Saturday, May 31, 2008

Alcohol and Reformed Calvinists

Can anyone name a Reformed /Hyper /Extreme /Neo /Hybrid /Flounder-lovin' Calvinist who believes it's wrong to socially drink alcohol? Or to put it another way, is there a Reformed SBC Calvinist out there who agrees with 99.9% of Southern Baptist churches on the subject? If there is, please tell me.

Since Tom Ascol took up the cause to allow SBC agency heads and trustees the right to have a nip or two, the Reformed bloggers have proven Adrian Rogers correct. They truly are the "wine and cheese theologians."

Peter Lumkins weighs in on the issue and it's worth reading.

Obama resigns from his church

A little off the Flyswatter's normal topics but ...

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have resigned their membership at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

Dedicated to Ascol & Brister


Friday, May 30, 2008

"Calvinism" not the issue


The Baptist Press for May 30, 2008 has published articles in which the "Presidential nominees respond to BP questionnaire."

One of the questions is, "Calvinism: Do you see any reason for non-Calvinist Southern Baptists to be concerned about a renewed emphasis on Calvinism in some Southern Baptist churches and seminaries?"

The responding candidates were Frank Cox, Wiley Drake, Johnny Hunt, Les Puryear, Bill Wagner, and Avery Willis.

Unfortunately, not a one of the candidates cited the "born again before faith heresy" which is probably the most fundamental element which pervades the so-called "Calvinism" which prevails among some SBC pastors and churches.

Johnny Hunt did come close to the point when he said "I am not overwhelmingly concerned about Calvinism. I am concerned about hyper-Calvinism . . ."

I do not know what Hunt includes in the term "Hyper Calvinism," but if he includes the "born again before faith" heresy, then his comment is appropriate. I do not prefer that term for it covers too much theological ground; therefore, I prefer the term "Hybrid Calvinism" or "Reformed Calvinism."

Hyper Calvinists, of course, do hold to Hybrid Calvinism, but many who hold Hybrid Calvinism would repudiate other elements of Hyper Calvinism, so they say, "We are not Hyper Calvinists."

OK -- but are you Hybrid Calvinists? Do you teach "born again before faith"? All you have to do to get the answer to that is go to the Flounders' website.

"Calvinism" -- that is, Creedal Calvinism as found in the Confessions of Faith -- whether one agrees with it or not, is not really the "issue" in the SBC in regard to modern "Calvinists," for the modern variety are NOT Creedal Calvinists. They hold the views of the Reformed Pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinism.

If the current "Calvinists" were Baptist Calvinists like Spurgeon and his Calvinism, there would probably be no need for much concern. The fact that many of them try to identify with Spurgeon is either due to ignorance or hypocrisy. We have demonstrated on this blog that Spurgeon would not be welcome in the Reformed Hybrid Calvinist circles. He very likely would be stigmatized as "Arminian."

For example, Spurgeon says:

"I believe, most firmly, in the doctrines commonly called Calvinistic, and I hold them to be very fraught with comfort to God's people; but if any man shall say that the preaching of these is the whole of the preaching of the gospel, I am at issue with him.

"Brethren, you may preach those doctrines as long as you like, and yet fail to preach the gospel; and I will go further, and affirm that some who have even denied those truths, to our great grief, have nevertheless been gospel preachers for all that, and God has saved souls by their ministry.

"The fact is, that while the doctrines of election, final perseverance, and so on, go to make up a complete ministry, and are invaluable in their place, yet the soul and marrow of the gospel is not there, but is to be found in the great fact that "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit," and so on.

"Preach Christ, young man, if you want to win souls. Preach all the doctrines, too, for the building up of believers, but still the main business is to preach Jesus who came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost. The apostle tells us in the Corinthians that first of all he delivered unto us as soul saving truth, "how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures." Facts about Christ Jesus, and the promise of life through him, these are the faith of the gospel. . . .

"You will, doubtless, have observed that this summary of the gospel is very simple. Whenever you meet with teaching which is cloudy and complicated, you may generally conclude that it is not the gospel of your salvation, for the truth of Christ is so plain that he who runs may read, and the wayfaring man though a fool need not err therein. Perhaps some of you have been thinking that conversion and salvation are dark and mysterious things, and that you have to pass through many singular operations and feelings in order to be saved. Now, beloved, the whole of our faith lies in a nutshell. He that believeth in Jesus Christ the incarnate God, is saved. These few truths if grasped by the mind, received and trusted in by the heart, will save you. It is at the cross that salvation must be found. . . .

"This simple truth, that "Jesus Christ has come to seek and to save that which is lost," and that "whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life," must be your jewel, your treasure, your life. [Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 13, Year 1867, #786, excerpts from pages 706-708].

That kind of "Calvinism" is indeed the Gospel, and non-Calvinists such as Johnny Hunt and Frank Cox would probably have no objection to it.

But that is not the variety which is represented by the "Reformed" and Flounders of this generation. They represent a Hybrid variety, which alleges that one must be "regenerated" before he believes the Gospel.

This variety tends to downplay aggressive methods of evangelism, public invitations to accept Christ as Savior, evangelism designed to convert children, and anything else they classify as "Arminianism" and "synergism."

They promote the Iain Murray/Banner of Truth Reformed Pedobaptist variety of Calvinism, which is best presented, according to BT, by Pedobaptist Louis Berkhof, and is promoted by R. C. Sproul, J. I. Packer, John Frame, Tom Nettles, and others who teach "born again before faith."

That type of "Calvinism" is actually in conflict with the Baptist Faith and Message, and it would probably be appropriate to draft an SBC Resolution repudiating it.

Speaking of "arrogance"


It seems that Tom Ascol has found him a new "tar baby" -- Elmer Towns.

I have noticed that when Tom finds something which appears to him to be rather "weak" up beside his Hybrid Calvinism, he buckles on his guns and goes hunting. So I suppose the "choir" on his Flounders' blog will be treated to a few of his "big game hunting" exhibitions in blogs ahead.

Tom says --

"I found Dr. Towns' article to be seriously flawed in both research and argumentation. While he does not caricature the doctrines of grace in the typical ways that characterize many of the opponents of Calvinism, he makes some glaring factual mistakes, fails support some gratuitous assertions and leaves the reader wondering what exactly he is trying to say."

Now, what appears to place Tom squarely in that group of "arrogant Calvinists" referred to by Pastor John Piper is this:

Tom alleges that Towns "fails [to] support some gratuitous assertions."

Tom Ascol is the "king" of gratuitous assertions! Let's take note here of just one:

Tom has been carrying an item on his website for a few years, alleging that the Southern Baptist Convention is an "unregenerate denomination."

Yet there has not been a single unregenerate Southern Baptist, active or "inactive," who has been offered as an example to support this "gratuitous assertion." Where is the evidence that even one person whose name appears on a Southern Baptist church roll is "unregenerate"?

It is all a mere speculative judgmental assumption about a matter which not a single Flounder within five thousand miles of Cape Coral knows anything about. Has Ascol even found an "unregenerate" Southern Baptist in his own city?

"Where's the beef?"

For all Ascol, Jim Eliff, or any other Flounder knows, every single one of those absentee Southern Baptists could conceivably be active members of other Christian churches. The fact is, the "numbers" prove nothing either for "regeneracy" or "unregeneracy." It's all merely "gratuitious assertions."

Also, the fact that there is a large number of absentee members on SBC church rolls does not prove anything about whether or not they are regenerate or unregenerate, and it certainly does not prove that the large element of attending Southern Baptist members are unregenerate. If "non-attendance" proves unregeneracy, then does "attendance" prove regeneracy?

To allege that the SBC is "an unregenerate denomination" based on pure assumption in regard to the spiritual status of unattending members is as a large a piece of "gratuitous assertion" that ever came down the Florida Turnpike.

If either Ascol or Eliff have a single "Exhibit A" of an "unregenerate" in the Southern Baptist Convention, let either of them demonstrate that he has more than assumption as evidence of the assertion. He could not prove it in court if his life depended on it.

To presume that possibly there are or may be unregenerate members on the SBC's church rolls is one thing, but to allege that the SBC is "an unregenerate denomination" based on pure assumption seems to me to qualify for what Piper called "arrogant Calvinists."

Hybrid Calvinist confusion


Some of you may have missed the comment by "Carlton" on the article on "Unscriptural Evangelism," May 22, 2008. I think "Carlton's" post demonstrates the type of confusion about the Gospel which is created by the Hybrid Calvinism heresy of "born again before faith." He said (posted Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:06:00 AM):

"If we don't acknowledge that regeneration proceeds repentance and faith we don't have a clear understanding of God and His Gospel."

"Carlton" apparently thinks that the Gospel can't be "understood" unless one "understands" that "regeneration" precedes repentance and faith. Even if some are so convoluted and discombobulated to think that, it is no part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is to be preached to lost souls.

