Friday, April 03, 2009

...will the SBC return to the doctrines of grace?

MULLIGAN FRIDAY today goes to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). 

The Southern Baptist Convention in years past has faithfully stood for the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture; has stood for holiness and integrity among its pastors; and has called generations to revival and repentance from sin. 

So then, why would they deny the doctrines of grace in salvation? Why would they contest that God is sovereign in every other aspect of life over His creation - except salvation? Why would they see the biblical doctrines of election, predestination, foreknowledge, etc. as being an impediment to evangelism rather than being essential to evangelism itself?

My prayer is that these profound biblical words of Charles Spurgeon would begin to encourage all in the SBC that are preaching a weak Arminian gospel; who have wrongly accused faithful reformed pastors in Baptist churches for being deceitful; and for those who have been given over to historical revisionism in the great Baptist tradition of faith - to repent of this error, recover their Calvinistic history, return to the doctrines of grace in gospel preaching, and regard the words of their Reformed Baptist patriarch, Charles Spurgeon once again.

Read now the most faithful Baptist preacher in history as he speaks from the grave to the more often than not numbers driven and pragmatic SBC of today. 

Therefore, in the spirit of Christian charity with the prayerful hope of heaven sent change one day back to the great truths of Calvinism... they are awarded a mulligan.

Let's Not Forsake the Old Paths--and Be Careful to Walk in Them,
SJ Camp
Romans 8:28-31

A Defense of Calvinism
by C.H. Spurgeon

The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach today, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.

IT IS A GREAT THING to begin the Christian life by believing good solid doctrine. Some people have received twenty different "gospels" in as many years; how many more they will accept before they get to their journey's end, it would be difficult to predict. I thank God that He early taught me the gospel, and I have been so perfectly satisfied with it, that I do not want to know any other. Constant change of creed is sure loss. If a tree has to be taken up two or three times a year, you will not need to build a very large loft in which to store the apples. When people are always shifting their doctrinal principles, they are not likely to bring forth much fruit to the glory of God. It is good for young believers to begin with a firm hold upon those great fundamental doctrines which the Lord has taught in His Word. Why, if I believed what some preach about the temporary, trumpery salvation which only lasts for a time, I would scarcely be at all grateful for it; but when I know that those whom God saves He saves with an everlasting salvation, when I know that He gives to them an everlasting righteousness, when I know that He settles them on an everlasting foundation of everlasting love, and that He will bring them to His everlasting kingdom, oh, then I do wonder, and I am astonished that such a blessing as this should ever have been given to me!

"Pause, my soul! adore, and wonder!
Ask, 'Oh, why such love to me?'
Grace hath put me in the number of the Saviour's family:
Hallelujah! Thanks, eternal thanks, to Thee!"

I suppose there are some persons whose minds naturally incline towards the doctrine of free-will. I can only say that mine inclines as naturally towards the doctrines of sovereign grace.

The Gratitude that Springs from Sovereign Grace
Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought, if God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I should have been! I should have run to the utmost lengths of sin, dived into the very depths of evil, nor should I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me. I feel that I should have been a very king of sinners, if God had let me alone. I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace. If I am not at this moment without Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have His will with me, and that will was that I should be with Him where He is, and should share His glory. I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of Him whose mighty grace has saved me from going down into the pit.

Looking back on my past life, I can see that the dawning of it all was of God; of God effectively. I took no torch with which to light the sun, but the sun enlightened me. I did not commence my spiritual life-no, I rather kicked, and struggled against the things of the Spirit: when He drew me, for a time I did not run after Him: there was a natural hatred in my soul of everything holy and good. Wooings were lost upon me-warnings were cast to the wind-thunders were despised; and as for the whispers of His love, they were rejected as being less than nothing and vanity. But, sure I am, I can say now, speaking on behalf of myself, "He only is my salvation." It was He who turned my heart, and brought me down on my knees before Him.

I can in very deed, say with Doddridge and Toplady - "Grace taught my soul to pray, and made my eyes o'erflow;" and coming to this moment, I can add - 'Tis grace has kept me to this day, and will not let me go.'

Born, as all of us are by nature, an Arminian
Well can I remember the manner in which I learned the doctrines of grace in a single instant. Born, as all of us are by nature, an Arminian, I still believed the old things I had heard continually from the pulpit, and did not see the grace of God. When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this.

I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul-when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man-that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God. One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher's sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, How did you come to be a Christian? I sought the Lord. But how did you come to seek the Lord? The truth flashed across my mind in a moment-I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, "I ascribe my change wholly to God."

I once attended a service where the text happened to be, "He shall choose our inheritance for us;" and the good man who occupied the pulpit was more than a little of an Arminian. Therefore, when he commenced, he said, "This passage refers entirely to our temporal inheritance, it has nothing whatever to do with our everlasting destiny, for," said he, "we do not want Christ to choose for us in the matter of Heaven or hell. It is so plain and easy, that every man who has a grain of common sense will choose Heaven, and any person would know better than to choose hell. We have no need of any superior intelligence, or any greater Being, to choose Heaven or hell for us. It is left to our own free-will, and we have enough wisdom given us, sufficiently correct means to judge for ourselves," and therefore, as he very logically inferred, there was no necessity for Jesus Christ, or anyone, to make a choice for us. We could choose the inheritance for ourselves without any assistance. "Ah!" I thought, "but, my good brother, it may be very true that we could, but I think we should want something more than common sense before we should choose aright."

