Thursday, November 25, 2010

C. H. Spurgeon's Sermons

Spurgeon's Sermons and Other Pilgrim
Titles: "Hard Times" Special Announced

Bob L Ross and Michael Ross, Directors of Pilgrim Publications, announce:

In view of the current financial "Hard Times," we want to be a blessing to those of you who are desirous of purchasing titles we publish by Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892). We are offering a "Hard Times" Special which will be in effect over the Winter months. This is the largest discount offered to individuals on our publications since we started publishing in 1969.

40% DISCOUNT on one or more titles by Pilgrim Publications -- no minimums required. This applies to all books by all authors published by Pilgrim.

For examples, this applies to the following;

THE SWORD & THE TROWEL (8 vols set.)
ALL HARDBACK TITLES by all authors published by Pilgrim.
ALL PAPERBACK TITLES by all authors published by Pilgrim.

This discount does not apply to titles by C. H. Spurgeon which we distribute but are published by other publishers (as indicated on our book list).

Consult our website for the list of titles by C. H. Spurgeon and other authors published by Pilgrim Publications. Otherwise, call or email us for a list of our publications.

Shipping cost is additional and depends on the per pound rate charged by delivery companies.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Are Only 3% of Professors Saved?

Are only 3% of those who make decisions
to accept Christ really born again?

Plus -- C. H. Spurgeon on Immediate
Decision to Accept Christ as Saviour.

I have never known a pastor or an evangelist who said that all of those who made professions of faith in church or evangelistic meetings were beyond doubt "saved," or "born again." Professors were told that they were saved if they believed on Jesus Christ in their hearts (John 3:18).

I have never known a minister who claimed that if you walked down the aisle, that would mean you were undoubtedly born again. If a preacher has ever said that, he is the exception to all the preachers I have ever heard, and I have heard a lot of them across my many years of being a Christian, and even before I became a Christian. I have heard some of the most notable evangelistic preachers of my day -- Billy Graham, Eddie Martin, John R. Rice, Hyman Appelman, J. Harold Smith, and others -- and none of them ever said this in my hearing.

Yet there are some "Reformed" brethren who oppose public invitations who make such allegations, and they talk like very, very few of those who walk the aisles are truly born again. Even if that were the case, it would still not be a legitimate argument against inviting unsaved men and women to come out publicly, walk the aisle, and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord of all, and accept Him as Savior. Salvation is not a work one has to do, or a drawn-out "process" one has to go through, or a course in Alleine's Alarm to the Unconverted, or a "pre-faith regeneration" one has to wait for -- no, it is by a simple belief in the heart in Jesus Christ. Paul said --

"But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." -- Romans 10:8-10.

The only real difficulty about salvation is its simplicity -- some just find it too difficult to accept the fact that the Lord will save them if they will simply believe on Him for salvation. The feel like they must add something, maybe a period of sincere praying, or the reformation of their lives, or seeking the right feeling, or maybe getting baptized and joining the church. They think there must be some necessary "preparation." And so many people put such things in the way of immediately being saved before they finally come to realize that it is really simply by faith in Christ, and by nothing else. They have just wasted time by not coming in at the one door of salvation without being detoured.

I often think about the account of C. H. Spurgeon's conversion. He had tried several things, but to no avail. His mother had even read to him from Alleine's Alarm, and it did not bring him to the Lord. Finally, he heard a Methodist layman, who filled the pulpit for the absentee Pastor of the church, and the layman quoted Isaiah 45:22, "Look unto me, and be ye saved," and exhorted young Spurgeon to "Look! Look to Jesus!"

Spurgeon said that he did look, and in that moment he was saved. Just a verse of Scripture, a few words of exhortation, and a look -- that's all it took to convert the lad who went on to become the greatest Baptist preacher who ever lived. And he told about this experience many times to encourage others to simply "Look to Jesus" and be saved, and thousands did so.

Today we have some folks who just don't think it is that "simple." They just don't have much use for the "simple Gospel." And some of their antagonism to public invitations, decisions, accepting Christ, and similar things is due to their antipathy for the idea that salvation is really as simple as Paul explained in Romans 10 and Spurgeon experienced at a young lad in Colchester, England on January 6, 1850.

For example, I had an email recently in which the writer claimed that John Wesley's, Billy Graham's, and Greg Laurie's preaching was bankrupt and devoid of any real power of the Spirit. He alleged that over 97% of the "decision makers" fall away. He claimed that only 3% are truly born again.

Now, where on earth did he get such ideas? Have all of Wesley's, Graham's, and Laurie's professors been followed-up for the rest of their lives to see if they demonstrated the fruits of conversion to Christ? If so, who did the work? By what standard did he test these thousands of professions of faith?

I just don't believe it. I can't accept those statistics as valid, and in fact, I tend to even doubt they were derived by a very legitimate method of census. I would have to see the research information on this, and know about how it was obtained, before I would even give it the least bit of credibility.

First of all, no one knows the hearts of others on this matter of faith in Christ. A professor sometimes may not look so good at the first, but he proves to be "for real" on down the road. Experiences are not all the same. Spurgeon commented on converts, and he said something to the effect that his best ones often turned out to be those that did not make such a big splash at the outset.

Secondly, a temporary lapse after a profession of faith may just be that -- a temporary lapse. Remember Simon Peter made a strong, noble confession of Christ as the Son of God in Matthew 16:16, and shortly thereafter he was rebuked by Jesus for his offence (16:23), and he later even denied that he knew Jesus (Matthew 26:70). Peter was not lost; he was simply backsliding from his original strong committal. Who knows but what many make a strong committal during a public invitation, and like Peter they backslide for a while? Who knows about such things?

Thirdly, even if a profession is not a case of conversion, it may yet be just another experience which will yet lead to ultimate conversion. It may take more than one blow to crack a rock. It may take more than one hit by the hammer to drive the nail down. So a public profession during an invitation may be just one thing which will work for eventual conversion.

At any rate, those who oppose public invitations for sinners to believe in and confess Christ as Savior don't have a leg to stand on, so far as I am concerned. -- Bob L. Ross

C. H. Spurgeon:

May I ask that everyone here will say "Yes," or "No," to the invitation to give himself up to Christ?

If you will do so, say, "I will." If you will not do so, say deliberately, "I will not."

I wish I could get hold of an undecided man, and taking his hand, could say to him, "Now, you must tell me which it will be." I can imagine some of you would say, "Oh, give me time to consider!" and I would reply, "You have had time to consider. Your hair is getting gray."

In spite of all our entreaties, people say, "Oh, but I do not like to decide so suddenly!" If I asked you whether you would be honest, I hope that you would not take many minutes to answer that. Why, then, should you hesitate so long in giving your adherence to Christ? I am like Abraham's servant; some answer I must have.

But can we rightly press men to decide if we fear that they will answer "No"? I think we may, because, from the nature of the case, no answer means a denial. How many of our hearers have thus for years turned their back upon Christ, by the simple method of giving no answer at all! "We hear what you say, sir," they murmur, "and thank you for saying it;" but, nevertheless, they go out, and go on their way, and forget what manner of men they are. Such a response is a refusal; and it is nonetheless a refusal because you will probably retort, "But I did not say 'No,' sir. Indeed, one of these days I may perhaps say 'Yes.'" But, meanwhile, you reject the proposal, and refuse to give yourself up to the Lord.

The question is, Will you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? The absence of an affirmative answer means, "No, I will not." I am sure that it does in every case. No argument can be raised about that.

But if you will answer me, "No, I will not have Christ; I will not believe on him; I will not become a Christian; I will not leave my old ways; I mean to go on in them;" well, I thank you for the answer, pained as I am, because now we can talk it over. This is better than no response, for now we have something to work upon. An ill answer can be considered, while no answer baffles all our efforts to help you. It is far more hopeful to encounter opposition, than to meet with indifference. It is a great thing, when a ship is at sea, for the captain to know whereabouts he is; and when we meet with those who distinctly reject Christ, we at once know our bearings.

If you say, "No, I am not a Christian, and I do not want to be;" so far you are honest, and I want you now to think it over. Would you like to die in this frame of mind? You may die where you are sitting. Are you wise to come to this determination? Do you think that this is a resolution which you can justify before the judgment-bar of God? You will certainly have to appear there. After death you will rise again, when the trump of the archangel sounds; and, as surely as you are here, you will have to stand before the great white throne, whereon Christ will sit as Judge. How will the resolution which you have now made stand the light of that tremendous day? I pray you, think of it, and I hope that you will alter your decision as many another man has done when he has calmly considered the magnitude of the issues at stake, and the awful result which must come of rejecting him who is now the Savior, but who will one day sit as the Judge.

But we are the more determined to press you for some decision, because an ill answer will set us free to go to others. You see Eliezer says, "If not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left."

Do not suppose that if you refuse Christ, he will lose the effect of his death. "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." If you will not come unto him, others will. If you reject him, he has a people who will accept him, by his almighty grace. O sirs, if you that hear the gospel will not have my Master, we will go and bring in the publicans and harlots, and they shall enter the kingdom of heaven before you! Sons of pious parents, children of Sabbath-schools, if you believe not, you shall be cast into "outer darkness," where shall be "weeping and gnashing of teeth," while the people whom you despise, infidels and profligates, the very scum of society, shall accept the Savior, and live.

