Saturday, February 28, 2009

Reisinger's compromise with Pedos


The evident infatuation which the Flounders (aka "Founders Ministries") have for the Pedobaptists (baby baptizers) is perhaps primarily due to the early compromise of Flounders' Founder Ernest Reisinger with the Pedobaptists who own and operate the Banner of Truth Trust in Great Britain (See Ermest C. Reisinger, A Biography, page 106).

Iain Murray, head of the BTT and virtual "godfather" of the Flounders, saw in Reisinger a great asset in promoting sales of Banner of Truth books in the United States. Reisinger had earlier formed "Puritan Publications" in Carlisle, Pennsylvania to promote sales of BTT publications, and Puritan Publications eventually became the Banner of Truth USA branch for BTT publications.

Murray evidently wanted to make that association with Reisinger secure by having Ernest to serve as a "trustee" of the BTT. This was enacted in 1968, and the British company has subsequently made a small fortune from USA sales, thanks primarily to the promotional efforts of trustee Ernest Reisinger and his associates at Carlisle, Pennsylvania and later with the Flounders.

When being considered for installation as a trustee of the BTT, Reisinger was informed by Iain Murray that Pedobaptist dogma would be the final authority, and any dispute would be "governed by the Westminster Confession and John Calvin's Institutes . . . the [Banner of Truth] Trust deed is not strictly neutral on the point of baptism" (ibid, page 106).

This doubtlessly demonstrates why at least the Flounders' leadership has always maintained a rather cozy attitude and relationship with the Pedobaptists; the Flounders were originally rooted in Reisinger's compromise with the Banner of Truth Trust Pedobaptists and have remained sensitive about maintaining the status quo ever since.

Thus, Reisinger-related endeavors in the USA have been perhaps the most active literary disseminators of Pedobaptist dogma on this continent. While maintaining his Southern Baptist affiliation, Reisinger and the Flounders have "straddled the fence" on doctrinal differences, soft-peddling with the Pedos and never making baptismal issues to be major "tests" of ecclesiastical relations. "Unionism" with the Pedobaptists has been the "rule" rather than the "exception." The Flounders have a record of reaching-out to the Pedos, tolerating any differences for their greater cause -- the promotion of Pedobaptist Reformed Hybrid Calvinism.

The current discussion on some of the Southern Baptist blogs pertaining to "Baptist Identity" and "Great Commission Resurgence" is rooted in the Reisinger compromise, as it is perpetuated by the current Flounders led by Tom Ascol. This compromise is now apparently infecting some Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary leaders as they contemplate a compromising "consensus on Calvinism" which would be palatable to both Pedobaptists and the Flounders' types.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hybridism's abuse of terms


The Reformed Hybrid Calvinists of this day and age have hijacked several terms under which they are in the habit of propagating their evoluted theological views.

For example, terms such as --

"Calvinism," "Monergism," "Classical Calvinism," "Historic," "Founders," "Doctrines of Grace," etc. are all frequently used by the Hybrids as if to imply that Hybrid Calvinism is an expression of the views implied by those terms.

This is one of the greatest misconceptions on the theology market of this age. To buy into this is to by-pass what is taught in the standard theological sources of original Calvinism.

Hybrid Calvinism is not taught in the standard creeds and confessions of the past. It is a later development, as admitted by writers such as Shedd, Berkhof, and Packer. We have cited these references before, but here they are again, evidence of what we have stated:

This heart of Hybrid Calvinism is what they call the "ordo salutis," and its evolution is traced by Dr. Shedd to Pedobaptist Francis Turretin.

W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Volume 2, pages 492-494:

The divines of the seventeenth century very generally do not distinguish between regeneration and conversion, but employ the two as synonyms. Owen does this continually: On the Spirit, III. v. And Charnocke likewise: Attributes, Practical Atheism. The Westminster does not use the term regeneration. In stead of it, it employs the term vocation, or effectual calling. This comprises the entire work of the Holy Spirit in the application of redemption. . . . But this wide use of the term regeneration led to confusion of ideas and views. As there are two distinct words in the language, regeneration and conversion, there are also two distinct notions denoted by them. Consequently, there arose gradually a stricter use of the term regeneration, and its discrimination from conversion.

