Friday, March 27, 2009

What are the chances?

Wade Burleson Promoting
His New Book; Where's Mine?

I notice on Brother Wade Burleson's blog that he is actively promoting his book on "Hardball Religion," and he is utilizing some "testimony" type "reviews" to polish the product.

So far, I have noticed no critical reviews of the book. Surprise, surprise?

Also, so far, I have not received a copy for review, although P. K. Gammons, V. P. of the publishers, Smyth & Helwys, told me a few days ago in an email that they would be "delighted" to send me a copy for review. Gammons said he would like for me to review the book on this blog and to "let us know what you think."

S & H has since canceled that offer and Wade Burleson has not sent me a copy, either. I surmise that both S & H and Wade are looking for the type of non-critical "reviews" which Wade is now using to promote the book.

This doesn't seem to "jive" with what Wade is always gabbing about on his blog -- that is, having different points of view and controversial discussions. He even published a recent article which condemned "stifling criticism and dissent."

Yet, even though I accepted the S & H offer of a book for review, Wade informed me that I must "pay for the privilege" to do a review! What are the chances of my ever getting a copy for review? If I do . . .

Will wonders never cease?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Out of town Monday

Don McKinney Funeral
in Lake Charles, La.

A longtime friend and acquaintance, Pastor Don McKinney of Heritage Baptist Church, Lake Charles, Louisiana, passed away Friday, March 20, 2009. I will be attending the Funeral on Monday, March 23.

We have known Brother McKinney for about 40 years -- as well as his wife, his two sons, Ron and Barry, and his brother, Lamar, and I have had the privilege to be in Brother McKinney's home and with the church.

The last time I saw Brother Don, he was a visitor and guest at Pilgrim Book Store, bringing a couple of young men with him, and they all left with some books.

Here are the details for Funeral Services and related events:

Funeral arrangements
: By Johnson Funeral Home, 4321 Lake Street, Lake Charles.

Funeral: Monday, March 23, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. at Heritage Baptist Church, 3501 Ernest Street, Lake Charles, LA, 70605.

Memorial Service: Monday, March 23, 2009 at 6 PM to celebrate the life of Pastor Don McKinney at Heritage Baptist Church Sanctuary.

Officiates for the services: Dr. Ronald W. McKinney, Lamar L McKinney, Paul B. McKinney and Gary James.

Internment and graveside service: Lakewood Memorial Cemetery in Jackson, MS, Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 11 AM.

In lieu of flowers, Donations may be made in his memory to Heritage Baptist Church Benevolent Fund, 3501 Ernest Street, Lake Charles, LA, 70605, for his widow, Mrs. Marie McKinney.

Words of comfort to the family may be expressed at --

-- Bob L. Ross, Pilgrim Book Store and Pilgrim Publications, Pasadena, Texas 77503.

Wade's barking dogs

Wade's Dog Kennel Has
Plenty of Barking Dogs

Since Wade Burleson has assumed the role of defender of the "FBC Jax Watchdog," Wade's blog has become a regular kennel of barking dogs. Like Wade, their bark is probably louder than their bite.

They have now even put a Google "street-view" link in Wade's kennel -- showing Pastor Mac Brunson's home in Jacksonville -- and I suppose this will be eagerly accessed by the dogs as they ogle, bark, foam at the mouth, and knash their teeth.

I don't think in all my life I have ever observed what appears to be a near psychotic obsession with something on this order -- a pastor in Oklahoma sticking his nose into another church's situation hundreds of miles away in Jacksonville, Florida.

This type of thing does not add much by way of credibility to Wade's reputation as a writer, for what he is posting and saying involves a great deal of hearsay. That seems to be Wade's forte.

The fact that his publisher, Smyth & Helwys, tacked a "Disclaimer" onto Wade's book is within itself a warning as to the possible vulnerability of Wade's writings as lacking in validity.

Beware of dogs -- especially the pack from the kennel in Enid.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Enid's "Watchdog" branch kennel

Burleson, Operating a Branch Kennel
in Enid for "FBC Jax'ville Watchdog"?

Some have noticed that Wade Burleson has been somewhat quiet here of late in regard to his book. Instead, he has become more engaged in running the Branch Kennel in Enid of the so-called "Watchdog" who is obsessed with his campaign against the evils he alleges at the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida where Mac Brunson is Pastor.

"Very well," you may say, "but Wade is in Enid, Oklahoma. What's the connection?"

It seems that Wade sees himself as some sort of "defender" of the little dog, and he is reaching out to Jacksonville to take sides with the anonymous cur who calls himself the "Watchdog."

I would remind the "Watchdog" of that old adage, "With friends like so-and-so, who needs enemies?" and I would remind Wade of that saying, "Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job."

I notice that the WD tosses grateful Wade a few bones as a reward for Wade's operating the Branch Kennel in Enid. Instead of grinning, Wade went wagging his tail!

Be that as it may, helping the WD seems like a convenient indulgence by which Wade can perhaps get a little relief from the "fleas" he has brought on himself by the mess he made with his book, "Hardball Religion."

A Slice of Schlueter

A Slice of Apostacia -- Also known as


Ingrid Schlueter runs a blog which is devoted to raking up sundry garbage and scurrilous scum. It is called "Slice of Laodicea," but we constantly find that Ingrid is very selective in her slicing game.

I recently wrote to her and sent her some information about what she is forever neglecting:

"I do not know an error which causes the damnation of more souls than that at the present time. . . . Sacramental efficacy and baptismal regeneration, ALL SPRING FROM THE FIRST ERROR OF INFANT BAPTISM" (C. H. Spurgeon, New Park Street Pulpit, Volume 6, page 168).

Dear Ingrid:
You do very well with reporting on the symptoms, but why not pay more attention to the source. Here's something for your consideration.
-- Bob L. Ross,
The Calvinist Flyswatter

I sent her an item, "Thanks to the Pedos," which exposed a slice of the dark history of the Pedobaptist (baby baptizer) Reformed Hybrid Calvinists. Ingrid is a Pedobaptist Reformed Hybrid Calvinist.

Instead of addressing the issue of her ancestral lineage from apostates, Ingrid sliced her a piece of "I Can't Pay You Any Attention" Pie.

Ingrid said --
A Note About Email
Mar 18 by Ingrid Schlueter

Due to the high volume of email I receive here at Slice, email that is in addition to Crosstalk related correspondence, it has been increasingly difficult impossible to respond to everyone.

I try to read everything that comes through, but there are times when I am not able to personally respond. I want to thank every reader who has sent in concerns, links and comments. Please know that an absence of response does not necessarily mean that I have not read what you have sent in.

Additionally, I am unable, for obvious reasons, to engage in discussion with everyone who wants to debate issues, discuss theology, or who wants to argue over doctrine.

