More Packer Palabber
PACKER'S PACK OF PALABBERON "REGENERATION"
J. I. Packer is not only a proponent of the post-17th century phantasmagoria about "pre-faith regeneration," "covenant children" inheriting regeneration, anti-immersionism, and the baptism of infants, he is also heterodox on what constitutes regeneration
Notice the following misleading definition given by Packer in his article
on the "Monergism" website:
Regeneration is the spiritual change wrought in the heart of man by the Holy Spirit in which his/her inherently sinful nature is changed
so that he/she can respond to God in Faith, and live in accordance with His Will (Matt. 19:28; John 3:3,5,7; Titus 3:5). It extends to the whole nature of man
, altering his governing disposition, illuminating his mind, freeing his will, and renewing his nature
Regeneration, or new birth, is an inner re-creating of fallen human nature
by the gracious sovereign action of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8).
I do not find any such nonsense as that in Scripture, nor in the Westminster Confesssion of Faith
, nor in the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England
. If this is the case, then Packer's nonsense is heterodoxy
when measured by these standards.
Rather, we understand that "human nature"
is neither "changed," "renewed,"
by regeneration or the new birth. It remains in its "original corruption,"
according to Articles VI
of the Westminster Confession.
Paul describes the conflict between original human nature
and the "inward man"
in Romans 7 as well as in Galatians 5:17-26. Paul refers to the "new man
, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness"
(Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10), and to the "new creature"
(2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15).
The "old man,"
or old nature, is to be reckoned by the believer as having been crucified with Christ
(Romans 6:6), not changed, renewed, or re-created.
For a man to be held in such high esteem by some in the "Reformed" camp, Packer appears to be as far from the truth on regeneration as one could get.
Packer's pedo package
WHY DO "REFORMED" BAPTISTS PROMOTE J. I. PACKER?
I have been trying to get "rev." (who is chaplain James Gaylon
) to consider what I believe to be his double-standard. He insists that a true believer must leave the Mormons, otherwise James does not regard that person as possibly being a true believer. However, he obviously gives a "pass" to professing believers in pedobaptist groups which teach (1) the Reformed doctrine of "covenant children" inheriting regeneration, (2) plus the Reformed denials of Baptist views that baptism is only by immersion and only for persons who have faith in Christ.
The Pedos, of course, teach that their views were taught by either Jesus or the Apostles (inspired by the Holy Spirit). As I understand James, he does not believe that these views were taught by Jesus and Apostles. In accordance with the thinking of James, this would mean that these Pedos have a false "Jesus," for the Pedos are attributing false teachings to him. And that would make the Pedo "Jesus" less than sinless, according the James' thinking, and therefore not the true Jesus.
If a professing believer who is in the Mormon church must leave it to validate his profession, why isn't the same true of the professing believer who is in the Pedo church? How can a true believer remain in a Pedo church if it is representing Jesus to teach what James believes is false doctrine? I suspect we may have the explanation for James' vacillation below. He is obviously under the dominant influence of Pedobaptist "theologians."
For example, on his website
, James is embellishing J. I. Packer
, an Anglo-Catholic of the Church of England, who teaches (1) the "born again before faith" heresy
, (2) the "covenant children"
heresy, and (3) the usual Reformed repudiation of Baptist views on immersion and the baptism of believers only.
James, along with the Flounders and others who are under the influence of the post 17th century Reformed version of "Calvinism" -- which is Hybrid Calvinism -- may be infatuated with J. I. Packer as a great theologian, but the fact is, he does not qualify to teach a Sunday School Class in a Baptist church worthy of the name Baptist.C. H. Spurgeon
preached two great sermons in 1864, exposing the heresies of Packer's church. James might be profited by reading them:Baptismal RegenerationChildren Brought to Christ, and Not to the Font
Mohler surgery report
REPORT ON DR. MOHLER:GOOD NEWS -- NO CANCERhttp://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=27696
The above is a link to the Baptist Press
which gives the good news report on Dr. R. Albert Mohler's surgery. Here are the lead comments:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, received good news March 24 from the results of his recent surgery:
A tumor removed from his colon is not cancerous
. Mohler, 48, underwent surgery March 20 to remove what was believed to be a pre-cancerous tumor, but he had to await the results of pathological testing to learn whether the tumor was malignant.Please go to the link for "the rest of the story."
Are any pedos saved?
ACCORDING TO EXCLUSIVISTS,ARE ANY PEDOS AND OTHER ERRORISTS SAVED?
Those of you who have read this blog for very long know that neither Charles, the Administrator, nor I is an "exclusivist."
Theoretically, we don't exclude from possible salvation
any person who differs with us on theological issues so long as that person professes to believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour.
We are not of the "Outside the Camp"
nor "Lordship Salvation"
type of thinkers, if we understand these groups correctly. Some professors, indeed, may not be born again
, but we have no criteria other than what is taught in passages such as John 3:18, Acts 16:30, 31 -- if one indeed believes in Christ as Saviour, then by profession, at least, that person qualifies to be called a "Christian."
Only the Lord knows if such an outward profession is really expressive of one's inner experience
One of our critical readers, "rev."
, says:"I'm not reluctant at all to believe a person is saved if he/she believes upon the Lord Jesus Christ."
does not allow that it is theoretically possible for one who is a Mormon, such as Mitt Romney, to be saved. It is not within the range of possibilty that "a person is saved if he/she believes upon the Lord Jesus Christ" and yet is a Mormon, according to rev.
In such a case, according to rev.
, this would be believing on the "Mormon Jesus."
This type of "logic," if applied to all cases in the professing Christian denominational world, gives rise to considering how it applies to those besides Mormons who represent "Jesus" in a way which would not meet with rev.'s
has stated that he rejects certain Pedobaptist
doctrine and practice, if we understand him correctly. If this is his view, then according to his "logic," pedos such as Presbyterians
have a "Jesus"
who has taught them wrong
on infant baptism and the "regeneration" of "covenant children."
is right in thinking that the true Jesus
did not teach these things, then the Presbyterians are representing the true Jesus of teaching falsehoods. And if Jesus taught falsehoods, then that makes Him less than sinless
, and he in effect is in reality another "Jesus" in whom the Presbyterians believe. Therefore, how can rev
. theoretically include the Presbyterians in the possible salvation "tent"? Are they not shut out, to join the Mormons, according to rev
What about the Methodist "Jesus"
? If rev
. thinks the Methodists are wrong on Arminian theology, including the possibilty of losing salvation, what does rev
. think about the "Jesus" whom the Methodists represent as the author of their doctrine? How could Methodists be saved, according to rev.'s
And what about the Lutherans
? They even have a stronger emphasis upon the sacramentalism
of infant baptism, which rev
. probably rejects. The Lutherans say that their "Jesus" taught their doctrine, so is their "Jesus," too, another false "Jesus," according to rev
.? Is there a Lutheran saved if he
believes in such a false "Jesus"?