Oh, I charge you, think not that your refusal of the gospel invitation will leave any gaps in the ranks of the redeemed! Our Savior, in his parable of the marriage of the king's son, foretold what will happen. The king said to his servants, "The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests."

But I would urge you to yield yourself unto the Lord, that you may be found at the marriage-supper of the Lamb. Do not trifle with eternal matters. If you want to play the fool, do it with counters or with pebbles, but not with your soul, that shall live for ever in bliss or in woe.My importunity with you is strengthened when I think that, perhaps, if you give me the answer straight out, "No, I am not a Christian, and I do not mean to be one," you may, in saying it, see more clearly what a terrible decision you have arrived at. An ill answer may startle you, and ultimately lead you to repent of your folly, and reverse your decision. If you would write down - "I am not a Christian, and I never mean to be one," it might startle you still more. I challenge you to do so; and when it is written, put it over the mantelpiece, and look at it. It will be far better to do that, horrible as it is, than to continue in this state of wicked suspense, indifferent as to whether you are lost or saved, undecided whether you are for Christ or against him, and yet, in your heart of hearts, dead in trespasses and sins.

In this very place, I once urged those who were undecided to go home, and write down, either the word "Saved," or "Lost," and sign their name to the paper. One man, when he got into his house, asked for pen and paper; and when his wife enquired why he wanted it, he said he was going to do what the parson said, and write down "Lost." She refused to fetch him the paper if he was going to do that. So he got it himself, and put down a capital L, when his little girl climbed up in the chair behind him, and said, "No, father, you shan't do that, I'd rather die than you should do that"; and the child's tears fell on his hand as she spoke. What my sermon had failed to do, those tears accomplished; the strong man was bowed, and yielded himself to Christ; and when they got up from their knees in that little room, he took the pen, and changing the L into an S, wrote "Saved." He was saved because he came face to face with the fact that he was lost. His ill answer startled both himself and his child. May God work the like change in you, both for your own sake and also for the sake of your loved ones!

I want to press you for some kind of answer, because, like Eliezer, I have promised my Master to make search for you, and an ill answer will clear me of my oath. If I can get "No," from you as your answer, and am certain that you will not go with me to my Master's Son, I shall be clear. It was so with Abraham's servant; he and his master agreed to that at the first. When men say "No," and entreaties are of no further use, and the preaching of the gospel has no power over them, then we must leave them, and carry the glad tidings to others, just as Paul and Barnabas of old said to the angry Jews at Antioch, "It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."

I beseech you, do not put Christ away from you; and I press you for a definite answer. I say, as Eliezer said, "If ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left."

Now I just want to have a little talk with you over this matter. My dear friend, you are in peril of eternal death. While you are hesitating, life is ebbing. During the past few months, how many of our dear friends have been taken away by influenza, and other causes! This congregation has suffered from sickness, in family after family, as I never knew it suffer before. May you not be taken?

I charge you, therefore, do not act as though you had plenty of time. Possibly you have not another week to live. The clock, as it ticks, seems to me to say, "Now, now, now, now, now, now;" and for some of you there is an alarm in the clock, which, when it runs down, utters this warning, "Now or never, now or never, now or never."After all, the matter that we have in hand is not one that requires great debate.

Whether I will believe the truth or not, should not be a matter of discussion. Whether I will receive the gift of God or not, should not be a thing to be argued about if I am in my right mind. Whether, being lost, I am willing to be saved - whether, having the gospel of eternal life proclaimed to me, I should accept it by faith - well, I need not ask the sages as to what I shall answer, nor need I go to the Law Courts to consult the judges as to my reply. This is a thing so simple that it requires no argument. Who will choose to be damned? Who will refuse eternal life? Surely these are questions that should be decided at once.Waiting and trifling have done you no good hitherto.

The countryman, when he wanted to cross the river, and found it deep, said that he would sit down and wait till the water was all gone by. He waited, but the river was just as deep after all his waiting; and with all your delay, the difficulties in the way of your accepting Christ do not get any less. If you look at the matter rightly, you will see that there are no great difficulties in the way, nor were there ever such obstacles as your imagination pictures.

Another countryman, having to cross Cheapside, one morning, was so confused by the traffic of omnibuses and cabs and foot passengers, that he said he felt sure he could not get across the road, and would wait till the people thinned out a little; but all day long they never did thin out. Unless he had waited till the evening, he would have found little difference in that perpetual stream of hurrying people. O friends, you have waited until you can get "a convenient season" to become a Christian, and after all your delay, the way is not any clearer!

Twenty years ago some of you were as near decision for Christ as you are now. Nay, you seemed nearer. I then thought, "Oh, some of them will soon believe in Jesus, and yield their hearts to him!" But you said then that it was not quite time. Is it time now? Is the day without difficulty any nearer? Is the season any more suitable? Nay, indeed, there is no improvement.

Let me say that, I believe that your waiting has not only done you no good, but has positively done you great harm. There were times when it seemed easy for you to yield to the pressure of the divine Spirit. It certainly is not easier now; indeed, it is more difficult.

I think sometimes God treats men as Benjamin Franklin treated the man who stood loafing in his bookshop, and at last took up a book, and said, "How much is this?"
Franklin replied, "A shilling."
"A shilling?" he said, "a shilling?" and he would not give the price.
After staying about ten minutes, he said: "Come, Mr. Franklin, now what will you take for it?"
Franklin answered, "Two shillings."
"No," he said, "you are joking."
"I am not joking," said Franklin: "the price is two shillings."
The man waited, and sat a while, thinking. "I want the book," he drawled out; "still, I will not give two shillings. What will you take for it?"
Franklin said, "Three shillings."
"Well," the man said, "why do you raise your price?"
To which Franklin responded, "You see, you have wasted so much of my time that I could better have afforded to take one shilling at first than three shillings now."

Sometimes, if men come to Christ at the very first invitation, it is a sweet and easy coming. See how dear young children often yield themselves to Christ, and how peaceful is their entrance into the rest of faith! But when people wait, when they postpone believing, when they violate conscience, when they tread down all the uprising of holy thoughts within them, it becomes much harder for them to trust in Christ than it would have been when he was first preached to them.

I come, therefore, to you again, and say, "If ye will deal kindly and truly with my Master, tell me: and if not, tell me; and tell me now."

"Well," says one, "I am glad you have spoken to us; I will think it over."

No, friend, I do not mean that. I do not want you to think it over. You have had enough of thinking; I pray that God's Spirit may lead you to an immediate decision.

"Well, suppose that we consider it during the week," you say. No, that will not suit either my Master or myself. I want the answer now. I am like a messenger carrying a letter, on which is written, "The bearer will wait for a reply." . . .

If I say to you, "Go home, and think it over all the week," I shall be giving you a week in which to remain in rebellion against God; and I have no right to do that. I shall be giving you a week in which you are to continue an unbeliever; and he that is an unbeliever is in peril of eternal ruin, for "he that believeth not shall be damned." Worse than all, the week may lead to many other weeks; to months, perhaps, and years; perchance to a whole eternity of woe. I cannot give you five minutes.

God the Holy Ghost speaks by me now to souls whom God hath chosen from before the foundation of the world, and he says, "Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." The Holy Ghost says "Today, even today.""Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"

The question comes to you, Will ye be Christ's? "If ye will deal kindly and truly with my Master, tell me: and if not, tell me."

The best answer you can give is in the verses that follow the text. "Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before thee; take her."

Oh I wish some of you would thus respond to my appeal this day! This thing is also from the Lord: it was he who gave me this message; it was he who brought you to hear it. Surely you will not be found fighting against God. Your heart is open to him; he sees the faintest desire that you have toward him. Breathe out your wish now, and say, "My heart is before thee: take it."

"Take my poor heart, and let it be
For ever closed to all but thee!
Seal thou my breast, and let me wear
That pledge of love for ever there."

He will not be slow to accept that which is offered to him. He will take you now, and he will keep you for ever."

"How is it to be done?" says one. The plan is very simple. Jesus Christ took upon himself the sins of all who ever will trust him. Come and rest upon his atoning sacrifice. Give yourself up to him wholly and unreservedly, and he will save you. Take him to be your Savior by the simple act of faith. The pith of the matter is that I, being lost, give myself over to Christ to save me.

I believe that the act of faith was very well set forth in the statement of a poor imbecile. They said that he was an idiot; but I think that he had more real sense than many a man who boasts of his intellect. Some one said to him "John, have you got a soul?"
"No," he said, "I ain't got no soul."
"Why, John, how is that?"
He replied, "I had a soul once, but I lost it, and Jesus Christ found it, so I have just let him keep it."

There is the whole philosophy of salvation. You have lost your soul; Christ has found it. Let him keep it. God bless you! Amen.

