Saturday, October 04, 2008

Brister's misplaced concern


Pedobaptist Iain Murray of the Banner of Truth has observed in the Preface of his 1995 book, Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism:

In the 1960s it seemed to many of us that Spurgeon's continuing significance had to do with his witness to the free-grace convictions of the Reformers and Puritans over against the shallow and non-doctrinal evangelicalism of our day. Thirty years later that witness remains relevant and yet it is apparent that the recovery of doctrinal Christianity is not necessarily our chief need today.

In many churches there has been a real increase in knowledge and a resurgence of Calvinistic belief has occurred across the world. The word 'forgotten' is happily far less applicable to Spurgeon than it was forty years ago. But it may well be that the time has come when we need to be MUCH MORE FAMILIAR with a rather different emphasis in Spurgeon.

While I know of no evidence that Hyper-Calvinism is recovering strength, it would appear that THE PRIORITY WHICH SOUL-WINNING HAD IN SPURGEON'S MINISTRY IS NOT COMMONLY SEEN TO BE OUR PRIORITY.

The revival of DOCTRINE has scarcely been matched by a revival of EVANGELISM. While not accepting the tenets of Hyper-Calvinism it may well be that we have not been sufficiently alert to the danger of allowing a supposed consistency in doctrine to OVERRIDE THE BIBLICAL PRIORITY OF ZEAL FOR CHRIST AND SOULS OF MEN.

Doctrine without usefulness is no prize. As Spurgeon says, 'You may look down with contempt on some who do not know so much as you, and yet they may have twice your holiness and be doing more service to God.'

Is not this the real issue that Timmy Brister, Tom Ascol, and the Flounders should be concerned about -- more so than concern about what Dr. Steve Lemke, Jerry Vines, Johnny Hunt, Frank Cox or other "non-Calvinists write and say about "Calvinism"?

Mr. Murray, by the influence he exerted on Ernest Reisinger, founder of the Flounders, and by his anti-invitationism, is the virtual "grandfather" of the Flounders movement. The above words were not written by a "non-Calvinist," but by a "Calvinist" after the same order as Timmy Brister and Tom Ascol.

Murray's remarks should be much more significant to the Flounders than anything written or said by Dr. Lemke or any other "non-Calvinist" in the SBC, or will be said at the "John 3:16 Conference," for Murray has obviously seen firsthand that the "resurgence of Calvinism" has not been matched by a "revival of evangelism."

Murray's words fitly describe the Flounders' movement since its origin in the 1980s. The movement has always been and still is relatively DEAD in regard to evangelism, soul winning, and the planting of churches consisting of anything but proselytes.

Do the following words remind you of any modern day "Calvinists"? --

". . . it will be seen that those who never exhort sinners are seldom winners of souls to any great extent, but they maintain their churches by converts from other systems. I have even heard them say, 'Oh, yes, the Methodists and Revivalists are beating the hedges, but we shall catch many of the birds.' If I harboured such a mean thought I would be ashamed to express it. A system which cannot touch the outside world, but must leave arousing and converting work to others, whom it judges to be unsound, writes its own condemnation." (C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, Second Series, page 187, Pilgrim Publications 1990 edition).

Instead of spinning his palabber in whining "replies" to Dr. Lemke and others, Brister should be carefully considering the observation that Iain Murray makes about the "resurgence of Calvinistic belief" and the lack of evangelism on the part of the resurgers.


At Monday, October 06, 2008 12:09:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


Timmy Brister of the Flounders says his Seminary roommates are "on the mission field." Wonder why Brister got bogged down in Blogging and Twittering instead of going to the mission field?

In his recent blog, he says:

It is possible to have a robust theology and also be missionally driven.

One wonders why this does not seem to be the case with Brister and has not characterized the Flounders movement since its origin?

The Flounders have had years to be "missionally drive," but instead they have been driven by proselytism (aka
"reformation") and sponsoring "conferences" (aka, promoting Hybrid Calvinism.)

Churning out names of past Gospel preachers does not really add any glitter to the DEAD evangelism which has been an attribute of by the Flounders over the years.

At Tuesday, October 14, 2008 9:11:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


In his most recent installment on Lemke's article, Brister states that he "would much rather be writing on the gospel and mission." Could it be he made this statement in view of your recent article, "Brister's misplaced concern"? Does it not seem disingenuous since most of his writing in the past has not been on the gospel or evangelism/mission, unless one counts his contentions for Calvinism as his gospel writing?,

With regards,

Brister's priorities are defined by the Flounder's "purpose," and that purpose is primarily concerned with promoting their version on "the doctrines of grace." The advocacy and defense of the Flounders' version of "Calvinism" (aka, "the doctrines of grace") consequently takes precedence over taking the Gospel to the lost. I have yet to notice any reference to any evangelism being done by Brister since he moved his blogging to Florida from Louisville. He can easily spend the rest of life finding objectionable theology to engage his time, as evangelism continues to be of less concern on the part of the headquarters Flounders church's ministry in Cape Coral.

At Thursday, October 16, 2008 8:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, Hello!

Did you know that "palabber" is not a word? I think you're confusing it with the word "palaver".

At Saturday, November 01, 2008 12:09:00 AM, Blogger Ian D. Elsasser said...

I wonder if Ed Stetzer and Timmy Brister know that "movemental" is not a word? Maybe someone can help us figure out what the proper word is.


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