Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Children: Mark Dever vs. Charles Spurgeon, part 2

If any reproach us with receiving young children into the church, we will wear the reproach as a badge of honor. C.H. Spurgeon.

I am thankful to Brother Bob Ross for his research into C.H. Spurgeon's views on children. In a day when men like Dr. Mark Dever are reluctant to baptize children under the age of eighteen, it is helpful to see what Baptists have done historically.

Dever, along with Tom Ascol and James White, claims to admire Spurgeon. I have written elsewhere about Ascol and White. Dever is another who "talks the talk" but fails to line up with Spurgeon.



Bob to Charles:

We publish Spurgeon's little book, "Come Ye Children," and on pages 13 and 20, he makes the following comment, directly relating to baptizing young children who profess faith in Christ:

Another ill-result is that the conversion of children is not believed in. Certain suspicious people always file their teeth a bit when they hear of a newly-converted child; they will have a bite at him if they can. They very rightly insist upon it that these children should be carefully examined before they are baptized and admitted into the church; but they are wrong in insisting that only in exceptional instances are they to be received We quite agree with them as to the care to be exercised; but it should be the same in all cases, and neither more nor less in the cases of children. . . .

Thus in these days certain brethren would hardly like to receive many children into the church, lest it should become a society of boys and girls. Surely, if these come into the church in any great numbers, the church may be spoken of in terms of reproach! The outside world will call it a mere Sunday-school. I remember that when a fallen woman had been converted in one of our county-towns, there was an objection among certain professors to her being received into the church, and certain lewd fellows of the baser sort even went the length of advertising upon the walls the fact that the Baptist minister had baptized a harlot. I told my friend to regard it as an honor. Even so, if any reproach us with receiving young children into the church, we will wear the reproach as a badge of honor. Holy children cannot possibly do us any harm. God will send us sufficient of age and experience to steer the church prudently. We will receive none who fail to yield evidence of the new birth, however old they may be; but we will shut out no believers, however young they may be. God forbid that we should condemn our cautious brethren, but at the same time we wish their caution would show itself where it is more required.. Jesus will not be dishonored by the children we have, far more cause to fear the adults.

In the same book, Spurgeon repudiates the "Reformed" views of Shedd, Berkhof, Frame, Sproul and others who believe in "baby regeneration" and the practice of baptizing the babies born to believers, which is based on the pretext of a supposed "covenant" inheritance.

On page 22 onward, Spurgeon says the following:

But it is written, saith one, "that the promise is unto you, and to your children." There never was a grosser piece of knavery committed under heaven than the quotation of that text as it is usually quoted. I have heard it quoted many times to prove a doctrine which is very far removed from that which it clearly teaches. If you take one half of any sentence which a man utters, and leave out the rest, you may make him say the opposite of what he means. What do you think that text really is? See Acts 2:39: "The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." This grandly wide statement is the argument on which is founded the exhortation, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you." It is not a declaration of privilege special to anyone, but a presentation of grace as much to all that are afar off as to them and to their children. There is not a word in the New Testament to show that the benefits of divine grace are in any degree transmitted by natural descent:  they come "to as many as the Lord our God shall call," whether their parents are saints of sinners. How can people have the impudence to tear off half a text to make it teach what is not true? You must sorrowfully look upon your children as born in sin, and shapen in iniquity, "heirs of wrath, even as others"; and though you may yourself belong to a line of saints, and trace your pedigree from minister to minister, all eminent in the church of God, yet your children occupy precisely the same position by their birth as other people's children do; so that they must be redeemed from under the curse of the law by the precious blood of Jesus, and they must receive a new nature by the work of the Holy Ghost. They are favored by being placed under godly training, and under the hearing of the gospel; but their need and their sinfulness are the same as in the rest of the race. If you think of this, you will see the reason why they should be brought to Jesus Christ - a reason why they should be brought as speedily as possible in the arms of your prayer and faith to Him who is able to renew them.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Children: Mark Dever vs. Charles Spurgeon

With so much false teaching about the salvation and baptism of children coming from Mark Dever and his followers, I am thankful that the writings of Charles H. Spurgeon remain a trustworthy voice to refute Dever. Brother Bob Ross, the publisher of Spurgeon for many years, sent this sermon to his email list. Every Southern Baptist "Deverite" should read it.

The Bible says that "they that gladly received his word were baptized." In my opinion, a pastor is living in open disobedience to the Word of God by refusing to baptize a child who makes a clear profession of faith. Why other pastors would promote or fellowship with such a man is beyond me.


Subject: CONVERSION OF CHILDREN [08/26--2006]

By C. H. Spurgeon

“Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child?” -- Genesis 42:22.

I want the church of God, and especially this church, to attend carefully to the next few remarks.

When teachers and others are earnest about the conversion of children, and some of them are converted, they then come into relationship with the church, and too often the Lord’s people need the advice, “Do not sin against the child.”

How can a church so offend? It can do so by not believing in the conversion of children at all.

I am persuaded there are hundreds of Christians who in their hearts altogether mistrust the worth of regeneration, unless the party born again is over sixteen or eighteen years of age; if the inmost thoughts of many professors could be spoken, it would be seen that they are at once suspicious of a conversion if the convert is only thirteen years of age, and yet would cheerfully endorse the same conversion if the person were thirty or seventy. There is a sad respect of persons among us still; a lingering belief that a certain period of years spent in sin must have elapsed before a work can be commenced.

And yet if you were to think, the conversion of a child is in itself no more difficult than the conversion of a full-grown man. With God all things are possible, and if it were right to compare two equally divine works, it should seem to be an easier thing to renew the child than the man. There is less of the dire force of habit to overcome, there is less to forget, less to repent of. Though there be nothing spiritually good in us by nature, yet there is a certain simplicity about the child, and readiness of belief, and absence of cautiousness and questioning, which is exceedingly helpful in receiving the truth.

