Friday, February 16, 2007

Are Altar Calls Justified by Founders' Founder, Ernest Reisinger?

Brother Bob Ross looks at what the founder of the Flounders conceded about altar calls.


Bob to Charles:

Although the creator of the Founders Ministries, Ernest Reisinger, says in his book on "Worship" that "the invitation system has no place in the church that seeks to be biblical" (page 110), I am strongly inclined to believe that Ernest's rather broad exposition of the "regulative principle" (page 11) at least contradicts the deprecation of the normal use Baptists make of altar calls or invitations.

In fact, while Ernest's conclusions about "the invitation system" may hold true in any particular case where an altar call is misused and made to mean something which violates the truth of the Gospel, yet in regard to what I observe to be the normal practice in Baptist churches, I believe Ernest concedes enough to actually justify the normal Baptist altar call.

Yes, Charles, this may come as a surprise to some of the anti-invitationists, but what Ernest says in this book appears to be quite sufficient to legitimatize the use of invitations (or altar calls) -- at least as they are used in most Gospel-preaching Baptist churches with which I am acquainted. Notice the concessions, all of which are supportive of the use of altar calls --

1. Ernest says there is nothing "intrinsically evil" involved in altar calls (page 150).

2. Ernest approves of using an altar call or invitation as a "way" whereby a person can express his desire for baptism (page 150). He says, "There is no valid reason why it cannot be done in response to an invitation from the pastor. Those who believe themselves to be recipients of saving grace can surely be invited to come forward and present themselves as candidates for baptism" (pages 150, 151).

3. Ernest says that invitations are neither "commanded" nor "forbidden" (page 151). Consequently, invitations neither add to nor take from anything revealed in the Word of God.

4. Ernest approves of "inviting hearers to respond to the gospel message by faith and repentance" (page 90). He says that lost people "should be invited to come to Christ" and this should be done "before, during, and AFTER the sermon. They should be invited to faith and repentance before, during, and after the worship service. They should be invited to come to Christ," he says, "AT WHATEVER TIME, WHEREVER THEY ARE. Today is the day of salvation! . . . We believe in GIVING AN INVITATION to respond to the gospel message in faith and repentance" (page 91).

5. Ernest says that "God commands people EVERYWHERE to believe the gospel" (page 92). This would of course include those who hear the Gospel preached in a church or evangelistic service, and who are encouraged by the preacher to immediately obey the Gospel by believing it, and coming forward to confess their faith in Christ as Saviour.

6. Ernest iimplies that millions have been saved where invitations were used. His book says there are 15.8 million Southern Baptists and "most of these" became church members "by walking down an aisle" (page 102). Of these 15.8 million members, according to Ernest's calculation 32.7 percent attend worship services. Since attendance and non-attendance of worship services seems to be regarded by Ernest as an indicator or mark of a person's spiritual state, this would imply that millions who responded to invitations in Southern Baptist churches and attend church services are presumably saved people -- according to Ernest's own figures.

7. Ernest says, "As long as the implication is eliminated that coming forward is required for salvation, the altar call can serve a useful and appropriate purpose" (page 151).

8. Ernest says that Scriputral support "does not have to be direct to be true" (page 33). He cites the "trinity" as an example, noting that the word "trinity" does not occur in the Bible. He says that evidence supporting a matter "is not subject to simple proof-texting" (pages 33, 34). In other words, we do not have to have a "prooftext" which specifically names an item in order for it to be approved, according to the "regulative principle."

I think, Charles, that at least these eight items are sufficient to justify the use of altar calls, inviting an unsaved person to believe on Christ and come forward to profess his faith. The only valid objection to altar calls that Ernest appears to have is his objection to their being presented as a "requirement for salvation." I personally have never heard an invitation in which that requirement was set forth.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bend it Like Timmy Brister!

Bend it Like Brister!

American sports commentators were all abuzz a few weeks ago when soccer superstar David Beckham announced he was moving from Europe to play soccer in Los Angeles. Beckham is known for his incredible free kicks in which the ball seems to “bend” past opposing goalkeepers into the goal, thus prompting the popular phrase and later movie title, Bend It Like Beckham.

Beckham’s amazing ability to “bend” what should be the straight path of a kicked soccer ball reminds me of a Reformed Calvinist blogger who is able to “bend” the truth in a similar fashion. I’m thinking of none other than Timmy Brister, the man whose own seminary called his blog, “juvenile.” Timmy is a prime example on how one can use a blog to bend facts and figures into whatever one wants the truth to be.

Take Brister’s supposed “research” on the altar call. As a sycophant for Tom Ascol and James White, Brister’s “research” consisted mostly of the same Iain Murray sources which Brother Bob Ross has thoroughly debunked time and time again. Showing that he has a sense of humor, Brister calls his sources, “credible information.” Makes you wonder how “research” is taught and conducted at the SBTS, doesn’t it?

At another point Brister makes the statement, “Ironically, the decisionistic regeneration style .... has perpetuated much of this faulty understanding of conversion where if you pray a prayer, walk down an aisle, or do some other mechanical formula then you have unlocked the heavenly code, are converted, and assured of going to heaven regardless if there are any evidences of the Spirit's operations in the sinner.”

I challenge Timmy Brister to name one Southern Baptist pastor or evangelist who believes that a “mechanical formula” can “unlock the heavenly code” and save a sinner! Put up or shut up, Timmy! I made a similar challenge to Steve Camp months ago and I’m still waiting for an answer. Hello?

