Saturday, August 30, 2008

A change of masters

August 31

Conversion is a change of masters.

Will we not do as much for our new master, the Lord Jesus, as we once did for our old tyrant lusts? We were very obedient and ardent servants unto sin, yielding our members to iniquity unto iniquity; shall we not now be equally earnest servants of righteousness unto holiness?

Great Lord, be Thou our helper, that as we once served evil with our whole nature, we may so serve Thee, bowing our necks with delight to Thine easy yoke.

[From the original Spurgeon Birthday Book published by Passmore & Alabaster, London.]

NOTE: Temporarily, in Charles' absence, comments for posting may be directed to Bob's email:

He keeps His promises

for August 30

O, unbelief, how strange a marvel thou art! We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people.

He keeps His promises a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes them doubt Him. He is never a dry well, a passing meteor, or a melting vapour; and yet some professors are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if the promises of God were the mirage of the desert.

[From the original Spurgeon Birthday Book published by Passmore & Alabaster, London.]

NOTE: Temporarily, in Charles' absence, comments for posting may be directed to Bob's email:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Live for the Lord while you live!

for August 29

Come, let us live while we live! Let us serve God to the utmost stretch of our manhood!

Let us ask the Lord to brace our nerves, to string our sinews, and make us true crusaders, knights of the blood-red cross, consecrated men and women who, for the love we bear Christ's name, will count labour to be ease, and suffering to be joy, and reproach to be honour, and loss to be gain!

[From the original Spurgeon Birthday Book published by Passmore & Alabaster, London.]

NOTE: Temporarily, in Charles' absence, comments for posting may be directed to Bob's email:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hope repels temptation

for August 28

Through the Spirit of God the hope of Heaven is a potent force for the production of virtue; it is the fountain of joyous effort, and the corner-stone of cheerful holiness.

The man who has this hope in him goes about his work with vigour, for the joy of the Lord is his strength. He fights against temptation with ardour, for his glorious hope like a silver shield repels the fiery darts of the adversary. He can labour without present reward, for he expects his recompense in the world to come.

[From the original Spurgeon Birthday Book published by Passmore & Alabaster, London.]

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Old-fashioned, or new-Finnagled?


I noticed on Flounder Timmy Brister's blog the following attributed to Nathan Finn of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary staff:

"I am an old-fashioned Baptist who believes we should withhold baptism until a child is old enough to publicly identify with a local church through covenant, meaningful membership, though I would be reluctant to arbitrarily set a particular age requirement for baptism."

This read likes the "Deverite" doctrine.

"Old-fashioned Baptist"? What old-fashioned Baptist believed like Nathan Finn?

Dr. John Gill, an old-fashioned Baptist who lived from 1696-1771, the longstanding epitome of Baptist theology among Particular Baptists of England and the predecessor of C. H. Spurgeon, held that baptism was not a "church ordinance" (Body of Divinity, page 896.

Dr. Gill says that "a church has nothing to do with the baptism of any, but to be satisfied they are baptized before they are admitted into communion with it . . . So Saul, when converted, was immediately baptized by Ananias, without any previous knowledge and consent of the church" (ibid).

If a person is "old enough" to believe and confess Christ as Savior, the person is old enough to be baptized in connection with that profession of faith. There is no "age requirement" in Scripture either for believing on Christ or being baptized. The only requirement is faith in Christ (John 3:14-18) for salvation and baptism.

The idea that you can avoid false professions by "withholding baptism" is no more valid in the case of children than for adults. Spurgeon, another old-fashioned Baptist, said he had more confidence in the professions of children than adults.

"The holy scripture may be learned by children as soon as they are capable of understanding anything," said Spurgeon; "Give us the first seven years of a child, with God's grace, and we may defy the world, the flesh, and the devil to ruin that immortal soul" (Vol. 31, page 579, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit).

In the sermon "Jesus and the Children," Spurgeon said:

"I could spend the whole morning in giving details of young children whom I have personally conversed with, some of them very young children indeed. I will say broadly that I have more confidence in the spiritual life of the children that I have received into this church than I have in the spiritual condition of the adults thus received. I will even go further than that, and say that I have usually found a clearer knowledge of the gospel and a warmer love to Christ in the child-converts than in the man converts. I will even astonish you still more by saying that I have sometimes met with a deeper spiritual experience in children of ten and twelve than I have in certain persons of fifty and sixty" (Vol. 32, page 570, MTP).

One of the most outstanding sermons dealing with child conversion is entitled, "The Children and Their Hosannas," preached in 1884 (MTP, Vol. 30, page 325-336). Spurgeon said:

"I am sure that children are capable of that early grace with which true religion usually begins, namely, that of deep repentance. . . . In many children whom I have known, repentance has been true, thorough, deep, intelligent, and lasting: they have found their way to the foot of the cross, and seen the great sacrifice, and have wept all the more to think that they should have offended against the love which so freely forgives. . . .

"As to faith, I am sure that no one who has seen converted children will ever doubt their capacity for faith. In the hand of God’s Spirit, a child’s capacity for faith is in some respects greater than that of a grown-up person; at any rate, the faith of children is usually far more simple than that of adults. . . .