This sermon is an urgent appeal to the undecided; and if you are in that condition, I would by this letter press the suit home in the most personal manner. I am a sick man who has narrowly escaped the hand of death, and I feel that the things of eternity ought not to be trifled with. To be saved at the last, our wisdom is to be saved at once. If I had left my soul's matters for a sick bed, I could not have attended to them there, for I was delirious, and the mind could not fix itself sensibly upon any subject. Before the cloud lowers over your mind, give your best attention to the Word of the Lord. I beseech you, dear reader, to do this, for you cannot tell how soon the hour of life may end. It has been life to me to hear of souls saved by God's grace through these sermons, and I am praying the Lord to give me a deep and long draught of this heart-reviving joy, by causing me to hear that this discourse is made to thousands the means of life from the dead. It is a large request, but the Lord has said, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." Thus would I open my mouth in prayer for you, dear reader, and thousands like you. Do you not, in your heart of hearts, desire that the Lord would hear his servant's petition?
Yours to serve as strength returns,
Menton, Nov. 14, 1891

NOTE: Mr. Spurgeon died a short time later on January 31, 1892. This sermon reveals with what compassion he pleaded with, reasoned with, and pressed upon lost souls to come to Christ for salvation -- right up to the door of his own death. Is it any wonder that he had such a great harvest of souls in his ministry, and extending even beyond the grave thru his published works? Even now, there may be souls reading this excerpt, and they will be moved by Spurgeon's plea to decide now to come to Christ for salvation!

For the complete sermon, see:
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 37, Year 1891,
Sermon #2231, page 589.
IF YOU MISSED IT -- You may be interested in reading our article, An Examination of the Alleged Dangers of "Invitations" in which instances of Spurgeon's methods are cited. This can also be sent to you via email upon request:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hybrid Calvinism?

"Hybrid" Calvinism? -- What is it?

From time-to-time, we have "new arrivals" to our Flyswatter blogs who are not familiar with what I prefer to call "Hybrid" Calvinism.
In a nutshell, this term refers to the teaching that "regeneration precedes faith," or the idea that a person is actually"born again before faith."

This idea apparently was a post-seventeenth century development which arose among the Pedobaptist [baby baptizer] theologians as a means to supposedly explain how their "covenant children" were "regenerated" as babies or even before they were physcially born. These supposed "covenant children" of believers were supposedly "born again" as babies before they ever became believers, which believing supposedly comes later in life.

Hybrid Calvinism is a mixture of (1) Creedal Calvinism on the efficient cause (Holy Spirit) in the New Birth, and (2) the non-creedal idea that the "means" of the Word in creating faith is not an inherent necessary element in the New Birth. It became the "Primitve Baptist" or "Hardshell" view of regeneration by a "Direct Operation of the Spirit apart from Means." It is often called the "Spirit alone" theory.

This theory became part of the "ordo salutis" and the idea is traced by some to Francis Turretin.

W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Volume 2, pages 492-494, attributes the distinction between "regeneration" and "conversion" to Turretin, and Shedd adopted this approach. He says:

"The divines of the seventeenth century [Puritans] 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 [Confession] 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. . . ." Shedd then alleges: "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. Turrettin (XV. iv. 13) defines two kinds of conversion, as the term was employed in his day. . . . After thus defining, Turrettin 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. . . ."

Then Shedd says: "We shall adopt this distinction [by Turretin] between regeneration and conversion. . . . Regeneration is a cause; conversion is an effect."

J. I. Packer also contends that the theory arose in "later Reformed theology:" Packer says:

"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:

Berkhof likewise 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 acknowledging that the "ordo salutis" of modern Reformed theology -- which puts "regeneration" prior to faith -- is in fact a hybrid development which arose "later" than the seventeenth century divines (Puritans) who regarded regeneration and conversion as synonymous.

Contrary to Shedd's idea that "regeneration is a cause," non-hybrids hold that regeneration is indeed an "effect" -- that is, regeneration is the New Birth, and the New Birth is an effect of the Holy Spirit's using the Word of God to bring an unconverted person to union with Christ by faith in Christ.

So non-hybrids contend that no one is born again until he has faith "monergistically" effected in him by the Word as the instrumental cause and the Spirit of God as the efficient cause -- as is plainly taught in our Baptist Confession of Faith, and is known as "Effectual Calling." (1689 London Baptist Confession, Article 10).

That is why we say we are "Creedal Calvinists" on the New Birth as opposed to the modern "Reformed" Hybrid Calvinism of the Pedobaptist "ordo salutis" variety. While we strongly affirm that the Holy Spirit works in a lost person before he actually becomes a believer, this preliminary work or influence does not constitute the New Birth or regeneration.

As Dr. B. H. Carroll has said, "regeneration cannot be complete without faith." [An Interpretation of the English Bible, Volume 10, pages 293, 294].

This is why we disavow so much of what passes today as "Calvinism." It is not a proper representation of Creedal views, but has derived as a hybrid "development" under the label of the "ordo salutis." One of the modern blogging "Calvinists" very well expresses the post-creedal theology which is held by many in the "Reformed" camp:

"The language with respect to the concept of 'regeneration' has been refined since 1646. It isn't as if we stopped doing theology in the 17th century." (Gene Bridges, Pyromaniacs blog of Nov. 8, 2008).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spurgeon's Forgotten Sermons

A Second Volume of Unpublished Sermons
by C. H. Spurgeon Available Soon

Another collection of C. H. Spurgeon's sermons -- which do not appear in the original New Park Street Pulpit and Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit -- will be available from us in late October or early November 2010 ($30 plus $4 shipping).

We are accepting orders now.

C. H. Spurgeon's Forgotten Early Sermons is the title of the book and it will consist of 28 sermons which first appeared in the monthly magazine The Sword and the Trowel Magazine periodically after Spurgeon's death.

The sermons have been taken from the magazine and compiled in book form by Terence Peter Crosby for the British publisher, Day One. Dr. Crosby also was the compiler of the book of Spurgeon's sermons entitled, C. H. Spurgeon's Sermons Beyond Volume 63 (also available now from us for $40.00 plus $4 shipping).

Place your order now for either or both of these books of hitherto unpublished sermons:

___ C. H. Spurgeon's Forgotten Early Sermons ($30 plus $4 shipping), available late October.

___ C. H. Spurgeon's Sermons Beyond Volume 63 ($40 plus $4 shipping), available now.

Order by: __ Mail; __ Fax; __ Phone; __ Email
All Credit Cards accepted.
Mail: Pilgrim Publications, Box 66, Pasadena, TX 77501
Phone: (713) 477-4261; (713) 477-2329
Fax: (713) 477-7561

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Founders' Founder on Altar Calls

Are Altar Calls Justified by the
Founder of the Founders,
Ernest Reisinger?

Although the creator of the Founders Ministries, Ernest Reisinger, says in his book on "Worship" that "the invitation system has no place in the church that seeks to be biblical" (page 110), I am strongly inclined to believe that Ernest's rather broad exposition of the "regulative principle" (page 11) at least contradicts the deprecation of the normal use Baptists make of altar calls or invitations.

In fact, while Ernest's conclusions about "the invitation system" may hold true in any particular case where an altar call is misused and made to mean something which violates the truth of the Gospel, yet in regard to what I observe to be the normal practice in Baptist churches, I believe Ernest concedes enough to actually justify the normal Baptist altar call.

Yes, this may come as a surprise to some of the anti-invitationists, but what Ernest says in this book appears to be quite sufficient to legitimatize the use of invitations (or altar calls) -- at least as they are used in most Gospel-preaching Baptist churches with which I am acquainted. Notice the concessions, all of which are supportive of the use of altar calls --

1. Ernest says there is nothing "intrinsically evil" involved in altar calls (page 150).

2. Ernest approves of using an altar call or invitation as a "way" whereby a person can express his desire for baptism (page 150).

He says, "There is no valid reason why it cannot be done in response to an invitation from the pastor. Those who believe themselves to be recipients of saving grace can surely be invited to come forward and present themselves as candidates for baptism" (pages 150, 151).3.

3. Ernest says that invitations are neither "commanded" nor "forbidden" (page 151).

Consequently, invitations neither add to nor take from anything revealed in the Word of God.

4. Ernest approves of "inviting hearers to respond to the gospel message by faith and repentance" (page 90).

He says that lost people "should be invited to come to Christ" and this should be done "before, during, and AFTER the sermon. They should be invited to faith and repentance before, during, and after the worship service. They should be invited to come to Christ," he says, "AT WHATEVER TIME, WHEREVER THEY ARE. Today is the day of salvation! . . . We believe in GIVING AN INVITATION to respond to the gospel message in faith and repentance" (page 91).

5. Ernest says that "God commands people EVERYWHERE to believe the gospel" (page 92).

This would of course include those who hear the Gospel preached in a church or evangelistic service, and who are encouraged by the preacher to immediately obey the Gospel by believing it, and coming forward to confess their faith in Christ as Saviour.

6. Ernest implies that millions have been saved where invitations were used.

His book says there are 15.8 million Southern Baptists and "most of these" became church members "by walking down an aisle" (page 102). Of these 15.8 million members, according to Ernest's calculation 32.7 percent attend worship services. Since attendance and non-attendance of worship services seems to be regarded by Ernest as an indicator or mark of a person's spiritual state, this would imply that millions who responded to invitations in Southern Baptist churches and attend church services are presumably saved people -- according to Ernest's own figures.

7. Ernest says, "As long as the implication is eliminated that coming forward is required for salvation, the altar call can serve a useful and appropriate purpose" (page 151).

8. Ernest says that Scriputral support "does not have to be direct to be true" (page 33).

He cites the "trinity" as an example, noting that the word "trinity" does not occur in the Bible. He says that evidence supporting a matter "is not subject to simple proof-texting" (pages 33, 34).

In other words, we do not have to have a "prooftext" which specifically names an item in order for it to be approved, according to the "regulative principle."

I think that at least these eight items are sufficient to justify the use of altar calls, inviting an unsaved person to believe on Christ and come forward to profess his faith.

