Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Trouble with Frank Page's The Trouble with the Tulip

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Since hearing several weeks ago that Frank Page might be nominated for the office of president of the SBC I have been trying to secure a copy of his book, The Trouble with the TULIP: A Closer Examination of the Five Points of Calvinism. I had read excerpts and a careful summary of the book by a trusted scholar, but I wanted to read the book for myself before commenting on his purported views. The book, which came out in 2000, is out of print and copies are hard to locate. Through the kindness of a friend I received a copy in the mail a few days ago.

It is only 80 pages long and is written in a popular style. The tone of the book is, for the most part, very gracious toward those who are convinced Calvinists. After reading it, I have no reason to alter my original assessment that Dr. Page is a very kind man, faithful pastor and would be wonderful to know as a friend. He is convinced, however, that people who believe the doctrines of grace are wrong and are guilty of following "manmade" teachings. While there are a few novel things in the book (such as his interpretation that Romans 9:10-13 proves that election is to service not salvation since it says that the older shall serve the younger! [63-64]), for the most part his views are little more that restatements of positions that have taken long before now, including the confusing of "Five Point" Calvinism with hyper-Calvinism (75-76).

It is unfortunate to see him decidedly agreeing with the late William Estep's gratuitous claim that "This newfound fascination with Calvin and the system of theology that bears his name is both intriguing and puzzling, since most of the ardent advocates of this movement have only a slight knowledge of Calvin or his system as set forth in the Institutes of the Christian Religion." He further agrees with Estep in saying that Calvinism is "a system of religion without biblical support" (74).

These quotes come from an article Dr. Estep wrote in 1997 entitled, "Doctrines lead to 'Dunghill' Prof Warns." The Founders Journal dedicated nearly a complete issue to refuting Dr. Estep with responses by Dr. Al Mohler, Dr. Roger Nicole and me. If you only have time to read one of these articles, read Dr. Nicole's. It is devastating. I wish Dr. Page had read these responses before he wrote his book. Perhaps he would not have been so enamored of Dr. Estep's assertions.

Page also rehashes the old canard that Calvinism always kills evangelism. He writes,
If one does follow the logic of Calvinism, then a missionary or evangelistic spirit is unnecessary. If irresistible grace is the truth, then there is no need to share Christ with anyone, since those persons whom God has elected are irristibly going to be drawn into his kingdom anyway. If one studies the pages of history, one will see that Calvinistic theology (Five Point) has encouraged a slackening of the aggressive evangelistic and missionary heartbeat of the church (74-75).
One cannot help but wonder what pages of what history he has in mind. One can easily point to readily accessable pages of history that overwhelmingly refute this myth (see the section entitled, "Gratuitous Historical Assertions" in the link). These kinds of claims raise huge question marks over his response to Tad Thompson about the resurgence of reformed theology in the SBC. Page said:
Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a Calvinist. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not Arminian. I do believe that this issue needs to be discussed openly and honestly.

I have also stated publicly that I believe that the Southern Baptist Convention is big enough for all conservative Christians who have a kind spirit and an evangelistic heart, as well as a deep belief in the integrity of God’s Word.

I have attempted to be kind to all groups. As I have said in another interview, I have Calvinists within my church with whom I work well. One of my dearest friends in this state is a five-point Calvinist. I can work with almost anyone if they have a sweet spirit, an evangelistic heart, and a commitment to the integrity of God’s Word.
Furthermore, his pledge "to involve Calvinists and non-Calvinists who meet the criteria he has proposed for appointment" to leadership positions in the SBC, should he be elected president leaves on wondering exactly what he means. Is Page saying that he is willing to work with people who follow "manmade doctrines," whose religion is "without biblical support," whose theological convictions mean that "there is no need to share Christ with anyone" and encourage "a slackening of the aggressive evangelistic and missionary heartbeat of the church?" I would not work with such people and I would not want a president of the SBC who would, either.

I appreciate the spirit that comes through in Dr. Page's book. I believe him when he says that he has attempted to be kind to all groups. That is the type of spirit that we need more of as we discuss our differences in the SBC. But kindness is not a "get out of jail free" card that allows theological judgments and arguments to be ignored. If Dr. Page genuinely believes what he has written about Calvinism, then no amount of kindness can justify his willingness to work with the kinds of people he has described in his book! It is as if he is saying that truth does not matter, and that is a position that no one who loves God's Word should be willing to tolerate.

Here is my point. You cannot have it both ways. If you believe that a man's theological conviction kills evangelism and missions and is built on manmade doctrines, then out of loyalty to Jesus Christ you cannot go on and say, "but I am willing to work with that man in Gospel enterprises." Furthermore, do not expect those whose theological views are accused of opposing evangelism and missions to overlook such charges because they are made with gentleness and kindness.

I believe that Calvinists and non-Calvinists can and should work together in the SBC. I believe that Dr. Page does as well. His book, however, by confusing Calvinism with hyper-Calvinism and charging five-point Calvinism with being inherently anti-evangelism and anti-missions, does not contribute to that goal.

80 comments:

Timmy said...

Tom,

One of the things that I appreciate about your appraisal of what other people who disagree with Calvinism is how you disarm the unnecessary rhetoric by showing kindness and consideration of the author. Before being nominated for the SBC president, I dare say very few of us had ever heard of Frank Page, morever have any of us heard of or read the book.

One of the inevitable consequences of being in a politically charged environment where candidates are being interviewed and statements are being said is the questioning of the sincerity of the statements being made during this time. I do not think any candidate would go out and make the fateful leap and say that they would not work with Calvinists and attempt to bring everyone together. It is assumed that during this time people are going to say the right things (i.e. what people want to hear), and without being too skeptical it goes without saying that Calvinists have the right and legitimate conern to question what he is saying today in light of what he said in the past in sermons and in his book when he was not in the spotlight and being nominated for the president.

What concerns me the most, however, is the fact that he has been given several opportunities and ample time to distance himself from his book and what he has said in the past (including the remarks you mentioned), and he has done exactly the opposite. Rather, he has reiterated at least two points in particular from his book: 1. It is the work of Satan to limit the atonement, and 2., closet Calvinists need to full disclose their convictions when looking for a church. While we are coming up on a month now where interviews and all kinds of public relations blitzes are taking place, there comes a time where what is NOT being said looms larger in the minds of people rather than the usual stump speech.

Dr. Page has before him the opportunity to correct his position (if he now thinks it is wrong) or change it publicly. Were he to do so and admit that the things he said in his book were faulty, his public admission and denunciation while nominated for the president would be a remarkable thing. But then again, some will think he would be doing it just to get nominated . . .

scripturesearcher said...

I think Dr. Frank Page speaks out of both sides of his Baptist mouth.

And I think, Tom, after reading your much appreciated comments and hearing what others have said who have read Frank Page's little book, that he is trying what you have so correctly stated:

Try as he will, Frank Page simply cannot have it both ways!

So - what are we to believe?

Frank Page has lied in his recent interviews or he has lied in his book. And if he has lied about this subject, how can we trust him not to lie about other matters?

Old fashioned honesty, integrity and truthfulness are hard to find
these days.

God help us! We deserve and expect better in Christians, and in
our denominational leaders! God help us!

GOD HELP US!

David B. Hewitt said...

Dr. Ascol,
Thank you for taking the time to review this book for us; I found it very helpful indeeed.

Scripture Searcher:
Yes, may God help us... It really is hard to see it any other way than what you said; I wish what you said were not true, but I cannot get around its accuracy. Let me be the first to admit that I need help. :)

May God grant us integrity in the lives of our leaders and in our own lives, for His glory.

DH

PS -- I wrote a little bit about a statement Dr. Page made that Baptist Press recorded if anyone is interested.

Sam Hughey said...

From Page's The Trouble With The T.U.L.I.P.:

The downside of this resurgence (of Calvinism) is that many people are falling into a trap set long ago. Manmade doctrines always fail. When any person or person begins to adhere to the teachings of one person, they join the company of many others who have made this serious mistake. It is most grievous to see a large number of individuals accept without question the doctrine of John Calvin in regards to salvation. (P. 73-74)

At the time I became a Calvinist I had never heard of John Calvin, much less read anything written by him or had any knolwedge of his view of salvation. In fact, to this day I own only two books about John Calvin and I am really no big fan of John Calvin. I'm not against him, just not a big fan of him.

However, I would like to know just who Frank Page is referring to whom he knows for a fact have developed their view of salvation according to John Calvin. I know of no such Reformed Baptist. Now, there might be some who do but if one focuses on the extremely few (unknown) who do something wrong in order to justify branding every Calvinist of doing the same is dishonest and unethical behavior. I doubt Frank Page would sit quietly if a member of his congregation accused him of being guilty of the same error others make merely because of 'a' word that has 'some' type of association with his own view of salvation.

Page stated, If one does follow the logic of Calvinism, then a missionary or evangelistic spirit is unnecessary (P. 7). Hmmm, it wasn't unnecessary for Andrew Fuller, William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Charles Spurgeon, etc. Do you think just maybe Page is making this up in order to justify his failed attempt to discredit the Doctrines of Grace?

Page's following comment is his shining moment of desperatism, I would like to challenge all who truly believe in five point Calvinism to stop being closet Calvinists! If you truly believe these doctrines, then let others know about it. They need to know what you believe (P. 42).

If only Frank Page could practice what he preaches and stand up to having his own salvific views and his (less than honest) remarks about Calvinism challenged.

Sam Hughey

Les Puryear said...

Let me see if I understand this. Frank Page said, "Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a Calvinist. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not Arminian." Not a Calvinist nor an Arminian? I don't know what else is left that is not completely heretical. This sounds like the kind of doublespeak I hear every November. Floyd or Page: both seem to be cut from the same cloth. Wouldn't it be nice to have a REAL choice at the convention?

Brian Hamrick said...

Thanks Tom for your thorough interview. We can already see how the new spa is positively effecting your ministry- this is one of your best blogs yet, both in tone and content.
(BTW, I hope the back is feeling better too.)

Can we get a third candidate for President now? I can't in good conscience vote for either man at this time. I'm not saying they are not believers or that they are insincere, but I am saying I desire someone who displays more theological comprehension and consistency that will inspire the convention to greatness, and not just more of the same.

Brian Hamrick said...

I don't know why I called it an "interview." I guess it's been a long day! (But a good one!)

Rob Mart said...

I am amazed at all of hypocrisy coming from Tom and the other comments that have been posted concerning Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism. First of all, Tom says “no amount of kindness can justify his willingness to work with the kinds of people he has described in his book!” And yet, he will post approving comments about Dr. R.C. Sproul, who is not a Baptist, and act as if his thoughts are of worth to his Baptists readers. In fact, you promote Tom Nettles’ book on the Reformation and have referred to Jonathon Edwards’ work as helping you deal with the subject of exposing the public errors of others. How ironic! You mentioned Edwards but failed to give a warning about his unbiblical views on infant baptism and other inherent, Protestant errors.

But then again this is what most Reformed Baptists tend to do when trying to understand or teach some doctrine. It is as if the views of the Reformers lend credence to your teachings. Let us appeal to the Reformers! Whatever happened to doctrine of biblical separation (Romans 16:17)? The most ironic thing of all is that you reformed SBC guys complain about the presidential candidates and yet cannot do anything about it because your churches are tied into the SBC!

scripturesearcher said...

Attention Rob Mart! Wal-mart and K-Mart, etc, I know but Rob Mart I have not met! (Proverb 17:22)


Lies are lies whether spoken and written by you, me, Frank Page, or .....well, I am sure you are able to get the point.

Lies are lies and when you, I or Frank Page tries to have it both ways and speaks out of both corners of his Baptist mouth

well, he needs to repent and apologize as publicly as he has lied

and then tell everyone what he really believes about whatever it is that he is discussing and

at this moment it is so-called "Calvinism" aka Biblical Christianity.

Many of us prefer to use the latter rather than the former because much of what Calvin taught is wrong

but much of what Calvin taught is
true.

I hope you can discern the difference when you are reading any author - Page, Sproul, Edwards, etc., etc.