I assume rev
. could span the whole range of professing Christian groups
and find things in all of them which they claim were taught by their "Jesus," yet rev
. would reject many of these things as false doctrine. How can rev
. get any one of any such group in the "saved" category?
Just how far wrong
can a group be in its claims that "Jesus" taught their doctrine, yet rev
. still gives their professors a "pass" in regard to salvation?
Does rev. exclude "Arminians" from possible salvation, too? If Jesus did not teach "Arminianism," isn't he a false "Jesus," according to rev.? Can the "Jesus" of the Arminians and the "Jesus" of the 5-point Reformed advocates be the same "Jesus"? What about the "Jesus" of the 4-pointers, 3-pointers, 2-pointers? Are there any saved people who are less than 5-Point Reformed Calvinists?
Are there any saved people among the "non-Lordship Salvation" folks? Does the real Jesus abide in the "Lordship Salvation" camp only?
So you "agree" with Spurgeon?
ARE YOU SURE YOU "AGREEWITH SPURGEON" ON PEDOS?Spurgeon: "I do not know an error which causes the damnation of more souls than that at the present time. . . . Sacramental efficacy and baptismal regeneration, ALL SPRING FROM THE FIRST ERROR OF INFANT BAPTISM" (New Park Street Pulpit, Volume 6, page 168).rev. said:I'm a huge fan of Spurgeon, and agree with him on the issue of baptism/paedobaptism.
Then maybe you will enjoy reading more of what C. H. Spurgeon published and/or said about the Pedobaptists (baby sprinklers). Here are a few items with which you will no doubt agree:
C. H. Spurgeon's magazine, The Sword and the Trowel,
March 1887 issue, carried the initial article which kick-started what quickly became known as the Downgrade Controversy
. The article was written by R. H. Shindler, and alleged that the baby baptizing Presbyterians
and their practice of enlisting infants as church members was one of the major causes of downgradism
. Here are his words, quoted from pages 123 and 126:
were the first to get on the down line. They paid more attention to classical attainments and other branches of learning in their ministry than the Independents, while the Baptists had no academical institution of any kind. It would be an easy step in the wrong direction to pay increased attention to academical attainments in their ministers, and less to spiritual qualifications; and to set a higher value on scholarship and oratory, than on evangelical zeal and ability to rightly divide the word of truth. . . .
The principal cause of the quicker descent on "the down grade" among the Presbyterians
than among other Nonconformists, may be traced, not so much to their more scholarly ministry, nor altogether to their renunciation of Puritan habits, but to their rule of admitting to the privileges of Church membership.
Of course their children received the rite of baptism, according to their views of baptism, in infancy.
They were thereby received—so the ministers taught, and so the people believed—into covenant with God, and had a right to the Lord's table,
without any other qualification than a moral life. Many such children grew up unregenerate
, and strangers to the work of renewing grace; yet they claimed to be Christians, and to be admitted to all the privileges of the church, and their claim was not disallowed.
To such the earnest appeals of faithful ministers of Christ would be irksome and unpalatable. The broader road and easier way of the "men of reason and culture," which admitted of laxity of discipline and pliancy of sentiments and habits, was far more agreeable to their tastes and ideas, while the homage paid to reason and understanding, at the expense of revelation, gratified their pride, and left them free to walk after their own hearts in things pertaining to religion. Thus they chose them pastors after their own hearts, men who could, and would, and did, cry "Peace, peace," when the only way of peace was ignored or denied
Where did the errors of the church of Rome come from? Were they all born in a day? No, they came by slow degrees. It happened thus:—I will trace but one error, against which as a denomination we always bear our protest, and I only take that as a specimen of the whole.
Among the early Christians, it was the practice to baptize those who believed in Christ Jesus, by immersing them in the water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Well, the first wrong doctrine that started up,
was the idea that perhaps there was some efficacy in the water.
Next it followed that when a man was dying who had never been baptized he would perhaps profess faith in Christ, and ask that he might be baptized; but as he was dying they could not lift him from his bed, they therefore adopted sprinkling
as being an easier method by which they might satisfy the conscience by the application of water.
That done, there was but a step to the taking of little children into the church
—children, unconscious infants, who were received as being members of Christ's body; and thus infant sprinkling was adopted
The error came in by slow degrees—not all at once. It would have been too glaring for the church to receive, if it had shown its head at one time with all its horns upon it. But it entered slowly and gradually, till it came to be inducted into the church.I do not know, an error which causes the damnation of more souls than that at the present-time. There are thousands of people who firmly believe that they shall go to heaven because they were sprinkled in infancy, have been confirmed, and have taken the Sacrament. Sacramental efficacy and baptismal regeneration, all spring from the first error of infant baptism.
Had they kept to the Scripture, had the church always required faith before baptism, that error could not have sprung up. It must have died before the light of the truth, it could not have breathed, it could not have had a foothold in the Christian church.
But one error must lead to another—you never need doubt that. If you tamper with one truth of Scripture, he that tempts you to meddle with one, will tempt you to tamper with another, and there will be no end to it, till, at last, you will want a new Bible, a new Testament, and a new God. There is no telling where you will end when you have begun. -- New Park Street Pulpit
, Sermon #307, page 168.
Some imagine that faith comes by hereditary descent
, and they act upon the supposition. Hence, in certain churches, birthright membership
is thought to be a proper practice, and the child of a Christian is thought to be a Christian.
In some other churches, though the theory
would not be stated in so many words, yet it is practically
accepted, and children of pious parents are regarded as scarcely needing conversion.
The text is forgotten which saith that the heirs of salvation are born, "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God."
The typical covenant secured outward privileges to the children born after the flesh, but under the covenant of grace the blessing is secured to the spiritual and not to the natural seed. "He who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise." (Galatians 4:23). That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and nothing more: the new-born nature is not transmissible from father to son like a natural temperament or a cast of countenance.
I know the answer will be that "the promise is to us and to our children,"
but it will be well for the objector to reply to himself by completing the quotation—"even to as many as the Lord your God shall call."
The fact is, that nothing spiritual is inherited by carnal generation. Our children, even if we are far advanced in grace, will still be "shapen in iniquity." No matter how high the sainthood of the professing Christian, his child (when capable of understanding) must for himself become a personal believer in Jesus.
