIMMY BRISTER says: Before the 1950’s, no records were kept of children baptisms because it simply did not occur.

I heard James Dobson, Dr. Al Mohler's good friend, this morning, and he said he was saved at 3 years old. That had to be before 1950.

Spurgeon, as we have shown, referred to children being saved and baptized early.

Perhaps Timmy Brister should change his name to "Twister."

He is what Paul called a "novice."

At Friday, June 13, 2008 11:59:00 AM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


Anonymous said...

as usual these kind of diatribes presume hypocrisy, a charge which is based on the presumption that the founders have some sort code that they can never affirm, associate or honor someone who doesn't say things exactly the way they would or even agree on every issue.

Does this mean that you agree that the Flounders are in disagreement with John L. Dagg on regeneration?

If so, you get an "A" for recognizing the fact that the Flounders do not "agree" with Dagg on this "issue."

At Saturday, June 14, 2008 10:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You get an F in missing the point.
But an A in straw men.

At Saturday, June 14, 2008 3:00:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Great article, Brother Bob!

If it were not for you the Flounders would get away with their sloppy research and misrepresentations.

Thanks to you, anyone who can do a Google search can easily discover that the Flounders are imposters, they are nothing like the founders of the SBC.


At Sunday, June 15, 2008 11:18:00 AM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


charles said:

Thanks to you, anyone who can do a Google search can easily discover that the Flounders are imposters, they are nothing like the founders of the SBC.

And Thanks to you, Charles, that you started this blog. Had you not started this blog, the imposters might not have been so clearly refuted and the exposures available via Google's remarkable search engine.

I rather think they must regret the day they told you to "start your own blog"!

It's Father's Day, Charles, and as you are the father of this blog, I pray you enjoy a doubly blessed Father's Day -- one for regular fatherhood, and the other for fathering this blog.

In a few minutes, I will be leaving here and going to the next block for morning services. I just wanted to get this word off to you before I leave. May God Bless You! -- Bob


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