"Oh, the sweet simplicity of childhood! The dear child has said, 'Jesus has forgiven me, I know. I stole away into a corner, and I told him that I had done wrong, but that I did love him; and I believe that he has even now blotted out my sin. I hope that I shall not do wrong again. Pray for me that I may be kept right, and may be pure and good, like the holy child Jesus.' . . . ."

"I am sure that I am not wrong when I say that children are capable of repentance and of a very high degree of faith. . . .

"What would you think if I introduced six children to you whom I saw one after another last week, and who all came forward with eagerness to say, ' We have been washed in the blood of Jesus, and we want to join his church.'

"I said, 'Come along, my children; I am glad to see you.' When I talked with them, and heard what God had done for them, I had great confidence in proposing them to the church. I have not found young converts turn back. I usually find that these young ones who are introduced early to the church hold on, and become our best members.

"No, dear friend, a converted child will give you evidences of true religion, not of perfect religion, for that you ought not to expect. Let the child avow its faith in Christ, and, if you have not confessed him yourself, stand rebuked that a child is ready to obey its Lord while you are not. . . ."

From: The Children and Their Hosannas (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, No. 1785, Volume 30, Year 1884). A Sermon delivered on Wednesday evening, May 7, 1884, by C. H. Spurgeon, at Union Chapel, Islington. By request of the Sunday School Union. Text: Matthew 21:15, 16.

For more from Spurgeon on the conversion and baptism of children, see the articles we did on Mark Dever at the following links:

NOTE: Temporarily, in Charles' absence, comments for posting may be directed to Bob's email:

Saints' high privileges

for August 27

We do not enjoy the high privilege of John to lean upon Jesus' bosom, nor of Paul to be caught up into the third heaven, but we have an equal share in the heart of our Redeemer if indeed we are believers in Him.

What we have not is by no means so great as what we have. The privileges coming to all the saints are infinitely greater than the small matters in which they differ.

[From the original published by Passmore & Alabaster, London.]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mohler on Protestantism


On his blog for Tuesday, August 26, 2008, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, states:

"The health of the church is a far greater concern than the health of the nation. The primary injury caused by mainline Protestant decline is not social but spiritual."

Dr. Mohler's blog is entitled, From Mainline to Sideline -- The Death of Protestant America, and he reviews an article written by Joseph Bottum in the August/September 2008 issue of First Things.

Dr. Mohler focuses upon the theological liberalism as the cause of the Protestant decline, and again neglects the more significant "spiritual" root problem with Pedobaptist Protestantism -- infant baptism and infant church enrollment by which the spiritually unregenerate are added to the church membership. Apostasy is the inevitable result of adding the unregenerate to the church membership.

How Mohler can attribute the Protestant decline to liberalism while continuing to ignore the more predominant factor of infant baptism is rather paradoxical. He continues to promote Pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinism at Southern Seminary and continues to embellish pedobaptist ministers and churches by his intimate association with them in various ways.

C. H. Spurgeon recognized the primary problem within Pedobaptist Protestantism, saying,

"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).

Spurgeon traced the "Down Grade" in his own time to the Pedobaptists. In an article published in The Sword and the Trowel magazine (March 1887) the "Down Grade" in Spurgeon's day is associated with

"The Presbyterians were the first to get on the down line. They paid more attention to classical attainments and other branches of learning in their ministry than the Independents, while the Baptists had no academical institution of any kind. It would be an easy step in the wrong direction to pay increased attention to academical attainments in their ministers, and less to spiritual qualifications; and to set a higher value on scholarship and oratory, than on evangelical zeal and ability to rightly divide the word of truth. . . .

"The principal cause of the quicker descent on 'the down grade' among the Presbyterians than among other Nonconformists, may be traced . . . to their rule of admitting to the privileges of Church membership. Of course their children received the rite of baptism, according to their views of baptism, in infancy. They were thereby received—so the ministers taught, and so the people believed—into covenant with God, and had a right to the Lord's table, without any other qualification than a moral life. Many such children grew up unregenerate, and strangers to the work of renewing grace; yet they claimed to be Christians, and to be admitted to all the privileges of the church, and their claim was not disallowed. To such the earnest appeals of faithful ministers of Christ would be irksome and unpalatable." (The Down Grade Controversy, page 5. Collected and Unabridged materials from Spurgeon, published by Pilgrim Publications).

Keeping the heart

for August 26

If we would have wheat we must plough and sow; if we wish for flowers we must plant a garden, and tend it with care.

Now, contentment is Heaven's earthly paradise, and if we would enjoy its fruits and flowers we must cultivate it, and look well to the soil of our hearts.

It is the new nature alone that can produce the flower called heartsease, and even then we must be specially careful lest ambition or unbelief should choke it.

[From the original Spurgeon Birthday Book published by Passmore & Alabaster, London.]

Monday, August 25, 2008

Channels for grace

for August 25

We must ever keep in mind that we are the only channels for grace, we have no accumulated stores, but depend upon the continual flow of the Divine stream.

We must have an abiding union with the Fountain of all good, or we shall soon run dry; and become like the dry beds of mountain torrents filled with earth and stones.