It appears to be thought possible to infuse grace by sacraments. There are persons yet alive who teach that a babe may be regenerated by certain aqueous processes, and be thereby placed in "a state of salvation." But is not faith a perpetual concomitant of regeneration? and what is that regeneration worth which leaves a person an unbeliever,
and, consequently, "condemned already, because he hath not believed on the Son of God?"
Rest assured, that as faith does not come by descent, neither can it be produced by any rite which recognizes that descent: it comes in one way, and in one way only in every case, and that is, by the hearing of the word
. To every person, whoever he may be, though nursed in the bosom of the church, and introduced to that church by the most solemn ritual, we are bound to say, you must hear as well as others, and you must believe as the result of that hearing as well as others, or else you will remain short of saving grace.
Faith is not a mystery juggled into us by the postures, genuflexions, and mumblings of priests. We have heard a great deal about sacramental efficacy, but I think a man must have extraordinary hardihood who would say that either baptism, or the so-called Eucharist, are the sure creators of faith; yet see I not what saving service these forms can render to unbelieving men if they leave them in an unbelieving condition, and, consequently, in a state of condemnation.
Seeing that without faith
it is impossible to please God, the grace supposed to be conveyed by the mere participation in sacraments is of small value, it cannot give the cardinal requisite for acceptance before God. Faith cannot be washed into us by immersion, nor sprinkled upon us in christening; it is not to be poured into us from a chalice, nor generated in us by a consecrated piece of bread. There is no magic about it; it comes by hearing the word of God, and by that way only. -- Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
, Sermon #1031, page 39.
We love to see the children of godly parents brought into Church membership, but we would avoid, above all things, anything like hereditary profession or inherited religion
. It must be personal in each individual or it is not worth a gnat. I believe that the idea of birthright membership
has tended materially to weaken the strength of that most respectable and once powerful denomination, the Society of Friends. Believing that their children have an inward Light which they ought to follow, I do fear they often teach their children to follow inward darkness rather than light. Forgetting the necessity of the Holy Spirit, which is infinitely superior to ordinary light of conscience, their children have grown up to attend meetings and to wear a particular garb without receiving the Spirit—certainly without that grand enthusiasm which honored their sires in bygone days.We must not adulterate our membership by the reception of the children of godly parents
unless we have clear proof that they, themselves, are converted to God. Your children need the Holy Spirit quite as much as the offspring of the Hottentot or the Kaffir. They are born in sin and shapen in iniquity—in sin do the best of mothers conceive their children, and, however well you may train them, you cannot take the stone out of the heart nor turn it into flesh. To give a new heart and a right spirit is the work of the Holy Spirit and of the Holy Spirit alone.
In the second place, the source of the mercy which God will give. “I will pour out My Spirit.” It was the work of the Spirit which transformed their fathers—it is that which must transform them. The Word may come to them and not be blessed. We may be silly enough to take them to baby-Baptism
and they would not be blessed. We may persuade them to come to the Lord’s Table, but they would not be blessed. But when the Spirit of God comes upon them, then it is all done. Now comes the broken heart! Now comes the humble spirit! Now is breathed the earnest prayer! Now love to Christ flames forth and trust is built upon Him! Do pray, dear Friends, for your children, that God will pour His Spirit upon them. -- Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
, Sermon #564, pages 212, 213.
The Scriptures which speak of baptism, recording its appointment, its practice, its nature, design, or benefit, are those from which its divinely approved subjects can be learned. These speak of confession of sin, repentance, faith in Christ, discipleship, a good conscience, as characteristic of the baptized. Not a word is recorded respecting parents or others as proxies for "the child's personal engagement"
. . . .
The obtaining by infants, through baptism, of entrance into the church, of "a right sealed to the ordinances," that is, to the Lord's Supper, etc., and of "the tutelage of angels to be the infant's lifeguard," may be in the imagination of Paedobaptists
; but these are not in the word of God, any more than that baptism is to elected infants "a 'seal of the righteousness of faith,' a layer of regeneration, and a badge of adoption."
. . . Every record of baptisms in Holy Writ, and every reference to baptism, is a confirmation of believers' baptism
as the "one baptism" for parents and children
, for every generation, and for all alike, to the end of time. . . .
The baptism of believers, we believe to be a reasonable, scriptural, and profitable service, calculated to strengthen and perpetuate every right feeling and conduct. But in whatever esteem we hold the erring Paedobaptist,
and however cordially we say, and hope ever to say, "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity," we are obliged to think and speak of infant baptism according to a writer before quoted:"In it there is no conscience, no will, no reasonable service. It allies persons without their consent, or even their intelligence, to a religious creed; it forces upon them an unreasoning and unwilling service; it imposes upon them an unconscious profession; it anticipates the conduct of riper years to a degree which both nature and Scripture condemn; and is therefore a violation of their just rights."
-- From Spurgeon's Appendix to Thomas Watson's Body of Divinity, pages 649, 650
. The entire Appendix is available at:http://www.gracesermons.com/robbeeee/spurgbaptism.html
Buy wine, donate to Founders
ARE THE FOUNDERS RECEIVING$$$ FROM WINE SALES?
Bob to Charles:
I saw a link on the Flounders blog
, Charles, to an Internet site called "giveline
," and out of curiosity I clicked on it.
It is some sort of merchandising company which sells a wide variety of products -- over a million, it claims -- and the company will graciously make a donation to the organization of the purchaser's choice.
I thought you might investigate it, Charles -- just in case you might want to receive some potential donations for the Flyswatter
. You could perhaps carry the same link as the Founders, if that is permitted by your blogspot host.
Today, the featured items at Giveline
are books on wines. Also, you can click on the "Gifts & Wines"
and order some Champagne. On this link, there is another link to "Wine" where there is an even greater selection.
The beauty of it is, Giveline
will make a donation from purchasers who specify the organization of their choice.
I suppose you could check with Tom Ascol and find out if there is much money to be obtained by this form of receiving donations.
Brister doesn't want to "engage"
PERSONA NON GRATA WITH TIMMY BRISTERBob to Charles:
Sorry, Charles, but it seems I have managed to "split my britches"
with yet another Hybrid Calvinist.
You can add Timmy Brister
to the list of Hybrids who don't want to get any items from me. I recently sent Tim a couple of items, and now he writes to say he has chosen "not to engage"
you and me and doesn't want to receive anything more from me.
Timmy joins the list which includes iMonk, James White, Tom Ascol, Tim Challies and some other Hybrids who choose not to "engage" us. Remember, too, awhile back Scott Morgan of Georgia said he wanted to debate me
, but when I accepted his proposal he headed for the kudzu to hide?
These fellows seem to have the calling to "dish it out," but are short on the wherewithal to handle respondence. They remind me somewhat of some Campbellites whom I have encountered over the years -- "their bark is louder than their bite."