Slice is non-interactive because its growing readership can make it, in itself, a full-time job. Thanks so much for your
understanding, and again, I deeply appreciate the news items and articles sent my way.

Bob's comment:

O, sure, Ingrid, we "understand." We understand all too well. You enjoy being a part of the "Slice of Apostacia" too much to pay any attention to the historical record of your Pedobaptist Reformed Hybrd Calvinist apostate path thru history.

We understand -- you are too well content to slice away at some of the more obvious modern Pedobaptist apostates but you give a "pass" to the heresy itself that paved the way to their apostasy.

And we also understand, Ingrid, you are just one of the willing participants in the Slice of Apostacia which forever seems to dog those who supposedly are "covenant children" and allegedly get "regenerated" while they are yet sucklings on their mother's breast.

Keep slicing, Ingrid, but watch your nose -- you could cut it off to spite your face.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Smyth & Helwys' "Disclaimer"

"Fiction" and "Disclaimer" -- Both Mean
That What You Read May Be Untruthful

Our generous and courteous brother from Enid, Pastor Wade Burleson, has furnished us with a little humor.

Wade enjoys a grin, and I'm sure he won't begrudge our grinning at some of his rather humorous predicaments. Lately, for example, Brother Wade has published the following remark about the book entitled, The Shack:

The Shack is Christian FICTION. What seems humorous to me is the feeling by some that it is necessary to place a Read With Discernment tag on the book. Sometimes I feel we Southern Baptists are the equivalent of second graders spiritually. Here you have a book that is Christian fiction. There is no illicit sex, no foul language, and no promotion of immorality in the book. For heaven's sake, it was written for the author's own CHILDREN. But we stamp a Read With Discernment tag on it. (End of quote).

The "funny thing" about this which will probably make you grin is the fact that while Wade carps about this "Read With Discernment" tag, his new book, Hardball Religion, published by Smyth & Helwys Publishing, carries an even greater "read with discernment" tag.

Wade's book carries a DISCLAIMER ("Christian Disclaimer"?), which is a statement warning you right up front that the contents of the book cannot be presumed to be truthful, historical, factual, reliable, or otherwise trustworthy. The Publisher wants you to know that the Publisher assumes no responsibility for the accuracy and truthfulness of anything the writer has written.

There's one big difference between William Young's book and Wade Burleson's book: Young tells you right up front that the book is "fiction." On the hand, Wade wants you to believe what he has written is truth, but the Publisher evidently has some reservations about it, so the "Disclaimer" is placed up front to ostensibly relieve the Publisher of accountability.

I find that contrast worth a grin -- in fact, in the light of Wade's remarks about Lifeway's "Read With Discernment" tag, this contrast has become a laughing matter.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reformed fiction

Regeneration Imparted in Infancy -- A Fiction Unknown to Holy Scripture

C. H. Spurgeon preached a sermon entitled, "Is Conversion Necessary?"

Spurgeon said,
“Except a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This birth is not a birth by Baptism, for it is spoken of as accompanied by an intelligent faith which receives the Lord Jesus. Turn to John 1:12, 13, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on His name: which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

So that Believers are “born again,” and receive Christ through faitha regeneration imparted in infancy and lying dormant in unbelievers is a fiction unknown to Holy Scripture! In the third of John our Lord associates faith and regeneration in the closest manner, declaring not only that we must be born again, but also that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. [End quote from Spurgeon]

In this day and age, we have among professing "Calvinists" and "Reformed Baptists" -- such as Wade Burleson, Tom Ascol, Tom Nettles, and many in the "Founders" movement -- those who endorse the Hybrid Calvinism theology of the Pedobaptist Reformed arm-chair theologians and conference hawkers which would have us believe that Pedobaptist "covenant children" get "born again" as babies, perhaps even before they are born!

Some of our moderns are promoting the idea that Baptists ought to regard these Hybrid Calvinist Pedobaptists (baby baptizers) as being in the "evangelical" category of Christianity, disregarding the fact that they are the primary promoters of what Spurgeon rightly called a "fiction."

I had a call from a "Founders-friendly" pastor recently, and he seemed to be rather disillusioned about those who want to "play footsies" with Pedos. I reminded him that in the "Founders" movement this is a systemic attitude which is traced back to the Founder of the Founders, Ernest Reisinger, who had the Reformed Pedobaptist theological "virus" in his blood.

At the same time, I have lately noticed that Spurgeon is being disparaged by some sources -- including Reformed Baptist James White, who has amazingly and amusingly declared that Spurgeon is "not infallible" -- as if that is of any consequence so far as James' "exegeet'n" is concerned. Spurgeon could have been Humpty Dumpty, but it wouldn't be of any help to James.

I also noticed that of the books being recently recommended by "Founders" assistant pastor, Timmy Brister, nary a one is a Spurgeon book. Brister has consistently promoted Pedobaptist writers rather than Baptist writers. Reckon the Southern Baptist Seminary is proud of their graduate?

New light on history from Enid?

Wade Burleson's Revision
of Baptist History

I was doing a little "exploring" of Wade's past comments on his blog and stumbled upon what appears to be a revision of Baptist history. A comment by a reader said:

martyduren said...

Great I correct in assuming that those who departed the convention were also known as "Campbellites"?
Sun Dec 25, 08:06:00 PM 2005

Wade Burleson said...
Some became "Campbellite" and joined the "Church of Christ" movement, while others separated and became known as Independent Baptists or in some cases "Hardshell Baptists."

Does anyone know if Wade went to either a Baptist college or seminary, and if so, did he take a course in Baptist History?

In context, this person (Marty Duren) was referring to Landmark Baptists, and Wade says some joined the Church of Christ movement and some others joined the Hardshells. He did not offer any source as a reference, and what he says is completely foreign to any history I have read.

Perhaps I missed something? I used to teach Baptist History in a small theology school we once had here, and I have to admit that I have failed, if what Wade says is historical fact.

Until I see his sources, however, I will regard this information as being in the same category as other such phantasmagoria for which Wade has become rather notorious in recent years. The brother seems to have a vivid imagination.

Our combox is open for Wade to give us book, chapter, and page number which verifies what he reported on his blog. Perhaps he has a source which has eluded me and the writers I have read.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wade's Campbellite practice

How Wade Burleson Became
A "Campbellite" in His Book

How paradoxical it is that the one source (my book) which Wade quotes on Landmarkism does not sustain him in respect to the alleged Landmarkism of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board's policy on baptism.

In a comment submitted by Wade to the Reformed Flyswatter blog, Wade acknowledges that he did not get his view on "Landmarkism" from Bob Ross' book, Old Landmarkism and the Baptists. He says:

"I was calling the IMB baptismal policy Landmark (November 2005, see my blog) long before I ever heard of you or your Landmark book (February 2006, see your email you posted). So, it is obvious that you cannot be my source for whatever understanding of Landmarkism I have. As you know, you and I don't agree on many things, but that does not negate my appreciation for your ministry. . . . Bob, again, you are not the person from whom I learned what Landmarkism is or is not, but I found your book on the subject a good one." [End of quote].

