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Archive for the ‘Arminianism’ Category

In our day, some of our more theologically sound evangelical brethren place heavy emphasis on being “Gospel centered.” In doing so, they can sometimes appear to downplay doctrinal distinctives, (in this case, perhaps most notably regarding ecclesiology) perhaps giving some the idea that they are relatively unimportant. While we should teach and preach the whole counsel of God, it is also quite possible to overemphasize doctrinal distinctives and other issues to the detriment of weightier matters. No biblical teaching is unimportant, but it would appear that some are more important than others. We must ever be on guard against focusing on one issue to the detriment of others. Related to that is a need to guard against a movement mentality when it has the tendency to emphasize some hobby horse. A few years ago, a pastor told me that “The only thing we want to go to seed on is Jesus.” The more time goes on, the more I think that is very sound advice.

I think a glance at this blog for a few minutes might suggest that when I actually get around to posting something, at times I’ve been guilty of majoring on the minors. (There are a few reasons for this that may make it more understandable, but that’s probably best left to another post.)  I know that at times I’ve focused on such things for so long that I’ve almost been incapable of clearly discussing much more basic issues related to the faith once delivered with those who aren’t as familiar with them.

I recently came across the following passage from Mr. Spurgeon that addresses this very problem. Those who are familiar with Charles Haddon Spurgeon will know that he certainly did not believe that there is never a time to engage in controversy or polemics with other brethren when in our judgment they fall short in their biblical understanding on one issue or the other. Indeed, during the course of his ministry, he was known for engaging in three controversies in particular. However, if being a controversialist were what he was primarily known for, I doubt that he would continue to be quite as relevant today.

WHAT IS IT TO WIN A SOUL?

This may be instructively answered by describing what it is not. We do not regard it to be soul-winning to steal members out of churches already established, and train them to utter our peculiar Shibboleth: we aim rather at bringing souls to Christ than at making converts to our synagogue. There are sheep-stealers abroad, concerning whom I will say nothing except that they are not “brethren”, or, at least, they do not act in a brotherly fashion. To their own Master they must stand or fall. We count it utter meanness to build up our own house with the ruins of our neighbours’ mansions; we infinitely prefer to quarry for ourselves. I hope we all sympathize in the largehearted spirit of Dr. Chalmers, who, when it was said that such and such an effort would not be beneficial to the special interests of the Free Church of Scotland, although it might promote the general religion of the land, said, “What is the Free Church compared with the Christian good of the people of Scotland?” What, indeed, is any church, or what are all the churches put together, as mere organizations, if they stand in conflict with the moral and spiritual advantage of the nation, or if they impede the kingdom of Christ?   

It is because God blesses men through the churches that we desire to see them prosper, and not merely for the sake of the churches themselves. There is such a thing as selfishness in our eagerness for the aggrandisement of our own party; and from this evil spirit may grace deliver us! The increase of the kingdom is more to be desired than the growth of a clan. We would do a great deal to make a Paedobaptist brother into a Baptist, for we value our Lord’s ordinances; we would labour earnestly to raise a believer in salvation by free-will into a believer in salvation by grace, for we long to see all religious teaching built upon the solid rock of truth, and not upon the sand of imagination; but, at the same time, our grand object is not the revision of opinions, but the regeneration of natures. We would bring men to Christ and not to our own peculiar views of Christianity. Our first care must be that the sheep should be gathered to the great Shepherd; there will be time enough afterwards to secure them for our various folds. To make proselytes, is a suitable labour for Pharisees: to beget men unto God, is the honourable aim of ministers of Christ.

C.H. Spurgeon, The Soul Winner, p. 11-12, Pilgrim Publications, 2007.

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“Hyper-Calvinism is all house and no door: Arminianism is all door and no house.”

John “Rabbi” Duncan quoted in Colloquia Peripatetica p. 156.

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Chapter 5:  Why Baptist and Not Methodist

The differences and distinctions between the Baptists and the Methodists are sufficiently numerous and radical to make it necessary and possible for one to tell why he is the one and not the other.  The object of this paper is to give some reasons why I am a Baptist and not a Methodist.  The differences between these respective organizations are both Ecclesiastical and Doctrinal.