Inflexible Providence
First, let me ask, must we not all of us admit an over-ruling Providence, and the appointment of Jehovah's hand, as to the means whereby we came into this world? Those men who think that, afterwards, we are left to our own free-will to choose this one or the other to direct our steps, must admit that our entrance into the world was not of our own will, but that God had then to choose for us. What circumstances were those in our power which led us to elect certain persons to be our parents? Had we anything to do with it? Did not God Himself appoint our parents, native place, and friends? Could He not have caused me to be born with the skin of the Hottentot, brought forth by a filthy mother who would nurse me in her "kraal," and teach me to bow down to Pagan gods, quite as easily as to have given me a pious mother, who would each morning and night bend her knee in prayer on my behalf? Or, might He not, if He had pleased, have given me some profligate to have been my parent, from whose lips I might have early heard fearful, filthy, and obscene language? Might He not have placed me where I should have had a drunken father, who would have immured me in a very dungeon of ignorance, and brought me up in the chains of crime? Was it not God's Providence that I had so happy a lot, that both my parents were His children, and endeavoured to train me up in the fear of the Lord?

John Newton used to tell a whimsical story, and laugh at it, too, of a good woman who said, in order to prove the doctrine of election, "Ah! sir, the Lord must have loved me before I was born, or else He would not have seen anything in me to love afterwards." I am sure it is true in my case; I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that great Biblical doctrine. I recollect an Arminian brother telling me that he had read the Scriptures through a score or more times, and could never find the doctrine of election in them. He added that he was sure he would have done so if it had been there, for he read the Word on his knees. I said to him, "I think you read the Bible in a very uncomfortable posture, and if you had read it in your easy chair, you would have been more likely to understand it. Pray, by all means, and the more, the better, but it is a piece of superstition to think there is anything in the posture in which a man puts himself for reading: and as to reading through the Bible twenty times without having found anything about the doctrine of election, the wonder is that you found anything at all: you must have galloped through it at such a rate that you were not likely to have any intelligible idea of the meaning of the Scriptures."

If it would be marvelous to see one river leap up from the earth full-grown, what would it be to gaze upon a vast spring from which all the rivers of the earth should at once come bubbling up, a million of them born at a birth? What a vision would it be! Who can conceive it. And yet the love of God is that fountain, from which all the rivers of mercy, which have ever gladdened our race-all the rivers of grace in time, and of glory hereafter-take their rise. My soul, stand thou at that sacred fountain-head, and adore and magnify, for ever and ever, God, even our Father, who hath loved us!

God Enters into Covenant with Sinful Man
In the very beginning, when this great universe lay in the mind of God, like unborn forests in the acorn cup; long ere the echoes awoke the solitudes; before the mountains were brought forth; and long ere the light flashed through the sky, God loved His chosen creatures. Before there was any created being-when the ether was not fanned by an angel's wing, when space itself had not an existence, when there was nothing save God alone-even then, in that loneliness of Deity, and in that deep quiet and profundity, His bowels moved with love for His chosen. Their names were written on His heart, and then were they dear to His soul. Jesus loved His people before the foundation of the world-even from eternity! and when He called me by His grace, He said to me, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."

Then, in the fulness of time, He purchased me with His blood; He let His heart run out in one deep gaping wound for me long ere I loved Him. Yea, when He first came to me, did I not spurn Him? When He knocked at the door, and asked for entrance, did I not drive Him away, and do despite to His grace? Ah, I can remember that I full often did so until, at last, by the power of His effectual grace, He said, "I must, I will come in;" and then He turned my heart, and made me love Him. But even till now I should have resisted Him, had it not been for His grace. Well, then since He purchased me when I was dead in sins, does it not follow, as a consequence necessary and logical, that He must have loved me first? Did my Saviour die for me because I believed on Him? No; I was not then in existence; I had then no being. Could the Saviour, therefore, have died because I had faith, when I myself was not yet born? Could that have been possible? Could that have been the origin of the Saviour's love towards me? Oh! no; my Saviour died for me long before I believed. "But," says someone, "He foresaw that you would have faith; and, therefore, He loved you." What did He foresee about my faith? Did He foresee that I should get that faith myself, and that I should believe on Him of myself? No; Christ could not foresee that, because no Christian man will ever say that faith came of itself without the gift and without the working of the Holy Spirit. I have met with a great many believers, and talked with them about this matter; but I never knew one who could put his hand on his heart, and say, "I believed in Jesus without the assistance of the Holy Spirit."

I am bound to the doctrine of the depravity of the human heart, because I find myself depraved in heart, and have daily proofs that in my flesh there dwelleth no good thing.

If God enters into covenant with unfallen man, man is so insignificant a creature that it must be an act of gracious condescension on the Lord's part; but if God enters into covenant with sinful man, he is then so offensive a creature that it must be, on God's part, an act of pure, free, rich, sovereign grace.

When the Lord entered into covenant with me, I am sure that it was all of grace, nothing else but grace. When I remember what a den of unclean beasts and birds my heart was, and how strong was my unrenewed will, how obstinate and rebellious against the sovereignty of the Divine rule, I always feel inclined to take the very lowest room in my Father's house, and when I enter Heaven, it will be to go among the less than the least of all saints, and with the chief of sinners.

"Salvation is of the Lord."
The late lamented Mr. Denham has put, at the foot of his portrait, a most admirable text, "Salvation is of the Lord." That is just an epitome of Calvinism; it is the sum and substance of it. If anyone should ask me what I mean by a Calvinist, I should reply, "He is one who says, Salvation is of the Lord." I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible. "He only is my rock and my salvation." Tell me anything contrary to this truth, and it will be a heresy; tell me a heresy, and I shall find its essence here, that it has departed from this great, this fundamental, this rock-truth, "God is my rock and my salvation."

What is the heresy of Rome, but the addition of something to the perfect merits of Jesus Christ-the bringing in of the works of the flesh, to assist in our justification?

And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer?

Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.

"If ever it should come to pass,
That sheep of Christ might fall away,
My fickle, feeble soul, alas!
Would fall a thousand times a day."