Turretin (XV. iv. 13) defines two kinds of conversion, as the term was employed in his day. . . . After thus defining, Turretin remarks that the first kind of conversion is better denominated 'regeneration,' because it has reference to the new birth by which man is renewed in the image of his Maker; and the second kind of conversion is better denominated 'conversion,' because it includes the operation and agency of man himself. . . . We shall adopt this distinction between regeneration and conversion. . . . Regeneration is a cause; conversion is an effect."

J. I. Packer :

Many seventeenth century Reformed theologians equated regeneration with effectual calling and conversion with regeneration . . . LATER REFORMED THEOLOGY has defined regeneration more narrowly, as the implanting of the "seed" from which faith and repentance spring (I John 3:9) in the course of effectual calling.

Louis Berkhof also acknowledged that the theory had post-Creedal development:

It is true that some Reformed authors have occasionally used the term 'regeneration' as including even sanctification, but that was in the days when the ORDO SALUTIS was not as fully developed as it is today" (Systematic Theology, page 468).

These are well-known "Reformed" Pedobaptist sources, and they are revealing that the "ordo salutis" of modern Reformed theology, which puts "regeneration" prior to faith, is in fact a hybrid development which arose "later" than Calvin, Owen, Watson, Sibbes, and the seventeenth century divines (Puritans) who regarded regeneration and conversion as synonymous.

It should be significant for a Baptist to take note of the fact that many, if not most, of the current notable advocates of Hybrid Calvinism are from the Reformed Pedobaptist (baby baptizers) camp. And even those who are not Pedos generally have been significantly impacted in their thinking by the influence of Pedobaptists. Hybrid Calvinist advocates have never been especially noted for emphasis upon evangelism, soul-winning, and witnessing, but they have made reputations for themselves via their academic writings and "registration fee required" conference appearances.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spurgeon's non-Reformed likeness


While his theoretical views in theology were creedally Calvinistic, in many respects C. H. Spurgeon does not fit the "Reformed" model of our day and age. In fact, I have yet to come upon where Spurgeon even referred to himself as "Reformed," nor of his conforming to any of the Reformed peccadillos with which we meet in our time.

For example, we often meet with terminology and practices in his sermons to which the modern Reformed folks frequently object -- such as "accept Jesus," "open your heart," "decision," use of the "sinner's prayer," the "inquiry room," "simple Gospel," and the enthusiastic endorsement of the evangelistic work of D. L. Moody.

But even more significant was Spurgeon's emphasis upon the unrestricted universality of the Gospel, such as in the following excerpts:


Jesus Christ said, “Go you into all the world and preach the Gospel to very creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believes not shall be damned.”

If we had to look for some price in the hands of the creature, or some fitness in the mind of the creature, or some excellence in the life of the creature, we could not preach mercy to every creature—we should have to preach it to prepared creatures—and then that preparation would be the money and the price.

I am sorry that some of my Brothers entertain the idea that the Gospel is to be preached only to certain characters. They dare not preach the Gospel to everybody—they try to preach it only to the elect. Surely, if the Lord meant them to make the selection He would have set a mark upon His chosen. As I do not know the elect and have no command to confine my preaching to them, but am bid to preach the Gospel to every creature, I am thankful that the Gospel is put in such a way—that no creature can be too poor, too wicked, or too vile to receive it—for it is “without money and without price.” That is going to the very bottom!

Surely, that takes in the most degraded, debased and despised of our race—whoever they may be! If before I preach the Gospel I have to look for a measure of fitness in a man, then I cannot preach the Gospel to any but those whom I believe to have the fitness. But if the Gospel is to be preached freely, with no conditions or demands for preparations or prerequisites—if this is the Gospel, that “whoever believes in Jesus is not condemned”—then may I go to the most degraded Bushmen, or savage Ashantees, or untameable Modocs and tell them the Good News! We may speak of mercy to harlots and thieves—and we may carry the gladsome message into the Guilt Garden and Hangman’s Alley! We may penetrate the jungles of crime and cry with the same entreaty from Heaven—“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him turn unto the Lord, for He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

The fact that the mercy of God is “without money and without price” enables us, by His Grace, to preach it to every man, woman and child of woman born! -- Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 20, Year 1874, Sermon #1161, pages 140, 141.

