Monday, June 30, 2008

Pedobaptist degenercy cited


Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, opens his blog today with this comment:

Meeting in San Jose, California, the Presbyterian Church USA, the liberal branch of American Presbyterianism, moved to approve homosexual clergy on June 27, 2008 -- a date that may well mark a final blow against biblical orthodoxy in that denomination.

Dr. Mohler goes on to explain what the Pedobaptists are doing in moving in this degenerate direction. Is not apostasy always the ultimate result of the practice of Pedobaptism?

We have contended on this blog that the Pedobaptists maintain their church membership primarily by infant baptism, adding the infants to the church as bonafide "born again" members. This is based on their supposed "covenant" teaching, that infants born to Christian parents are allegedly "covenant children" who inherit the promise of regeneration, supposedly received in early infancy, and signified and sealed by infant baptism.

Those who are acquainted with Pedobaptist history know that apostasy has been the inevitable result of the practice of infant baptism.

C. H. Spurgeon:

"I do not know an error which causes the damnation of more souls than that at the present time. . . . Sacramental efficacy and baptismal regeneration, ALL SPRING FROM THE FIRST ERROR OF INFANT BAPTISM" (New Park Street Pulpit, Volume 6, page 168).

Dr. Mohler's words are well-taken, but his dalliance with Pedobaptists is bothersome. His role at SBTS in the promotion of Hybrid Calvinism and his frequent unionism with Pedos in various contexts will only serve to give aid and comfort the Pedos and the ultimate apostasy which Pedobaptism engenders.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Founders did not repent


We left our post of June 22, 2008 up for the entire week of the Flounders National Conference, hoping that it might be an inspiration for the Flounders to repent of their misrepresentation of Baptist leaders of the past.

We were not asking them to repudiate the Pedobaptist Reformed Hybrid Calvinist view on regeneration -- born again before faith -- if they believe that is taught in Scripture, but we did ask them to renounce their misrepresentations of Baptist leaders and confessions of faith.

Thus far, as I have read reports of the Conference, it appears to be the case that the Flounders chose not to acknowledge their misrepresentations and enact "corporate repentance." We will continue to watch for any mention of this, just in case it has not yet surfaced.

However, if they did not enact "corporate repentance," we will continue to call attention to the Resolution and will defintely renew it at their next National Conference in 2009. In fact, I am considering publishing the call for repentance in the local newspaper where the Conference is held.

We feel that we have defintely had an influence over the Flounders since this blog started. They have moved in the direction, it would appear, to at least put more emphasis in their writings and conferences upon evangelism and church planting in contrast to promoting their Hybrid Calvinism version of the "doctrines of grace." We have shown that even Iain Murray, the virtual theoretical "father" of the Flounders' movement, has acknowledged the lack of evangelism and soul-winning on the part of those who have been so zealous in making proselytes to Hybrid Calvinism.

It seems that some of the Flounders, at least, are awakening to the fact that proselytism cannot sustain a healthy Baptist church. All too many "Calvinist" or "sovereign grace" Baptist churches have been formed and later disintegrated over the past several years since they "went to seed" on doctrine and did nothing to evangelize and make converts to Christ.

The Flounders and "Reformed" Baptists do not enjoy the same advantage that Hybrid Calvinist Pedobaptists have in sustaining their church memberships. The Pedos primarily rely on infant additions to the church, and that helps keeps them afloat. If they had to survive from evangelism and soul-winning, they would in most instances probably decline and even decease like many of the non-Pedo "Calvinist" churches have deceased.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Founders' corporate repentance?


This is the week of the Flounders' National Conference, and I think it affords an excellent opportunity for the Flounders to "corporately repent" of their misrepresentation of great Baptists of the past.

Take, for instance, Dr. John L. Dagg, on the New Birth. The Flounders have attempted to incorporate Dr. Dagg into their camp, and have items by him on their website. He is even quoted by Flounders' Board members, such as Tom Nettles, Bill Ascol, and others.

Yet Dr. Dagg did not hold the Pedobaptist Reformed "pre-faith regeneration" theory of the likes of Shedd, Berkhof, Iain Murray, John Murray, R. C. Sproul and J. I. Packer. This theory is a basis of the rejection by the Hybrid Calvinists of the public invitation (see Murray's The Invitation System, page 19; Ernest Reisinger, Today's Evangelism, page 47).

Since the Flounders approve of "corporate repentance," it seems that this National Conference would be an excellent opportunity for the Flounders to acknowledge the error of their way about "regeneration," and repent of the manner in which they have falsely identified with Baptists of the past on this great truth.


RESOLVED, That we urge the Affiliates of the Flounders Ministries to repent of the failure among us to properly represent the views of our Baptist forefathers on the New Birth, or Regeneration, and of our failure to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of lovingly correcting wayward Flounderers who have done likewise; (Matthew 18:15-18); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we humbly encourage Flounders Ministries leaders and servants to support and encourage pastors and churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior’s teachings on the New Birth, even if such efforts result in the reduction in the number of Pedobaptist and Reformed friends of the Flounders; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we humbly urge the pastors and churches affiliated with the Flounders Ministries to implement a plan to minister to, counsel, and restore wayward affiliates who misrepresent our Baptist forefathers based upon the commands and principles given in Scripture (Matthew 18:15-35; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Spurgeon's "reforming" work


While we have read much the past few years from the Flounders and others about "reforming" in the direction of a Hybrid version of "Calvinism," C. H. Spurgeon faced a need for "reform" of sorts when he became Pastor of New Park Street Chapel in London in 1854.

His early ministry at New Park Street Chapel did not exactly meet with a "welcome" by the "rigid Calvinists." In fact, a few years later, on the occasion of the opening of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon remarked --

"I have been treated somewhat severely by that class of brethren who are exceedingly strong in their Calvinism. Many suspect me of being a great heretic. . . . The Calvinism of some men is not the Calvinism of John Calvin, nor the Calvinism of the Puritans, much less the Christianity of God." (New Park Street Pulpit, Volume 5, page 368).

Spurgeon seemed to have met with a similar type of "Calvinism" which is on the scene today, a version we have identified as "Hybrid Calvinism," for it differs with Calvin, the Puritans, and Creedal Christianity.

Baptist churches in the London of the early 1850s were what some might regard as relatively "dead" or "dying." When Spurgeon came to London to the spiritually and architecturally "gloomy" New Park Street Chapel from distant Waterbeach, near Cambridge in the Fen country where he had just about single-handedly been used of the Lord in converting the entire village, it was like the crashing of a red-hot meteor into a stagnant pond of water — things began to "snap, crackle, and pop."

Spurgeon says, "In a very short time after I began to preach in London, the congregation so multiplied as to make the chapel, in the evening, when the gas was burning, like the Black Hole of Calcutta"
(Autobiography, Vol. 1, page 369).

Spurgeon felt so stifled that when the deacons ignored his request to do something about the upper windows, he took matters into his own hands. Later, in regard to the mysteriously missing windowpanes, he said, "I shall have to confess that I have walked with the stick which let the oxygen into that stifling structure" (ibid).

He not only knocked the windows out, his soul-winning preaching virtually knocked down the old edifice itself. The sparsely attended church began to grow in attendance at such a pace that the building could not contain the crowds. Even an enlargement would not hold them, so they had to build the new Metropolitan Tabernacle, and at times even it was inadequate.

Appropriately, the 673rd sermon of his ministry — but the very first he delivered at Park Street Chapel on December 18, 1853, to a congregation he described as "a mere handful" (Metropolitan Tabernacle: Its History and Work, page 71) — was rather prophetic of his own entrance upon the London Baptist scene:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” — James 1:17.