Accept the scriptural as truth and reject the unscriptural as false and wrong. (Acts 17:10-12)

Become a Berean and if you are one who searches the scriptures, become a better one. Amen!

David B. Hewitt said...

Hey Rob. You said:

"And yet, he will post approving comments about Dr. R.C. Sproul, who is not a Baptist, and act as if his thoughts are of worth to his Baptists readers. In fact, you promote Tom Nettles’ book on the Reformation and have referred to Jonathon Edwards’ work as helping you deal with the subject of exposing the public errors of others. How ironic! You mentioned Edwards but failed to give a warning about his unbiblical views on infant baptism and other inherent, Protestant errors."

and it was in response to something Dr. Tom said:

"Is Page saying that he is willing to work with people who follow "manmade doctrines," whose religion is "without biblical support," whose theological convictions mean that "there is no need to share Christ with anyone" and encourage "a slackening of the aggressive evangelistic and missionary heartbeat of the church?" I would not work with such people and I would not want a president of the SBC who would, either."

There is a world of difference here. Those of us who look to people like Sproul and Edwards and others for some theological insights openly do so and embrace the areas where they are strong. We of course don't accept paedobaptism since we are of course Baptists. :)

The distinguishing factor is that none of us here have used the language to describe Edward, Sproul, Packer, et. al, as Page has used to describe "Calvinists." The excerpt I took from Dr. Tom's original post above gives a glimpse of what Page is saying -- and it truly does appear to be double talk. I agree with Dr. Ascol -- I wouldn't want to work with the people that Dr. Page described, nor would I want a president who would. I would want a president who would rebuke those kinds of people and show them their errors. The thing is, as has been said before, the kinds of people that page describes are not the "Calvinists" in the SBC such as myself, but it would appear that Dr. Page has failed to make that distinction.

In any case, I hope this clarifies things and brings honor to Jesus!

SDG,
David Hewitt

Christopher Redman said...

Rob Mart - last I checked my church was not "tied" into the SBC. We voluntarily cooperate with the SBC for missions, education, and fellowship.

Last I checked, men of God differ on issues and doctrines but can still gain some helpful insight and encouragement. I would hardly stack Edwards side by side with Page. There is no comparison.

CR

Tony said...

Rob:
I think you have missed Tom’s point, if I can speak for Tom. The point is that if Mr. Page is consistent and truly believes what he wrote, concerning those who believe “The Doctrines of Grace” following “manmade” teachings as well as being anti-evangelism, then why would he work with them. He may have dialog to change them but to work with one who does not believe, as he seems to imply by his writing, scripture but instead relies on man is a dangerous thing.

This is vastly different than theological differences on baptism and ecclesiology as with RC Sproul and others. In this case neither side is saying the other is following man made thoughts but instead are dealing with differing theological understandings.

The point is that if Mr. Page says he will work with Calvinists, with his understanding of Calvinism, then who else will he work with.

With regards to the whole election, that is the choosing of the next SBC president, thing:

I have felt from the beginning the whole process of electing officials for the SBC is a mess. How do you vote for one you know nothing about? If I was going to the convention my conscience would not allow me to vote because I do not know enough. The only convention I have been to was the one in Phoenix and I would guess many of those who voted did not know anything about the candidate except his name and that is what they voted for. This year, at least from the blogging world side of things, more questions may have been raised so the look at the candidate extends farther than him having a catchy slogan. Important issues have been raised that can not really be dealt with in the short time between nomination and election.

Christopher Redman said...

I must apologize. I should know better than to respond to the likes of rob mart and those like him whose ignorance and immaturity are obvious. It must be getting popular to show up on founders blog and start slamming Tom and those who agree with him.

I shall not respond to him any further. Honest discussion and debate is not his intention.

CR

Jeff Fuller said...

Everytime I hear of that old false-assertion that Calvinism destroys evangelism it makes me sick!

I'm Southern Baptist. A Calvinist. And an Evangelist. And I know I'm not the only one.

Byroniac said...

Rob Mart said:

I am amazed at all of hypocrisy coming from Tom and the other comments that have been posted concerning Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism. First of all, Tom says “no amount of kindness can justify his willingness to work with the kinds of people he has described in his book!” And yet, he will post approving comments about Dr. R.C. Sproul, who is not a Baptist, and act as if his thoughts are of worth to his Baptists readers.

This is truly amazing. Apparently what is most important here is not whether the man referenced favorably is scriptural or not, but whether he is "denominationally correct" (i.e., Baptist). Scripture is not the final authority, but somehow Baptist tradition and denominational identification become the authoritative factors. So appealing to Scripture and agreeing with a non-Baptist on that basis, while still calling oneself Baptist, is hypocritical. This is utterly amazing, and false! This is nothing else than denominational fog.

I have actually heard the phrase "It's not the Southern Baptist way" used once by a very dear man of God who meant well, but in my view incorrectly stressed or emphasized the importance of our Southern Baptist traditions (as if to automatically assume they are synonymous with Scripture, which unfortunately, because we are all imperfect beings, may never completely be the case).

Jim Crigler said...

Re: Dr. Page's comment: "Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a Calvinist. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not Arminian."

Haven't we heard words very similar to these recently in a certain Very Popular Thread on another candidate for SBC President? [Not in Tom's article per se, but in a currilous (of or pertaining to a cur — extra points for unravelling that one) comment. The commenter also finished with: "I am a Baptist," or words to that effect.]

Byroniac said...

I think I understand what most Baptists mean when they say "I am not a Calvinist or an Arminian." To be honest, I believe it is because they misunderstand and incorrectly define both terms. Just like hyper-calvinism becomes anything more Calvinistic than acceptable (whatever THAT is), I think the term Arminian is defined in the same fashion, but in reverse: beliefs in salvation that are too watered-down (quite literally, such as requiring water baptism for salvation, or losing your salvation).

Interesting, I've heard phrases such as "one-point Calvinist" (and 2-, and 3-), but never "four-point Arminian" or such. But the way many Baptists (including myself in the past) define OSAS (once-saved-always-saved), they are not in fact one-point Calvinists but inconsistent Arminians. The perseverance of the saints stresses the idea of lifelong repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, as a sign of genuine regeneration and conversion. But OSAS seems to stress that Christian devotion and faith are secondary to possessing Christ as Saviour.

Oh, and interestingly enough, the typical Baptist Arminian position gives you less free will after salvation than before. Before, your will is entirely free (according to my understanding of free-will theism, if I am correct), but afterward, you have a free will in almost every area, excluding that of believing savingly in Jesus Christ. Except that in easy believism then even this belief is not required, because the actual salvation took place as the result of a past action of the person's will (which would make it a work, right?)

David B. Hewitt said...

"Everytime I hear of that old false-assertion that Calvinism destroys evangelism it makes me sick!

I'm Southern Baptist. A Calvinist. And an Evangelist. And I know I'm not the only one."


You're not the only one for sure. :) My evangelism professor at Seminary identified himself as a Calvinist fairly frequently, and a man more passionate for souls would be hard to find. Further, my missions professor, a man who so greatly desired to see the nations won that he openly wept over it, is also a "Calvinist."

There are more examples to refute the idea of anti-missions/evangelism that it would indeed be a laughable charge if it weren't so widely believed.

Anyway, I digress. :)

SDG,
David Hewitt

Roy Hargrave said...

I’m so emotional . . .

Perhaps a careful perusal of the “dead guys” whom we often quote with great confidence would help clear our minds of the prevalent preoccupation with appearing sweet. After all, the nightmare scenario for each of us appears to be, being labeled as mean-spirited. I wonder if Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria in the 4th century would have held his ground against Arius and his conspirators if he would have had to defend his motives on the blogs? His concern happened to be his conviction that variations of theological understanding concerning the nature of Christ were not only dangerous but damnable. It so happened that many if not most of the “preachers” of his day didn’t share his “vitriol,” as they deemed it. By the way, we would have all been JW’s or Mormons making our way to the pit. And what if Spurgeon would have capitulated to the accusations that he was dividing the Baptist Union over trifles concerning the downgrade? One thing is certain, W.A. Criswell wouldn’t have been able to preach his pivotal sermon during the conservative resurgence at the1985 SBC convention in Dallas.

When I read the 1689 Baptist Confession, as well as other earlier confessions of faith and compare them with present statements and confessions, I take note of glaring differences. The latter are generally vague and the former characteristically precise. The latter are usually abridged, the former comprehensive. Some statements today are filled with careful language as to not offend parties while the past warriors were straightforward and mainly concerned with the truth. The incipient preoccupation with the feely-touchy has stripped us of God given authority. Can’t we become men and confront without the emotional self-accusations of wet-fish?

And what difference do we see in the preaching today compared with our forefathers? Chalk talks verses preaching a text. Skits instead of exposition. Printed notes without a Bible verses the Word of God. Deletions of the “mean” stuff like Hell, judgement, wrath and other frivolous truths verses “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Preachers building the church instead of Christ building the church, no wonder the gates of hell are prevailing against us. How do you feel instead of what do your think is our motto, because after all, we don’t want to confuse or divide our people over theological incidentals. Anyway, it’s more fun splitting over the color of the carpet than dividing over an issue like monergistic regeneration and other doctrinal trivialities. This is the reason we need to tell the pulpit committees that we’re wimps before we accept the call. We all want to heed our denominational mentors advice and clearly lay all our cards on the table before we accept a pastorate. If we don’t believe that God has chosen a people for Himself we must tell the committee. If we want to climb the denominational ladder and get an important appointment in the coming years we ought to come clean with the committee. If we don’t study our Bibles more than 2 hours a week we must let them know. If our prayer life consist only of “God is good God is great,” we must expose ourselves in honesty before the committee. If we prepare our sermons on Saturday night or during the announcements we are obligated to inform the pulpit committee. If we are going to give our resumes’ out at the annual convention to our preacher friends every year we must let the committee know before we can accept the call with a clear conscience. GET A LIFE! Friends we know what this mess is all about. This is control and creating the local church in somebody’s image instead of God’s image. Forgive me, but I’m not interested in being seen as a nice guy by those who hold to such folly. Trying to be liked and accepted as a man of God is akin to a dog chasing his tail, forget it. I’m not suggesting a conscious attempt at being disliked, but being who God has made you to be in the body. Some are more timid others are more bold but it is God who has given a measure of faith. We must stop trying to judge the motives of each other and leave that to the only one who truly knows them – God. I can’t even judge my own motives honestly much less yours. The remaining flesh skews my understanding and I can only bow my heart before God and pray for wisdom and courage, love and consternation, mercy and boldness at the same time. Cookie cutters go home!

If we speak with conviction and believe that precision in theological matters is our goal then we are often considered exclusionary and mean-spirited. If I hold the conviction, based upon biblical exegesis that the statement, “ . . .no one can come to Me (Jesus), unless it has been granted him from the Father” in John six is a clear and precise statement of a salvific calling, must I wrap it with the loincloths of uncertainty lest someone reads me as being exclusionary and mean-spirited. We all hopefully believe that we ought to esteem others greater than ourselves, but that does not excuse us from the failure of contending for the faith. I am convinced that many of us are being pulled into the culture of men-pleasing and emotionalism. We’re men, not mice! The man of God does not tiptoe through the tulips of truth fearing what someone in the pew might think about his demeanor. Jonathan Edwards would have been hard pressed in our day to preach his “dogmatism.” “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” would have been entitled, “The Lord is Upset with Mean People, MAYBE” or most likely, “Who Does He Think He Is Anway!” I suppose if Whitefield were preaching in our present context of fuzzies he would have been more careful in measuring his words and Martyn Lloyd- Jones would have been sitting with the Cardinals and Bishops in London at a Billy Graham Crusade in the late 50's. Calvin would have been a Sunday School teacher and Luther would have been a denominational officer who never smokes or curses (That’s a joke, lest you get irrate and call me a mean guy).

