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Posts Tagged ‘Jack Hyles’

(revised 02/12/14)

There is a debate going on today among Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, regarding the nature of conversion. Followers of Jack Hyles for example believe that when accepting Christ (becoming born again), one must repent. But they define “repentance” not as repenting of sin, but as turning from unbelief to belief.

Sorry, folks, repentance from sin is essential. I came across the following Baptist blog detailing the need to repent from sin. Click here for the original source of this article. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets]. I am also adding some links and some images.

Bible Repentance

Here is a message on repentance in the life of a believer from a member of our church:

From Repentance to Revival

[and a sermon as follows]

The Baptist, Bible position on Repentance
by Pastor Matt McPhillips (Pastor from Port Huron, MI.)

I am going to attempt to write about the doctrine of repentance. About two years ago I became so troubled about my lack of study about the Gospel and my acceptance of four points and a prayer that I dove into studying it head first.  Not knowing completely what my conclusion would be, I saturated myself with books, articles, and sermons by men of the 1900’s, 1800’s, 1700’s, and 1600’s only to find an amazing thing.  The issue of what is repentance in reference to salvation is a modern issue.  I looked at the numerous confessions of faith only to realize they all defined it as a sorrow for and turning from sin. This would include the London Confession (1644), Armenian [Arminian] Confession (1834)[I assume this is the same as the Confession of the Free-Will Baptists (1834)], Philadelphia Association (1734), French Confession (1879), Swiss Confession (1848), New Hampshire [Baptist] Confession (1833) and many others. As much as it pained me, I even began to look at non-Baptist confessions only to find the same.  So, maybe it was that I would find men from the past that would define it as a change of mind from unbelief to belief or one’s dependence to another and I was amazed at what I found.  Notice that all of these men agreed as to the true nature of repentance [repenting of sin].

Oliver B. Green “True repentance is sorrow for sin committed against a holy God and not only sorrow for sin, but TURNING FROM SIN, FORSAKING SIN AND TURNING TO GOD. Sin nailed the Savior to the cross and certainly that fact alone is sufficient reason why ALL WHO HAVE GENUINELY REPENTED HATE SIN AND FORSAKE SINFUL WAYS” (Oliver B. Greene, Commentary of Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2:37-38, 1969).

Lester RoloffRepentance is a godly sorrow for sin. Repentance is a forsaking of sin. Real repentance is putting your trust in Jesus Christ so you will not live like that anymore. Repentance is permanent. It is a lifelong and an eternity-long experience. You will never love the devil again once you repent. You will never flirt with the devil as the habit of your life again once you get saved. You will never be happy living in sin; it will never satisfy; and the husks of the world will never fill your longing and hungering in your soul. Repentance is something a lot bigger than a lot of people think. It is absolutely essential if you go to heaven” (Lester Roloff, Repent or Perish, 1950s).

Charles Spurgeon“Just now some professedly Christian teachers are misleading many by saying that ‘repentance is only a change of mind.’ [Interestingly, this teaching was present back in the  Spurgeon’s day – it did not originate with Independent Fudamentalist Baptist Jack Hyles.] It is true that the original word does convey the idea of a change of mind; but the whole teaching of Scripture concerning the repentance which is not to be repented of is that it is a much more radical and complete change than is implied by our common phrase about changing one’s mind. The repentance that does not include sincere sorrow for sin is not the saving grace that is wrought by the Holy Spirit. God-given repentance makes men grieve in their inmost souls over the sin they have committed, and works in them a gracious hatred of evil in every shape and form. We cannot find a better definition of repentance than the one many of us learned at our mother’s knee: ‘Repentance is to leave the sin we loved before, and show that we in earnest grieve by doing so no more’” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Royal Saviour,” Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England, Feb. 1, 1872).

George Whitefield“Repentance is the carnal and corrupt disposition of men being changed into a renewed and sanctified disposition. … It is the nature of such repentance to make a change, and the greatest change that can be made here in the soul. Thus you see what repentance implies in its own nature; it denotes an abhorrence of all evil”  (George Whitefield, “Repentance,” c. 1750).

D.L.Moody“If you ask people what it is they will tell you, it is feeling sorry.  If you ask a man if he repents, he will tell you oh yes; I generally feel sorry for my sins.  That is no repentance.  It is something more than a feeling sorry.  Repentance is turning right about and forsaking sin.  I wanted to speak on Sunday about that verse in Isaiah, which says, “Let the guilty forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.” That is what it is.  If a man don’t turn from his sin he won’t be accepted of God, and if righteousness don’t produce a turning about – a turning from bad to good – it isn’t true righteousness.”