In my reply, among other things I wrote: "My book evidently left you with the same defective concept on Landmarkism which you had before you read it, and for that I cannot be pleased."

I am grateful for Wade's "clearing" me of any perception that I am in any wise responsible for his defective view of Landmarkism in relation to the IMB policy or any other source. However, the use he has made of my book appears to be an attempt on his part to somehow align my book as rendering support for Wade's views, and this is not justifiable.

In this act, Wade emulates the device of a number of Campbellites I have met in public debates. These fellows -- all nice and gentlemanly, just like Wade -- were either "blind in one eye with a cataract on the other," or else they knew exactly what they were doing, namely, resorting to the use of subterfuge.

For example, I have had Campbellites lift material from C. H. Spurgeon as if it agreed with Campbellites on baptism, instrumental music, and some other matters. In a debate with Garland Elkins, he quoted A. T. Robertson on a text and tried to align the Baptist Greek scholar with Campbellism on baptism. Another Campbellite debater, Lynn Trapp, did the same thing with H. B. Hackett. I have even had them quote Bob Ross, as if I supported their doctrine! I've heard them quote Baptist manuals, confessions, preachers, debaters -- all as if they somehow supported the Campbellite's view. In fact, I have often thought that the Campbellites would prefer to use something from a Baptist even more than use Scriptures!

That is what we call "subterfuge," a deceptive and misleading device. It's like giving a street address for a vacant lot when no one or nothing is there. It's like giving a phone number for a non-existent person. It's like email spam from Nigeria, empty promises of big bucks.

And that is the kind of thing Wade has resorted to in the use of my book, as if it supports his ideas on "Landmarkism." Wade became a Campbellite in that type of thing -- at least, he has used a device which I have found to be an attribute of many Campbellite debaters -- subterfuge.

I suppose the greatest disappointment I have in Wade is this lack of demonstrating simple ethics. He never even bothered to confer with me in regard to the use of my book. I mean, that book is mine, and to misuse it is just downright meanness.

No, nice guy Wade did not do anything illegal; what he did was just unethical.

I have two dogs which actually demonstrate more ethical respect than Wade has demonstrated. When I put out the food bowls for my dogs at feed'n time, they won't even eat until I give them my approval. When I walk out the front door, my dogs wait until I give approval for them to follow me. Good Dogs develop a great deal of respect. My dogs have more respect and ethics than some preachers I've known!

Wade is perhaps still in the learning stages, for he didn't bother to even communicate to me that he was going to make use of my book. Unfortunately for Wade and his publisher, Smyth & Helwys Publishing, I learned of Wade's subterfuge from one to whom S&H sent a digital copy of Wade's book. The gentleman asked me if I was aware that Wade had used my book in his book, and my immediate thought was, What book? I don't know anything about Wade Burleson's book.

Wade didn't even bother to ask me beforehand if my book supported his concept on Landmarkism. He didn't bother to tell me that he was going to make it appear to his readers that my book on Landmarkism makes Landmarkers out of the members of the International Mission Board as well as some other Baptist leaders. It seems like Wade wanted to get this out there before I had any opportunity to say anything, pro or con, about how he planned to use my book.

The thoughtful brother who let me in on the little secret, wrote me, "By the way, Brother Bob, were you aware Wade was going to rely heavily upon your Landmark essay to sustain his attacks . . .?"

I am disillusioned in regard to Wade's ethics, for he does try so hard to persuade people to believe he is such a nice guy, ethical, courteous, generous, and full of "grace and humility."

From where I sit, that act appears to merely be a facade to be lapped up by Wade's admirers. In my case, he has acted from the old nature, the flesh.

When one tries so hard to paint an impeccable image of himself as Wade does, I am somehow reminded of that old sign on a Used Car lot --

"Honest John's -- I Cheat You Right!"

As nice a guy as Wade wants us to think that he is, he nevertheless admits to total depravity, so as good as he is, he's like the rest of us -- he is not so good as to be above manifesting at least some of the elements of the old carnal nature, and from my perspective he was certainly in the flesh when he decided to use my book as a subterfuge and he said nothing to me about what he was doing.

Maybe this experience will help Wade in his sanctification, and to grow in the grace of ethical, responsible behavior which ideally should characterize Christians, especially a man of the cloth.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wade, wrong on Campbellism, too?

Wade Burleson's Error on Campbellite
View as to the Administrator of Baptism

Wade’s book, according to "Reliable Sources" of the "Sources" Family, also misrepresents the view of "Churches of Christ" on the administrator of baptism.

Evidently -- and I stand to be corrected -- Wade's book alleges that Campbellites (aka Church of Christ) emphasize "qualifications" for the administrator of baptism.

If this is the case, then it's apparently "Wrong Way Wade" again. The Campbellites whom I have known and even publicly debated several of their Ministers for nearly 50 years do not condition the validity of baptism on the administrator in any sense.

There are, to my knowledge, a couple of Churches of Christ in Enid, and to my knowledge neither one of them holds to the idea about the administrator which Wade alleges. If I'm wrong, I'm sure Wade can and will correct me.

I have had numerous debates with leading CC debaters, and I know their views "like I know the back of my hand." Wade and his publisher, Smyth & Helwys, will probably receive derogatory comments from Church of Christ preachers about this misrepresentation of their views.

The fact is, CC will accept any immersion if it was administered in accord with their teaching -- "in order to obtain the remission of sins." I would not be surprised if Wade gets a challenge from the Campbellites in Oklahoma for a debate on this misrepresentation.

Evidently, Wade makes reference to the Campbellites as if to discredit Southern Baptists. Instead, the misrepresentation of the Campbellite view only serves to further discredit Wade.

In the future, Wade, lighten up and don't try to discredit more people than those on whom you supposedly "have the goods."

The "apologizing" Hardballers

"Egg on the Face" of
Smyth & Helwys Publishing

I received the following from a Baptist Historian to whom I send my emails:

Hi Bob, you may be interested in knowing that Smyth & Helwys Publishing was founded by the "Moderates" (i.e. Liberals) of the SBC to counter the influence of Broadman & Holman after it passed into the hands of the SBC conservatives. The publishing company was named after John Smyth and Thomas Helwys, who quite a number of our Baptist historians mistakenly credit with forming the first (General) "Baptist" church in England in 1609. The problem is that neither Smyth nor Helwys practiced immersion and neither did their "Baptist" church until the 1640's - years after the deaths of both men.