Spurgeon himself proved to be a "good gift" — even if not perfect — to the Christianity of his age, and especially at the New Park Street Chapel where they were in such desperate need of spiritual blessings.
The Baptist preachers and churches of New Park Street Chapel variety were mostly either hyper-Calvinists or ultra-Calvinists, and did not have anyone to lead them in any other direction. The killing effects of "mere doctrine" and too great an emphasis upon "the Calvinist system" had virtually choked out any aggressive evangelistic efforts such as the "going into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in" approach.

Spurgeon's success in preaching what he called the "simple Gospel" made him the object of resentment, jealousy, criticism, and even cynical ridicule by some of the Baptists, especially some of the "scribes and Pharisees" among the "high Calvinists."

At least one of the notable Baptist leaders of the time even questioned Spurgeon's conversion! Spurgeon said in one of his New Park Street sermons, "I do not hesitate to say, that Phariseeism is mixed with Hyper-Calvinism more than with any other sect in the world" (New Park Street Pulpit, Year 1860, #336STRUGGLES OF CONSCIENCE, page 403).

In a letter to his family, Spurgeon wrote of the "high" Calvinism which prevailed at the church at that time. "It is the Calvinism they want," he said:

“December __, 1853.

“My Dear Father, ...

“Should I be settled in London, I will come and see you often. I do not anticipate going there with much pleasure. I am contented where I am; but if God has more for me to do, then let me go and trust in Him. The London people are rather higher in Calvinism than I am; but I have succeeded in bringing one church [Waterbeach] to my own views, and will trust, with Divine assistance, to do the same with another. I am a Calvinist; I love what someone called ‘glorious Calvinism,’ but ‘Hyperism’ is too hot-spiced for my palate. . . .

“My people [at Waterbeach] are very sad; some wept bitterly at the sight of me, although I made no allusion to the subject in the pulpit, as it is too uncertain to speak of publicly. It is Calvinism they want in London, and any Arminian preaching will not be endured. Several in the church are far before me in theological acumen; they would not admit that it is so, but they all expressed their belief that my originality, or even eccentricity, was the very thing to draw a London audience. The chapel is one of the finest in the denomination; somewhat in the style of our Cambridge Museum. A Merry Christmas to you all; a Happy New Year; and the blessing of the God of Jacob! — Yours affectionately, C. H. SPURGEON.”

Spurgeon not only knocked out the windows of the chapel, and knocked down the building in consequence of the need for greater seating capacity for the crowds, he would soon strike blow-after-blow at what he often called the "false Calvinism" of his "ultraists" brethren.

One of the innovations which Spurgeon put to good use, out of the practical necessity for the hearing of confessions of Christ by those responding to his evangelistic preaching, was the use of inquiry-rooms. Spurgeon's doctrine and practices would have a great effect upon the American evangelist, D. L. Moody (1837-1899), who purposely made his way to London in 1867 to observe Spurgeon's work and methods.

Moody was gifted with the love of evangelism, not with a deep theological inclination or with a seminary education, yet one finds a great deal of the theology advocated by Spurgeon in the small books by Moody, manifesting at whose feet Moody learned. In this regard, Moody was indeed a sort of "Timothy" in relation to C. H. Spurgeon.

Moody — after he started his own preaching ministry — began to adopt many of Spurgeon's means of implementing the work of the Gospel, including starting a Bible Institute similar to Spurgeon's Pastor's College, a colportage or publishing work similar to Spurgeon's, preaching to the masses in large halls as did Spurgeon, and using the inquiry-room to deal with converts, as did Spurgeon.

The inquiry-room method, in its essential elements, became the forerunner of what we today call the "public invitation." It evidently derives from C. H. Spurgeon.

This method did not derive from Charles G. Finney's "anxious seat," as some allege, for the inquiry-room was not on that order at all. Moody never even heard Finney preach, nor saw the "anxious seat" used in a Finney revival meeting. By 1860, Finney could not even travel, much less hold revival meetings, and that was long before Moody even started preaching.

But Moody did hear Spurgeon, followed Spurgeon, reading everything of Spurgeon's, and he saw how Spurgeon dealt with souls. He adopted Spurgeon's methods.

If the only "C. H. Spurgeon" you know about is the disfiguration presented in several contexts in Iain Murray's "The Forgotten Spurgeon," you are still very much "in the dark." Mr. Murray's purpose, seemingly, is often to take snippets from Spurgeon which he can utilize in the promotion of what Spurgeon might regard as a form of the "rigid system of Calvinism." The greatest barriers to evangelism Spurgeon ever encountered in London were the "rigid" Calvinists, embellishing soundness in doctrine as of more importance than evangelism.

In fact, if certain laborious features in Mr. Murray's version of Spurgeon is all you know of him, it might be more healthy for your knowledge of Spurgeon if the "Spurgeon" of Mr. Murray's writings were indeed simply "forgotten." If the only "D. L. Moody" you know about is the one presented by Mr. Murray, you can also most likely improve your mind's concept of Moody by simply "forgetting" that image of Moody. That also applies to Mr. Murray's image of John Gill in his "Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism." Pedobaptist Murray seems to have a peculiar distaste for some of our Baptistic heroes!

Remembering Spurgeon's birthday


This recognition of C. H.Spurgeon's 174th Birthday comes to you a day late due to stormy weather in our area on Thursday, June 19th. We had temporary power outage, heavy rains, powerful winds, and related attention-getters.

We are happy to report, however, that no serious damage was done to our home or store building. A very large tree in a nearby residential area was uprooted and made the Houston TV newscasts, but no injuries resulted.

At least two very notable men were born in Great Britain on June 19 -- King James VI and C. H. Spurgeon.

Both of these names were to become famously and uniquely associated with the dissemination of Christianity -- King James with his "authorizing" the 1611 Translation of the Bible, and Spurgeon with the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Both of their works follow them (Revelation 14:13) in a marvelous manner.

Today, both the King James Version and Spurgeon's sermons are more accessible to the world's population than at any time in ages past! No English Bible translation has been more widely read and influenctial than the KJV, and no sermons have been more widely circulated than Spurgeon's.

In honor of Spurgeon's birthday, we have published two small items which Spurgeon aficionados will probably want to have:

POCKET CARD -- C. H. Spurgeon's First and Last Words at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

BOOKMARK -- C. H. Spurgeon's First and Last Words at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

Both the credit-card size Pocket Card and the 2 1/2" x 7" Bookmark are plastic-coated for durability and protection from moisture. Both contain small photos of Spurgeon, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, and the famous Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Symbol of Moses lifting up the serpent (John 3:14-18).

We would be happy to send you FREE copies, but we need your address on a postage-paid envelope.

To receive 2 FREE copies of each of these items, please send a 42-cent Stamped Self-Addressed Envelope.

If you wish to order MORE than the 2 free copies of each item, enclose $1.00 per each four copies of either the Pocket Card or Bookmark, or both. Calculate the cost at 25-cents per copy for each item.

Our mailing address:

Pilgrim Publications, P. O. Box 66, Pasadena, Texas 77501.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ascol's church planting claim


On the "Tom and Tim" show via podcast, Tom Ascol tells his new assistant, Timmy Brister, that "many" of the "Founders Friendly" churches have been involved in "church planting," but that the Flounders "keep no statistics on this" and therefore do not give reports about it.

He claims that "dozens and dozens" of churches have been planted in the USA and around the world by those affiliated with the Flounders. No names are given of either the "planters" or the "churches" which have done the planting.

The question is, where are these "dozens and dozens" of churches? Is Ascol "padding" the record? How can he make such a claim unless he has a "record" of such churches?

While we know there have been some "plants" made by people who have split from other churches, or been proselyted from other churches, we know of no church that the Flounders have planted as a result of
evangelistic, soul winning efforts.

I would challenge Ascol and the Flounders to name a single church which has been planted other than those planted by proselytes and members who have split from other churches.

It is rather ironic that Ascol makes this unsubstantiated claim so soon after his brouhaha about the Southern Baptist Convention's statistics.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mohler's lack of discernment


President R. Albert Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently said, "I was recently asked to rank the most important evangelical books of the last twenty-five years. In my judgment, The Gospel According to Jesus belongs in the top ten of that urgent list."