But --

It appears that Carlton thinks that if one does not understand that notion, it follows that one cannot have a "clear understanding" of the Gospel apart from "acknowledging" the Hybrid Calvinist "ordo salutis" notion that one is "born again before faith." It seems to be, with Carlton, a "condition" of really believing the Gospel.

Carlton may have unfortunately picked up that idea from some Hybrid Calvinist source -- an article, book, or from a "Reformed" or "Flounders" preacher. I really don't think Carlton had any such idea in his head when he professed faith in Christ.

In fact, Carlton probably got saved like most Hybrids get saved -- under what he now might regard as an "Arminian" ministry. The fact is, if it were not for the alleged "Arminian ministries," there might not be but a handful of Hybrids in the Flounders and "Reformed" Baptist groups, as they are primarily composed of those who have been proselyted to Hybrid Calvinism.

We believe the basic fundamental error of Carlton's type of thinking arises from the lack of understanding as to the Holy Spirit's power which is exerted in, by, with, and thru the Word or Gospel (Romans 1:16; John 6:63, Thess. 1:5; 1 Peter 1:23; James 1:l8).

The Holy Spirit's power brings about the New Birth by means of the Gospel, not apart from the Gospel (1 Cor. 4:15).

I am reminded of a few remarks by C. H. Spurgeon on this blessed truth. Whether you agree with Spurgeon's "Calvinism" or not, he preached what is truly the "Calvinist" view of the New Birth in contrast to the non-creedal Hybrid Calvinism which falsely claims to be "Calvinism."

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, #805, pages 205, 206:--

"According to the teaching of sacred Scripture, men are dead, spiritually dead. Certain vain men would make it out that men are only a little disordered and bruised by the Fall—wounded in a few delicate members but not mortally injured. However, the Word of God is very explicit upon the matter and declares our race to be not wounded, not merely hurt, but slain outright and left as dead in trespasses and sin. . . . I say that to all spiritual things the man is quite as unable as the dead are unable to the natural works and services of daily life.

"'And yet,' says one, 'we heard you last Lord’s Day tell these dead people to repent and be converted.'

"I know you did and you shall hear me yet again do the like.

"But why do I speak to the dead thus, and tell them to perform actions which they cannot do? Because my Master bids me, and as I obey my Master’s errand, a power goes forth with the Word spoken and the dead awake in their sleep! They wake through the quickening power of the Holy Spirit — and they who naturally cannot repent and believe—do repent and believe in Jesus and escape from their former sins and live!

"But, believe me, it is no power of theirs which makes them thus awake from their death-sleep, and no power of mine which arrests the guilty, slumbering conscience—it is a Divine power which God has yoked with the Word which He has given forth when it is fully and faithfully preached. Therefore have we exercised ourselves in our daily calling of bidding dead men live — because life comes at the Divine bidding."

"The gospel of Jesus Christ has a far other and higher task: it does not deny the value of the moralist’s efforts, or decry the results of education, but it asks what more can you do, and the response is, 'Nothing.' There it bids the bearers of the bier stand away and make room for Jesus, at whose voice the dead arise. . . . the gospel, and the gospel alone, answers to men’s requirements:"

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, #811, page 284:

"There are persons in the world who will not let us speak a word to the unconverted, because they say, and say very truly, that unconverted men are dead in sin, and therefore we are not to tell them to live, because they have no power to live. They forget that we have the power in the quickening word and Spirit of God, and that as we speak the word for God, power goes with it.

MTP, #1516, pages 59, 60:

"The last inference is for YOU WHO DESIRE TO SAVE SINNERS. You must, dear friends, bring the truth before them when you want to bring them to Jesus Christ. I believe that exciting meetings do good to some. Men are so dead and careless that almost anything is to be tolerated that wakes them up; but for real solid soul-work before God telling men the truth is the main thing.

"What truth? It is gospel truth, truth about Christ that they want. Tell it in a loving, earnest, affectionate manner, for God wills that they should be saved, not in any other way, but in this way -- by a knowledge of the truth. He wills that all men should be saved in this way--not by keeping them in ignorance, but by bringing the truth before them. That is God’s way of saving them.

"Have your Bible handy when you are reasoning with a soul. Just say, 'Let me call your attention to this passage.' It has a wonderful power over a poor staggering soul to point to the Book itself. Say, 'Did you notice this promise, my dear friend? And have you seen that passage?'

"Have the Scriptures handy. There is a dear brother of mine here whom God blesses to many souls, and I have seen him talking to some, and turning to the texts very handily. I wondered how he did it so quickly, till I looked in his Bible, and found that he had the choice texts printed on two leaves and inserted into the book, so that he could always open upon them. That is a capital plan, to get the cheering words ready to hand, the very ones that you know have comforted you and have comforted others.

"It sometimes happens that one single verse of God’s word will make the light to break into a soul, when fifty days of reasoning would not do it. I notice that when souls are saved it is by our texts rather than by our sermons. God the Holy Ghost loves to use his own sword. It is God’s word, not man’s comment on God’s word, that God usually blesses. Therefore, stick to the quotation of the Scripture itself, and rely upon the truth. If a man could be saved by a lie it would be a lying salvation. Truth alone can work results that are true. Therefore, keep on teaching the truth. God help you to proclaim the precious truth about the bleeding, dying, risen, exalted, coming Savior; and God will bless it."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What constitutes "Hybrid" Calvinism?


From time-to-time, we have a "new arrival" to The Calvinist Flyswatter who is not familiar with what I prefer to call "Hybrid" Calvinism.

In a nutshell, I am referring to the teaching that "regeneration precedes faith," or "born again before faith."

This idea apparently was a post-seventeenth century development which arose among the Pedobaptist theologians as a means to explain how their "covenant children" were "regenerated" as babies. That is, they were supposedly "born again" as babies before they ever became believers, which believing supposedly came later in life.

Hybrid Calvinism is a mixture of (1) Creedal Calvinism on the efficient cause (Holy Spirit) in the New Birth, and (2) the non-creedal idea that the "means" of the Word in creating faith is not an inherent necessary element in the New Birth. It is the "Hardshell" view of regeneration by a "Direct Operation of the Spirit apart from Means." It is the "Spirit alone" theory.

This theory eventually became part of the "ordo salutis" and its beginning is traced by some to Francis Turretin.

W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Volume 2, pages 492-494:
The divines of the seventeenth century very generally do not distinguish between regeneration and conversion, but employ the two as synonyms. Owen does this continually: On the Spirit, III. v. And Charnocke likewise: Attributes, Practical Atheism. The Westminster does not use the term regeneration. In stead of it, it employs the term vocation, or effectual calling. This comprises the entire work of the Holy Spirit in the application of redemption. . . .

But this wide use of the term regeneration led to confusion of ideas and views. As there are two distinct words in the language, regeneration and conversion, there are also two distinct notions denoted by them. Consequently, there arose gradually a stricter use of the term regeneration, and its discrimination from conversion. Turrettin (XV. iv. 13) defines two kinds of conversion, as the term was employed in his day. . . . After thus defining, Turrettin remarks that the first kind of conversion is better denominated 'regeneration,' because it has reference to the new birth by which man is renewed in the image of his Maker; and the second kind of conversion is better denominated 'conversion,' because it includes the operation and agency of man himself. . . . We shall adopt this distinction between regeneration and conversion. . . . Regeneration is a cause; conversion is an effect."

J. I. Packer :

Many seventeenth century Reformed theologians equated regeneration with effectual calling and conversion with regeneration . . . LATER REFORMED THEOLOGY has defined regeneration more narrowly, as the implanting of the "seed" from which faith and repentance spring (I John 3:9) in the course of effectual calling.

Louis Berkhof also acknowledged that the theory had post-Creedal development:

"It is true that some Reformed authors have occasionally used the term 'regeneration' as including even sanctification, but that was in the days when the ORDO SALUTIS was not as fully developed as it is today" (Systematic Theology, page 468).

These are well-known "Reformed" Pedobaptist sources, and they are telling us that the "ordo salutis" of modern Reformed theology, which puts "regeneration" prior to faith, is in fact a hybrid development which arose "later" than the seventeenth century divines (Puritans) who regarded regeneration and conversion as synonymous.

Contrary to Shedd's idea that "regeneration is a cause," we hold that regeneration is an "effect" -- that is, regeneration is the New Birth, and the New Birth is an effect of the Holy Spirit's using the Word of God to bring an unconverted person to union with Christ by faith in Christ.

So we contend that no one is born again until he has faith "monergistically" effected in him by the Word and Spirit of God -- as is plainly taught in our Baptist Confession of Faith, and is known as "Effectual Calling." (1689 London Baptist Confession, Article 10).