I. ECCLESIASTICAL.

1. The constituency of the organisation. The Methodists hold that not only penitent believers are to compose the church but those who have a desire to be saved, a willingness to be saved, are likewise entitled to membership.  That this is their position is so generally understood as to make it unnecessary to quote any special authority as proof. Unconverted persons are urged to join the church as a means of grace, a means of conversion.

I am a Baptist and not a Methodist because I believe the New Testament teaches that a scriptural church is composed exclusively of regenerate persons, or what in effect is the same, penitent believers.  This is manifest from two considerations: (a) The first duty required by Jesus and the apostles was repentance and faith. The exercise of these is the beginning of that new relation and life which marks the distinction between the Christian and the non-christian, the saved and the lost, the spiritually dead and spiritually alive.  These are attendant upon regeneration by the Spirit and are its first fruits.  So Jesus told Nicodemus he must be born from above, born of the Spirit.  But he likewise said that God gave his Son, that whosoever believed in him should have everlasting life.  The penitent believer is therefore “born from above,” “born of God,” “born of the Spirit,” and is saved.  This new birth and its accompanying expressions of faith and repentance are indispensable to admission into the kingdom of God and to salvation.  Jesus taught his disciples that they were in the kingdom and in a state of salvation.  Whatever organization he left as a church, was composed of these renewed and penitent believers.  The preaching of the apostles after his ascension required repentance and faith as one of the indispensable conditions to membership and fellowship with the one hundred and twenty whom Jesus left as his representatives and church in inchoate form.

(b) Again, the Epistles show that the New Testament churches were composed of those who had been renewed in their minds, raised up with Christ, passed from death unto life. The church at Rome was composed of the called of Jesus Christ – those who were dead to sin and alive to Christ and in Christ.  The church at Corinth are the sanctified in Christ Jesus called to be saints.  The churches of Galatia began in the Spirit, being called in the grace of Christ.  The church of Ephesus “heard the word of the truth of the gospel and were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise;” once aliens and now brought nigh by the blood of Christ; they are of the household of God.  The same characteristics attached to the church at Philippi, at Colosse, and Thessalonica; likewise of those Peter addressed, and all the rest.  The Baptists are loyal to God’s word in this respect.  They admit none to membership in a church except those who claim to be penitently trusting Jesus Christ for salvation, and who give credible evidence of renewal by the Holy Spirit.  But the Methodists admit any who express a desire to be saved.  Repentance and faith are not made conditions to church membership.  I am not and can not be a Methodist, since I can not willfully disregard the plain teaching of the New Testament in a matter so vital.

2. The Ordinance of Baptism. Baptism, according to New Testament teaching, is the immersion of a penitent believer in the name of the Holy Trinity, (a) That baptism was by immersion is manifest. It is shown (1) by the meaning of the word Baptiso, expressive of the act commanded.  (2) The accounts of its observance as recorded in the New Testament.  (3) The symbolism of the ordinance.  (4) The testimony of competent authorities of all denominations.  (5)  The question as to the mode of New Testament baptism is now almost entirely relegated from the realm of debate.  (6) That all who were members of the Apostolic churches were baptised believers is too clear to admit of denial.  Baptism was the divinely prescribed method of confessing Christ.  It was the first response of the renewed soul to the authority of the ascended Lord.

(1) Peter required baptism on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:38, “And Peter said unto them, repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins.” Verse 41, “They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousands souls.” (2) Philip baptized the eunuch. Acts 8:36-38, “And the eunuch saith, Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? …. and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” (3) Cornelius was baptized. Acts 10:48, “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”  Paul was baptized. Acts 9:18, “And he received his sight forthwith, and he arose, and was baptized.”  (4) The Philippian jailer was baptized. Acts 16:33, “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately.”  (5) The members of the churches in Rome and Colosse and Corinth were baptized believers. Rom. 6:3, “Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death.” Col. 2:12, “Having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”  I Cor. 12:13, “For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body.”

Since baptism is immersion and nothing else in the New Testament I could not be a Methodist.  They sprinkle and pour for baptism, thus substituting a meaningless form for the sacred rite which our Lord commanded to be observed for all time.  I could not be loyal to God’s Word and lend myself to an organization which prides itself in a constant violation of Scriptural teaching.

(c) But since immersion only is New Testament baptism, and since only penitent believers are Scriptural subjects for baptism, infant baptism is unwarranted by the word of God and fraught with evil.