If one dear saint of God had perished, so might all; if one of the covenant ones be lost, so may all be; and then there is no gospel promise true, but the Bible is a lie, and there is nothing in it worth my acceptance. I will be an infidel at once when I can believe that a saint of God can ever fall finally. If God hath loved me once, then He will love me for ever. God has a master-mind; He arranged everything in His gigantic intellect long before He did it; and once having settled it, He never alters it, "This shall be done," saith He, and the iron hand of destiny marks it down, and it is brought to pass. "This is My purpose," and it stands, nor can earth or hell alter it. "This is My decree," saith He, "promulgate it, ye holy angels; rend it down from the gate of Heaven, ye devils, if ye can; but ye cannot alter the decree, it shall stand for ever."

Indelible Grace
God altereth not His plans; why should He? He is Almighty, and therefore can perform His pleasure. Why should He? He is the All-wise, and therefore cannot have planned wrongly. Why should He? He is the everlasting God, and therefore cannot die before His plan is accomplished. Why should He change? Ye worthless atoms of earth, ephemera of a day, ye creeping insects upon this bay-leaf of existence, ye may change your plans, but He shall never, never change His. Has He told me that His plan is to save me? If so, I am for ever safe.

"My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impress'd on His heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace."

I do not know how some people, who believe that a Christian can fall from grace, manage to be happy. It must be a very commendable thing in them to be able to get through a day without despair. If I did not believe the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints, I think I should be of all men the most miserable, because I should lack any ground of comfort. I could not say, whatever state of heart I came into, that I should be like a well-spring of water, whose stream fails not; I should rather have to take the comparison of an intermittent spring, that might stop on a sudden, or a reservoir, which I had no reason to expect would always be full. I believe that the happiest of Christians and the truest of Christians are those who never dare to doubt God, but who take His Word simply as it stands, and believe it, and ask no questions, just feeling assured that if God has said it, it will be so. I bear my willing testimony that I have no reason, nor even the shadow of a reason, to doubt my Lord, and I challenge Heaven, and earth, and hell, to bring any proof that God is untrue. From the depths of hell I call the fiends, and from this earth I call the tried and afflicted believers, and to Heaven I appeal, and challenge the long experience of the blood-washed host, and there is not to be found in the three realms a single person who can bear witness to one fact which can disprove the faithfulness of God, or weaken His claim to be trusted by His servants. There are many things that may or may not happen, but this I know shall happen-

"He shall present my soul,
Unblemish'd and complete,
Before the glory of His face,
With joys divinely great."

All the purposes of man have been defeated, but not the purposes of God. The promises of man may be broken-many of them are made to be broken-but the promises of God shall all be fulfilled. He is a promise-maker, but He never was a promise-breaker; He is a promise-keeping God, and every one of His people shall prove it to be so. This is my grateful, personal confidence, "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me"-unworthy me, lost and ruined me. He will yet save me; and-

"I, among the blood-wash'd throng,
Shall wave the palm, and wear the crown,
And shout loud victory."

I go to a land which the plough of earth hath never upturned, where it is greener than earth's best pastures, and richer than her most abundant harvests ever saw. I go to a building of more gorgeous architecture than man hath ever builded; it is not of mortal design; it is "a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens." All I shall know and enjoy in Heaven, will be given to me by the Lord, and I shall say, when at last I appear before Him-

"Grace all the work shall crown
Through everlasting days;
It lays in Heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise."

The Sufficient Efficacy of the Merits of Christ
I know there are some who think it necessary to their system of theology to limit the merit of the blood of Jesus: if my theological system needed such a limitation, I would cast it to the winds. I cannot, I dare not allow the thought to find a lodging in my mind, it seems so near akin to blasphemy. In Christ's finished work I see an ocean of merit; my plummet finds no bottom, my eye discovers no shore. There must be sufficient efficacy in the blood of Christ, if God had so willed it, to have saved not only all in this world, but all in ten thousand worlds, had they transgressed their Maker's law. Once admit infinity into the matter, and limit is out of the question. Having a Divine Person for an offering, it is not consistent to conceive of limited value; bound and measure are terms inapplicable to the Divine sacrifice. The intent of the Divine purpose fixes the application of the infinite offering, but does not change it into a finite work. Think of the numbers upon whom God has bestowed His grace already. Think of the countless hosts in Heaven: if thou wert introduced there today, thou wouldst find it as easy to tell the stars, or the sands of the sea, as to count the multitudes that are before the throne even now. They have come from the East, and from the West, from the North, and from the South, and they are sitting down with Abraham, and with Isaac, and with Jacob in the Kingdom of God; and beside those in Heaven, think of the saved ones on earth.

Blessed be God, His elect on earth are to be counted by millions, I believe, and the days are coming, brighter days than these, when there shall be multitudes upon multitudes brought to know the Saviour, and to rejoice in Him. The Father's love is not for a few only, but for an exceeding great company. "A great multitude, which no man could number," will be found in Heaven. A man can reckon up to very high figures; set to work your Newtons, your mightiest calculators, and they can count great numbers, but God and God alone can tell the multitude of His redeemed. I believe there will be more in Heaven than in hell. If anyone asks me why I think so, I answer, because Christ, in everything, is to "have the pre-eminence," and I cannot conceive how He could have the pre-eminence if there are to be more in the dominions of Satan than in Paradise. Moreover, I have never read that there is to be in hell a great multitude, which no man could number. I rejoice to know that the souls of all infants, as soon as they die, speed their way to Paradise. Think what a multitude there is of them! Then there are already in Heaven unnumbered myriads of the spirits of just men made perfect-the redeemed of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues up till now; and there are better times coming, when the religion of Christ shall be universal; when- "He shall reign from pole to pole, With illimitable sway;" -when whole kingdoms shall bow down before Him, and nations shall be born in a day, and in the thousand years of the great millennial state there will be enough saved to make up all the deficiencies of the thousands of years that have gone before. Christ shall be Master everywhere, and His praise shall be sounded in every land. Christ shall have the pre-eminence at last; His train shall be far larger than that which shall attend the chariot of the grim monarch of hell.