The only valid objection to altar calls that Ernest appears to have is his objection to their being presented as a "requirement for salvation." I personally have never heard an invitation in which that requirement was set forth.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spurgeon's Complete Sermons Online


Praise the Lord!

We rejoice to receive the following email from Brother Emmett O'Donnell informing us that he has put the final volume 63 of C. H. Spurgeon's 63-volume New Park Street Pulpit and Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (1855-1917] on the Internet, thus making the complete set of sermons available at this link:

Here is Brother Emmett's email updating us on the work he undertook nearly ten years ago and now has finally completed:

July 26, 2010

Brother Bob,

Well my dear Brother and friend, just short of 10 years by five days or so, our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, in me has completed modernizing the 63-Volume set of Brother Spurgeon's sermons.

It would have taken much longer, I am sure, if you had not encouraged me so, and so I want to praise God for your faithfulness in this project.

Already a few friends in Kerrville have asked me, "What next?"

Well, all during the project I have prayed that our Lord would raise up someone who would correct all my errors. It seems the Holy Spirit is burdening me to do it and so I will, but would ask anyone who may read this letter to pray about working with me. They could contact me by clicking on the "Contact Us" link on the first page of our site:


I have a few ideas about how we might do this. I have committed to grading lessons for Mount Zion Bible Institute. These are lessons sent into prisons and they always need graders. Anyone interested can contact Mount Zion by phone: 850-438-1037,

or may write:

Mount Zion Bible Institute, 2603 West Wright Street, Pensacola, FL 32505 USA

Thank you, Brother, for all your help. Know that I am praying for Brother Mike.

Brother Emmett O'Donnell

The goal of getting Spurgeon's sermons on the Internet actually had it roots in the 1990s when Dr. Philip Traynor of Alabama assumed the task and expense of scanning Spurgeon's sermons into ASCII Text. I don't exactly know the chain of events thereafter, as Dr. Traynor says he turned the materials over to some other sources. These sermons were later put onto CD-ROM by Ages Software, and not long thereafter, Brother O'Donnell was lead of the Lord to use both the CD-ROM and the actual 63 printed volumes to do the long and demanding computer work of getting the sermons into good shape for committing them to a website.

This is quite a remarkable and wonderful achievement. It is even all the more impressive when we consider the physical handicap under which Brother O'Donnell has had to work. I stand in awe of the Lord's wonderful grace in His use of Brother Emmett in view of how he has persevered despite the difficulties. Here is something I wrote about this in an article over a year ago:

Awhile back, I asked Brother O'Donnell to give me an account of his physical state, inasmuch as I knew him to be less than physically "normal" in the use of his bodily parts due to a past injury. Here is what he wrote:

April 18, 2009

Brother Bob,

On August 3, 1981, about seven years before the Lord saved me, He chastised me as I was attempting my second try at “body surfing” in Hawaii. He arranged for a wave to twist my neck so that I was totally paralyzed from my shoulders down. When I left the hospital (SW Memorial) in late February, 1982, I was considered by the medical profession to have “paraplegia” which means I had the partial loss of all my limbs. Many people think I had a stroke because my right side is severely paralyzed, but my right is not. I was 39 at the time — I’ll be 68 in November [2009]. I improved to the point where I was walking with a cane—all in our Lord’s purpose. By 1996 numerous falls necessitated I walk with a walker which I use now in the house. If we go out, which is quite a bit, I use a power chair to get around. With equipment, I am able to drive — our last trip of over 6,500 miles was last summer.The Lord is keeping me in line with helicopter rides (one) to TexSan Heart Hospital in late March. I have problems with my heart and a few other things. I seem to be OK, heart-wise, now — after about $20,000 for the ride and the care. But our Lord has provided. I can still type using my right middle finger and three fingers on my left hand and its thumb, though you have no idea how many errors I made in this letter — the Lord provided Spell-check, so that is between Him and me. Thank you for your kind comments.

I will also again remind you that Brother Emmett was neither solicited to do this work nor was he paid to do it; it has strictly been a work the Lord laid on his heart to do, and he has never asked for any reward for doing it. His reward is the joy he receives from the many thousands of "hits" which his website receives, and will yet receive in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

His works will follow [continue] on earth, though he passes on to be with the Lord and Spurgeon in Heaven! (Revelation 14:13).

To access all of Spurgeon's sermons, go to

Monday, July 26, 2010

Altar Call: Alleged "Dangers"

Alleged Dangers of the Public Invitation
-- or What Some Refer to as the "Altar Call"

Those who have been on my email list for a while may remember a series of articles I wrote a few years ago which analyzed several of the writings which oppose public invitations in church. Some of these articles are online at Select Writings of Bob Ross.

There is a whole passel of anti-inivitation items on the Internet, and after observing so much of this repetitious legerdemain, I carefully examined the ones by Fred Zaspel, Darryl Erkel, Jim Ehrhard, Ernest Reisinger, Carey Hardy, Jim Eliff, Michael Spencer, plus the writings by Iain Murray and Errol Hulse, and responded to all of the arguments which seemed to be the most pertinent to their advocates.

Certainly, the influence of Pedobaptist "Reformed" writer, Iain Murray, is observable in most (if not all) of these writers. Due to Murray's influence on Ernest Reisinger, the founder of the Founders Ministries, Murray is the virtual "father" of the Founders, and the Founders, such as Reisinger, Pastor Tom Ascol, and Board member Dr. Tom Nettles, have been among the most outspoken opponents of the use of public invitations. (Paradoxically, the wealthy gentleman who bankrolled the Banner of Truth was converted at an "altar.")

Prior to the arrival of Pedobaptist Murray and his Banner of Truth booklet, The Invitation System, one seldom heard among Baptists the type of opposition which called for the abandonment of using public invitations. Of course, the Pedobaptists (baby baptizers) have little use for invitations since they allege that the "elect" born into their families are usually "regenerated" in early infancy or perhaps even before they are born. This is the method by which the Pedobaptists replenish their membership rolls. Most of the current crop of anti-invitationists among Baptists, however, made professions faith in Christ in services where public invitations were given after the sermons.

I have noticed over the past 50 years or so that several Baptist churches which followed Murray in opposing the use of invitations have generally failed to grow, have remained small in number, and some have even ceased to exist. Even Iain Murray has bemoaned the lack of evangelism and growth on the part of those he and other anti-invitationists have influenced.

I think this lack of evangelism and opposition to the use of public invitations are related. There appears to be a lack of passion on the part of those who oppose using invitations to urge upon lost sinners the need for an immediate faith response to the Gospel message. Spurgeon's passion for winning souls lead him to press for an immediate decision. This was due to his dominant soul-winning urgency to make converts to Christ. (An Urgent Request for an Immediate Answer, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 37, #2232).

Here is one of my past articles replying to objections to invitations:


I recall reading in the works of Andrew Fuller where someone had questioned him about his quoting John 3:16, inasmuch as it is so often used by Arminians. Fuller replied to the effect that he did not know that a verse as Scripture was any worse off for having been quoted by an Arminian.

I am of the opinion that the same attitude may be held with regard to the use of "invitations" in church services. To reject all forms of using public invitations to the lost is going just a bit too far.

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

Much of the thinking on the subject seems to have been borrowed -- a great deal of it apparently from Mr. Iain Murray, a Pedobaptist long associated with the Banner of Truth Trust in Scotland. I have written articles replying to Mr. Murray's arguments, which seemingly are prized by some as the most influential of all. I also have written articles which discuss the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of C. H. Spurgeon's practices. Spurgeon is often cited as if he opposed invitations, which is a misunderstanding on the matter.

It seems that at the root of anti-invitation thesis is the post-seventeenth century non-creedal theory advocated by some Pedobaptist theologians that the New Birth takes place prior to the Holy Spirit's creating faith by the instrumentality of the Gospel, or Word. This theory is usually cited as a basis for objecting to calling on sinners to immediately act in some way in acknowledging Christ as Lord and Savior, such as a public invitation circumstance.

The writers that I have read have obviously been greatly influenced by the anti-invitation writings of the Pedobaptists who question "sudden conversions." The Pedobaptists primarily get most of their "converts" and church members in infancy, alleging that infants inherit the blessings of regeneration and the right to church membership by virtue of the supposed "covenant" relationship that their believing parents have with God. According to the Pedobaptist theory, regeneration can be assumed to take place in the infant child before baptism, at baptism, and soon after baptism. Some Baptists who call themselves "Reformed" in theology -- such as the Reformed Baptists and Southern Baptists in the Founders Ministries fellowship -- do not go that far with the Pedobaptists on infants, nevertheless they appear to have been influenced to follow the Pedobaptists such as Mr. Murray in opposition to public invitations.

Here is a summary of some of the arguments used:

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

The argument developed from this proposition is that the invitation is wrong because it was not something done by Jesus and the apostles. Frankly, if we have to use this as the guideline for what we today do in religious matters, I fear to think to what lengths it would lead us! Did Jesus pastor the First Church of the Lord, located at the corner of Jeremiah Avenue and Elijah Street? Did the apostles build church buildings and furnish them with pews, carpeted floors, indoor heated baptistries, choirs, organs, and pianos? Did they a schedule of services on Sunday, Wednesday, or some other day? Did they conduct Bible coanferences and seminars? Wonder if this "patternism" approach would allow for a website?

The same writer later says, "It is always dangerous to promote a practice which cannot be substantiated from the Word of God." And later, "it violates the New Testament pattern of evangelism."