Blessed is the promise concerning the living water that it shall always flow; "in winter and summer shall it be."

[From the original Spurgeon Birthday Book published by Passmore & Alabaster, London.]

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Covenant grace thru Christ

for August 24

All the blessings, all the mercies, all the comforts, all the riches which grace bestows flows to us from the well-head of eternal love through the covenant of which our Lord Jesus is the Substance and Surety.

No angels ascend or descend, save upon that ladder which Jacob saw which united man and his covenant God: that ladder our Lord Jesus pointed out to Nicodemus as being Himself, the Son of Man.

[From the original Spurgeon Birthday Book published by Passmore & Alabaster, London.]

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Prayer links to Heaven

for August 23, 2008

Prayer is a telephone by which God speaks to man. His Heaven is far away, but His voice sounds in our soul. Prayer is a phonograph: God speaks into our soul, and then our soul speaks out again what the Lord has spoken.

If you do not pray, my brother, why then you have shut the gates of Heaven against yourself, and there is neither coming in nor going out between you and your Lord; but prayer keeps up a heavenly commerce acceptable to God and enriching to your own soul.

[From the original Spurgeon Birthday Book published by Passmore & Alabaster, London.]

Friday, August 22, 2008

Renewal necessary

for August 22, 2008

As light shines from the center of the lantern through the glass, so when truth enlightens the heart its brightness soon beams forth in the outward life and conversation.

You cannot improve the fruits of your orchard unless you make the trees better as to their secret juices, nor can a man's life be made Christ-like unless his inner nature is divinely renewed.

[From the original Spurgeon Birthday Book published by Passmore & Alabaster, London.]

Sunday, August 10, 2008

White to revise books


James White says on his blog --

"I should mention that during the next few weeks I will need to finish the new second edition of The King James Only Controversy and I am likewise going to do a second edition of The Potter's Freedom!"

I hope James will have enough sense to correct his misrepresentation of Peter Ruckman's view concerning the King James Version. As for the other book, he needs to simply dump his Reformed Hybrid Calvinism theory on "regeneration" altogether.

A few years ago, when James set out to "take on" Peter Ruckman, James was quite unprepared for doing so. He failed to realize that the very first thing one needs to understand is the stated position of the person whom he endeavors to refute. James, unfortunately, had not studied Ruckman very carefully, and evidently simply assumed what Ruckman believed about the KJV and "inspiration."

When James' book, The King James Only Controversy, made its first appearance in the distant past, we erroneously thought that it was worthy of commendation, and we promoted it. But after carefully examining what James said about Ruckman's view, we discovered that he was very seriously deficient in regard to what Ruckman teaches about the KJV, and we had to withdraw our endorsement of the book. Since we had been critical of Ruckman's views long before James made the mistake of trying to deal with Ruckman, we did not want Ruckman to associate us in any way with James White's misrepresentation.

James foolishly categorized Ruckman as believing the KJV was "RE-INSPIRED" by God in 1611 (The King James Only Controversy, pages 4, 6).

It is no marvel that Ruckman literally laughed-off James as a "fool" when Ruckman reviewed James' book! This is the furtherest thing to what Ruckman actually believes.

Ruckman, in his most "famous" booklet entitled, Why I Believe the King James Bible is the Word of God, plainly states:

"I'VE NEVER SAID THAT THE KING JAMES BIBLE WAS INSPIRED" (page 6, edition of 1988; page 7, undated reprinted edition I obtained from Ruckman in 2005).

See the following link for quotations in the "Comments" section on Sunday, April 02, 2006 as to what Ruckman actually teaches: HERE

James should now have no problem correcting his blunder about Ruckman's view, if he will simply read these comments. He really had no justifiable excuse for his error in the first edition, and if he fails to make a correction in his revised edition, we hope someone will send for the "paddy-wagon."

We know it does not seem to be in James' persona to acknowledge errors of this type, but it he doesn't do so, it will only serve to justify Ruckman's categorizing James as a "fool," and it will further demonstrate why we say that as an "apologist" James is an "appallingist."

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Twittering in Florida


Since Tom Ascol's being hit by lightning, his new assistant, Timmy Brister, a recent graduate of Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, has had the responsibility for conducting the church services, etc.
at the church in Cape Coral, Florida.

Up till lately, I had become rather sympathetic toward Timmy with respect to his having to so soon "take over" from Tom in such adverse circumstances. He had no sooner arrived in Cape Coral until he was shouldered with a lot of new and heavy responsibility.

But I am beginning to wonder if Timmy really has "in his heart" all that hi-falutin' talk he used to do on his blog about "evangelism," soul-winning, witnessing, etc.

Since Tim has started "Twittering" on his blog, it appears that if he is making any effort to wins souls in Cape Coral, he is not saying much about it. He tells about doing just about everything else -- you name it, and he has been doing it.

Today, for example, I just read his Twittering and he is into cycling, golfing, killing ants, and watching the Olympics. Other similar activities have been twittered about in other recent entries. Sounds like he is having a lot of fun in between preaching and other church matters.