Particular Redemption - The Nature of the Atonement
Some persons love the doctrine of universal atonement because they say, "It is so beautiful. It is a lovely idea that Christ should have died for all men; it commends itself," they say, "to the instincts of humanity; there is something in it full of joy and beauty." I admit there is, but beauty may be often associated with falsehood. There is much which I might admire in the theory of universal redemption, but I will just show what the supposition necessarily involves. If Christ on His cross intended to save every man, then He intended to save those who were lost before He died. If the doctrine be true, that He died for all men, then He died for some who were in hell before He came into this world, for doubtless there were even then myriads there who had been cast away because of their sins. Once again, if it was Christ's intention to save all men, how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own testimony that there is a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit of woe have been cast some of the very persons who, according to the theory of universal redemption, were bought with His blood. That seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption. To think that my Saviour died for men who were or are in hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain. To imagine for a moment that He was the Substitute for all the sons of men, and that God, having first punished the Substitute, afterwards punished the sinners themselves, seems to conflict with all my ideas of Divine justice. That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins for which Christ had already atoned, appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity that could ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the Thugs, or to the most diabolical heathen deities. God forbid that we should ever think thus of Jehovah, the just and wise and good!

There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer-I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it. But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one "of whom the world was not worthy." I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.

The Sandy Foundation of Arminianism; and The Solid Rock of Grace
I do not think I differ from any of my Hyper-Calvinistic brethren in what I do believe, but I differ from them in what they do not believe. I do not hold any less than they do, but I hold a little more, and, I think, a little more of the truth revealed in the Scriptures. Not only are there a few cardinal doctrines, by which we can steer our ship North, South, East, or West, but as we study the Word, we shall begin to learn something about the North-west and North-east, and all else that lies between the four cardinal points. The system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once.

For instance, I read in one Book of the Bible, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Yet I am taught, in another part of the same inspired Word, that "it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." I see, in one place, God in providence presiding over all, and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions, in a great measure, to his own free-will. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things that man is not free enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly.

They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.

It is often said that the doctrines we believe have a tendency to lead us to sin. I have heard it asserted most positively, that those high doctrines which we love, and which we find in the Scriptures, are licentious ones. I do not know who will have the hardihood to make that assertion, when they consider that the holiest of men have been believers in them. I ask the man who dares to say that Calvinism is a licentious religion, what he thinks of the character of Augustine, or Calvin, or Whitefield, who in successive ages were the great exponents of the system of grace; or what will he say of the Puritans, whose works are full of them? Had a man been an Arminian in those days, he would have been accounted the vilest heretic breathing, but now we are looked upon as the heretics, and they as the orthodox. We have gone back to the old school; we can trace our descent from the apostles. It is that vein of free-grace, running through the sermonizing of Baptists, which has saved us as a denomination. Were it not for that, we should not stand where we are today. We can run a golden line up to Jesus Christ Himself, through a holy succession of mighty fathers, who all held these glorious truths; and we can ask concerning them, "Where will you find holier and better men in the world?" No doctrine is so calculated to preserve a man from sin as the doctrine of the grace of God. Those who have called it "a licentious doctrine" did not know anything at all about it. Poor ignorant things, they little knew that their own vile stuff was the most licentious doctrine under Heaven. If they knew the grace of God in truth, they would soon see that there was no preservative from lying like a knowledge that we are elect of God from the foundation of the world. There is nothing like a belief in my eternal perseverance, and the immutability of my Father's affection, which can keep me near to Him from a motive of simple gratitude. Nothing makes a man so virtuous as belief of the truth. A lying doctrine will soon beget a lying practice.

A man cannot have an erroneous belief without by-and-by having an erroneous life. I believe the one thing naturally begets the other. Of all men, those have the most disinterested piety, the sublimest reverence, the most ardent devotion, who believe that they are saved by grace, without works, through faith, and that not of themselves, it is the gift of God. Christians should take heed, and see that it always is so, lest by any means Christ should be crucified afresh, and put to an open shame.


pilgrim said...

Wow--well put there.
How often it is presented the other way around.
There is no boasting in God choosing me--I see others more qualified.
The more I read scripture the more I see the truths in election.
It is not something man would invent.

Tim said...

Amen Spurgeon! (Speaking the truth from the grave).


I am offended, but it shows the arrogance and pride, evidently that has cultivated in many pastors hearts over the inerrancy issue. I really do like to hear Dr. Patterson on a variety of subjects. I even enjoy some of Jerry Falwell's comments on TV once in a while. But, for these men who have been in ministry for so long to not even get the doctrines they disagree with right.... wait a minute.... they are getting the doctrines they disagree with right! I wish they rightly understood reformed theology!

Lord Jesus give to them the eye salve and ear ointment and illumination of the Spirit of God to understand those whom they have slandered and grant them repentance for their waywardness. Amen.

Sometimes your heart just cries out that God would open their eyes and help them to truly see themselves and God as each is revealed in the Scriptures. I must say as MacArthur said in "Does the Truth Matter Anymore?", that pragmatism is eating at the SBC and will soon render it UTTERLY useless unless their is repentance.

One last thought. Let us also be careful. If there's a trap for inerrantists, don't think there's not a trap for us Calvinists. Satan would love to ease in a pride for our "right theology". May God keep us from such pride and grant us humility, patience and diligence in teaching those, trusting that He may grant them repentance.

Terry Rayburn said...

You could hardly pick a better advocate than Spurgeon for making the case for Calvinism, since he's the perfect example of how Calvinism does not quench evangelism.

What many don't realize,though, is that Spurgeon had saints (sometimes hundreds of saints) praying in the basement of the church while he was preaching.

Lack of prayer quenches evangelism, and not being filled with the Spirit quenches prayer.

Calvinism not only doesn't quench evangelism, it actually gives the preacher or witness-er confidence that indeed some will be awakened by the gospel.

