Wednesday, January 31, 2007

More Reformed Myths About C.H. Spurgeon

Brother Bob Ross has again hit it out of the park. Having refuted Tom Ascol, James White, and other followers of Iain Murray's strange and extreme Reformed beliefs, Brother Bob takes up his pen again to refute more Reformed myths about Charles Spurgeon and his methods of receiving sinners.

Thanks be to God for Brother Bob Ross for debunking the many myths put forth by the Flounders and their Reformed friends!



We are upon the Anniversary of C. H. Spurgeon's going to be with the Lord on January 31, 1892.

There is perhaps no Christian about whom there has been more legend and mythology perpetuated over the past 150 years than C. H. Spurgeon. And there seems to be no end of it, even among his professed admirers.

I now have in mind the mythology perpetuated in a book, The Great Invitation, by Brother Erroll Hulse, a "Reformed" Baptist pastor of Leeds, England and Editor of the magazine, Reformation Today, and author of several books. I have known Brother Hulse for years, and have heard him preach. He is a fine, decent man, so far as I have known him, but his admirable attributes have not exempted him from perpetuating mythology about Spurgeon.

Brother Hulse has unfortunately not always been accurate in his attempts to categorize C. H. Spurgeon in support of some "hobby horses" related to what Brother Hulse associates with "Reformation" and"Reformed" theology and practice. For example, in another of his books entitled, An Introduction to the Baptists, on page 38, Brother Hulse says that Spurgeon believed the "doctrines of grace" was the only basis for the adequate union of churches during the Down Grade Controversy in the Baptist Union in the 1880s. Actually, Spurgeon never held to any such idea. (See our book on "The Downgrade Controversy" for Spurgeon's own materials on this matter).

Awhile back, I wrote to Brother Hulse to express my disagreement with him:

I must differ with this interpretation of Spurgeon, in the light of what Spurgeon wrote in regard to the Baptist Union and the Down Grade. I thought you might be interested in my refutation of Bro. Iain Murray on his thesis in this regard. . . .

When Mr. Iain Murray of The Banner of Truth published his book, The Forgotten Spurgeon [1966], we wrote a brief notice in our book review column of The Christian Pilgrim. Concerning the "Down Grade Controversy," we said that Mr. Murray's "strong dedication to the Calvinist system" was the occasion for "an endeavor to relate Calvinism to the Down Grade controversy," and we noted that "Spurgeon emphatically denied this when a similar charge was made [by his enemies] during the controversy itself" (The Christian Pilgrim,May 1968, page 13).

While Mr. Murray acknowledges that Spurgeon denied this charge, nevertheless Murray digs up a lot of the materials published against Spurgeon in the 1880s, publishes them, and expresses his agreement with those who made that unjust allegation."

(For more about this matter, see my email of June 17, 2004, ON THE "DOWN GRADE CONTROVERSY," SPURGEON IS MISREPRESENTED BY IAIN MURRAY'S BOOK).

I think Brother Hulse has perhaps been influenced more by Murray than by his own reading of Spurgeon. In fact, Brother Hulse informed that he did not possess Spurgeon's magazine, "The Sword and the Trowel," in which Spurgeon published his comments in denial of the false charges that CHS made Calvinism an issue in the Down Grade.

It also appears that Brother Hulse is the victim of more of Murray's misrepresentation of Spurgeon, this time related to the use of "Inquiry Rooms." This appears to be the case when we consider Brother Hulse's error on this matter which appears in his book entitled, The Great Invitation, in which Hulse likewise apparently relies on misleading materials from Murray.

This book against public invitations has recently been reprinted by Aubudon Press, having been originally published in 1986 by Evangelical Press. Like Murray, Brother Hulse is an ardent opponent of any method of public" appeal" following a sermon which encourages sinners to trust Christ and come forward to make a public profession of faith in Christ during an "invitation" or "altar call."

He has a long list of supposed evils and dangers which he associates with the use of this form of an "appeal." I replied to similar phantasmagoria in a series of articles sent to my email list in 2004. Some of these articlesare on the Internet at our website and also at >><<

Paradoxically, Brother Hulse evidently approves of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones' method of receiving people "in his vestry after services" (page 157) but disapproves of receiving people during an"invitation" at the front of church following a sermon. Dr.Lloyd-Jones was also against public invitations, and as an alternative he used this "vestry" method.