That there is Scriptural precept or example for infant baptism no one has ever been able to show, and that there is prima facie evidence against it is as plain as the noonday’s sun.  (1) There is no mention of the baptism of infants. (2) There is not one single passage from which the practice can be securely inferred.  (3) The requirements of repentance and faith as conditions to baptism forever preclude the baptism of infants.  (4) The sanctity of individualism as taught in the New Testament, making the individual soul responsible to his Lord, makes infant baptism an impossible thing. The writer was christened a Methodist in infancy, by a Methodist preacher.  When he grew almost to young manhood he made a profession of faith in Christ, wished to be baptized, not only as a personal duty, but as a joyous privilege, but he was informed by the Methodist pastor he had been baptized in infancy and that he would not repeat the act.  The writer then and there felt his parents had usurped a personal right and privilege; that he was forced to accept what had been done by proxy for him, which he and he alone had the right to do, or was under obligation to do.  The sacredness of his personal relation to his Saviour and Master had been tampered with. He was forced to break either with the Methodist church and disregard the christening which his parents had effected for him, or he must stultify his own conscience, and throw to the winds his convictions as to duty in a matter of such vital importance.  He broke with the Methodists.  I am a Baptist and not a Methodist, therefore, because I believe the Methodist’s views and practice of the sacred rite of baptism, both as to the subjects and mode, are utterly without Scriptural warrant, contravening the precepts, example and Spirit of New Testament teaching.

3. The Church Polity, (1) That the churches of New Testament times had some uniform polity must appear reasonable to all.  Since the form of church government is so intimately related to the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, as history has proved, it is hardly conceivable that Christ would have left his followers without some form of government by which to regulate their affairs in a corporate capacity.

That form of church polity which would best emphasize the absolute and exclusive rulership of Jesus Christ over each individual believer, as responsible to him, would be the only consistent one, since Jesus Christ would not authorize a form of church government which would forbid the individual believer’s being individually loyal to his king.

(2) The New Testament teaching and church organization and life in apostolic times shows that the churches were autonomous.  Each church controlled its own affairs.  Every member was on equality with every other.  Each was animated by the Spirit and united to Christ and responsible to the Master.  The Holy Spirit creates and operates the church by renewing each individual member, and the mind of the Spirit is made known through each individual composing the organization, and not through a ministerial or priestly episcopal class, who are set up to govern the church of churches.  That the apostolic churches were autonomous, or self-governing, is made to appear from several considerations, (a) They received members into their fellowship.  (b) They excluded members from their fellowship.   The disciples had the power to receive or reject Paul; at Rome they were commanded to receive him that is weak in faith.  The Corinthian church was censured for retaining the incestuous young man, and was charged with the responsibility of his expulsion, afterwards of his restoration.  The Thessalonian church was instructed to withdraw from every brother walking disorderly.  The action of a local church was final in dealing with an offending brother, (c) The churches elected their own deacons, pastors, agents, missionaries and messengers to advisory bodies.  There is not the slightest indication in the New Testament that there was a ruling class in the apostolic churches, whose function and duty it was to regulate the affairs of the church. The ruling function belonged to the body as a whole.  The Holy Spirit created no autocracy in the person of certain individuals, but a democracy, pure and simple.  The Methodists deny that there was any uniformity in the government of the New Testament churches, or that any form of government therein practiced is of any binding force. They insist that conditions must determine the form of government, and not New Testament precedent or practice.

One of their standard writers has recently stated the Methodist position on the subject as follows:

“Theories are often maintained on the presumption of a divinely ordered polity; but there is no such polity; consequently such discussions are groundless. The question of chief importance is the adaptation of the polity to the attainment of the spiritual ends for which the church is constituted. This should always be the determining principle. The principle means that the construction of the polity is left to the discretion of the church” (Miley’s Theol., Vol. 2:416). The Methodists have the Episcopal form of polity, with exceptions of course, and they seek to apply this everywhere.  Dissimilarities in conditions are not regarded by them in their practice.  Believing as I do that the New Testament polity is binding, I could not be a Methodist.  I can not separate the New Testament church polity from pure Christianity.

