Sunday, February 08, 2009

Significant observations via Email


[NOTE: At the Reformed Flyswatter, see

Mr. Timmy Brister [of the Flounders, aka Founders Ministries] has announced he is attending yet another conference and is piggy-backing a "Band of Blogger" Conference to the Gospel Coalition National Conference in Chicago. Not only do I think more importance is being put on blogs than should, but this trip to Chicago is about the second or third time he has travelled to a conference since taking up his service at Grace Baptist Church about 6 or 7 months ago. These gentlemen are really into conferences. How many more before the year concludes?

This is an article by Paul Burleson, a long-time SBC Pastor and Wade Burleson's father, in which he affirms he is a 5-point Calvinist and sets forth his view that he would not tell an unbeliever directly that "Christ died for you" but takes the common modern Calvinist approach that "Christ died for sinners and if you are a sinner...."


Not surprisingly, here is another blog repudiating telling an individual unbeliever that Christ died for him or her.


The other day you posted an article concerning a Baptist and modern Calvinist, Kevin Crowder, opting to attend Covenant Theological Seminary rather than a Baptist Seminary. Like a few others on Wade Burleson's blog, he has today staunchly repudiated telling an individual sinner that Christ died for him or her (see below). The grounds given by him and Paul Burleson for refusing to say such is that nowhere in Scripture do we see this said to anyone other than those who are already Christians. Why would we expect differently when the New Testament writings are addressed to Churches and those who are believers and not to unbelievers! How do we know what they would write to address an unbeliever? I think the preferred terminology of these modern Calvinists in addressing unbelievers -- to tell unbelievers that Christ died for unbelievers but refusing to say that Christ died for them -- is hairsplitting and arguing from silence. Such "refined" thinking is often foisted on Calvinistic Pastors so that they do not know how to address unbelievers lest they chose the wrong wording and therefore betray so-called Calvinistic theology. It is very unfortunate.

Kevin M. Crowder said... An open letter to Dr. David Allen, Dean, School of Theology, SWBTS.

BOB'S COMMENTS: The "bottom line," Ian, is that these Hybrid Calvinists have a theory of the Atonement which evidently restricts them from telling an individual sinner, or even a professing Christian, that "Christ died for you," for they literally do not "know" who is really "elect" nor who is really an authentic believer. This probably accounts for why there is so little noticeable effort on their part to evangelize the lost.

C. H. Spurgeon had a different take on the Atonement and addressing sinners, and this no doubt contributed to his success in leading souls to the Lord.

See, then, the love of God in putting it in so plainly—so easy a way. Oh, you broken, crushed and despairing sinner, you cannot work, but can you not believe that which is true? You cannot sigh, you cannot cry. You cannot melt your stony heart, but can you not believe that Jesus died for you and that He can change that heart of yours and make you a new creature? If you can believe this, then trust in Jesus to do so and you are saved, for he that believes in Him is justified! “He that believes in Him has everlasting life.” He is a saved man! His sins are forgiven! Let him go his way in peace and sin no more!>> -- Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 31, Year 1885, pages 391, 392.

Also, in CHRIST’S ONE SACRIFICE FOR SIN, No. 2283, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 38, pages 559, 560, 562:

It is the Son of God who has undertaken this more than Herculean labor! He appeared, Sinner, to save YOU! God appeared to put away sin! Lost One, to find you, the great Shepherd has appeared! Your case is not hopeless, for He has appeared! Had anybody other than God undertaken the task of putting away sin, it could never have been accomplished! But it can be accomplished, now, for HE who appeared is One with whom nothing is impossible! Listen to that and be comforted. Christ appeared “to put away sin.”

What can that mean? It means, first, that Christ has put away sin as to its exclusion of men from God. Man, by his sin, had made this world so obnoxious to Jehovah that God could not deal with its inhabitants apart from Christ’s Sacrifice. He is infinitely merciful, but He is also infinitely just—and the world had become so putrid a thing that He declared that He regretted that He had made man upon the earth. Now this whole world of ours would have gone down into eternal ruin had not Christ come.

John the Baptist cried, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world,” the whole bulk of it! It was then and there removed at one stroke, so that God could deal with man, could send an embassage of peace to this poor guilty world, and could come upon Gospel terms of Free Grace and pardon to deal with a guilty race. That was done. You may all thank God for that! . . . Christ’s death was UNIVERSAL in the removal of the hindrance to God’s dealing on terms of mercy with the world, yet He laid down His life for His sheep.

No one, to my knowledge -- but the Universalist who holds to the actual universal salvation of every man that ever lived or shall live -- believes that Christ's death in its application is not "limited" to believers. Arminians, Calvinists, and all the "tweeners" believe in such a limitation. It is rather senseless to argue this point simply for the sake of a theoretical system of theology, for all agree that believers are the only ones who shall finally be saved.

Obviously, there is a distinction between (1) the "limitation" of the ultimate benefits of the atonement to believers, and (2) the unlimited preaching of the Gospel to "every creature" (Mark 16:16).

Spurgeon did his part to preach the Gospel to "every creature," and could say "Jesus died for you" to every creature, evidently on the grounds of what he believed to be the "universal" aspect of the death of Christ.

At any rate, regardless of any particular theological theory about the death of Christ, the Commission says the Gospel is to be preached to EVERY creature, and to Spurgeon that meant INDIVIDUALS EVERYWHERE:

Oh, we cannot discharge the work for which God has put us here until we have looked into these alleys, these lanes, these courts, these dark places, and have tried our best to take Jesus Christ’s Gospel to every dweller in it! I know you have your Sunday schools and I am thankful you are doing your work there, but do not confine your aspirations to that class. I know I have with this congregation work enough. Still I am not bound to limit myself to any parish or to any locality, but if I can, I must, as much as lies in me go in all directions and in all manner of places to make known the Gospel to every creature! Have you been the means of the conversion of fifty? That is not “every creature,” press on! Were there a 100 added to this Church the other day? That is not “every creature”! There are millions yet to whom Christ is not known! Preach the Gospel everywhere, then.

The majesty of this command overwhelms me! Such a commission was never given before or since. O Church of God! Your Lord has given you a work almost as immense as the creation of a world! No! It is a greater work than that! It is to re-create a world! What can you do in this? You can do nothing effectively, unless the Holy Spirit shall bless what you attempt to do. But that He will do, and if you gird up your loins and your heart is warm in this endeavor, you shall yet be able to preach Jesus Christ to every creature under Heaven! I must not enlarge, for time flies too quickly. It will suffice if I have put the thought into your hearts, that to the servant girl and the duchess, the chimney-sweep and the peer, the man in the poor house or in the palace, we must account ourselves debtors for Christ’s sake to present the Gospel to them according to our ability, never limiting the sphere of our enterprise where an opportunity can be found to carry the Gospel to every creature! . . . It shall be sufficient answer to many of you to say that the reason for preaching the Gospel to every creature is that God has said it.
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 15, Year 1869, pages 630, 631.

It appears that Spurgeon held that the Commission to preach the Gospel to "every creature" is grounds for the theoretical possibility that "every creature" could be saved. In Spurgeon's sermons, time and time again he declared that there is nothing to hinder the salvation of any man but unbelief, and that "damnation is all of man."

Furthermore, I have never found Spurgeon to pronounce any man "elect" or "regenerated" until that man was a believer in Christ. Therefore, he preached to every creature as if that person was a candidate for salvation.

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