While Hulse condemns "invitations" on the grounds that their use is not"warranted" in Scripture, one wonders if Hulse could demonstrate that Dr. Lloyd-Jones' system of receiving people "in his vestry" has any more scriptural precedent or "warrant" as a method for people professing faith in Christ?

The fact is, Hulse confides that "there is no evidence at all to suggest that a standard form or practice was ever devised, suggested or practiced either in the Old or New Testament" (page 111).

This simply means, according to Hulse, that there is no form, method, or practice which is specifically "warranted" in the matter of making initial professions of faith.

If that be the case, then the "vestry" method to hear professions of faith, which is approved by Hulse, is no more "scriptural" than any other system whereby people confess faith in Christ. If the "invitation" method is condemned by Hulse for lack of scriptural "warrant," then it follows that the "vestry"method is condemned by the same standard. So how can Hulse sanction the method used by Lloyd-Jones and at the same time proscribe against the"invitation" method? Does he have a double standard?

As for the suggestion, implication, or allegation that Spurgeon opposed the"Inquiry room" system, this is completely contrary to the facts of history. Spurgeon opposed the abuse of this method, but no more than he opposed the abuse of Baptism, the Lord's Supper, prophecy teaching, or someother matter. (See my email article of June 5, 2006, "Spurgeon and the Inquiry Room").

Spurgeon advised his own Pastors' College students to use the Inquiry Room:

It is shocking to think that there are ministers who have no method whatever for meeting the anxious, and if they do see here and there one, it is because of the courage of the seeker, and not because of the earnestness of the pastor. From the very first you should appoint frequent and regular seasons for seeing all who are seeking after Christ, and you should continually invite such to come and speak with you.

In addition to this, hold numerous inquirers meetings, at which the addresses shall be all intended to assist the troubled and guide the perplexed, and with these intermingle fervent prayers for the individuals present, and short testimonies from recent converts and others.

As an open confession of Christ is continually mentioned in connection with saving faith, it is your wisdom to make it easy for believers who are as yet following Jesus by night to come forward and avow their allegiance to him. [From Lectures to My Students, Second Series, pages 186, 187, 190].

Even when he warned against the abuse of this method, He did not oppose a method which he himself used. For instance, he said, "Enquiry rooms are all very well . . . ," and "Sometimes shut up that enquiry room . . ." (The Soul Winner, page 15; An All-Round Ministry, page 372). Those statements do not constitute a rejection of the inquiry room, but rather the abuse of it.

For more on this, see my email article: SPURGEON'S "INQUIRY ROOM "WAS A FORERUNNER TO THE "INVITATION" or "ALTAR CALL"[06/05--2006].

Other Errors by Hulse:

It is not now my purpose to critique the entire book by Hulse, but I will just say that this error about Inquiry Rooms is not the only error in the book. Hulse's other errors include the following:

1. In his deprecation of D. L. Moody, Hulse (per Iain Murray) recalls that John Kennedy opposed Moody and that Spurgeon "defended" Kennedy. This is not at all exactly the case, for Spurgeon defended Moody's preaching and methods. It is true that Spurgeon wrote respectfully of Kennedy as to his sincerity, but he definitely did not share Kennedy's opposition to Moody. He said --

"We are very sorry that our esteemed friend, Dr. Kennedy, issued a pamphlet severely criticising the labours of Messrs. Moody and Sankey, whom we judge to be sent of God to bless our land in an unusual degree" (The Sword and Trowel, 1875, page 142).

The fact is, Spurgeon preached an entire sermon in defense of Moody and his message (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 21, Year 1875,#1239, page 337).

2. Hulse has an entire chapter in which he raises the preposterous question, is the public invitation "a new evangelical sacrament?" Such a suggestion as that, within itself, indicts Hulse's treatise as polemically illogical, if not the fanatically irrational.