That is why I say I am a "Creedal Calvinist" on the New Birth as opposed to the modern "Reformed" Hybrid Calvinism of the Pedobaptist "ordo salutis" variety. While I strongly believe that the Holy Spirit works in a lost person before he becomes a believer, this does not constitute the New Birth or regeneration.

As Dr. B. H. Carroll has said, "regeneration cannot be complete without faith." [An Interpretation of the English Bible, Volume 10, pages 293, 294].

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Are Calvinists arrogant?


My good friend, Stephen Garrett, has an excerpt on his BaptistGadfly blog from Pastor John Piper. See --

Piper on Arrogant Calvinists

While what Piper says may indeed be an observation which is the case with some, we must say that "Calvinists" do not have a franchise on "arrogance." After being around practically all sorts of professing Christians over the years, I would be reluctant to put the professing "Calvinists" alone in the "arrogance" column.

As for Brother Piper's observations, I would much prefer that he exposed the Hybrid Calvinist heresies which parade as "Calvinism" rather than the alleged arrogance of "Calvinists." He often "runs with" a crowd which teaches the "Reformed" Pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinist heresy of "born again before faith," and that is much more worthy of refutation than arrogance is worthy of rebuke.

I personally am not bothered very much by the arrogance of any religious or theological sect or group. I do not hold it against a group if some manifest some degree of arrogance, for we all can be and perhaps have been guilty of arrogance. In fact, if we are not careful we might become rather arrogant when we get too tough on what we see as arrogance in others!

Rather than focusing on what might be seen in some cases as arrogance, I prefer to focus more on what I perceive to be the mistakes or errors of the teachings held by the alleged arrogant party. Their arrogance does not really constitute a refutation of their error, nor does it necessarily discredit their view of something.

To be perfectly humble and yet hold to heresy is not really a virtue within itself. In fact, a humble heretic may lead more astray than the arrogant type -- for example, the Pope. Did you ever see a Pope who was not among the most pious and humble persons of mankind? Humility may simply be a tool in the repetoire of one who holds to serious error.

Another thing about arrogance, it does not add one ounce of accreditation to anything as being the truth. Neither does humility. A pious Pope is just as heretical as an arrogant Pope.
A pious Hybrid Calvinist is as wrong as an arrogant one.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Check-out Dr. Mohler's blog


Dr. R. Albert Mohler's blog:

Salvation through Christ Alone? -- A Moment of Decision
Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 2:56 am ET

We have always contended on the Flyswatter that Pedobaptism leads to apostasy. We have contended that the Pedobaptist churches are sustained by the practice of Infant Baptism,
that this practice fills Pedo churches with the unregenerate, and that eventually the consequences result in various aberrancies.

That is why we have "rattled the cage" in regard to current Baptist compromise with Pedobaptists, such as practiced by the Flounders, R. Albert Mohler, Tom Nettles, Mark Dever, and some other "Reformed" Baptists.

One of our sometime-posters, James Galyon, says in an article on the Flounder's website, "Western Christendom, in being built by the method of 'communal conversions' and paedobaptism, was erected upon a faulty foundation. Western Christendom was blinded by superstition during the Dark Ages. . . ."

So the Flounders are "without excuse" when their practice gives "aid and comfort" to advocates of Pedobaptism. Their soft-peddling due to the "Reformed" theology of those Pedos with whom they often "run" can only lead to the weakening of Baptist principles. If you will take note of the various Flounders-friendly blogs, they are loaded with Pedobaptist links and sources.

Tom Ascol promotes a hardline on "regenerate church membership" when he attends the Southern Baptist Convention, but why is he so conciliatory to Pedobaptists and their practices in other situations? Tom is one of the biggest Baptist promoters of Pedo-promoting literature in the United States. In fact, Ernest Reisinger, founder of the Flounders, was a veritable "servant" of the Pedobaptist cause in various ways.

We know that a few Flounders-friendlies are unhappy with Ascol, Mohler, Nettles, and the Flounders about their playing "footsies" with Pedos such as Iain Murray, R. C. Sproul, Ligon Duncan, John Frame, David Wells, and similar "baby baptizers."

Will the Flounders ever really take an outright "Baptist" stand and leave the "Reformed" Pedos to their own machinations of apostasy?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Les Puryear versus BF&M


Hybrid Calvinism will lead from one error to another error.

By putting "regeneration" before the Spirit's "enabling" a man to understand the truth (the Word of God) and believe, the Hybrid's "logic" proceeds to putting pardon and justification after "regeneration."

Unfortunately, this is the error to which the Reformed idea of "born again before believing" has led Southern Baptist pastor and candidate for the SBC presidency, Les Puryear.

Les Puryear says:
"Regeneration occurs prior to justification."

This puts Les in company with the Pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinists and those "Reformed" Baptists who have adopted the Pedobaptist "ordo polutis" which can't even be found in any Calvinist Confession of Faith, and certainly no Baptist Confession of Faith.

But Brother Les claims he holds to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 of the Southern Baptist Convention. Does this Statement of Faith put "regeneration" prior to justification?

Hardly. If words mean anything at all, regeneration and justification are simultaneous, according to this document. Notice --

Baptist Faith and Message:
"Through illumination He [Holy Spirit] enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. . . . Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God."

There is nothing in the BF&M which places "regeneration" prior to "justification." This would have a "born again" person still unbelieving and still under the condemnation of the Law of God.

Les Puryear at Southwestern

It is rather strange that Les attended Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, yet somehow he failed to imbibe the views of the Seminary's Founder, the late B. H. Carroll. We will herewith refer Brother Les to Dr. Carroll's teaching on regeneration and justification, which we presume he should have learned in Seminary:

On the relation of regeneration to justification, Dr. Carroll said:
When we accept Jesus by faith as he is offered in the gospel, we at once and forever enter into justification, redemption of soul, and adoption into God's family, and are regenerated.

We are no longer aliens and enemies, but children and friends of God. . . . The ground of the justification is the expiation of Christ. The means by which we receive the justification is the Holy Spirit's part of regeneration which is called cleansing. Regeneration consists of two elements, at least – cleansing and renewing. But the very moment that one believes in Christ the Holy Spirit applies the blood of Christ to his heart and he is cleansed from the defilement of sin. At the same time the Holy Spirit does another thing. He renews the mind. He changes that carnal mind which is enmity toward God.
[An Interpretation of the English Bible, Volume 14, pages 126, 127].

Justification comes in touch with regeneration at that point where the Spirit of God by the application of the blood of Christ, cleanses the soul. When the man accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his Teacher, Sacrifice, Priest, and King, and trusts in him for salvation, then God in heaven justifies the man, or declares an acquittal of him, through his faith in the blood, but the blood is applied in the cleansing part of regeneration, so that we see again from this relation between regeneration and justification how it is that regeneration cannot be complete without faith.
[An Interpretation of the English Bible, Volume 10, pages 293, 294].


Dr. Carroll was a great admirer of C. H. Spurgeon, and a regular reader of Spurgeon's sermons. He doubtlessly was aware of the fact that Spurgeon taught the same views on regeneration and justification as held by himself.

Spurgeon: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 37, Year 1891, pages 560, 561:
When we believe in Christ we not only receive pardon, but we also receive renewal. I am told that the teaching of certain people, nowadays, is that the believer only gets pardon to begin with and a long time afterwards he gets the clean heart. But I say, on the authority of God’s Word, that no man is pardoned unless he has a clean heart!

God gives the clean heart at the time He gives the pardon! You must never divide the renewing of the Holy Spirit from the pardon of sin. They go together and he that receives the pardon of sin receives a new birth — and is made a new creature in Christ Jesus then and there.

The work of regeneration and the act of faith which brings justification to the penitent sinner are SIMULTANEOUS and must, in the nature of the case, always be so.

If you are not just before God, you are condemned at this very moment. You are not executed, it is true, but the condemnation has gone forth against you, and the sign that it is so is your unbelief, for "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the Son of God." . . .

Christ offers to God the substitution: through faith we accept it: and from that moment God accepts us. . . . That is the state into which faith brings a poor, lost, guilty, helpless, good-for-nothing sinner. The man may have been everything that was bad before he believed in Jesus, but as soon as he trusted Christ, the merits of Christ became his merits, and he stands before God as though he were perfect, "without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing," through the righteousness of Christ.
[Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Sermon 3392, Volume 60].

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Comments on the Flyswatter


Occasionally, an evident Hybrid-friendly person who is not Flyswatter-friendly will make some denigrating remark about the number of comments, or the lack thereof, on the Flyswatter. I will address that subject:

First, the Flyswatter is not part of a sect, cult, movement, or Internet "band" such as many of those in the "Reformed" Hybrid Calvinist camp. I have noticed that many, if not most, of the links on those blogs are to the same blogs. For example, Brister links the Flounders, and the Flounders links Brister, etc. The Flyswatter does not have such a clique linking it.