Where two things are both impossible, except with God, we may draw comparisons. I should really say that the conversion of the child appears to be the simpler work of the two, and how then we have come to imagine it not to be so I can scarcely tell. Surely that same Holy Ghost who can enter into the man of seventy, and overcome his sin, and make him to become like a little child, can enter also into the child, and overcome his natural depravity, and make him willing in the day of God’s power, and lead him to faith in Jesus.

If salvation had to do with mysterious doctrines hard to be understood, if to be a Christian one needed to comprehend the Hebrew and the Greek languages, we might admit the difficulty of the conversion of little children; but if it be all so simple that he that runs may read, and he that reads may still continue to run, if it be all so plain as to be nothing more than this, “He that believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved,” why not a child as capable of faith as a man, and why may it not be as probable that we may see numbers of children converted to God as that numbers of adults may give in their adhesion to the faith?

Get rid of this base idea then, lest you be found sinning against the child. God can save children. He has saved many, he has proved to his unbelieving church the greatness of his power towards the little ones. Thrust out the thought then, and expect from this day that God will save the children as well as others.

Having believed that their conversion is possible, when you hear of it be willing to believe it is so. I do not ask of children that they should be received into the church without examination; I do not claim for a youngster who declares that he is a believer in Christ, that he should be received into the church with any less rigorous examination any adult; all I do ask is that he should not be tormented with needless suspicions, and looked upon as an impostor. Brethren, it would be very greatly sinning against children if the moment their little susceptible minds were made to feel terror on account of sin, we should put that down as repentance; or the moment they felt some joy at the thought of the love of Christ, we should assure them that they possessed faith. This would be to educate them in self-deception.

We should not look to find in the young more than in the old; but so far as faith and repentance are concerned, we must require quite as much. I mean that the same repentance which is needful in an adult in order to salvation, is indispensable in a child; and the faith of God’s elect is the same faith in the youth as in the grey-headed man. Nothing short of real repentance and true faith in Christ can save anybody, and there is no difference in age at all in that respect. We ought, therefore, to expect in a child a sincere hatred of sin, a true sense of its evil, a conviction that he cannot save himself, and a simple reliance upon the work of Jesus which we expect in any other convert; less than this will leave young or old short of eternal life.

Many say, “We must hope for the best, and we must not expect too much of a child;” but I reply, we should do that child most serious injury if we taught him to be satisfied with that which is unsatisfactory, and to rest anywhere but in the Lord Jesus. We must expect as much, but what I plead for is, we must not expect more; for I am sure that there are some ministers and church members who discourage at once any profession of faith from boys and girls.

“Oh! yes,” they say, “it is the morning cloud and the early dew; it will soon pass away.”

They utter sharp and hard things which, if the devil wanted instruments would be the very ones to grieve tender hearts. They put on such frowns, and give themselves such lofty airs, that humble, timid children, shrink back and are to the church for many a day perhaps kept outside her pale. Let us judge them righteously, but let us not judge them censoriously. Let us be willing to receive them to baptism, and to the Lord’s-table, and when they are received, instead of thinking of them as though they were less valuable than other members, let us count them to be the very pride of the flock.

I hate to hear people say, “They have received a pack of children into the church.”

“A pack of children,”
yes, and if Jesus carries them in his bosom, surely you are not imitating Christ, nor exhibiting much of his spirit when you look down upon them and despise them. To me one soul is as good as another. I rejoice as much, in the addition of the poorest mechanic to this church, as if he were a peer of the realm; I am as grateful to God when I hear of repentance in the young as in the aged, for souls’ after all are not affected in value by rank or age. Immortal spirits are all priceless, and not to be weighed in the scale with worlds.

I pray you therefore rejoice if the Spirit of God dwells in the lowly or in the great in the young or in the old. He is the selfsame Spirit, he makes each renewed person equally his temple, and each saved one is equally a jewel of Christ, dear to the heart of the Eternal Father, beloved by him who redeemed all his people alike with his most precious blood. Let us not therefore as a church sin against the child.

From Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 14, Year 1868, Sermon #840, DO NOT SIN AGAINST THE CHILD, pages 631-634.

Friday, August 25, 2006

History and Heresies of Hardshell Baptists, chapter 8

Here is chapter eight of the great series on Hardshell Baptists by Brother Bob Ross.


Subject: #8 -- HARDSHELLISM: "ELEMENTARY, MY DEAR WATSON" [08/05--2006]


[Note: The seven previous articles in this series were posted a few weeks ago on the Internet at the two links listed below. The article was not prepared at the time, and therefore is late in being sent forth for the first time. This material was actually written by a Primitive Baptist minister who included it in his book in which he rebukes the Hardshells for their heresy.


Chapter Eight:


John H. Watson (M.D.) was a Primitive Baptist Minister (born 1798, died 1866), and is described as "the leading minister of the old order of Baptists in Tennessee" (BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY OF PRIMITIVE OR OLD SCHOOL BAPTIST MINISTERS OF THE UNITED STATES by R. H. Pittman, page 285). Also, he was a medical doctor of considerable repute, and taught in the University of Nashville.

Dr. Watson wrote a book entitled, THE OLD BAPTIST TEST, reprinted in recent years by Primitive Baptist Publications, Harvey D. Fulmer (President), 65 N. Lakeside Drive, Ellenwood, Georgia 30049. Every student of Primitive Baptists and their history should read this book. Why it was ever reprinted is indeed a "mystery," for it is a veritable refutation of the "Old Schoolers" on the matter of gospel preaching and their opposition to "means." One might think that Dr. Watson "apostatized," if he ever held to the "Old School" theory.

