Dec 1, 2008

To Bridges

The following comment (reply) I made on the blog (see here) was not published by its director, Tom Ascol. I consider this totally unfair, especially seeing how he allowed Gene Bridges to make outlandish charges and denigrate me personally. Here is the reply to Bridges that Ascol thought was out of bounds.

Dear Gene:

You said:

"It reads "disorderly" as "credobaptized," without a supporting argument. What was Paul discussing in 2 Thessalonians - baptism? No. Was the teaching that Paul had in mind here credobaptism? No."

No, Gene, Paul's word of exhortation is applicable to any brother who walks disorderly in any apostolic tradition. For a person who believes but postpones being baptized, this person needs to repent. Refusing to be baptized is walking disorderly. PedoBaptists are walking disorderly when they reject what the Bible clearly and expressly teaches on the ordinance of baptism. To sprinkle or pour water is a corruption of the divine ordinance and takes away from the significance of the ordinance. To perform this ordinance on an unbelieving infant is not scriptural baptism.

Baptism is an apostolic "tradition," is it not? And, what are we supposed to do in regard to those "traditions"? We are to have our thinking and conduct in accord with them, correct? And, what is the apostolic tradition in this regard? Has it not been shown, and even agreed to by the group you desire to speak for, that all the examples we have of people observing the Lord's Supper was only of baptized disciples in good standing with their churches?

You said:

"This is one of their prooftexts for apostolic tradition. In context, Paul is referencing: (a) people who are generally idle (b) people who deny apostolic teaching with respect to the 2nd coming."

What does that have to do with anything? What kind of proof is this? Just because the Catholics might talk about "apostolic tradition" does not mean there is no such thing! Just because they have errors in regard to it does not mean someone does not have it right. Why would you limit these apostolic traditions to the things you named? At least you did include errors in fundamental doctrine as not in keeping with apostolic tradition. But, though you allow that error on the doctrine of the second coming is a case of "walking disorderly," why not error on baptism? If you affirm that Paul's exhortation excludes baptism, do you not minimize its importance?

You said:

"No, it would only allow those who can give a credible profession of faith."

So, you do have some restrictions? You do have some "policing," then, by the church and its officers? It is not then totally left up to the individual, correct? The church is in charge of it, correct? What if a church judges that a believer who is unbaptized has not yet given a "credible" profession? Would this "credible confession of faith" include the faith that one was regenerated as in infant in the womb? Or, when they were sprinkled as a baby?

"No, because neither one can give us a credible profession of faith."

Well, maybe they can or cannot. It would depend on how one defines "credible confession of faith," correct?

You said:

" even if the answer is "No," and it is "No," that still doesn't make the case for you..."

I am glad that you agree that there is not one NT example of a person partaking the Lord's Supper who was not properly baptized. Yet, you seem to cast this off as a meaningless example and apostolic tradition! If this is what the apostles and the first churches were doing 100 percent of the time, then does that make for apostolic "tradition"?

You said:

"As pointed out earlier, the older confessions rule out Paedobaptists because they are timebound confessions . Their historical situation differs. In that day, Paedobaptists could give no credible profession of faith. Today, the situation is palpably reversed. So appeals to them do you no good."

I am also glad to see you admit that the older confessions "rule out" the "Paedobaptists" but am sad that you think you are more enlightened on this matter, and are now advocating a different practice, one that you affirm is more in keeping with the Christian spirit and with holiness. I think we ought to have good reasons for going against our confessions and so far I have not see you nor anyone else give a good reason for going against apostolic tradition and example.

Next, you attempt to justify your alleged departure from the faith of your forefathers, and then try to excuse them by affirming that it was proper to do in their age but not now. You assume they would change their minds if they were here today. You also show by this statement that you do not really understand all the reasons why our confessions would not allow Pedo-Baptists would not allow Presbyterians to the Supper in a Baptist church. Not only was a credible confession of faith necessary, but also a proper baptism, and membership in an orderly Christian assembly.

You said:

"...and let it go into the record here that Mr. Garrett is one of Bob L. Ross little group."