The book by John MacArthur was published in 1988, and after I read it, I wrote a two-page review in which I stated that MacArthur "falls short of the mark which is suggested by the noble title of the book. I for one would not relish the thought of being confined to a reading of this book for an understanding of the Gospel. . . . I fear that MacArthur has only succeeded in moving away from the Gospel in the effort to 'guard' it against those who erroneously distinguish between the Saviorhood of Christ and the Lordship of Christ. The only Savior we know is the Lord, and the only Lord we know is the Savior -- the Lord Jesus Christ."

Unfortunately, even though I read the book more than once, I failed to find any clear, positive presentation of the Gospel of salvation by faith which might lead an unsaved reader to believe on Christ for salvation.

In my review, I also expressed my longtime and unwavering adherence to the Gospel of salvation by faith alone, and offered a few significant comments on that view from C. H. Spurgeon's great sermon based on Romans 5:1, Peace by Believing (MTP, Volume 9, Year 1863, Sermon #510, pages 282, 283, 285, 286, 287).

When that book first came out in 1988, at the time John MacArthur did not teach justification by imputed righteousness, nor did he hold the Creedal view of the Eternal Sonship of Christ. At the time, he was teaching justification based on "infused righteousness," and he taught that Christ, although eternal, was not the Eternal Son of God, but He was the "Son of God" via incarnation. Since the publication of his book in 1988, he has changed his views on both of these teachings.

I think MacArthur's previous view on justification based on "infused" righteousness must have had a great bearing upon his making so many confusing statements in The Gospel According to Jesus.

But it is not my purpose now to renew my critique of MacArthur's confusing book, but rather to express my disappointment that Dr. Mohler found the book so significant. It is rather disheartening to realize that the president of one the SBC's most important seminaries evidently has such lack of discernment about the Gospel of Christ to so highly esteem MacArthur's book.

We consider, however, that this evident lack of discernment by Dr. Mohler about the Gospel is consistent with what appears to be his lack of discernment about the doctrine of Regeneration, as he continues to pack his Faculty with "born again before faith" advocates.

In case you missed it, here are some words of Spurgeon on the simplicity of the Gospel which are quite the contrast to what you get in The Gospel According to Jesus.


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. . . .

Bind it about your heart, and defy the hosts of Rome or hell to unloose its folds. Wrap it about your loins in death, and hold it as a standard in both your hands in life. 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].


or the Founders' T-U-L-I-P

Total Dedication to Reformed Pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinism.

Unconditional Eclecticism and Eisegesis.

Limited Attunement to Orthodox/Creedal Calvinism.

Irresistible Gratuitous Claims.

Perseverance in Abuse of Spurgeon and other Calvinistic Baptists.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Conferences, conferences, conferences!


Flounders' assistant to Tom Ascol, Timmy Brister says:

"We need fresh perspectives and a renewed passion to plant churches, revitalize dying ones, and bring in a younger generation committed to the local church."

These words seem to be very appropriate in regard to the Flounders' movement. On their website, the Flounders have said:

"Founders Ministries is designed to help churches understand and return to the faith and practice of their forebears. Among those great truths are the Doctrines of Grace, the reformed understanding of how the Sovereign God elected, redeemed, regenerates, and preserves His own."

Their website also says:

"Founders Ministries, Inc., is a ministry of teaching and encouragement that seeks to promote both doctrine and devotion expressed in the Doctrines of Grace and their experiential application to the local church, particularly in the areas of worship and witness."

One searches in vain to find any emphasis in the Flounders upon the Great Commission, soul winning, and establishing churches of new converts. The primary purpose of the Flounders since beginning in 1982 has been to make proselytes to the "Reformed" Pedobaptist version of "the doctrines of grace."

To accomplish their purpose, for years the Flounders have held a National conference and 6 Regional conferences, and they also have 22 "Founders Fraternals." That is a total of 29 yearly conferences/fraternals.

These have not produced converts to Christ nor churches. They have wasted a lot of time and expense and served to create "conference fatigue" on the part of many.

Now, Brister says, the Flounders need "fresh perspectives and a renewed passion . . ."

One might wonder what these "Flounders Friendly" Pastors and Churches could have accomplished in winning souls and establishing churches had they devoted all that time and expense, which they have burned attending conferences and fraternals, on efforts in their own communities?

It seems that the primary accomplishment has been the development and extension of the Flounders as a sect. The great purpose of the Lord's commission has not been fulfilled by the Flounders' conferences and fraternals.

We indeed hope that this month's National conference will be one in which there are "fresh perspectives and a renewed passion" to engage in our Lord's commission in contrast to the original purpose of the Flounders.

Iain Murray, a "Flounders Friendly" Pedobaptist who has for years directed The Banner of Truth, in his 1995 book, Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism, says this in the Preface:

". . . it is apparent that the recovery of doctrinal Christianity is not necessarily our chief need today. . . . it may well be that the time has come when we need to be much more familiar with a rather different emphasis in Spurgeon. . . . it would appear that the priority which soul-winning had in Spurgeon's ministry is not commonly seen to be our priority.

"The revival of DOCTRINE has scarcely been matched by a revival of EVANGELISM. . . . it may well be that we have not been sufficiently alert to the danger of allowing a supposed consistency in doctrine to OVERRIDE THE BIBLICAL PRIORITY OF ZEAL FOR CHRIST AND SOULS OF MEN.

"Doctrine without usefulness is no prize. As Spurgeon says, 'You may look down with contempt on some who do not know so much as you, and yet they may have twice your holiness and be doing more service to God.'"

Perhaps the most appropriate words for the Flounders, who are perhaps best known for emphasizing their version of the "Doctrines of Grace," are these words of C. H. Spurgeon who said:

"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."

[Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 13, Year 1867, #786, excerpts from pages 706-708].

Thursday, June 12, 2008

John L. Dagg not a Hybrid Calvinist


I noticed on Tom Ascol's Flounders' blog and on Timmy Brister's blog, references to materials by Dr. John L. Dagg, and it served to remind me that Dr. Dagg was not of the same faith and order as the Flounders and Brister.

I don't believe Dr. Dagg would appreciate being identified with those who adhere to the "Hardshell" doctrine of "born again before faith." Dr. Dagg lived during the time when Hardshellism arose and split the Baptists, and he rejected their doctrine.

Despite the fact we have previously revealed on this blog that Dr. John L. Dagg (1794-1884) was not an advocate of the Reformed "born again before faith" Pedobaptist heresy on regeneration, the Hybrid Calvinist Flounders continue to use Dagg's picture as "wallpaper." The Flounders would have you believe the implication that they agree with and represent the views held by Dr. Dagg.

Also, they have other information about Dr. Dagg on their website as if to indicate that Dr. Dagg held the same views on "Calvinism" as advocated by the Flounders.

In fact, the Flounders even have Dr. Dagg's Manual of Theology book available on their website, although this very book itself contradicts Flounders' Hybrid Calvinism on the new birth.

The Flounders' website carries this statement by Tom Nettles about Dr. Dagg -- "For clarity, cogency, and sincerity of expression, no theological writer of the 19th century surpasses John L. Dagg."

The Flounders' website has an article on Dagg by Mark Dever, who says: "Dagg served at Mercer University, in Georgia, as President (1844-1854), and as professor of theology (1844-1855). There he labored to build the theological department until, in the early 1850's, it was perhaps the most celebrated theological school in the south. . . . Evidence of enduring appreciation for Dagg's work can be seen by the fact that almost forty years after his retirement, when a new theology professor was to be appointed at Mercer in 1893, he was recommended by the simple statement that if this person 'needed any endorsement, it would be sufficient to say that he was a student under that incomparable theological teacher, Rev. J. L. Dagg, D. D., and that he uses his Systematic Theology, as a text book.'"