A large part of the book is devoted to refuting the "Manicheo Parkerite Heresy" of the nineteenth century "Parkerites" who accepted the teachings of Elder Daniel Parker (page 244). This theory had to do with suppositions in regard to the source of Evil and the Devil and his "offspring" ("seed"), also the resurrection of the body. One seldom hears "Parkerism" today, but I am told that it is not altogether gone by the wayside.

The other elements dealt with by Dr. Watson are very much alive among the Hardshells, however, and I doubt that they appreciate Dr. Watson's rebukes and refutations. I am going to reproduce comments which are most appropriate to the anti-gospel, anti-missionary Hardshells. Dr. Watson upholds the use of gospel "means" in the calling of the elect, and he upbraids his "ultra brethren" who oppose preaching to "every creature" (p. 84).

"We fear," he says, that "some are opposed to it, and use their influence to suppress it." He asks, "Brethren, have we not deviated somewhat in this particular from the Apostolic mode of preaching?" (page 85).

Here are the excerpts from --





He must suffer the just for the unjust. He must save them from their sins. Besides, He must be delivered for their offenses, and raised again for their justification. He must ascend on high, and intercede for them. He must go away, that the Comforter might come, to give efficacy, unfailing efficacy to all the means, which He ordained for the ingathering of these "other sheep." Means which, when instituted and employed by the Divine Spirit, will take the way of God's predestination, in all their efficiency; hence, they derive both WAY AND POWER from God.

When we look at the state of these Pagans, we see that there was nothing on which Arminianism could act. There was no religious vitality in it, nothing that would respond spiritually to any of its boasted powers. Arminianism is powerless here. The curse and death of sin must be removed, and Arminian works cannot do it; life, divine life, eternal life, must be given, and Arminianism has none to give, for it cannot even operate in the way of justification when there is life. This the Romans obtained by faith.

Christ in his great love ordained higher and better powers, than any pertaining to any of the different forms of Arminianism. Christ's practical way of bringing these in, excludes all Arminianism. Grace, for instance, puts away all their sins through Christ; gives them eternal life; creates its own help in the soul -- repentance towards God; forms its own will in the heart of the creature; and gives its own faith through the mighty power of God! And then gives assurance of perseverance through the same Power.

Reader, what effect has grace on your heart? Does it engender Arminian powers, or does it repudiate them? If so, then he that enjoys the most grace, has the least Arminianism! May not grace exclude it entirely from the soul, and bring the "new creature" to trust in Christ by faith only for salvation? It surely acted in this way in the case of the Romans. "It was of faith that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed" of which these "other sheep" were a part. Rom. iv, 16. The promise is sure; we see through grace and faith. And the Apostle plainly intimates that it could not have been sure in any other way. So, those who were predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ were called. This then brings me to the subject of their calling. This was of God, and gave efficacy and certainty to all other callings -- by the preacher-- by the written word, or by any means whatever. Grace creates its own helps -- its own works, and its own plans -- all of which will be fully discussed.

Grace creates its own ministry, and its own preaching; it also directs and seals its own blessed truths on the hearts of its own subjects. Hence, Paul in his letter to the Romans defines the Gospel to be the "Power of God unto every one that believes." The power of God unto whom? In this instance they are termed the predestinated of God -- wherein we learn that the Gospel was ordained unto them as the Power of God: a very sure and effectual power, verily! Sure unto them as some of the seed, called in his letter, the predestinated ones, a term synonymous in a Gospel sense with that of seed. Thus, the Gospel as the power of Gold could not fail to reach them with its blessings bad as their natural state was. Any inferior power would have failed. The Gospel as the Power of God must accord, in its practical course, with the foreknowledge and predestination of God. It is absurd to entertain a thought to the contrary.

How did the Gospel become the Power of God to these "other sheep" which Christ brought in from among the Romans? Not by Paul, nor by those who had previously preached to them; for Paul admits that his preaching, and that of others also, was, unto them who were not called of God, foolishness to some, and a stumbling-block to others! We may therefore learn that the preaching of Paul, and of others was included in the calling of God. Hence, the Apostle asks the questions, how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach except they be sent?

And may I not ask most significantly here by whom are they sent? Will our missionary Baptists allow Christ to answer? "Pray ye therefore the Lord of harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest." Herein we are taught they are sent by the Lord; and we ask, no less significantly than in the former question, where? To a theological school? Nay, to the harvest, to the field of active labor. Not one of these "other sheep" was brought in, by any means connected with a theological school, missionary society or missionary pay per job of any kind. But their preachers were the servants of the Church for Christ's sake, for the sake of the Gospel and for the sake of souls -- doing their work all the while under the power of inward grace, and not from outward constraints; hence, Paul says, "not I, but the grace of God which was with me;" while we fear some, in our times, might with equal propriety say, not by the constraint of grace, but by those outward considerations which are offered. The ministry of Christ has a Bible feature in this respect, which has distinguished it from every other, in all ages; one which it has not yet lost, nor ever will, as long as He, in answer to the prayers of his people, sends laborers into his harvest.

For the bringing in of these "other sheep" Christ sent preachers to them; they spoke, the Lord opened the heart, and the hearer attended to the things spoken. If this three-fold cord will not bind modern Missionaries, and constrain them to pursue the Lord's way of bringing in his "other sheep" of the present day, we ask what will? Our only resource is in the prayer, that God of his great power and mercy will grant them repentance unto an acknowledgment of his own Divine Plan. They seem indeed to have forgotten that Christ is still in agreement with his word, and that some of these "other sheep" are now being brought, and if so, on the same divine plan; for they are in the same relation to Himself both doctrinally and ministerially that the Romans were, as far as regards the promises of the Gospel. For they are made sure to all of them. Rom. iv, 16.

But to proceed with the Romans: A failure of the Gospel to these Gentiles, whom Christ said, He must also bring, would have been, as we have seen, through the power of God! Just as if those "other sheep" unto whom Paul and Barnabas preached at Antioch in Pisidia had not believed, the failure would have been through the ordination of God! Acts xiii, 48. A thought too wicked, and too absurd to be entertained for a moment! As far as preaching the Gospel was concerned they were brought in under the last general commission. "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, and he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned."

