Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Invitations: John Broadus vs. Tom Nettles

Below is from Brother Bob Ross.


Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Subject: NETTLES & BROADUS ON "INVITATIONS" [05/30--2006]


I was revisiting Southern Seminary professor Dr. Tom Nettles' book, By His Grace and For His Glory, and read the section wherein Brother Nettles presents his objections to public invitations (pages 411-424). I need not mention his arguments here, as I have before replied to just about every conceivable objection to public invitations, and I saw nothing "new" in Dr. Nettles' that I have not previously covered.

For the benefit of those who might be prone to think we are "picking on" Brother Nettles or anyone else, let me just remind you that we are not the ones who "started the war" about invitations. It was started by those who follow Iain Murray, Ernest Reisinger, the Pedo-regenerationists, the Founders, and others of the "Hybrid Calvinism" category of professing "Calvinism" who have attacked the use of public invitations. We think we have a right to defend what we believe and practice, and we will not condescend to these critics without response.

Dr. Nettles' objections reminded me of how much of a contrast there is between Dr. Nettles' view on this matter and the view of one of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's founders, Dr. John A. Broadus (1827-.

In his famous book, On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, which I used years ago when I was teaching young preachers, Dr. Broadus has this comment on the topic of invitations in his discussion of the "Conduct of Public Worship:"

"In many churches it is customary to follow every sermon with an 'invitation' hymn, during which any who desire to MAKE A PUBLIC PROFESSION OF FAITH or to become members of the church are INVITED to present themselves by COMING TO THE FRONT" (page 375, 1943 edition by Broadman Press).

Dr. Broadus himself was evidently converted under similar circumstances where invitations were used (Life and Letters of John A. Broadus by A. T. Robertson, pages 33-35). I would not be surprised if Nettles himself was converted under similar circumstances.

The following is reported by Dr. Robertson about how young John won his first soul to the Lord during what was obviously a time of public invitation following a sermon:

In a meeting a few months after John's conversion, the preacher urged all Christiansat the close of the service to move about and talk to the unconverted. John looked anxiously around to see if there was anybody present he could talk to about his soul's salvation. He had never done anything of the kind before. Finally he saw a man not very bright, named Sandy. He thought he might venture to speak to him at any rate; and Sandy was converted. John soon went away to teach school. Whenever he came back Sandy would run across the street to meet him and say; "Howdy, John? thankee, John. Howdy, John? thankee, John." Doctor Broadus often told of this first effort of his at soul-winning and would add: "And if ever I reach the heavenly home and walk the golden streets, I know the first person to meet me will be Sandy, coming and saying again: 'Howdy, John? thankee, John.'"

Could you ever imagine an instance wherein Dr. Nettles, Dr. Schreiner, Dr. Mohler, Scott Morgan, Gene Bridges, R. C. Sproul, James White, or an adversary to public invitations would follow the example of young John Broadus and "move about and talk to the unconverted" at the close of a sermon?