Second, the Flyswatter is "going against the grain" in regard to what passes today as "Calvinism" among the "Reformed" clique. Since we are specifically here to "swat" the "Reformed" aberrancies, we are obviously not trying to use "honey" to catch the flies. A lot of people who may visit this blog don't quite "understand" some of the issues we are confronting. They don't seem to realize there is a category of thinking other than "Arminian" and "Reformed." So they withhold commenting.

Third, some who have posted have managed to only achieve embarrassment due to their lack of knowledge and valid information on the subjects. They don't want to get "burned" again, so they don't post further comments.

Fourth, some who are basically in sympathy with the Flyswatter do not post because they are apprehensive about "identifying" with this blog. I get a few emails to this effect, and that's fine by me.

Fifth, I have noticed some blogs which have quite a number of comments are from "repeaters" or "regulars" -- they seem to constitute the "choir." It looks as if some of those are "addicted" to seeing their comments on the blog, as if what they say is "significant."

Sixth, the Flyswatter does not "court" comments. I've noticed some blogs aggressively encourage comments, and we have never done that.

Seventh, we are not in the "promotion" business -- we are not pushing a conference, a book, or something else. So we don't pull any comments about things such as that.

Eighth, we have achieved "boycott" status by some of the "major" blogs, and "warnings" have gone out against the Flyswatter. We wear such "boycotts" as a badge of honor.

Ninth, Charles doesn't sit at his computer and instantly post the comments. He is not a "full-time" blogger, and sometimes is not "in pocket" for days. That may discourage some from posting, but that's just how things are.

Tenth, we do receive a number of favorable posts, and we believe these will increase as more-and-more people come to understand what we are saying about Hybrid Calvinism, the "Reformed," the Flounders, and others who promote a non-creedal version of Calvinism and its related aberrancies.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Les Puryear: A Hybrid SBC President?


It appears that a Reformed Hybrid Calvinist Baptist pastor is running for president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The following is from candidate Les Puryear's blog, and it is definitely a Hybrid Calvinist ("born again before believing") statement on the new birth:

God has to do a supernatural act in the heart of His elect that will overcome their natural inclination to reject Him. This supernatural act is called “regeneration” (John 3:3; 6:63-65; Eph 1:3-5; Acts 16:14b; 1 John 5:10, 20). I spoke of regeneration in a previous post and I won’t repeat it here. Once God has changed the heart of a man, then he has the ability to recognize the truth of the cross. Then he can understand spiritual things. His spiritual blinders have been removed by God and now he can respond to the call to come to Christ.

Les Puryear claims to accept the Baptist Faith & Message.

He also claims to be "Reformed."

His above statement is consistent with modern Reformed Hybrid Calvinism, but it is not consistent with the Baptist Faith & Message nor any other Baptist Confession of Faith. See Baptist Faith & Message vs. Pre-faith New Birth. In that article, it is shown that the BF&M says:

"In its broadest sense salvation INCLUDES regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord."

If "salvation" includes "regeneration," and if there is "no salvation" apart from "personal faith" in Jesus Christ as Lord, then it follows that the BF&M affirms that there is no regeneration (new birth) apart from faith in Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, the "Reformed" Hybrid Calvinism "ordo polutis" contends that one is "born again before faith." See Regeneration - Calvinism.

As for what Puryear says in his article about "draw" in John 6:44, the "MEANS" by which men are drawn to Christ is presented in the BF&M as the WORD and SPIRIT. It does not present the Hardshell notion of "drawing" by the SPIRIT ALONE apart from the use of the Word as the means.

Regeneration is an "Effect," Not a Cause --

According to the BF&M, the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God, as the BF&M affirms in Article II-C:

"Through illumination He enables men to understand TRUTH. He exalts Christ. He convicts of sin, of righteousness, of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and EFFECTS REGENERATION."

This clearly indicates the pre-new birth influence of the Holy Spirit in bringing about regeneration or new birth does not within itself constitute the new birth, but leads to the "EFFECTING OF REGENERATION."

It should be noted that, according to the BF&M, "regeneration" is an "effect," not a "cause." It is "monergistically" effected by the two causes (combined) -- the instrumental cause is the Word and the efficient cause is the Spirit.

The sinner does not "cause" faith, but faith is caused by the Word and Spirit. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost" (1 Thess. 1:5).

So the sinner does not create faith, but it is created in him by means of the Word and Spirit. ("Reformed" theology reverses this: it contends that the sinner is "born again" before, without, and apart from faith, and afterwards the sinner believes. This is the view of "Hardshellism.")

David DeKlavon, Associate Dean, Associate Professor of New Testament, Boyce College:

"Scripture speaks often of this new birth. It is described as made effectual not only through the Word of God (Jas 1:18; 1 Pet 1:23), but also through the work of Christ on the cross (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13; 1 Pet 1:3) and through the work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:8; Titus 3:5)."

The London Baptist Confession of 1689, Article 14:

"The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the SAVING of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word . . ."

Les Puryear is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I wonder if he ever read what the late Dr. B. H. Carroll, Founder of SWTS, said about the New Birth:


"(1) Every one born of God has the right be called a child of God.

(2) But no one has the right until he believes in Jesus.

(3) Therefore the new birth is NOT COMPLETED WITHOUT FAITH."

Page 287 of Volume 10, Part I on The Gospels, An Interpretation of the English Bible.

Dr. Carroll rightly said:

"If regeneration is completed without the use of means and before the subject is penitent or believing, then we have a child of God who is yet in his sins, impenitent, without faith, and hence without Christ, which is philosophically impossible. Morever, it is contrary to Scripture, as witness" James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:23, Gal. 3:26, Romans 10:17, John 3:9-18, John 1:12, 13 [all quoted by Carroll in the text of his book] (Ibid, page 286).

Do we therefore have a candidate for SBC president who holds to the "Reformed" Hybrid Calvinist view of the new birth, which Dr. Carroll says constitutes that which is "philosophically impossible"?

Dr. Carroll said:

"Thus considered, conviction, repentance, and faith are the CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS OF REGENERATION. . . . Sinner, it tells you what to do: Hear the word, repent, accept Christ.

"Yes, that is simple and easy. The Word of God is preached to men and they hear that Word and they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and whosever believeth in Him is born of God"
(Sermons, The Human Side of Regeneration, pages 177, 187).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spurgeon & the inquiry room


A Hybrid Calvinist can always say something like, "Spurgeon never did it this way or that way." Then he can rattle off a caricature of some sort which he classifies as an "Altar Call," "Public Appeal," "Invitation System," "Decisionism," "Easy Believism," or whatever term he chooses which would disparage the basic fundamental elements of a scriptual call for unbelievers to believe on Christ and openly confess Him.

One of those caricatures of the public invitation can be found in a number of prominent Hybrid Calvinists, including Pedo Iain Murray and Flounders' Founder Ernest Reisinger.

Iain Murray:

"The invitation system . . . institutes a condition of salvation which Christ never appointed" (The Invitation System, page 26).

Ernest Reisinger:

"It conveys to sinners a condition of salvation that is not in the Bible and was never practiced or approved by Christ and His apostles" (Today's Evangelism, page 76).

That statement within itself would be sufficient to damn both Murray and Reisinger forever, if their eternal salvation was dependent upon telling the truth.

I have been acquainted with the vast number of pastors, evangelists, and theologians for the past 50 years plus, and I have never heard or read a single one of them teach that the "invitation system" either "institutes" or "conveys" the idea that walking an aisle during an invitaton is a "condition of salvation."

One could use the same type of "reasoning" as Murray and Reisinger use in arriving at their caricature in regard to the practice of one of their icons, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. According to Murray's biography of Lloyd-Jones, he used a system in dealing with souls which might be called "The vestry system."

Lloyd-Jones' system was to have interested persons to line-up outside of his office and a Deacon would announce them to "the Doctor" one-by-one as each one's turn arrived. Lloyd-Jones would inform his hearers "that he was available in the vestry and would be privileged to speak further with anyone" (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Fight of Faith, Volume 2, page 139).

Is that the post-message "system" which "Christ appointed" and was "practiced or approved by Christ and His apostles"? Did they welcome their hearers to line-up outside their offices? Would it be fair and appropriate to say this system was a "condition of salvation" at Westminster Chapel during Martyn Lloyd-Jones' ministry there?

Now, C. H. Spurgeon's system was the "inquiry room." Inquirers would be invited to go into some nearby room or hall where they could be dealt with according to their need.

But the Hybrid Calvinist cannot escape the fact that Spurgeon's practice would be unacceptable to today's Hybrids. Spurgeon pressed for an immediate faith-decision in response to the Gospel, and his "altar call" was the use of what was called the "inquiry room."