4. Church Officers. These autonomous or self-governing churches of apostolic times had only two orders of officers, the pastor and the deacons.  There are two passages which show that bishop, elder and pastor are one and the same officer.  Acts 20:17-28, “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders (Presbuterous) of the church, and when they were come to him he said to them (ver. 28), take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to the flock, in which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops, to feed (shepherd, to be pastor of) the church of God which he purchased with his own blood.”

Verse 17 represents these men as elders (presbuteroi), but in verse 28 they are called bishops (episcopoi). They are exhorted by Paul to shepherd (act the pastor over) the church.

I Peter 5:1, 2, “The elders (presbuterous) among you I exhort, who am a fellow elder (sum-preshuteros) and a witness of the sufferings of Christ tend (shepherd, serve as pastor) the flock of God which is among you, exercising (acting as bishops, episcopountes) the oversight, etc.

Bishop and elder were synonymous with pastor-bishop emphasizing the function of the office, elder that of the dignity. The pastor was to tend, shepherd the flock, and feed it.  He was a minister of the word.  The deacon was a helper of the pastor, subordinate to the pastor, and with him is charged with the spiritual welfare of the flock.  Every duty incumbent upon the pastor is equally binding upon the deacon, save that of teaching the word officially.  The Methodists disregard the New Testament precedent and practice, and have three orders of ministers, ranking one above the other, the bishop, the elder, and the pastor.  The New Testament knows no such gradation.  In apostolic times the ministers were on equality.  I could not be a Methodist in the face of such a flagrant disregard of the New Testament teaching and practice.  Besides, the Methodists clothe these three orders of the ministry with an authority over the churches which the apostles themselves did not presume to exercise.  They utterly disregard the sovereignty of the local churches and invest all government in the bishop, elder, and pastor.  This I believe to be a pestilential error, one to which I could not be a party nor lend my influence.  The Baptists hold to one order of the ministry of the Word.  These are leaders of the churches and not lords over them.  I am therefore a Baptist.

Since the Methodists are unscriptural in their views of the constituency of a church, and unscriptural as to the subjects of baptism, and unscriptural in the form of baptism, and unscriptural in their teaching and practice as to the New Testament church officers, I can not possibly ally myself with them, nor encourage them in the theory and practice of error.

II. DOCTRINAL.

There are doctrinal differences between the Methodists and Baptists which would forbid my being a Methodist. The Methodists are essentially Arminian and I believe unscriptural in their doctrinal system.  The Baptists are Pauline, i. e., Paul was the first expounder of these doctrines which the Baptists generally hold.  When these doctrines had well nigh been lost sight of, they were reproduced and restated by Calvin, with a clearness and systematic arrangement which bind them in an inseparable union with his name.  Baptists are generally known as Calvinists.  This in spite of the fact that few of them are willing to adopt Calvin’s views on all the points involved in the system wrought out by him. The Methodists are Arminian though they can hardly be said to hold the system of doctrine formulated by Arminius.  Mr. Wesley modified the system in some important respects.  Methodists are governed by Mr. Wesley’s statements of the doctrines.  His image and subscription is stamped upon the currency which makes up the volume of their thought and gives confidence in its value and permanency, on the part of his followers.  Wesleyanism is Methodism, doctrinally considered.

1. I can not agree with my Methodist brethren in respect to the effect of Christ’s death.  They hold that Christ’s death brought all men into a state of justification, freeing them from all guilt or liability to punishment, which came to them in consequence of Adam’s sin.  That all liability to punishment now must be the result of personal transgression is a fundamental doctrine with them.  This I believe to be contrary to the teaching of God’s word.

2. Again I can not agree with them in respect to what they hold as “gracious ability;” that in consequence of the death of Christ man’s inability to cooperate with God has been removed and that men, all men, now have the ability to believe without further divine interposition.  This I believe to be unscriptural and dangerous in the extreme.

3. I can not agree with them as to the doctrine of election and predestination.  They hold that God’s election unto salvation was based upon his foreknowledge; that God foreknew that some would believe and as many as he knew would believe he elected to salvation.  The sovereign will of God had nothing to do in deciding his electing grace.  This I believe to be contrary both to reason and revelation.

4. I can not agree with them as to the order of salvation as practically realized in the individual soul, (a) They hold that because of a gracious ability the unrenewed man believes in Christ, in consequence of which he is justified as a reward of his faith.  God does not inspire the faith, but he rewards it with justification.  (b) The next step in the saving process is the regeneration of the heart, or the impartation of a holy disposition.  This view I believe to be a destructive error and hence without Scriptural warrant.  I could not accept it as the truth of God.