This is such an Atonement made by Christ upon the Cross that it presents a warrant for every sinner born of woman to come to God and say, “Lord, forgive me, for Christ has died.”

When we preach the Gospel it is in no stinted terms, looking about and thinking that perhaps there might be half a dozen in the building to whom the Gospel might honestly be spoken. But looking every man and woman in the face, we preach reconciliation by Jesus Christ to them and point them to the atoning blood.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.” -- Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 19, Year 1873, Sermon #1124, pages 427, 428.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spurgeon versus Hyperism


Baptist churches in the London of the early 1850s were what some might regard as relatively "dead" or "dying." Most of this seems to have been due to too great an emphasis on "Calvinism," and Spurgeon had to overcome a great deal of resistance from its advocates.

When Spurgeon came to London to the spiritually and architecturally "gloomy" New Park Street Chapel from distant Waterbeach, near Cambridge in the Fen country where he had just about single-handedly been used of the Lord in converting the entire village, it was like the crashing of a red-hot meteor into a stagnant pond of water — things began to "snap, crackle, and pop."

Spurgeon says --

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

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

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

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

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

Spurgeon himself proved to be a "good gift" — even if not perfect — to the Christianity of his age, and especially at the New Park Street Chapel where they were in such desperate need of spiritual blessings.

The Baptist preachers and churches of Park Street Chapel variety were mostly either hyper-Calvinists or ultra-Calvinists, and did not have anyone to lead them in any other direction. The killing effects of "mere doctrine" and too great an emphasis upon "the Calvinist system" had virtually choked out any aggressive evangelistic efforts such as the "going into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in" approach.

Spurgeon's success in preaching the "simple Gospel" made him the object of resentment, jealousy, criticism, and even cynical ridicule by some of the "ultra-fine" Baptists, especially some of the "scribes and Pharisees" among the "high Calvinists." At least one of the notable leaders of the time even questioned Spurgeon's conversion!

Spurgeon said in one of his New Park Street sermons, "I do not hesitate to say, that Phariseeism is mixed with Hyper-Calvinism more than with any other sect in the world" (New Park Street Pulpit, Year 1860, #336STRUGGLES OF CONSCIENCE, page 403).

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

“December __, 1853.
“My Dear Father, ...
“Should I be settled in London, I will come and see you often. I do not anticipate going there with much pleasure. I am contented where I am; but if God has more for me to do, then let me go and trust in Him. The London people are rather higher in Calvinism than I am; but I have succeeded in bringing one church [at Waterbeach] to my own views, and will trust, with Divine assistance, to do the same with another. I am a Calvinist; I love what someone called ‘glorious Calvinism,’ but ‘Hyperism’ is too hot-spiced for my palate...

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

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

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

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

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

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

This method did not derive from Charles G. Finney's "anxious seat," as some Hybrid Calvinists allege, for the inquiry-room was not on that order at all. Moody never even heard Finney preach, nor saw the "anxious seat" used in a Finney revival meeting. By 1860, Finney could not even travel, much less hold revival meetings, and that was long before Moody even started preaching. [See Spurgeon and Finney vs. the Founders, and Timmy Brister Bristling From "Finneyitis," and Frame of Mind on Finney].

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

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

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

We grant that Mr. Murray is a very knowledgeable, widely read, and crafty writer, but unfortunately his devotion to his Pedobaptist theology and practice apparently encumbers his noteworthy abilities from always accurately rendering objective, impartial facts and theological views. He ofttimes, we think, practices the refined literary craft of creating the figure he desires "after his own image." He will have his own "Spurgeon" and his own "Moody," clipping a patch here, and a patch there, and pasting all the snippets together to compose the images desired.

Today, there are all too many who have failed to read Spurgeon and have a warped image from reading the writings of Murray. To read more about how Mr. Murray has disfigured Spurgeon, go to this website and consult my articles: Selected Writings of Bob Ross.

