Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sibbes on effectual calling


Over on The Calvinist Flyswatter, Brother Ian Elsasser has posted comments by Puritan Richard Sibbes on the Word in the opening of Lydia's heart.

Here is another quotation from Sibbes which demonstrates the view of the Puritans on the Word as the Spirit's instrumentality in the New Birth:

I. A freedom in this life, in calling, in justification, in sanctification ; and in the life to come a freedom of glory.

1. There is a freedom in effectual calling, by the ministry of the gospel. The gospel being preached and unfolded, faith is wrought, whereby we know what Christ hath done for us ; and we see a better condition in Christ than we are in by nature. Seeing by the Spirit of God the cursed estate we are in, we are convinced of sin in ourselves, and of the good that is in Christ ; and hereupon we are called out of the thraldom we are in by nature, by the Spirit of Christ and the word of God, unfolding what our condition is ; for man by nature having self-love in him, and that self-love being turned the right way, he begins to think, Ay, doth the word of God say I am a slave to sin and damnation? The word of God can judge better than myself; and then the Spirit of God sets it on with conviction, that undoubtedly this is true. And together with the cursed kingdom and slavery that I am under, there is discovered a better estate in Christ ; for the gospel tells us what we are in Christ ; freed from hell and death, and heirs of heaven. Oh the happy estate of a Christian to be in Christ!

The gospel, with the Spirit discovering this, a man is called out of the cursed estate he is in by nature to the fellowship of Christ by faith, which is wrought in this calling. So that now he comes to be a member of Christ by faith. So that whatsoever Christ hath, or is, or hath done or buffered, it is mine by reason of this union with him by faith, which is the grace of union that knits us to Christ, and the first grace of application. So there is the first degree of liberty and freedom wrought by the Spirit of God, together with the gospel in effectual calling.

From The Spiritual Jubilee, page 242.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Founders seek Pedo help


It seems that the Flounders (aka Founders Ministries) are seeking help from the Presbyterian Pedobaptists on "church planting."

The Flounders -- to our knowledge -- have spent their many years of "ministry" -- since being formed in 1982 by Ernest Reisinger and friends -- in seeking to "reform" Southern Baptist churches rather than engaging in evangelism, soul winning, and establishing churches. Lately, they have been talking a lot about "church planting," especially since Timmy Brister, a 2008 Southern Baptist Seminary grad, has become the assistant to Flounders leader, Tom Ascol, at Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida.

Timmy has announced on his blog that he is attending another Conference. This one is the Global Church Advancement GCA Church Planting Conference,
Orlando, FL: January 27-30, 2009 (Tues - Fri).

On his blog, Brister says:

I’m hitting the road this morning to head north to Orlando, Florida (yes, that’s four hours north!) for the 2009 GCA Church Planting Conference. This conference is “an inter-denominational training event designed to equip church planters, coaches and supervisors to start, grow and multiply healthy, gospel-centered churches that result in the spiritual, social and cultural transformation of entire cities and regions.”

What Timmy does not reveal is that this organization is dominated by Presbyterian Pedobaptists associated with Reformed Theological Seminary, a "hot-bed" for the Reformed doctrine of "born again before faith," or "pre-faith regeneration," after the order of Louis Berkhof, W. G. T. Shedd, and R. C. Sproul.

How much can Baptists really learn from Pedobaptists who allege that the majority of their members are "regenerated" as babies and added to the church roll?

For whatever benefit Timmy will derive, he is paying a rather hefty price to attend.

NOTE: On The Calvinist Flyswatter, read Ruckman retreats from Marrs.