Nothing wrong with all that, but Timmy had really lead me to think that there would be much more to his ministry in the evangelistic category in view of his former writings when he was in Seminary. I sorta thought he would be more of a "flaming evangelist" type, and I'm rather disappointed. I expected him to get out there in the highways and hedges and demonstrate to the lagging Southern Baptist churches "how to get it done" the right way -- the "Reformed" way.

But it appears that Timmy may just be another "chip off the block" of "dead wood" which usually seems to characterize the professed "Calvinists" of the "Reformed" school of doctrine. The time they spend on evangelism and soul-winning effort is evidently very, very little, if any at all. That probably is one of the reasons their churches seldom, if ever, grow by adding new converts. It has been my observation that most of their additions are proselytes from "Arminians" and splits from Baptists over "Calvinism."

I know some will think this is quite "mean" to say, but I'm just "telling it like it is," and the Reformed "Calvinists" know it even far better than I know it. If evangelizing depended upon the Reformed camp, how much do you think would be done? They hold more "conferences," "seminars," "fraternals," etc. than they hold evangelistic meetings. They "engage" more Arminians on "the doctrines of grace" than they engage lost souls with the Gospel.

Did you ever hear of R. C. Sproul, James White, Al Mohler, Tom Nettles, the Flounders, etc. holding an evangelistic meeting, endeavoring to make converts by preaching the Gospel? That approach does not characterize the "Reformed" brethren's idea of "evangelism."

"Evangelism" for the Pedo Reformed such as Sproul is the baptism of infants by which to add members, while the "Reformed" Baptists try to proselyte from the "Arminians." With James White, it seems that he equates his so-called "apologetics ministry" as "evangelism." Wonder how many of the elect have been called thru James' ordeals with the cults and other "isms"?

In general, the "Reformed" brethren leave the "highway and hedges" type evangelism to the "Arminians." Then they try to proselyte the converts made by the Arminians.

If you want to follow Tim's daily activities, here's the link to the blog on which he writes his "twittering."

Friday, August 08, 2008

Sproul's "gospel" in Arizona


I listened to James White and Pedobaptist R. C. Sproul on White's "DL" program (08/07-08), and among other things they were promoting Sproul's upcoming "Conference" in Scottsdale, Arizona in September. One of the topics will be "What Is the Gospel?"

Based on what I heard yesterday and what I have read in both White and Sproul, it does not seem very likely that those who pay the "tuition" of $69, $79, $89 will come away with any more knowledge of the Gospel than what they knew before they expended their money on the conference. None of the speakers on the program seems to have the type of grasp or understanding of the Gospel that characterized the preaching of C. H. Spurgeon, for example.

I had a phone call from a lady this morning who is well on her way to having read 16 volumes of the entire 63-volume set of Spurgeon's sermons, and she called my attention to one of Spurgeon's sermons in which he sets forth the Gospel so clearly. This lady has not even been to Bible college or seminary, yet in my opinion she apparently has a better understanding of the Gospel than both White and Sproul combined, if their yesterday's discussion is an example of their comprehension of the Gospel.

In so many words, she said, "I really love this sermon, for it is so clear on the Gospel."

That could rarely, if ever, be said of the speakers scheduled for Sproul's conference who make something on the order of a jigsaw puzzle out of the Gospel -- such as James White and Sproul made of it on James' program.

Here is the part of Spurgeon's sermon which the lady called to my attention: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 16, #964, The Essence of the Gospel:

“He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18.

I may have preached from this text before. I may have done so several times. If I have not, I ought to have. It is the whole Bible in miniature. We may say of it so many words, so many volumes, for every single syllable here is charged to the full with meaning. We may read it, and re-read it, and continue still to read it day and night, yet ever find some fresh instruction in it. It is the essence of the Gospel. The good news in brief. . . .

Other distinctions sink into insignificance in the presence of Jesus—riches or wealth, learning or ignorance, power or weakness—are matters of too small account to divide mankind in the Presence of the great Discerner of spirits. Only these two characters—Believers and unbelievers—stand out in clear relief. As it is in our text, so is it as a matter of fact in the entire universe—the only two really vital distinctions for time and for eternity are just these—believers and unbelievers, receivers of Christ and rejecters of Him.

While James White and Sproul talk a lot about the "Gospel," they don't ever seem to get around to actually preaching it. Do they preach it to the lost? Do they have any sinners converted? Do they really understand what the Gospel "is"? Or do they, like Campbellites and others, know a lot of verses and talk a lot about theological details that are related to the Gospel, but do they really understand and believe what "the Gospel is"?

Yesterday they talked about how great the population is in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. Do you think they will be out preaching the Gospel to the multitudes of lost souls in that area? Not on your life.

Instead, they will be speaking to a paid audience which, on the whole, already professes to know and believe the Gospel. They will be "preaching to the choir." And if it weren't for the "big bucks" they make for doing so, we wonder if they would even be preaching to the choir which will pay $69, $79, $89 for "tuition."