Every creature
, bond and free, male and female, all sorts, all grades, from the king to the peasant, in all countries and in all times and ages are included in this broad and general commission. But, observe, preaching the Gospel according to this commission, latitudinous as it is, never did, nor ever will add to the number of God's chosen ones. Christ still says in his word, "many are called, but few are chosen."

Further, that this commission does not extend to any who are incapable of believing, under the operation of the blessings of the Gospel. Hence, infants and idiots are not subjects of Gospel address; but we know they may become subjects of its grace when the Gospel becomes the Power of God unto them in the bestowal of grace. And, inasmuch as Christian baptism can be received only through the faith of the operation of God, they cannot become visible subjects of the Church. Therefore, we see no account of infants having been brought into Christ's fold from among the Romans. Had there been as much ceremonious sprinkling of them in those days as in ours, he, who did not shun to declare all the counsel of God, surely would have given full instructions on the subject. Nay, when "the Lord added daily to the Church such as should be saved," not single instance is recorded! Therefore we with confidence assert there were no infants in the Church at Rome.

Although the holy scriptures are thus explicit on the subject of preaching as ordained in subordinate agreement with the inward calling of God, they are no less plain in regard to the general call of the gospel as proclaimed under the last commission which embraces every creature. As it is very necessary for us to entertain correct views of this part of our subject also, I will offer a few remarks just here for the consideration of some of our ultra brethren, who, I fear, have imbibed erroneous views on this important, and just at this time very interesting subject. And I further fear that all such will object to my exposition of it; but see, brethren, that you do not, by so doing, refuse the testimony of the Bible!

There is, strange to say, an error entertained by some brethren, that the minister of the Lord should not call on "all men every where to repent;" on sinners to look to Christ and be saved; nor an unbelievers to believe. They are constantly saying, to preach in this way betrays Arminianism on the part of the ministry which thus exhorts its hearers, and also on the part of the Church which tolerates such preaching! Observe, shall we become Arminians by faithfully preaching according to the commission given by the Saviour? Some, indeed seem to think so! For when the minister discharges his duty zealously, faithfully and in a gospel manner, there are certain ones who cry out, he is an Arminian! The great error, that this is one of the varieties of Arminianism, is affecting both our pulpits and Churches; for instead of requiring this kind of preaching, and sustaining it as a Church, we fear some are opposed to it, and use their influence to suppress it? I ask now, in the name of this world-wide commission, including as it does every creature capable of hearing, and which authorizes and commands the ministerial servants of the Lord to preach the gospel to every creature, who does so? With that love, zeal and regard for the sinner, I subjoin to the question, which the Lord enjoins. Further, is it not to be feared that we have in this way grieved and silenced to some extent the spirit of exhortation in our pulpits? The spirit of exhortation which spoke out plainly and fully, through primitive ministers in the great affair of bringing in these "other sheep" we fear is now with us only in a grieved and vexed state! Primitive preachers did not suppress it, nor attempt to confine its word of exhortation to believers only, as some affect to do among us! The following scriptural truths may be read with profit by all. Yes, reader, I am willing for you to lay down this production until you search the Scriptures and examine the subject according to the following references: Luke iii, 18. Acts ii, 40; xiii, 15, Rom. xii, 8, and I Tim. iv, 13.

Others of equal force might be added. It is high time that our Churches were looking after their preachers in this respect, and calling on them for those pointed warm gospel exhortations which accompanied Christ's primitive ministry. Brethren, have we not deviated somewhat in this particular from the Apostolic mode of preaching? If so, let us correct our errors by the word of God. Who is willing to attempt it? Who is ready to lead off in this great but neglected work as "examples" to more timid and fearful ones? Let those undertake it who are able to convince the gainsayers from the word of God, that such preaching was commanded by the Lord; and that the preaching of his servants as long as we have a Scriptural history of it furnishes a practical example of this mode of preaching the gospel.

A gospel without exhortation; without a call on the sinner to repent and believe; a gospel which does not in word address itself to all; is not the gospel which Christ ordained subordinately for the bringing in of his "other sheep." And for the benefit of the Arminian I will also add, nor is a gospel without the power of God, without predestination, without election, without spiritual blessings, the gospel ordained of God for the bringing in of those "other sheep." So that we are bold to affirm that the gospel embraces all these things.
Let us take a practical example. We have it on record in the 13th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. When Paul and Barnabas preached at Antioch of Pisidia, had any of our ultra brethren been there and heard their zealous appeal to all those present, they would have called them Arminians. And Arminians in their objection to the revealed history, that "as many as were ordained to eternal life believed," contradict it by saying that all might have believed, one as well as another. Thus we perceive, that the notions of each are wrong.

While we combat this ministerial deviation of ours on the part of some, which affects to find Arminianism where there is none, let us carefully guard against those tenets which do really involve it. For instance, when we in our doctrine maintain that by means of our own devising, we can extend the spiritual blessings of the gospel beyond the ordination or election of God, and employ such means for such a purpose, we then deviate both from the principles and practical course of the gospel, and thereby plainly indicate that we are Arminians in the proper sense of that term, so justly opprobrious to the Old Order of Baptists. But as long as we call on all men to repent everywhere, believing that God only can give repentance, and that he will give it to as many as are ordained unto eternal life, even if He does not to as many as we may address, we may escape all Arminianism, and more especially if our practical course in preaching does not involve any unscriptural methods.

Let us see: The zealous preacher calls on all to repent, earnestly, faithfully and I may add, gospelly, but alas! The older brother whose head has got wrong, whose heart has grown cold, says all cannot repent, some have not the power to do so. How does he know?