Also, you may consult some materials at our Pilgrim Publications website: Spurgeon & Public Invitation System

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Piper vs Hybrids?


Pastor John Piper has a new book, Finally Alive, published by Christian Focus. It deals with the New Birth, and apparently is consistent with the view for which we have been contending on the Calvinist Flyswatter blog for the past three years -- namely, the New Birth takes place in conjunction with
simultaneous union with Christ through faith.

Pastor Bruce Oyen recently called my attention to an excerpt from Piper's book which is posted at a website in an item entitled Ransomed, Raised, and Called -- How Does God Regenerate Us?

Here are few selected remarks from the excerpt at that website:

Jesus said we must be born again (John 3:3). The Holy Spirit has to work a miracle in our hearts and give us new spiritual life. . . . The way this happens, as we have seen so far, is that the Spirit of God supernaturally gives us new spiritual life by connecting us with Jesus Christ through faith. The new spiritual life that we receive in the new birth is not separate from union with Jesus, and it is not separate from faith. When God in the riches of his mercy and the greatness of his love and the sovereignty of his grace chooses to regenerate us, he gives us new life by uniting us to Christ. “God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). Our first experience of this is the faith in Jesus that this life brings. There is no separation of time here. When we are born again, we believe. And when we believe, we know we have been born again. When there is fire, there is heat. When there is new birth, there is faith. . . .

. . . God causes us to be born again. 1) He ransomed us from sin and wrath by the blood of Christ and paid the debt for sinners to have eternal life. 2) He raised Jesus from the dead so that union with Jesus gives eternal life that never fades away. 3) And He called us from darkness to light and from death to life through the gospel and gave us eyes to see and ears to hear. He made the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ shine in our hearts through the gospel. And we believed. We embraced Christ for the Treasure that he is.

These statements are consistent with what was posted on the Flyswatter awhile back, which you may consult here -- Is John Piper Correct on the New Birth?

If we understand Piper correctly, his view is certainly distinguishable from the Hybrid Calvinist "regeneration precedes faith" view advocated by Hybrids such as R. C. Sproul, Tom and Bill Ascol of the Flounders, Wayne Grudem, Tom Nettles, Thomas Schreiner, J. I. Packer, Iain Murray, Ernest Reisinger, James White, and featured in the systematic theologies of W. G. T. Shedd and Louis Berkhof. If this is the case, we hope Piper's influence for the Creedal view on Regeneration will be felt among those who erroneously use the term "monergism" to refer to the "regeneration precedes faith" teaching.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sproul's influence


Ian D. Elsasser left a new comment on the post about "Sproul's error," but I thought his interesting comment was worthy of being featured as a "lead" article. The following is Brother Elsasser's testimony about his personal experience in relation to Calvinism and R. C. Sproul:

R. C. Sproul's Chosen by God was instrumental in my move to Calvinism in Bible College. The first time I read it I remained unconvinced. During my last year of College, Don Carson came to our College and gave a series of lectures from the Gospel of John. After his lecture on John 6 in which he plainly set forth the predestinarian elements of the chapter, I remember walking back to my dorm deep in thought, grabbing Sproul's book to read through it once again and praying, "God, if this is true, please help me to love it."

By the end I had become convinced that the Calvinistic position was correct and became a Calvinist. Of course, I accepted Sproul's view that regeneration precedes faith, believing it to be the biblical and Calvinistic view.

A few years ago I began to see that some of the passages that supposedly taught it did not. I remember, for example, examining 1 John 5.1 and seeing exegetically that it was not concerned with an ordo salutis, that it was being read into the text. I later disavowed the regeneration precedes faith view and came to see that there was a third alternative to the two options commonly presented: namely, that neither preceded the other but that they were simultaneous. I came to see that the frequently used "logical priority" phrasing was incorrect and actually masked that repentance and faith are constituent elements of the new birth, that where you had the one (whether faith/repentance or regeneration) you had the other.

This view, I learned, had roots in older Calvinism and was held by many Calvinists from the sixteenth century to present, though it is not often given as an alternative in the discussions about the relationship of conversion and regeneration.