The so-called "Reformed Gospel" of White and Sproul does not measure up to the type of Gospel preached by Spurgeon in this sermon. While James and Sproul talked about the first part of the third chapter of John, and being "born again," they did not talk about what Jesus described to Nicodemus in John 3:14-18 on faith and everlasting life. Rather, they talked about "regeneration before faith," and Sproul declared that regeneration is "the necessary condition for saving faith . . . regeneration precedes faith."

Is that the Gospel Jesus preached to Nicodemus in 3:14-18? Is that the Gospel preached by Spurgeon in this message, "The Essence of the Gospel"?

You can read all the writings by White, Sproul, and and those who share their "Reformed" born-again-before-faith idea, and if you can find that Gospel in them, will you please send me the reference where I can read it? I have yet to stumble upon it. Perhaps you are a better reader than I, so if you find the Gospel in those writings, please send me the references.

Paul tells us what the Gospel "is" in Romans 1:16 -- "It IS the POWER OF GOD unto salvation to every one that believeth."

Thursday, August 07, 2008



I (Bob L. Ross), have explained before that Charles, who has this blog, is oftentimes "out of pocket" for a few days, even sometimes several days, and circumstantially is not able to immediately post the Comments submitted. Charles evidently has to do a lot of traveling in his occupation, and it is just not convenient for him to handle things any other way. Be patient; in due time all Comments will be posted.

In the meantime, any Comments deemed "urgent" may be sent to my email and and I have access to post them.

I have no control over the Comments submitted on the blog's form, as that is completely controlled by Charles.

Some few have assumed that their Comments will not be posted, but this is not the case, as past history of this blog verifies. All Comments eventually will be published on this blog. -- Bob

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

White to have Sproul


James White has long been a disciple of Pedobaptist R. C. Sproul, and in fact I seem to recall reading a comment from James in which he attributed his belief that "regeneration precedes faith" to Sproul. (If I am wrong on that, I'm sure James will speedily proceed to correct me).

[Note, 08/07/2008 -- I forgot to include an interesting observation about James's evident infatuation with his "pedobaptist brothers" in addition to Sproul. In the front of his book on "The Potters's Freedom," he has 15 solicited blurbs designed to embellish his book, and if I have counted correctly, at least 10 were written by Pedobaptist (baby baptizers) who obviously endorse the "born again before faith in Christ" heresy. The other 5 include Jim Eliff, Tom Nettles, and Fred Zaspel known for their Hybrid Calvinism and Anti-Invitationism.]

At any rate, both Sproul and James agree that the elect get "regenerated" (born again) before they believe.

Sproul, being a Pedobaptist, goes along with the normal Pedobaptist Presbyterian view that this alleged "regeneration" even occurs in infancy in the case of children born to a believing parent, according to the Pedo theory about the "covenant" (see Reformation Study Bible, 1995 edition, page 1664, inset article entitled "Regeneration: The New Birth").

Sproul apparently reaps a lot of commercial gain from the Hybrid Calvinists among the Baptists who pay to attend his seminars, buy his Hybrid Calvinist writings and his other products. He has even been a paid
featured speaker for the Flounders, headed by Tom Ascol, and at the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, headed by R. Albert Mohler. All of the Hybrid Calvinists seem to be somewhat infatuated with Sproul, and James is one of the Pedobaptist's "greatest "fans." In fact, James allegedly was "provoked" to write the book, The Potter's Freedom, against Norman Geisler's book, Chosen But Free, due to Geisler's criticism (03/23/2007) of the teachings of Sproul.

Several years ago, at a Christian Booksellers Convention, Sproul and I had a little "tiff" over John MacArthur's view on "sonship." At that time, Sproul -- much like James White -- defended MacArthur and did not appreciate my critique of MacArthur's view. Later, of course, MacArthur recanted his former "incarnatonal sonship" view and affirmed the Eternal Sonship of Christ. I have not heard from Sproul since MacArthur recanted.

Sproul's Error on the New Birth

A few years ago, I dealt with Sproul's "Reformed" Hybrid Calvinist heresy about "regeneration," as follows:

I have previously and frequently mentioned that some of the post-seventeenth century "Reformed" Pedobaptist writers departed from the prevalent Puritan and Confessional view on the subject of Regeneration or the New Birth, especially in regard to the necessary use of the instrumentality of "means" (the Word or Gospel) in bringing lost and "dead in sin" sinners to Christ. W. G. T. Shedd and Louis Berkhof are two of the greatest offenders in this regard. Both Shedd and Berkhof readily concede that they depart somewhat from the Confessions and 17th century writers on "regeneration."

For instance, see Berkhof on pages 466, 470, 476. Systematic Theology; see Shedd, Dogmatic Theology,Vol. 2, pages 492, 493.

Some of our modern "Reformed" Presbyterian brethren, and even some among "Reformed" Baptists, such as James White and the Flounders, have adopted this theory. Presbyterian R. C. Sproul is one of the Pedos who have adopted the theory.

My attention was once again called to Sproul when a Pedobaptist minister recently asked to be removed from my list, and he was offended by my criticism of Sproul's view. I suppose he thinks that if we differ with Sproul, who is critical of Baptist views, we perhaps may have the right to differ with him, but we should not say so publicly. But if Sproul chooses to publish views which undermine Baptist views, we do not feel that there is anything necessarily wrong with our offering our reasons for differing with him.