Peradventure the Lord has given the power to repent to the very ones whom he had in his feelings excluded. The secret power, and merciful grace of repentance may have pervaded their souls hidden and unseen by him, and be moving their hearts in the sure way of repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Forgetting that He who gives repentance and faith, also gave the word; and that he who is exalted a Prince and Saviour to give repentance unto the elect, also commanded that his gospel should be preached in the letter to all--to every creature.
But the objector here repeats that all men will not receive its blessings, and why call on all to receive them! But how dare any to say when the faithful preacher is calling on a congregation to receive these blessings, that some of them may not be at that time receiving them. The gospel may be going forth to them not in word only as they suppose, but "in power, in much assurance and in the Holy Ghost."

The gospel must be preached in all of its fullness in the word, for that which goes forth in word only is the same gospel in the letter, which goes forth in power through the Spirit. Then it is God who makes one hearer differ from another, and not the preacher. While it is foolishness and a stumbling block to some after the best efforts of the preacher; through a demonstration of the Spirit it becomes to others the wisdom and power of God. So, it is the same gospel all the while, which Christ has commanded his ministerial servants to preach, with all its merciful promises, and exhortations, warnings, doctrinal teachings, glad tidings, ordained ordinances, etc., to every creature, not allowing them to make any kind of exceptions in that respect.

How mortifying to the feelings of a faithful preacher to be called an Arminian on account of preaching according to the very commission which Christ gave for the rule and government of his ministry. Brethren preachers, it is high time that we strive to please God in this affair rather than men. It is high time indeed that some of us were waking up on this subject; let us rather exhort our opposing brethren to pray the Lord that he would open the hearts of our hearers to attend to the truths which we may preach, knowing that none will heed to profit without this blessing to the great end that the "other sheep" of our day may be brought in.
Here again the objector says, why pray for that which is sure? This, verily is the very reason why we should pray for it; for we can only have hope in prayer which seeks the things which God has ordained for us, and which may accord with His will to grant. Christ said in his day, that He must bring them; and did that declaration hinder the prayers of his primitive ministers?

Before closing the subject of preaching I will state, that the word of God must also be rightly divided. Both the sheep and the lambs must be fed; they must be directed to the "Plant of Renown." The man of full stature in Christ, and the babe of his bosom, must be fed. Strong [Top of Page 89:] meats must be dealt out for one, and the sincere milk of the word for the other. These specialties were plainly commanded by Christ, for he said to his servant, "Feed my sheep, Feed my lambs;" and after the general commission had been given by Him, it was again enjoined by his apostle: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with his own blood." The Old Order of Baptists have been more mindful of these specialties than any other people, and although some have deviated in their preaching from the general commission, all have not. There are yet a few who content for the general outward call of the Gospel, but we doctrinize it to much, lest some ultra brother should conclude that we are Arminians.

Having given an exposition of the state of the Roman Christians before their conversion to Christianity, and of the Lord's practical way of bringing them in; it remains to treat of them in their renewed state. They were, according to a plain scriptural exposition, justified. By whom? By Him who called them, for whom He called, them He also justified. Then it is God who justifies. By whom does He justify? By Christ; for, it is Christ who died, yea rather, that is risen again, who was raised for our justification. Hence, they were in a justified state; a state which did not admit of condemnation, for there is no condemnation to them who are justified by Christ according to Apostolic teaching.

Reader, were they justified, I ask most significantly, by their own works of righteousness or by the imputed righteousness of Christ, which is by faith, "unto all and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference?" Thus we are plainly taught that the Romans were justified by Christ's righteousness, and not by their own.

[Page 180:]
Another new thing came up among them: their large assemblies which they call ASSOCIATIONS. Some ten or fifteen Churches unite and form one of these bodies, and then appoint delegates to meet annually at one of these Churches; and they there read letters from the different Churches composing this ecclesiastical assembly, and then discuss the different things which may be brought before them by a select committee. Having never witnessed anything of the kind before, I determined to try them by the word of God. I saw at once that they were well calculated to develop a dangerous power, which, whether it be subordinate or paramount to that of Church power, may be employed for the accomplishment of ambitious designs.

Though all the constitutions of these bodies declare that all their acts shall be subordinate to the Churches, yet it may be readily seen that there is a disposition on the part of ambitious leaders, and even some Churches led by them, to appeal to this ecclesiastical tribunal. This is another subject which I would like to see discussed through the medium just indicated, for I think there are elements at work in these bodies, which may engender a controlling power exterior to the Churches composing it, and which may re-act on the Churches in the production of much distress.

I observed another variation, which, although small, violates a principle which they seem to wish to maintain: In speaking of their ministers they occasionally designate them as the moderator of an association, even after its adjournment, and another as the pastor of four Churches, objecting all the while to all other ministerial titles.

Nor are they careful, as was the first practice, to lay up "upon the first day of the week as God hath prospered" them, that there by no gathering at improper times. 1 Cor. xvi, 2. This custom is not regarded by them as it should be.

Further, I was much surprised as well as mortified that they evinced so little concern about the unbrought "other sheep" which the Saviour said he must bring. They lay great stress on these words of the Saviour, but do not regard other things which he connected with the bringing them in as they ought to do. I heard but few prayers for the sending forth of laborers into his field; nor did I see much concern in any way about them. The Lord's foreknowledge, predestination, calling, etc., have the same relation to them, in principle at least, that they had at the beginning--the same to the last one which HE will bring that they had to the first. He does not foreknow the first one that he brought more fully than he does the last one that he will bring. Nor is his predestination any weaker toward that one, or his calling less sure! They preach well about the "effectual call," as they term it, but not so well about the outward one. No one should dare to limit the Lord to any rules which he may have prescribed for us to pursue for the accomplishment of great ends; but this does not release us from an obligation to employ them.

