Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 12:24 AM

I have previously reviewed the publicly displayed Internet articles against the public invitation written by Darryl Erkel, Fred Zaspel, and Jim Ehrhard. Now I shall take up the article by Brother Ernest Reisinger, the primary founder and a board member of the Founders Ministries <>

I have known Brother Reisinger since I met him at the first Grace Conference in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1965. I keep a photograph of the preachers in attendance at the Conference on the wall in my office, and both Brother Reisinger and I are in that photo along with Rolfe Barnard, Al Martin, Walter Chantry, John Thornbury, George Fletcher, Don Reisinger, John Reisinger, and many more. A large number of these brethren are now with the Lord. It was during a time when Brother Reisinger was getting involved with the Banner of Truth in England and its head man, Iain Murray. As a result, he started Puritan Publications to distribute BT books in the United States. That company has since become the American branch office of the Banner of Truth which is now based in Scotland.

I personally have the perception that Brother Reisinger came under the influence of the anti-public invitation views advocated of Pedobaptist Iain Murray, and is perhaps more responsible for the anti-public invitationalism of those in the Founders movement than any other. If that is not an accurate assessment, then perhaps someone can inform me of what person or persons is most responsible. This "antism" had to begin with someone, and so far as I can discern Brother Reisinger and Murray are the ones primarily behind it.

Brother Reisinger has an article on the Founders' website entitled, On Coming to Christ, Part 2 <>, in which he offers objections to public invitations.

In studying this article, however, I was disappointed that I did not discover what "system" Brother Reisinger approves as being the "scriptural" way of a person's confession of Christ as Saviour before men. He has a lot of generic material, but nothing specific on the approved system or the valid method.

I would like to see Brother Reisinger demonstrate where the Scriptures specify his particular method. If he approves of the "office system" used by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, then I would like to know where this system is authorized in Scripture.

It is not consistent and impartial to reject the public invitation, as it is used by a sound Gospel preacher, who is not trying to seduce or mislead anyone with psychological or high pressure tactics, as a means of a repentant, believing person's openly confessing Christ before men on the grounds that it is "not found in the Bible," yet fail to show that the system he uses is found in the Bible. 

The following items, in my judgment, expose the lack of substance in Brother Reisinger's objections:

[1] Reisinger:  Ah! But, when one recognizes a spiritual need, and Christ is revealed to the heart as the only one who can meet that need, resulting in a commitment to Christ without reservation, such a one will have (1) something to confess, (2) a desire to confess Him, and (3) joy in confessing Him. This truth should help explain why we must not equate walking an aisle with coming to Christ.

Bob: He here admits that there is a legitimate "confession" to be made, but he does not present the format (system) which is legislated in Scripture for that to be done.

Not only so, but he immediately misrepresents the public invitation as if we who use it "equate walking an aisle with coming to Christ." I personally do not know a single Baptist preacher who ever affirmed that walking an aisle is equal to coming to Christ.

But if there is such a one, surely Brother Reisinger should know that such is not the case with all who use public invitations. If he does not know that, then he at least knows it now, for I have used the public invitation and I do not teach that walking an aisle is equal to coming to Christ. And I did not believe that when I myself walked the aisle to confess faith in Christ.

[2] Reisinger:  By failing to make the invitation clear, preachers have unwittingly instituted a system, or a condition of salvation which is not only not found in the Bible, neither was such ever practiced or approved by Christ or his apostles. Public confession is not a condition of salvation, but a result of salvation.

Bob: If by "condition" he means that a public confession is an essential prerequisite in order to be saved, such as Campbellites teach on baptism, then I know of no Baptist preacher who teaches that idea of its being a "condition."

However, if he is here denying that confession is a "condition" closely associated with faith in Christ, and that it is not a "condition" which manifests or demonstrates the existence of faith, then he is dead wrong.

Jesus taught that confession is so related to faith that "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32, 33.

When a person hears the Gospel, whether he is in a church meeting, evangelistic meeting,  or he is with a private witness, it is immediately incumbent upon him to both believe that Gospel in his heart and confess Christ as Saviour with his mouth. (Romans 10:9, 10).

[3] Reisinger: The call to come forward is not a divine command. It is a man-made command. Many times those who do go forward are led to believe that they did something commendable to God. Coming forward is not something that God has commanded. I have even heard people being thanked for coming forward, while those who do not go forward are falsely supposed to be disobeying God. But God never commanded such a thing--nor is there any record of it in all the Bible--or in the early church.

Bob: But confession of Christ IS COMMANDED (Philippians 2:11; 1 John 4:15). Somewhere, every confessor is to obey Christ and COME FORWARD before men and make confession of Christ. Does Brother Reisinger deny that many of his own Founders brethren made their first confession of Christ on the occasion of a public invitation?