So far as poor Tim is concerned, he has pulled so many "boners" it's not surprising that he doesn't want to "engage." His most recent episode of "evangelism at UPS"
(as Tom Ascol calls it) demonstrated Tim's novice status very well. And the fact that he is yoking up with the Flounders after leaving seminary is even more pitiful.
Nevertheless, Charles, Tim's blunders have made some "good copy" for the Flyswatter
to counter the fallacies of Hybridism and Floundersism, so let's keep a watch on the Tom & Tim Show
once Tim joins the staff at the New Geneva to assist in the Reformation. If Tom and Tim are capable of separately blundering as they have the past two years, think of what blunders they may perform together.
Hyper and Hybrid -- what's the difference?
"IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEENHYPER AND HYBRID CALVINISM?"
There is a difference. What has usually been identified as Hyper
Calvinism is rejected by most professing "Reformed" Calvinists. Some of them even have articles on the Internet against elements of what has passed as Hyper Calvinism. I know of no Reformed Calvinist who will admit to being a Hyper. For instance, Pedobaptist Iain Murray says there is "no evidence that Hyper-Calvinism is recovering strength"
(Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism
, page xiv).
Calvinism is a popular theoretical mixture
which departs from Creedal Calvinism to affirm the post-creedal development of the non-creedal "ordo salutis,"
and perhaps most of the Reformed Calvinists of this age are Hybrid Calvinists. Many of them like to refer to themselves as "Monergists," when in fact they are semi-Pelagian
For several months on The Calvinist Flyswatter
we have conclusively demonstrated that the Reformed version of "Calvinism"
advocated by many in our time is not what is presented in the historic Creeds and Confessions of the past. Rather, the "Calvinism" of this version is a post-seventeenth century hybrid variety which is advocated in the writings of the Reformed Pedobaptists (baby regenerationists) such as W. G. T. Shedd, the Hodges, Louis Berkhof, John Frame, R. C. Sproul and similar pedobaptists. It is also the basic theory held by the Primitive Baptist ("Hardshell") Church.
This Reformed Pedobaptist version
is based on the presumption that (1) the "elect children" of believers are "regenerated" by the Holy Spirit in early infancy before, at, or shortly after
"baptism," and (2) other "elect" who grow to a more mentally mature age are supposedly regenerated by a "direct operation" of the Holy Spirit so as to be "born again before faith in Christ."
These views are articulated most thoroughly in the systematic theologies written by Dr. W. G. T. Shedd and Dr. Louis Berkhof. Berkhof is endorsed by Iain Murray and The Banner of Truth
as holding a "unique place in contemporary literature, expounding Christianity according to the historic Reformed position
" (BT catalog 2002, page 19).
This doctrine was obviously concocted by pedobaptists as the justification for the "baby regeneration" idea whereby pedobaptists claim that "covenant children"
inherit "regeneration" as a blessing of the supposed "Abrahamic covenant." C. H. Spurgeon
denounced this pedobaptist distortion, saying "there never was a grosser piece of knavery under heaven"
than the use a portion of Acts 2:39 as if it taught the pedobaptist theory (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
, Volume 32, Sermon #1925, "Jesus and the Children
," page 569).
Since pedobaptists teach that their infants are "regenerated" before faith, they also allege that consistency
requires that it must be the case that adults
are also "regenerated" before faith. This view is compatible with the Hardshell Baptist theory that the "elect" are "regenerated" without or before faith in Christ.
While Hybrids among the Baptists do not agree with the "infant" part of this "Reformed" doctrine, they nevertheless hold to the "regeneration before faith,"
or "born again before faith"
part of it. Thus, they are basically "Hardshell" on this point of teaching, and this accounts for their negative attitude in regard to aggressive methods which are used to wins souls to Christ.
C. H. Spurgeon rattled the cages of the Hypers and Hybrids of his day with red-hot evangelistic appeals in sermons such as #227 "Compel Them to Come In," #279 "Come and Welcome,"
and #531 "The Warrant of Faith."
You may read these sermons at the Spurgeon Archive
and also at Spurgeongems.org
Also, in his sermon "Prevenient Grace,"
Spurgeon affirms that while the Holy Spirit works in the lost person before the new birth, the person is "not saved as yet
," not yet "effectually called," has not yet come to a "decision," and has "not believed." "Believe, therefore,"
Spurgeon exhorts, "and you are at once justified and at peace with God" (#656 Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
, pages 596-600).
Breaking rumours from FloundersWorld!
DOES ASCOL PLAN A NEW SEMINARY?
Bob to Charles:
You will remember, Charles, that a couple of years ago I had a friend in the West named "Joe" who kept tabs on the "iMonk's" JoellyLand Tour
and "iMonk's" whereabouts when he went on out to Phoenix, Arizona. I have a similar friend in Florida, named "Jack,"
and he has been sending me reports about the latest rumored developments at "FloundersWorld" in Cape Coral. Here is his latest report:
Dear Brother Bob:
As I have had opportunity, I have tried to obtain information about what's "in the works" here in FloundersWorld, headquarters for the great Reformation work of Tom Ascol and his fellow Flounders.
To say the least, Brother Tom ("T. A." or "TA" for short) was rather disappointed last year when Tom Nettles decided to stay at SBTS in Louisville. TA really wanted to start a School of Theology with TN as the head theolog, but it fell thru -- at least at that time.
Although TN did not accept the original offer, it is rumored that he did agree that he would keep his options "open" in the future, and would not completely turn thumbs-down on coming to the New Geneva at a future date. TN indicated he would go back to Louisville and see if he could rather clandestinely go about recruiting other SBTS Professors who would conceivably come to FloundersWorld and form a Faculty, and also to even solicit some of his student-disciples to transfer to the new school.
The first step in the Plan, I hear, was announced by TA last week -- the hiring of the prodigious blogger and SBTS student, Timmy Brister
, to join TA in FloundersWorld as Associate Pastor. According to the local chatter among these Calvinists, TA sees in TB one who can takeover in the Flounders' Communications Department
, especially the Internet ministry which includes the Flounders' web site and blog. TB's blogging experience while at SBTS has demonstrated that he has all the requirements for promoting the interests of Floundersism in the communications field.
TB will also set-up a Bloggers' Conference
to be held on the campus of the School of Theology, which will hopefully include many of those names you see in the "links" listed in the margins of most of the Hybrid Calvinist bloggers.
As for the School of Theology itself, plans reportedly call for such things as the following:
Tom Ascol will be the Director of "Projects to Promote Reform Among Southern Baptists."
His years as Ernie Reisinger's right-hand man prepared TA very well for this position, and he has had some recent projects which demonstrate his attributes -- the Caners-White Debate, the "Bridge Building Conference," the SBC Resolution on Church Membership Integrity, the $20,000 DVD Project, etc.