Bob's comment:

If I'm the financier(s) ("Money Bags") behind Smyth & Helwys Publishing, I'm going to immediately skuttle the Wade Burleson book before its generates further embarrassment, and I'm going to fire those who are in charge of production and editorial; as the ultimate responsible party, I'm not at all pleased with the "egg on my face" as a result of the fiasco created by Wade Burleson's book, for it certainly detracts from my being competitive in influence with Broadman-Holman of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Aside from the fact that Wade Burleson's use of Bob Ross' book has been denounced in no uncertain terms as non-supportive of Wade's ideas about "Landmarkism" in relation to the SBC's International Mission Board's policy on baptism, Wade has smeared "egg on the face" of S&H by alleging on his blog that S&H has "apologized" to Wade for sending free digital copies to a few people.

Wade says on his blog, I confess to be a little perplexed as to why Smyth & Helwys sent to Peter a digital copy of my book without him having to pay for it.
. . . They apologized to me after the fact.
Sat Mar 14, 05:05:00 PM 2009

It is hard to conceive that an intelligent representative of a publishing company would be put into such a predicament as to apologize to a writer, especially a writer who actually should be apologizing to the publisher for the big mess he has made in a book for which the publisher is paying the expenses of publishing and marketing. But that was the predicament of P. K. Gammons, VP of S&H.

"Apologize" to Wade? . . . for sending a few free copies to prospective reviewers of the book?

Well, "Land O' Goshen!"

And on top of that, Wade later tells Bob Ross that S&H did not send a free copy of the book to Bob Ross since Wade wanted Bob to "pay for the privilege" of reviewing the book! "Will Wonders Never Cease!"

This story looks more and more like a 3-Stooges senario, with Wade Burleson, P. K. Gammons, and Smyth & Helwys Publishing Company being "Moe, Larry, and Curly."

Before this is over, we suspect Smyth & Helwys Publishing will need a crowbar to deal with the egg on its face!


My Baptist Historian brother adds:

Bill Leonard (of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship) edited a book called, Dictionary of Baptists in America (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994). On pages 251-252, in the article Smyth and Helwys Publishing Company,it reads:

"A publishing house organized by Southern Baptist moderates. The press, named for English Baptist founders John Smyth and Thomas Helwys, was founded in 1991 by Cecil Staton and Scott Nash, professors at Brewton-Parker College in Georgia; James Pitts, chaplain at Furman University; and Ronald D. Jackson. Its founding purpose was 'to offer supplemental and alternative materials for Baptists who have become increasingly concerned about the future direction of the [Southern Baptist] Convention Press and Broadman [Press].' The concern was to publish materials for churches disturbed by the fundamentalist control of the Southern Baptist Convention and provide a vehicle for Baptist authors whose works would probably not be published by SBC related presses. In 1991 Smyth and Helwys Publishing began production of formations, a graded Sunday school curriculum written primarily, but not exclusively, for use in Baptist churches. Also in 1991 the company headquarters moved to Macon, Georgia, with Staton as publisher. Bibliography: C. Staton, The History of Smyth and Helwys Publishing, in Walter B. Shurden, ed., of the The Struggle for the Soul of the SBC (1993)."

Concerning John Smyth ( d. 1612) and Thomas Helwys ( 1615), H. Leon McBeth in his book, The Baptist Heritage (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1987), page 37, writes, "The method of Smyth's baptism was almost certainly by affusion or pouring; immersion did not become customary among General Baptists for another generation."

McBeth also tells us that Helwys later returned to Holland, "and joined the Mennonites." (page 39). These two non-immersing Separatists (one of whom turned Mennonite) were who the moderates chose to name their publishing company after! Broadman Press, on the other hand, as I'm sure you know, was named after John A. Broadus and Basil Manly, Jr. - two real (immersing) Baptists.
[End of quote].

It seems that Smyth & Helwys Publishing has been somewhat "off track" from the outset, with even its name being identified paradoxically with non-immersing "Baptists." So it should not surprise us that S&H has become associated with the phantasmagorical Wade Burleson.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hardball Publishers?

It's Official: Wade's Publisher Won't Send
a Copy of the Book for Review Purposes

That's right . . . I received an email today from P. K. Gammons, VP of Smyth & Helwys Publishers informing me that I will not be sent a digital copy of Wade Burleson's forthcoming book, Hardball Religion, for review.

Gammons had offered me a digital copy of the book several days ago, and at the time I turned him down. Later, I realized that in writing a review for this blog, it would be more convenient to have a digital copy to facilitate copying any material to be quoted; therefore, I notified Gammons that I would like to have the digital copy.

Now, however, it seems to be too late. I have "missed the boat." I have "crossed the deadline" . . . "the day of grace is over."

Gammons indicates that his offer was good only so long as the book was still at the press. Evidently, that time has passed and so Gammons says S&H will not send me a digital copy for writing a review. How convenient.

This is what some might call a "Hardball Publisher."

I really wonder -- does S&H really want me to review the book? I seriously doubt it. They are aware of what has already been published on this blog, and they probably realize by now that they most likely have a first-class "dud" of a book in their lap.

It won't take too long for the news to get around that Wade's one-and-only source on Landmarkism has repudiated the book's misappropriation of my writings. They evidently realize that any further comments by me in a review could only tend to dissipate sales potential.

S&H may be hoping that there are enough "suckers" out there who have not read my comments about the book, and sales to the naive and unsuspecting will still be possible -- at least enough sales to recover the money S&H invested in the project.

NOTE: Feel free to utilize this article and any other which may serve your purpose -- on blogs, web sites, print-outs for distribution, etc. I have no restriction on the use of my writings other than that they be used ethically in an appropriate manner. Some who have used my writings have not always used them appropriately, such as some Campbellites, Hardshells, Hybrid Calvinists, Preterists, "King James Onlyites," and in the most recent case, Wade Burleson. -- Bob L. Ross

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What is "Landmarkism"?

What is "Landmarkism?"

One might naively expect Wade Burleson to at least define from reputable Landmark sources --
(1) what he understands to constitute "Landmarkism," and to
(2) demonstrate from the International Mission Board's policy on baptism exactly how it is that the IMB policy is "Landmarkist."

However, no one evidently need expect to find this in Wade's book, according to one who has read it. It appears that if you do not know what really constitutes Landmarkism, you may be no nearer to understanding it after reading what Wade says.

Peter Lumpkins has observed:

The only source cited for Landmark views in Wade's new book Hardball Religion is guess who? A man named Bob Ross. Do you know him? Not one mention, not one essay, not one writer except Bob Ross. Bob Ross is there but no other authority on Landmark is mentioned.

Inasmuch as I deny that my book agrees with what I understand to be Wade Burleson's concept of "Landmarkism," and inasmuch as I deny that my book alleges that the policy of the IMB is "Landmarkist," it seems that Wade Burleson is "up the creek without a paddle," doesn't it?

My book, Old Landmarkism and the Baptists, makes the effort to objectively define from reputable Landmark sources what really constitutes Landmarkism, and it was written years before the IMB set forth its policy on baptism. There is no way whatsoever that Wade Burleson can utilize my book to ostensibly support his arbitrary allegation that the IMB policy is "Landmarkist."

