Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Call to Repentance

James Galyon, affectionately rev encourages his readers to check out this message by CHS graciously provided by Phil Johnson who has some great audio teaching. Rev's recent post follows on the heels of his last one on Elmer Towns' feigned irenics.

I was a very bad boy because I dared to swing the sabre that others were only rattling.

The following is a response that I left at rev's with an extension.

“We should prepare men for the communion table, not for the padded room of Bedlam…This is a strange theory, yet many endorse it. According to them, we may preach the redemption of a chosen number of God’s people, but universal redemption must be our doctrine when we speak with the outside world. We are to tell believers that salvation is all of grace, but sinners are to be spoken with as if they were to save themselves.”

“We would labor 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. At the same time, our grand object is not the revision of opinions, but the regeneration of natures. We should bring men to Christ, not to our own peculiar views of Christianity.”

Spurgeon’s balance should be noted and stressed. For some take the second portion I have listed and make it the complete portion and neglect, as he said, the full counsel. Spurgeon did not set aside the DoG in preaching. Quite to the contrary, he made them the warp and woof of the evangel. Interestingly, he does not say that he is not about not stealing sheep, but that he is about raising confessors above false belief. His goal is regenerate membership, not necessarily local church membership, and the means by which he approaches it is by the very doctrines that some cast aside as worthless for that purpose. His means is to:
“proclaim the doctrines of grace rather more than less. Teach gospel doctrines clearly, affectionately, simply, and plainly, and especially those truths which have a present practical bearing upon man’s condition and God’s grace.”

How unfortunate that so much of what we know as evangelicalism has turned away from the DoG as the means of evangelism. For those of us who long for the revival of such in the SBC, we face the majority that has been weened upon the revivalist mentality. What it has produced is two thirds of signatories that cannot be found and those who can so weak in their knowledge of the Gospel to be as Spurgeon would say, people who “have not learned Christ” but continue to seek upon their own account their relief.

Spurgeon contrasted the DoG with the doctrine of free will saying that the second is no Gospel at all, “the sand of imagination.” For all those in the SBC that like to quote CHS in defense of their free will doctrines and the consequent denial of salvation by grace, they really need to repent and confess to having withheld what they have not told the people who they shepherd.

But then, when it is merely a matter of opinion so that both can stand under the same banner, then what we have done to Spurgeon’s teaching, is to cast it aside like yesterday’s newspapers, Good News that today no longer is valid.

Above I had said that for CHS it was not about not stealing sheep so here I must clarify that. CHS said in preface to the above:
"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."

We are not to be about making ourselves rich by the fits and failings of those church bodies who are floundering:
"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!...Our first care must be that the sheep should be gathered to the great Shepherd..."
Building our own churches or the ranks of our own party is not the reason for expounding the doctrines of grace. Our purpose is as CHS said, that those who are still in the darkness because they have been misfed would be strengthened and lifted above the doctrines of free will to the glorious freedom afforded by the finished work of Christ imputed to us, not for anything we will to be done, but by the sheer free gift of faith given. For that glorious gift to be seen we must proclaim the world under the curse due to sin, thowing men down in despair because of their sin so that they will acknowledge their utter inablility to lift themselves and depend wholly and soley upon the grace of God. Should we then be concerned that it causes division, that some are cast out or walk out of the congregations whose doctrines are opposed by the DoG? Only in as much as we are prepared to receive those who need them, and to the extent that we are prepared to defend the DoG against those who oppose them.

My only desire, so that men who accuse me of the other will know, is not to disassemble, but to unite. My aim, however, in never to unite around falsehood. That I might, as Spurgeon did in extending the hand of fellowship to our Paedo brethren, extend my hand in fellowship to those who labor under the burden of self-will, does not in any way mean that I accept, nor condone, the advancement of their doctrine. To the contrary, I oppose it for what it is, no Gospel at all.

When in the exchange media we call fellowship, some soft tongued adders speak, I will not stand to be bit. The sword was given for the behedding of the serpent and I take it up in duty to defend the truth even by that means which will bring the condemnation of brothers in the DoG.

"We are not to try and save men in the dark, but in the power of the Holy Ghost we are to seek to turn them from darkness to light."
If it be those who call themselves Christian, what does it matter? For we are all subjected to that same light of examination. "But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God."

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