TA will also teach (so we are told) a course on "Quiet Revolution"
which will show how to go about reforming a Southern Baptist church so as to bring it around to more Presbyterian-like
features (infant baptism excepted). The textbook will be Ernie Reisinger's book called A Quiet Revolution
, supplemented by Ernie's book, Worship--The Regulative Principle and the Biblical Practice of Accommodation
, and Iain Murray's booklet, The Invitation System
. A thorough effort will be made to indoctrinate the students against "invitations." This course will include a "field trip" to North Pompano to observe the outcome of the work of reform accomplished by Reisinger at the North Pompano Baptist Church.
Along with the campus Faculty, I hear that a number of guests will be invited to speak at the School of Theology, such as --
R. C. Sproul -- who will give a series on "How the Elect Get Regenerated Before and Without Faith,"
including "How Covenant Children Get Regenerated in Infancy As Viewed from the truly Reformed Perspective."
Sproul will be using Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology
as supplemental reading.
John Frame -- who will assist Sproul by bringing a lecture on "How Covenant Children Get Regenerated Even Before They are Born."
James White -- who will teach "Proper Exegesis of Scripture"
Also, James will be asked to arrange for at least 4 on-campus debates with sundry religious leaders during the year so James can demonstrate debating to the student body. I hear that another attempt will be made to get the Caner brothers to participate.
Mark Dever -- who will lead Seminars on "What is the Proper Age for Administering Baptism?"
and the "9 Marks of a Reformed Baptist Church."
R. Albert Mohler -- who will be invited to lecture on "The Heresies of Joel Osteen."
Gene Bridges -- who will bring what potentially could be the longest series by any guest, "Everything You Never Read or Knew About Sandy Creek Baptists."
Jim Eliff -- who will bring a series of messages on "Why the Southern Baptist Convention Is an Unregenerate Denomination."
Jim is expected to have all the statistical data to back up his conclusions.
Iain Murray of The Banner of Truth
will bring several lectures on "Some Things I Know About C. H. Spurgeon that Even Spurgeon Himself Didn't Know."
Tom Nettles, head of the Faculty, will reportedly have a special course on "How to Fellowship With Hardshell Baptists."
James White will give a personal testimony durng this course on "Preaching to the Hardshell Baptists."
At least once a year, according to what I hear, James White will arrange for a Reformed Theology Cruise
for the entire Faculty and Student Body and all others who wish to purchase a ticket. The Feature Attraction will be James in Debate with Muslim leader, Abdul Malik Muhammed ibn Abdulla
-- or whatever his name is. I'm not very well acquainted with Muslim names.
There it is, Brother Bob, the latest hearsay around FloundersWorld, just west of DisneyWorld.
TA has great expectations of making FloundersWorld a veritable "Mecca" of Hybrid Calvinism where the Hybrid disciples can come and cast five smooth stones at Arminius, Pelagius, Wesley, Finney, Moody, Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, Paige Patterson, Johnny Hunt, Frank Page, and other assorted icons of "Arminianism."
That's all for now. Remember, Bob -- you heard it here first!
What do you think, Charles? Reckon Jack has a scoop on FloundersWorld?
Mohler's fast talking
I noticed on Phil Johnson's blog
of 3/10/08 that Phil was interviewed by Dr. Al Mohler on the latter's radio program, recently originating in Los Angeles while Mohler was attending John MacArthur's "Shepherds' Conference" last week. Commenting on the rapidity at which Mohler thinks and speaks, Phil said --"Despite how rapidly he speaks, Dr. Mohler never seems to be fumbling for words or thoughts. Its hard to keep up with him and exhausting to watch. I didn't know about the broadcast until a few minutes before going on the air, and I went in without a clue what he might want to talk to me about, so my part is unscripted as well. Note that both my brain and my mouth work considerably slower than Dr. Mohler's—and unlike Dr. Mohler, I can't seem to get both brain and mouth in gear at the same time."
I listened to the interview, and Phil's observation does not seem to be an exaggeration. After listening to the interview I can somewhat understand Phil's "problem" -- Mohler does seem to have the gift of magni-verbosity
which can probably tax the "normal" mind, not to mention my own!
I recall someone's describing the Y2K guru, Gary North
, as being similar to the man who appeared to have "swallowed the dictionary and spat it out."
That description reminds me somewhat of Mohler's gift.
But I'm not being critical of Mohler about his fast thinking or talking. I'm not really
concerned with how fast he thinks and speaks; I'm not writing to cast aspersion upon his rapidity of speech.
However, what is really
worthy of concern by Southern Baptists who support the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville is that Mohler is head of this historic SBC institution which is now hatching ministerial graduates such as Timmy Brister, who has found a roosting place with the "headquarters" church of the Flounders. Are other grads of SBTS going to take a similar path -- into Flounders'-friendly churches which want to "presbyterianize"
Southern Baptist churches?
With the Flounders, Timmy Brister, under Top Flounder Tom Ascol, will have the aid and comfort to continue to downgrade Southern Baptist preachers and churches which are not in sympathy with the Iain Murray-Ernest Reisinger-Tom Ascol-Tom Nettles-pedobaptist "Reformed" version of "Calvinism," and thereby seek to proselyte others to Hybrid Calvinism. Is this really the type of field of ministry that Mohler prefers for his SBTS grads?
It seems that Mohler is "all over the place" with his thinking and fasttalk, covering the landscape from Dan to Beersheba, but what is he doing to promote evangelism and new church-starts? Would it not be interesting to know if any of Mohler's Hybrid Calvinist SBTS graduates has started any churches from "scratch," and not merely from proselytes to the pedobaptist "Reformed" version of Calvinism?
Watson vs. Hybrid Calvinism
PURITAN THOMAS WATSON ON "EFFECTUAL CALLING" vsHYBRID CALVINISM Timmy Brister
, a recent recruit by the Founders' leader, Tom Ascol
, is now encouraging his blog patrons to read Thomas Watson. Great!
We are happy to see Timmy taking a liking to Watson; perhaps it will be a means to influence Timmy to renounce the Hybrid Calvinist "born again before faith"
idea promoted by the Founders, Ascol, Tom Nettles, and others of the "Reformed" camp.