Sproul acknowledges that he imbibed this theory on the New Birth from his Pedobaptist theology teacher when he was in a Pedobaptist Seminary, according to his piece, "Regeneration Precedes Faith," which appears on the Internet. He says:

"One of my professors [a Pedobaptist] went to the blackboard and wrote these words in bold letters: 'Regeneration Precedes Faith.'"

I first saw this mistaken theory crop-up in Sproul's publications several years ago when an article was published in his magazine, "Tabletalk," May 1993, page 15, written by J. Ligon Duncan III. The article clearly taught the neo-Pelagian logic that "You must be alive before you can believe" (page 17).

I wrote to Sproul and Duncan, objecting to the theory then, and I still object to it now. It is not true to Calvinist Confessions of Faith. [See my article, Regeneration in Relation to Faith In Calvinist Theology -- What is the Confessional View?] The Calvinist creedal position is not that "before the sinner believes" he is already born again and "alive," but rather that he is "dead in trespasses and sins," and the "dead hear the voice of the Son of God and live" (John 5:24-29).

This is the true "monergism," if Sproul prefers that term. Just as the physically dead will eventually hear the voice of the Son of God and rise up out of their graves at the coming resurrection, so it is with sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, when the Gospel is preached to them. The dead hear the voice [Gospel] of the Son of God and live.

This is not "logical," of course. We know the dead cannot hear. Right? We know a corpse cannot rise up simply when ordinary words are spoken. Right? But this is why the New Birth is a miracle performed by the Holy Spirit's using the Word of God in the spiritual realm (John 3:1-7). The spiritually dead hear, believe, and live.

It is like dead Lazarus being brought to life by the word of Christ, "Lazarus, come forth." The dead heard and came forth (John 11).

It is like the dry bones in Ezekiel responding to the preached word of the prophet (Ezekiel 37:1-10). The dry, dead bones heard, began to move, and lived.

The "logic" of Sproul and others who follow this erroneous "Reformed" view held by some of the post-seventeenth century Reformed theologians and seminary teachers leads them to the same position as the Pelagians -- that the sinner is alive and "able" to believe before he actually believes.

These Reformed writers therefore make faith less than the divine work that it is. Instead of faith's being the creation of the Spirit by the Word in the dead sinner, they make it a "fruit" or "result" of a previously imparted life -- basically the same view of the Pelagians who say the sinner is alive and able to believe before he believes.

Sproul says, "After a person is regenerated, that person cooperates by exercising faith and trust."

This would mean that the sinner is a born again unbeliever, having spiritual life before and without love for and faith in the Son of God. This is scripturally impossible.

It is simply not scripturally possible to have spiritual life and not have those elements which constitute spiritual life, such as faith and love. When the Holy Spirit blesses His Word to lost and dead sinners, He produces both faith and love and a union with Jesus Christ. And Sproul need not be concerned about "synergism," or the "cooperation" of the sinner. The New Birth is a creative work by the Holy Spirit's efficient power alone in His use of the Word to bring the dead sinner to faith in Christ. No one ever believes but by the efficient application of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit (John 6:63-65).

The Gospel comes not "in Word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost" (1 Thessalonians 1:5). No man can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 12:3).

Sproul need never worry about calling upon dead sinners to believe, to accept Christ, to receive Christ, or anything of that sort as being in any sense "synergistic," for no one ever believes on the Son of God except as the Holy Spirit blesses the Word of God and thereby produces repentance, faith, and love in the sinner. This work by the Spirit brings the sinner life, for it unites him to the Son who is our life. He that has the Son has life, and he that has not the Son does not have life (1 John 5:12).

The fact is, Sproul is advocating a "tradition of men," introduced by the Reformed Pedobaptist theologians who introduced the post-seventeenth century so-called "ordo salutis" which departs from Scripture to follow the reasoning of human "logic."

So when James White has R. C. Sproul on his "DL," it will be a "birds of a feather" get-together. Two Hybrid "peas in a pod." Two men of like faith and order who believe they were "born again" before they repented and trusted Jesus Christ as Savior.

Monday, August 04, 2008

James White & the Baptist Confession


In James White's recent video, he claims to believe the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith on "Effectual Calling." Unfortunately, he does not give credible evidence that this is the case, nor does he even accurately read what the Confession actually says.

Where, for instance, does the Confession ever affirm that "regeneration must take place first," as James teaches in his writings such as "The Potter's Freedom" (page 84) and in his debate book with Dave Hunt where he defends the heresy that we must be "born again before we can exercise true, saving faith" (Debating Calvinism, page 198)?

While James misunderstands, misapplies, and misinterprets 1 John 5:1 to teach his heresy, where in the Baptist Confession does it teach that 1 John 5:1 is understood to teach that "regeneration" precedes faith? While James claims to "exegete" Scripture, he is more adept at eisegesis -- reading his own ideas into the text.

When and where did James White ever demonstrate that my charge -- that he does not affirm the teaching of the 1689 LBCF -- is false and has been refuted?