I will be happy to defend the book any time, any place, in Public Debate with Wade Burleson or any one of his choosing, and I will deny any proposition which affirms that the policy of the IMB on baptism is "Landmarkist," based on either my book or any Landmark source of Landmark doctrine on baptism.

Of course, after having had some "exchanges" with Wade on this blog, I really don't expect him or any of his supporters to engage in a public discussion (debate format) on the matter. Despite the fact that Wade has been known to frequently upbraid others for not engaging on controversial issues, I simply cannot conceive of Wade's being willing to expose his arguments to rebuttal by one whom he has quoted in his book as being a good source on the subject of Landmarkism.

"The emperor has no clothes."

Was it a pre-pub sales promotion?

Was It Just an Advertising Device
By Wade and Smyth & Helwys?

There are certainly different and crafty ways to advertise books for sale, especially those that are not yet released and thus not available to be examined by a potential customer before deciding to make a purchase. This is known in the book publishing industry as "pre-publication advertising."

One pre-publication device is to generate controversy about a book beforehand, hoping to seduce potential purchasers to order the book in advance. It seems now that this was perhaps the device used by Wade Burleson and his publisher, Smith & Helwys, for promoting advance sales for his "Hardball Religion" book. Even this article on this blog which mentions the book was written due to this device, as I would not be writing it but for the past few days of attention to Wade and his book.

I am suggesting this as being what Wade and S&H had in mind all along in view of the fact it has lately been brought to light that S&H has already been engaged in sending digital copies to certain parties. This has the marks of a pre-publication promotional sales effort. In fact, S&H even offered to send me, Bob Ross, a digital copy and invited me to review it on my blog.

Vice-President P. K. Gammons of Smyth & Helwys wrote, "I would be delighted to send you a digital copy for your review. We welcome you to review the book on your blog and let us know what you think." (Email of March 11, 2009).

It has recently been revealed that S&H has already sent digital copies to some others, inviting their reviews. Wade himself is apparently now feigning ignorance about the matter, particularly complaining somewhat that these digital copies were sent "free"! He does not seem to be a bit unhappy that the copies were sent, however; his only gripe seems to be that there won't be any money made off of these copies.

It all seems to indicate that this was probably a pre-publication device for the purpose of getting some attention for the book to the point of generating pre-publication orders.

So why has S&H not sent me a copy? I turned down their initial offer, but later I twice sent an email to P. K. Gammons accepting the invitation for S&H to send me a copy. They have not responded; they have not sent the digital copy which they offered me in their first contact. Why not? They have sent copies to others . . . why not Ross?

I may be overestimating the significance of my recent posts, but nevertheless the thought has somehow crossed my mind that S&H now may realize that they have a potential "dud" on their hands. In fact, a "little bird" has whispered in my ear that S&H is taking the position that "the less Bob Ross has access to the book, the better for pre-publicaton sales"!

In other words, S&H fears that a negative review by Bob Ross would possibly inflict damage upon the advance sales of Wade's book. Such a review would possibly influence some potential customers to take a "wait and see" approach, meaning they would wait to examine the book after it is released rather than making an advance purchase.

If that is not the reason why S&H has thus far evidently reneged on their offer to me, what is the reason for their not fulfilling their own offer to me and not responding to my acceptance of their offer?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

John Calvin vs Hybrid Calvinism

Stephen Garrett on
Calvin's view

Our brother at the Baptist Gadfly, Stephen Garrett, continues to call attention to sources which are contrary to the modern Pedobaptist Reformed Hybrid Calvinism view that one is "born again before faith."

In his latest, Stephen presents material on John Calvin's view. Stephen writes:

I have cited numerous quotations from John Calvin to show that he did not believe that regeneration preceded faith. Those who insist that this is the view of the first Calvinist reformers are in error and are generally unwilling to acknowledge their error even when shown the proof of it.

Clearly, as one can see from this citation, John Calvin did not put regeneration before faith. Calvin put faith before repentance and regeneration and he did not become Arminian in doing so. He did not relinguish a view in "total depravity" or a belief that faith was the gift of God.

For the rest of Stephen's article, go to BaptistGadfly.

Burleson's Hybrid Calvinism

Southern Baptists Didn't Need
A Hybrid Calvinist on the IMB

There is one thing about Wade Burleson which, in my opinion, disqualified him from ever even being appointed to serve on the IMB -- a doctrinal error which is much more significant than his antics about the alleged "Landmarkism" of the IMB baptism policy.

Burleson is an adherent of the Pedobaptist Reformed Hybrid Calvinist theology which teaches that one is "born again before faith." Basically, this is essentially the doctrine on "regeneration" of the Primitive Baptist or Hardshell Church which split from regular Baptists in the 1830s and has been an opponent of missions ever since.

My colleague on the Reformed Flyswatter, Ian Elsasser, called attention to this error on The Calvinist Flyswatter blog just a few weeks ago. Notice --

Ian's comment:

Mr. Burleson seems to affirm the "born again before faith" view common to many modern Calvinists. See "Please Don't Call Me a Calvinist, But..." -- [Quote from Burleson's blog below]

"Regeneration, the new birth and quickening are all synonyms for this heart surgery God performs. Before a man will ever repent of his sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, he must be born again. This miraculous act of God, called 'the new birth,' is a work that He chooses to perform, and it is without conditions".

Bob's comment:

This is the heresy spawned by Pedobaptists of the past and taught by many of the modern Pedobaptist (baby baptizers) who are for the most part "arm-chair theologians," conference or seminar speakers, and it is taught by some of their followers among the Baptists who describe themselves as "Reformed" -- such as Tom Ascol of the "Founders Ministries," Tom Nettles and Thomas Schreiner at Southern Seminary, James White, a "Reformed Baptist" in Arizona, and numerous bloggers on so-called "monergism" and "Reformed" web sites.

We have exposed this heresy in particular on The Calvinist Flywatter for the past three years (2006-2009), not to mention my long record of opposition to it dating from the 1950s when I first encountered it.

Unfortunately, Wade Burleson is infected with this heresy.

I don't believe Southern Baptists are benefited by having a Hybrid Calvinist on the mission board. Hybridism breeds more Hybrids, and Hybrids do not help the cause of evangelism and missions. The "Founders" have not planted a church in their entire history from 1982. They recently claimed they are planting a church in Florida . . . we will wait and see what becomes of the tender "plant."

In my opinion, Wade should never have been appointed, but after he was appointed, in my opinion he should have been given his walking papers on account of his advocacy of the "born again before faith" heresy.

Friday, March 13, 2009

One Man Landmarkism in Enid?