This is the old worn-out "patternism" argument by which just about anything and everything can be proven to be wrong other than what the "patternist" himself will allow as being "scriptural." Campbellites, Hardshells, and Landmarkers have all erected their kingdoms on the basis of "patternism."

Strange, however, the "patterns" don't ever seem to be the same!

Among other things, "patternism" has been used against passing the offering plate, using communion cups and breadplates, indoor baptistries, musical instruments, using a "name" for the church, having Sunday School, revival meetings, mission boards, salaried pastors, having a single pastor, deacon boards, finance committees, incorporation of the church, church kitchens, fellowship halls, and a score or more of other such things. It smacks as a form of legalism, binding where the Word of God does not bind.

Wherever the Gospel is preached, we believe that listeners should be called upon to accept it and confess it before men, right on the spot. The public invitation, used for years by Baptists, is as good a method as any for this to be done. There must be some method for accommodating initial professions of faith, and the Bible does not standardize any particular format.

2. "The practice of publicly inviting people to come forward at the conclusion of a Gospel sermon, did not begin until the time of the 19th century revivalist, Charles G. Finney (1792-1895), who was probably the first to employ this method."

This is not the case, but even if this were a fact, it would not militate against invitations. Finney was a Presbyterian who evidently came to realize that Presbyterians had not been "regenerated" in infancy, and so he sought to bring them to a true conversion. After awhile, he started to use the "anxious seat" as a means of dealing with concerned souls --which differs considerably from the public invitation as practiced by most Baptists. If Finney's method does not meet with your approval, you can perhaps blame the super-duper Calvinistic Presbyterians whose spiritual condition accounts for him.

There have been several "firsts" for practices that are commonly used today without much question as to their validity and utility. Spurgeon was one of the first, if not the first, to have a Pastors College for preachers without educational advantages (Bible Institute style). William Carey was among the first to instigate foreign missions. Sunday Schools, associations of churches, mission societies, Bible translation societies, seminaries, Bible colleges, hymnals, degreed ministers, and many other practices had beginnings with someone this side of the apostolic period. "Patternism" would exclude all of these other than what the "patternist" would allow.

3. "While incredible numbers of people are alleged to have been saved through the invitation system, the facts do not really support this."

And again, "The invitation system tends to produce spurious converts."

False professions are not confined to some who responded to public invitations. Baptism and church membership have their share of false professions, too.

No one knows who is saved, except the Lord, not even in the best of circumstances. Some have been known to appear awfully good at the first, but later on they manifested another appearance. So, too, some have not looked very good at the first, but proved to be sound converts in the long haul.

Sometimes, alleged "percentages" of converts have been bandied about as if to prove invitations are wrong. If the truth were known, it seems reasonable that such statistics are contrived, and at best based on a very limited census procedure.

Paul seemingly had a great acceptance of the Gospel he preached in Galatia, but sometime later he indicated he had some serious reservations about them (Galatians 3). We can always expect some spurious professions, but they do not invalidate the valid ones.

Furthermore, what is often passed off as "fact" is based on imperfect subjective judgment and analysis, for no one can actually, factually, and certainly know how many were or were not valid professions of faith. So far as I have read, the reported "follow-ups" are based on whether the parties went on to be baptized or unite with churches within a certain span of time, and that is not really determinative of the validity of a profession of faith.

4. "Evangelists who have most used and popularized the invitation system have not been marked as particularly keen theologians."

D. L. Moody is cited by the writer as an example. I have read quite a bit from Mr. Moody, and for an untutored man, the basic principles of his preaching were sound. He was certainly approved by C. H. Spurgeon who had him preach at the Metropolitan Tabernacle and Spurgeon also preached in defense of Mr. Moody in a sermon entitled, Messengers Moody and Sankey Defended (MTP, #1239).

Furthermore, Moody said he read everything he could find that Spurgeon ever published, and that might have been a much better theological education than many with "Reformed" seminary degrees have received in our time. Moody also founded a Bible Institute (inspired by Spurgeon's model) and a publishing company (also inspired by Spurgeon's Colportage work) which have been quite a blessing in the dissemination of conservative biblical faith and practice.

I myself was converted under the ministry of Eddie Martin, an evangelist who attended Moody Bible Institute.

5. "How often do we hear at modern Gospel crusades a serious exposition of the Scriptures or a clear explanation of what took place at Calvary?"

The best sermon I recall ever hearing on the subject of Jesus Christ as the Son of God was delivered by evangelist Billy Graham which I heard on television a few years ago around Christmas time. And I have not heard a better sermon on that subject since.

6. "Although Spurgeon proclaimed the Gospel to thousands weekly, he sensed no necessity to urge lost sinners to come forward . . ."

We have discussed Spurgeon a few times in the past, and this representation of his practice is not accurate. Spurgeon liked to see immediate responses, as we have demonstrated before.

He said, "I should think there is no condition of gentleness, or of obscurity, or of poverty, or of sorrow, which should prevent anybody from making an open confession of allegiance to God when faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has been exercised. If that is your experience, my dear friend, then whoever you may be, you will find an opportunity, SOMEWHERE OR OTHER, of declaring that you are on the Lord's side. I am glad that all candidates for membership in our church make their confession of faith at our church-meetings. I have been told that such an ordeal must keep a great many from joining us; yet I notice that, where there is no such ordeal, they often have very few members, but here are we with five thousand six hundred, or thereabouts, in church-fellowship, and very seldom, if ever, finding anybody kept back by having to make an OPEN CONFESSION of faith in Christ. It does the man, the woman, the boy, or the girl, whoever it is, so much good for once, at least, to say right out straight, 'I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am not ashamed of it,' that I do not think we shall ever deviate from our custom. I have also noticed that, when people have once confessed Christ before men, they are very apt to do it again somewhere else; and they thus acquire a kind of boldness and outspokenness upon religious matters, and a holy courage as followers of Christ, which more than make up for any self-denial and trembling which the effort may have cost them" (MTP, Volume 46, 1900 page 289).

He also said, "I believe that it is a great help in bringing people to decision when Mr. Moody asks those to stand up who wish to be prayed for. Anything that tends to separate you from the ungodly around you, is good for you." (MTP, 1897, page 516).

7. "The invitation system tends to equate the act of coming forward with salvation." Also, the writer complains, "The invitation system gives assurance to people who may not yet be converted." And further, "The invitation system seeks to condition people for a response through the use of such externals as uplifting music, dynamic personalities, and a charged or emotional atmosphere. The problem with this is that it tends to provoke a response which is based on factors other than the truth of the Gospel."

Whatever real or imagined aberrations and errors attributed to invitations by some critics does not warrant dispensing with the practice itself, no more than error with regard to the purpose or mode of baptism means we should dispense with baptizing. There is error and abuse oftentimes associated with every item of faith and practice, but that does not warrant that we quit teaching and practicing that which is the truth.

Those who are faithful to the Gospel message will most likely not be guilty of the type of aberrations which are specified by the critics.

8. "If they are regenerated and granted faith to believe the Gospel (Acts 18:27; Philippians 1:29), there is no further need to prompt them to come forward."

But the Scripture shows that confession of faith is to follow repentance and faith, and then baptism and church membership. In some manner, the believer is to "come forward" to make that confession, be baptized, and be received into the church.

To quote Spurgeon again, "Tell it out then, tell it out, you who have been lately converted, do not hide your light under a bushel." "C. H. Spurgeon earnestly exhorted those who had accepted Christ as their Savior to COME FORWARD amongst his people and avow their attachment to his person and name. Words of kindly encouragement and of loving persuasiveness, were addressed to the timid and retiring ones, who feared to avow themselves to be the Lord's, lest they should fall back into sin and dishonor his name. This was followed by an appeal to those who had confessed the name of Jesus -- an appeal of so stirring and searching a nature, that many must have felt constrained to say, 'Lord what wilt thou have me to do?'" (The Sword and the Trowel, 1865, page 70).

9. "The invitation system tends to attach an undue importance on numbers."

I have yet to see an anti-invitation church which was in any danger from attaching "undue importance to numbers." They may have reason to be concerned for the lack of numbers, and the decline in numbers, but not for the abundance of numbers. The anti-invitation churches I have observed tend to be lacking in numbers of professions of faith.

10 . "The modern invitation method implies that sinners have the power inherently to believe on Christ any time they so choose."

The fact is, men must and do make a "choice" once they hear the Gospel. It is a consequence of hearing the Word and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that one is moved to make a choice to come to Christ. They either choose for Christ, or choose against Him, in one form or another. And if they have the liberty of mind, heart, and will to believe in Christ, as the Word is blessed to them by the Holy Spirit, why should they not be encouraged on the spot to make known the choice they have been blessed to make?

Spurgeon, preaching on Joshua 24:15, DECISION ILLUSTRATED BY THE CASE OF JOSHUA, exhorted his hearers:

"That resolve on the part of Joshua was openly declared. I want to come straight home to some of you here who have said in your hearts, 'Yes, we will serve the Lord,' but you have never yet declared your allegiance, for you have thought it quite enough to promise in secret. Does not Joshua's outspoken vow make you blush? You are espoused to Christ, you say, but will there never be an open marriage? Will you never take Him publicly before the eyes of men to be your Lord and Husband forever and ever? Does Jesus agree to secret nuptials? Can such a thing be done in a corner? Of old the candle was put on a candlestick; is it now to be put under a bushel? You say you are His soldier; will you never put on your Prince's uniform? Shall your Captain's colors never adorn you? Will you never come forward and take your Commander's weapon in your hand and march at His bidding to the fight? . . . I long to drive you to a decision! If God is God, serve Him! If Baal is God, serve him! O, may the Spirit of God lead you to decide for God and His Christ this very moment and He shall have the praise forever! Amen." (MTP, Volume 21, #1229).