Let’s get up in our pulpits with a Bible in our hands and the Holy Spirit in our spirits, with a burning message on our hearts and expose with authority the text, whether it says, “no one can” or “whoever will”! I’m a Calvinists but I’ll take the text over the system any day of the week. May God have mercy on our souls, MEN of GOD.

Roy Hargrave

Caddiechaplain said...

Roy Hargrove said,
". . . .and expose with authority the text, whether it says, “no one can” or “whoever will”! I’m a Calvinists but I’ll take the text over the system any day of the week."
Dude, I have swallowed a lot of salt water from the Pacific Ocean, but would you help me understand just what in the world you are trying to say with the above statement? Which side of your mouth do you breath from?

Rob Mart said...

Well, I will try to respond to each of the replies to my previous comment without resorting to name calling (Scripturesearcher). First, Acts 17:10-12 is referring to the Bereans who were yet unsaved until Paul and Silas came and preached the gospel. This is not an example of the church practice of biblical separation. We are to separate from those who teach and practice doctrine that are not found in the scriptures (Romans 16:17). I am suprised no one really addressed this issue in any of the replies to my comment.

Infant baptism is a doctrine that is unbiblical. Let us see what Mr. Spurgeon had to say about the subject. Spurgeon states “when children are taught that in their baptism they are made the children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven, which is as base a lie as ever was forged in hell, or uttered beneath the copes of heaven, our spirit sinks at the fearful errors which have crept into the Church, through the one little door of infant sprinkling” (Infant Salvation). "As base a lie ever was forged in hell" and yet it is alright to refer to these Protestants as long as they are reformed in their soteriology! The Bible does not allow for such nonsense.

Second, Chris R, as far as being "tied" to the SBC, then I suppose your church is "voluntarily," okay with all of the modernism, liberalism, ecumenticalism, and women in leadership roles foud in the convention.

Third, if infant baptism and other Protestant teachings are a lie, then are they not manmade, Tony? Of course, a lie is manmade and not of God. This a basis for biblical separation.

Fourth, Byroniac, do you see anyone (Calvinists and Non-Calvinists) appealing to Roman Catholics because because they hold to the Trinity? No. So why is it okay to appeal to the Protestants because they hold your same view concerning soteriology? Why? Because you feel that the Protestant Reformers give credence to your views. But where is your practice of biblical separation? But then again you have on your blog, concering Cork Free Presbyterian Church (Ireland), "This is an excellent site. I think I'm in 95% agreement with them (does that mean I'm 5% wrong?). The Calvinism section is especially noteworthy, I think." A Baptist turning into a Presbyterian! Wow!

Finally, it seems you guys are unaware of the biblical practice of separation. Maybe it is because your convention has never really practiced biblical separation. Morris Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee, said "There’s a road wrongly taken by many on our left, the road of liberalism. But there is also a road wrongly taken by many others on our right side. It may not be as treacherous as the road of liberalism, but it is just as disabling to the Convention. What is this road? It is the road of separatism -- an ecclesiastical methodology that devalues cooperation in favor of hyper independence. In the past, we have avoided this road as fervently as the road on the left. If Southern Baptists steer too sharply toward the right, we will end up on the road of separatism. SOUTHERN BAPTISTS HAVE NEVER EMBRACED THE METHODOLOGIES OF SEPARATISM” (June 2004).

Roy Hargrave said...

Caddie,

Case Evidence #1

Clarify. Exactly which text do you have problems with, John 6:65 or John 3:16?

farmboy said...

Mr. Ascol offers the following to summarize the position of Mr. Page: "It is as if he is saying that truth does not matter."

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition offers the following definition for pragmatism: "[Pragmatism is a] method of philosophy in which the truth of a proposition is measured by its correspondence with experimental results and by its practical outcome."

My fear is that truth matters to Mr. Page but that Mr. Page understands truth from the perspective of pragmatism.

If the practical outcome desired by a subset of the SBC is numerical growth as measured by statistics such as the number of members or number of baptisms, then the proposition that a non-Calvinist can and should work with Calvinists without regard to what the non-Calvinist thinks of Calvinist doctrine can be a true proposition, provided that it results in the desired numerical growth.

Pragmatism at least allows one to make sense of the views advanced by Mr. Page both in his book and in recent interviews.

Caddiechaplain said...

Roy,
I have no problem with either text when used in the right context!

Byroniac said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Byroniac said...

Rob Mart said:

Fourth, Byroniac, do you see anyone (Calvinists and Non-Calvinists) appealing to Roman Catholics because because they hold to the Trinity? No. So why is it okay to appeal to the Protestants because they hold your same view concerning soteriology? Why? Because you feel that the Protestant Reformers give credence to your views. But where is your practice of biblical separation? But then again you have on your blog, concering Cork Free Presbyterian Church (Ireland), "This is an excellent site. I think I'm in 95% agreement with them (does that mean I'm 5% wrong?). The Calvinism section is especially noteworthy, I think." A Baptist turning into a Presbyterian! Wow!

Sir, I would appreciate it if you would kindly re-read my remarks. I do not think you understood them correctly the first time. I did not say I was appealing to anyone's authority, but to Scripture.

Let's take the example you gave, concerning Roman Catholics and Trinitarianism. I do not "appeal" to Roman Catholics when I say that they are correct biblically in holding to the doctrine of Trinitarianism. In fact, this issue is not discussed most of the time simply because it is a minor area of agreement in a vast collection of disagreements over Scriptural interpretation. It is to Scripture that we appeal.

I do not "appeal" to the Protestants (your distinction, which probably does have some truth to it) in their views of soteriology. I simply agree with them concerning the relevant Scriptures. I do not need the Reformers to lend credence to my views (yes, they do, but that is less important---what is much more important is, what does Scripture say?). I should (and hope that I do) appeal to the authority of Scripture alone.

Now, concerning what I had posted on my blog. This is irrelevant to the discussion at hand, but since you brought it up, here goes. I was not clear on my blog. I agree with them apparently on most issues (not paedobaptism, obviously, and probably other views). I do agree with them in their soteriological views, and that is what I meant to emphasize, because this is our agreement on the Scriptures concerned. Many Christians (not just Baptists) have had the same understanding of the relevant Scriptures. By your logic, should they all be Presbyterians, for that issue alone (ignoring other noteworthy disagreements over Scripture as well)? How does that make me a Presbyterian? Or, for that matter, how does linking to a site I agree with soteriologically (on a scriptural and not denominational basis) make me guilty of failing to remain biblically separate? (Perhaps you have never heard of the term Reformed Baptist, or do not realize that such critters exist even in the SBC?)

And, lastly, you made reference to Romans 16:17 without quoting it. Allow me to quote it and the very NEXT verse for further comments.

Rom 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Rom 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.


This is not speaking of Christian brethren with whom we have disagreements (over Scriptural interpretations!) but rank unbelievers who are more concerned with their own benefit than serving Christ. Are you prepared to brand R.C. Sproul (and Presbyterians in general) as rank unbelievers whose intent is self-serving and who lead true believers astray (out of deception, whether or not intentionally)? Perhaps you believe that only Baptists are saved, then? And then, only a specific kind of Baptist?

Be very careful in your use of Scripture!

Timmy said...

For what it's worth, when I say "Rob Mart's" name, I thought to myself, "I have seen that name before somewhere. I found out: the Calvinist Flyswatter. In a blog attack against Gene Bridges by Bob Ross and "Charles", Rob Mart comments thus:

At Sunday, June 04, 2006 2:48:51 AM, Rob Mart said...

Poor Flounder! No real argument?
Come on, Flounder.



No commentary here. 'Nuff said.

peter lumpkins said...

Dr. Ascol,

Hello from Norrkoping, Sweden. Here it is closing in on midnight and I thought I would pen a line or two (or three:) before retiring.

I appreciate your review on Dr. Page's book. Sadly as you say, it is o-o-p, so we cannot peek at it as did you. You conclusion about Dr. Page's dilemna is precisely the dilemna I see for today's confessional calvinists in the SBC.

You write: "Here is my point. You cannot have it both ways. If you believe that a man's theological conviction kills evangelism and missions and is built on manmade doctrines, then out of loyalty to Jesus Christ you cannot go on and say, "but I am willing to work with that man in Gospel enterprises." Thank you, Dr. Ascol, for stating more eloquently still than ever I could exactly the wedge calvinists drive in the current debate.

When calvinists themselves speak of calvinism as the "faith once for all given to the saints" as does Jude defines and, consequently, that for which he demands we "earnestly contend", then calvinists big question is this: How is it that, were we calvinists in a position in the SBC such that we could impose calvinism from the top down, we would not do such? Is it possible, given what appears to be calvinists' absolute, non-negotiable soteriological parameters being finally defined by the 5Ps, that non-calvinists could be welcome with their sub-Biblical Gospel?

Unfortunately, since the rhetoric from both calvinism and non-calvinism hardly helps the issue, for me at least, I possess an uneasy conscience about it all. With you, I see your point about Dr. Page's dilemna. Even moreso, however, I see the dilemna calvinists face themselves. Can they live happily along side churches, preachers, seminaries and agencies that propagate a message contrary to the faith once given? I doubt it, Dr. Ascol...I double-dog doubt it.

The first Baptist history book I ever encountered was a little primer called "Not A Silent People" by Walter Shurden. If I am not mistaken, his first chapter was entitled "Here Comes Those Battlin' Baptists" or some such. Baptists have always been a controversial people and they seem always to have fared the greatest storms--even theological tsanumais!

Yet the past battles took place when Baptists upheld a reformation doctrine that hardly is even spoken about anymore--the priesthood of every believer. Perhaps there may be hope for us were we to once again give careful attention, Biblical exegesis and theological acumen to it. I don't know...I'm just thinking out loud.

Thank you again, Dr. Ascol, for your fine example as a gracious man as well as an academic pastor. YOu inspire us all. With that, I am...

Peter

Timmy said...

Oh, and one more comment from Mr. Mart complementing Bob Ross' Calvinism:

Charles

Nice blog! I agree with you about how all of the Gadflys and Founders all seem to cut and paste everything. . . . Bob Ross's writings seem to really bother James White. I have read a few of his writings and enjoy his take on "Calvinism."

Rob Mart said...

Here is what the Westminster Confession of Faith has to say concerning baptism: Chapter 28 1. Baptism is a sacrament of the new testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church; but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.
Regeneration and remission of sins, Byroniac! Titus 3:10 tells us "A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject." And again in Titus 1:13 "This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;" And 2 Thessalonians 3:6 says "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us." Now do you understand, Byroniac? Or are you telling me that infant baptism and baptismal regeneration are not important doctrines in which to practice biblical separation over?

Again we will let the confession speak, "Chapter 28 6. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in His appointed time.

This is a corruption of the gospel!

Rob Mart said...

Hey Timmy I love your ecumenical blog. Puritan sermons, nice touch! Well, your Puritans were bitter persecutors of our forebearers, Timmy. The first law against the Baptists in America was made in Massachusetts by Puritans in November 1644. What is their excuse for persecuting their fellow brethren in Christ? But they didn't have enough light yet? Things were different in those days? Well, both had the Bible one group followed the Bible and the other (Puritans) didn't!

1 John 4:20 "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"
And 1 John 3:15 "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."
I'm sure these Puritans and other Protestant persecutors loved their Baptist brothers in their own way though. Right, Timmy?

Byroniac said...

Rob Mart:

I am no expert on the Westminster Confession, or on Reformed Theology in general. However, to the best of my understanding, the very text of the confession you quoted does not equate infant baptism with baptismal regeneration. In the words of the covenant, it (infant baptism) is a "sign and seal" of the regeneration and remissions of sins which is brought about by Jesus Christ. I am not a Presbyterian, and I do feel that the Presbyterians are wrong in that. But such is not heresy, though it is an area of substantial (yet secondary) disagreement. Infant baptism is certainly promoted here, but so-called baptismal regeneration is not (as far as I can tell, if I am not wrong). And I disagree with both. The first is only a matter of secondary importance, not excluding fellowship. But I believe you will struggle in vain to prove that the Confession teaches Baptismal Regeneration.