But contrary to the Flounders' Hybrid Calvinism view on the new birth, here is what Dr. Dagg says about (1) THE SPIRIT'S USE OF THE WORD OF GOD AS THE MEANS in regeneration, and about (2) FAITH as PRECEDING REGENERATION:

We know, from the Holy Scriptures, that God employs his truth in the regeneration of the soul. "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth." Love to God necessarily implies knowledge of God, and this knowledge it is the province of truth to impart. . . . What accompanying influence the Holy Spirit uses, to render the word effectual, we cannot explain: but Paul refers to it, when he says, "Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost."--"but in the demonstration of the Spirit, and with power."

The term regeneration is sometimes used in a comprehensive sense, as including the whole formation of the Christian character. At other times it is used for the first production of divine love in the heart. In the latter sense, the work is instantaneous. There is a moment known only to God, when the first holy affection exists in the soul. Truth may enter gradually, and may excite strong affections in the mind, and may for a time increase the hatred of God which naturally reigns in the heart. So Paul says, "Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence." But, in his own time and manner, God, the Holy Spirit, makes the word effectual in producing a new affection in the soul: and, when the first movement of love to God exists, the first throb of spiritual life commences.

Faith is necessary to the Christian character; and must therefore precede regeneration, when this is understood in its widest sense. Even in the restricted sense, in which it denotes the beginning of the spiritual life, faith, in the sense in which James uses the term, may precede.

Dr. Dagg then goes on to discuss the difference between that "spiritual" faith and the "faith" which exists beforehand, which is sometimes called "natural" or "historical faith." Later on, he says --
This change, by which true love to God is produced, results from the direct influence of the Holy Spirit, accompanying his word, and making it effectual. It was this direct influence which rendered the word so effectual on the day of Pentecost, which opened Lydia's heart, so that she attended to the things that were spoken by Paul; -- which gave the increase when Paul planted, and Apollos watered,--and which has ever brought the word to the heart, in demonstration of the Spirit, and with power. . . .

By the will of God, the truth has its regenerating and sanctifying power; for he works in us to will and to do, according to his pleasure. It belongs to the Holy Spirit, in the economy of grace, to produce divine life in the soul, as he brooded over the face of the waters, at creation, reducing the chaotic mass to order, and filling it with life.

He is pleased to work with means; and he employs the truth as his instrument of operation.

This instrument he wields at his pleasure, and he renders it effectual by his divine power: "My word shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

It is clear that Dr. Dagg taught that spiritual faith actually "precedes" in the so-called "ordo salutis." It is also clear that the Word is the "instrument" the Spirit uses in regeneration.

I believe the Flounders probably realize that Dr. Dagg contradicts their theology, and they apparently are careful not to quote him when he does. For example --

In a Flounders' article on "Regeneration" by Founders Board of Directors member, Bill Ascol, he quotes from Dr. Dagg but fails to quote Dagg's statement that faith "precedes regeneration."

In fact, Bill Ascol's quotation appears to carefully and, I think, perhaps very deliberately, stops just short of where Dagg makes that statement that faith "precedes regeneration."
(See here for Bill Ascol's quote and see here for Dr. Dagg's presentation).

Dr. Dagg's view is clearly contrary to the "pre-faith regeneration," "born again before faith" heresy advocated by the Reformed Pedobaptists and their disciples among the Flounders.

So Dr. Dagg was not a Reformed theologian, nor a Flounders' type, on the new birth. He taught the Creedal view. He was of the same mind as B. H. Carroll who contended that "regeneration is not complete without faith."

Since the Flounders flounderously continue to try to exploit both Dr. Dagg and Dr. Carroll, we will continue to expose this misrepresentation as well as their Hybrid Calvinism heresy on what they call "regeneration."

Soul winning relieves fatigue


As I have browsed around the blogosphere lately, I have seen a few references to "blog fatigue." I have also seen some comments to the effect that blogging seems not to be as influential as some have assumed the past few years. It seems that blogging has sorta gone the way of the "message boards" -- the infatuation has worn off. Currently the "kick" seems to be Internet videos. That, too, will probably "cool off" in the course of time.

But if you are suffering from "blog fatigue," you might try witnessing to the lost, endeavoring to win souls to Christ. The following is an account from C. H. Spurgeon on what soul winning can do for your spirit. This is from --

The Sword and the Trowel, June 1883, pages 314-317, also in The Sword and the Towel collection, Volume 7, Pgs. 124-127:

I want to say a word to you who are trying to bring souls to Jesus. You long and pray to be useful: do you know what this involves? Are you sure you do? Prepare yourselves, then, to see and suffer many things which you would rather be unacquainted with.

Experiences which would be unnecessary to you personally will become your portion if the Lord uses you for the salvation of others. An ordinary person may rest in his bed all night, but a surgeon will be called up at all hours; a farming-man may take his ease at his fireside, but if he becomes a shepherd he must be out among the lambs, and bear all weathers for them; even so doth Paul say, "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." For this cause we shall be made to undergo experiences which will surprise us.

Some five years ago I was the subject of fearful depression of spirit. Certain troublous events had happened to me; I was also unwell, and my heart sank within me. Out of the depths I was forced to cry unto the Lord.

Just before I went away to Mentone for rest I suffered greatly in body, but far more in soul, for my spirit was overwhelmed. Under this pressure I preached a sermon from the words, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" I was as much qualified to preach from that text as I ever expect to be; indeed, I hope that few of my brethren could have entered so deeply into those heart-breaking words. I felt to the full of my measure the horror of a soul forsaken of God.

Now, that was not a desirable experience. I tremble at the bare idea of passing again through that eclipse of soul: I pray that I may never suffer in that fashion again unless the same result should hang upon it.

That night, after sermon, there came into the vestry a man who was as nearly insane as he could be to be out of an asylum. His eyes seemed ready to start from his head, and he said that he should utterly have despaired if he had not heard that discourse, which had made him feel that there was one man alive who understood his feelings, and could describe his experience. I talked with him, and tried to encourage him, and asked him to come again on the Monday night, when I should have a little more time to talk with him.

I saw the brother again, and I told him that I thought he was a hopeful patient, and I was glad that the word had been so suited to his case. Apparently he put aside the comfort which I presented for his acceptance, and yet I had the consciousness upon me that the precious truth which he had heard was at work upon his mind, and that the storm of his soul would soon subside into a deep calm.

Now hear the sequel. Last night, of all the times in the year, when, strange to say, I was preaching from the words, "The Almighty hath vexed my soul," after the service in walked this self-same brother who had called on me five years before.

This time he looked as different as noonday from midnight, or as life from death. I said to him, "I am glad to see you, for I have often thought about you, and wondered whether you were brought into perfect peace." I told you that I went to Mentone, and my patient also went into the country, so that we had not met for five years.

To my enquiries this brother replied, "Yes, you said I was a hopeful patient, and I am sure you will be glad to know that I have walked in the sunlight from that day till now. Everything is changed and altered with me."

Dear friends, as soon as I saw my poor despairing patient the first time, I blessed God that my fearful experience had prepared me to sympathize with him and guide him, but last night when I saw him perfectly restored, my heart overflowed with gratitude to God for my former sorrowful feelings.

I would go into the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit: it is good for me to have been afflicted that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.

[End of excerpt].

Opportunities lie at our doorsteps and in our paths every day. This morning, I went by my favorite old Kolache Shop, and had the opportunity to chat with the lady who now operates it. She is from Cambodia, and is a relatively new owner of the shop.

I told her that the gentleman (now deceased) who was the original owner of the shop had first opened the business in 1972 at another location just a few blocks from where I first opened my book store, and I had been a customer ever since.

She inquired about my book store, and I told her we primarily sell Bibles, and I gave her my business card, inviting her to come to the store if she needed to get a Bible. She was very friendly, and she even invited me to leave some Pilgrim Book Store business cards on her counter. I hope to follow up on this contact, and talk to her more.