More Garrett research


Former "Hardshell" Primitive Baptist minister Stephen Garrett on BaptistGadfly continues to reveal how the Reformed theory of "pre-faith regeneration" has been dealt with by Baptists of yesteryear:

Howell Refutes Hardshellism II
Howell refutes Hardshellism
Dr. Howell on Regeneration
"New Test men"
Dr. Howell & Hardshellism
Howell on Anti-missionaries
Grime on Hardshell Origins
Elder Peter S. Gayle
Birth of Refined Hardshellism
Elder John Clark on Missions

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Garrett researches


I have before commended the diligent research efforts of Brother Stephen Garrett, and would like to call attention to some of his very informative recent work, as follows:

Birth of Refined Hardshellism
Elder John Clark on Missions
John Clark & Means
Dr. Watson on Missions
Dr. Watson on Means
Beza on God's Decrees
Biblical Ordo Salutis
McGrath on Calvin
Good Hardshell Testimony
Reformers on Regeneration

These are the latest of Stephen's articles at --

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spurgeon on "open heart"


C. H. Spurgeon:
"It is perfectly true that the work of salvation lies first and mainly in Jesus receiving sinners to himself, to pardon, to cleanse, to sanctify, to preserve, to make perfect; but, at the same time, the sinner also receives Christ; there is an act on the sinner’s part by which, being constrained by divine grace, he openeth his heart to the admission of Jesus Christ, and Jesus enters in, and thenceforth dwells in the heart, and reigns and rules there. To a gracious readiness of heart to entertain the friend who knocks at the door, we are brought by God the Holy Ghost, and then he sups with us and we with him." [sermon #669An Open Heart For a Great Saviour, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol 12, Year 1866, page 13, John 1:12-13]

In another sermon appeal, Spurgeon said —

"Oh I wish some of you would thus respond to my appeal this day! This thing is also from the Lord: it was he who gave me this message; it was he who brought you to hear it. Surely you will not be found fighting against God. Your heart is open to him; he sees the faintest desire that you have toward him. Breathe out your wish now, and say, 'My heart is before thee: take it.' " [sermon #2231 — An Urgent Request For an Immediate Answer, MTP Vol 37, Year 1891, page 599, Genesis 24:49]

What a contrast between the heart-searching appeals in the sermons by Spurgeon and the cold theological Reformed Hybrid Calvinism which discourages the making of invitations and appeals to sinners to "open your heart" to the Lord!

NOTE: At The Calvinist Flyswatter, read "Lydia's open heart."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Public invitations


Awhile back, I noticed a whole passel of items by Reformed sources which attacked and deprecated the use of public invitations to lost sinners to respond to the Gospel. Of course, most of the articles were of the "monkey see, monkey do" category -- merely repetitious of what Iain Murray, Ernest Reisinger, Erroll Hulse, and other "old timers" had published. It seems that Murray may qualify as the "Grandfather" of opposition to the use of invitations, and with his Pedobaptist views, this is understandable, for when your supposed "converts" are regenerated in infancy, baptized, and added to the church roll as mere "babes in arms," what use would one have for an invitation?

I carefully read some of those anti-invitation articles and wrote quite extensively refuting the arguments. Some of those items are available at Select Writings of Bob Ross.

I thought it might be of interest to post my introduction to one of the articles which was summarial of the "antism" thinking. So here is that portion of the article:


I recall reading in the works of Andrew Fuller where someone had questioned him about his quoting John 3:16, inasmuch as it is so often used by Arminians. Fuller replied to the effect that he did not know that a verse as Scripture was any worse off for having been quoted by an Arminian. I am of the opinion that the same attitude may be held with regard to the use of "invitations" in church services. To reject all forms of using public invitations is going just a bit too far.

However, I like to think that I have an "open mind," at least open enough to consider and evaluate other points of view. Consequently, I have found some items on the Internet which set forth reasons for not using invitations, and I have a few thoughts I wish to express in response to these objections.

Much of the thinking on the subject seems to have been borrowed -- a great deal of it apparently from Mr. Iain Murray, a Pedobaptist long associated with the Banner of Truth Trust in Scotland. I have articles on our website commenting on Mr. Murray's arguments, which seemingly are prized by some as the most influential of all. See A Reply Regarding Iain Murray's Anti-Public Invitation Booklet: The Invitation System. I also have two articles on our website which discuss the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of C. H. Spurgeon's practices. Spurgeon is often cited as if he opposed invitations, which is a misunderstanding on the matter.