Watson, like his fellow-minister Stephen Charnock
, represents the Creedal
view on the new birth which was held before the subsequent Reformed "ordo salutis"
came along to claim that "regeneration precedes faith."Thomas Watson
(died 1686) was co-pastor with Stephen Charnock (1628-1680) at Bishopsgate Street, London. Both were prolific writers, and are my favorites of the Puritan period. C. H. Spurgeon republished and used Watson's Body of Divinity
at the Pastors College, and said it was "one of the most precious of the peerless works of the Puritans; and those best acquainted with it prize it most. . . . There is a happy union of sound doctrine, heart-searching experience and practical wisdom throughout all his works, and his Body of Divinity is, beyond all the rest, useful to the student and the minister." (From a Brief Memoir of Thomas Watson
by C. H. Spurgeon).
Like Stephen Charnock, Watson held the Confessional
view on the matter of Effectual Calling
, as stated in the Presbyterians' Westminster Confession
and the Canons of Dort
, emphasizing both
(1) the use of the Gospel
or Word as the instrumental means
and (2) the necessary attending efficient power
of the Holy Spirit
in "working faith in us"
(page 149). Watson did not the teach that effectual calling is by the "Spirit alone."
These are views you will not usually find properly represented by either anti-Calvinists or by Hybrid Calvinists. While Watson's work on this subject is not as lengthy as Charnock's, in less space Watson presents the same basic teaching as Charnock -- namely, regeneration (effectual calling) is by BOTH the Word and the Spirit.
Since Watson's work is online
, I will not quote extensively from it, but will give just enough of it that you may have a taste of what is available, both in book form and on the Internet.
On Effectual Calling
, Thomas Watson, pages 153, 154 of his Body of Divinity:
Q-xxxi: WHAT IS EFFECTUAL CALLING?
A: It is a gracious work of the Spirit, whereby he causes us to embrace Christ freely, as he is offered to us in the gospel
. In this verse is the golden chain of salvation, made up of four links, of which one is vocation. 'Them he also called. Calling is nova creatio
, 'a new creation, the first resurrection. . . .
What are the means
of this effectual call? . . .
There are two means
of our effectual call:
(1) The 'preaching of the word,'
which is the sounding of God's silver trumpet in mens ears. God speaks not by an oracle, he calls by his ministers.
Samuel thought it had been the voice of Eli only that called him; but it was God's voice. I Sam 3: 6. So, perhaps, you think it is only the minister that speaks to you in the word, but it is God himself who speaks. Therefore Christ is said to speak to us from heaven. Heb 12: 25. How does he speak but by his ministers?
as a king speaks by his ambassadors. Know, that in every sermon preached, God calls to you
; and to refuse the message we bring, is to refuse God himself.
(2) The other means of our effectual call is the Holy Spirit
.The ministry of the word is the pipe or organ; the Spirit of God blowing in it, effectually changes men's hearts.
'While Peter spake, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word of God.' Acts 10: 44. Ministers knock at the door of men's hearts
, the Spirit comes with a key and opens the door. 'A certain woman named Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened. Acts 16:I4.
This clearly affirms the Creedal view on Effectual Calling
and just as clearly contradicts the Hybrid Calvinist view that the Spirit alone, without the instrumentality of the Word, causes "regeneration before faith."
We hope Timmy Brister will read Watson for himself and dismiss the Hybrid Calvinist error of "pre-faith regeneration."
Ascol hires associate pastor
TOM ASCOL'S LATEST PROJECT:
ASSOCIATE PASTOR CALLED
Tom Ascol keeps coming up with new projects to promote his version of "Calvinism" in his unending effort to "reform" Southern Baptists and make them Quasi-Presbyterians or what we prefer to call Hybrid Calvinists.
He wasted $20,000 on a project
last year to mail a Hybrid Calvinist DVD, which primarily featured several Presbyterian pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinists, to the 3000 pastors in the Florida Baptist Convention, in the effort to get these pastors to believe that the "elect" get sovereignly "born again before and without faith."
Several months ago, Tom Ascol announced another project -- that Tom Nettles
of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was being invited to Cape Coral in view of a call as Associate Pastor. This also resulted in wasting church money, for after Nettles and wife went down and looked over the landscape at Grace Baptist, the grass looked greener in Louisville, and another Ascol project was necessarily abandoned.
Then, a few months ago, the "Bridge to Nowhere"
Conference was held in North Carolina, and that seems to have also turned out to be wasted time and money for Ascol's Hybrid Calvinism cause. I don't think the Hybrids built much of a bridge over the River Quasi to Dr. Danny Akin, Dr. Kenneth Keathley, and others of their category of theology.
Now he has another project in the works: He has hired Timmy Brister
of the Hybrid Calvinist blogosphere to become Associate Pastor at Grace Baptist. Brister will move to Florida upon his graduation from Southern Seminary this Spring.
In hiring Brister, Tom gets a man "after his own heart," as Brister has blogged against such matters as invitations, altar calls, "decisional regeneration," Billy Graham, Charles Finney, non-Calvinist Southern Baptist churches, and other subjects near and dear to Tom Ascol.
I could hardly imagine any two being more compatible "peas in a pod" than Tim and Tom. Both are great promoters of the pedobaptist Iain Murray Hybrid Calvinist paradigm of theology on which the Founders was founded by founder Ernest C. Reisinger.
Brother Charles -- what do you think?
Spurgeon preached to the "dead"
SPURGEON PREACHED THE GOSPEL TO "DEAD" SINNERS
C. H. Spurgeon believed the Gospel was the great essential "means" used by the Holy Spirit in the New Birth, and this is one of the reasons for his success in making converts to Christ. He believed in preaching the Gospel to the "dead"
as indispensable to bringing "dead" sinners to life in Christ.
Here is an example of how Spurgeon preached to the dead
Now, the gospel regards every man to whom it comes as unable to do anything good.
It addresses you, not merely as paralyzed, but it goes farther, and describes you as dead
. The gospel speaks to the dead.
I have often heard it said that the duty of the Christian minister is to arouse the activities of sinners. I believe the very reverse: he should rather labor to smite their self-trusting activities dead, and to make them know that all that they can do of themselves is worse than nothing. They can do nothing, for how can the dead move in their graves? How can the dead in sin accomplish their own quickening? The power which can save does not lie in the sinner: it lies in his God. . . .
An equally remarkable thing is that the gospel calls upon men to do what they cannot do
, for Jesus Christ said to this paralyzed man, “I say unto thee, Arise, take up thy bed and walk.”
He could not rise, could not take up his bed, and could not walk, and yet he was bidden to do it. And it is one of the strange things of the way of salvation that --“The gospel bids the dead revive;Sinners obey the voice and live.
Dry bones are raised and clothed afresh,
And hearts of stone are turned to flesh.”
We have to say, in the name of Jesus, to the man with the withered arm — whose arm is so withered that we know he has no power in it, “Stretch out thy hand”;
and we do say it in God’s name.
