Friday, July 24, 2009

Spurgeon v. Brister on Saving Faith


C. H. Spurgeon said:
This new birth, this regeneration, is a great puzzle to many poor sinners.

Not only so, it seems to be a great puzzle to even Southern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate, Timmy Brister, of the "Founders Ministries." Brister perhaps was cheated in his education at Southern if he was lead to think that Spurgeon held to the Pedobaptist Hybrid form of Calvinism which teaches that sinners are "born again before they believe."

Long-time readers of the Flyswatter know that we have produced multitudinous material from Spurgeon in the Flyswatter Archives which demonstrates that he did not hold the Hybrid Calvinist theory.

Brister reveals in his palabber that he is a follower of Iain Murray who is one of the poorest interpreters of Spurgeon in the Pedobaptist camp, and Brister is simply spinning his wheels reading Murray as to Spurgeon's views.

Murray is the virtual "father" of the "Founders Movement" by virtue of his influence on Ernest Reisinger who absorbed Murray's Hybridism and made it the center-piece of the Flounders' thinking and purpose. In more recent years, Murray seems to have awakened to the fact that this form of "Calvinism" has not produced the type of evangelism and soul-winning which chacterized Spurgeon.

Spurgeon goes on:
One asks, “How can I make myself a new creature in Christ?” Of course, you can do nothing of the kind. This is a miracle; it is as much a work of God to make us children of light as it was to make light at the first. Only God can work this miracle; but mark you this, there never was a soul yet that truly believed in Christ, but at the same time it underwent the change called the new birth or regeneration.

Christians have often been asked about which is first, faith or regeneration, belief in Christ or being born again. I will tell you when you will answer me this question, -- When a wheel moves, which spoke moves first?

“Oh, they all start together!" say you.

So these other things all start together, whether it be the hub of the wheel, which is regeneration, or the spokes of the wheel, which are faith, and repentance, and hope, and love, and so on; when the wheel moves, it all moves at once. If thou believest in Jesus Christ and him crucified, in the moment that thou believest, this great change of nature is effected in thee; for faith has in itself a singularly transforming power.

It is a fact in everyday experience that, when a man comes to believe in his master, he becomes at once a better servant. A person whom I disliked, because I suspected him, becomes at once pleasing to me as soon as I trust him. So, faith towards God in itself produces a total change of mind in the man who has it. But, beside that, there goes with faith a divine energy which changes the heart of man. (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 41, page 235, Despised Light Withdrawn).

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

We have given many instances in past articles which demonstrate Spurgeon's view, and here is just one of those which very well refutes the attempts by those who would try to make a Hybrid Calvinist out of Spurgeon: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 37, Year 1891, pages 560, 561, The Law's Failure and Fulfillment:

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


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