Maybe someone is reading this and has rejected Calvinism because he or she thinks it is bound up with the teaching that regeneration (logically or otherwise) precedes faith/repentance/conversion. Please understand that Calvinism does not necessitate this view. Rather, Calvinism teaches that repentance and faith are gifts of God, that they are given by God, and this giving or granting is the new birth. They occur together or are comcomitant.

I am a Calvinist yet I do not believe regeneration (the new birth) occurs before faith. I believe they occur at the same time. The new birth does not occur without or apart from faith; where you have one, you have the other.

Bob, you have done a great service over the years by hammering away at this issue. Keep at it.

Seeing that this article was prompted by Stephen Garrett's work on the subject, I must acknowledge and thank him for all the hours of research and writing he has done over the last several years online.

Good work, men.

BOB'S NOTE: Brother Elsasser is one of several who say that they have been helped by our blogs to see that the "regeneration" theory of many in the modern Reformed camp is not creedal Calvinism, but is a hybrid development, not sustained in the creedal standards.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sproul's error


Stephen Garrett writes:

R. C. Sproul's famous Hyper Calvinism conversion experience is told by him in these words:

"One of the most dramatic moments in my life for the shaping of my theology took place in a seminary classroom. One of my professors went to the blackboard and wrote these words in bold letters: REGENERATION PRECEDES FAITH

These words were a shock to my system. I had entered seminary believing that the key work of man to effect rebirth was faith. I thought that we first had to believe in Christ in order to be born again. I use the words in order here for a reason. I was thinking in terms of steps that must be taken in a certain sequence to arrive at a destination. I had put faith at the beginning of the sequence. The order looked something like this:
In this scheme of things the initiative falls with us."

I have reviewed these words of Sproul previously in postings here and here in the Gadfly. But, I wish to review them further and cite some other things Sproul stated in the same context.

First, let me make some comments on the words of Sproul above.
[For the remainder of this article, go to:

BOB'S COMMENT: R. C. Sproul is one of the primary Pedobaptists living today who is responsible for spreading Hybrid Calvinism's "regeneration precedes faith" heresy. In his Study Bible, known now as the Reformation Study Bible, Sproul affirms the heresy of the Pedobaptists that their infant offspring are "regenerated" in their infancy (page 1665, inset article on Regeneration: The New Birth).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dr. Dagg vs Wade Burleson


My attention was called to an amusing item on Pastor Wade Burleson's blog in which he attempts to utilize the late Dr. John L. Dagg in Wade's ongoing discreditation of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Wade's bringing up Dr. Dagg served to remind me that Dr. Dagg was not of the same faith and order as that of Burleson and similar Hybrid Calvinists, and I don't believe Dr. Dagg would appreciate being identified with those who adhere to the "Hardshell" doctrine of "born again before faith."

Dr. Dagg lived during the century (1800s) when Hardshellism arose and split the Baptists, and he rejected their "born again before faith" doctrine. Despite the fact that Dr. John L. Dagg (1794-1884) was not an advocate of "Reformed" or Hardshell "born again before faith" heresy on regeneration, Hybrid Calvinists such as Wade Burleson and the Flounders try to vainly identify Dr. Dagg as a Hybrid Calvinist -- or what Wade calls a "Classic Calvinist."

The Flounders, for example, by using Dr. Dagg's picture on their website, would have you believe the implication that they agree with and represent the views held by Dr. Dagg. Also, they have other information about Dr. Dagg on their website as if to indicate that Dr. Dagg held the same views on "Calvinism" as advocated by the Flounders. In fact, the Flounders even have Dr. Dagg's Manual of Theology book available on their website, although this very book itself contradicts Flounders' Hybrid Calvinism on the new birth.