It seems that at the root of anti-invitation thesis is the post-seventeenth century non-creedal theory advocated by some Pedobaptist theologians that the New Birth takes place prior to the Holy Spirit's creating faith by the instrumentality of the Gospel, or Word. This theory is usually cited as a basis for objecting to calling on sinners to immediately act in some way in acknowledging Christ as Lord and Savior, such as a public invitation circumstance. The writers that I have read have obviously been greatly influenced by the anti-invitation writings of the Pedobaptists. The Pedobaptists primarily get most of their "converts" and church members in infancy, alledging that infants inherit the blessings of regeneration and the right to church membership by virtue of the supposed "covenant" relationship that their believing parents have with God. According to the Pedobaptist theory, regeneration can be assumed to take place in the infant child before baptism, at baptism, and soon after baptism.

Some Baptists who call themselves "Reformed" in theology -- such as the Reformed Baptists and Southern Baptists in the Founders Ministries fellowship -- do not go that far with the Pedobaptists on infants, nevertheless they appear to have been influenced to follow the Pedobaptists such as Mr. Murray in opposition to public invitations. Here is a summary of some of the arguments used:

1. "Most Christians are not aware that the 'altar call' method in evangelism was not practiced by Jesus or His apostles."

Please go to the following link for the entirety of the article:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Baptists are not Reformed


I agree with the Pedobaptists who scorn the idea that Baptists who hold to Calvinistic theology are "Reformed." That term belongs to the Pedobaptists who (1) sprinkle babies for baptism according to their notion about the Abrahamic covenant and (2) practice the presbyterian form of church government.

I think the term "Reformed" gained popular usage among some Baptists who were influenced in the latter 1900s by the Pedobaptists identified with the Banner of Truth publication company based in Great Britain. To really and truly be Reformed, according to that version of Christianity, it seems that you not only must hold to the Hybrid form of Calvinism, but you must also hold to infant baptism and presybyterian church government.

And wherever this has been attempted to be at least partially implemented, it has ordinarily caused internal strife and even open division. Ernest Reisinger of the Founders tried to make a "reformed" church out of a Southern Baptist church in Florida, and the ultimate result was its demise.

I have also observed that when a church has adopted the term "Reformed," it has been necessary to explain "What is meant by 'Reformed?'" One church of my acquaintence at one time used the term in its church name, but decided to drop it because of having to do so much explaining.

Why would a Baptist church which is professedly committed to a "regenerated church membership" standard blemish itself by using the term "Reformed" which implies the baptism of unregenerate infants and admitting the infants to church membership?

Baptists should leave the word "Reformed" where it came from -- the Pedobaptists.

At The Calvinist Flyswatter, read "Lydia's open heart."

Spurgeon on Israel


In his sermon, The Man with the Measuring Line, C. H. Spurgeon makes it clear that he did not share the sterotypical Pedobaptist Reformed ideas about Israel.

Based on Zechariah 2:1-5, Spurgeon says this prophecy has not been fulfilled, and he believes it has to do with the future of Jerusalem -- not to the "church," as it is alleged by the Pedobaptist Reformed camp.

Spurgeon says --

It is evident that this vision and prophecy graciously reveal the future history of Jerusalem. You may spiritualize, if you will, and say that Jerusalem signifies the Church—but I pray you not forget the literal meaning of such words as these in the twelfth verse—“The Lord shall take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.” Jerusalem is spoken of and Jerusalem is meant.

Reformed tradition on prophecy is obviously a prefabricated eisegesis approach, motivated by the Reformed determination to fabricate a biblical basis for the baptism of infants. This rite is allegedly established in the covenant with Abraham, and the fulfillment of such prophecies as Zechariah 2 supposedly relate to the New Testament church.

Though O. T. prophecy is sometimes vague or difficult for us to properly interpret, we believe Spurgeon's view is much more to the point, especially since infant baptism has no foundation in either Old or New Testament and the elaborate attempt to establish it on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant is sheer phantasmagoria.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Where it began for me


It all started for me after a person on my regular email list to which I have been sending my writings for several years, notified me that one of my articles had been used on a blog called The Calvinist Flyswatter -- which I had never heard of -- and the Founders' blog had referred to me as a "goofball."