A few days ago, an elderly man of 75 or 80 came into my store, and his first words were, "I'm lost; can you help me?"

I replied, "Lost? Well, the Lord can surely save you!" And I added a few more comments about the Way of Salvation.

As we talked, I learned that he had just moved here, and was actually looking for the Department of Public Safety drivers license office, and didn't know where to find it. He had moved from Dallas, and knew nothing about Pasadena and how to find his way. I directed him how to get to the DPS office, which is about four blocks from us, and also added a few more words to him about being saved. I gave him a Gospel tract and encouraged him to read it, which he said that he would. He thanked me and went on his way.

I thought about how remarkable this meeting was -- how in God's Providence this elderly man from Dallas, whom I did not know and never even knew he existed, had seemingly by "chance" come into my store, and his very first words, "I'm lost," had opened the door for my saying something to him about being saved.

Perhaps this might have been the very first time any one ever talked to him face-to-face about the Gospel and told him how to be saved, and it might have even been the very last time. Who knows but what this Providential meeting might lead to his coming to the Lord?

But what if I had passed up this opportunity? Then what if he doesn't live long enough to hear the Gospel from some other source? The thought impressed upon me how important every opportunity is for me to use it for witnessing of Christ.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sorry, I just don't get it


Can anyone figure this out? It has me baffled.

The Flounders, headed by Tom Ascol, has an article on their website alleging that the Southern Baptist Convention is "an unregenerate denomination."

Yet, on the floor of the 2008 meeting of messengers of this "unregenerate denomination," Tom Ascol's amendment to a Resolution on "regenerate" church membership was approved, and it calls for the "unregenerate denomination" to "repent of "any failure among us" in regard to an SBC church's reporting statistics of membership and attendance.

I just don't get it.

How can an "unregenerate denomination" do any such thing as that? If the SBC churches scale down their reports to only include the number of members which actually are regular attendants, will that make it a "regenerate denomination"?

And if the SBC is an "unregenerate denomination," does that include Tom Ascol's own church and other Flounders' churches? On the other hand, if Ascol and his church and other Flounders' churches are "regenerate," why in the world are they affiliated with an "unregenerate denomination"? And why is Ascol concerned about what numerical reports are made by an "unregenerate denomination"? What is accomplished by a Resolution by an "unregenerate denomination"?

Something here just does not "square up." I just don't get it.

Ascol fouls out


Tom Ascol of the Flounders did not need glasses to read the handwriting on the wall, "Your Resolution Doesn't Stand A Chance."

So Ascol settled for a compromising amendment to the Barber-Yarnell Resolution, approved by only "60%" of the voters.

Here is an excerpt from the report of the Baptist Press:

Messengers pass amended membership resolution -- updated
Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 9:30:00 AM

Messengers moments ago passed an amended version of the regenerate church membership/church member restoration resolution. . . . The amendment was proposed by Tom Ascol, a messenger from Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Fla. His amendment passed by roughly 60 percent of messengers, and the final amended version of the resolution passed nearly unanimously. . . .

The two additional RESOLVED paragraphs from Ascol's amendment follow:

"RESOLVED, That we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to repent of any failure among us to live up to our professed commitment to regenerate church membership and any failure to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of lovingly correcting wayward church members (Matthew 18:15-18), and be it

"FURTHER RESOLVED, That we humbly encourage denominational servants to support and encourage churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior's teachings on church discipline, even if such efforts result in the reduction in the number of members that are reported in those churches."

The expression "any failure" is wide enough for an 18-wheeler. It does not even acknowledge that there actually has been "any" failure.

So Ascol has in effect failed again, for the third time, with his Resolution. He caved in and compromised for an amendment which acknowledges nothing whatsoever by way of failure.

Maybe next year?

Corporate repentance?


Some of the Flounders have been calling to the SBC to call for "corporate repentance." Bill Ascol, “This is a call for corporate repentance."

Now, how can only 7,000 plus messengers from the vast number of SBC churches do "corporate repentance"?

Jesus commissioned that "repentance and remission of sins be preached in His name among all nations" (Luke 24:47) to call individual sinners to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. I don't know that He ever said anything about a "corporate" repentance in regard to the numerical reports of a convention formed in 1845.

The Flounders obviously need to adjust their antenna. It doesn't appear to be receiving the message from Heaven about repentance.

The Flounders are expressly devoted to calling for "reform" and "corporate repentance," but when are they going to give priority to obeying the Commission of the Lord to preach repentance to lost sinners?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Reformed" candidate loses


From the Baptist Press:

INDIANAPOLIS (BP) -- Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention June 10, receiving 52.94 percent of votes (3,100) cast on the first ballot.

Five other candidates were nominated. Frank Cox received 1,286 votes (21.96 percent); Avery Willis, 962 votes (16.43 percent); William (Bill) Wagner, 255 votes (4.35 percent); Les Puryear, 188 votes (3.21 percent); and Wiley Drake, 45 votes (.77 percent).

A total of 5,856 ballots were cast, and 20 (.34 percent) were disallowed. At the time of the election, there were 7,196 registered messengers at the annual meeting.

[End of excerpt from the Baptist Press of June 10, 2008].

Les Puryear presented himself as holding to "Reformed" theology, and we demonstrated on this blog that this position is inconsistent with the SBC's Baptist Faith and Message.

Only 188 voters apparently wanted a "Reformed" Hybrid Calvinist president of the SBC. We wonder how many of these voters are affiliated with the Flounders as "Flounders-friendlies."

Flounders/Spurgeon contrast


By viewing the Flounders' website on which C. H. Spurgeon's picture is used as "wallpaper," one might get the impression that the Flounders were somehow representative of Spurgeon's views and practices. That's what the Flounders would have you believe.

However, those who have bothered to inform themselves about both Spurgeon and the Flounders realize that there is about as much similiarity between Spurgeon and the Flounders as there is between Porterhouse Steak and Hamburger Helper.

For example, Spurgeon led his church and college to establish several outreach soul-winning ministries -- the Metropolitan Tabernacle Colportage Association (consisting of personal workers), the Tabernacle Evangelists' Association, the Pastors' College Evangelical Association, the Pastors' College Missionary Association, Tract Societies, and other such works, with 22 Mission Stations, 27 Sunday Schools, and several new Churches established all around London and the Metropolitan area (C. H. Spurgeon's Autobiography, Volume 3, Chapter 70; Volume 4, page 336).

A report in Spurgeon's Autobiography says that by the end of the period of 1873-1878, there were "94 colporteurs" and "926,290 visits" had been made by these bearers of Gospel literature and personal Gospel witness.

In contrast to Spurgeon's primary concern of spreading the Gospel to bring sinners to Christ, the Flounders' stated purpose is to "reform" existing SBC churches in regard to "the doctrines of grace," as interpreted by the "Reformed" theologians. While Spurgeon's primary work was to win souls to Christ by all means, the Flounders' primary purpose is to make proselytes to Hybrid Calvinism.

This accounts for the fact that Spurgeon and his workers had several thousand professions of faith in Christ, whereas the Flounders have only managed to make some proselytes to their version of "Calvinism" and split a few churches over doctrinal issues.

The Flounders should be ashamed to claim they represent C. H. Spurgeon!

C. H. Spurgeon said:

Even if I were utterly selfish and had no care for anything but my own happiness, I would choose, if I might, under God, to be a soul-winner, for never did I know perfect, overflowing, unutterable happiness of the purest and most ennobling order till I first heard of one who had sought and found a Savior through my means. I recollect the thrill of joy which went through me! No young mother ever rejoiced so much over her first-born child—no warrior was so exultant over a hard-won victory. Oh, the joy of knowing that a sinner once at enmity has been reconciled to God, by the Holy Spirit, through the words spoken by our feeble lips!