Terry Rayburn

Jim Crigler said...

Steve ---

Thanks for the post.

Last night the guest speaker at my church, Jamey Ragel, said much the same thing as it seems Johnny Hunt said at the convention. (I read both the post you pointed to and the original post Rev. Elbourne had made.) Rev. Ragel actually used the phrase "rearing its head" of Calvinism, and if he meant to evoke any image other than the beast of Revelation, I don't know what it was.

I live about 15 miles from the body pastored by Johnny Hunt and have nothing but admiration for all the FBC/Woodstock members I have met. However, as a lifelong Southern Baptst (I bet you're jealous of that one ;) <-[smiley for the humor-impaired]), I am grateful to my gracious Heavenly Father for the opportunity, indeed, the right, to disagree with him.

But as a lifelong SB (did I really just call us that? ... If you're worried about it, just think Sackville-Baggins and you won't be far off), I think it's worth remembering that Southern Baptists are not a "real" denomination (like Presbyterians or any of the Reformed groups), we're an association of independent churches. This has many implications, not uniformly good. One of the better implications is that in the late 1970's and early 1980's the organization was wrested from the hands of those who were running our joint operations, [e.g., the Sunday School board (now Lifeway Christian Resources), the mission agencies, and, most critically, the seminaries] and took control of them again. Now, as a matter of practical politics, "control" (speaking loosely, you have to think about herding chickens here) wound up in the hands of the pastors of the largest churches, who happened to be theologically conservative. (By "conservative," I don't mean Calvinistic --- far from it! I mean only that they had not abandoned the Bible for the sake of denominational loyalty, and they were not those we euphemistically used to call "moderates.")

One of the less good effects is that with the power shift to large churches (many of which by God's grace had become large by their faithful evangelism), the pressure to adopt (dare I say it?) a "minor" idol swapped from the Cooperative Program to the large churches. Then we forgot the way in which many of those churches got large, and began to focus on the largeness. Then growth as such became the point. This has led to the emulation of and adoption of things like the ridiculous claims of one Southern Baptist pastor who needs to "saddle up" his horse and ride out into the desert for a while to think. (If you got the pun, yes, I meant that one.) Or the older large, conservative churches that have been known to single-handedly cause paper shortages as folks took sermon notes of seven subpoints for each of seven main points of a sermon on successful Christian living, followed by an invitation to respond to a Gospel that was never offered. (Okay, more charitably, the church I have in mind at one time had a strong commitment to personal evangelism training and was giving new believers a chance to make public a response to the Gospel recently made.)

Whew! After all that it's time to grab the reins and get back to the corral we rode out of:

Johnny Hunt gets a respectful hearing because he is the pastor of a very large conservative church that continues to grow. The sculpture by FBC/Woodstock's entrance on Highway 92 is bigger than some churches I've worshipped in. (Okay, that's an exaggeration. But you get the idea.) But Johnny Hunt doesn't represent all Southern Baptist churches or the Convention. And as the Calvinist movement within Southern Baptists expands, the growing churches will, I believe, be shown to be those that have both a passion for evangelism and deep theological roots.

(Note to self: One of these days, get around to that essay on "An alternative model of church growth" a/k/a "Growing Christ's church, not ours.") said...

The SBC has a lot of problems (I say this from the inside of the Convention), and many of us are working for reform (returning to what we were in many ways, while pushing ahead in other ways). To be honest, I would be happy is the Convention was just Reformed-friendly. I don't expect everyone to line up with reformed dogmatics, but to be hostile to it while being ignorant of it is inexcusable.

Bret said...

Thanks again Steve for your comments, and for posting Spurgeon's. I'm not SBC, but I follow them and the Founders, and have numerous pastor friends in the SBC. Might as well add Adrian Rogers to that list, even though he did not speak at the convention.

Bhedr said...

Hey Campi,
Preach it! You aint Hurtin my feelings one bit. I thank God you have influence on em cause I am one and they don't like to listen much to me.

Bhedr said...

This is all I've ever tried to convey and yet when I do I rarely fit anywhere>I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.< I am surprised some of you all agree with this. Are you sure you read this part?

Bhedr said...

Terry said>Calvinism not only doesn't quench evangelism, it actually gives the preacher or witness-er confidence that indeed some will be awakened by the gospel.< I couldn't agree more brother only I like to call it Election and not Calvanism as Calvin was a wee little OZ man who shared a disdain for Ana-Baptists. Calvin did not invent election...God did. I will not bow to any of Calvin's golden monuments. Spurgeon didn't either; but he was a Baptist so he gets a free pass:-)

Jeremy Weaver said...

Calvin was not just leading a reformation, he was governing a city. It's hard for me to be too critical of him.

As a Sbcer I am ashammed to have the Mulligan attached to me, but recognize the need. But couldn't you at least cut us Founder's guys a break? Could we be exempt from the Mulligan? We are under attack after all, by our brothers!
Just kidding! I like to be whiner every once in a while!

GeneMBridges said...

One more thing...

The same leaders that are openly opposing the doctrines of grace are also the same leaders who pushed for, helped write, and voted for the BFM 2000.

Almost every one of these sermons that I hear, Jack Graham's being the most recent and probably the most egregious I've heard in a looong time, usually touches on the relationship between faith and regeneration.

Now, keep in mind, these folks pushed for, helped write, and subsequently voted for the new BFM.

From Article 4:

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

Notice the portion in bold. This is a very clear statement that regeneration precedes faith. When these men say Reformed soteriology has it backwards, they contradict the BFM2000, which they wanted for years, which some of them helped write, and all of them voted to adopt. Moreover, they all believe that our missionaries and seminary professors, etc. should sign the BFM and affirm it. If not, they are not allowed to serve in the SBC.