Wade Burleson's One Man

As can be seen in the Comments of my previous article, Invitation to Wade Burleson, it seems that Brother Wade favors what might be classified as "One Man Landmarkism" -- if we accept Wade's concept on what constitutes

Wade has said in one of his comments on this blog:

"I believe John Gill gives the finest explanation of Christian baptism, as defined by Scripture, within Baptist literature."

Wade has aligned himself with a quotation from John Gill which prescribes that the
"administrator" of baptism is the person who is qualifed or scripturally authorized to "pass-on" or receive "satisfaction" with respect to a person's profession of faith. Then, after the profession is deemed "satisfactory" by the administrator, the administrator will procede to administer baptism to that person, thereby qualifying the person to become a member of the church thereafter.

Dr. Gill is quoted by Wade:
"Admission to baptism lies solely in the breast of the administrator, who is the only judge of qualifications for it, and has the sole power of receiving to it, and of rejecting from it; if not satisfied, he may reject a person thought fit by a church, and admit a person to baptism not thought fit by a church; but a disagreement is not desirable nor advisable."

This puts the "administrator" squarely in front of the "door" to the church as to church membership, and unless a person "passes muster" with the administrator so as to qualify to receive baptism, he will just have to hoof-it on down to the O'Hairite Berean church where baptism is not even practiced.

If Gill's view is what Wade puts into practice at his church in Enid, Oklahoma, it appears to be the strictest "Landmark" entity I have ever heard of. If Wade does the baptizing at his church, this makes Wade the "only judge" and the"sole power" who "authorizes" or is "satisfied" with one's profession as authentic, and it makes Wade the sole "authority" for approving of the baptism of that person and his qualification for church membership, or rejecting that person.

My, how far we have strayed from original Landmarkism which made the validity of baptism simply depend upon the corporate authority of a church which has a linked-chain succession back to Jesus!

O, for the good ole days!

Invitation to Wade Burleson

Wade, Will You Please Let Us
in on the "Secret" Source?

Brother Wade, I wonder if perhaps you have lately been waking-up in the wee hours of the morning, audibly mumbling aloud, "What on earth have I done!"

Then, as you lie there in bed, your churning thoughts can't help but reflect back to the more than two years (2005-2008) of controversy and "hard feelings" which characterized your tenure on the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board, as it has at last dawned upon you that all the while you "never had a leg to stand on."

Your mind goes on to recall -- as you toss around and begin to perspire -- how you continuously carried on a badgering agenda toward your fellow IMB trustees for their alleged "Landmarkism." But now, as you wait to spring your book on the matter to the public, the one known source you have quoted to ostensibly verify and authenticate your charge of "Landmarkism" denies that the IMB policy on baptism is "Landmarkist"
(as you alleged), but rather that source says the IMB policy is perfectly consistent with the SBC's Baptist Faith & Message Article VII.

I just wonder, Wade, since you evidently did not have my book, Old Landmarkism and the Baptists, when you first broached your charge that the policy of the IMB on baptism is "Landmarkist," where in the world did you get that idea?

Even if you had my book at that time (2005), you would not have imbibed that idea from that book, for you can't quote a single line from the book, citing the chapter and page number, which would identify the IMB policy as being "Landmarkist."

Do you remember, Wade, that TV show called "I've Got a Secret"? Is it perchance the case with you, that you also have a "secret"? Do you reveal your "secret" source in your new book, Wade -- perhaps a source we do not know about, which perhaps is a "Landmarkist" source -- which supports your view on this?

I wish to invite you, Wade, to please share with the readers of the Reformed Flyswatter what that "secret" is -- what "Landmarkist" source you relied on in 2005 and thereafter which substantiates the allegation you made in the controversy about the policy of the IMB in regard to baptism?

I have scores of Landmark writings in my library, Wade, from J. R. Graves to the modern Landmark advocates who consider me a "heretic" -- books, pamphlets, tracts, magazines -- and I personally was involved for several years in my church affiliation with, and in the advocacy of, Landmarkism, -- as I have related in my book -- and I have never yet come upon anything which would categorize the IMB policy as being "Landmarkist."

To put it bluntly, Wade, you evidently found something which I never heard or read -- something which is a "secret" so far as my knowledge of Landmarkism extends.

Will you please share that "secret" information with us on this blog? Our "front page" is wide open to you, Wade. Please reveal your "secret" source.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wade's book

Just for the Record
About Wade Burleson

I read Wade's remark on Peter Lumpkins' blog that I (Bob Ross) had never seen nor read his book, "Hardball Religion."

Thanks to Wade's publisher, Smith & Helwys, I will receive both a digital copy of the book and the printed book when it is released.

The fact is, S&H wants me to review the book. P. K. Gammons, Vice President of S&H, has told me, "I would be delighted to send you a digital copy for your review. We welcome you to review the book on your blog and let us know what you think."

Let me make it clear, I have no objection whatsoever to anyone's using my writings either with or without my permission. What I am saying about Wade's case is this:

If he has appropriated any of my writings in such a manner as if they endorse Wade's allegation that the International Mission Board's policy constitutes "Landmarkism," it is a misappropriation of my material and contrary to my views.

My book, Old Landmarkism and the Baptists, was written back in the 1960s, long before the IMB policy was put into play. Naturally, neither Wade's name nor the IMB is mentioned in the book.

Also, what was written in an email to Wade three years ago said nothing whatsoever about the IMB's policy constituting "Landmarkism." I sent Wade a free copy of the book, hoping it would perhaps be of some degree of help in giving him a better understanding of Landmarkism and thereby assist in his properly evaluating matters at IMB which he related to Landmarkism.

Frankly, at the time, I was rather sympathetic to Wade because, on the basis of what he was writing on his blog, it seemed to me that he did not really have thorough grasp of what constitutes Landmarkism, even if it did exist at IMB. As I read Wade at that time, to me he was apparently
portraying himself as a victim of Landmarkism at the IMB, and if that were the case, and if there indeed were really hardcore, "hardball"
Landmarkers and Landmarkism at IBM, my book might be of some benefit to him in the controversy.

In retrospect, it now appears that Wade overstated the case, and while he may have us believe he is a victim of Landmarkers and Landmarkism at IMB, I believe it is more consistent with the elements of this unfortunate controversy to regard Wade as a victim of his own making -- due to his misunderstanding of what constitutes Landmarkism.

Wade is evidently a good preacher, devoted pastor, and gifted writer. The best thing he could do, in my judgment, is to somehow "get over" the experience at IMB, and focus upon the ministry to which God called him -- preaching the Gospel, endeavoring to reach lost souls in Enid and any other places to which he has access to preach the Word.

Wade's talents are too great to be consumed in a negative effort which never had a solid basis in the first place.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Who does Wade endorse?

Why the IMB Policy on Baptism
Is a Good Policy vs Wade Burleson's

The Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board policy requiring its missionaries to have been baptized by immersion in relation to a Baptist church or some other church which similarly practices immersion and believes in salvation by grace, is obviously a good policy to one who believes that Baptist doctrine is scriptural doctrine.