Since then, by Divine Grace given to me, the thought of which prostrates me in self-abasement, I have seen and heard of, not hundreds only, but even thousands of sinners turned from the error of their ways by the testimony of God in me.

Let afflictions come! Let trials be multiplied as God wills, still this joy preponderates above all others — the joy that we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ in every place — and that as often as we preach the Word, hearts are unlocked, bosoms heave with a new life, eyes weep for sin and their tears are wiped away as they see the great Substitute for sin and live!

Beyond all controversy, it is a joy worth worlds to win souls and, thank God, it is a joy that does not cease with this mortal life. It must be no small bliss to hear, as one wings his flight up to the Eternal Throne, the wings of others fluttering at one’s side towards the same Glory and turning round and questioning them, to hear them say, “We are entering with you through the gates of pearl—you brought us to the Savior.” To be welcomed to the skies by those who call us father, in God—father in better bonds than those of earth—father through Grace and sire for immortality—it will be bliss beyond compare, to meet in yon eternal seats with those begotten of us in Christ Jesus, for whom we travailed in birth, till Christ was formed in them the hope of Glory!

This is to have many heavens—a Heaven in everyone won for Christ, according to the Master’s promise, “they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever.”

I have said enough, Brethren, I trust, to make some of you desire to occupy the position of soul-winners.

Now, before I further address myself to my text, I should like to remind you that the honor does not belong to ministers only. They may take their full share of it, but it belongs to every one of you who have devoted yourselves to Christ! Such honor have all the saints! Every man here, every woman here, every child here whose heart is right with God, may be a soul-winner! -- Metropoolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, "Soul Winning," Volume 15, #850.

Also, see "The Soul Winner," MTP, Volume 22, #1292.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Flounders and church planting


Timmy Brister, newly acquired from Southern seminary by Tom Ascol as assistant pastor, has a promo for the upcoming Flounders' conference, as follows:

In just about two weeks, Founders Ministries will be hosting their national conference focusing on church planting and church revitalization. From all indications, the SBC is in decline. We need fresh perspectives and a renewed passion to plant churches, revitalize dying ones, and bring in a younger generation committed to the local church. Neither conferences or denominational politics can fix the problem; nevertheless, coming together with a shared burden and desire to work for these noble causes is a worthy place to start.

I think Tim's terminology well describes the case with regard to the Flounders -- their track record indicates they apparently do (1) need fresh perspectives and (2) a renewed passion.

Their original perspective was wrong to begin with. What we have said before is worth repeating:

A careful examination of the Flounders statement of purpose on their web site will reveal that there is no committal to the primary commission of preaching the Gospel to every creature, winning souls, and establishing churches. Rather, their purpose is to "reform" existing churches in the Southern Baptist Convention in accordance with their version of the "doctrines of grace" -- meaning the version of "Calvinism" held by the Reformed Pedobaptists, involving the heresy of "born again before faith."

In consequence of the pursuit of this purpose, the Flounders have become a proselytizing sect, and have nothing to show by way of winning souls and establishing churches of new converts. If they have established a single new church composed of converts made thru preaching the Gospel, I have yet to learn of it.

As for "passion," the only observable passion we have seen in Flounderism is a passion to promote Hybrid Calvinism and make proselytes to the "born again before faith" Pedobaptist type of theology propagated by Iain Murray, Ernest Reisinger, R. C. Sproul, Tom Nettles, and men of that persuasion. This passion has not won souls and planted churches. It has only served to make some proselytes and split some churches.

The Flounders have long been saying they want to "recover the Gospel." Now they say they are interested in "planting churches." Does this indicate they think they have "recovered the Gospel" and are now ready to preach it? If they have "recovered the Gospel," we have not seen any evidence of their doing so.

Dr. B. H. Carroll vs. Hybrid Calvinism

DR. B. H. CARROLL, Founder of Southwestern
Baptist Seminary, Refutes Hybrid Calvinism

The view on regeneration taught by James M. Hamilton, formerly of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Houston extension), and recently hired to teach by Dr. Al Mohler at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is not consistent with the teaching of Dr. B. H. Carroll (1843-1914), Founder of Southwestern Seminary.

If, as Hybrid Calvinists teach, the New Birth merely consists in giving the unbeliever the "ability to hear and believe", in contrast to the actual creation of repentance and faith by the Holy Spirit's use of the Word of God -- then, as Dr. Carroll says:

"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] (page 286 of Volume 10, Part I on The Gospels, An Interpretation of the English Bible).

Look at those verses cited by Dr. Carroll, and consider --

If regeneration is merely the giving of "ability" to the unbelieving sinner, then the regenerated but unbelieving sinner has not been begotten by the Word of Truth (James 1:18).

If regeneration is merely the giving of "ability" to the unbelieving sinner, then the regenerated but unbelieving sinner is not born again by Word of God (1 Peter 1:23).

If regeneration is merely the giving of "ability" to the unbelieving sinner, then the regenerated but unbelieving sinner is not a child of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26).

If regeneration is merely the giving of "ability" to the unbelieving sinner, then the regenerated but unbelieving sinner has not experienced faith which comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

If regeneration is merely the giving of "ability" to the unbelieving sinner, then the regenerated but unbelieving sinner has not received eternal or everlasting life (John 3:9-18).

If regeneration is merely the giving of "ability" to the unbelieving sinner, then the regenerated but unbelieving sinner has not received Christ, has not believed on His name, has not become a son of God, and has not been born of God (John 1:12, 13).

In the light of these passages which contradict the idea that regeneration is merely the giving of "ability," we believe Dr. Carroll is absolutely correct when he says:

"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).

Whatever work in the unbelieving sinner which the Holy Spirit does, or whatever He gives, prior to His own efficient production of faith in Christ by the instrumentality of the Word of God, it does not constitute regeneration or the New Birth, according to Dr. Carroll.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Mohler adds another Hybrid


SBTS has announced the recent addition of James M. Hamilton Jr. to its Faculty. He has taught at the Houston, Texas extension of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and served as a minister at a new Houston church, Baptist Church of the Redeemer, recently formed of members of the "Reformed" persuasion.

I know Jim personally and have heard him preach. He has been in my book store, and I have his book, God's Indwelling Presence, published by Broadman-Holman.

In his book, Jim teaches that the new birth consists of the Holy Spirit's giving a person the "ability to hear and believe," which essentially is the "born again before faith" Reformed Hybrid Calvinist theory (God's Indwelling Presence, pages 47, 130). Jim relies heavily upon Pedobaptist theological sources in his book.

As opposed to Dr. B. H. Carroll's teaching that "repentance and faith are the constitutent elements" of regeneration, Jim's emphasis is that regeneration consists of the Holy Spirit's imparting of "ability" to believe.

For the benefit of new readers as well as those who missed it in earlier posts, we once again present --


"(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).

So it appears that Dr. R. Albert Mohler of SBTS has hired another advocate of the "Reformed" Hybrid Calvinist view of the new birth, a view which Dr. Carroll says constitutes that which is "philosophically impossible." Mohler continues to pack his Faculty with advocates of the "born again before faith" notion.

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).

Friday, June 06, 2008

Evangelistic Challenge To Timmy Brister And Al Mohler

In a previous article a reader noted the utter ineffectiveness of an extreme /hybrid /hyper Calvinist church in a particular city and said, "it is amazing to me that the preacher there is so noted as a blogger".

I also have marveled about the ability of the hyper /hybrid /neo /extreme Calvinists and their ability to blog. Take for example, Timmy Brister. Brister was recently hired by Tom Ascol (another blogger) to be Ascol's assistant pastor. I visited Brother Timmy's blog today and I noticed that yesterday, June 5, he posted no less than seven blog entries.

That's right, seven!

I can't help but wonder how much "pastoring" Timmy is doing as opposed to "blogging"!