However, I still fail to understand how linking to a Presbyterian site (with which I do not fully agree) constitutes a breach of biblical separation from heresy, or for that matter, makes me a Presbyterian.

Again, for Chapter 28, paragraph 6 of the Confession: it is not teaching that the baptismal sacrament obligates God's salvation best I can tell, because it qualifies such by the will of God, and being for those to whom such grace belongs. Again, I disagree with infant baptism, but I see no heresy here. Rather, I see an appeal here to God's election, predestination, and sovereign will. It is not a corruption of the gospel, because it is not dealing with the content or propagation of the gospel or the means of salvation as such, best I can tell.

Westminster Confession, Chapter 28

Allow me to quote the paragraph just before the one you mentioned.

V. Although it is a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance,[13] yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it:[14] or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.[15] (Emphasis mine)

I disagree with this doctrine, so quite naturally, I disagree with its necessity, and with the idea that neglecting such is therefore sinful. I am a Baptist, not a Presbyterian. Though I admit, I could be wrong, and if my convictions change, I will state them as truthfully and accurately as I can.

I do wish that you would quote references more fully, and provide those references when quoting!

Will you please answer my question, then, directly? Allow me to rephrase it for your convenience. Presbyterians: are they or are they not, saved? I think I already know your answer, but I could be wrong, so I would appreciate your explicit confirmation or denial.

Byroniac said...

Rob Mart:

Actually, judging from the tone of your posts, it is plainly obvious that you do not really desire dialogue. Your last post to Timmy is hardly reasonable or fair (if you simply but respectfully disagreed, without the accompanying emotional appeals and unfair accusations, I could readily accept that). I have no time to dialogue with someone with a theological axe to grind, who has no real intention or desire for dialogue.

Steve Weaver said...

I posted an announcement that I received today from Pastor Larry Reagan that Jerry Sutton will, in fact, be nominated at next week's convention.

GUNNY said...

Dr. Estep's article in '97 motivated my ThM thesis where my investigation of evangelism from a Reformed perspective led me to my thesis: "Seeking in the Evangelism of Jonathan Edwards."

That response issue of the Founders Journal was one of the key contributors to me staying in the SBC. It was only then that I realized there were others committed to that theological perspective.

I thank God for Founders Ministries.

Incidentally, if any are in the Dallas area, we're starting up a Founders Fraternal and would love to have you.

Lone Star Founders Fraternal

Thanks for the book review, Tom, and Gig 'em!

joethorn.net said...

I made this comment earlier, but in the wrong post.

Tom,

Of course very good words. But equally important - very good attitude. Thank you for being one of the bloggers out there who writes with both truth and grace. You are an encouragement to me and others.

Timmy said...

Mr. Mart,

I am glad that you like my ecumenical blog. I have never been told that I was ecumenical, but if having a profound love and appreciation for the Puritans makes me ecumenical, then sign me up. :)

Byroniac said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nathan White said...

Timmy! You heretic... :)

I was just about to say, if your association with the Puritans makes you ecumenical, what does that make Rob since he is associated with the flyswatter? I'm scared to ask...

Let me guess, he's now going to call you a murderer because you identify with John Calvin :)

Rob, I would encourage you to think through this a little further. Yes, I understand your point, but in reality, I think that maybe you've missed the point. The issue right now isnt about so much about doctrine, for Tom has said countless times that the SBC doesnt have to be a calvinist. The issue here is about someone speaking out of both sides of his mouth. Does he really feel that the biblical doctrine of limited atonement is satanic? I think that is a very honest and fair question coming from us calvinists. Please, there is no need to muddy the water with infant baptism and disputes about words and names. If Tom had written a book calling the belief in infant baptism satanic, and then had gone out and seemingly tried to 'ride the fence' in order to garner votes, then maybe you'd have somewhat of a basis for calling him hypocritical.

SDG

Mark said...

byroniac et al.

The purpose of Rob Mart is not Christian unity. Plain and simple.
To come to this blog, as have many arminians and others, throw bombs, mis quote scripture, call Christian brothers heretics due to a difference in mode of baptism, misquote omit and plain mis represent fellow Christians and doctrine beliefs (he obviously does not have a copy of the WCF as the number of scripture proofs are staggering to this baptist mind). He creates strawmen and makes IMHO vile and ungodily statements. I think he fits in well with the SBC I know. He also does not believe the Presbyterians are christians by his use of the word heretical or heretic.

My grandfather has been a SBC pastor for about 60 years. He is close to 90 now. STill preaching in a country church. Spoke with him this past Sunday. We talked about my seminary experiences and the SBC. He told me to pastor my church and forget about the SBC, "it ain't been worth spit for the last 40 years." He said this with tears in his eyes.

After reading other blogs, church etc and reading what passes for good ole SBC boys coming here...I am sad to say, once again my Grandfather is wise and correct.

Calvinism or reformed faith or biblical christianity is the whipping boy for the powers in the SBC. The SBC is like the large oak I had in my front yard. Looked beautiful and magestic, but was rotten inside. Ever since I started seminary and have been privy to some of the going on within the convention...well it just sickens me.

So the SBC is in trouble with fire truck baptisterys, church growth movements, shallow feel good theology on and on. What is going on reminds me of some leaders/dictators of a country pointing out that a certian group is the cause of all their problems, instead of their (the leaders) actions. Everyone in trouble, preceived or not has to have a whipping boy to focus those they control away from the true problem. The vile utterances I hear within my church and the leadership of the SBC about calvinism reminds me of a certian time in history. My grandfather, no calvinist, brought that to my attention this weekend.

Out of respect for my grandfather, I will swallow the bile to stay in the SBC. But once the Lord takes him, I am moving on. Reformed BAptist or Presbyterian I do not know. I have doctrinal disgreements with both, but we respect each other, debate and learn. In the men's group I am in, the members are Presbyterian, Reformed Baptist, OPC and Southern Baptist. The only contentious one is a Self proclaimed calvinist SBCer. Go figure.

Sorry for the rant, I have spent the night with an SBC arminian minister evangelizing in a neighborhood for a church. After hours of prayer, weeping over people and trying to explain the gospel, we went to the local village inn for coffee. I then had to listen how "calvinism" was killing the SBC and was of the devil. When I nicely and politely informed this elder minister that he had just spent the last few hours ministering with a calvinist, he "de-fellowshiped me" and walked out. I have had enough of this crap from so called "fellow believers".

As my systematic theology prof told me, crap is neither scholarly or biblical...though at time very appropriate.

Byroniac said...

Mark:

Wow! Brother, I am sorry to hear of your recent experiences. Please don't allow yourself to give into bitterness, though. Jesus Christ is still sovereign (though it is far easier for me to say this, since I have not just gone through your experience!).

I hope I was not too harsh on Rob Mart, but I am afraid he had no intention or desire for dialogue. Well, here I am talking about him in the past tense. Perhaps he will return and continue his mischaracterizations and accusations. I fail to see any Godly motivation behind such behavior, or evidence of any good purpose of the same. I do not say that to speak harshly; I am simply surrendering to reality. Too, I think I wasted what time I gave in responding to him.

I want to add that, having no familiarity with Frank Page, I am nonetheless alarmed at his comments and the prospect of his presidency in light of what Dr. Tom Ascol posted. I'm not saying that he should adopt the Reformed position necessarily (though honestly I wish that would happen), but he certainly needs a much better understanding of what he's writing about. Still, I should pray for him even if he's elected to the SBC presidency---heaven knows every true believer needs as much prayer as he or she can get!

bristopoly said...

"What is their excuse for persecuting their fellow brethren in Christ? But they didn't have enough light yet? Things were different in those days? Well, both had the Bible one group followed the Bible and the other (Puritans) didn't!"

Wow, for a minute there I thought you were talking about Baptist slave traders. You know black people were brethren too. Maybe you shouldn't listen to any baptists either?

D.R. said...

Rob Mart,

I was glad to see you bring up Charles Spurgeon's view of paedobaptism and his rejection of it as a support for your position on Biblical Separatism.

After quoting Spurgeon on Infant Baptism, you said,
"As base a lie ever was forged in hell" and yet it is alright to refer to these Protestants as long as they are reformed in their soteriology! The Bible does not allow for such nonsense.



Well, before you use Spurgeon to defend your understanding of Biblical Separatism, let's see how Spurgeon exercised his understanding of separation.

On John Calvin, Spurgeon said,
Among all those who have been born of women, there has not risen a greater than John Calvin; no age before him ever produced his equal, and no age afterwards has seen his rival. In theology, he stands alone, shining like a bright fixed star, while other leaders and teachers can only circle round him, at a great distance-as comets go streaming through space-with nothing like his glory or his permanence. Calvin's fame is eternal because of the truth he proclaimed; and even in heaven, although we shall lose the name of the system of doctrine which he taught, it shall be that truth which shall make us strike our golden harps, and sing...

From the website where I obtained that quote, in a post entitled, "TWO DOZEN REMARKABLE FACTS ABOUT SPURGEON," fact No.18 was,
Headmaster George Rogers of [Spurgeon's Pastors] college was a paedobaptist, showing Spurgeon's tolerance and magnanimity, but all faculty had to "teach the doctrines of grace with dogmatism, enthusiasm and clarity."

From another website,
During their courtship Charles and Susannah developed a kinship in spiritual things which only deepened in married life. They spent time reading together Jonathan Edwards, Richard Baxter, and other old Puritan writers. Together they published a collection of Puritan theology called Smooth Stones Taken from Ancient Brooks.

It's apparent that while Spurgeon disagreed adamantly with paedobaptists, he was able to agree with them on other doctrinal matters and cooperate with them (even employing a paedobaptist to run his school, rather than an Arminian Baptist) and found the suppression of Baptistic practice by the Puritans to be not so unforgivable. So in having used Spurgeon to support your position, you either have to now label him a hypocrite for his actions or recant using him to support your point.

Rob Mart, I suggest you read this article by Albert Mohler on theological triage to better understand how to employ your rather narrow understanding of Biblical Separation. It will also help explain the difference between cooperating with Presbyterians and not cooperating with Roman Catholics.

In the end, Morris Chapman is right, broadly-applied Baptist Separatism is dangerous and unnecessarily rids Christianity of the unity for which Christ prayed (liberalism does the same thing in the opposite way). I hope you will recognize the need to unite with your non-Baptist brethren and live out the principle so eloquently spoken so many years ago by Rupertus Meldenius, "IN ESSENTIALS UNITY, IN NON-ESSENTIALS LIBERTY, IN ALL THINGS CHARITY"

GeneMBridges said...

Rob Mart is very likely a Landmarkist. I wonder if he believes in the Trial of Blood. If so, it's rather ironic that he calls for doctrinal purity while tracing his lineage through Paulicans and Bogomils. Or does he fancy himself a child of the Radical Reformation? Tell us, Rob, what about the Christological heretics of that movement? They spawned the Quakers too. Why then trace your lineage through them? Ah, but then there's the Free Will Baptists, they come from Smyth and Helwys. Yes, they do, and so does Socinianism which entered Baptist ranks thanks to them.

We are to separate from those who teach and practice doctrine that are not found in the scriptures (Romans 16:17). This text is talking about the Judaizer heresy. This is soteriological heresy, a denial of Sola Fide. Rob apparently believes the baptism rises to this level of heresy and merits separation.

First, Baptist churches are not joined to paedobaptist churches, so Baptists here are already separated from them. Second, Presbyterians and Congregationalists do not disaffirm Sola Fide and are thus not in soteriological heresy. Third, James Boyce himself studied under Charles Hodge, and Spurgeon whom you quoted was quite fond of the Princetonian theologians.

I really have to laugh at the Spurgeon quote, Mr. Mart. Spurgeon disgreed with paedobaptism, but what about the rest of the Princetonian theology? Spurgeon had warm and pleasant relations with the Princeton Theologians. Of Charles Hodge he remarked, "With no writer do we more fully agree." Commenting and Commentaries (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1893; reprint, Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Banner of Truth Trust, 1969), 178. Writing of A.A. Hodge, he stated: Spurgeon stated:

We commend the Outlines of Theology to all who would be well instructed in the faith. It is the standard text-book of our college. We differ from its teachings upon baptism, but in almost everything else we endorse Hodge to the letter.