Think about that for a bit, and, the next time you hear one of them say it in a sermon, if you get the chance ask them afterwards if they voted for the new BFM and why they are contradicting it. If they say that no confession is binding, tell them you know that, but the point is that they are contradicting the document they all voted to adopt and that they all say should be used as a test of fidelity for those serving us on the mission field and in the seminaries.

I've said it about the articles on Religious Liberty, and I'll say it on this one: It seems some of us voted for the BFM 2000 in 1999 really intending only to vote for Article 1 on the Scriptures, not the entire document.

Bhedr said...

Ok Jeremy:-) I won't be hard on him anymore but neither shall I usher up praises for him either. But i will agree with you all in that I agree that pre-destination is purely biblical. It is God's doctrine and belongs to His Name.

I guess as a S.BCer I don't have much room to talk. Campi's got us here.

Tim said...


I think they can do that because there is not clarity in the statement. Notice what came before the bold section:

Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus.

Here's where they stand BELIEVERS become new creatures, not sinners are made new creatures and thus believe. Again, we mus remember who was on the board. We had the likes of Adrian Rogers and Al Mohler. I think the BFM is not as clear as the 1689 we hold to. They became weak on the Lord's Day. Why was that an issue? They muddied the water on the topic you brought up and I think it is clearly not as honest as it should be. It basically is Arminian first, Calvinist second.

I really got to hand it to you guys who hang in there. We simply had to spring out of it and simply become Reformed Baptists and I'm an SBC pastor's son and ordained in the SBC.

2Tal said...

OUCH! (I love it...)
I gladly say my Senior Pastor of a large Southern Baptist church is Reformed and is unashamed to preach Reformed doctrine. (Though I wish he'd preach it a little more.) That's not to say the members all agree with him here or that we Reformed SBCers (S not E) are not still in the vast minority over all. However, one thing I've noticed is that Southern Baptists are teachable and I think as long as we teach the Bible accurately with gentleness and respect (Hanegraff phrase), Reformed theology will continue to be making a comeback.

AuthenticTruth said...

This issue is not limited to just the SBC, but to evangelicalism in general. Awhile back, I was downloading a couple of sermons from the church (independent Baptist) I attended in my hometown where I grew up. One of the sermons was by a guest speaker who was giving a list of some things that he thought were a hindrance to the gospel. One of the things that he included in the list was Calvinism. Arghhhh! Wrong! The greatest threat is the overt pragmatism that is so prevalent today and is rooted in full blown Arminianism. I think what many have in view when they object so strongly to the doctrine of predestination, is extreme hyper-Calvinism, which I oppose as well. But when election is understood within the context of Scripture, it is what the Bible teaches.

DOGpreacher said...

oops...I commented on this post, but did it on your previous posts 'comments'. Love the letters between Whitefield and Wesley, made huge impact on me.

DOGpreacher said...

btw...thanks, Tim, for reminding us of that evil of all evils...pride.

Jim Crigler said...

One last thing (and more briefly this time ;): Al Mohler was able to (ahem) reform the faculty of the seminary in Louisville because he held them to this statement which was an employment requirement (but had been ignored for years: "Every professor of the institution shall be a member of a regular Baptist church; and all persons accepting professorships in this seminary shall be considered, by such acceptance, as engaging to teach in accordance with, and not contrary to, the Abstract of Principles hereinafter laid down, a departure from which principles on his part shall be considered grounds for his resignation or removal by the Trustees."

For the curious, here is the abstract:

Nathan White said...

The watershed issue here is failing to hold to scripture alone. Sound exegesis is being overlooked in favor of tradition and emotional feelings. The leaders of the SBC just need to get back to actually practicing the Biblical inerrancy they claim to believe in.

A quick glance back to the Elbourne discussion Steve linked to will show that the supporters of the ‘free will doctrine’ absolutely refuse to deal with scripture, choosing instead to make judgments on others for actually critiquing what someone says from the pulpit. This lack of discussion on what the scriptures actually say is very common among those I am familiar with in the SBC.

I grew up in the SBC, in Johnny Hunt’s church in fact, and I hold special love for the SBC as some of you guys do as well. However, there has been a sharp decline in recent years towards easy believism, pep-rally Christianity that has no theological foundation whatsoever. Post-modern influence on the SBC has brought the much of the denomination to its knees, and only a return to scripture alone will save this downwards spiral.

Why is it that we tend to overlook those who claim to hold to scripture alone/grace alone/faith alone, when a closer look reveals that this is just lip-service?

Denise said...

It shouldn't, but it does continually amaze me how professing Christians rile against God's sovereignty. This is, afterall, what is bottom line here.

The absolute misrepresentations of Calvinism is slanderous, but hey even I would disagree with what they portray as Calvinism. ;)

The article at Baptist Fire sounds very similar to other public remarks by people calling Calvinism the "cosmic rape" of people; the god of Calvinism "a monster", etc.

I do believe, though, that a large part of this view starts at the seminary level.

So what ARE the seminaries teaching? What ARE the seminary professors telling their students? What are they reading? What are they NOT reading?

We can't expect much different out of pastors who get their knowledge from Arminian seminaries---they repeat what they've been taught.

I do find it interesting, though, that there seems to be a more visible line drawn in the sand regarding those who hold to God's sovereign Grace and those who hold to man's free will. Adrian Rogers, Hank Hannagraaf, Dave Hunt, Norm Geisler, are just a few examples of the open and vicious hostility toward the Sovereign Lord they say they worship.

GeneMBridges said...


You wrote:

>>>I think they can do that because there is not clarity in the statement. Notice what came before the bold section:

Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus.

My reply: I see that, but, to me, it is quite clear (though maybe it's clear because I'm reading through Calvinist eyes). I read it as:

>>>Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus.

(That is a general statement. Who is involved? Believers, broadly speaking.)


>>> is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin,

(definition of the action of God)

>>>to which [b]the sinner [/b]responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

(At which he becomes a believer).