This will make my second article in two days. I often go a week or more without posting anything. Brother Bob Ross is kind enough to pick up the slack and as a publisher and bookstore owner I suppose he can "multitask" effectively, running his business while at the same time sharing his wise words with us.

But an assistant pastor posting seven articles in one day? No wonder the hybrid /hyper /neo /extreme Calvinist churches have almost no growth other than by proselytizing.

I suppose Brister is merely following his mentors. Tom Ascol, for example, has been in one of the fastest growing areas of Florida for twenty years. What does he have to show for it? Al Mohler, the president of Southern Seminary where Timmy graduated, loves to blog and bloviate but I never hear of him sharing the gospel to anyone with any success. Is this the man Southern Baptists want as President of their “flagship” seminary?

I hereby make a challenge to Brister and Mohler. I will take the challenge if they will. Guys, for every blog entry we make, why don’t we share the gospel to an equal number of complete strangers in a “one-on-one” or small group setting. Are you up for it?

I’m not sure Mohler reads The Flyswatter but I’m certain that Brister does. What about it guys?

Pedobaptist Puritan failure


Phil Johnson, on the Pyromaniac blog, says the following about Puritanism in New England:

The founders of Massachusetts wanted to establish a society of believers governed by righteous laws which were enforced by magistrates who were mature church members, because they believed that would create an earthly paradise and (in the words of Matthew 5:14) a city set on a hill. But the sons and daughters of the original Puritans became so comfortable with the notion that they were keeping society righteous through righteous laws that they neglected to evangelize their own children. (Just like Old Testament Israel.) And within two generations, Puritan society was beset with the very same problems the original Puritans had left England to get away from—not to mention witch trials and religious persecution. Before much more than a century had passed, Unitarianism and Deism became more powerful religious forces in New England than Puritanism was.

This evaluation is rather consistent with our own evaluation of Pedobaptism as a whole, which we have persented on this blog. When you look at the record of history, it seems incontrovertible that Pedobaptism results in ultimate apostasy in some form.

Phil Johnson cites the case in New England. Cite any other case you please, wherever Pedobaptism has prevailed on the populace, apostasy has developed. (See Check-out Dr. Mohler's blog)

The Foolishness of Preaching

We also are impressed by Phil's emphasis on the place of Gospel preaching, to which we give a hearty "Amen!"

Phil says:

There is only one thing that can give a sinner a new heart, and that is spiritual regenerationthe new birth. And the one true instrument of the new birth is the Word of God as it is applied by the Holy Spirit.

According to 1 Peter 1:23, we are "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."

Jesus told His disciples in John 15:3, "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." Only the Word of God, and specifically the gospel message, has the power to transform unbelieving people's hearts and change them at the very core of who they are.

The gospel "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16), and that is why the apostle Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ"—even though the gospel seems foolish and naive to those steeped in the wisdom of this world.

So neither society nor individuals can ever be redeemed (or even influenced for good) by worldly wisdom, and Christians are seriously deluded if they think the most important battles for righteousness are being waged in the arenas of politics, education, entertainment, or the arts. Those are the realms of worldly wisdom, and worldly wisdom will never be an instrument for the advancement of Christ's kingdom. According to Luke 10:21, God has "hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes . . . for so it seemed good in [His] sight."

So to sum up: Clever amusements, pep rallies, educational programs, legislative agendas, political strategies, philosophical arguments, and all the Supreme Court rulings in the world will never turn sinners into Christians. All those things epitomize what Paul meant by worldly wisdom. They are the baggage of a carnal and utterly ineffectual strategy that will never reform a society like ours that is in love with sin. And the fact that such things consume so much evangelical energy today is a testimony to our unfaithfulness and the utter failure of the modern and postmodern evangelical movement.

God is pleased to save sinners through the clear proclamation of gospel truth.

And that is what we ought to devote our resources and energy to if we want to have an impact on our culture. We have a clear mandate to proclaim the gospel as clearly, as accurately, as powerfully, and as often as we can. We have no mandate whatsoever to use any other strategy—especially a strategy that attempts to harness aspects of worldly wisdom for influence under the misguided belief that these are more powerful than the gospel itself to transform our culture.

by Phil Johnson

Dead gospel = dead churches


I had the following email from a Christian who read my article about Lasserre Bradley Jr. and the "Together for the Gospel" Conference:

Believe it or not, I am from Tifton, GA and know the Primitive Baptist Church there very well. It is on the corner next to what was the old Tifton High School. I remember it all of my life. Without being negative or ugly in any fashion, I have all my years...ever seen anyone there. Of course, I was in my church Sunday so I assume there were people there but the church has always looked abandoned and dead. The properties are well kept so I am not referring to bad looking properties when I say "abandoned." The church has had no perceivable impact on the city of Tifton except just being on that corner for many years. I only knew one family who claimed membership there and, as far as I can remember, they didn't go. So, it is amazing to me that the preacher there is so noted as a blogger. It seems the hyper-Calvinists have all the time they need to sit around and tend to their blogging. They certainly are not out doing evangelism and growing a church or they wouldn't have that much time to spend on blogging. I am just amazed at how wise and knowlegable they are even though it simply doesn't translate into a dynamic ministry which reaches the lost for Christ. . . .

The Hybrid Calvinist doctrine apparently inclines people to relax in their sense of privilege/responsbility to be ambassadors of the Gospel to the lost. They become lovers of doctrine more than lovers of souls. That man in Matthew 25:24, in the Parable of the Talents, was of a "Hybrid Calvinist-Hardshell" attitude, born out of due time!

On the contrary, Paul said "Woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16). He said he was "made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22).

He said:

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Paul's ministry was a "ministry of reconciliation" (2 Corthinthians 5:18.

It is noticeable that when one-time enthusiasts for spreading the Gospel adopt Hybrid Calvinism, they tend to "cool" in their efforts to evangelize. They tend to "go to seed" on the "doctrines of grace," and it's as if their dominant concept of living for God is to promote the "doctrines of grace." They would seemingly compass land and sea to make a proselyte to Hybrid Calvinism, but they would not walk across the street to present the Gospel to a lost person, and they might even trivialize your doing so.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Southern Seminary Continues To Use Bad Textbook

Despite taking money from Southern Baptist churches via the Cooperative Program, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville continues to teach the "born again before faith" heresy and continues to use a textbook promoting this dangerous theology in many of its theology classes.

The textbook is Systematic Theology (Zondervan), by Dr. Wayne Grudem. Previously, Dr. Grudem has been an honored guest of the seminary.

In his textbook, Grudem says,

" is natural to understand that regeneration comes before saving faith" (page 702).

"The idea that regeneration comes before saving faith is not always understood by evangelicals today" (page 703).

As to the timing of regeneration, at one point Grudem refers to it by saying "that this secret, hidden work of God in our spirits does in fact come before we respond to God in saving faith (although often it may be only seconds before we respond)" (page 702).

At another point, however, he admits that regeneration may occur "to an infant even before he or she is born. This was true of John the Baptist, for the angel Gabriel, before John was born said, 'He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb' (Luke 1:15). We might say that John the Baptist was "born again" before he was born!" (page 500).

When will Southern Baptist churches wake up to the heresies taught at Southern Seminary?

(Quotes in this article are from the 1994 edition of Systematic Theology. An updated edition was recently released).

Was it a Lutheran?


For sometime, I have tried to discover the origin of the usage of the expression, "ordo salutis," which is popular with some "Reformed" sources. (I call it the "ordo polutis" for it pollutes the truth).

I recently asked Christian philosopher, Michael Sudduth, if he knew the source of the "ordo salutis," and he replied, "Don't know. I suspect it originated in the later medieval period and was later appropriated by Reformed theologians."

If we can accept the validity of Baker's Dictionary of Theology (aka Wycliffe Dictionary of Theology), Everett F. Harrsion, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Carl F. H. Henry, Editors, the expression itself "appears to have been brought into theological usage in 1737 by Jakob Karpov, a Lutheran."