In the future, Mr. Mart, you may find it helpful to actually quote folks that hold your position. By your yardstick, Spurgeon was not practicing separation, guilty of Presbyterianism, etc.

In asserting that differences over baptismal mode rise to the level of rejecting everything other Christians have to say about other issues, Rob Mart is the mirror image of both the baptismal regenerationist, who makes baptism the doctrine qua doctrine of his belief system, and the neo-Gnostic hyper-Calvinist who affirms one must believe in Calvinism or certain of its soteriological articles to be saved.

The funny thing is that he perpetuates the utter lie that Presbyterians affirm infant baptism. Notice the inconsistency. He appeals to the WCF to support his idea, but then he tells us it is illicit to appeal to non-Baptist theologians or confessions for our ideas. Think on that one. Since, the LCBF2 recapitulates the WCF and the Savoy Declaration, Rob Mart has to pretend the 17th century never happened and the Particular Baptists didn't write the LCBF2. He clearly hasn't read a Presbyterian theologian to know what baptismal efficacy means in their theology, so he stumbles further into the darkness when asserting they affirm baptismal regeneration. Just to prove his error to him, on p. 585 of C. Hodges Systematic Theology, we find Hodge stating that baptism is not a necessary means for salvation. The Reformed do affirm it is a means of grace, but this is also in Benjamin Keach's Baptist catechism, and it only means that in baptism the candidate's faith is blessed by God in a special way and Christ is present to the faith of the Christian witnesses, and the Holy Spirit can use the baptismal event as a testimony to draw sinners to faith in Christ.

Now, assuming he is not a Calvinist, then let Rob chew on this one: if you make election's basis foreseen faith, and if you deny monergistic regeneration, you put the Father and the Spirit's work outside a chain of grace in salvation. Only the cross is in view. This is functional Unitarianism. So, if this is what you affirm and if your church associates with churches that affirm this, then you associate yourself with functional Unitarians. If RB's citations of paedobaptists make them Presbyterian, then, based on Rob Mart's own yardstick , he has become a functional Unitarian. Given the choice, I'd take being a Presbyterian over a Unitarian any given day.

Rob Mart said...

Luther on infant baptism:
"Expressed in the simplest form, the power, the effect, the benefit, the fruit and the purpose of baptism is to save. No one is baptized that he may become a prince, but, as the words declare [of Mark 16:16], that he may be saved. But to be saved, we know very well, is to be delivered from sin, death, and Satan, and to enter Christ's kingdom and live forever with him . . .
Through the Word, baptism receives the power to become the washing of regeneration, as St. Paul calls it in Titus 3:5 . . . Faith clings to the water and believes it to be baptism which effects pure salvation and life . . ."
And "When sin and conscience oppress us . . . you may say: It is a fact that I am baptized, but, being baptized, I have the promise that I shall be saved and obtain eternal life for both soul and body . . . Hence, no greater jewel can adorn our body or soul than baptism; for through it perfect holiness and salvation become accessible to us . . ." (From ed. by Augsburg Publishing House (Minneapolis), 1935, sections 223-224,230, pages 162, 165)

And David F. Wright, the well-respected scholar of Reformation theology says:
What then about the efficacy of baptism according to the Westminster Confession? Its central affirmation seems clear: "the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost" (28.6). It is true that a variety of qualifications to this assertion are entered...But these qualifications serve in fact only to highlight the clarity of the core declaration, which is set forth as follows in the preceding chapter on sacraments in general:
niether doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it, but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution; which contains...a promise of benefit to worthy receivers (27.3).
The Westminster divines viewed baptism as the instrument and occasion of regeneration by the Spirit, of the remission of sins, of ingrafting into Christ (cf. 28.1). The Confession teaches baptismal regeneration. (from "Baptism at the Westminster Assembly" in The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century, volume 1, ed. by J. Ligon Duncan III, Mentor 2003:168-9)

Thomas Blake was an English Presbyterian and member of a Westminster Assembly committee that studied the issue of baptism in preparation for drawing up the Confession. According to Blake, those descended from Christian parents are entitled to the sacrament of baptism by which they enter into "church-priviledges," privileges that Blake took to be "of grace" and to include a "promise of the Spirit" (see his Infants Baptisme, Freed from Antichristianisme, London 1645:28). As Blake writes elsewhere, the promise of the Spirit is "on condition of their Baptisme. The means are to be used in reference to the end: Baptisme is the means, receiving the Holy Ghost is the end." Thus, in the use of baptism, we are "to expect the gift of the Spirit" (The Birth-Priviledge or Covenant-Holinesse, London 1644:15-16)

WCF Ch.28 6.
The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in His appointed time.
I hope no Baptist brother believes that nonsense and false concept of grace.

Well Byroniac, there you have it.
Grace through infant baptism sounds like the Roman Catholic Church. But let us just stick to our spirit of unity.

Rob Mart said...

Gene,

I am not Landmark Baptist, nor do I believe Carroll's "Trail of Blood." Nor do I "fancy" myself a child of the Anabaptists. I like that by the way, Gene, "fancy," good writing! I don'r really cared how Spurgeon practiced biblical separation, Gene. The quote was only used to show the grand error of the Protestants. The WCF ch 28 6. is too close to sounding like Roman Catholicism to me. For your information Gene, the Anabaptist movement was not a solidified movement so different groups of Anabaptists had different views.

More Spurgeon for you "... you have this baptismal regeneration, preparing stepping stones to make it easy for men to go to Rome. ... I pray you never rest upon this wretched and rotten foundation, this deceitful invention of antichrist." -- Charles Spurgeon (From his sermon titled Baptismal Regeneration)
An Luther:
"To put it most simply, the power, effect, benefit, fruit, and purpose of Baptism is to save. No one is baptized in order to become a prince, but as the words say, to 'be saved.' To be saved, we know, is nothing else than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil and to enter into the kingdom of Christ and live with him forever." -- Martin Luther (Quoted from The Large Catechism)
Luther again:
"The Anabaptists cavil as to how the salvation of man is to be effected by water. The simple answer is, that all things are possible to him who believes in God Almighty" (Table Talk, p. 180).
Luther:
"Just so, when we are baptized into everlasting life and the kingdom of heaven ... Therefore it is necessary that we should be baptized into Jesus Christ and His death" (Commentary on Romans -- Martin Luther, translated by J. Theodore Mueller, p. 101).
Pope John Paul
"The fact that Christianity is a religion of salvation is expressed in the sacramental life of the Church. ... Baptism and the Eucharist [are] sacraments which create in man the seed of eternal life. -- Pope John Paul II (Quoted from Crossing the Threshold of Hope, pp. 74-75)
Sounds like the same thing, Gene! So I think biblical separation is warranted here, you guys.

I will try to answer all the replies to my posts but there are so many so give me a little time. Thanks

Larry said...

He's not a Calvinist or an Arminian? Very curious. I think what he means is that he's an Arminian who denies that you can lose your salvation. That's what people who claim a 'middle' position usually mean in my experience.

Tom said...

I just learned that Jeff Riddle has published an extensive review of Dr. Page's book. You can read it on his church's website: http://www.jpbc.org/writings/br-trouble_with_tulip.html

Howard Fisher said...

"I do believe that this issue needs to be discussed openly and honestly."

These people keep saying this. They write books about Calvinism. Yet where are they in the public sphere when questioned?

Dr. White has stated many times on the Dividing Line that they are very brave behind their keyboards. Yet when asked to have public debates or discussions, they are very difficult to find.

GeneMBridges said...

I don'r really cared how Spurgeon practiced biblical separation, Gene. The quote was only used to show the grand error of the Protestants.

Notice that Rob Mart now backpeddles from his original statement. He says he quoted Spurgeon to show the error of the Protestants, but he quoted Spurgeon as support of his position in order to chastize us for allegedly not practicing biblical separation, for at the end he wrote: As base a lie ever was forged in hell" and yet it is alright to refer to these Protestants as long as they are reformed in their soteriology! The Bible does not allow for such nonsense.

Apparently, Rob Mart is incapable of keeping up with what he writes.

Notice the blatant double standard. He quotes a Baptist who clearly affirmed systematic theology written by Presbyterians in order to support his own position, but then he denies the legitimacy of any appeal made by us to those same Presbyterian theologians. Apparently, it's okay for Rob to quote Spurgeon but not okay to quote the Hodges, even though Spurgeon approved of them. So, we are told we violate "biblical separation" but apparently Spurgeon, who, by Mr. Mart's own yardstick did the same, is a respectable source for Mr. Mart to use, even though Spurgeon used A.A. Hodge's text approvingly.


The WCF ch 28 6. is too close to sounding like Roman Catholicism to me.

But this was not your original argument. Your original argument was that it was baptismal regeneration. Pick up a Presbyterian theology book like Hodge and you will find otherwise.

You quote Luther. You realize that Lutheranism has a doctrine of objective regeneration and objective justification don't you? This is juxtaposed against their doctrine of subjective regeneration and justification. If one is not converted later in life, one cannot look to his baptism for assurance of anything. This still isn't the Roman view of baptismal regeneration, for in Catholicism, you can look to the sacraments for assurance because of the ex opere operato act of the priest. It has more in common with the Arminian doctrine of universal prevenient grace. Baptism is simply the means by which this grace is conferred. Is it biblical? No, but it is Catholic? No, it is its own animal. Why you bring up Luther, however, is simply unknown.

You quote David F. Wright, but you forgot to consider the fact that he is quoted as differing with the majority of Presbyterians on this, and that he is often quoted by supporters of New Perspectivism. What you need is support from the 16th and 17th centuries. In that day, the proceeded on the notion that children born to believers and baptized were to be considered presumptively regenerate until they, by demonstration of their lives, showed otherwise.

Presbyterians have fluctuated on this greatly, and their problems with the New Perspective on Paul in Alabama are part of this. However, New Perspectivism has been and continues to be confined to a small group of them.

However, one of the drafters of the WCF, Marshall, states this quite clearly:
But as to the second, which is interesse meum, or the receiver's interest in that spirituall part of the Covenant, that is sealed to no receiver absolutely, but conditionally. In this particular, all Sacraments are but signa conditionalis, conditional seals, sealing the spiritual part of the Covenant to the receiver, upon condition that he perform the spiritual condition of the Covenant. Thus our divines used to answer the Papists, thus Doctor Ames answers Bellarmine, when Bellarmine, disputing against our doctrines that Sacraments are signs and seals, alleges then they are falsely applied oftentimes. He answers to Bellarmine, Sacraments are conditional Seals, and therefore not seals to us but upon condition. (A Defence of Infant Baptism)

All this means is that they viewed the baptism of their children as putting them in the way of grace, but it is conditional grace, not effacious grace. It is not spiritual, as the efficacy of baptism is based upon the fulfilment of spiritual conditions. In short, the Holy Spirit promises, in their view, to treat the child charitably and regenerate them in due course, bringing them to faith in Christ in due time, but it is not an absolutely certain thing. However, baptism is not a sine qua non necessity for salvation itself, it is a necessity for being included in the external blessings of the covenant. This is not baptismal regeneration, and even the purveyors of New Perspectivism admit this. Baptismal regeneration is an affirmation of the Auburn Ave. crowd, and the last I checked, a large majority of PCA presbyteries and a great deal of, if not the whole of the OPC had condemned them as heretics for this.

Grace through infant baptism sounds like the Roman Catholic Church. But let us just stick to our spirit of unity.

It isn't enough to state that baptism viewed as means of grace = Catholicism. This suffers from logical fallacy, namely oversimplification. This is a special case of the straw man argument. A theological opponent will offer a carefully caveated version of his position. The disputant will drop all the caveats, and attack this simplistic version of the opposing position.

Baptists have also viewed baptism as a means of grace. Have you ever bothered to read Keach's catechism?