I had never blogged, and as a matter of fact, had shunned the idea of doing so after being unimpressed with what I had seen in the blogosphere. But since one of my articles had been used on a blog which I had never heard of before, I tracked it down and thanked the blogger ("Charles") who had used it. The article was entitled, "White Smoke Again," and can be read in its original form at Selected Writings of Bob Ross.

Once I had found the blog and contacted Charles, I had a "change of mind" about blogging and the rest is history. The Hybrid Calvinists over at the "Flounders'" blog have regretted the day they ever published on that blog that I was a "goofball."

Thanks to Charles, there are about three years of refutations of Hybrid Calvinism and Flounderism on The Calvinist Flyswatter. Check out the Archives.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Booth on Begotten by Faith

REGENERATION per Stephen Garrett

Stephen Garrett is, to my knowledge and in my opinion, the most scholarly person living today on the subject of "Regeneration." He has a current item on his blog on "Booth on Begotten by Faith," presenting the view of the late ABRAHAM BOOTH, a leading Baptist of yesteryear. I would reproduce the article here, but I want you to become acquainted with Stephen's writings -- so click the link and go to the BaptistGadfly.

Stephen was for years a Primitive Baptist ("Hardshell") minister. He once advocated the "regeneration precedes faith" view, which is the foundation of "Hardshellism." His father is still a Primitive Baptist minister. Stephen is not a novice or simply a "disciple" of Bob L. Ross on this doctrine. Stephen had to "work himself out" of Hardshellism, and it was his insights into the scriptural view of the new birth which brought him out of Hardshellism.

I know of no one -- including myself -- who has done more research into this matter than Stephen Garrett. I would put him up against all of the Reformed advocates of "pre-faith regeneration" any day in any type of debate, and would "bet the farm" on him. As I look over the field of Hybrid Calvinists of today, I don't know a one of them who could "hold a candle" to Stephen on this issue. And that certainly includes the Great "Exegeeter" himself, the notable "Appallingist," James White.

Stephen and I, long ago, became acquainted thru his father who at one time was a missionary Baptist holding to creedal Calvinism. As best as I recall, his father became involved with Hardshellism thru Lasserre Bradley, Jr. who has been a chief spokesperson for Hardshellism for many years via his radio broadcast, publication, and nationwide speaking "appointments." It is somewhat of a "miracle" in my view that Stephen was enabled to escape the entanglement with Hardshellism, but he did.

Stephen has a massive amount of research on his blog which presents what we understand to be the truth on regeneration or the new birth. I urge you to consult his writings at the BaptistGadfly and see for yourself. His recent item on Abraham Booth is but a small token of his tome of research work.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Felix was buried Tuesday


Please see the following newspaper report of the recent burial of my longtime deaf friend, Felix N. Parsons, one the notable architects in his Houston area for many years.


Also, see this link: SAVE THE PAVILION

I met Felix in the mid 1970s and we have been "fast friends" ever since. He accompanied us to several Christian Bookseller Association conventions, was a member our church, played golf with me, and was a great encourager of our work.

For the past few years, Felix endured many physical set-ups, including a broken arm in 2004 and three extended hospitalizations. Paradoxically, Felix died in the Emergency Room of the Hospital which he himself designed as architect.
-- Bob L. Ross

This item will also post on the The Calvinist Flyswatter.

Saturday, January 10, 2009



The term "monergism" is used to simply refer to God's efficient power as the source of whatever is done. But just as the Pedobaptist Reformed sources have their own peculiar ideas about the "mode" and "subjects" of baptism, they likewise have a rather peculiar conception of "monergism."

Unfortunately, it seems that many of the writers who use the term in our time are simply repeating what they have read on the Internet or in materials by writers who promote a hybrid development in Reformed theology represented by the theological works of the likes of W. G. T. SHEDD and LOUIS BERKHOF.

In the modern Reformed circles, especially in materials which appear on the Internet, "monergism" is almost universally used in reference to the post-17th century Hybrid Calvinist phantasmagoria that regeneration or the New Birth is accomplished by a "direct operation" of the Holy Spirit which allegedly "PRECEDES" and is enacted WITHOUT the use of the instrumentality of the Gospel or Word of God as the necessary means in the "begetting" of the lost sinner -- often referred to as "regeneration precedes faith."