Baptists don't want a missionary on the field who has to admit he was immersed by the Campbellites, for example. Campbellite baptism is the baptism of a person who, according to the Campbellites, was not even yet saved prior to baptism thru believing in Christ.

Baptists don't want to send a missionary who has to say he was immersed by a Pedobaptist Presbyterian whose baptism is represented by the Presbyterian Church to be a "sign and seal" of a covenant which includes the regeneration of infants in infancy.

They don't want to send a missionary who was immersed by Primitive or Hardshell Baptists whose baptism is associated with the idea that regeneration is "by the Spirit alone" apart from hearing and believing the Gospel.

They don't want a missionary who was immersed by Pentecostals who teach that baptism is necessary to salvation, speaking in tongues, and "entire sanctification" (sinless perfection).

They don't want a missionary who was immersed by the Assembly of God whose baptism is considered bo be just one of the good works which is necessary to gaining ultimate salvation.

They don't want a missionary who was immersed by the Lutherans whose baptism is supposed to be related somehow to one's regeneration.

They don't want a missionary who was immersed by some cult whose baptism is related to a false gospel.

They don't want a missionary who was immersed by the Roman Catholic Church whose baptism supposedly puts one in the RCC and in subjection to the Pope.

Just whose immersion does Wade Burleson want Southern Baptists to endorse as OK for SBC missionary candidates? Would he please supply a list of the approved sources?

Burleson -- A Landmarker?

Has Pastor Wade Burleson
Become A Landmarker?

Pastor Wade Burleson of Emmanual Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma made himself of reputation a few years ago when he staunchly opposed what not a few Southern Baptists regard as a couple of doctrinal improvements on the part of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

Because of Wade's differing with the policies adopted on Baptism and "Tongues," he basically "blew it" with the IMB and was eventually removed as a board member after some period of controversy.

I understand from sources close to Smyth & Helwys publishers, that Wade's new book, "Hardball Religion," among other things focuses on these two doctrinal issues, and Wade takes the IMB to task over (1) what he alleges to be "Landmarkism" on Baptism, and (2) the IMB's negative policy as to "Private Prayer Language" (aka "praying in tongues").

After I read Wade's book, I may review the book and it is probable that I will have to "clear" myself in regard to Wade's unapproved use of materials from my book on Landmarkism. I anticipate this probability inasmuch as it appears to me that Wade does not seem to really have a grasp of "Landmarkism" -- at least so far as I have discerned in his writings -- and it is conceivable that he misappropriated my materials in relation to the IMB, etc.

So far as I understand the IMB policy of insisting on their "missionary candidates" having received immersion (by a Baptist church or some other church which immerses and holds to the doctrine of eternal security), this does not within itself appear to constitute Landmarkism -- at least not the Landmarkism I was involved in for several years, nor the Landmarkism about which I wrote my book, OLD LANDMARKISM AND THE BAPTISTS.

No Landmarker on earth known to me would approve of the IMB policy on baptism as constituting the doctrine of Landmarkism as to valid baptism. Landmarkers would only partially agree with this policy, for more is required for "valid" or "scriptural" baptism in Landmarkism.

If a partial agreement by Landmarkers on a matter constitutes that matter as being "Landmarkism," then it seems that Wade Burleson qualifies as a "Landmarker."

Notice -- On his blog for March 11, 2009, Wade says "the kingdom of Jesus Christ includes people from all denominations."

Every Landmarker I ever knew would agree with Wade. In my book, I refer to some Landmarkers who define the kingdom in the very same manner as Wade defines it (pages 11, 16). Does that constitute Wade a "Landmarker."

As for the "tongues" issue, I understand that Wade approved of the policy forbidding public speaking in tongues, but he disagreed with the IMB on the matter of "private praying in tongues." He relied on Paul, who said, "forbid not to speak in tongues," as justifying "private praying in tongues."

But if Paul's words justify "private praying in tongues," why does Wade reject Paul's word as being applicable to publicly "speaking" in tongues?

Our Combox is open to Brother Burleson for what he calls his "gracious and civil comments."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cooperation, Burleson style?

Wade Burleson Believes in Cooperation in the SBC

In his ongoing protagonist ax-grinding deprecation of the "Baptist Identity Movement," Pastor Wade Burleson of Enid, Oklahoma, is taking a very strong stand for "cooperation" in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Wade is opposed to what he describes as "a road of isolationism and separation from the evangelical community at large," a road he believes is paved by the Baptist Identity advocates. Wade likes a multi-lane freeway, a "differ and let differ" cooperation . . . but how wide is this freeway?

Wade says on blog:

"The implications of this Baptist Identity philosophy are far reaching and severe. If a change in the SBC bylaws or a change in the SBC BFM occurs, then the Baptist Identity adherents say you should maintain your Christian convictions and GET OUT of service to the SBC, rather than making other Southern Baptists aware of the problem within your conscience and staying in the SBC. Do you disagree with closed communion? Leave. Do you disagree with the BFM statement on war? Leave. Do you disagree with the statement that nobody is guilty of sin until they actually sin? Leave. Do you disagree with ___________ (fill in the blank)? Leave. That, in essence, is the spirit of Baptist Identity these days.That is also the kind of spirit we Southern Baptists must resist. We are a Convention of cooperation, not conformity.

The true Southern Baptist, confident in his identity as a Christian first, would stay in the SBC, maintain his integrity as a believer by voicing his disagreement with anything he sees as unbiblical and unchristian, and then letting those brothers and sisters in Christ who see things differently know that the disageement will neither affect his love for, service to, or cooperation with, those Southern Baptists of a different persuasion. That is the true identity we need as Southern Baptists."

Very well, Brother Wade, let's fill in the blank and ask if Southern Baptists ought to be in cooperation with those in the Convention who would disagree with fellow Southern Baptists on the following points of doctrine and practice:

Baptism of infants.
Administration of baptism by sprinkling and pouring.
Adding baptized infants to the church membership roll.

Teaching that children born to believers are regenerated in infancy.

I wonder if Wade would encourage cooperation in the SBC with churches and/or pastors who favor and implement the foregoing teachings and practices?

This is hardly facetiousness on my part, for after all such cooperation with such churches and pastors is apparently what is being approved by the Flounders and "Great Commission Resurgence" promoters. It has long been the practice of the Flounders (aka "Founders Ministries") to cooperate with Pedobaptist churches/pastors which hold to the foregoing beliefs and practices.

We have "filled in the blank," Wade. Do you approve of this type cooperation within the Southern Baptist Convention? If so, would it perhaps be appropriate to change the name of the SBC to the "Southern Bapbyterian Convention"?