Another example of Brister’s “research” involves his “More About Billy Graham” article in which Brister quotes an alleged interview of Graham by Robert Schuller.

Brister’s article alleges that over the years Billy Graham has made heretical statements. One would hope that if a student attending the BILLY GRAHAM SCHOOL OF MISSIONS AND EVANGELISM at Southern Seminary accused Billy Graham of heresy, then that student would provide meticulous, detailed research supporting his allegations. Not so with Timmy Brister!

Brister quotes an alleged interview with Graham by Robert Schuller and provides no source for the interview. None! Nada! Zip!

Amazing, isn’t it? A seminary student attending a school named after Billy Graham accuses Billy Graham of heresy and provides no source for an especially damming interview. Even more amazing, at one point Brister provides video commentary, saying, “[R.S. trips over his tongue for a moment, his face beaming].” But what is Brister’s source? Again, none, nada, zero.

I have two more questions for Timmy. What is your source for Robert Schuller’s alleged interview with Billy Graham? And, did you actually watch the interview?

Apparently when it comes to “bending” things, David Beckham has nothing over Timmy Brister. Keep that in mind the next time you read something by Timmy. Are you really getting the straight truth? Because no one can Bend It Like Brister.


[For more on Timmy Brister's sloppy research and attacks on Southern Baptists, see Timmy Brister Attends Billy Graham School Yet Attacks Billy Graham's Methods and Timmy Brister Attacks Altar Calls in Southern Baptist Churches]

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Timmy Brister Attends Billy Graham School Yet Attacks Billy Graham's Methods

Timmy Brister finds Iain Murray's anti-invitation (and by extension, anti-Southern Baptist) book "excellent." Bob Ross looks at the ramifications of Timmy's opinion.


Bob to Charles:

On his blog, Timmy Brister endorses Iain Murray's phantasmagoria against "The Invitation System," calling Murray's booklet "excellent."

Murray's booklet is not only anti-public invitation, but it is anti-Billy Graham.

Brister is a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary which honors Graham in using his name on the "Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth."

SBTS obviously honors and endorses Billy Graham, but Brister approves of Murray's booklet which repudiates and opposes Billy Graham's evangelism.

Murray's booklet also promotes the error that "baptism" is the initial means of confessing Christ, which is contrary to the Baptist practice of oral confession of Christ before baptism.

Murray holds to the Westminster Confession which teaches that baptism is commanded (WIC 28:1), that it is the scripturally warranted duty of believing parents to have their children baptized in infancy (WIC 28:4), and that it is "a great sin . . . to neglect this ordinance" ( WIC 28:5).

It is primarily on the basis of this error about infants that Murray bases his opposition to public invitations. He holds to the "Reformed" heresy that the "elect" children born to believing parents inherit the promise of regeneration, are born again in infancy, and therefore should be presented by the parents to be baptized and added to the church.

Since these "elect" children were supposedly regenerated in infancy, to extend an invitation to them to believe on Christ and confess Him publicly would be superfluous.

Since Brister is a Southern Seminary student, ostensibly studying for the Baptist ministry, it seems rather paradoxical (at best) that he regards as "excellent" the pedobaptist Murray's booklet which repudiates both Billy Graham's evangelism and the Baptist evangelistic practice of public invitations as a means of confessing Christ.

Do you suppose, Charles, that President Al Mohler and his Faculty share Timmy Brister's approval of Murray's anti-Billy Graham and anti-public invitation booklet?

Timmy Brister Attacks Altar Calls in Southern Baptist Churches

Timmy Brister is a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who is typical of the type of theological training being conducted there. As Brother Bob Ross demonstrates in his following comment, Brister is severely lacking in his knowledge regarding altar calls.

In my opinion, by attacking altar calls Brister also attacks Southern Baptist churches everywhere. Probably 99% of all Southern Baptist churches give the time-honored altar call at the end of their Sunday services.

If Brister does not like being a Southern Baptist why does he attend a Southern Baptist church and school? Why not instead attend a non-Southern Baptist church such as one of the hyper/hybrid/neo/extreme Calvinist "Sovereign Grace" Baptist churches?

Funny, isn't it? Brister does not mind attending a Southern Baptist seminary where much of his tuition is paid by the very churches who give the altar call that he despises. Or maybe it's not funny. Just hypocritical.

Timmy Brister: Color him, well, you know.



Bob to Charles:

I noticed on another blog that Timmy Brister of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary seems to be promoting the "Altar Call is a Sacrament" palabber as a means to discredit the Baptist practice of using the public invitation.

Timmy does this by means of praising the anti-altar call comments in a book by a Reformed "baby regenerationist" (Joel A. Carpenter) who is associated with Calvin College of the Christian Reformed Church -- advocates of the Hybrid Calvinism of Louis Berkhof. Timmy also describes "baby regenerationist" Iain Murray's booklet on The Invitation System as "excellent."

I have a reply to Murray's booklet at this link:

Also, I have comments on Murray at our website:

A Reply Regarding IAIN MURRAY'S Anti-Public Invitation Booklet: The Invitation System.

I mention this item by Timmy because he presumably is the "type" of "Calvinist" being fashioned by Hybrid Calvinist professors at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Students are obviously being influenced in their thinking by the Hybrid Calvinist "baby regenerationist" heresy on "born again before faith," which is one of the "root" ideas which account for opposition to public invitations as practiced by Baptists.