I felt inclined to ask these orthodox Christians, if they believed that any of the "other sheep" are now among the heathen nations? And if they were watching the providence of God in regard to them? Moreover, if they felt under any obligations to search them out; to pray unto the Lord to bring them in; and to encourage, aid and send out any who may feel called of the Lord to preach to them? I find that the great extravagance of many who have engaged in this work has had a very bad influence on these people, and probably prevented them in some instances from performing their duty toward the "other sheep" which may be in distant countries. And I really fear should any one profess a call of this kind, he would not receive the fellowship and assistance which he would be entitled to. Thus I fear they do not act as did those who heeded all the commandments of the Lord.

I also discovered that their elders, or pastors, pursued secular employments to a surprising extent, and that they were not cared for by the Churches as they ought to be; and that the pastor of four Churches did not get even a necessary support from them. Hoping that some of their wise men will engage in a friendly controversy on these subjects, I will say no more about them now.

I will also close my fanciful sketch of realities, and entertain the fact that we are the Old Order of Baptists of the nineteenth century, justly chargeable with the deviations acknowledged, looking prayerfully and hopefully for their correction by the word of the Lord, and the light of grace in the hearts of our brethren.

How shall these errors by corrected?
1. By weekly meetings instead of monthly ones.
2. Let our elders take charge of one Church only.
3. Let out associations be means of communion and not institutions.
4. Allow no standing titles of moderator and pastor of four Churches.
5. Lay up on the first day of the week as the Lord has prospered us.
6. Perform our duties to the "other sheep" which may be in heathen countries.
7. Let not elders entangle themselves too much with the things of the world.
8. Let the Churches do their full duty to their pastors and traveling ministers.
9. Let the deaconry be revived among us.

The manner of these reforms is now open for discussion, and I suggest that it be carried on in the HERALD OF TRUTH. [End of Dr. Watson's article].

We urge those among the Primitive Baptists to give ear to Dr. Watson's words and forsake the "antism" that split the Baptists in the 1800's. Renounce the "direct voice" regeneration heresy of Gilbert Beebe and turn away from the anti-London Confession thinking of Cayce, the "Christian Baptist" brotherhood of S. T. Tolley and associates, the Lassere Bradley, Jr. sect, and others of this order. Follow the advice of Dr. John H. Watson, one of the truly enlightened brethren of "Old School" Baptists. Get back to the faith and order of the London Confession of Faith!

Articles previously published:

#1 - "Hardshellism" - A Modern Cult and an Enemy of the Gospel
of Christ
#2 - Which Primitive Baptist Faction is the "Original Church"?
#3 - The Original Issue in the Anti-Missionism Movement Was on
Methods, Not Theology
#4 - The "Old Baptists" and the Old Baptist Faith
#5 - Hardshellism's Diluting the Baptist Confession of Faith
#6 - Hardshell Doctrine is Pelagianism in a 19th Century Package
#7 - John Gill, Not a Hardsehll or Hybrid Calvinist

Friday, August 18, 2006

James White's Egomania

If you had any doubt that "Dr." James White was a egomaniac, this should put your doubt to bed. He now welcomes comparisons of himself to Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer!

A Calvinist Flyswatter reader once said, "One suspects that (James') fan base consists of imbalanced 43 yr old single males who dwell in the cavernous climes of their parents' basements."

Ya gotta wonder.

For more on Brother James,

Sunday School with James White;

Evangelism: Tom Ascol and James White vs. Charles Spurgeon;

(James White worshipper) Alan Kurschner has egg on his face;

The James White 'Born Again Before Faith' White Lightning Distillery;

The odd logic of James White;

Bob Ross: "Railing on Apostle James?"; and,

James White and Rossphobia

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mark Dever For "Regulative Principle?"

It seems Mark Dever is at it again. Brother Bob Ross asks if Brother Dever is running for another office.


See also Why Did Mark Dever Lose at the Southern Baptist Convention?; Mark Dever vs. the SBC and Charles H. Spurgeon.

Bob to Charles:

It seems, Charles, that Mark Dever of the Founders may be "running" for the office of "Regular Principal" of the SBC.

By now, you have probably read Dever's recent gripe about the SBC's rejection of the Founders' proposal -- which in effect would call for SBC church membership rolls to be depleted of members who are not in compliance with what the Founders consider "scriptural" church attendance -- whatever that is.

The "paradoxical" thing about the Founders' proposal is that the Founders have already pronounced the SBC to be "an unregenerate denomination."If that be so, should not all the "unregenerates" in the memberships of SBC churches be depleted from the churches' membership rolls? Why cut-off only those who are non-attendees?

Why limit the "discipline" merely to those who are in non-attendance? Will excluding the non-attendees serve to "regenerate" the other "unregenerates" who are still in membership and do attend?

Wonder why the Founders' limited this proposal to church attendance when they have so many other grounds of condemnation for SBC churches? And if the Founders had had their way on this proposal, what would be next?

What would Dever propose to be the "proper age" for baptism? Should one be allowed in membership who is not baptized in accord with the "proper age" idea?

How about tithing? Should one be a member if he does not at least tithe?

How about "Reformed" Hybrid Calvinism? Should one be a member who does not believe in "born again before faith"?

How about "5 Point Calvinism"? If 5PC is the one-and-only expression of the Gospel, should a less-than 5PC be permitted to be a member of the church?

What about public invitations? Should one be a member of an SBC church if he approves of the use of public invitations?

What does the Founders' "Regulative Principle" call for, and who will be the "Regulative Principal" to expound it to us?

Will Mark Dever be one of the "chosen ones" to tell us what the RP authorizes?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dr. Tom Nettles to speak at Presbyterian church and conference

Dr. Tom Nettles, professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is a featured speaker at the upcoming "2006 Apologetics Group Conference on Reformed Theology."

The conference will be held October 6-7 at Draper's Valley Presbyterian Church in Draper, Virginia.