Doubtlessly, it probably did have a Pedobaptist origin. This within itself should put it under suspicion, especially when the contitutent elements presented are not consistent with Scriptural "order."

T4G welcomes Hardshell pastor


The Glory Blogger is the blog of Primitive Baptist preacher, Matt Strevel, pastor of the Primitive Baptist Church of Tifton, Georgia.

Strevel's Hardshell church is listed on the Flounders' website as a "Founders-Friendly" affiliate.

Strevel attended the 2008 "Together for the Gospel" Conference which featured the likes of Ligon Duncan, R. C. Sproul, C. J. Mahaney, John Piper, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, John MacArthur, and Thabiti Anyabwile.

According to Strevel, the "highlight" of the Conference was the recognition of Hardshell Primitive Baptist Pastor, Lasserre Bradley Jr., the #1 promoter of Hyper-Calvinistic Hardshell Anti-Gospel, Anti-Missionary, Anti-Evangelism, Anti-Sunday School teachings for about 50 years.

Here is what Strevel says about Bradley at the "T4G" Conference:

"However the highlight so far came at the very beginning of the conference. In the introduction Mark Dever was polling the crowd for some biographical information like: who travelled the furthest for the conference, etc. Then Dever asked all senior and primary preaching pastors in the crowd to stand. He then began to ask only pastors who had been in ministry for 5 years, then 10 years, on up to remain standing."Of course, the higher he went the fewer pastors were left standing. When Dever got to 50 years of ministry there were only two men still standing one of which was Bro. Lasserre Bradley. When the bar was raised to 55 years of gospel ministry or more, only Bro. Bradley was still standing. It was sort of an amazing moment. Even more amazing was that spontaneously, one by one, 5,000 men began to rise to their feet and clap in honor of Bro. Bradley's faithful service. In all my anticipation leading up to this conference, I never expected that Bro. Bradley would receive a standing ovation."

The vast majority of those at the Conference perhaps had no idea what kind of a heretic they were applauding!

This is the same Lasserre Bradley Jr. who was invited to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary campus by Tom Nettles awhile ago.

This is the same Lasserre Bradley Jr. who in his early 20s was part of the "Sovereign Grace" Conference at Pastor Henry Mahan's 13th Baptist Church in Ashland, Kentucky in the 1950s. Brother Mahan disfellowshipped Bradley in the late 1950s when Bradley departed into Hyper-Calvinist theology and was baptized by a minister of the Hardshell Primitive Baptist denomination.

This is the same Lasserre Bradley Jr. whom I first met at Brother Mahan's parsonage in 1955 when he still believed in preaching the Gospel to the unregenerate. When he went Hardshell, I wrote and published information about his apostasy.

This is the same Lasserre Bradley Jr. who has for over 50 years had a nationwide radio broadcast promoting the same "born again before faith" heresy as held by Tom Ascol, Tom Nettles, Mark Dever, R. C. Sproul, Ligon Duncan, and others who endorse the "pre-faith regeneration" heresy.

It's said that "money talks," and I understand that Bradley is a very well-to-do. I don't know if this has anything to do with the Hybrid Calvinists having "open arms" for Bradley.

I do know this, however, Bradley would not be interested in the Hybrid Calvinists unless he saw in them some elements of the Hardshell doctrine which he has labored so hard for about 50 years to promote all around the country.

As a young preacher, Bradley attended the preachers' school at Clarence Walker's Lexington Baptist College [now Boyce College], then located at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky, while pastoring the New Testament Baptist Church in St. Bernard [Cincinnati], Ohio.

I became acquainted with Bradley, often corresponded with him, and he even used some of my writings in his Baptist Witness paper. At that time, Bradley agreed with the Baptist Confession of Faith and quoted it in his Doctrines of Grace booklet.

However, after he departed into hyper-Calvinism, became an "anti-Sunday schooler," and eventually wound up going to the Hardshells in October of 1958 (The Primitive Baptist, 10/58, p. 210, 211), he revised and reprinted his booklet and removed the quotes from the Baptist Confession which he no longer believed.

The Hardshell Baptist service at which Bradley was baptized was described as "Another Pentecost" by The Primitive Baptist magazine. Preachers from 15 states were in attendance as an estimated 900 Hardshells gathered for what seems to have been the greatest event in Hardshellism during my lifetime. "Big name" preachers among the Hardshells were on hand, such as Monsees, Lord, Darity, Daily, and many more. Bradley and several of the other young preachers [Norbert Ward, Paul Trautner, Ellis Randall] were said to be "liberated for the work of the ministry."

After that Hardshell "Pentecost," Bradley quickly became the "poster boy" for the Hardshells, and via radio somewhat of a national "voice" for the cause of Hardshellism. According to his paper, Bradley is on multitudes of radio stations in a large number of states, and he published the Primitive Baptist Church Directory which lists the churches, preachers, and publications which I assume are of the same order of Hardshellism as Bradley.

For years, Bradley has constantly been on the go, filling preaching "appointments" at Hardshell churches all over the country where there are such churches. But this is not for evangelism to the unregenerate, for Bradley's ministry is strictly to "feed the sheep" with Hardshell doctrine.

Some of the Primitive Baptists ["Absoluters" faction] refer to the Bradley followers as "Bradleyites." One of Bradley's fellow-ministers, C. E. Darity, says that Bradley's Baptist Bible Hour broadcast and Baptist Witness paper are "two of the strongest and most effective means" for propagating the Hardshell doctrine, and he makes a plea for "regular support" of these "means."

I have my doubts that these "means" and this plea to "divide our substance" in "promotion of the kingdom of God" would have set too well with the original Hardshells back in the 1820-1840 era when the "missionaries" and "means Baptists" were the ultimate scourge, according to the Hardshell leaders of that age. In those years, they opposed tract publishers, Bible societies, evangelists, revival meetings, mission societies, and anything they regarded as "human inventions." About the only thing they would tolerate that had no "biblical precedent" was a Hardshell "association" and a Hardshell publication such as the fabled "Signs of the Times." But now they can peddle their papers, cassettes, videos, books, hymnals, Bibles, and even church directories through Bradley's paper without the necessity of "biblical precedent."

Recalling Bradley's apostasy, I remember that one of his first steps toward Hardshellism was his "anti-Sunday Schoolism." This started in about 1956, and due to Bradley's influence, several independent Baptist churches had "splits." I attended a meeting in Chesapeake, Ohio where Bradley was holding a meeting, and he made an effort to sow seeds of discord about the Sunday School in this church (Mt. Pleasant Baptist). After I received a number of letters and communications from Baptist pastors and other members, thru our weekly independent Baptist paper I took the "anti-Sunday Schoolers" to task on their views and the dissension which they were causing. These efforts had a settling effect upon most of the Baptists that we reached, and the "anti-Sunday Schoolers" began to wane in their efforts.

The next thing I noticed about Bradley was his change on the New Birth. On his radio program and in his paper, he began to advocate the theory of the Hardshells that one is "born again before faith" and apart from "means" (the Gospel), rather than teaching that the New Birth is the work of the Holy Spirit's using the Gospel, or Word, as a "means" in the creation of repentance and faith. He began to teach that "spiritual life" was sort of a "deposit" that the Spirit puts into the sinner and he is born again before and without knowing, believing in, or having love for Christ.

I have observed that this is usually the error that is first swallowed by those who apostatize from the confessional Baptist view of the New Birth. I once heard Bradley speak when he said, "I don't fish for dead fish; I fish for live fish" -- referring to the idea of "pre-faith regeneration."

Now, after so many years of promoting hardcore Hardshellism, Bradley is given a "standing ovation" at the "Together for the Gospel" conference. That seems to be about "par for the course" for the T4G brethren. If you hold to Hardshell doctrine on the New Birth, why not applaud the Hardshell who has been preaching it the longest?