These objections rather summarize the anti-invitationist's point of view against invitations. But I suspect the real root of his complaints is revealed in the following words: "So long as today's church continues to wallow in the mire of semi-Pelagian error, turning its nose against Calvinistic soteriology, the invitation system will remain. But so will our ignorance, superficial holiness, and general disdain for biblical theology."
What this probably translates to mean is, in my opinion, that super-duper Calvinism of the "steroid" variety borrowed from Pedobaptist theologians is what must be believed and practiced in order to have a valid evangelism. If that is the case, then it makes one wonder how it is that so many of our modern Calvinists say they were brought to Christ under ministries that either were not Calvinistic, or were even "rank Arminians"?

Why can't Calvinists, who say they are preaching the pure Word of God, somehow work it in as a "sixth" point that it is OK to invite those who hear the Gospel and accept it to immediately come forward and confess Christ as Lord and Saviour? -- Bob L. Ross

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Altar Calls vs No Altar Calls

Differences Between Reformed and Southern Baptist Churches: Altar Calls vs No Altar Calls

A Southern Baptist pastor, Les Puryear, has recently been stirring the nest of some of the "Reformed" brethren among Southern Baptists.

One of the issues cited by Les as distinguishing traditional Baptists and those who are calling themselves "Reformed" is the use of the public invitation, sometimes referred to by some as the "altar call."

We have written extensively about "Reformed" objections to invitations, some of the articles being online at this link. We have commented on perhaps every concevable objection offered by the "Reformed" or by any others who oppose giving a public invitation as practiced by traditional Baptists of the past and present.

One of Reformed objections offered to Les' article is the notion that baptism constitutes one's confession, such as the following by James W. Galyon:

"How does somebody publicly acknowledge faith in Christ in my home church? Through baptism, just like they did in the NT."

I dealt with this error about three years ago in an email article, but it was not posted on the blog. Therefore, I offering this article to refute the idea that "baptism constitutes one's confession."

Perhaps the primary reason the Reformed Pedobaptists (Presbyterians) oppose public invitations is because of their doctrine about the supposed "regeneration" of infants born to Christian parents. According the Reformed, children born to Christian parents are "elect" or "covenant children," and they inherit the covenant blessing of regeneration (new birth). Supposedly, such "elect children" get regenerated (born again) very early, perhaps even before they are born, according to John Frame and R. C. Sproul. With this type of doctrine, it is easily understood why the Pedobaptists would have little to no use for public invitations.


By Bob L. Ross

I recently ordered and read the book entitled, Ernest Reisinger, A Biography, by Geoffrey Thomas, published by the Banner of Truth. Brother Reisinger is perhaps best known as the primary person who was instrumental in founding the "Founders Ministries" in the 1980s, now headed by Pastor Tom Ascol of Cape Coral, Florida.

The Founders Ministries maintains that its primary purpose is to promote the "Doctrines of Grace," but in our estimation it promotes a "hybrid" form of "Calvinism" which is more in line with post-17th century Presbyterianism than with the historic Confessions of Faith.

Although for years I had known the late Brother Reisinger [1919-2004] since first meeting him in Carlisle, Pennsylvania at the first Grace Bible Conference at Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in the mid-1960s, and had met him a few times thereafter, I had never heard or come across any detailed account of his conversion. I have not even been able to find such an account on the Founders's website.

The account related in this book, however, is rather detailed, and it immediately became of particular interest to me in view of the present negative attitude of the Founders Ministries in regard to certain evangelistic methodology, such as invitations, "the sinner's prayer," and related efforts to bring the lost to Christ. Reisinger's actual conversion experience seems to considerably contrast to the current opposition of the Founders to certain evangelistic methods.

On the whole, I have observed that the Founders Ministries criticizes the use of certain methods which they consider "Arminian," yet this biography paradoxically relates how Reisinger was brought to Christ in relation to the use of such methods.

According to this biography, Ernest's salvation experience culminated in his praying "the prayer of the publican of whom Jesus spoke in the gospel, 'God be merciful to me a sinner'" (page 20), which is quite inconsistent with what is advocated by the Founders.

According to this biography, a Christian & Missionary Alliance layman named Elmer Albright sought Ernest's conversion, and consistently and frequently witnessed to Ernest over a period of time, prayed for him, and encouraged him to attend the C&MA church. (C&MA is a theologically "Arminian" denomination, founded by A. B. Simpson in the 1880s. Notable writer, A. W. Tozer, belonged to the C&MA).

In due course of time, this layman's witnessing efforts began to bear results. Ernest did agree to attend the C&MA church and began to experience conviction for his lost condition. After a subsequent visit to his home by Christian witnesses, Ernest determined that "settling this matter was more important than going to work," and that is what he set out to do.

On pages 19, 20, the book says:

"Ernest Reisinger listened earnestly and intently, and they prayed with him before leaving and gave him some leaflets to read. . . . He stayed home and read the leaflets his friends from the Sunday School had brought him. . . . Then he began to open the Bible, turning over pages at random. . . . He could not find how to be saved. . . . Then eventually he came across a little piece of paper tucked between two pages. It was a tract, and written boldly on the cover were the words, 'What Must I Do to be Saved?' The tract told him that he had sinned against God and that he would get nowhere unless he acknowledged that to him.

"Ernest C. Reisinger knelt down in his living room and prayed the prayer of the publican of whom Jesus spoke in the gospel, 'God be merciful to me a sinner.'

"The tract then directed him to John chapter 5, verse 24. There he read these words, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death to life.' As the words in all their simplicity and hope registered in his mind and affections, Ernie's heart was flooded with the assurance that Christ was now his Lord; he sat weeping before the Bible. On that day, through true repentance for his sins, and by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Reisinger knew he had met the God of grace."

Sometime not long aferwards, Reisinger went to a Salvation Army service and there "first bore testimony to his new life in Christ."

Later, since the Salvation Army did not practice baptism, Reisinger conferred with the pastor of a Southern Baptist church and was baptized in the First Baptist Church of Havre de Grace, Maryland (page 20).

So Reisinger bore his "first testimony" of faith in Christ at a Salvation Army meeting, and later he was baptized at the FBC in Havre de Grace, Maryland. This is the usual Baptist order of (1) Confession of faith, and (2) Baptism follows Confession.

What was rather striking to me about this experience of Ernest Reisinger is how the Founders Ministries has since adopted the teaching of pedobaptist Iain Murray that baptism itself is the "confession" (The Invitation System, page 9). While it is true that baptism is a means of showing identity with Christ, Baptists believe that Confession of Faith is a prerequisite to being baptized. This is what Ernest Reisinger did in his experience -- he confessed before being baptized; he did not substitute baptism for confession.

However, TOM NETTLES, a Founders Ministries board member, and a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, advocates the pedobaptist theory put forth by Murray in Murray's anti-invitation booklet, which contends that baptism itself is one's confession. Nettles asserts this fallacy in his book, By His Grace, and for His Glory (pages 421, 422, edition of 2002).

The idea that baptism is the believer's initial confession is wrong for the simple reason that one must make a confession of faith in Christ before he is even qualified for baptism which is based on that profession. The Ethiopian eunuch, for instance, confessed his faith in Christ before Philip baptized him (Acts 8:35-38). The Reformed Presbyterian pedobaptists (baby baptizers) have it backwards: they baptize babies who don't have any faith to confess, add the babies to the church membership roll, and hope that the babies will grow up and confess Christ later.

It is unfortunate that Ernest Reisinger fell under the influence of the baby baptizers such as Iain Murray later in his life, and adopted too much of the pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinism which has permeated and distorted the Founders Ministries. In fact, the biography relates that a church Reisinger later pastored in North Pompano Beach, Florida was divided and split over issues related to some of the Presbyterianism which Reisinger imbibed from pedobaptists such as Iain Murray (pages 196, 197). I understand that there is nothing left of this church today. See this link:


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Reformed" & "Truly Reformed"

The "Reformed" and "Truly Reformed"

As a Baptist, I have often been amused by the use of the term "Reformed" and even more amused when I see the term "Truly Reformed." This is even more amusing when I see or hear it from a Baptist.

Those terms actually belong to the Pedobaptists (baby sprinklers), and up until a few years ago, you never heard Baptists using them. In fact, when I became a Christian in 1953, there were no "Reformed" Baptist people in the city or state . . . at least that I knew of. That term, I later found, had been used by the Baptist apostates who became Campbellites, following Alexander Campbell in his "Reformation Movement" of the early 1800's. The term was never used by any Baptists of that time other than those who went off into Campbellism.

Then in the 1960s, with the coming of "Banner of Truth" publications, it seemed that "Reformed" began to pop-up on occasion among some Calvinistic Baptists. I even knew a Baptist church or two which added the word in their church name. I recall a book written by Kenneth Good called "Are Baptists Reformed?" It was a "new thing" for Baptists to say they were "Reformed." A lot of explaining had to be done. [There is relatively good history by Mark Sidwell about "Reformed Baptists" groups at this link: The Reformed Baptists.]