No one, to my knowledge, who favors or uses invitations to accommodate peoples' confessing Christ as Savior has ever suggested that response to an invitation constitutes being saved. Hulse himself even acknowledges the fact that Billy Graham, Luis Palau, and R. T. Kendall all deny that responding to an invitationis "equal to the new birth" (page 108).

Such a suggestion by Hulse about the invitation's becoming a"sacrament" is simply indicative of the utter bankruptcy of his argumentation against public invitations.

3. Another error by Hulse is his assertions about the role of Charles G. Finney (1792-1875) in relation to invitations. In previous materials, it has been demonstrated that Finney did not originate the public invitation, and that Finney's adopting the use of the "anxious seat" was not the same "inquiry room" method used by both Spurgeon and Moody. See my email article, SPURGEON on FINNEY [9/2/2006]

In closing --

My foregoing remarks do not mean that I object to everything in Hulse's book or that all of his material is without legitimacy, for he does cite what appears to be some cases of the actual abuse of the public invitation. But his errors, his extreme polemical assertions, and veritable absurdities are so prevalent that they make the book a spectacle of futility. -- Bob L. Ross

Friday, January 26, 2007

New Book On Baptism By Mark Dever and Southern Seminary Professors

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has announced that several of their professors have teamed with Mark Dever to write a book on baptism, Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ.

One of the book's editors is Thomas R. Schreiner, a leading advocate of the "born again before faith" heresy. For more on Dr. Schreiner, see the Calvinist Flyswatter article, Southern Baptist seminary professor affirms "regeneration before faith" heterodoxy.

It's bad enough that Southern Seminary has multiple hybrid/hyper/neo/extreme Calvinist professors that promote this strange view of regeneration. Now they have partnered with Mark Dever who is totally over the cliff on the doctrine of baptism.

For discussions of Dever's odd views on baptism, I invite you to visit the following Flyswatter articles:

Mark Dever vs. the SBC and Charles H. Spurgeon,

Children: Mark Dever vs. Charles Spurgeon,

Children: Mark Dever vs. Charles Spurgeon, part 2,

Children: Mark Dever vs. Charles Spurgeon, part 3, and,

Why Did Mark Dever Lose at the Southern Baptist Convention?

I hope Southern Baptists everywhere will reject the odd practices of Mark Dever regarding baptism.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Jerry Grace on Thom Rainer

Brother Jerry Grace recently questioned some of the dealings of Thom Rainer and LifeWay.

Jerry also has looked into Rainer and his tenure at Southern Seminary, saying, "please for goodness sake tell me what business an employee of the Southern Baptist Convention as a high official in its flagship seminary has charging churches for advice about church growth. If he wanted to be a consultant, he should not have been an employee of Southern Seminary."

Aren't SBC seminaries supposed to be the servants of SBC churches, or is it the other way around? Did/does Rainer have a conflict of interest?

More on Rainer here, and here.


Al Mohler The Presbyterian for SBC President?

Jerry Grace has looked at the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and concluded that "Baptists don't make good presidents."

For president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Jerry has endorsed Al Mohler, saying, "let's try a Presbyterian to see if he can pull us out of the hole we are in."


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dr. Mohler Discharged From Hospital

SBTS Student forwarded an email he received from the Executive Assistant to the President at Southern Seminary. The email said,

"I am very pleased to share with you that a short while ago Dr. Albert Mohler was discharged from Baptist East Hospital in Louisville, KY. After a two week hospitalization that included extensive abdominal surgery and a four day stay in the Intensive Care Unit due to pulmonary emboli in the lungs, he and the family are overjoyed to be home. This, indeed, is welcome news and a much anticipated milestone in Dr. Mohler's recovery.

"Please now pray that Dr. Mohler will gain the rest and strength he needs while recuperating at home in the days ahead. As you may guess, he is eager to resume the full rigor of his Presidential and ministerial duties.

"The Mohlers are deeply grateful for the many prayers that have been offered and the expressions of concern so many of you have shown over these past couple of weeks. On behalf of the Mohler family, thank you once again for the Christian love and support you have shown them."

Please continue to pray for Dr. Mohler.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Pray for Dr. Al Mohler

Mohler in intensive care with blood clots in lungs