Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 1:44 PM
Subject: CONVERTING THE "NONELECT"? [04/19/04]

Recently, a Primitive Baptist (Hardshell) Baptist preacher sent me an email, informing me that he was going to make a trip overseas. "Now, I am preparing for my sixth preaching trip to India," he wrote to say.

I think this preacher is in fellowship with the Hardshell Baptist element which has in recent years taken more interest in doing something on the order of missionary work. I know there has been some heated controversy and division which has developed among them over this matter, and the tag "Liberal Movement" is being used of those who are engaged in any missionary work. Some information about this rift among the Hardshells may be read at one of their website:

I have known of this particular Hardshell preacher who wrote to me for quite sometime, and is one of those who left his former association with missionary Baptists to join the Hardshells. He said in a recent email "I did at one time" believe as we do concerning the place of the Gospel in salvation, but now he believes as the Hardshells -- "pre-faith regeneration" -- and pastors a Primitive Baptist Church in Mississippi.

When he wrote and said he was going to India, I wrote him back a brief line, saying,
"Have a nice trip. Hope you don't slip up and get any of the nonelect saved! "

For some reason, the Hardshells, hypers, hybrids, and supra Calvinists frequently display an inordinate fear of encouraging a lost person to believe or make a "confession of faith" in Christ. It makes me wonder, "Are they afraid they might get one of the nonelect saved?" Since they say that no one is going to believe but the elect, one wonders, "Then why worry about the matter? Must we erect a fence to keep out the nonelect?"

There are some that are opposed to public invitations, or similar efforts which encourage people to publicly confess Christ in church serices. Some do not believe in private, personal witnessing efforts, urging a lost person to believe in Christ for salvation. Some oppose child evangelism, apparently thinking that a very young person is not ready for salvation. Some don't seem to like any type of effort which calls for an immediate response to the Gospel.

I remember years ago, we published a little monthly evangelistic paper called "Salvation," which was exclusively designed for unsaved readers. I was passing out sample copies after the services at a church where I had gone to hear a guest preacher, and one of the members refused to take one. When I asked him why he refused it, he said that at that church they didn't believe in such literature, designed to encourage lost people to believe in Christ. He then began to repeat the Hardshell doctrine that men are regenerated without the use of means. They did not even have a Sunday School for children.

I just don't understand it: are they afraid they might get one of the nonelect to believe and confess Christ? What are they afraid of? Even if they got a profession of faith from one of the nonelect, what harm would it do that person? Will they become "more" nonelect than they already are?

Spurgeon said he expected conversions. He had confidence in the power of the Gospel, blessed by the Holy Spirit. When he closed his sermons, he pressed upon his hearers the truth of the Gospel, urging them to respond in faith.

He says, "I have preached this gospel for many years, and I do not think I ever finished a sermon except in one way -- by trying to explain what is meant by this trust in the Lord Jesus Christ " (MTP, Volume 51, page 105).

In his magazine, The Sword and the Trowel, year 1865, page 128, we find the following about an invitation to the unsaved following an address by Spurgeon:

"Now came the direct reference to the UNSAVED.

"This was introduced by a most earnest and awakening address by Mr. Spurgeon, and was responded to in prayer by Mr. Stott and Mr. Varley. A hymn followed, commencing thus, 'Once a sinner near despair.'

Mr. Teal and Mr. Burton then prayed, and Mr. Spurgeon closed with prayer. Inquirers were then encouraged to retire to the lecture Hall, where ministers and elders would be glad to converse with them; and many responded to the invitation."

I don't recall the reference right now, but I do remember Mr. Spurgeon referring to one of his members who was a "bird dog," watching for any concerned souls in the audience, and when he spotted them, he would go to them afterwards and try to win them to faith in Christ.

In reference to the methods of his close friend, Evangelist D. L. Moody, who preached in Spurgeon's Tabernacle, Spurgeon said--

>>Tell it out then, tell it out, you who have been lately converted, do not hide your light under a bushel.  Imitate Brother Gwillim over yonder, and others in this place who are always glad to have a word with the anxious, after the service is over; speak up for your Lord whenever you have the opportunity. I believe that it is a great help in bringing people to decision when Mr. Moody asks those to stand up who wish to be prayed for.  Anything that tends to separate you from the ungodly around you, is good for you Now, if you have given yourselves to Christ, tell it out; for, after that, you cannot go back to the world, you will feel that the vows of the Lord are upon you.  When Caesar landed on a certain shore, he burned the boats behind him, so that his men might know that they must conquer or perish.  I advise you to do likewise; burn your boats by a clear and explicit declaration, “The Lord hath wrought this great change in me by his grace, and I am his servant henceforth, and for ever.”>>  (MTP, 1897, page 516).

If Divine Providence has worked in such a way to bring a lost soul under the sound of the Gospel, may we not presume that such a one is likely to be convicted by the Word preached, and should be urged to openly trust Christ as his Savior? -- Bob L. Ross

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