Q. 95. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption?

A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption are His ordinances, especially the Word, Baptism, the Lord's Supper and Prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation. (Rom. 10:17; James 1:18; 1 Cor. 3:5; Acts 14:1; 2:41,42)



Q. 96. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?

A. The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith unto salvation. (Ps. 119:11,18; 1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Peter 2:1,2; Rom. 1:16; Ps. 19:7)



Q. 97. How is the Word to be read and heard that it may become effectual to salvation?

A. That the Word may become effectual to salvation we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation and prayer, receive it in faith and love, lay it up in our hearts and practice it in our lives. (Prov. 8:34; 1 Peter 2:1,2; 1 Tim. 4:13; Heb. 2:1,3; Heb. 4:2; 2 Thess. 2:10; Ps. 119:11; James 1:21,25)



Q. 98. How do Baptism and the Lord's Supper become effectual means of salvation?

A. Baptism and the Lord's Supper become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them or in him that administers them, but only by the blessing of Christ and the working of His Spirit in them that by faith receive them. (1 Peter 3:21; 1 Cor. 3:6,7; 1 Cor. 12:13)



Q. 99. Wherein do Baptism and the Lord's Supper differ from the other ordinances of God?

A. Baptism and the Lord's Supper differ from the other ordinances of God in that they were specially instituted by Christ to represent and apply to believers the benefits of the new covenant by visible and outward signs. (Matt. 28:19; Acts 22:16; Matt. 26:26-28; Rom. 6:4)

Rob Mart said...

GeneMBridges said...

"Notice that Rob Mart now backpeddles from his original statement. He says he quoted Spurgeon to show the error of the Protestants, but he quoted Spurgeon as support of his position in order to chastize us for allegedly not practicing biblical separation, for at the end he wrote: As base a lie ever was forged in hell" and yet it is alright to refer to these Protestants as long as they are reformed in their soteriology! The Bible does not allow for such nonsense."

How is that backpeddling, Gene? I never said look how Spurgeon handles biblical separation. I used the Spurgeon quote to show the grave error inherent in Protestant theology. And still no one has answered my comments concerning the passages in scripture which teach the practice of biblical separation.

I'm amazed at the lengths in which you guys will attempt to defend an error such as infant baptism. Spurgeon seemed to think it sounded like baptismal regeneration which leads to Rome. Again "... you have this baptismal regeneration, preparing stepping stones to make it easy for men to go to Rome. ... I pray you never rest upon this wretched and rotten foundation, this deceitful invention of antichrist." -- Charles Spurgeon (From his sermon titled Baptismal Regeneration)

Or let's see what the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 says:
Chapter 29: Of Baptism
1. Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.
( Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2;12; Galatians 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:4 )

2. Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.
( Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36, 37; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 18:8 )

3. The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
( Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 8:38 )

4. Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance. ( Matthew 3:16; John 3:23 )
Notice here, no allowances for "doctrines of objective regeneration and objective
justification," the "doctrine of subjective regeneration and justification," or "putting them in the way of grace, but it is conditional grace, not effacious grace."
Again, I will relate to quote from Blake "Thomas Blake was an English Presbyterian and member of a Westminster Assembly committee that studied the issue of baptism in preparation for drawing up the Confession. According to Blake, those descended from Christian parents are entitled to the sacrament of baptism by which they enter into "church-priviledges," privileges that Blake took to be "of grace" and to include a "promise of the Spirit" (see his Infants Baptisme, Freed from Antichristianisme, London 1645:28). As Blake writes elsewhere, the promise of the Spirit is "on condition of their Baptisme. The means are to be used in reference to the end: Baptisme is the means, receiving the Holy Ghost is the end." Thus, in the use of baptism, we are "to expect the gift of the Spirit" (The Birth-Priviledge or Covenant-Holinesse, London 1644:15-16)

Again Gene says concering the Lutheran view of baptism, "If one is not converted later in life, one cannot look to his baptism for assurance of anything." So if one is converted then his baptism conferred grace upon the receipient?

But I have gotten off track of my main point which is biblical separation for the church. No one has answered me concerning verses such as 2 Thessalonians 3:6 which says "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
By the way, what church was Luther, Calvin, Knox, Beza, Zwingli and the other Reformers members of? A state institution/church? These Reformers have corrupted the true nature of Christ's Church but its okay because we agree with their soteriological views. What compromise!

volfan007 said...

who will you five pointers vote for at the sbc?

Hyker01 said...

I can truly say I understand the heart of Frank Page. He has been my pastor for nearly six years. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him and his positions. I have read his book - several times in fact. Unfortunately those on this blog are distrustful of Dr. Page's attempt to hold out the olive branch for those with whom he has honest disagreements.

I have never heard him speak contemptuously about any person holding to "calvinistic" or reformed theological positions. He continually holds the position this debate is a "family squabble", to use his words. He has embraced persons in our church having a variety of theological positions.

He is a man of humility, and I do not use that term lightly. As a leader, he has truly embraced the servant/leader appraoch, embracing a broad constitunecy. I believe Dr. Page to be an excellent example of how Christ would act when dealing with people of different mindsets.

I believe him to be a man of his word. If he says he will be inclusive - he will be inclusive. He believes in the biblical mandate for a man's yes to be yes and no to be no. I don't think that is hard to understand and accept.

I would hope the persons who participate in this blog would extend the olive branch as has my pastor. He has no hidden agenda.

To be sure, he has serious questions concerning reformed theology. However, he is understands the issue to be a disagreement among siblings.

Byroniac said...

I am not nearly so knowledgeable about the issue of infant baptism and its theological implications as are Gene Bridges and Rob Mart. So guys, I'll let you both dialogue on that one if you care to do so (thank you Gene Bridges for your excellent posts!). Rob Mart, I also appreciate your change of tone. I am not nearly so knowledgeable as you are, but I must regretfully continue to disagree.

For myself, I am satisfied with my personal correspondence with a Presbyterian minister that I had in the past who practices infant baptism (with which I currently disagree) who has said to me it is not for salvation. I believe he is typical of most Presbyterians in this regard. Eventually I plan to study the issue further (if only that thing called osmosis worked; I'd happily sleep with a library full of books bundled to my head!).

David B. Hewitt said...

Volfan:
Honestly, if I were to have my druthers, I would probably want someone like Al Mohler, Mark Dever, or Dr. Ascol to be the president.

Anyway, that is me. :)

SDG,
Dave

Rob Mart said...

Byroniac,

I am sorry for saying that you were turning into a Presbyterian. I hope you accept my apology. I was trying to make to a point but I did it at your expense and didn't really know anything about you. I do know that you are located in Texas and its always good to talk to a fellow Texan.

Byroniac said...

Thanks, Rob. Have a good one.

hochimin said...

Tom Acol's comments sound very arrogant and disrespectful a great man who could very well be our next SBC President. Perhaps, it would be better if Mr Ascol left the Baptist faith and begun his own. He seems to have beliefs much different than those of conservative Baptists and much in line with those "who are their own baptists". Perhaps, he would do much better is listening instead of shouting and trying to have his own way. Reminds me of the school yard bully back in grade school. How old are you Mr. Ascol?

Tom said...

Hochimin:

Hi Curtis. If you want to remain anonymous you really should try harder to cover your tracks.

I am 49.

Sam Hughey said...

Rob,

Please forgive me for the late entry and perhaps the same or similar statements/questions others have already stated/asked but I've been away for a while and since I am one of those whom you (falsely) accused of hypocrisy I do believe I have a right to request this information from you.

It is obvious that you follow the same ethical lines of the Caners, Patterson, Page, Rogers, etc. You accuse someone of being a hyprocrite because of what we've stated about Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism but you failed to state explicitly what our alleged hyprocrisy is and why you think it is hypocrisy. Since your (false) accusation of hypocrisy is in reference to our statements (not R.C. Sproul's, Tom Nettles' or Jonathon Edwards') against Dr. Paige, why then do you mention other people and other issues? This is what a person does in order to hide the fact that they really do not have a valid or credible complaint.

If you are a Christian, why do you take making false accusations so flippantly? You make an appeal to Scripture for obedience yet you provided no such obedience from yourself. Is that not hypocrisy?

Furthermore, you rely on Romans 16:17 to somehow justify your (false) accusation of hypocrisy. Romans 16:17 states the following, Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Again, you failed to provide the explicit doctrine(s) whereby we have allegedly caused divisions and/or to which we spoke contrary concerning Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism. What you stated about R.C. Sproul, Tom Nettles and Jonathon Edwards have no bearing on the (false) accusation you made about us being hypocrites with regards to what we've stated about Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism. Obviously, like Dr. Paige, you seem to think you can just throw anything at someone which makes no sense and we are supposed to somehow be wrong.

I, like you, disagree with Jonathon Edwards' unbiblical view of infant baptism but does that mean he has nothing of which can be helpful? In fact, you failed to even address the specific issue why Edwards' name was mentioned in the first place. Are you implying that a person must be so absolutely perfect in everything one believes that if they are wrong in any one part nothing they state can be of any usefulness? Are you that perfect in everything you believe Rob? If not, why then should we trust anything you are stating to have any usefulness whatsoever?

Rob, if you truly believe Romans 16:17 is true, why then do YOU not avoid US?

Sam Hughey

Rob Mart said...

Sam,

Yes, you are late and I have already addressed these issues with others. Concerning the Protestants you state, "I, like you, disagree with Jonathon Edwards' unbiblical view of infant baptism but does that mean he has nothing of which can be helpful?" Great! But unlike me, Tom and others here do not follow the practice of biblical separation. As far as biblical evidence for the validity of biblical separation check out 2 Thessalonians 3:6 and the other verses that I listed here already. Plenty of you Reformed Baptists constantly refer to and recommend Protestant teachers. Some of you have these resources listed on your blogs without any kind of warning about the inherent errors in Protestant theology. That is the hipocrisy, Sam.

C. T. Lillies said...

I'm just a regular Southern Baptist church member so I may not have the chops for this but here goes. Sunday School and Worship--three to five points an offeratory, some hymns...usually a baptism followed by a good long invitation and try to beat the Presby's to lunch. I like going to an SBC church. But, I'd like to say that these doctrines were like a breath of fresh air to me when I actually sat down and made a study of them. They all hang together as a whole--as the scripture does. I can't say the same about most of the teachings of the last fifteen or twenty years of sermons and lessons. All the things I thought were good rich deep bible teaching pale in comparison. Our theology has been watered down to the point that we don't even know how far gone we are. Come on! 90% of the Baptists I know pick up Warrens book and say "Ooooh, a Purpose! Wow!" Like its the best thing ever. I do not know what taking up these fine old doctrines will do to the church as a whole--or me for that matter--but I for one refuse to go back.

You all go on and argue about paedo baptism and the WCF or whatever else you want but the idea of an entire Convention rooted down in good solid theology and stepping out to minister? Say what you like but THAT would be a powerful and glorious thing.

Sam Hughey said...

Rob,

Thanks for taking the time to respond and again I apologize for the repeated information. However, there is something that troubles me with your response, actually serveral things.

1. You ignored the essence of my question in the following statement, "I, like you, disagree with Jonathon Edwards' unbiblical view of infant baptism but does that mean he has nothing of which can be helpful?" You ignored the question if Edwards has nothing of usefulness to anyone simply because he is wrong about infant baptism yet you took the time to repeat the same vague and ambiguous Independent Fundamental Baptist argument of seperation (which even YOU fail to do what you preach to Tom and others).

2. Simply throwing Biblical texts at someone is not an answer to their questions (though it is a response, sort of) and fails to explain the proper use of those texts. All you've done is tell us to look at 2 Thessalonians 3:6 and the other verses that I listed. I can do the same with a great many texts but that doesn't prove I am interpreting or applying them accurately. By the way, 2 Thessalonians 3:6 states, Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us but you haven't yet stated the specifics of our disorderly walking (living) or where we've violated the Apostle's teaching. You also fail to explain why YOU refuse to obey this same text by not seperating yourself from us, which was also ignored as I asked this in my first response to you and yet you insist upon calling us hypocrites.