Reisinger: This system produces false assurance. "Now that I have gone forward I am saved." How many times have I heard this!

Yes, I wonder how many times he has heard that! I have NEVER heard that! We had a man come forward last Sunday, yet he did not say that!

But if one could have a false assurance by this system, could not the same type of person have a false assurance in the "office system" used by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones? Does the right system insure true assurance? Do you suppose one who has been baptized may have a false assurance on account of being baptized? If so, does that mean we should not baptize?

Reisinge :  I had a deacon tell me that sinners would come to Christ if I would choose a different kind of invitation hymn.

Bob: I was reading a sermon by Spurgeon only recently wherein he himself expressed the fact that he prayed that he would select the right hymn because the words of the hymn might be instrumental in the salvation of souls. Does Brother Reisinger dispute the fact that hymns have been used of God in bringing men to Christ? Spurgeon related the personal testimony of a convert who told Spurgeon that he was converted thru a certain hymn which Spurgeon had given out.

Reisinger: The fourth danger of the invitation system is the unavoidable confusion of conscience of those who did not go forward when invited to do so by the preacher. They are often left under the impression that they have rebelled against God when in truth they have not rebelled at all.

Bob: What? Men may sit under the Gospel and when they are urged to believe and confess it, they are NOT GUILTY OF REBELLION? Surely, Brother Reisinger let his pen get ahead of his brain on this!

Any time, anywhere, any place a person hears the Gospel and does not come forth believing and confessing, he is REBELLING AGAINST GOD! The Gospel is not a mere commodity you can handle like it is an indifferent matter whether you will have it or not. It is the MOST SERIOUS sin in the all the world, to hear the Gospel and not accept it in your heart and confess Christ Saviour! (John 16:9).

Reisinger: Another error spawned by this system is the misrepresentation of faith. Faith is represented as something to be done in order to salvation. I am jealous for "by grace alone," not by some physical act.

Bob: But faith is not merely "some physical act." Faith is REQUIRED for salvation, and that is why the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to create it. Men are not born again unless they are blessed by the Word and Spirit to exercise faith. Berkhof's "regeneration" before and apart from faith begotten by the Spirit will not get the job done!

Does Brother Reisinger like Spurgeon? Then let him hear Spurgeon rather than Berkhof or Murray:


Here let me correct a mistake into which some people fall. They say, “Do you exhort us to believe?”

I do, indeed, with all my heart. “But, sir, faith is the work of the Spirit of God.”

Yes, did I ever say that it was not? I insist upon it continually that, wherever there is any faith, it is wrought in us by the Spirit of God.

But listen. Did I ever tell you the Spirit of God believed for us, or did you ever read anything in Scripture approximating to that statement? No, the Spirit of God leads us to believe, but we distinctly believe, and it is our faith that saves us; it is not that the Holy Spirit believes instead of us, and we lie still, like a man under the surgeon’s knife.

Oh, dear, no! Every faculty is awakened and aroused by the Spirit of God. We see that Christ can save, and we believe it. We believe that he will save, and we trust him to save us. It is our own act and deed, it cannot be anybody else's act and deed. You cannot believe for another; there can be nothing like sponsorship here; and the Holy Ghost himself cannot believe for you. It is not written, “Let the Holy Ghost believe for you;” that would be absurd; but it is written, “Believe thou,”

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”

With thine own proper mind and heart thou must believe in Jesus Christ if thou wouldst be saved. . . .

Come to him now, I beseech you. You who do not know so much about the plan of salvation, come to Jesus, come and trust him; trust him now.
>>[Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 39, Year 1893, sermon #2339]

Reisinger: Now, to Acts, the sacred manual for evangelism, where we find the apostles used the same method. . . .  the method of producing disciples is teaching.

Bob: But what Brother Reisinger fails to do is to show from this manual the one-and-only "method" which is specifically ordained of God for one who is taught to confess his faith before men.

I confessed my faith on the occasion provided by a public invitation. Is my faith in Christ and my confession of Him INVALID because it was done on that occasion? If so, then I wonder how many of the Founders brethren are in the same predicament with me, as many of them also confessed Christ on the occasion of a public invitation.

Why, I would not be surprised to learn that Brother Reisinger, similar to Fred Zaspel, walked an aisle to confess faith in Christ! I do know that thousands of the "conservative" Southern Baptist preachers who have been instrumental in the "resurgence" of conservatism in the SBC and its institutions made confessions of faith in Christ during public invitations. Does Brother Reisinger dismiss those confessions of faith as mere "physical acts"? We hope not. -- Bob L. Ross

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