foregoing report is obviously something other than "firsthand" information, I do
not know whether or not it is an accurate representation of Dr. Lloyd-Jones's
method or system in regard to giving people the opportunity to come forward and
confess faith in Christ. However, if it is accurate or at least close to
accurate, it raises an interesting point -- especially in relation to some of
the objections made against the method of the Public Invitation as means
of opportunity for hearers of the Gospel to come out and openly confess Christ
A few observations:
I do not know that Dr. Iain
Murray, Pastor Erroll Hulse, Ernest Reisinger, Fred Zaspel, Jim Ehrhard,
Reformed Baptists, or the Founders Associates -- or any who object to what
they call the "Public Invitation System" -- use the same alleged
"office system" as Dr. Lloyd-Jones, or if they even approve of it.
Nevertheless, this "office system" does furnish us with a particular method
which may illustrate how the APPLICATION of the objections by these gentlemen
to the Public Invitation method might likewise apply against the method of one
whom they greatly admire -- presuming Dr. Lloyd-Jones did use this method.
It is one thing to object to a practice or system used by others,
yet it is another thing to validate your own practice or system. One
cannot establish "accreditation" for a method by simply "discreditating" another
system. To prove another wrong does not prove you are right. The question is,
if the Public Invitation system is wrong on the grounds of certain
principles, is the "office system" any better when evaluated by the same
(1) Some of the objections against Public Invitation
amount to this, that the method or system is not revealed in the Scriptures
as an approved way of urging and inviting people to confess faith in Christ.
The implication is that a system or method must have
precedent in Scripture as a "pattern" of practice for it to be biblically
approved. We are exhorted to "emulate the New Testament practice
of evangelism." We are told that Jesus and the Apostles and the early church did
not use the Public Invitation system, consequently there is no justification for
it to be used by us today.
If this be the case, we wonder if these same
objectors would apply the same principle or guideline to the
alleged method or system of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones -- if the report above is an
accurate representation of Dr. Jones' method?
Did Jesus and Apostles go
to an office in a church building after they delivered a sermon, then a Deacon
would advise concerned persons to form a line of inquiriers so as to receive
counsel in the office? Is there a biblical precedent for this type of
practice? Was this the practice in "New Testament evangelism"? If the Public
Invitation system is held to such a standard, should not the "office system" be
held to the same standard?
(2) Also -- and if as we suspect --
there is no record of this "office system" in the early church, this method
obviously must have been instigated by someone in past history. Perhaps
not Charles Finney, but some other person who may not have liked Finney's method
of the "anxious seat."
Wonder who was the first evangelist or pastor to
specify the pastor's office as an approved, acceptable "spot" where confessions
of Christ as Savior were approvingly made? Wonder if this office system was
before or after Finney's "anxious seat" method or the use of
"enquiry rooms" in Spurgeon's time? And if it is a fact that the "office
system" had an origin after apostolic times, we wonder if this
invalidates it -- applying the same principle as used by objectors
against the Public Invitation as a system?
(3) We also wonder if this
"office system" would not likewise mislead some common, unlearned
inquirer to assume that to be "saved" he would have to "go to the office"
for counsel from Dr. Lloyd-Jones? If one is capable of confusing "going
forward" during the Public Invitation with salvation itself, then would not
the same type of person be capable of confusing "going to the office"
(4) Since it is alleged by objectors to the Public
Invitation system that it magnifies the "personality of the speaker" and
his "appeal," we wonder if the "office system" might not attach too great
an importance to consulting with a person such as Dr. Lloyd-Jones in his office
as the method of finding the way to salvation? Would not this tend to
magnify Dr. Lloyd-Jones -- or a pastor -- in his office as being "the" person
and the place in the matter of receiving the proper, authoritative instruction
on how to "close" with Christ as Savior?
(5) Furthermore, was there not a
danger on the part of some of their wrongly perceiving Dr. Lloyd-Jones as being
a "Westminster Father-Confessor" and the office as a sort of
"Westminster Confessional"? Would not such a practice have made Dr.
Lloyd-Jones somewhat of a "mediator" on an order similar to the Roman
priest in his confessional, directing souls on how to receive the forgiveness of
(6) Then there is the danger of giving a "false assurance"
to those who conferred in the office with Dr. Jones. Might not some mistakenly
think that because they went into the office, and privately conferred with the
respectable Doctor, they must certainly be saved? If this type of danger
exists in the case of the Public Invitation, surely it seems likely that some
might make the same mistake in regard to conferring with Dr. Lloyd-Jones in his
(6) Also, would not this "office system" tend to replace
baptism as a means of public profession, as is alleged by some against
Public Invitations? If there is a threat to the practice of baptism by the use
of Public Invitations, then would not the same danger exist in regard to the use
of the "office system"?
(7) Furthermore, if people were saved for
centuries before the office of the pastor became an approved place for
confessing faith in Christ, why use the "office system" today? If the church got
along without this office system in the past, why use it now?
Wesley did not use the "office system," so far as we can find in his
Journals which tell of his evangelistic work, neither did George
Whitefield. If Wesley's and Whitefield's lack of using the modern Public
Invitation system tends to invalidate this method, then would their practice not
likewise tend to invalidate Dr. Lloyd-Jones's "office system"?
(9) We do
not find that the terminology, "the Doctor is in his
office" is "biblical terminology." If one is to be told to "run to
Christ," as Brother Fred Zaspel says, then should not the hearers of Dr.
Jones have been told to "run to Christ" rather than being invited by the
Deacon to stand in line to meet the Doctor in his office?
would not one's response to the invitation to stand in line to get an entrance
into the "Doctor's office" involve a "decision" on the part of the
hearers, the ones invited? And are we not told that making a "decision" to
respond during a Public Invitation is rather taboo, and even "unnecessary" where
faith already exists in the heart? If it is wrong to make a decision to come
forward during the Public Invitation, why would it not likewise be wrong to
decide to accept the invitation to stand in line to go into the Doctor's
And as for the "numbers" of converts mentioned in relation
to Dr. Lloyd-Jones's system, if numbers can be misleading in relation to Public
Invitations, might they also not be misleading in regard to the "office system"?
How can we be sure that the reported number of those who stood in line, entered
the office, and received counsel were indeed to be regarded as
And if they were indeed converts, where are they
today? Have they adopted the charismatic practices which were introduced
at Westminster after Dr. Lloyd-Jones resigned as pastor? Where are the thousands
-- 25 every Sunday -- which were reported by the Deacon as being "converts"
during the many years of Dr. Lloyd-Jones' ministry?
If there are those
reading this who use the "office system" allegedly used by Dr. Martyn
Lloyd-Jones, or if you use an alternative system of hearing confessions and
giving counsel, you might like to test your system by the same principles which
are used against Public Invitations.
As the old saying goes, "What's
sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." -- -- Bob L. Ross
granted to copy and use this article.
Pilgrim Website: http://members.aol.com/pilgrimpub/index.htm
Second Website: BAPTISTS OF TEXAS Committed to the Bible
email@example.com (Bob L. Ross)
request, names are added to my Email List, or removed
Resources on Spurgeon:
Spurgeon Archive http://www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.htm
Spurgeon Gems http://www.spurgeongems.org/
"The Prince of Preachers Live!"
Christian Classics http://www.ccel.org/s/spurgeon/