So, again, Are you implying that a person must be so absolutely perfect in everything one believes that if they are wrong in any one part nothing they state can be of any usefulness? Are you that perfect in everything you believe Rob? If not, why then should we trust anything you are stating to have any usefulness whatsoever?

Sam Hughey

Rob Mart said...

Sam,

Thanks for the response. Whether Edwards has other teachings that are of value is not central to this discussion. As I have stated earlier, Catholics believe in the Trinity but we (Baptists) do not go around promoting their materials. Why isn't the same done with Protestant teachings? This issue of infant baptism is a serious error and false teaching, among other Protestant teachings. The Bible gives no room for such compromise. It is very explicit in what should be done in dealing with those who teach false doctrine. Listing Protestant books, sermons, and teachings as examples of good Christian resources without any kind of warning to our Baptist readers is a gross example of Christian irresponsiblity. This is what countless Reformed Baptists do because of a shared view of soteriology with Reformed Protestants. They pick and choose who to associate with without paying attention to the practice of biblical separation. Our Baptist forebearers believed these theological differences (infant baptism, separation of church and state, the ordinances as opposed to sacraments) were significant enough to risk being persecuted at the hands of the Protestants and Catholics. Today, Baptists, for the most part, have forgotten the practice of biblical separation. Please read my earlier postings here for more information.

Thanks,
Rob

John said...

Dear Rob,

Not all differences are worth separating over. And while I certainly do not believe in infant baptism, I have to recognize the plain fact that there is no verse in scripture that says "You shall not baptize infants". So your insistence that we use that as something to divide over, is extra-Biblical. You have no right to insist that we have to divide over something the Bible does not say divide over. (Just as the SBC has no right to tell people -- including the Lord Jesus -- not to drink wine!) To cause an unnecessary separation is to be divisive and that, according to Titus 3:9-10, is something we can divide over. In order words, it is from you that we might need to divide if you continue to try and cause unnecessary divisions.

The Bible is always the ultimate authority. But the Reformers are good to consult because they genuinely sought to derive their teachings from the Bible. They weren't perfect, as no sinful human being is. But they were earnest.

I think we "Reformed" Christians shoot ourselves in the foot by too quickly and too often referring to our historical heritage. We have the Biblical position and shouldn't be timid about asserting that. I published a series of articles in TULIP, one brief article on each, in which I intentionally did not mention Calvin, Calvinism, the Synod of Dordt, etc. It wasn't really difficult since there was so much scripture to establish each one. The articles are available at:
www.covenantdubois.com.

Rob Mart said...

John,

If you are correct why are there different denominations? Why are there Reformed Baptist churches and Presbyterian churches? You are incorrect in saying baptism is not enough reason to separate. The Bible leaves no room for such compromise, John. That is the reason for different church denominations.

You state " The Bible is always the ultimate authority. But the Reformers are good to consult because they genuinely sought to derive their teachings from the Bible." So I guess infant baptism, sacraments rather ordinances, baptismal regeneration, failure to separate church and state, and persecuting other Christians was part of the teachings they reached from scripture. This is inexcusable!

The truth lies in the actions of the magisterial reformers. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Beza, Rhegius, Knox, and others were harsh persecutors of our Baptist forebearers. Unlike you, John, the Reformers thought the issue of baptism was important enough to separate over. However, they were in gross error in banishing, torturing, and murdering those who practiced believers baptism. These are your Reformed men you and others choose to defend!

I agree with you, John, that some Reformed Christians are too quick to look to the teachings of the Reformers. The Bible is our sole authority for faith and practice.

Thanks for the link to your TULIP articles.

Rob

Greg Sisk said...

While all of you "experts" are debating Cavlinism, soles are being lost because we Baptist sometimes focus on the wrong issues at the wrong time. Dr. Page is my Pastor and my friend in Christ. He has not attempted to distance himself from this book, as one blogger claimed. In fact, Dr. Page spent a whole month of Wednesday nights teaching us about Calvinism. He is the type of pastor that will not shy away from contraversial issues, such as the recent book on the DaVinci Code. I am what you guys call a layperson. Dr. Page is not a liar. He is a Bible preaching, washed in the blood conversative Pastor that God uses to challenge me every time I hear him preach. You want to read about what he preaches? Go to taylorsfbc.org and read his sermons. I think you will see this man of God is the real deal. God put this man of God in as President of the SBC. Let's now support God in his decision.

John said...

Dear Rob,

Hi. You're absolutely correct: "The Bible is our sole authority for faith and practice." Now, please show us the verse where we are told to separate from anyone who practices infant baptism. If you cannot do so, then you have sought to create a division in the Body of Christ just on the basis of your opinion. I agree that we cannot simply ecclesiastically merge with pedo-baptism as our view of baptism prevents that. But that does not mean we are called on to treat them as "pagans and tax collectors." However, the Bible does tell us we should separate from anyone who does creates unnecessary divisions. I think the "fundamentalists" who shout so loudly about "separation" would be very surprised that if we actually started to practice it, we would have to start separating from them if they would not stop using their traditions and their over-heated and often poorly informed rhetoric to cause unnecessary divisions.

I know of no scripture that tells me that I ought to divide from a fellow believer who holds to the inerrancy of Scripture, the Divinity of Christ, the imputation of Adam's sin to all humanity and the imputation of Christ's righteousness to all true believers, etc., because he clings to a practice of Baptism not found (but not condemned) in scripture. I could make a better case that we ought to separate from legalists who try to foist their condemnation of all alcohol drinking. After all, the Lord Jesus drank and made wine! I don't make that case, but I could. However, I don't have to make a case to divide from the divise. I only have to obey the scripture (Titus 3:9-10) that tells me I must do that.

Rob Mart said...

John,

It is obvious to me that you did not read my reply all the way through. Baptism is only part of the inherent errors found in Protestantism. Baptismal regeneration, sacraments, failure to separate church and state, and persecuting fellow believers are other errors that the magisterial reformers clung to. The Bible's teaching of what constitutes a church is not what the Reformers were a part of. Those who believe and are baptized are added to the church. So what "church" did Luther, Calvin, Beza, Zwingli, and others belong? The "churches" they started were not true New Testament churches.

Here are some verses for you, John.

2 Thessalonians 3:6 says "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us." Notice the word "brethren" is used here and yet we are called to separate ourselves from them. The Pedobaptists refuse to follow the truth concerning baptism and therefore cause divisions.

Also, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 states:
"Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

And 2 Timothy 2:15-22 says:
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus: Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already [this is but one example of how unsound doctrine nullifies godly fellowship]; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his, And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity [error is iniquity!]. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these [those who have erred concerning the truth], he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them [fellowship with those who love and obey the truth] that call on the Lord out of a pure heartthat call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

You state "I agree that we cannot simply ecclesiastically merge with pedo-baptism as our view of baptism prevents that." Why is it okay to be separate ecclesiastically, John? You see, John, you are picking and choosing where you want to be separate.

John said...

Dear Rob,

First, I did read your statement all the way through. I simply chose not to respond to all the errors in it as doing so would tempt me to be quarelsome. And "the Lord's servant must not quarrel."

For the third time, I repeate the scripture, Titus 3:9-10. If you will not stop trying to cause divisions based on your "fundamentalist" tradition (a man-made cultural tradition that is often out of touch with the real fundamentals of the faith -- fundamentals that the Reformers understood), then you are a divisive person and one that I am commanded by God's Word to have nothing to do with. It is you, sir, who need to be divided from if you insist on being divisive. Please review my previous message. Admit to yourself that there is no scripture condemning infant baptism but that there is scripture condemning your unBiblical divisiveness. "Fundamentalists" talk so glibly and stridently about "separation" but never realizing that their divisiveness makes them prime candidates for people who scripturally we are supposed to divide from.

Sam Hughey said...

Greg, you stated, While all of you "experts" are debating Cavlinism, soles are being lost because we Baptist sometimes focus on the wrong issues at the wrong time. In case it has escaped your attention, people are lost because of Adam's sin, not because Baptists focus on the wrong issues at the wrong time. Furthermore, it is not Calvinism being debated by 'experts'. Indeed, it is Calvinism being falsely represented by those who will NOT debate Calvinism such as Paige Patterson and many others.

You stated, In fact, Dr. Page spent a whole month of Wednesday nights teaching us about Calvinism. He is the type of pastor that will not shy away from contraversial issues.... No disrespect intended Greg (I really mean it), but having Paige Patterson teaching anti-Calvinists about Calvinism with no interaction from Calvinists proves what? There's probably not a Calvinist here (or anywhere) who would disagree with Paige Patterson's refutation of the book on the DaVinci Code but that is not the issue. Paige Patterson's remarks about Calvinism and Calvinists is the issue of which you did not address. Have you asked Paige about his remarks concerning Calvinism and why he will not allow himself to be confronted by those against whom he made those statements? Did Paige confess his false accusations against Calvinism in those Wednesday classes? For example, the following comment is from Paige Patterson and can be found at the following URL:
http://www.baptiststandard.com/1999/11_24/pages/calvinism.html

Any person who holds to five-point Calvinism will never be in any danger in this convention as long as he does not allow it to lead him to unscriptural conclusions--such as we ought not to give invitations and things like that. When he gets to that point, either implicitly or explicitly, it has now become a hindrance to evangelism and missions.

Where does Scripture conclusively teach the command to give invitations and/or that not giving invitations is a hindrance to eveangelism and missions? Paige Patterson is fully aware that our earliest Baptist Missionaries were 5-Point Calvinists (Fuller, Carey, etc.) and 5-Point Calvinists are among the earliest Evangelical Baptists who did not give invitations. Did Paige explain in those Wednesday night classes his contradictions? Since Paige Patterson is a Bible preaching, washed in the blood conservative, please explain his following comments in the same interview;

Patterson added that he found no scriptural support for the doctrines of irresistible grace or limited atonement as espoused by Calvinists. "I'm easy to convince. I stand under the word (of God). Bring me the Bible and show me where it says grace is irresistible and if you're the elect God's going to pursue you like the hound of hell." The Bible actually advocates "the exact opposite" of a belief in limited atonement, he asserted. "It says he died not only for our sins, but also the sins of the whole world. That is an unlimited atonement if I've ever read anything at all."

Did Patterson include the Biblical text that stated clearly, distinctly and word-for-word where God's salvific grace is usurped by the ungodly? Did Paige explain why Isa. 55:11 cannot be true if the ungodly can stand successfully against the desire of God whose 'will' is always successfully accomplished for the purpose it was intended?

Patterson's defense for an unlimited atonement is actually based on a text that not only doesn't state it was an unlimited atonement (literal statements he demanded from the Calvinist) but is forced to contradict itself by stating those for whom Christ suffered the Father's wrath will still suffer the Father's wrath. Did Paige explain that in those Wednesday night classes?

Patterson also made the following statement, found at the following URL:

http://www.biblicalrecorder.org/content/news/2006/06_12_2006/ne120606patterson.shtml

I believe too often Calvinism is the death-knell for evangelism for many people. It wasn't the 'death-knell' for Andrew Fuller, William Carey, John Bunyan, John Newton, Charles Spurgeon, John Dagg, James P. Boyce, Patrick H. Mell, etc. Did Paige explain this in those Wednesday night classes?

In so far as God having put Paige Patterson in as President of the SBC is more of a matter of votes. It is quite a broad assumption to claim to know that God's vote overuled all others or that God forced all those people (against their 'free-will') to vote for Paige.

Sam Hughey

Rob Mart said...

John,

I am a Christian and a Baptist. The men you choose to defend are not Baptists and have called believers baptism a great sin (Westminster Confession of Faith CHAP. XXVIII number 5 and The Second Helvetic Confession, 1566, chapter XX). And yet, you still choose to defend them. You have a incorrect understanding of what it is to follow the Bible. You pick and choose doctrines you think are important enough to separate over and disobey the clear teachings of scripture. You should be ashamed of yourself! You have shown a complete ignorance concerning this issue and only hold to man-made traditions rather than the truth.