Has James repudiated what he presented in the debate with Dave Hunt -- wherein James presented the non-creedal, unscriptural "born again before faith" balderash? Has he repudiated his "exegeet'n" on John's writings wherein he claims that regeneration precedes faith, or as we like to express it, that one is "born again before he believes in Christ"?

Those phantasmagorical ideas, borrowed from the likes of Sproul, Shedd, and Berkhof, and other Pedobaptist (baby baptizer) sources, will as likely be found in the 1689 LBCF as readily as one will find the baptism of babies!

All of that sort of stuff is PEDO-REGENERATIONIST doctrine, not Baptist.

It was hatched by the Pedos and you will find it in their hatcheries. Even pedo-regenerationists Shedd and Berkhof admit that the same vanities which James presents on regeneration are not even in the Westminster Confession (aka LBCF for Baptists). The "Ordo Paludal" had not even been fully fermented to its more "developed" level in 1689, according to the Pedo theologians, Berkhof, Shedd, and Packer.

What James teaches on "regeneration" is about as CLOSE to the teaching of the 1689 London Baptist Confession as the HARDSHELL BAPTIST CHURCH where James was invited to preach this type of doctrine awhile back.

We would be delighted to meet James in an "exegesis" debate on either the Scriptures or the 1689 London Confession of Faith, or both, but the prospects for such a debate are about as prospective as a debate with any of the advocates of the "regeneration precedes faith" delusion.

James prefers much more "easy pickins," like Muslims, Catholics, Mormons, Gays, etc. I understand some of these types even get paid and go on free cruises to debate with James, he is so eager to "make a name" for himself as a debater.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

White Lighthin' strikes Pedos


While I recognize the fact that we have many Christian brethren in Pedobaptist communions and there are several of their preachers who hold forth a great deal of the Word of truth -- and we respect them for every bit of the truth they stand for -- nevertheless we cannot help but repudiate their theories in regard to infant regeneration and infant baptism, as well as their false teaching about "regeneration precedes faith."

Even James White repudiates the way his "Presbyterian brothers" misuse Acts 2:39.

The theory of the Pedos, as stated so elaborately by Dr. W. G. T. Shedd in his Dogmatic Theology is that the infants born to believers inherit salvation. Since the believer is in covenant with God, "The infant of the believer, consequently, obtains the regenerating grace by virtue of his birth and descent from a believer in covenant with God" (Shedd, Vol. 2, page 576).

This is supposed to be the continuation of the Abrahamic covenant of the Old Testament, allegedly fulfilled in this age in the New Testament church. Baptism is viewed as replacing or continuing circumcision, and the church replaces Israel. Some call it "replacement eschatology."

Dr. Shedd cites the historic Presbyterian Westminster Confession which affirms that "the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized" (WCF, 28:4), for "Baptism is to be administered, to be a sign and seal of regeneration and ingrating into Christ, and that even to infants" (Larger Catechism, #177).

Pedobaptist preachers, such as R. C. Sproul, Jay Adams, J. I. Packer (Anglican), and Iain Murray, hold to this theory. Supposedly, infants born to believers allegedly receive regeneration in infancy, are baptized, and are regarded as born again members of the church.

Dr. Shedd says that such infants of believers are "born into the church" (Vol. 2, page 576). Dr. Shedd says, "The infant of the believer receives the Holy Spirit as a regenerating Spirit, by virtue of the covenant between God and his people" (Vol. 2, page 576).

"They are church members by reason of their birth from believing parents" (Vol. 2, page 576).

"Baptism is the infallible sign of regeneration, when the infant dies in infancy," but it is only the "probable sign of regeneration when the infant lives to years of discretion" (Vol. 2, pages 576, 577).

Now, there is the BIG PROBLEM with all of this phantasmagoria about infants and what they supposedly have by virtue of being born to believers.

Why is baptism supposedly an "infallible sign" of the regeneration in the case of an infant who dies, but only a "probable sign" when the infant does not die? Both were born to believing parents; wherein lies the difference? Does this mean the covenant in the case of the living child is conditional upon the subsequent life and works of that baptized infant?

This seems to the case, for Dr. Shedd says: "So a baptized child, in adult years, may renounce his baptism and church membership, become an infidel, and join the synagogue of Satan; but until he does this, he must be regarded as a member of the church of Christ" (Vol. 2, page 577).

Now, pray tell, where is the sanity of this type of palabber in the light of the Bible doctrine of salvation solely by the grace of God? How can it be said that the infant born of a believing parent inherits the blessing of regeneration, but then this only means that the baptism (as a "sign and seal" of regeneration) and the regeneration itself are meaningless, empty shells, if the regenerated infant grows up and renounces it all?

Is this not making election, calling, justification, sanctification, perseverance and glorification all ultimately dependent upon the deeds of the infant in his maturity, despite his being "filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb," like the John the Baptist? (see Shedd, Vol. 2, page 505).

What is this but salvation by works? Dr. Shedd seems to say as much:

"The reason why there is not an infallible connection between infant baptism and regeneration . . . is the fact that the covenant is not observed on the human side with absolute perfection. Should the believer keep the promise on his part with entire completeness, God would be bound to fulfill the promise on his part. . . . God is, therefore, not absolutely indebted to the believer, by reason of the believer's action, in respect to the regeneration of the child."