Here is some of the material which I have researched in Spurgeon sources in rebuttal of some of Mr. Murray's criticisms of "modern revivalism," or the evangelism of which he disapproves.

As for the use of the inquiry room, Spurgeon himself used the inquiry room, as demonstrated, for instance, at the great meeting of six to seven thousand at the Tabernacle which was reported in the 1865 issue The Sword and the Trowel, page 128.

After the singing of "Just As I Am," Spurgeon gave an address specifically to the "UNSAVED," and when the service concluded, another hymn was sung, prayer was offered, and the "INQUIRERS were then encouraged to retire to the lecture hall, where ministers and elders would be glad to converse with them; and MANY RESPONDED TO THE INVITATION. This was one of the most sober, the most impressive, and, we should judge, the most effective meetings we have ever witnessed. . . ."

Also, the Evangelists who composed the Metropolitan Tabernacle's Society of Evangelists and sponsored by Spurgeon used the inquiry room.

In Spurgeon's Address on May 3,1881 at the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Pastors' College Association, the President referred to his Evangelists and their use of the inquiry room:

"You must also have faith in God in the form of expectancy. Our brethren [J. Manton] Smith and [W. Y.] Fullerton [of Spurgeon's own Society of Evangelists] would not have a blessing on their work if they did not expect the blessing to come; but expecting the blessing, they provide an inquiry-room, and persons to look after the converts. Shall we commence farming and provide no barn? In many a village the Lord has saved souls under the preaching of the gospel, but the minister has never said, 'I shall be in the vestry on such and such an evening to see inquirers,' or, 'I shall stop after the sermon to talk with the anxious.' He has never given the people a chance of telling what the Lord has done for them, and if he should hear that a dozen people have been convinced of sin, he would be surprised, and fear that they were hypocrites. We have not so learned Christ. We look to take fish in our nets, and to reap harvests in our fields. Is it so with you, my brethren? Let it be more so. 'Open thy mouth wide,' saith the Lord, 'and I will fill it.' So pray and so preach that if there are no conversions you will be astonished, amazed, and broken-hearted. Look for the salvation of your hearers as much as the angel who will sound the last trump will look for the waking of the dead. Believe your own doctrine! Believe your own Savior! Believe in the Holy Ghost who dwells in you! For thus shall you see your hearts' desire, and God shall be glorified." [The Sword and the Trowel, 1881, pages 378, 379].

In the Preface to the 1882 The Sword and the Trowel, Spurgeon referred to the Evangelists whom he sponsored and who made use of the inquiry room in their work. He said:

"The Evangelists are doing splendid service: the Lord has been with them in every place to which they have gone. Able and venerable ministers who have attended their meetings bear joyful testimony to the power which attends their addresses; and hundreds of professed converts remain in their wake, witnessing to the power of the gospel which was preached by them. It is on my heart to add to their number one, if not two more. The evangelist in India, Mr. Harry Brown, is doing well; and of the two brethren in Spain the same is true."

In the November issue of 1882, in a report on the work of the same Evangelists at Bath, Spurgeon's editorial column says, "Large congregations gather night after night at every service, and many come forward to enquire more full after 'this way'" (page 599).

Shortly thereafter, in the December issue of 1882, Spurgeon's editorial column carried even further remarks about the work of Spurgeon's Evangelists at Bath (page 641):

"EVANGELISTS. Later reports of Messrs. Smith and Fullerton's services at Bath are even more encouraging than those we published last mouth.Mr. Baillie, the Pastor of Manvers-street Baptist Church, writes:

'We are indeed grateful for the visit of these two brethren. Mr. Smith inspires our enthusiasm with his rousing music, and his buoyant confidence. It is, indeed, a means of grace to see him, and to hear his remarks on Christianity in home-life. I had an opportunity of hearing him at the meeting for women last Wednesday afternoon, and I am sure his words were very refreshing to the hundreds of mothers who were gathered to listen. The simple force and the striking pointedness of Mr. Fullerton's gospel addresses make some of them quite models for regular ministers. I have heard him each evening, and I could pray so earnestly, Lord, let that shaft strike! and many were praying in like manner. With such clear, simple, yet faithful preaching, backed up by earnest prayer, I was not surprised when I saw so many anxious souls at our after meetings.'"

Furthermore, later on in the 1884 issue of The Sword and the Trowel on page 297, in a report on the work of Spurgeon's own Society of Evangelists and their meetings, it is said that "there has been no such thing as an attempt to get up an excitement or to force persons into the enquiry rooms."

Obviously, then, Spurgeon was not critical of the inquiry room as conducted by Mr. Smith and Mr. Fullerton, whom he sponsored.

In an earlier issue in 1884, page 93, a report says, "We have had very much of the Lord's presence, many Christians have been quickened, and many souls saved. We have heard of nearly a hundred who have been in the enquiry-rooms, and we are every day hearing of others who did not wait to be spoken with."

Spurgeon was an ardent supporter and defender of D. L. Moody, his message, and his method which used the inquiry room. In the very same 1882 volume of The Sword and the Trowel, from which Mr. Iain Murray lifted a quote from Spurgeon about "modern revivalism," we find the following about Mr. Moody:

"Mr. Moody's Sabbath at the Tabernacle must be recorded, for we are greatly obliged to him for undertaking the service in the midst of his pressing engagements. The enormous crowds that gathered created a great and serious danger which would have driven most men to despair, but our deacon, Mr. Murrell, faced the difficulty and pushed through it. Extraordinary precautions had to be taken to preserve life and limb. If you have twelve thousand people all eager to get into a building which cannot hold more than six thousand, what can you do? Our seat-holders in the evening most commendably lent their tickets to others, and thus gave a second set of people the opportunity of hearing the great evangelist; but this, of course, did not lessen the heavy pressure of the eager multitude. We see clear evidence that if Messrs. Moody and Sankey again visit London no building will be sufficiently capacious to hold the crowds who will gather to hear them. Their hold upon the multitude has by no means diminished. May the Lord send a great blessing upon their efforts, and may London, on this occasion, have a double portion of the resulting benefit."

In Spurgeon's editorial column in his magazine of June 1884, page 294, he said of Moody:

"It has been the Editor's great joy to take part on two occasions in Mr. Moody's work in Croydon. On Friday, May 16, all the students went over to Croydon, and formed part of an enormous multitude who gathered to hear a sermon from their President. We are more and more impressed with a sense of the remarkable power which rests upon the beloved Moody. His words are plain and fresh from his heart, and a special influence from on high goes therewith both to saint and sinner. It is a happy thing for London that such a shower of blessing is falling upon it."

At Mr. Spurgeon's Jubilee Meetings in 1884, Mr. Moody was one of the featured speakers. The Sword and the Trowel of July 1884, page 373 says:

"After another hymn, the Pastor assured Mr. D. L. Moody of the intense affection felt for him by the whole assembly, and the beloved Evangelist, whom the Lord has so greatly honored, told of his indebtedness to the printed sermons and other works of the Pastor. Mr. Moody's reception was a burst of vehement love, and intense admiration."

Here is how Spurgeon introduced the message by Mr. Moody at the Jubilee:

"I want you now to hear me a moment while I say that the brother who is now about to speak, Mr. Moody, is one whom we all love. He is not only one whom we all love, but he is evidently one whom God loves. We feel devoutly grateful to Almighty God for raising him up, and for sending him to England to preach the gospel to such great numbers with such plainness and power. We shall continue to pray for him when he has gone home. Among the things we shall pray for will be that he may come back again. I might quote the language of an old Scotch song with regard to Prince Charlie, 'Bonnie Moody's gang awa. Will ye no come back again? Better loved ye canna' be, Will ye no come back again?' Now let us give him as good a cheer as ever we can when he stands up to speak." [Mr. Spurgeon's Jubilee, page 8]

In the very same editorial in the June 1884 magazine, Mr. Spurgeon specifically comments on the Evangelists of his own Society of Evangelists:

"EVANGELISTS. One of our helpers, who has attended almost all Messrs. Smith and Fullerton's services at the Tabernacle, has sent us an interesting summary of the meetings; but as Tabernacle friends have been upon the spot we will only say in print that we rejoice in the evident blessing which has rested upon the labors of these two admirable servants of God. The attendance upon the services has not been all that the brethren looked for, but the cases of blessing are many. In all places to which they have gone these brethren have won the confidence and love of those with whom they have labored, and none have spoken against them but those who know nothing of them. It is with regret that we have seen in a Baptist newspaper certain criticisms upon our Evangelists. We cannot conceive that any useful purpose can be served by such strictures except that they will be overruled to drawing greater attention to these useful workers. We expect men of the world to find fault with well-intended endeavors to draw the masses to hear the gospel, but we hardly looked for it from brethren in Christ. When an assault comes from them, it is peculiarly trying, for one is apt to say, 'It was not an enemy; then I could have borne it.' Yet, as the motive and intent of the criticisms were, no doubt, excellent, the best way is to learn all we can from them, and think no more of them. It will be long before all good men will be agreed upon modes of operation; almost as long, we fear, before all earnest men will cease from hard speeches; we must, therefore, get on as well as we can with our brethren, and love them none the less for being a little acid now and then. The extraordinary liberties which some are taking with all the proprieties may well drive our older friends into their growleries: we feel half inclined to go into our own when the wind is in the east, and when we have just read something specially outrageous."