The fact is, however, God's efficient power is the source of everything that exists and of everything which is sustained in its existence -- including the New Birth -- but NEVER apart from instrumental means. God never "works" apart from some type of means by which His power functions and is channeled.

When we use the term "monergism" -- especially in regard to the New Birth -- it is important to emphasize that while ALL of the efficient power in the New Birth is of the Spirit, He does not work apart from the essential instrumentality, and this necessary instrument is the Word of His power.

Paul, for example, said he was "made all things to all men, that I might BY ALL MEANS save some" (1 Cor. 9:22). Paul taught that by his preaching sinners were "begotten through the Gospel" (1 Cor. 4:15).

The Lord does not simply give a New Birth, spiritual life, or Regeneration to a person without the use of the instrumental means of His Word. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16); it is the means of calling men to Christ (2 Thess. 2:14). This Gospel comes not "in Word only," but in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:5) whose "Sword" is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17). It is the Spirit who quickens by means of the Word (John 6:63). He "draws" men, but not without instrumentality -- the Word of God.

So far as we know, there has never been a soul who was born again apart from the instrumental means of the Word of God in some form or mode being blessed by the Holy Spirit.

God created this world by the instrumentality of His Word: "He spake, and it was done" (Psalm 33:9). The winds and the waters obey Him (Luke 8:25). And it is by, with, or through the Word that men are born again. It is not a "direct operation" apart from the instrumentality of the Word of God.

As the Puritan Stephen Charnock (1628-1680) says in his great work on this subject --
That the gospel is the instrument whereby God brings the soul forth in a new birth . . . The gospel is this instrument. . . . It is therefore a necessary instrument. . . . So according to the method God has set of men's actions, it is necessary that this regeneration should be by some word as an instrument, for God has given understanding and will to man. We cannot understand anything, or will anything, but what is proposed to us by some external object; as our eye can see nothing but what is without us, our hand take nothing but what is without us, so it is necessary that God by the word should set before us those things which our understandings may apprehend, and our wills embrace. . . . It is necessary the revelation of this gospel we have should be made. There is a necessity of some revelation, for no man can see that which is not visible, or hear that which has no sound, or know that which is not declared.
There is also a necessity of the revelation of this gospel, since faith is a great part of this work. How can any man believe that God is good in Christ, without knowing that he has so declared himself? Since the Spirit takes of Christ's, and shows it to us, there must be a revelation of Christ, and the goodness of God in Christ, before we can believe.

Though the manner of this revelation may be different, and the Spirit may renew in an extraordinary manner, yet this is the instrument whereby all spiritual begettings are wrought; the manner may be by visions, dreams, by reading or hearing, yet still it is the gospel which is revealed; the matter revealed is the same, though the formal revelation or manner may be different.

Paul's regeneration was by a vision, for at that vision of the light, and that voice of Christ, I suppose him to be renewed, because of that full resignation of his will to Christ, Acts ix. 6, yet the matter of the revelation was the same, that Christ was the Messiah, for so Paul understands it, in giving him the title of Lord. Though God may communicate himself without the written word to some that have it not, yet according to his appointment, not without a revelation of what is in that word.
>> (End of excerpt]

It is at this point that modern Reformed Hybrid Calvinism has departed from the 17th century Puritans such as Charnock, and even from the Canons of Dort and the Westminster Confession of Faith. It was this theory that became the foundation of anti-missionary "Hardshellism" (Primitive Baptist Church) among the Baptists in the 1800s.

By divorcing or separating the Word from the Spirit as His instrumental means in regeneration, they have a theory which is somewhat similar to the theory of some who allege that there is "direct revelation" received from the Spirit apart from, or in addition to, the Word of God.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009



Thank you for visiting the Reformed Flyswatter.

Until such time as material begins to regularly appear on this blog, I refer you to The Calvinist Flyswatter where I have been blogging since 2006. There are numerous items in the Archives of the Flyswatter which you might find of interest -- if you are wary of many non-creedal theological "flies" which wing it nowadays under the "Reformed" label. -- Bob L.