5. I can not agree with them in their doctrine of perfection.  They hold that it is possible for one to reach a state of perfection here.  This doctrine Mr. Wesley seeks to justify on the ground that the Christian lives under an economy which takes no account of the little faults and foibles, peccadillos, and moral delinquencies such as are incident to men.  His theory is that men may touch the skies, not by growing heaven high, but by bringing the stars down to them. This I believe to be unscriptural and erroneous.

6. Again I can not agree with my Methodist brethren as to the doctrine of final apostacy.  They hold that it is not only possible for a believer to apostatize and be finally lost, but that this possibility is often realized.  As a consequence they hold that one may be in a saved condition to-day, and in a lost condition to-morrow, and in a saved condition again the next day.  I can not agree with them in all this.  I could not therefore be a Methodist.

There are other important doctrines about which I am as remote from agreement with my Methodist friends as are the poles apart.  But these must go without mention in this paper.  I may be allowed to express my regret that my Methodist brethren are in my judgment so far away from the Bible teaching in doctrine and organization.  I was reared among them, in the bosom of a Methodist family.  All my early associations and attachments were with them.  Once a member of the Methodist church, and first licensed to preach by these people, I would be disloyal to much that is sacred and uplifting if I did not love them.

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According to Bob L. Ross, Spurgeon blamed the Down Grade on Calvinism, or specifically, the “Hybrid Calvinism” that Ross says is taught by Reformed paedobaptists as well as some “Reformed Baptists” and those who are affiliated with Founders Ministries. As will soon become clear, nothing could be further from the truth, unless by “Hybrid Calvinism” Ross means baptismal regeneration. But since the Down Grade was a significant problem among Baptists and there is no evidence that either Calvinism or “Hybrid Calvinism” were the cause, it would seem obvious that there is another explanation.

In March 1887, two articles on the “Down Grade” appeared in the Sword and the Trowel. This marked the beginning of the famous Down Grade controversy that continued until Spurgeon’s death. The issue contained two articles that were issued anonymously which were authored by Robert Shindler, a Baptist pastor who was an associate of Spurgeon’s. They can be found here and here.

Generally, the articles trace the decline of orthodoxy (i.e. the Down Grade) among the dissenters. Now, as Ross notes, the first article does say that the Presbyterians were the first to “get on the downline”. But one searches it in vain to find “hybrid Calvinism” given as a cause. In the 18th Century the English Presbyterians embarked upon a path toward apostasy. This was hastened by their view that “baptized” children were to be regarded as regenerate* and entitled to participate in the Lord’s Supper so long as they were outwardly moral.  There was also a tendency to pay inordinate attention to “classical attainments” as Shindler notes. However, the Presbyterians decline was also due to their defection from Calvinism that eventually led to them embracing various heretical views, as the same article makes clear. Indeed, that theme is repeated several times in both articles. The reasons for the Presbyterians leading the way on the “downline” were attributable primarily to their ecclesiology and to a lesser extent to cultural factors that had nothing to do with why Baptists and other nonconformists eventually did the same by the 19th Century.

For some reason the following passages from the Sword and Trowel Down Grade issue were ignored in the post “The Ignored Spurgeon”:

“The General [i.e. Arminian] Baptists have yet to be noticed. And here we must draw a line hard and sharp between the Old Connexion and the New Connexion. The latter was formed in 1770, and was the result of the heterodoxy of the former. The Old Connexion generally became Arianized, and, with hardly an exception, followed on “the down grade” to Socinianism. A writer of acknowledged repute, writing at the early part of the present century, makes this rather startling statement:—
“Arminianism among the dissenters has, in general, been a cold, dry, and lifeless system, and its effects upon the heart have been commonly weak and spiritless. With the General Baptists, who avowed it to be their creed, this was remarkably the effect, and their congregations did not increase. Besides, from facts too stubborn to be bent, and too numerous to be contradicted, Arminianism has been among them the common road to Arianism and Socinianism. Their ministers and congregations were the first who openly professed these opinions; and their societies have felt the decay which these opinions have uniformly produced.”