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

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

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


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

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

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

Dr. Dagg then goes on to discuss the difference between that "spiritual" faith and the "faith" which exists beforehand, which is sometimes called "natural" or "historical faith." Later on, he says --

This change, by which true love to God is produced, results from the direct influence of the Holy Spirit, accompanying his word, and making it effectual. It was this direct influence which rendered the word so effectual on the day of Pentecost, which opened Lydia's heart, so that she attended to the things that were spoken by Paul; -- which gave the increase when Paul planted, and Apollos watered,--and which has ever brought the word to the heart, in demonstration of the Spirit, and with power. . . . By the will of God, the truth has its regenerating and sanctifying power; for he works in us to will and to do, according to his pleasure. It belongs to the Holy Spirit, in the economy of grace, to produce divine life in the soul, as he brooded over the face of the waters, at creation, reducing the chaotic mass to order, and filling it with life. He is pleased to work with means; and he employs the truth as his instrument of operation. This instrument he wields at his pleasure, and he renders it effectual by his divine power: "My word shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

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

I believe the Flounders probably realize that Dr. Dagg contradicts their theology, and they apparently are careful not to quote him when he does. For example --In a Flounders' article on "Regeneration" by Founders Board of Directors member, Bill Ascol, he quotes from Dr. Dagg but fails to quote Dagg's statement that faith "precedes regeneration."

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

Dr. Dagg's view is clearly contrary to the "pre-faith regeneration," "born again before faith" heresy advocated by the Reformed Pedobaptists and their disciples among the Flounders -- as well as by Wade Burleson. So Dr. Dagg was not a Reformed theologian, nor a Flounders' type, and not a Burleson "Classic Calvinist" on the new birth. He taught the Creedal view. He was of the same mind as B. H. Carroll who contended that "regeneration is not complete without faith."

Since the Flounders flounderously continue to try to exploit both Dr. Dagg and Dr. Carroll, we will continue to expose their misrepresentation as well as their Hybrid Calvinism heresy on what they call "regeneration," and we will expose Wade Burleson's vain attempt to utilize Dr. Dagg.

We notice that Wade Burleson makes no mention whatsoever of Dr. Dagg's view on regeneration. If it is left up to Wade, his readers would perhaps never know that Dr. Dagg was opposed to the "Hardshell" view of regeneration as advocated by Wade Burleson.

Monday, February 9, 2009

"Classical Calvinism"?


BOB'S NOTE: A link to this post was sent to Pastor Wade Burleson. He subsequently sent me the following email:

Please quit sending me your links. I appreciate your ministry bit I am uninterested in reading any blog that refuses to post my gracious and civil comments that refute your conclusions.

The fact is, Wade Burleson has not sent any comments to this blog, and therefore I have not "refused" to post any of his comments. He is invited to send his comments, if he wishes, and they will be posted. -- Bob L. Ross

Monday, February 16, 2009 -- Wade Burleson has not sent any comments for posting as of this time (5:30 p.m.). It has been a week, and I will dispense with any further notice of Wade's lack of sending any posts for this blog. I would have welcomed his "gracious and civil comments," but I am not all inclined to think his comments would "refute" my conclusions.
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A country Southern preacher name "Buzzard" moved to a northern metropolitan area. Down South, Brother Buzzard had often been the butt of some abusive jokes about his name. Some of the kids liked to call him "Ole Buzzard" when he preached against their youthful "worldliness" such as dancing, movies, smoking, "parking," card playing, etc.

When he went north, he thought he would offset that type of abuse by changing the way his name was pronounced. So . . . he started introducing himself to people as "Brother Buz-zard" with the emphasis on the "zard." That worked very well with the Yankees, and very few, if any, ever said anything about his being an "Ole Buzzard" -- that is, until one of his former acquaintences came up north for a visit.

When this visitor heard someone refer to the preacher as "Brother Buz-zard," the visitor said, "Buz-zard? Well, he looks and sounds like the same Ole Buzzard to me!"

I noticed some of the blogging Hybrid Calvinists (such as Pastor Wade Burleson of Enid, Oklahoma) have alluded to their Hybrid Calvinism as "Classical Calvinism." But with their "born again before faith" heresy, and their inability to tell anyone that "Christ died for you," they are really the same old Hybrid Calvinists, spinning the same theological aberrations of the Pedobaptist Reformed Hybrid Calvinist camp which is contrary to CREEDAL Calvinism.