Monday, October 09, 2006

Easy Believism

Good study on easy-believism. Here's a quote from the article by B.H. Carroll.
"To leave out or minimize repentance, no matter what sort of a faith you preach, is to prepare a generation of professors who are such in name only. I give it as my deliberate conviction, founded on 25 years of ministerial observation, that the Christian profession of today owes its lack of vital godliness, its want of practical piety, its absence from the prayer meeting, its miserable semblance of missionary life, very largely to the fact that old-fashioned repentance is so little preached. You can't put a big house on a little foundation. And no small part of such preaching comes from a class of modern evangelists who desiring more for their own glory to count a great number of converts than to lay deep foundations, reduce the conditions of salvation by 1/2 and make the other half but some intellectual trick of the mind rather than a radical spiritual change of the heart... . Such converts know but little and care less about a system of doctrine. They are prayerless, lifeless, and to all steady church work reprobate."

- B.H. Carroll, in Repentance and Remission of Sins
(HT: Cam Fondren)

5 comments:

CatholicGirlie said...

interesting

Jeremy Whitten said...

Its always easy to criticize "alter calls", "pleads for decisions", reciting the "sinners'prayer" and other man-made inventions of answering the call of Christ to repent and follow Him. But the key issue to remember is that God is still on the throne even during these unorthodox times of preaching and evangelizing. I don't think that any sincere preacher (a true servant of God and not a heretic) can mess up any alter call so much that God still can't use the "foolishness of preaching" to accomplish His means. I'm all for alter calls and pleads for decisions even though I know the end result is a direct cause of God's sovereign grace and effectual calling. A regenerate sinner may ask "What shall I do to be saved?", therefore a call to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is the proper answer. Keep in mind that Spurgeon gave alter calls and pleaded for sinners' to come to Christ and I'm sure there were false converts even among his flock as well. I don't believe in "The Sinner's Prayer" but I think that it is biblical to teach a sinner to offer a sincere "prayer" of repentance as part of his post conversion discipling. (See Psalms 51) Praying a prayer, walking an isle, or raising a hand doesn't "seal the deal", the only outward sign given in the bible is "water baptism" and that doesn't regenerate the soul any more than " a decision for Christ". In other words, a preacher can say all the right things, know good theology, depend fully on God for the conversion of sinners and you can still have those who are reprobate wolves in sheeps' clothing or no converts at all (see Jeremiah and Noah's ministries) My point is that no one will go to Hell because of a bad post sermon invitation or alter call. We would do best to pray for our pastors and for any worship service that is filled with unregenerate souls. God will bless the faithful and He will get the increase. By God's grace alone, believing can be "easy" !

Jordan said...

Jeremy,

Well said.

Cam said...

"I don't believe in "The Sinner's Prayer" but I think that it is biblical to teach a sinner to offer a sincere "prayer" of repentance as part of his post conversion discipling."

Sorry Jeremy but I strongly disagree with this statement.If there is no repentance before faith then there is no conversion.It says repent and be saved,not be saved and repent.

Also I would not be so sure to say Spurgeon had Alter calls as we would call them. Finney who was the fore runner in that movement would in No Way have been followed by Spurgeon.Finney in my opinion and reading his testimony and biography could have in no way been saved.He denied total depravity and Justification by faith and was widely labeled a heretic.I've heard from a few different pastors that have studied the subject far more than I have at this time that Spurgeon would tell people to come to my office on Monday and if you still be under conviction it is of GOD.In Spurgeons book soul winners he very sceptic of quick conversions and emotional decisions.

I would also say that what was the abnormal 150 yrs i.e. Finney's church and his thinking is the norm for most churches today and Spurgeon's would not be held in such high regard except in the "calvinstic circles'.

I live you with this a quote from Spurgeon "It is a serious injury to a person to receive him into the number of the faithful unless there is good reason to believe that he is really regenerate. I am sure it is so, for I speak after careful observation. Some of the most glaring sinners known to me were once members of a church; and were, as I believe, led to make a profession by undue pressure, well-meant but ill-judged.

Jeremy Whitten said...

Hey Cam, this argument goes back to our original disagreements on the disection of regeneration and conversion (myself believing that these are two seperate works of the Holy Spirit).For the sake of Jordan's blog space, I won't go into which one occurs first or how one heralds the other. The fact is, you can't have either without the other so there's no point in arguing that. REPENTANCE IS FRUIT OF BEING REGENERATED, NOT THE MEANS OF SAVING FAITH. One who has been converted excercises "saving faith" lives a life of "repentance" which should be cultivated by the growing Christian (SANCTIFICATION). The unregenerate can't "repent" nor have any saving faith in Christ. As far as my thoughts on "easy-believism" and "decisional regeneration" , I've come to understand that no one should get credit for evangelistic success, therefore, why give blame for evangelistic futiltiy. Yes, there are false prophets, heretics, and bad preachers who I'm not trying to defend. They are responsible and will be judged accordingly. But I wouldn't dare say someone isn't saved because they "walked an isle", "prayed a prayer", or made a "decision for Christ". Spurgeon was correct to have monitored the "decisions" of professors as well we all should. But only the Holy Spirit can seal our hearts and confirm our "calling and election". I wouldn't trust Spurgeon or Finney to confirm my soul's state. After all, true Saints were chosen before the foundations of the world and it is up to God when, how, where, and by what means the sinner comes to an understanding of saving faith. The true saint has a life long list of influences, circumstances, and events that led to his "conversion" experience. But only in the "Day of Judgement" will we know who's in and who's out. I agree that Spurgeon did it best, Finney was a chump, and that true conversion manifests itself through faith and repentance. I'll argue with you about regeneration (being born-again) at a later date! I love you!
-Jeremy