“The writer is of opinion that the great majority of those who are sound in the doctrine of inspiration, are more or less Calvinistic in doctrine”

“Perhaps it cannot be contradicted that, in proportion as any sect recedes from Calvinism, their veneration for the Scriptures is diminished The Bible is the Calvinist’s creed.”

“Arminianism has been among them the common road to Arianism and Socinianism”

The article gives examples from the Presbyterians, Independents and Baptists that suppport the idea that generally moving from Calvinism toward Arminianism is often the first step in the Down Grade that eventually leads to heresy if not outright unbelief.

Now, I don’t know that Bro. Ross would necessarily disagree with this concept of a slippery slope from abandoning Calvinism for Arminianism and eventually to unbelief since he says he holds to “creedal Calvinism.” But the idea that a move away from Calvinism is a move away from orthodoxy is objected to strongly by those non Calvinists in the Southern Baptist Convention who have reveled in Bro. Ross’ attacks on “Hybrid Calvinism.” Indeed, at the recent John 3:16 conference we heard the opposite assertion, that a move toward Calvinism is a move away from the gospel. Ross notes that Spurgeon said that the “great evangelical truths” are far more important than Calvinism vs. Arminianism and that many evangelical Arminians were in agreement with him on the Down Grade. I agree wholeheartedly. But nonetheless the idea that a move toward Arminianism is often the first step on the downgrade was repeated several times in the Down Grade articles, and it was repeated by Spurgeon himself in the Notes from the Downgrade article from April 1887. Spurgeon and Shindler certainly didn’t blame Calvinism for the Down Grade. The following from that article appears to be a good summary of Spurgeon’s views on the matter:

We care far more for the central evangelical truths than we do for Calvinism as a system; but we believe that Calvinism has in it a conservative force which helps to hold men to the vital truth, and therefore we are sorry to see any quitting it who have once accepted it. Those who hold the eternal verities of salvation, and yet do not see all that we believe and embrace, are by no means the objects of our opposition. Our warfare is with men who are giving up the atoning sacrifice, denying the inspiration of Holy Scripture, and casting slurs upon justification by faith. The present struggle is not a debate upon the question of Calvinism or Arminianism, but of the truth of God versus the inventions of men. All who believe the gospel should unite against that “modern thought” which is its deadly enemy.

Those on both sides of the Calvinism debate would do well to pay heed to these words.

Baptismal regeneration is a worse error than evangelical Arminianism. But very few conservative Presbyterians today are guilty of believing it, certainly not to the extent that the English Presbyterians who followed Doddridge did. This is particularly true of the type of Presbyterians who are involved in things like Together for the Gospel. Now, it is clear that many “Reformed Baptists” would rather fellowship with Presbyterians rather than otherwise sound Baptists who just don’t happen to be 5 pointers. Not for nothing have they sometimes been termed “High Water Presbyterians.” As Spurgeon recognized, there are many things that confessional Presbyterians and Particular Baptists have in common. What separates us was perhaps clearer in Spurgeon’s day than ours since ecclesiology is too often a neglected subject. But it would seem that we’d be better served to refrain from selectively quoting a few statements that have the tendency to give a false impression of a work as a whole, especially given the current situation in which some are looking to blame Calvinism for the perceived ills in the SBC. Further, whether or not someone believes that regeneration precedes faith, the idea that baptized infants are always regenerated in their infancy as Ross appears to suggest in his attacks on “hybrid Calvinism” is clearly not supported by the Presbyterian’s Westminster Confession of Faith, as I believe Ross has noted in the past. Whether we agree with it or not, the idea that regeneration precedes faith really has nothing to do with paedobaptism at all. This is demonstrated by the fact that several of those who Bro. Ross cites in support of his “creedal Calvinist” views were paedobaptists themselves.

In closing, I do want to make clear how thankful we should be for Bro. Ross’ labors in publishing unabridged versions of all of Spurgeon’s works. Through the years he has also published a number of helpful books, including Old Landmarkism and the Baptists which I have recently found to be very helpful.

*The debate on how to view the so called “children of the covenant” (baptized children) has been a long running one among Presbyterians. Few conservative Presbyterians today would agree with the practice of the English Presbyterians that led to “children of the covenant” being admitted to the table without a profession of faith. Those who do believe that children should be admitted to the table without a profession of faith have recently had their views rejected by every conservative Presbyterian denomination of significance.

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