In the light of these materials, it is evident that Spurgeon's remark lifted by Mr. Murray about "modern revivalism" was not directed toward those evangelistic practices and evangelists against which Mr. Murray often writes. The quotation is absolutely disingenuous as rendering any support to the anti-evangelism and anti-Moodyism espoused by Mr. Murray and his disciples who borrow the quote from him.

It is again to be remembered that while Mr. Murray misappropriates Spurgeon in many matters, he seems oblivious to some other very appropriate remarks of Spurgeon which Murray would be wise to heed. Spurgeon denounced (1) the idea of the regeneration of children in their infancy and (2) the baptism of infants, whereas Mr. Murray promotes these as being valid belief and practices of "Christianity." To our knowledge, the only "evangelism" and "invitations" promoted by Mr. Murray are those related to the baptism of children who are supposedly "regenerated" in infancy as beneficiaries of their relationship to the supposed "covenant" propagated by Pedobaptists.


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].


"God be thanked that Moody and Sankey ever came among our churches".... "We ne’er shall look upon his like again. He is a king of men... God bless him wherever he may be, and send him back again to us in due time!"The Sword and The Trowel Magazine, 1876, pg. 524; and 1884, pg. 555.


"I have read your sermons for twenty-five years, and what has cheered my heart has been that in them was no uncertain sound... You are never going to die." — Metropolitan Tabernacle: It's History and Work, and Mr. Spurgeon's JUBILEE Services, pg. 9.

Perhaps no two men were more responsible for influencing conservative, evangelical Christianity in the last half of the nineteenth century and even throughout the twentieth century than C. H. Spurgeon and D. L. Moody. "Their works do follow them" is certainly true of these two evangels of the plain, simple, and unfettered Gospel of salvation by faith in Christ.

Murray vs "sudden conversion"


The reason Pedobaptist Iain Murray opposes "appeals" seems to be related to his attitude about "sudden conversion." He is an admirer of the Scottish Pedobaptist John Kennedy,
who discounted "sudden conversion" -- which was the basic reason for Kennedy's opposition to D. L. Moody in the 1870s. In Murray's booklet, "The Invitation System," he complains about "the sudden public confession of Christ" (page 10), which is consistent with his promotion of Kennedy who spoke against "sudden conversion."

C. H. Spurgeon came to Moody's defense, and aligned himself with Moody and "sudden conversion." Pedo Murray takes sides with Pedo Kennedy against Spurgeon in Murray's book, "The Forgotten Spurgeon."

In his sermon in defense of D. L. Moody, Spurgeon boldly identified himself with Moody by saying, "Will you please to notice that this is no quarrel between these gentlemen and our friends Messrs. Moody and Sankey alone. It is a quarrel between these objectors and the WHOLE OF US who preach the gospel; for, differing as we do in the style of preaching it, we are all ready to set our seal to the clearest possible statement that men are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, and SAVED THE MOMENT THEY BELEIVE. We all hold and teach that there is such a thing as conversion" (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 21, Year 1875, Sermon # 1239, Messrs. Moody and Sankey Defended; or, a Vindication of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith, page 337).

Kennedy held the usual Pedobaptist views on infants, their regeneration, baptism, and church membership. He utilized the concept of "preparationism" and the "pre-faith new birth" theory, and maintained that "sudden conversions," even though occurring many times in the Scriptural record, were like miracles, a thing of the past.

Kennedy said:

"The favorite doctrine of sudden conversion is practically a complete evasion of the necessity of repentance. Suddenness is regarded as the rule, and not the exception, in order to get rid of any process preliminary to faith. And on what ground do they establish this rule? Merely on the instances of sudden conversion recorded in Scripture. True, there are cases not a few of sudden conversion recorded in Scripture, and there have been such instances since the Book of God was sealed. There was a wise and gracious design in making them thus marked at the outset. They were intended, by their extraordinary suddenness, to show to all ages the wondrous power of God. But was their suddenness designed to indicate the rule of God's acting in all ages? This it will be as difficult to establish, as that the miraculous circumstances attending some of them were intended to be perpetual." (All quotes are from

Kennedy advanced the idea that conversion was a "detailed and extended process." He said:

"The work of conversion includes what we might expect to find detailed in a process. There can be no faith in Christ without some sense of sin, some knowledge of Christ-such as never was possessed before-and willingness, resulting from renewal, to receive Him as a Savior from sin. If a hearty intelligent turning to God in Christ be the result of conversion, it is utterly unwarrantable to expect that, as a rule, conversion shall be sudden. Indeed, the suddenness is rather a ground of suspicion than a reason for concluding that the work is God's."

The paradox in Kennedy's position is that he practiced a double-standard. In the case of unregenerate infants, he had no qualms about assuming their "sudden" regeneration in infancy and "suddenly" baptizing them and "suddenly" receiving them into the church membership. Some of those who were presumed "regenerated" as infants, in adulthood heard the Gospel as preached by Moody and professed faith in Christ, and this greatly distrubed Kennedy. He became critical of Moody, but the fact is, most all the arguments Kennedy mounted against Moody would have more appropriately applied to Kennedy's baptizing of unregenerate infants.

Kennedy was also greatly upset that some of his fellow Ministers were supportive of Moody. He complained: "Hundreds of ministers have I seen, sitting as disciples at the feet of one [Moody], whose teaching only showed his ignorance even of 'the principles of the doctrine of Christ' . . ."

Kennedy also griped about the hymn singing and the use of musical instruments, using the same arguments used by the Campbellites (who derived from the Pedobaptists via Thomas and Alexander Campbells in the early 1800s, who were Scottish Presbyterians).

Kennedy wrote:

"The singing of uninspired hymns even in moderation, as a part of public worship, no one can prove to be scriptural; . . . The use of instrumental music was an additional novelty, pleasing to the kind of feeling that finds pleasure in a concert. To introduce what is so gratifying there, into the service of the house of God, is to make the latter palatable to those to whom spiritual worship is an offense. . . . And yet it is not difficult to prove that the use of instrumental music in the worship of God is unscriptural . . . "

Of course, Kennedy was very much disturbed about the use of "the inquiry room," a practice used by both Moody and Spurgeon in dealing with concerned souls, and he also complained about "public confession."

Kennedy had "the sky is falling" attitude about Moody's evangelism, even fearing dire consequences to his Pedobaptist sect and their practice of baptizing infants as if they were the children of God: "I look on my Church, in a spasmodic state, subject to convulsions, which only indicate that her life is departing, the result of revivals got up by men. It will be a sad day for our country if the men, who luxuriate in the excitement of man-made revivals, shall with their one-sided views of truth, which have ever been the germs of serious errors, their lack of spiritual discernment, and their superficial experience, become the leaders of religious thought and the conductors of religious movements. Already they have advanced as many as inclined to follow them, far in the way to Arminianism in doctrine, and to Plymouthism in service. . . . And if there continue to be progress in the direction in which present religious activity is moving, a negative theology will soon supplant our Confession of Faith, the good old ways of worship will be forsaken for unscriptural inventions, and the tinsel of a superficial religiousness will take the place of genuine godliness."

Mr. Kennedy is the hybrid who was "resurrected" by Pedobaptist Iain Murray of The Banner of Truth in his unfortunate book, The Forgotten Spurgeon, and in other writings, and with whom Mr. Murray "takes sides" against both Spurgeon and Mr. Moody in regard to evangelism.

Evidently, Mr. Murray is infected with the same type of religious paranoia about "sudden conversion" as Mr. Kennedy, which may account for Murray's zealous opposition to public invitations.

Pedobaptists obviously do not appreciate the invasion of the plain Gospel of salvation by faith as preached by Spurgeon and Moody into the adult souls of those who were assumed to have been regenerated when they were infants. If you have nothing better to do with your time, you may read Mr. Kennedy's spiel of palabber at the following Hybrid Calvinist website:

Instead of viewing men such as Moody and Spurgeon as enemies on account of their preaching of "sudden conversion" thru believing in Christ for salvation, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Murray, and others of their sect might more appropriately say with Pogo, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." If they had their way, evangelism would be strangled to death by hyperism/hybridism.