Concerning Titus 3:, again you show your inability to discern scripture. The issue of baptism is not a foolish question. It is an important biblical doctrine and a public testimony of faith in Jesus Christ and a picture of the gospel. It is an ordinance of the church, so it is not an secondary or less important issue. It is part of the Great Commission. It is a serious matter. Have you forgotten Romans 6:3-4?

Sam Hughey said...

Rob,

Your initial comment was I am amazed at all of hypocrisy coming from Tom and the other comments that have been posted concerning Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism, to which I have more than once requested specifics concerning the actual hypocritical statements made by Tom and myself (among others). Your only explanation is that merely because a Baptist approves of 'some' things a Presbyterian (R.C. Sproul) believes makes the Baptist guilty of hypocrisy because R.C. Sproul is a paedo-Baptist and we are not. You have falsey assumed something to be true in order to justify your logic. Are you as bad as the worst Baptist I can find who ever lived? If you say no then you are being a hypocrite (using your own logic) because you would agree with 'some' things that same Baptist believes. Of course you are not as bad as any Baptist I can find and nobody here would assume such a foolish thing. Such logic would not only be foolish but falsey accussing one who is innocent of the charge you make. It seems as though you are either not able or not willing to understand this basic principle of logic or obeying our Lord's command to not be a false accuser. So, again I ask for the precise hypocritical statements you alleged we have made concerning Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism because the issue with R.C. Sproul and infant baptism has nothing to do with Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism.

Sam Hughey

Rob Mart said...

Sam,

I have answered these questions earlier. The hypocrisy is in their comments and their actions.
You state:
"Please forgive me for the late entry and perhaps the same or similar statements/questions others have already stated/asked but I've been away for a while and since I am one of those whom you (falsely) accused of hypocrisy I do believe I have a right to request this information from you."
Well Sam, I never accused you of anything. I don't know you and you have no blog for me to know your position on things. I was referring to those who constantly promote Pedobaptist theologians and their teachings to Baptists.

You nor anyone else has provided any kind of biblical basis for your failure to separate from those who practice infant baptism and other, inherent Protestant errors.

You state:
"So, again I ask for the precise hypocritical statements you alleged we have made concerning Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism because the issue with R.C. Sproul and infant baptism has nothing to do with Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism."

Here is more from Tom:
"It is as if he is saying that truth does not matter, and that is a position that no one who loves God's Word should be willing to tolerate."
This is what I was referring. Tom and others, without any kind of warning, refer to Protestant teachings and works. Works and teachings that are void of any biblical foundation and truth. Read all of the posts here and see how many have tried to defend these errors as being of lesser importance.

Sam Hughey said...

Rob,

I've looked over your comments but I've found no specific statements made by you with a direct reference to any comments Tom Ascol or anyone else (me inlcuded) made with a direct and immediate relationship to your claim of our hypocrisy regarding Paige Patterson and the issue of Calvinism. However, I have found where you repeatedly skirt around the questions and avoid the issue when I ask for specifics. In my first response to your comments you ignored everything I asked and in my second response you again ignored my questions and now you just simply state I have answered these questions earlier. The hypocrisy is in their comments and their actions and yet you still cannot produce one single comment to prove your false accusation!

Furthermore, you did accuse me of hypocrisy by your statement, I am amazed at all of hypocrisy coming from Tom and the other comments (emphasis mine) that have been posted concerning Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism. Can you produce just one provable hypocritical statement I made against Paige and the issue of Calvinism?

Concerning your claim of having answered my questions, you did not answer this question: I, like you, disagree with Jonathon Edwards' unbiblical view of infant baptism but does that mean he has nothing of which can be helpful?. Also, I will again ask (3rd time) why you changed the issue from Paige and the issue of Calvinism (which was your first comment of concern and accusation of hypocrisy) to the issue of infant baptism of which nobody was discussing.

You also did not answer these questions: Are you implying that a person must be so absolutely perfect in everything one believes that if they are wrong in any one part nothing they state can be of any usefulness? Are you that perfect in everything you believe Rob? If not, why then should we trust anything you are stating to have any usefulness whatsoever? or this question: Rob, if you truly believe Romans 16:17 is true, why then do YOU not avoid US?

When I asked you So, again I ask for the precise hypocritical statements you alleged we have made concerning Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism because the issue with R.C. Sproul and infant baptism has nothing to do with Dr. Paige and the issue of Calvinism your only answer is this, Here is more from Tom: "It is as if he is saying that truth does not matter, and that is a position that no one who loves God's Word should be willing to tolerate. What do you mean it is IF he is saying that truth does not matter? Do you not know if he is saying that? Did you ask Tom for an explanation before you judged him and against the council of Scripture or did you just assume whatever you wanted to be true could be the only truth in existence? You continued with this, This is what I was referring. Tom and others, without any kind of warning, refer to Protestant teachings and works. Works and teachings that are void of any biblical foundation and truth. Read all of the posts here and see how many have tried to defend these errors as being of lesser importance. Is this what you call 'specifics'? Did YOU warn us about all the errors of Fundamentalists before you made any comments? Since I haven't seen any doesn't that makes you a hypocrite according to your own logic. One of the worst things to do Rob, which destroys one's credibility in discussions like this, is to tell someone to go read others' remarks for an answer to their question you don't want to answer. Do you really think I am going to see what you can't produce? Again Rob, where in Tom's statement did you find hypocritical remarks made against Paige and the issue of Calvinism? Remember, that was your initial charge of hypocrisy, not infant baptism.

In a post to Timmy you stated, Puritans were bitter persecutors of our forebearers. The first law against the Baptists in America was made in Massachusetts by Puritans in November 1644. You know, I'm probably not going to receive a real answer but I will ask this anyway. What is the source you are using for such a claim and is this the ONLY thing you know about the Puritans?

Sam Hughey

Rob Mart said...

Sam,

First, "Tom and others" does not necessarily mean you, Sam. You do not constitute the totality of "others" here. You are having trouble with the basics of grammar and reading comprehension. If you want to include yourself in the group "others" then that is your business. Again, stop trying to generate an emotional response from others by saying I was referring to you. You have NO BLOG! I don't know your position. I was referring to those with blogs and their comments.

One of my sources about the Puritans comes from Johh T. Christian's "A History of the Baptists Volume 2". You can find more information about the religious persecutions of the Puritans by reading Thomas Armitage, Isaac Backus, and other Baptist historians. Another good source is Oliver's "The Puritan Commonwealth, an Historical Review of the Puritan Government of Massachusetts." And I know that the Puritans were pedobaptists and supported a state church relationship, Sam. Read a BAPTIST HISTORY book, SAM and find out about the religious persecutions of the Puritans against the Baptists. Read about Obadiah Holmes, Sam. And "History of the Church of God" by Cushing Biggs Hassell, Sam.

Tom faults Dr. Paige for his lack of inconsistency and yet constantly refers to Protestant teachers and works. Infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, sacraments, failure to separate church from and state, and religious persecutions are serious errors and false teachings that Tom and others ignore. The scriptures teach the practice of biblical separation from all false dotrines.

Concerning Jonathon Edwards, why would I want to learn from a man who was in total error concerning infant baptism. The result of infant baptism is the secularization of the church. This is the problem Edwards faced in his day. Infant baptism is contrary to the holy scriptures. It is a doctrine not taught by the apostles. It is a false doctrine.

Here is what Spurgeon said about infant baptism and those who practiced it:
This, then, is the clear and unmistakable teaching of a Church calling itself Protestant. I am not now dealing at all with the question of infant baptism: I have nothing to do with that this morning. I am now considering the question of baptismal regeneration, whether in adults or infants, or ascribed to sprinkling, pouring, or immersion. Here is a Church which teaches every Lord's day in the Sunday-school, and should, according to the Rubric, teach openly in the Church, all children that they were made members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven when they were baptized! Here is a professedly Protestant Church, which, every time its minister goes to the font, declares that every person there receiving baptism is there and then "regenerated and grafted into the body of Christ's Church."
"But," I hear many good people exclaim, "there are many good clergymen in the Church who do not believe in baptismal regeneration." To this my answer is prompt. Why then do they belong to a Church which teaches that doctrine in the plainest terms?"

You state "Rob, if you truly believe Romans 16:17 is true, why then do YOU not avoid US?" Am I with you? Do I refer to anyone's teachings here as a good example of biblical truth? I am not a part of the SBC. I understand no one is perfect except for God but that doesn't give an excuse for false teachings. All false teachings should be avoided. We are not allowed to pick and choose, Sam.

Sam Hughey said...

Rob,

I appreciate the attempt you made to answer the still unanswered questions. I won't ask you again to do what you are obviously unwilling to do.

Sam Hughey

Sam Hughey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rob Mart said...

Sam,

You state "I appreciate the attempt you made to answer the still unanswered questions. I won't ask you again to do what you are obviously unwilling to do."
I was wishing you were going to enlighten me on the Puritans, Sam. Please feel free to defend the actions Reformers and the Puritans. If I am wrong about the magisterial Reformers then tell me. Tell me if I am wrong in saying that they were religious persecutors. Tell me if I am wrong about their false teachings concerning infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, the Lord's Supper, and the failure to separate church from state. Tell me. Are these teachings false? Are we not to told to separate from those who are false teachers?

GeneMBridges said...

How is that backpeddling, Gene? I never said look how Spurgeon handles biblical separation. I used the Spurgeon quote to show the grave error inherent in Protestant theology.

This is backpeddling, because your Spurgeon quote on the "error of Protestant theology," comes from a man who committed the same error of which you accused us and is used to support your idea of biblical separation, because you indexed it in support of the content your first post. Your reply to me when I pointed that out was only then that you didn't care how Spurgeon handles biblical separation. Just to spell it out for you, you came back with a caveat not in your original post on Spurgeon.

So if one is converted then his baptism conferred grace upon the receipient? I thought you understood Lutheranism. Grace is conferred in the Lutheran view of baptism, but it is resistible grace like the Arminian's universal prevenient grace. As I posted to you above, it has more in common with Arminan UPG than Roman baptismal regeneration. In Arminianism UPG is distributed to all persons w/o exception and resistible, irrespective of their baptism.

Oh, and FYI, Baptists are Protestants that do not baptize infants and who affirm religious liberty. A basic history class would teach you this.

The truth lies in the actions of the magisterial reformers. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Beza, Rhegius, Knox, and others were harsh persecutors of our Baptist forebearers

How does this sociological argument disprove their theology? If Einstein had been a murderer would this invalidate the theory of relativity? If Newton had been an adulterer, would this have invalidated his work in science?

Unlike you, John, the Reformers thought the issue of baptism was important enough to separate over.

The Reformers did not separate over baptism. They separated over the five soli.

You must mean our Baptist forefathers, but if so, those same men copied directly from the Westiminster Confession, the Synod of Dort, and Savoy Declaration in the early Baptist confessions!. So the very Baptist forebears you stated separated from them over baptism (this much is true) but you forgot that that they then used their theology texts, which is the very error of which you accuse us here. Richard Furman read and taught from Jonathan Edwards materials. James Boyce studied under Charles Hodge. I find it highly irregular that you go to great lengths to defend persecuted Baptists by stating that Baptists today should not seek to learn anything from the theology of paedobaptists, yet the same Baptists you are defending did not live by that standard. You have quoted Spurgeon to support your position on infant baptism but he used textbooks of theology by paedobaptists. Why then would you want to learn from Spurgeon and quote from him, when he clearly did not separate from paedobaptists to the extent to which you wish to separate? My question to you is this: Why do you hold to a view of separation that is utterly disconnected from those you wish to defend.

Concerning Jonathon Edwards, why would I want to learn from a man who was in total error concerning infant baptism.

This is called the genetic fallacy. The origin of a claim does not have any bearing on the truth or falsity of a claim. Likewise, it is a form of guilt by association. Edwards was a paedobaptist, paedobaptists are in doctrinal error about baptism, therefore everything else said by him is should be discarded. Your objection is irrational. How does a paedobaptist's views on baptism affect what he might say about the freedom of the will?