To my knowledge, the word was a relatively modern Pedobaptist creation. It was never applied by Baptists to themselves, and I don't recall that it was used by the Puritans. I never found C. H. Spurgeon referring to himself as "Reformed," although there are some web sites today identifying Spurgeon as "Reformed." Just because Spurgeon held some theological views which may also be held by the Pedobaptists does not make him "Reformed."

Now in more recent times we have often come upon another word being added to it -- "Truly Reformed." It seems that "Reformed" is not quite good enough, so they tack on "Truly." That seems to help somehow certify that one is "truly" Reformed. You can prowl around some of the "Reformed" web sites and see what they are defining as being "Truly Reformed." Of course, those using that term to apply to themselves are obviously the "standard" of what is "Truly Reformed."

Nathan Finn, who teaches at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, while he goes along with using the word "Reformed" of some Baptists, nevertheless admits the following;

"It is fair to say, from a historical standpoint, that Reformed Baptists are not Reformed in the fully historic sense of the term because they embrace a Free Church ecclesiology and credobaptism. If there were to be a contest to demonstrate which side can “out-Reform” the other (in terms of embracing historic Reformed distinctives), and if history were the judge, the pedobaptists would win, no question."

Here we are simply Baptists. Not "Reformed" and not "Truly Reformed." We leave those terms with the Pedobaptists who contrived them. As our web site name indicates, we "swat" some of the "Reformed" ideas which were contrived by the Pedobaptists -- whether "Reformed" or "Truly Reformed" -- some of the ideas even adopted by some professing Baptists who call themselves "Reformed."

One church I knew that added "Reformed" to their name later dropped it. I didn't ask "Why?" but I assume that it was too burdensome -- always having to explain what is meant by "Reformed" or maybe even "Truly Reformed" -- like some web sites seem to think they have to explain who qualifies as "Truly Reformed." Maybe before long we will be reading about the "Really Truly Reformed." Where will it all end?

BTW, some entrepreneurs are taking monetary advantage of the situtation. You can get a T-Shirt identifying yourself as "Truly Reformed" for just $22.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Spurgeon and Altar Calls

Spurgeon's "Inquiry Room" -- Forerunner
to the Public Invitation or Altar Call

Since there are many "anti-invitationists" using the Internet for bogging and web sites, I have noticed a number of articles which repeat the anti-invitationism arguments of Pedobaptist ministers such as the late Martyn Lloyd Jones and his one-time assistant, Iain Murray.

The latest blog I have seen to use Pedobaptist Lloyd-Jones against invitations is Pastor Wade Burleson of Enid, Oklahoma, whom we have had occasion to refute on some matters in the past. What Bro. Burleson fails to point out, however, is that Reformed Pedobaptists believe elect babies get "regenerated" in infancy, if not even before they are born, so Pedobaptists seldom would have any use for public invitations when lost sinners are called upon to accept (or believe on) Christ as Saviour and "come forward" to make a public profession of faith. This is the circumstance in which many, if not most, Baptists have been brought to Christ, according to my observation. In fact, many of those who later opposed inivitations admit that they were saved in just such a circumstance as the public invitation or what some call "the altar call."

Often, misleading information about C. H. Spurgeon on the "inquiry room" and invitations is given, especially by Iain Murray and those who follow his writings, as if to add some "weight" to anti-invitationism. While it is true that C. H. Spurgeon did indeed advise against the abusive use of the "inquiry room," as noted by Murray in some writings, there is no source in Spurgeon's sermons and writings which indicate that he opposed its proper use.

No, Spurgeon did not oppose the use of the "inquiry room," for he used it himself. He obviously simply wanted to protect against the abuses of it.

Pedo-regenerationist Murray, the "father" of most of the modern anti-invitationalism, was perhaps the first in our time to express criticism of the "inquiry room." But Murray fails to appropriately use quotations from C. H. Spurgeon in his booklet on "The Invitation System" to properly represent Spurgeon. I have articles on a website refuting Mr. Murray and other opponents of the public invitation. See Selected Writings of Bob Ross.


Yes, Spurgeon himself used the "inquiry room" at the Tabernacle, and while he wanted to guard against the abuse of it, he never opposed its use, nor did he oppose "the invitation system," as has been falsely alleged. Spurgeon approved of any reasonable method which tended to bring men to repentance and public confession of Christ as Saviour.

For example, Spurgeon supported the revival work in Great Britain by D. L. Moody, and he approved of Moody's methods. He had Moody to conduct evangelistic meetings at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, and Spurgeon said of Moody's methods:

"I believe that it is a great help in bringing people to DECISION when Mr. Moody asks those to STAND UP who wish to be prayed for. Anything that tends to separate you from the ungodly around you, is good for you." (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1897, page 516).

Awhile back I wrote an article entitled --
"Was C. H. Spurgeon the Innovator of the Modern Public or Church Invitation?"

The point was that Spurgeon's methods in essence developed into the public invitation used by evangelists and churches of the 20th century.

Here are a few excerpts from that article --

"C. H. Spurgeon earnestly exhorted those who had accepted Christ as their Saviour to come forward amongst his people and avow their attachment to His person and name." - The Sword & The Trowel Magazine, 1865, pg. 70.


Spurgeon was "bucking" the system of the "high Calvinists" of the times by this type of innovation as well as by his preaching the "simple Gospel" and promising "immediate salvation" to those who believed it. The hypers, hybrids, and ultras of that age did not appreciate Spurgeon's emphasis.

The leading pastor among the Calvinistic Baptists of the time, James Wells, who was dubbed "King James," said he had his "doubts" as to "the divine reality of his [Spurgeon's] conversion," and alleged that Spurgeon was "deceiving others with the deception wherewith he himself is deceived" (CHS Autobiography, Vol. 2, pages 38, 39).

When Spurgeon first came to London in late 1853, the Baptist preachers such as Wells and the churches of the Park Street Chapel variety were mostly either hyper-Calvinists or ultra-Calvinists, or something on the order of what the "Hybrid Calvinists" are and are becoming in our time. The killing effects of "mere doctrine" and too great an emphasis upon "the Calvinist system" had virtually killed evangelistic efforts in England. Spurgeon's success in preaching the "simple Gospel" made him the object of resentment, jealousy, criticism, and even cynical ridicule by some of the Baptists, especially some of the respected leaders among the professed "Calvinists." In a letter to his family, Spurgeon complained of the "Calvinism" which prevailed at the church at that time and how "It is the Calvinism they want."

“December __, 1853.
“My Dear Father, . . . . . . The London people are rather higher in Calvinism than I am; but I have succeeded in bringing one church 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. . . . It is Calvinism they want in London, and any Arminian preaching will not be endured.”

Spurgeon not only literally knocked out the windows of the dingy old New Park Street Chapel to let in the air, he began to strike blow-after-blow at what he often called the "false Calvinism" of his "ultraists" brethren. Some of his very worst enemies were those who loudly proclaimed their "Calvinism." Spurgeon became so "put out" with these types, he said, "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, #336 — Struggles of Conscience, page 403).

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. D. L. Moody, before he ever started preaching, went to London to hear Spurgeon for the first time in 1867. Moody became Spurgeon's devoted disciple and ardent protege. In this regard, Moody was indeed a sort of "Timothy" in relation to C. H. Spurgeon. Moody -- who later started his own preaching ministry -- adopted many of the means and methods he had observed in Spurgeon's 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 latter method, in its essential elements, became the forerunner of what we today call the "public invitation."

This method did not derive from Charles G. Finney's "anxious seat," as Lloyd-Jones and his disciples 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.

But Moody did hear Spurgeon, followed Spurgeon around to hear him, read everything published by Spurgeon, and he saw how Spurgeon dealt with souls. Moody adopted Spurgeon's methods.

Here is an example of Spurgeon's method, later adopted by D. L. Moody, demonstrated in the year 1865. This is from the March 1865 issue of The Sword and the Trowel, Spurgeon's magazine, page 128, during a high period of intense, ongoing revival, with many being converted to Christ, and a fervent spirit abounding in the church:

[Reported by George Rogers, Principal of Spurgeon's Pastors' College]The second proposed special prayer meeting, mentioned in our last number, was held in the Metropolitan Tabernacle on the evening of the 6th February. . . .Between six and seven thousand persons assembled -- not to witness a theatrical exhibition -- not to hear an eloquent preacher -- not to witness a select and diversified display of platform oratory -- but for a prayer meeting! This was a sight that could not fail to gladden the hearts of good men, and prepare them for the higher enjoyment that followed. It was evident that the impression of the former meeting had not passed away, but it influence had become more widely extended, as the attendance was not only more numerous, but some hundreds were unable to gain admission. No extraordinary efforts were made to provide for the meeting; no sensational speakers were engaged; no novelty was either thought or desired. The ministers of the new fraternity, as on the former occasion, in the spirit of prayer, and confident reliance upon the Spirit of God, quietly and solemnly came upon the platform. Several of the ministers who took part in the proceedings, and two of them were students yet in the college; but all were of one mind and of one heart. Mr. Spurgeon, after a few words of gratitude and joy for the return of such an occasion, gave out some verses of the 100th Psalm, that all might join in a song of praise. He then suggested that their next duty was to give thanks for the blessing which had attended the former meeting of the same kind, the effect of which, upon his own people, was that ninety-three [93] had set down on the previous evening, for the first time at the table of the Lord. Mr. Marshall and Mr. Barnard presented the incense of praise. Mr. Spurgeon then gave out the hymn, commencing with -- "Just as I am, Without one plea."