Unscriptural Evangelism - Southern Seminary, the Flounders, and Timmy Brister

Brother Bob Ross' discovery that Southern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate Timmy Brister was teaching evangelism this summer invites some inquiry into exactly what "evangelism" means to Brister, his alma mater, his new mentor and boss Tom Ascol and Tom's organization, Founders Ministry (yes, they really believe what they are doing is a ministry).

Our inquiry will begin with a book recommended by Timmy entitled Tell the Truth by Will Metzger (InterVarsity 3rd edition, 2002). The book is billed on its front cover as a "Training Manual on the Message & Methods of God-Centered Witnessing."

Tell the Truth comes with some heavy endorsements. The back cover lists Timothy Beougher as the "Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism" at Southern Seminary. Beougher says the book "has long been a personal favorite of mine and required reading in my evangelism classes." Ernie Reisinger, the Founder of the Flounders but billed on the back cover as merely a "Southern Baptist pastor, evangelist and author," said "this new edition has made a good book even better. You must have it!" J.I. Packer, John MacArthur, Jr., and John Piper also ring in with endorsements. Finally, Edmund P. Clowney, former President of the Westminister Theological Seminary, and David G. Sinclair, Jr., pastor of the Lexington (S.C.) Presbyterian Church (PCA) lend their praise to the book.

The problem with Tell the Truth is the same problem that plagues the entire neo /hyper /hybrid /extreme movement. It is build upon the false theology of "born again before faith" which the vast majority of Southern Baptist churches do not believe or teach.

On page 137, the author lists the steps of why we need grace and how God saves us. Steps 7 and 8 teach that,
7) The Holy Spirit, following God's plan, regenerates those given to the Son, granting Christ's benefits to them.

8) Having spiritual new birth, they wholeheartedly respond in repentance and faith.

Of course, this is complete and utter heresy, unsupported by the Scriptures, historic Baptist confessions, and the vast majority of Southern Baptist churches whose tithe money goes to Southern Seminary to pay the salaries of professors like Timothy Beougher and the tuition of students like Timmy Brister. Even John Calvin himself rejected this false view of salvation, as did Charles H. Spurgeon.

In addition to teaching the heresy of "regeneration before faith" the author balks at expecting any results from our evangelistic efforts. He says on page 28, "Any definition of our task that includes results is confusing our responsibility with God's prerogative, which is regeneration." To imply that results do not matter is unscriptural and dangerous. God cares about numbers. As Spurgeon said, "It has been noticed that those who object to the process [of providing church statistics] are often brethren whose unsatisfactory reports should somewhat humiliate them."

Brother Bob Ross has written about why Calvinist churches are generally so small so I will not rehash it. But one would think that the author of a book on evangelism would at least check the references of his endorsers. For more information on the fruits of this theology I invite readers to see how two of its biggest boosters are doing with their churches.

As for Brother Timmy Brister? I'm praying for him.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

BT financier saved at an altar


It is rather paradoxical that the wealthy gentleman who first proposed establishing the Banner of Truth Trust, and whose wealth made the Banner of Truth Trust an establishment, Mr. D. J. W. CULLUM, was evidently converted in an "altar" circumstance.

The Banner of Truth of July 1971, has a short biographical sketch of Mr. Cullum, a multi-millionaire, and it says that "it was while kneeling at a morning service in St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem on Christmas Day, that he received assurance of his salvation in Jesus Christ" (page 2, issue #93).

Despite this similarity to many professed conversions during an invitation (some call it "altar call"), and despite the fact that some of the very brethren who oppose invitations testify to having been saved during invitations, they nevertheless put a "taboo" on the public invitation "system" (as they call it) or "altar calls." Most of these men seem to be influenced in their thinking by Iain Murray of the The Banner of Truth.

Iain Murray, who was selected by Mr. Cullum and Martin Lloyd-Jones to be the director of BT magazine and publications, has made a reputation for himself writing against "altar calls" or "invitations." Yet, Murray himself owes his job with BT to an "altar" conversion -- the conversion of Mr. Cullum, for it was Cullum's money which established the Trust which has financed BT.

We think this must qualify as a classic case of "biting the hand that feeds you."

"Evangelism" at Cape Coral


Timmy Brister recently writes on his blog --

"For the past couple of weeks, I have been spending the majority of my personal Bible study in the book of Acts, seeking to dig deeper into the mission of the early church in preparation for a summer-long teaching series in evangelism."

I assume this series will be taught at Tom Ascol's Flounders flagship church in Cape Coral, Florida. We know from Timmy's recent promotion of Pedobaptist books on "evangelism" by Pedos Packer and Kuiper that Timmy will most likely be teaching "evangelism" according to the Pedos.

The first fundamental principle of Pedo evangelism is that "regeneration precedes faith" (aka "born again before faith in Christ"). This is the line R. C. Sproul, John Frame, Ligon Duncan, Iain Murray, and many other modern Pedo preachers allege.

It is also the line promoted by Hybrid Calvinists in the Flounders, such as Tom Ascol, Bill Ascol, Tom Nettles, Mark Dever, Roy Hargrave, and others such as James White and some "Reformed Baptists" who have soaked their heads in Pedo theological buckets, especially those of Shedd, Berkhof, Sproul and Murray.

We also know that Ernest Reisinger, Founder of the Flounders, was of this same Pedo-mind on "evangelism" (see Today's Evangelism by Reisinger, pages 46, 47). The Flounders website also promotes the same Pedo view on "regeneration."

Therefore, what Brister most likely will be teaching is the same theory on "evangelism" that Ernest Reisinger would have taught when he was "reforming" the North Pompano, FL church, which no longer exists. This would certainly mean the exclusion of methods which are condemned by Reisinger in his book on Worship and by Murray in his writings -- no "decisionism," "altar calls," "invitations," "Sinner's Prayer," and that sort of "Arminianism." They would not want to get a false profession from one of the "non-elect" -- nor from even one of the "elect."

We hope Brister can somehow avoid at Ascol's Grace Baptist Church the sad effects of Pedo "evangelism" which resulted in eventual demise of the North Pompano church.

Good Luck!

Spurgeon's "Ordo Salutis" vs Murray's


According to Pedo Louis Berkhof and Pedo W. G. T. Shedd, the Pedobaptists "gradually" contrived or "developed" what became known in Pedo theological writings as the "ordo salutis."

I prefer calling it the "ordo polutis," for it pollutes the truth on the new birth.

This development was long after Calvin and Dort, and you don't find it in the Westminster Confession of Faith. [Systematic Theology by Berkhof, page 468; Dogmatic Theology by Shedd, Vol. 2, page 493]. In fact, no Confession puts "regeneration" or the "new birth" before faith in Christ. Furthermore, Spurgeon never used the expression, "ordo salutis."

Shedd seems to imply that Francis Turretin was the Pedobaptist who had a great deal of influence in "devoloping" this, and Shedd acknowledged that he "adopted" the Turretin view which alleged that "regeneration" preceded "conversion" -- in other words, "born again before faith." So we have it on the "good authority" of the Pedo theologians that this palabber originated with the Pedos.

This is the view advocated by Pedo Iain Murray, and is the view he has often attempted to saddle on C. H. Spurgeon. Spurgeon did indeed teach that there was a pre-faith work ("prevenient grace") done by the Word and Spirit in the sinner, but he did not call this the "new birth" or "regeneration," as if one is born again before he has experienced faith in Christ. Spurgeon said the sinner is "not saved" by the preceding or prevenient work before he is brought to "decision," or faith (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 11, Year 1865, pages 596, 597).

We have given many instances in past articles which demonstrate Spurgeon's view, and here is just one of those which very well refutes the attempts by Iain Murray to make a Hybrid Calvinist out of Spurgeon:

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 37, Year 1891, pages 560, 561, The Law's Failure and Fulfillment:

"When we believe in Christ we not only receive pardon, but we also receive renewal. I am told that the teaching of certain people, nowadays, is that the believer only gets pardon to begin with and a long time afterwards he gets the clean heart. But I say, on the authority of God’s Word, that no man is pardoned unless he has a clean heart! God gives the clean heart at the time He gives the pardon! You must never divide the renewing of the Holy Spirit from the pardon of sin. They go together and he that receives the pardon of sin receives a new birth — and is made a new creature in Christ Jesus then and there. The work of regeneration and the act of faith which brings justification to the penitent sinner are SIMULTANEOUS and must, in the nature of the case, always be so."

Mr. Murray has often in the past twisted and spun Spurgeon all he could in the effort to make a Hybrid Calvinist out of Spurgeon. But it seems that Murray has, for some unknown reason, in more recent times felt under obligation to acknowledge the fact that Spurgeon indeed held that faith "occurs at the same time as the new birth" (The Old Evangelicism, page 65).