Oh let it go on record! Gene the recorder! Gene the proclamator! What does that mean Gene, that I am a "one of Bob. L. Ross little group"? You know how you violated many principles of good discussion, journalism, and even Christian decency, in such a statement here in the Founder's Journal? What do your accusations and insinuations have to do with the topic we were discussing? What do you insert personal matters that are so out of place? Did I say anything personal to provoke you? Had any comment I made here have any personal statements as do your comments? What kind of an agenda do you have relative to Bob Ross and me? "Let it go on record" that Gene feels a need to go around "poisoning the well" in any discussion where Bob or myself is involved! Consider also Gene just how many logical fallacies you committed, in this discussion of alien baptisms, by saying what you did above.

Now, let me look at your comments to other commentators:

"Personally, I don't think that bodes well, for he's one that thinks that when we say "regeneration precedes faith" we're hyper Calvinists. When he gets that wrong, and indeed persists in that error to the point of proving himself impervious to correction, well, that just speaks for itself."

Here again you reveal the proverbial "ax" you have have to "grind" by these out of place comments.

Yes, and I still say that "hyper" Calvinist, or "hybrid" Calvinist, is one who holds that men are born again before faith and apart from the means of the gospel. I have repeatedly stated that the phrase "begotten by the gospel" means all the same as "begotten by believing the gospel" and I can get very few of you brethren to acknowledge the truth of this. To say that one must be regenerated before he can hear the gospel and believe it, is to logically take the gospel away as a means in the act of regeneration itself. The more consistent "hybrid" Calvinist, men like Hendryx, at, admit this, affirming, like the Old Hardshells and Regular Baptists, that the "begetting" was different from the "birth" or "deliverance" as in natural birth. The "first stage" was the "begetting," and done without the gospel, and then the word is preached, faith is born, and the begotten child is "birthed" or "delivered (saved)." This really is the view of you Gene, in essence. Yet, it is not scriptural.

You wrote:

"Presbyterians are doing a better job with regenerate church membership than most SBC churches."

Is that so? By what standard of measurement? You cannot have a discussion where one just throws out such unfounded assertions without the least bit of evidence. How is the practice of baptizing babies doing a "better job" with creating a "regenerated church membership"?

You wrote:

"I can go to just about any PCA church and find that the majority of members can give me a clear, forceful, unproblematic summary of the Gospel, but when I go into an SBC church, by far most of them have no clue what I mean. Which of these is giving me evidence of a credible profession of faith?"

So, this is simply Gene's little "survey" of things? You know or you guess that "the majority" of "any PCA church" are able to give you a "clear" and "forceful" and "unproblematic" summary of the Gospel?

You wrote also:

"The problem which our forefathers were addressing wasn't baptism - it was the lining of the pews of the then majority Paedobaptist churches with unregenerate people. One simply cannot read Baptist writings of the 17th century without that in mind - that's why they made baptism such a high test of fellowship. Today, the problem strikes me as largely reversed."

Well, we are still concerned about it! And, we believe that the taking in of non-immersed believers into our fellowship and communion, we are promoting the practice of infant baptism on the one hand, and thereby going against the aim of having a regenerated church membership, and of belittling the importance of the ordinance in more than one way.

You said:

"I would agree licenses the elders of the church to fence the table by warning."

But, do you forbid? Do you warn the unimmersed? The disorderly? The heretic?

You said:

"The Table, when we gather, is self-selecting. Scripture says "let each man..."

But, you say that after you affirm that there are restrictions and warnings! So, the church has no say in this "selecting"?

You said:

"And some of them become so petrified at the prospect of administering communion to the wrong person that they rarely perform communion, and put members through a screening process every time communion is scheduled."

Well, do you not think that the results of unqualified people eating it demands inordinate care? "Drinking damnation," and becoming ill, and losing life, do these not warrant such care? Are we not doing unqualified people a service by keeping them from such consequences? Also, the extreme of a thing does not make a thing invalid.

You skipped over a lot, did you not, Gene? I mean, I presented good scriptural evidence for my position, scripture that you thought not worth a response. You had rather write about me personally that spend the time answering my arguments from scripture?