This was a prelude to confession of sin, which, after a silent confession of two or three minutes of each for himself, was offered in the name of all by Mr. Clark. Some verses of the hymn, "I will praise Thee every day," were then sung, after which petitions for the revival of the Churches were presented by Mr. Warren and Mr. Offord: those of the latter were preceded by a touching and powerful appeal to the hearts of believers.

Now came the direct reference to the unsaved. This was introduced by a most earnest and awakening address by Mr. Spurgeon, and was responded to in prayer by Mr. Stott and Mr. Varley. A hymn followed, commencing thus, "Once a sinner near despair."

Mr. Teal and Mr. Burton then prayed, and Mr. Spurgeon closed with prayer. INQUIRERS were then encouraged to retire to the lecture hall, where ministers and elders would be glad to converse with them'; and MANY RESPONDED TO THE INVITATION.

This was one of the most sober, the most impressive, and, we should judge, the most effective meetings we have ever witnessed. . . .

Here observe that all of the essential elements which characterize a sane, sound, Baptist public invitation are present: (1) Preaching, (2) Prayer, (3) Encouragement to respond, and (4) and Invitation to be conversed with. Even the great invitation hymn, Just As I Am, was used by Mr. Spurgeon at this meeting, from his hymnbook, Our Own Hymnbook, #546.

Later, in the same article, we read:
"His own ministry had begun in a storm of opposition, but he had been enabled to outlive it, and to obtain a position of comparative quiet in the denomination to which his Church belonged . . . He had to remind the Church how greatly God had blessed the preaching of the Gospel in their midst during the past year. Conversions had been frequent in the Sunday-schools, in the Bible and Catechumen Classes; and never had the Word come with greater power to the great congregation. The Church had received by Baptism 381 members; . . . the present number of members on the Church books, 2,881."

Moody's "model" was Spurgeon, not Finney. Moody and Sankey in Great Britain [The Sword and the Trowel, February 1876, pages 84-87]

When D. L. Moody was engaged in evangelistic work, he held meetings in Scotland and in England. His work in Scotland began rather hopelessly, with but a scant few -- "only eight persons were in attendance." However, by "hanging in there" and "fighting the good fight of faith," Moody's work gradually gained ground and finally became extraordinarily productive, with multitudes eventually saved. In England the professed conversions were not quite so numerous, primarily because so many of the recent enthusiastic converts were filling up the seats in the meeting place, therefore many of the unconverted were thereby "kept out" -- not purposefully, but circumstantially. Also, Spurgeon cites the lack of significant interest in the meetings by the PEDOBAPTIST English churches, due to their own peculiar evangelistic coldness toward enthusiastic evangelistic preaching. After all, they claimed that their children had inherited "regeneration" in early infancy and did not need the type of conversion preached by either Moody or Spurgeon!

Here is an excerpt of how Spurgeon describes the Moody-Sankey evangelistic efforts:

The work in Edinburgh was repeated in many other towns of Scotland such as Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, etc., and with similar results, the people going so far as to tolerate Mr. Sankey's "unsanctified musical machine." The campaign in Ireland which succeeded was still more remarkable when we take into account the national prejudices of the population. In Dublin the Great Exhibition building was hired for the meetings as being the only place in the city capable of accommodating the multitudes who came to hear. This success of the evangelists in the Emerald Isle was a fine testimony to the power of the simple gospel; for while no fierce denunciations of the apostate church were heard from the platform, the converts came alike from the ranks of Romanists as well as from the houses of the Protestants. The Romish leaders raised the voice of warning, but to no purpose; and their machinations were aided by a club of atheists, who penetrated into the inquiry rooms to endeavor to turn the whole into controversy. [Note: These Romanists and Protestants had supposedly "born again" when they were babies. The were probably hearing the Gospel for the first time, and many were being truly born again! -- Bob]". . . . This man was coming upon the stage one evening to sing a comic song, when a verse of a Sunday School hymn, which he had learned years ago, flashed through his mind, producing so deep an impression that he was unable to drive it away. He attempted to sing his song but failed, and on retiring from the stage was summarily dismissed by the manager. For three weeks he plunged into the deepest dissipation, being scarcely sober for a single hour all that time. During this debauch he wrote a comedy, which he finished off with a burlesque upon Messrs. Moody and Sankey, who had just then arrived in Liverpool; and in order to give greater point to his satire, he attended one of the services in Victoria Hall, to hear them for himself. While thus watching for something of which to make sport upon the comic stage, the Holy Spirit so impressed the truth upon his heart that he remained to the after-meeting for inquirers, was instructed in the way of his duty, and that very night found peace with God. He has now entered into training for the purpose of becoming a missionary."

From another one of my articles, here are some excerpts:

Spurgeon indeed often made negative comments which were intended to either expose or guard against abuses of methods and practices, but those remarks do not convey the total image of Spurgeon on such matters. He likewise often commented in a negative vain about abuses associated even with Calvinistic theology, baptism, the name "Baptist," church attendance and membership, the use of music, miscellaneous financial schemes, and similar activities, but such remarks must not be isolated if one is to avoid an erroneous impression of Spurgeon. For example, though he often rebuked "worldly" methods as to church finance schemes, his own church conducted a Bazaar to raise money for the construction of the Tabernacle, which some might view as contradictory to what he sometimes said against things of this sort. The fact is, as to the matter of methods in regard to professions of faith, it is stated in The Sword and The Trowel, January 1890, page 45: "That which is admirable with one congregation may not suit another."

Spurgeon was for any method which incorporated the Gospel message in relation to accepting and confessing Christ as Savior.


In the 1890 bound volume of The Sword and the Trowel magazine, there are reports of Tabernacle-sponsored evangelistic meetings which demonstrate that Spurgeon favored an evangelism which sought to obtain immediate professions of faith by various ways and means. Spurgeon and the Tabernacle Church actually sponsored Evangelists who conducted special evangelistic campaigns or missions. The foremost two were J. Manton Smith and W. Y. Fullerton. There are quite a number of reports in this 1890 volume of their meetings which refer to the "decisions" made, the "after-meetings," and the "inquirers" who went into the "inquiry rooms." A report appeared in the January 1889 Sword & Trowel which is illustrative of the work done by the Metropolitan Tabernacle-sponsored Evangelists.

The hopes that we expressed last month respecting Messrs. Fullerton and Smith services at the Tabernacle were more than realized before the mission closed. The numbers in attendance increased nightly, until, at the closing service, not only was the Tabernacle densely packed, but overflow meetings were held in three rooms in the College, and some thousands of persons were unable to gain admission. All who had professed to find the Saviour were asked to meet the workers in the lecture-hall, at the close of the public services, and very soon the hall was quite full. Those who were present will not soon forget the scene when, in response to Mr. Fullerton's request, some hundreds of hands were held up in token of blessing received during the mission. . . . Messrs. Fullerton and Smith came over from Bloomsbury for the first half-hour, and gave wise and weighty counsels to those who had been brought to decision. . . .Mr. Chamberlain sang and spoke, and then asked any who had been brought to decision during the mission just to rise, and declare that fact. In less than half-an-hour, no less than fifty-one persons bore oral testimony to what the Lord had done for them at the special services, and many more would have spoken if there had been time.

The converts were of all ages, and of both sexes; there were 'young men and maidens, old men and children,' praising the name of the Lord for the great things done for them.. . . .Let us pray that the work of revival may continue to spread until thousands more are won for the Saviour.

In the February 1889 issue of S & T, Spurgeon published a number of comments from Pastors and Churches in regard to meetings held by the Tabernacle-sponsored Evangelists. Here are a couple of those:

"Had you been present at the large enquirers' meeting which we held in the lecture-hall last night, your heart would have been rejoiced to hear the testimonies of God's power to save; and many steady, matured Christians added their witness to the fresh power and renewed consecration which they had experienced during the mission."

"Seldom have we known a finer blending of the instructive with the earnestly exhorting to immediate decision than was nightly listened to from Mr. Fullerton. . . . Best of all, great spiritual results have followed. No fewer than 150 persons went into the enquiry-room. Many of these have avowed their conversion to God, their newly-found faith in Jesus. Amongst these some are the children of the officers and members of the church, some restored backsliders, and others are men and women who for many, many year have never gone inside a house of God. . . . souls have been born again, and the Saviour has been greatly honored."

While there are some today who are trying to utilize a few remarks by Spurgeon which were obviously focusing upon real or possible abuses of evangelistic methods, you will most likely not find such reports as the foregoing, from Spurgeon's own magazine, called to the readers' attention. They demonstrate that Spurgeon favored a very aggressive evangelism, one that pressed for immediate response, decision, and public confession.

Unlike the modern Reformed pedo-regenerationists, such as Mr. Murray, who are apparently inactive in aggressive evangelistic missions such as those by Smith and Fullerton, Baptists such as Spurgeon did not have the practice of infant baptism and baby "regeneration" to fall back upon to make "disciples" and church members, and so they used the Biblical type of evangelism of preaching the Gospel to those who would give it a hearing, be convicted of sin, come forth publicly to acknowledge faith in Christ, and confess Him as Savior.