Friday, August 08, 2008

Sproul's "gospel" in Arizona


I listened to James White and Pedobaptist R. C. Sproul on White's "DL" program (08/07-08), and among other things they were promoting Sproul's upcoming "Conference" in Scottsdale, Arizona in September. One of the topics will be "What Is the Gospel?"

Based on what I heard yesterday and what I have read in both White and Sproul, it does not seem very likely that those who pay the "tuition" of $69, $79, $89 will come away with any more knowledge of the Gospel than what they knew before they expended their money on the conference. None of the speakers on the program seems to have the type of grasp or understanding of the Gospel that characterized the preaching of C. H. Spurgeon, for example.

I had a phone call from a lady this morning who is well on her way to having read 16 volumes of the entire 63-volume set of Spurgeon's sermons, and she called my attention to one of Spurgeon's sermons in which he sets forth the Gospel so clearly. This lady has not even been to Bible college or seminary, yet in my opinion she apparently has a better understanding of the Gospel than both White and Sproul combined, if their yesterday's discussion is an example of their comprehension of the Gospel.

In so many words, she said, "I really love this sermon, for it is so clear on the Gospel."

That could rarely, if ever, be said of the speakers scheduled for Sproul's conference who make something on the order of a jigsaw puzzle out of the Gospel -- such as James White and Sproul made of it on James' program.

Here is the part of Spurgeon's sermon which the lady called to my attention: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 16, #964, The Essence of the Gospel:

“He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18.

I may have preached from this text before. I may have done so several times. If I have not, I ought to have. It is the whole Bible in miniature. We may say of it so many words, so many volumes, for every single syllable here is charged to the full with meaning. We may read it, and re-read it, and continue still to read it day and night, yet ever find some fresh instruction in it. It is the essence of the Gospel. The good news in brief. . . .

Other distinctions sink into insignificance in the presence of Jesus—riches or wealth, learning or ignorance, power or weakness—are matters of too small account to divide mankind in the Presence of the great Discerner of spirits. Only these two characters—Believers and unbelievers—stand out in clear relief. As it is in our text, so is it as a matter of fact in the entire universe—the only two really vital distinctions for time and for eternity are just these—believers and unbelievers, receivers of Christ and rejecters of Him.

While James White and Sproul talk a lot about the "Gospel," they don't ever seem to get around to actually preaching it. Do they preach it to the lost? Do they have any sinners converted? Do they really understand what the Gospel "is"? Or do they, like Campbellites and others, know a lot of verses and talk a lot about theological details that are related to the Gospel, but do they really understand and believe what "the Gospel is"?

Yesterday they talked about how great the population is in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. Do you think they will be out preaching the Gospel to the multitudes of lost souls in that area? Not on your life.

Instead, they will be speaking to a paid audience which, on the whole, already professes to know and believe the Gospel. They will be "preaching to the choir." And if it weren't for the "big bucks" they make for doing so, we wonder if they would even be preaching to the choir which will pay $69, $79, $89 for "tuition."

The so-called "Reformed Gospel" of White and Sproul does not measure up to the type of Gospel preached by Spurgeon in this sermon. While James and Sproul talked about the first part of the third chapter of John, and being "born again," they did not talk about what Jesus described to Nicodemus in John 3:14-18 on faith and everlasting life. Rather, they talked about "regeneration before faith," and Sproul declared that regeneration is "the necessary condition for saving faith . . . regeneration precedes faith."

Is that the Gospel Jesus preached to Nicodemus in 3:14-18? Is that the Gospel preached by Spurgeon in this message, "The Essence of the Gospel"?

You can read all the writings by White, Sproul, and and those who share their "Reformed" born-again-before-faith idea, and if you can find that Gospel in them, will you please send me the reference where I can read it? I have yet to stumble upon it. Perhaps you are a better reader than I, so if you find the Gospel in those writings, please send me the references.

Paul tells us what the Gospel "is" in Romans 1:16 -- "It IS the POWER OF GOD unto salvation to every one that believeth."


At Friday, August 08, 2008 4:05:00 PM, Blogger Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Bob:

I listened to the conversation between Sproul and White and I agree with you fully. I also plan to do a write up of my own soon, pointing out other things from the video that need addressing.

Keep up the good work! You are one of the few out there on the front lines contending for sound confessional and biblical Calvinism, and I so much appreciate it.

Your books on Campbellism, Hardshellism, and Landmarkism are classics!

God bless to you and Charles!



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