This acknowledgment was called to my attention a short while back by a brother ("Ide") who reads my emails and the Flyswatter, and I am deeply indebted to him for the reference.

If some Hybrid Calvinist tries to use Murray's past twists of Spurgeon to teach Hybrid Calvinism, you can refer the person to Murray's acknowledgment in this book published in 2005 by the Banner of Truth.

We have also before called attention to --


Here is C. H. Spurgeon's Immaculate Syllogism, which is based on 1 John 5:4. This is on page 142 of Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 17, 1971, Sermon #979, "Faith and Regeneration."


"Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:"

But faith overcomes the world,

Therefore the man who has faith is regenerate;

And what means that but that he is saved, and that his faith is the instrument by which he achieves victories."

To state the syllogism summarily:

1. "WHATSOEVER is BORN OF GOD overcometh the world."

2. But FAITH overcomes the world.

3. Therefore, the instant that FAITH is born in a man he is BORN OF GOD in that same instant -- and not before.

There is no way under the Sun to squeeze a "born again before faith" situation into that syllogism! No one can produce a person who is "born again" who does not have faith in Christ!

FAITH is that which is BORN OF GOD, therefore the man who has had faith born in him is REGENERATED -- and NO OTHER!

Until faith in Christ has been born in a man, the man has not been born again. It's that simple.

There is simply no room in Spurgeon for the pedo doctrine of "born again before faith," that "regeneration" is a separate act from effectual calling by the Word and Spirit.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Murray's distortion of Spurgeon


We have often had occasion for many years to correct the distorted image of C. H. Spurgeon molded by the Pedobaptist, Iain Murray of the Banner of Truth.

Some of my writings about Murray's distortions may be read at Selected Writings of Bob Ross and some at the Pilgrim Publications' web site. Murray has probably "made a good living" off of Hybrid Calvinists thru marketing of his books which present a "Spurgeon" who never existed.

It is of course not surprising that Murray's "Reformed" theology on infant "regeneration" and the "born again before faith" heresy as to adult "regeneration" are both incompatible with the real Spurgeon's theology and evangelistic practices.

As a result of Mr. Murray's attachment to Pedcbaptism and the "Reformed" theology as presented by Louis Berkhof (a great
favorite of Murray), he has become a veritable fountain of misinformation, not only in the theological category, but biographically as well. As for Spurgeon, anything Murray writes about Spurgeon should be carefully sifted through Spurgeon's own writings and biographical sources and much of what Murray says will need to be discarded.

Murray alleges, for example, that C. H. Spurgeon's views were "moulded" by Alleine's Alarm to the Unconverted, when the fact is Spurgeon considered Joseph Alleine to be a "better preacher of the law than the gospel." Spurgeon even said the reading of Alleine's book was "like sitting at the foot of Sinai" and that his heart was hardened by the book. [For Spurgeon's various remarks on the book, see the Autobiography, Volume 1, pages 68, 80, 104; also see the sermon #531, The Warrant of Faith, page 531].

Mr. Murray obviously has an inclination for "nit-picking" of certain terminology which he is pleased to regard as "Arminian." In his book, The Forgotten Spurgeon, for example, Murray mixes Spurgeon's name in with his criticism of the expressions, "open your heart" and "decide for Christ," which according to Murray are expressions coined by "Arminianism" (pages 95).

Curiously, however, we do not find any revelation from Murray of the fact that Spurgeon frequently used these and similar "Arminian" expressions. You have to "watch" Mr. Murray for what he omits about Spurgeon which evidently he regards as not exactly embellishing to his "Reformed" theology.

Spurgeon has a sermon entitled, "An Open Heart for a Great Saviour," in which he says:

"It is perfectly true that the work of salvation lies first and mainly in Jesus receiving sinners to himself, to pardon, to cleanse, to sanctify, to preserve, to make perfect; but, at the same time, the sinner also receives Christ; there is an act on the sinner's part by which, being constrained by divine grace, he openeth his heart to the admission of Jesus Christ, and Jesus enters in, and thenceforth dwells in the heart, and reigns and rules there. To a gracious readiness of heart to entertain the friend who knocks at the door, we are brought by God the Holy Ghost, and then he sups with us and we with him."
[Metropolitan Tabernalce Pulpit, Volume 12, Year 1866, sermon #669, page 13].

In another appeal, Spurgeon said, "Oh I wish some of you would thus respond to my appeal this day! This thing is also from the Lord: it was he who gave me this message; it was he who brought you to hear it. Surely you will not be found fighting against God. Your heart is open to him; he sees the faintest desire that you have toward him. Breathe out your wish now, and say, 'My heart is before thee: take it.'" (MTP, Volume 37, #2231, page 599: An Urgent Request for An Immediate Answer).

On the matter of "decision," it might be well for Mr. Murray to consider Spurgeon's remarks in that sermon, "An Urgent Request for an Immediate Answer" (#2231). In this sermon, Spurgeon addresses his hearers, "But we are the more determined to press you for some DECISION" and "I pray that God's Spirit may lead you to an immediate DECISION" (pages 596, 599).

In the same sermon #2231, Spurgeon urges his hearers to "accept Christ" (page 16), which is another expression which we have sometimes seen classified by Murray and his disciples as being "Arminian."

Murray has little to no use for Evangelist D. L. Moody, whereas Spurgeon had a high regard for Moody, promoted Moody, defended Moody, had Moody preach at the Tabernacle, and approved of Moody's methods. Murray is a critic of any and all methods that call for the immediate acceptance of Christ as Saviour and the public confession of that faith. He tries to align Spurgeon against such methods, including the use of "inquiry rooms."

But the fact is, Spurgeon used the "inquiry room" and while like any sane Baptist preacher he would guard against unreasonable abuse of it, he never opposed its use, nor did he oppose "the invitation system," as has been falsely alleged.

"It is all very well to have an enquiry-room, and I have not a word to say against it"
(Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 26, page 233).

And in the same volume on page 186 he says, "I do not condemn that action" (of going into an inquiry room).

In his Lectures to My Students, Second Series, page 190, he taught his ministerial students to "hold numerous enquirers meetings."

He emphasized a "reasonable" approach:

"Hope for the best, but in your highest excitements be reasonable. Enquiry-rooms are all very well, but if they lead to idle boastings they will grieve the Holy Spirit and work abounding evil" (The Sword and the Trowel, November 1879, page 505).

An Example

Here is just one example which is on record of the use of the inquiry rooom, an item of significance which I have yet to see mentioned by Mr. Murray in any of his writings:

Murray, to my knowledge, has never taken notice of this instance which reveals Spurgeon's practice -- an item from the March 1865 issue of Spurgeon's The Sword and the Trowel, page 128, which specifically relates to an "invitation" to the "unsaved" at the close of a service on the evening of February 6, 1865:

Now came the direct reference to the UNSAVED. This was introduced by a most earnest and awakening address by Mr. Spurgeon, and was responded to in prayer by Mr. Stott and Mr. Varley. A hymn followed, commencing thus,

"Once a sinner near despair."

Mr. Teal and Mr. Burton then prayed, and Mr. Spurgeon closed with prayer.

INQUIRERS were then encouraged to retire to the lecture hall, where ministers and elders would be glad to converse with them; and many responded to the INVITATION.

Spurgeon approved of these kinds of reasonable yet aggressive methods which tended to bring men to "decision" and open confession of Christ as Saviour.

Spurgeon said of D. L. Moody, for example --

"I believe that it is a great help in bringing people to DECISION when Mr. Moody asks those to STAND UP who wish to be prayed for. Anything that tends to separate you from the ungodly around you, is good for you. " (MTP, 1897, page 516).

The type of "Reformed" Hybrid Calvinist theology held by Mr. Murray was not what Spurgeon believed and practiced. Spurgeon did not confine himself to the type of "box" which Murray would like for his readers to think. In fact, in his own time, the Hybrid Calvinists such as Murray, branded Spurgeon an "Arminian," and that attitude is perpetuated in our time by those who use Spurgeon's name but distort his theology and evangelistic practice.

C. H. Spurgeon:

I believe, most firmly, in the doctrines commonly called Calvinistic, and I hold them to be very fraught with comfort to God�s people; but if any man shall say that the preaching of these is the whole of the preaching of the gospel, I am at issue with him.

Brethren, you may preach those doctrines as long as you like, and yet fail to preach the gospel; and I will go further, and affirm that some who have even denied those truths, to our great grief, have nevertheless been gospel preachers for all that, and God has saved souls by their ministry. . . .

Preach Christ, young man, if you want to win souls. Preach all the doctrines, too, for the building up of believers, but still the main business is to preach Jesus who came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost. . . .

This simple truth, that "Jesus Christ has come to seek and to save that which is lost," and that "whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life," must be your jewel, your treasure, your life.

[Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 13, Year 1867, #786].