To me, that's very clear. I agree the 1689 is much better. In my ideal world where I was supreme commander of all Baptists (Resistance is Futile! ;) ), SBC churches would adopt the 1689, so we'd have a true combination of Biblical theology and the organizational and missional horsepower of the Cooperative Program. Ah, well, I can dream.

DOGpreacher said...

Down here in east Texas, a wonderful thing is happening. In a couple of small counties (no town over 10,000), the sovereignty of God & the doctrines of grace are a hot topic. There are now 7 pastors in this area preaching these great doctrines, and the pastor at the largest Baptist church in our town has been reading this Spurgeon (Charles, that is) guy of late and studying.

Speaking of Spurgeon's, James (of 'Tales From The Temple' fame) is one of those pastors in this area, and is among those who will be meeting once a month to encourage each other to "preach the word" etc...

I heard John MacArthur give THE LIST of HOW we should preach:
1. Preach the word...(2 Tim. 4)
2. Pray that God blesses it.
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2.

I LOVE THAT! Let us be workmen, rightly dividing the word, and, trusting God, employ steps 1-3!

SJ Camp said...

Hey Y'all:

I've been at a Spurgeon Conference the past three days and in a location that didn't allow cell phone or internet usage... Good to be back in the land of tech once again.

Some great insights and posts here. I will be copying many of them and using them in future discussions, sermons and articles. Blessings to you all...

ONE brief clarifying comment:

This post is not referring to anyone in the Founders whatsoever. We need to remember in prayer and give our support to Dr. Tom Ascol, Dr. Tom Nettles, Dr. Mark Dever, Dr. Don Whitney, Dr. Shriner, etc. for their undying courage to the veracity of Scirpture and the biblical gospel of the doctrines of grace. The SBC seems suspended these days in "Arminian purgatory"; may the Lord bring reformation to the leadership of the SBC and their respective seminaries once again.

Keep Pounding on Wittenberg's Door,
Titus 3:4-7

PastorN said...

In all my 48 years I cannot ever remember meeting a Baptist that was not Arminian - though I may well have made assumptions about many, based on all the Baptists I knew growing up. I was urged to "make a decision for Christ" so many times that I have a hard time now even deciding what to order in a restaurant without feeling guilty that I'm not choosing Christ. So it was refreshing - and at the same time perplexing - to read Spurgeon's vigorous defense of Calvinism. Seeing the Luther Rose symbol on the Worship One page, and Mr. Camp's harkening back to Wittenberg, it is puzzling how one could go from Arminianism all the way back to a partial (particular) atonement. I don't have any of Spurgeon's books on my shelves. Would anyone care to share what Spurgeon would have to say to Martin Luther about election?

Always learning...

SJ Camp said...

He would say: He believes it; it is biblical (Eph. 1:4-14; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 2 Tim. 1:9-10; Titus 1:1-2) and would a hearty AMEN!!! in between enjoying a nice cigar to God and His glory :--).


DOGpreacher said...

The man can write, sing, preach, and has a sense of humor to boot...but...hey, God is sovereign. Who am I to bemoan Campi having "all" (like all always means all) the gifts!
I am...

grateful for grace,
Fellow laborer

Jeremy Weaver said...

Thank you for releiving me of the burden of a Monday Mulligan.:-)

Bhedr said...

Yes I know he smoked but he quit when a cigar company propositioned him to advertise on their billboards:-)

Oh and Spurgeon and many Baptists had hearts on fire for God and sought to be loyal only to Him!

I've walked in a lot of circles and stereo types always follow every where I go. It makes no sense to try to fit in. Spurgeon never did.

Quite frankly I'm not interested in reforming the S.B.C but i would be anxious to see Southern Baptist(and I am one) repent and get on God's side. All reformations start from ground up. This is the way Babylon was built. With the same good intentions as well. Prayer is the only answer! Get two or three to agree and pray on this then maybe something will happen, otherwise we have a little to brag about. Go ahead and pound on Wittenburgs door(preach truth) but pound on God's door in earnest. The strong man has got to be bound and this is the only way. prayer! Hopefully one day Baptist will see that they were never intended to be a denomination; but rather a people of God set apart to glorify him. Some of them have to be corrected that they were not intended to be another Roman mini-me. Rome was never their mother Church.

Bhedr said...

Did anyone get ticked off at that? Good! We need to be stirred up to this truth! Our eyes need to be focused.

Ephraim said...

So, Behdr, are you saying that when YHWH said that He would make a new covenant with the House of Judah and the House of Israel, He really meant the "House of Baptist"?

Just stirring things up.


Bhedr said...

Ah ha Ephraim good come back. No you know what I mean. Any one who wants to leave the "House of Rome" should get re-baptized into the House of Israel. I'm not saying that there weren't good things about the reformation; but unfortunatley the umbilical chord was never severed entirely and now we have protestant denominations with syncretistic Roman beliefs; hence I term them Roman mini-me's.Historicaly Baptists were called Ana-Baptists(re-baptizers) as a derogatory term as they would never bow before Rome and remained true to the God of Israel. Go back and study history and you will find that Rome hated Jews and had them killed along with Ana-Baptists. In the reformation you will find loyalty to God in Men like Luther; but it men like Calvin, Erasumas as well as others, you are left to wonder at their intentions. Not in belief I say but in practice. Calvin of course was defient against Rome and thank God but as far as the Ana-Baptist's, well lets just say that they were always a despised group much like the Jew is today. Now we live in a day where Baptists think they are spawned from the House of Rome as well and do not know the differance, so maybe(especially with Justice Sundays 1& 2) they do now want to make her their mother. I don't know, but my point is that the reformation may have led us away from Rome but it also had boomerang effects of leading us back to her. Russ, I love you and hope you will study the appauling things that Rome did to the precious Jew. Even when we disagree, I value and treasure you and your people. I am just thrilled that you are a Jew of completion.


Tim said...