Some of my brethren of a certain order of doctrine say, “It is ridiculous! If you admit that a man cannot do it, it is ridiculous to tell him to do it.”
But we do not mind being ridiculous: we care little for the censure of human judgment. If God gives us a commission, that commission will prevent our suffering very seriously from the ridicule of other people.“Ezekiel, dost thou not see before thee that valley of dry bones?”“Yes,”
says he, “I see them; they are very many and very dry. Lo! through many a summer the sun has scorched them, and through many a winter the fierce winds have dried them till they are as if they had passed through an oven.” “Prophet, what canst thou do with these bones? If God means to raise them to life they will be raised: therefore let thou them alone. What canst thou do?”
Listen to him as he makes solemn proclamation. “Thus saith the Lord, Ye dry bones live!”
“Ridiculous, Ezekiel! they cannot live, why speak to them?”
He knows they cannot live of themselves, but he also knows that his Master bids him tell them to live, and he does what his Master bids him.So, in the gospel, the minister is to bid men believe, and he is to say, “Repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
For this reason alone do we say, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
The gospel bids you believe, albeit that you are dead in trespasses and sins.
“I cannot understand it,”
No, and you never will till God reveals it to you; but, when the Lord comes and dwells with you, you will perfectly understand, and see how the exercise of faith on the part of the preacher of the gospel is a part of the divine operation by which dead souls are raised. . . .
The man, though he cannot take up his bed and walk, yet believes that he who told him to do it will give him power to do it, and he does take up his bed and walk: there is the whole of it in a nutshell. He believes, and acts on that belief; and he is restored.
And that is the whole plan of salvation. You believe the gospel, and act upon the truth of it, and you are saved — saved the moment you accept the witness of God concerning his Son Jesus Christ.
[Excerpts from Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
, Volume 21, Year 1875, Sermon #1269, pages 703-706]
In another sermon, Spurgeon says:
>>To tell DRY BONES to live
, is a very unreasonable sort of thing when tried by rules of logic; and for me to tell you, a DEAD sinner
, to BELIEVE in Christ, may seem perfectly unjustifiable by the same rule. But I do not need to justify it. If I find it in God’s Word, that is quite enough for me; and if the preacher does not feel any difficulty in the matter, why should you? . . .
Leave the difficulties; there will be time enough to settle them when we get to heaven; meanwhile, if life comes through Jesus Christ, let us have it, and have done with nursing our doubts"
(Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
, Sermon #2246, page 119).
Spurgeon's comments reveal how utterly ridiculous it is for Reformed Hybrid Calvinists to try to enlist Spurgeon in their Hybrid Calvinism camp.
In regard to Hybrid Calvinism's "pre-faith regeneration"
theory, Spurgeon's comments are most appropriate:
"If I am to preach faith in Christ to a man who is regenerated
, then the man, being regenerated, is saved already
, and it is an unnecessary and ridiculous thing for me to preach Christ to him, and bid him to believe in order to be saved when he is saved already, being regenerate
(Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
, Warrant of Faith
, #531, page 532).
Are the Reformed semi-pelagian?
"REFORMED" DOCTRINE aka SEMI-PELAGIANISM
I noticed this remark on Timmy Brister's blog in an item about the "John 3:16" Conference
which is to be held at First Baptist, Woodstock, Georgia later this year.
>>This conference could be the place where non-Calvinists decide whether they are either semi-Pelagian or Arminian. In recent years, it certainly has sounded more semi-Pelagian than anything else, and that is not a good thing
The paradox about this remark is that the current "Reformed" doctrine advocated by Timmy, the Founders, and other Hybrid Calvinists is just as semi-Pelagian as those who are referred to by Timmy as "non-Calvinists" and "Arminian."
Why so? Because the "Reformed" teach that the sinner must be ALIVE and ABLE
to believe before faith, just as the Pelagians teach -- therefore, it is not Creedal or Confessional Calvinism.
The Confessional teaching of our Baptist forefathers of the 17th century is that the sinner who is "DEAD
in trespasses and sins, DOTH BELIEVE
and is converted by no less power than that which raised Christ from the dead," and this believing is "begotten by the preaching of the Gospel, or Word of Christ,"
which is the means whereby the Holy Spirit gives faith to the "dead"
sinner (First London Confession of Faith
, Articles XXIV, XXII).
This Confessional Baptist view is clearly in contrast to the semi-Pelagianism of the Reformed camp which denies that the "dead sinner . . . doth believe."
Contrary to this Baptist Confession, the Reformed advocates allege that the sinner is "alive" before he believes
-- just as the Pelagians teach.
The Creedal view of our Baptist ancestors is consistent with the teaching of Christ that the "dead" hear the Word of God
and "live" (John 5:25). The Reformed semi-Pelagian view, however, is that those who are already "alive" are the only ones who "can" hear the Word.
The Creedal view is consistent with the account of the dry bones
hearing the Word in Ezekiel 37, where we read of the dry, dead bones responding to the preaching of the Word, which is in contrast to the Reformed view.
The fundamental principle of Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism is that the sinner is at least "alive and able"
to repent and believe before he repents and believes. This corresponds with the Reformed view that the sinner is "alive and able"
to repent and believe before he repents and believes.
This Reformed idea, like Pelagianism, seems to be "logical" enough in the "natural" category, but it is obvious it will not necessarily apply in spiritual
matters. What about the case of Lazarus'
being commanded to rise from the dead (John 11)? What about those dry bones
in Ezekiel being commanded to "hear
the Word of the Lord" (Ezekiel 37:4)? What about the case of the man with the withered hand
being told to stretch forth his hand (Matthew 12:13)?
The Reformed argument is that a lost person is incapable of believing in Christ until he is first made alive
, or -- in Pelagian terms -- has the ability to believe. This is what I call "Backdoor Pelagianism."
They denounce Pelagianism on the front porch, but welcome it into the house thru the backdoor. Hybrid Calvinist James White
presents the Reformed and semi-Pelagian view in his book, The Potter's Freedom
:"Spiritual birth precedes all actions of spiritual life"
This theory, as also delineated in Reformed writers such as W. G. T. Shedd
) and Louis Berkhof
), even denies the "creative" power of the Word of God as a creative, instrumental means in regeneration. For example --
According to Shedd
, with whom the Primitive Baptists (Hardshells) agree, the Holy Spirit's operation is "directly
upon the human spirit, and is independent even of the word itself
" (II:501) ; "regeneration is a DIRECT operation
of the Holy Spirit upon the human spirit" (II:506), and "is not effected by the use of means
" (page 507). This is exactly the Hardshell Baptist view -- regeneration by the Spirit alone, apart from and without the Word as an instrumentality.