Therefore, according to Shedd, "the regeneration of the baptized child" may be "highly probable . . . yet not infallibly and necessarily certain."

This seems to mean that the entire supposed "covenant" is dependent upon how the parent raises the child and what the baptized infant does in his subsequent adult life. If that is not the odor of the rotten rag of salvation by works, what is it?

By the way, these views on infant regeneration, baptism, and church membership were also the views of Pedobaptist Louis Berkhof, whose theological work is published by the Banner of Truth Trust. The BOT is headed by Iain Murray, one of the foremost promoters of the infant baptism phantasmagoria and the virtual "father" of the Flounders movement due to his influence on Ernest Reisinger and other Flounders.

Do you understand why we were surprised to see the "Baptists" of the Founders Ministries feature Pedobaptist R. C. Sproul as their featured speaker at their Breakfast at the Southern Baptist Convention two or three years ago? Was there not a Baptist available?

Kudos to James White for at least repudiating the Pedo misuse of Acts 2:39.

Friday, August 01, 2008

"White Lightnin'" strikes again


I saw a reference on James "White Lightnin'" White's blog to an Internet video wherein he is once again offering a refutation of an item by Norman Geisler.

I decided to watch it, and it seems to be more of a "commercial" for James' book, The Potter's Freedom, than anything else, and perhaps a plug for shirts bearing the A&O logo.

He starts out on the video wearing a orange-red cap, and later he changes to a green cap. I have no idea about the "why" as to the caps. He is also wearing a shirt with the A&O logo on left side of the shirt, which are marketed by Carla Rolfe. Carla also markets a "dog shirt" with the A & O logo. I don't know if James gets a cut on the sales of the merchandising by Carla. (I could use a couple of those dog shirts for my two dogs, if the price were a little less).

James even claims that a church where he recently spoke was formed because of his book. Since the book is not an evangelistic or soul-winning type book, I suppose the church must have been formed by members who were already into the type of "Reformed" theology which James presents in TPF. In fact, on the video, James claims he is a defender of "the whole realm of Reformed theology."

James does indeed advocate and promote the Pedobaptist Reformed view on "regeneration," teaching that one is "born again before and without faith in Christ" (Examples: The Potter's Freedom, pages 84, 288). We have taken note of his heresy on this blog in the past.

James accepts the Pedobaptist (baby baptizers) Reformed view on the new birth in contrast to the Baptist view of our Baptist Confessions and our notable Baptist forefathers. He has adopted the view of Pedobaptists such as Shedd, Berkhof, Sproul, Frame, and others who advocate the idea that "regeneration precedes faith," according to the so-called "ordo salutis" developed by Pedobaptist theologians of years ago.

Awhile back, I looked in the index of The Potter's Freedom, and noticed that James has no "exegesis" of the great passages which Baptists are accustomed to using in teaching the necessity of the means of the Gospel or Word in regeneration. For instance, no emphasis on John 6:63; 1 Corinthians 2:4, 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14; 1 Peter 1:23.

The absence of such passages in White's book is consistent with his "pre-faith regeneration" theory. Wonder why James chose to bypass exegesis of these and similar great passages which reveal the place of the Word, the Gospel, and the Truth in the Holy Spirit's work of the New Birth? Was it because these passages overthrow the Pedobaptist theory that "regeneration" is a "direct operation" that takes place before and without the Spirit's use of the instrumentality of the Word in the new birth?

The "funny thing" about James' video, however, is his saying that he would "love to do some debates with those who are the most strident in their denunciations of Reformed theology."

According to James, the non-Reformed won't do it, and he mentions the names of Norman Geisler and Dave Hunt as among those who have refused to debate him.

James apparently thinks that no one remembers that we here at the Flyswatter have been "strident" in our denunciation of the Pedobaptist Reformed heresy of "born again before and without faith in Christ," and that we have offered to debate the issue with any of the advocates of the Reformed view. Somehow, however, we don't seem to qualify to debate James. He apparently prefers "easy pickings." Instead of debating the issue, James has chosen to avoid us as far as possible, and has tried to discredit us by certain denigrating devices of his choosing. He will never "win his spurs" as a debater if he is only going to engage those whom he regards as "easy pickn's."

I can't speak for Charles, but as for me, I would be delighted to go out on one of James' cruises and debate him or anyone of his choosing on the Reformed view of "born again before faith."

Another "funny thing" about James' video is his statement that Geisler's book, Chosen Yet Free, has served to "make more Calvinists than probably almost any book could have." Unfortunately, James does not give the names of any of the alleged converts to Calvinism, so we are just left "hanging" as to who is so naive that they would adopt White's version of "Calvinism" after reading Geisler's book. If the book makes so many "Calvinists," we wonder why James does not promote its sale on his website?

Don't hold your breath if you are waiting for James to debate on the Reformed view of "born again before faith."

NOTE: James White has hoisted another video, and you may read my reply to him in the COMMENTS section of this thread.