Dr. Nettles participation in this conference is another sad reminder of how far the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has departed from the beliefs of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. Nettles is a big promoter of the "regeneration before faith" theology that is strongly linked to Reformed theology. Such beliefs are rejected by nearly all Southern Baptist churches, yet Nettles and Southern Seminary have no problem promoting such beliefs even if they have to do so in Presbyterian churches.

When will Southern Baptist churches wake up and stop paying the salaries of professors and seminaries which do not believe what the churches believe? Only time will tell.

For more information on Tom Nettles and Southern Seminary, see Invitations: John Broadus vs. Tom Nettles;

Tom Nettles Relies on Theologian Who Rejected Regeneration Before Faith Theology;

Is Al Mohler Responsible for the SBC's Drop in Baptisms?;

Southern Seminary Welcomed Wayne Grudem Who Believes Regeneration Can Occur Before Physical Birth; and

Southern Seminary Welcomed John Frame Who Teaches Salvation Occurs By Believing Nothing

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sunday School with James White

Poor James White.

His nerves must be rattled. First, he goes on the Founders blog and in my opinion makes a fool of himself by asking the Caner brothers to debate him. He is backed by his worshippers, drunk on his "White Lightnin'," who call the Caners chicken. In their eyes, you ain't nothin' 'less you prove to James that you can hold your White Lightnin'.

The Caners find James more comical than courageous, and agree to a debate. Now it's White who looks chicken for running from Brother Bob Ross. White's worshippers delete all mention of his "Rossphobia," but that's another story.

By comparision, White knows little-to-nothing of Baptist history, so he asks Tom Ascol for help. Now to me that's like asking the grill boy at McDonalds for help in cooking prime rib. But I digress.

Ascol agrees, and then pulls out. Then saddles up again. Then Phil Johnson bleaches White out on the "Sovereign Grace" celebrity Reformed Calvinist cruise.

With all the excitement, what's James to do? Well, he does teach Sunday school in his tiny Reformed Baptist church, where he serves as an "elder."

I began to wonder. What's it like to have James White as a Sunday school teacher? So I looked on his church's web site.

On 5/14/06, the lesson title was: the Shabir Ali Debate.

On 4/30/06, the lesson title was: Debate Report.

On 4/23/06, the lesson title was: Debate Report.

On 9/12/05, the lesson title was: Debate Report.

Apparently, going to James White's Sunday school consists of frequent "reports" of James talking about his performance in his debates! I guess it works for the small number of people who go to James' church. But for me? No thanks.

James White: Color him egotistical. But then again, you already knew that, didn't you?


More Blunders from Gene M. Bridges

Gene M. Bridges, the ex-Southern Baptist bloviating blogger, is at it again. Brother Bob Ross has responded to Gene's latest attempts to prop up the Reformed theory of "regeneration before faith."

Despite his lack of serious scholarship, Gene has developed a small readership that is akin to the blind leading the blind. Gene's misuse of sources, "lack of theological savvy," and general incompetence regarding the issue make his "born again before faith" blog an untrustworthy resource for Southern Baptists looking for clarity on the issue.


See previous articles: Gene M. Bridges falls down on "regeneration before faith" and The Blunders of Gene M. Bridges



Bob to Charles:

Once again, Charles, Gene Bridges has been spending his time cutting and pasting, repeating the same old jargon, and primarily utilizing materials from pedo-regenerationists who follow the Shedd-Berkhof theory of "born again before faith."

In his latest, Gene again demonstrates his lack of theological savvy by alleging that there are "three views" on regeneration among professing Calvinists. Actually, the fact is, there are essentially only two views; either --

(1) The Holy Spirit uses the instrumentality of the Word of God, or Gospel, in creating the constituent elements of repentance and faith, which constitutes the New Birth. We understand this is the view set forth in the Confessions of Faith and has been generally held by most Baptists, particularly Southern Baptists.

(2) The Holy Spirit, without instrumentality, "regenerates" as a "direct operation", with repentance and faith being separate and subsequent acts to the supposed preceding "regeneration." For this view, the most popular and extensive theological expositions are found in the theologies of pedo-regenerationists, Dr. Shedd and Dr. Berkhof.

Gene tries to refute us, Charles, and he tends to skirt around the issue of "baby regeneration" like it is a separate issue altogether. He fails to give any serious consideration of the fact that the very theory that "regeneration precedes faith" was concocted by the pedos as their "classic" argument in behalf of their false doctrine that "covenant children" receive regeneration in infancy apart from means and faith. So they argue that if regeneration takes place in infancy without means and faith, then it must likewise be the case with adults. The fact is, they have yet to prove that their babies are born again.

Gene apparently eschews facing the fact that the "born again before faith" theory which he is defending grows out of the pedo-regenerationist effort to justify infant baptism and church membership for "covenant children." So he heaps scorn upon us when we refer to the matter of "baby regeneration," and calls this a separate issue.

Gene "inGeneously" explains that the admitted "change" by pedos -- from the earlier Calvinistic view on regeneration to the later "born again before faith" theory -- is merely a "change in language." He says, "Yes, the language has changed. Nobody denies this". But Gene does not see the significance of this change.

He attributes the theological fatherhood of the theoretical "change of language" to the pedo-regenerationist, Francis Turretin (1623-1687): "Turretin, however, began distinguishing between 'conversio habitulis' and 'conversio actualis,' and from that point on the language has evolved," according to Gene and his patch-and-paste material.

Baby regenerationists such as Shedd and Berkhof have followed the Turretin "evolution" in theoretical language. Does this mean that Turretin is the "father" of the "born again before faith" heresy -- the "ordo salutis" of the Reformed pedos? Or, can Gene find one before Turretin who should have the "honor"?