According to Berkhof
, this theory holds that the instrumentality of the Gospel "has no effect on the dead"
(page 474). Berkhof then mentions but dismisses a few of the passages of Scripture which he admits "seem to prove the contrary" (pages 475-476) and goes on to allege that earlier Calvinistic sources (Puritans)
failed "to discriminate carefully between the various elements which we distinguish in regeneration" (page 476).
According to Berkhof, the Word "does not operate creatively"
and the Word therefore can "work only in the conscious life of man" (page 470) -- by which Berkhof means, in one who is "alive" and "able" to receive the Word on account of a prior "regeneration" in which the sinner is endowed with a "spiritual ear." With this new ability (which parallels the Pelagian ability), "the gospel is NOW heard by the sinner" (page 471).
It appears to us that many modern or post 17th century Reformed groups and individuals have advocated the same basic principle of Pelagianism with the "pre-faith regeneration" theory, which is -- that the Gospel is believed by the "living," or those already "alive," and not by those who are "dead in the trespasses and in sins."
In fact, I have read materials against invitations which use this very argument against giving public invitations to the unsaved -- the idea being that addressing the Gospel to "dead" sinners, calling on the "dead" to believe, and expecting them to accept the Gospel at that very moment of time is a vain, unrealistic expectation, and can only produce an unregenerate professor. "How can the dead believe?"
the anti-invitationist asks.
This argument against exhorting and inviting the sinner to immediately believe the Gospel is tantamount to a denial of the creative power of the Word of God. It makes the "dead" sinner stronger than the Holy Spirit-empowered Word of God.
The Reformed obviously believe that the unregenerate sinner is "dead," but they apparently do not believe that the Word of God is much stronger, being "quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).
In John 6:63, Jesus said:
"It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
To address the Word to "dead" sinners is Creedal; to hold to the Reformed idea that the sinner must be "alive" before believing is non-creedal semi-Pelagianism and denies the creative power of the Word when applied by the Spirit to raise the "dead."
Is Wade Burleson Starting A New Denomination?
It seems that Brother Wade Burleson
has been busy of late. Just when you hoped the SBC
troublemaker-in-chief was back in Oklahoma to stay, he pops up again somewhere else.Baptist press reported
was present in Arlington, Texas for the announcement of the "Antioch Network of Churches" which will focus on "fulfilling the Great Commission without requiring conformity on 'secondary' doctrinal matters."
During the meeting, Burleson
"moderated a discussion about doctrinal parameters for the network, which he said require simplicity and clarity." Wait a minute, haven't we seen this before? Hint: Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Simplicity did seem to be the order of the day as Burleson
said "the network could include paedobaptists
." There was no word in the Baptist Press release if the "network" would welcome homosexual-friendly churches.
Somehow, I don't think Dr. Paige Patterson will be joining. Which would suit Brother Wade just fine.
"Calvinism" and missions
ASCOL vs. WAGNER AND MURRAY
Tom Ascol of the "Founders" says: "The resurgence of Calvinism within the SBC bodes well for our churches and missional efforts."
This statement is in Tom's 3/07/2008 Founders' blog article entitled, Bill Wagner: Calvinists are "less missional."
Ascol is expressing his disagreement with Dr. Bill Wagner's comments on Calvinism in relation to missions, which are quoted by Ascol as follows:"I have spoken to a lot of our missionaries overseas and its a very strange thing because our missionaries have said that we are beginning to get more and more people out on the field who are Calvinistic in their theology, and it is strange, but those that are Calvinistic are not nearly as desirous of winning people to Christ as they are about talking about theology. So I am little bit fearful, that if Calvinism begins to have too much influence, that we might go the way of some of the other Protestant denominations have gone and that is to deemphasize our missions.
Now, I know of a lot of tremendous missionaries who are Calvinists. But I say, by and large, Calvinists have a tendency to be less missional in their approach."
My personal observation across the years is that those who would describe their theology as "Calvinist" are not monolithic -- that is, what may be the case with one person is not necessarily the case with all others.
For example, one of my closest friends, who would call himself a "Calvinist," was an on-the-field full-time missionary who spent many fruitful years in work in a foreign country, and today, though now having his missions office in the States, he continues to serve full-time as his board's representative for its work in several nations, to which he frequently travels.
But he is not of the "Hybrid Calvinist" variety of "Calvinists." He would have nothing to do with Founders' "Calvinism." Rather, he is a Creedal Calvinist, and has not "gone to seed" on Calvinism as the dominant theme of his ministry. His "ordo salutis"
gives priority to evangelism and missions, not theoretical theology which holds to the pedobaptist "born again before faith"
Ascol's comment not only differs with Dr. Wagner's observation, it also seems to even conflict with what pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinist Iain Murray
of the The Banner of Truth
has observed for many years about "Calvinists" of the "born again before faith" variety. See the article on this blog of February 28, 2008, ARE "CALVINISTS" LACKING IN EVANGELISM?
Murray says, "The Priority which soul-winning had in Spurgeon's ministry is not commonly seen to be our priority." (Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism
Murray is here referring to a specific variety of "Calvinism" -- the Banner of Truth
pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinism which BT has helped to spread as its "priority" and which the Founders Ministries
has had as its priority since it began in 1982. How many churches, for instance, has the Founders Ministries and its Friends established in over twenty years other than those which began as a result of proselytization and splits?
Does God Care About Numbers?
"Numerical growth seems to be a uniquely indigenous American phenomenon."
I read these words recently on a hyper/ hybrid/ neo/ extreme/ Reformed Calvinist web site. To protect the writer from embarrassment I'll forgo identifying him.
Is church growth merely an American trend? Many Reformed Flounder-friendly pastors and bloggers would have us believe so. God, they imply, really doesn't care much about numbers and growth. Taking encouragement from Tom Ascol, head of Founders Ministries (yes, they really believe what they are doing is a ministry!), some Southern Baptist churches have even taken the step of refusing to report their baptisms and attendance records in the Annual Church Profile. I wonder what Charles H. Spurgeon would think of that? Actually, I don't have to wonder. He said, "It has been noticed that those who object to the process [of providing church statistics] are often brethren whose unsatisfactory reports should somewhat humiliate them." Sound like anyone you know?
But the question is not what Charles Spurgeon or Tom Ascol or anyone else thinks about numbers and church growth, but rather, what does God think about it?
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. Acts 2:41.
But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. Acts 4:4.
And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women. Acts 5:14.
And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Acts 9:42.
The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. Acts 11:21.
And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. Acts 13:49.
Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. Acts 14:1.
Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. Acts 17:12.
Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. Acts 18:8.
And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed." Acts 21:20.
Is numerical growth "a uniquely indigenous American phenomenon?" You be the judge.