This would seem to be cooperatively appropriate as a descriptive name, and the SBC would not even have to change its initials!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tale of Reformed statistics

Pedobaptist PCA [Presbyterian]
Statistics & Dr. Mohler's "Triage"

The Presbyterian Church in America is often proclaimed to be the epitomy of conservative Reformed theology. And occasionally we read or hear about a Baptist who is so obsessed with "Reformed theology" that he decides to join the PCA because of some alleged intolerable conditions he is encountering in his Baptist affiliation, leading to his preferring being Presbyterian rather than remaining a Baptist.

Also, the PCA is frequently embellished by some Baptist sources which promote their authors and speakers -- such as Dr. Albert Mohler, Dr. Tom Nettles, and Pastor Tom Ascol have done.

Dr. Mohler's recently discussed "theological triage" would most likely categorize PCA members and churches as inclusive in his "first tier." If so, this again raises the question in our minds as to "how?" Dr. Mohler could validate this categorization for this Pedobaptist denomination.

We have in the past taken note of the PCA's own statistical report of its membership and baptisms. The lastest we can find by the PCA is found here.

2007 Total Membership -- 345,582
5-year, total baptisms -- 39,743
5-year, adult baptisms -- 12,952 (32.59%)
5-year, infant baptisms -- 26,791 (67.41%)

If this 5-year rate is taken as a statistical standard, this indicates that 232,957 members (over 67%) of the reported total membership of 345,582 were baptized in infancy.

According to Pedobaptist Reformed theology, those baptized infants received baptism as the "sign and seal" of their inclusion in the "covenant" which allegedly includes their "regeneration." They were added to the membership roll on this pretext and regarded as "born again covenant children," according to the Reformed theologians.

While baptism itself is not regarded as contributing to their "regeneration," nevertheless baptism is regarded as the "sign and seal" that those baptized are "regenerated" in infancy -- before, at, or shortly after their baptism -- and their names are entered on the church roll as members.

Dr. W. G. T. Shedd says:
"The infant of the believer receives the Holy Spirit as a regenerating Spirit, by virtue of the covenant between God and his people . . . . The infant of the believer, consequently, obtains the regenerating grace by virtue of his birth and descent from a believer in covenant with God, and not by virtue of his baptism. God has promised the blessing of the Holy Spirit to those who are born of his people. The infant of a believer, by this promise, is born into the church, as the infant of a citizen is born into the state. . . . They are church members by reason of their birth from believing parents . . . Baptism is the infallible sign of regeneration, when the infant dies in infancy. All baptized infants dying before the age of self-consciousness, are regenerated without exception. Baptism is the probable sign of regeneration when the infant lives to years of discretion. . . . So a baptized child, in adult years, may renounce his baptism and church membership, become an infidel, and join the synagogue of Satan; but until he does this, he must be regarded as member of the church of Christ" (Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 2, pages 576, 577).

By Baptist confessional standards, such as the Southern Baptist Convention's Baptist Faith & Message, these infants were not regenerated and therefore they did not qualify for church membership.

I suppose that Dr. Mohler even agrees that unregenerate baptized infants do not qualify for church membership. Certainly, we should at least expect that Pastor Tom Ascol ("Founders Ministries") would agree on this, especially in the light of his "Resolution" on regenerate church membership which was presented and approved at the 2008 annual Southern Baptist Convention.

On the whole, the PCA statistics mean that infant baptism is primarily the method by which the PCA sustains its membership -- baptizing unregenerate infants and adding them to the church membership roll.

As a denominational entity, how can Dr. Mohler and those who endorse his "theological triage" -- such as the "Founders" and the "Great Commission Resurgence" -- include the Presbyterian Church in America as "first tier"? With over 67% of the membership baptized as unregenerate infants, how can the PCA as a denomination be regarded as a "first tier" Gospel-preaching entity?

Is their infant regeneration gospel much different than the Campbellite gospel, the Mormon gospel, the Pentecostal gospel, the Roman Catholic gospel, etc.?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dr. Mohler's "triage"

Flounders Associate Summarizes
Dr. Mohler's Theological Triage

Timmy Brister, Tom Ascol's associate pastor, writes on his blog:

Reviewing Theological Triage
First, we need to review the idea of theological triage. Dr. [Albert] Mohler makes the case for three tiers of determining the weight of various doctrinal issues, noting that without such distinctions there can be no “theological seriousness and maturity.” First-tier doctrines are those “most central and essential to the Christian faith” and include “the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, justification by faith, and the authority of Scripture.”

Mohler goes on to say the following:

“These first-order doctrines represent the most fundamental truths of the Christian faith, and a denial of these doctrines represents nothing less than an eventual denial of Christianity itself.”

At the heart of first-order doctrines is what it means to be Christian. At the heart of being a Christian are matters pertaining to the gospel, such as substitutionary atonement, justification by faith, and full deity & humanity of Christ.

Bob's comment:

Without evaluating the items specified in Dr. Mohler's triage, what we wonder about this theoretical triage is this:

How does Dr. Mohler manage to include under this theoretical cloak the Reformed Pedobaptists and other Pedobaptists who hold to the ridiculous doctrine that INFANTS born to believers are REGENERATED IN INFANCY, or regenerated even before they are actually physically born, as held by some Pedos?

Does Dr. Mohler consider that notion to be an acceptable form of "the Gospel."

Please understand, no one here is alleging that Pedobaptists are excluded from salvation on account of this false doctrine, for whoever really believes in Christ for salvation is saved. Rather, we just find it hard to classify Pedobaptist doctrine about the supposed regeneration of infants as being any part of the Gospel.

If Dr. Mohler, who is President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, or Timmy Brister, or Tom Ascol, head of the "Founders Ministries," or any one who approves of this "triage" is inclined to favor us with some light on this bewildering question, he is welcome to post it on this blog.

C. H. Spurgeon on pedobaptism:

"I do not know an error which causes the damnation of more souls than that at the present time. . . . Sacramental efficacy and baptismal regeneration, ALL SPRING FROM THE FIRST ERROR OF INFANT BAPTISM" (New Park Street Pulpit, Volume 6, page 168).



With the addition of Brother Ian Elsasser to the Reformed Flyswatter comes more "know how" than I possess about managing a blog. This is my very first blog to have as Administrator, and I have not really made much effort to get past the simplest items in the operation.

But that will be changing, as Ian will be doing more in regard to the appearance and features, and will also be making his usual insightful comments on various subjects related to this blog's basic purpose.

I believe our readers will appreciate the contributions Ian will make in improving the image of the Reformed Flyswatter. -- Bob L. Ross

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Welcome, Ian!


I am happy to announce that Brother Ian Elsasser has been added to the Reformed Flyswatter Team. He has made several posts on the Calvinist Flyswatter and his observations have always been impressive.

I am confident that the addition of Ian to the blog will prove to be a means of broadening the information and opinion for fulfilling our purpose. -- Bob L. Ross