Yours for the truth and the Baptist cause,



Thomas Clay said...

Maybe Tom thought your comment was a little too heated? I'm not sure. I confess that I have not yet read Gene's comments leading up to yours.

I'm wondering about this entire discourse, to be honest. What would a pagan think if they happened upon much of the tone expressed at Tom's or your blog by most involved (not just yours but most commenters)?

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Thomas:

I cited Gene's remarks, either made directly to me or where he said things about me in his comments to others (on on the same blog entry of Tom's). I did not say anything about personalities but stuck with the issue except where I had to defend myself).

In fact, I kept showing it was Gene and StrongTower who began to "poison the well" concerning anything I might say.

Thanks for your comment and you must go and read all of Gene's comments which he allowed to be posted.

In Christ,


Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Thomas,

I don't think I have many Pagans reading my blog, but I would hope he would not see any personal slandering of others, but would seeone who writes on topics that he is led to write about and which he hopes will edify the body of Christ.

This blog is called baptistgadfly and is mostly intended for Baptists.



Luke said...


I'm not sure if my first post actually made it through. Blogger seemed to have blip when I tried to post it. If this is a repeat, feel free to file 13 it.

In reference to your post, I do not think Tom was consistent by not posting your reply to Gene. I do not think this makes Tom an ogre nor would I desire to see that as a thrust to be made, but I see no reason why your post cannot have stood in its present form. For what it is worth, that is my opinion, but since it is Tom's blog, he does have the final say. But I do believe that your comment was not below Tom's standards.


Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Luke:

I think it showed ill will. I also believe it showed bias because I have fought against one of their theological pet jewels, the born again before faith view.

I believe the people who associate with Ascol and White are "birds of a feather" and they seem to proverbially "stick together." If you are not initiated or otherwise accepted into their elitist intra-promoting society, you are slandered, ignored, misrepresentative, and even personally investigating as was Joe the Plumber!

It is kind of funny to watch them all fuss over their "pecking order."

I find what Tom has done is not the Christian thing to do. I did not provoke anyone with what I said. I tried to keep my remarks to the topic raised by Dr. Yarnell. It was others who took the topic in other directions and make personal attacks and ad hominem arguments.

I find what Tom did to be hypocritical, and hypocrisy is sin. Unfairness is sin. So is being uncharitable. No, he is no ogre, but he is no saint either.

Since Dr. Ascol's personal manner of debate was a topic, by Drs. Yarnell and Allen, I find it should have been Dr. Ascol's top priority not to prove them right about his "spirit" in debate! Yet, he shows the very spirit he was trying to deny that he possessed.

Each person will have to make up their own mind about these kinds of tactics that others are using against those who challenge them on their Hyper Calvinistic tendencies.

God bless,


Stephen Garrett said...

Sorry for the mistakes in typing and grammar in the foregoing. I typed rather fast.

I left these two comments this morning, one for StrongTower and one for Tom. Will he post these or will they too get booted?

We will see.


Dear Tom:

If you will check Phil Johnson's definition of Hyper Calvinism, he included what I said about those who deny means in regeneration.

He said:

"Hyper-Calvinism is sometimes defined as the view that God will save the elect apart from any means. Some, but very few, modern hyper-Calvinists hold such an extreme view. Those who do hold this view oppose all forms of evangelism and preaching to the unsaved, because they believe God will save whomever He chooses, apart from human means...Another common but incorrect definition equates hyper-Calvinism with fatalism."

see here

So, he did include those who deny means in regeneration. The Hardshells are not the only ones who fit this description. John Hendryx says there are no means in regeneration. So did Shedd. Are these then not Hypers?

Also, note how Johnson says this is a correct definition of Hyper Calvinism.



Dear StrongTower:

Does the passage in Eph. 2: 8-10 not distinguish between "good works" and "faith"? Why then do you want to make "faith" a "good work"? Clearly, in the passage, faith is set apart from good works, for one precedes and the other follows salvation.

Obfuscate? I equate being regenerated and born again with being saved. I cannot imagine one being born again but not saved.