Gene, however, for some reason does not tell you that Turretin taught that "Some infants are regenerated in the womb, and before baptism, others in baptism, others after"

This is essentially the same palabber taught by Shedd and Berkhof.

This is enough to make a Bible student wonder how much a man really knows about the New Birth when he thinks that "some infants are regenerated in the womb." Would Gene ordain him to the Baptist ministry or allow him to teach Sunday School?

Then Gene goes on in this article -- which is typical of his "normal" labyrinth of mega-strosities -- and winds up with no more than what he began with -- the same ole "Reformed" pedo heresy of "born again before faith."

He wastes a lot of words and space writing about different views on "infant salvation," which is a matter no one really knows anything about, but that does not seem to hinder Gene from his verbosity on the subject.

The "bottom line" is, Charles, according to Gene (1) you and I and most all Baptists for hundreds of years are wrong to believe that the New Birth is the work of the Holy Spirit in His use of the instrumentality of the Word in creating repentance and faith, and (2) the pedos (baby regenerationists) and Hardshells are correct when they say that "regeneration" takes place prior to faith.

If you want to read the defense of the pedo-regenerationist and Hardshell position that "regeneration" takes place prior to the Spirit's creation of faith in Jesus Christ, see Gene Bridges at on Monday, August 7.


Bob to Charles:

Gene Bridges refers to Dr. Peter Masters of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, and alleges that Dr. Masters holds a view which involves "Regeneration precedes faith."

However, this did not appear to me to be the view which Dr. Masters taught in his book, Physician of Souls, pages 79-92. In fact, Dr. Masters opted to not even use the word "regeneration" because it "nowadays causes instant confusion" (page 81).

While he taught -- as we also teach -- that there are pre-faith influences or acts by the Holy Spirit, he evidently did not think these were enough to constitute the New Birth. He used the terms "conception," "awakened," and "conviction," but did not indicate that these were yet the New Birth.

In fact, he does not use "New Birth" until Justification occurs -- with which the New Birth is said to be "simultaneous" (page 90).

He says, "So as soon as repentance and trust is genuine, we believe justification and new birth may occur," and conjunctively with justification "he is now completely born again" (pages 90, 91).

In Dr. Masters' chart on page 94, his presentation places "Repentance and Faith" before "Justification and the New Birth," and he says, "Once 'Repentance and Faith' is genuine there can be no further delay and the New Birth is wrought by the Lord."

Therefore, it seems that Dr. Masters understands the New Birth about the same as Dr. B. H. Carroll on the New Birth -- that it is "not complete without faith." (An Interpretation of the English Bible, Vol. 10, page 294).

Gene Bridges, on the other hand, has the New Birth being complete before faith. Gene is of the pedo-regenerationist/Hardshell camp on this issue.


Bob to Charles:

Gene Bridges evidently "borrowed" from Phil Johnson about Peter Masters, but Gene did not make half the report on Masters that Phil made.

Here is how Phil reported Masters' view on the new birth:


Today, in the earliest afternoon session, Dr. Peter Masters gave a message on evangelistic preaching that made a perfect complement to Chris Buss's Wednesday morning message. He gave a wonderful defense of the gospel's free offer. To say that Dr. Masters is not a fan of John Murray's book Redemption: Accomplished and Applied would be putting it mildly. He objects to Murray's treatment of regeneration as an instantaneous, almost unconscious event.

Dr. Masters sees regeneration as a process that subsumes various aspects of God's converting work — effectual calling, conviction, spiritual awakening, conversion, and the genesis of faith. These, he said, usually aren't simultaneous; they occur over time and are the work of God's Word on the mind. That's why evangelistic preaching ought to be persuasive. When an elect person comes to faith, his mind ought to be fully convinced in the process. Dr. Masters said that John Murray, by contrast, seems to regard conversion as so much the work of God that the believer's mind is, in effect, totally passive and may even remain unconscious of the change that has occurred.

Dr. Masters at one point said of Redemption: Accomplished and Applied that in his assessment, "about 25 percent of it is hyper-Calvinistic." He made a very direct appeal for a return to passionate, persuasive, evangelistic preaching. It was a great message, very thought-proroking and well worth listening to. Dr. Masters' opinion on Calvinism and evangelism would seem to have a special credibility in light of the amazing fruits of the evangelistic ministry here at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

As you know, Charles, John Murray is a "Reformed" theologian in the same tradition of those who teach "regeneration before faith."

Thanks to Gene Bridges for mentioning Masters, for we certainly concur with his evaluation of Murray's "Reformed" view on the new birth.


Gene Bridges alleges:

"We know little more than men believe because they are regenerated (I John 5:1). . . . regeneration comes before saving faith (1 John 5:1) "

This is a complete distortion of the passage -- which palabber Bridges may have imbibed from a jug of "White Lightnin'" brewed by the "born again before faith" brewmaster, James White.

John is teaching believers how they may "know" that they are born of God, and he tells them that "whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God," and he goes on to state the fact that their "faith" is the "WHATSOEVER" which is "born of God" (1 John 5:4). Faith is therefore proof of their being born of God.

Therefore, if one has faith, he may know and be assured that he is "born of God" for his faith is "born of God," according to 1 John 5:4. Since faith is the victory which overcomes and is that which is born of God (1 John 5:4), the one who has faith (believes) may thereby "know" that he is "born of God."

Gene Bridges, like the normal Hardshell, has distorted the verse to teach that one is "born again before faith." Accordingly, the passage should read, "Whosoever believeth was already born of God before he believed."

But John is not saying a word about "regeneration comes before saving faith." He is rather saying that faith is the proof that the believer is born of God.

Since the Holy Spirit uses the Word to give faith its birth (1 Peter 1:23; James 1:l8; 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Thess. 1:5), the person who has that faith which is born of God may know that he is indeed a born again believer. Obviously, if faith is born of God (1 John 5:4), a person would not have faith if he were not born of God.