I think that's correct. We want to believe that things are going in the right direction (ie. biblical theology), but we must see what is being said. Notice the first quote I gave. They call those before regeneration "believers". Again, we must distinguish what the Bible says about us before regeneration according to Ephesians 2, the Lord says that we "once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others." We were children of wrath, not believers. Again, this leaves a huge hole open for those of the "decisional regeneration" theory to come right in and say they are bibilical, since it is perceived that the BFM (since it is written by the inerrantists and infallabilityists <---is that a word?).

DOGpreacher said...

The short answer: much as I hate to say it.

Now, obviously, many in the SBC hold to the doctrines of grace (like me), but I do not believe we will see these doctrines upheld by a majority of SBC churches.....which means eventually, a split....not pushed by us, but we are seeing now in the prominent ones of the SBC speaking out (ignorantly, or calculatingly)against these doctrines.

It's not going to matter too much to me. I am going to "preach the word" whether it is in season or out.

JohnB52 said...

As a Southern Baptist, let me put in my 2 cents:

1. If all Calvinists were like Spurgeon, I wouldn't mind if everyone was one. But few Calvinists are like Spurgeon. Certainly not the Reformed folks. Calvinists tend to trot out the same half dozen writings of Spurgeon to defend Calvinism. But these represent probably 1/2 of 1 % of his output. Spurgeon was a balanced Calvinist and and Calvinism was never the first word out of his mouth.

2. Spurgeon was at best a hypo-Calvinist. In his sermon "The Warrant of Faith" he clearly rejects the Calvinistic doctrine of regeneration preceding faith. I know there are many, many shades of Calvinists, but if you reject this point, you really should give it up the label.

2. Gene, as for the BFM, you are misreading Article 4 (in the same way Calvinists misread Eph 2:8-9)

That to which the sinner responds in this sentence is not regeneration but the conviction of sin. The order is conviction - repentance/faith- regeneration. If you doubt me, read Herschel Hobb's commentary on the BFM 1963 which he was instrumental in drafting. He goes through this in detail.

So, sorry, but the BFM does not support Calvinism on this point.

Admin said...

I see that many people contrast a Calvinist as being greatful for God's grace while an Arminian is not greatful.

I loved the part about the writer saying that they could see God seeking them through Scripture, through prayer, etc. I don't think any Christian whether Calvinist or Arminian believes that God did seek them out. The difference is that the Calvinist doesn't believe they could reject it while the Arminian does believe they could reject God's gracious offer. I believe that to be the difference.

I also believe that the extremes of any beliefs such as Arminianism can look bad just like anything else. For example, believing you earned the grace of God sure makes it sound cheap. Honestly, those of us from both camps can come together and agree on the fact that God is seeking us and his grace is more than we ever deserved.

Elizabeth Davis said...

Thank you for this posting about Spurgeon's Defense of Calvinism. It was well worth the read. I am currently discussing with my older brother the glorious truths of God's absolute sovereignty in salvation. I can definitely utilize Spurgeon's key points...and with what passion he defends the true gospel of salvation! I pray to likewise feast upon these gracious and amazing truths of our LORD Jesus so that my life will speak forth the doctrines of grace...all for His glory! Thanks again!

SJ Camp said...

I am so grateful to the Lord that Spurgeon's words were such an encouragement to you. They are always to me as well Recommended reading for any believer in Jesus.

So great a salvation! This is what biblical reformed theology does, glorifies the One-Triune God above all.

Grace to you,

Ken Collins said...

Steve, as I am a member of an SBC church in Michigan (South Hill/Oakland association) and am not as theologically learned as many other brothers and sisters in the Lord, I pose one question for the moment. I believe I have free will, not limited. If I don't, has God then not predestined people to Hell? Taking that a step further, does that act not fly in the face of Second Peter 3:9? I enjoy your blog and do not take it as a source of division (which I would not expect from a follower of Christ), but rather a source of dialogue. Thanks for the blog.

Rick Frueh said...

At the core, and without the finer points of understanding, the true Arminian gospel and the true Calvinistic gospel should be, must be, identical.

The Incarnate God, Jesus the Christ, died for our sins on the cross and rose from the dead. Repent and believe.

( One day I will ask Spurgeon if he was offended that an Arminian like me considered him as my favorite preacher. I love irony! )

Danny said...

Assuming things in the SBC go bad for calvinists. (A few pastors have been shown the door in my area for Calvinistic tendancies.) What will they do? Has anyone thought about starting a reformed baptist synod or denomination? Is anyone writing about it?

SJ Camp said...

My dear friend, Tom Ascol, is doing quite a bit in this area in the Founders Ministry. It is a featured link on this blog and I would highly recommend him and them to you.


Tom Seales said...

Dr. Ryland (co-founder of the Baptist Missionary Society - 1792) said it best:
"Mind, no sermon is of any value, or likely to be useful, which has not the three R's in it. — Ruin by the Fall; Redemption by Christ; Regeneration by the Spirit."
Sprugeon's message has it all.

SJ Camp said...

TomVery powerful!

Thank you for those great words today. Ruined; redeemed; regenerated. And if we added a fourth: reconciled!


Darrin said...

Ken, man's will is consistent with his nature. In our carnal state, we are dead to the things of God. He gives grace to whom He desires, of His own sovereign counsel. 2 Pet 3:9 in context would appear to be describing the Lord's "tarrying", allowing His elect to come to repentance so that none of His own are lost. Peter is speaking of the church.

Tom, you nut! (Tom's a friend and co-worker.)

Steve, I really appreciate your gracious words of concern and hope for the future of the SBC. The mulligan idea was a great approach.

SJ Camp said...

DarrinThanks for your encouraging words here. The SBC has some tremendous voices and pastors. Let's pray for them all about this issue.

Afterall, I don't know any SBC pastor that would deny salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. A good place to begin the iron sharpening the iron... Amen?

Grace and peace,