Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 1:45 PM

In a message dated 5/24/2004 7:43:01 AM Central Daylight Time, a Reformed Baptist writes:

I am not altogether sympathetic with the booklet "The Invitation System."  I am a Reformed Baptist . . .  and we do not use the invitation in the services.  I was interested in your comments to Ian Murray.  Something is wrong when people are not given the opportunity to respond to the message.  I really believe that that is the reason that Presbyterianism has died on the vine.  Although I do not agree with a continual giving an invitation in every service, visitors and children have no way of knowing how, when or where to respond to the message.  Perhaps you could share with me some of your thought on the matter.


I have privately replied to this reader, and selected the above portion to write the following.

So far as my own preferences are concerned, it seems to me that at least some of the Reformed Baptists whom I know are marching too much to the tune of Pedobaptist writers and practices. They seemingly are allowing their thinking to be governed by the likes of Berkhof, Murray, Sproul, and some other Pedobaptists [baptizers of infants].

On the "invitation" matter, which you mention, at least some of these brethren have adopted the thinking of Pedobaptist Iain Murray, are quoting him, and using his arguments.

Yet while Murray objects to public invitations on such grounds that they get respondents who are "unregenerate," as a Pedobaptist Mr. Murray is one of the greatest promoters of an "invitation system" which invites the baptism of the unregenerate (infants), even the reception of these unregenerate children into church membership. At least, that is the case if judged by Baptist standards, for Baptists do not believe that those baptized in infancy are regenerated. The sermon by Spurgeon expresses the view Baptists take on the matter.

I noticed that Brother Ernest Reisinger, a Southern Baptist, is quoted on a website in regard to public invitations as saying, "This unbiblical system has produced the greatest record of statistics ever compiled by church or business."  -- Ernest C. Reisinger, Today's Evangelism (Phillipsburg, NJ: Craig Press, 1982), 76.

I am certainly impressed by Brother Reisinger's apparent elaborate knowledge of statistics, but does he really mean that the "public invitation" has even compiled a greater "record of statistics" than the record of the baptisms of unregenerate infants by the Pedobaptist denominations? Have those who practice the public invitation really compiled a greater statistical record than the number of those unregenerate infants baptized by the Pedobaptists over the years? Why, in England alone millions of unregenerate children have been baptized by the Church of England, the Presbyterians, and other Pedobaptists for centuries! How does Brother Reisinger arrive as such a fantastic conclusion?

Brother Reisinger has an article on his website by Brother Jim Eliff which is entitled, "Southern Baptists, an Unregenerate Denomination."

Again, I am impressed by Brother Eliff's obvious unusual breadth of knowledge and his ability to discern the spiritual state of millions of Southern Baptists who have "walked the aisles," but I wonder -- what are the odds that there may be more "unregenerate" in the SBC than in the Pedobaptist denominations which have baptized the majority of their members as infants?

Is the Pedobaptist "infant baptism invitation system," which invites the baptism of unregenerate infants, more likely to produce true converts than the public invitation system used by Southern Baptists which invites confession of Christ by those capable of repentance and faith?

After all, aren't a large number of those members and preachers in the SBC who have in recent years revived "conservatism," and to some extent even "Calvinism," numbered among those who "walked the aisles" to confess Christ as Saviour?

Are not most of those in the Founders Ministries to be counted among those that "walked the aisles"? Did not most of those Southern Baptists who now call themselves "Reformed Baptists" among those that "walked the aisles"?

On yesterday [Sunday] morning, millions of Southern Baptists (who at sometime "walked the aisles" to confess Christ) showed up for Sunday School and church services. Are these, too, along with the "missing," simply a part of an "unregenerate denomination"?

Wonder how many, comparatively, showed up for services at the Pedobaptist churches which agree with the view of Louis Berkhof, who is quoted by Brother Eliff on "regeneration," that most of their members were "regenerated" in a "hyper-physical" manner when they were infants?

Are Brother Eliff and Brother Reisinger trying to tell us that the Pedobaptists, with their members allegedly "regenerated" in infancy [per Berkhof and Murray], have a better "invitation system" than do Southern Baptists? Is the Pedobaptist "invitation system" whereby believing parents are taught that it is their duty to bring forth their children for baptism a better system than that used by Southern Baptists? -- Bob L. Ross

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