William Tyndale“Concerning this word repentance … the very sense and signification both of the Hebrew and also of the Greek word is, ‘to be converted and to turn to God with all the heart, to know his will, and to live according to his laws; and to be cured of our corrupt nature with the oil of his Spirit, and wine of obedience to his doctrine.” (William Tyndale, “To the Reader,” Tyndale New Testament, 1534).

Jonathan Edwards “So saving repentance and faith are implied in each other. They are both one and the same conversion of the soul from sin to God, through Christ; the act of the soul turning from sin to God through Christ, as it respects the thing from which the turning is, viz. sin, is called repentance; and as it respects the thing to which, and the mediation by which it turns, it is called faith” (Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, 1741).

Charles FinneyA turning from sin to holiness, or more strictly, from a state of consecration to self to a state of consecration to God, is and must be the turning, the change of mind, or the repentance that is required of all sinners. Nothing less can constitute a virtuous repentance, and nothing more can be required” (Charles Finney, “Repentance and Impenitence,” 1878).

Harry Ironside“Shallow preaching that does not grapple with the terrible fact of man’s sinfulness and guilt, calling on ‘all men everywhere to repent,’ results in shallow conversions; and so we have a myriad of glib-tongued professors today who give no evidence of regeneration whatever. Prating of salvation by grace, they manifest no grace in their lives. Loudly declaring they are justified by faith alone, they fail to remember that ‘faith without works is dead’; and that justification by works before men is not to be ignored as though it were in contradiction to justification by faith before God. … To repent is to change one’s attitude toward self, toward sin, toward God, toward Christ. … So to face these tremendous facts is to change one’s mind completely, so that the pleasure lover sees and confesses the folly of his empty life; the self-indulgent learns to hate the passions that express the corruption of his nature; the self-righteous sees himself a condemned sinner in the eyes of a holy God; the man who has been hiding from God seeks to find a hiding place in Him; the Christ-rejector realizes and owns his need of life and salvation”  (Harry Ironside, Except Ye Repent, 1937).

I thought to myself this can’t be, how could we have men today defining repentance different that they did throughout history and then I found a message preached by D.L. Moody in which he was honest as to the reason he did not preach repentance and the basis for today’s lack of it. “You will find my text tonight in the seventeenth chapter of Acts, part of the thirtieth verse: “And now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” I have heard a number of complaints about the preaching here in the Tabernacle, that repentance has not been touched upon. The fact is that I have never had very great success in preaching upon repentance.  When I have preached it people haven’t repented. I’ve had far more success when I’ve preached Christ’s goodness.  But tonight I will preach about repentance, so you will have no more cause of complaint.  I believe in repentance just as much as I believe in the Word of God.”

Repentance does not work in our mega-this and mega-that mentality and if it works we do it and if not we don’t.  When our goal is momentum, results, and growth, we will neglect or diminish truth that might hinder our numerical growth. After all Jesus did say, “Preach momentum; be instant in season and out of season”.  Didn’t He?  John the Baptist went everywhere preaching momentum, decisions, and growth, right? So I went to the creator of easy believe/quick prayer methodology,  Charles Finney. Surely he would have diminished repentance in order to produce results.  Listen to what he said were signs of genuine repentance and false repentance:

Genuine Repentance

  • There is in your mind a conscious change of views and feeling in regard to sin.
  • The disposition to repeat sin is gone.
  • It worketh a reformation of conduct.
  • It changes our character and conduct.

False Repentance

  • It is not founded on such a change of opinion.
  • It is founded on selfishness.
  • It leaves the feelings unchanged.
  • It works death.
  • It produces only a partial reformation of conduct.
  • Its reformation is temporary.
  • It is a forced reformation.
  • It leads to self-righteousness.
  • It leads to a false security.
  • It hardens the heart.
  • It sears the conscience.

Now this  cannot be true, how did we get to this place in our churches?  Well, it starts with the dumbing down of our biblical study to be approved of God and our elevation of academic, liberal arts, and growth equals power mentality. We have Baptists following non-Baptists in modern day evangelism and methods. We have the ecumenical, fundamentalist movement diminishing doctrine, and we have liberal arts schools training preachers instead of local churches training them.  We have Christian newspaper editors establishing orthodoxy instead of Baptist preachers in Baptist pulpits.  Sadly today, psychological manipulation experts teach soulwinning, while Protestant revivalists are touted as our heroes. So I realized I have been deceived, misled, and ignorant of my Baptist doctrine and sold a bill of goods in order to protect a system of thought not found in history or the Bible.

I will leave you with these questions:

  1. Can you show me the examples of people getting saved and not changing in the Bible?
  2. Can you show repentance that did not amend the life of the person in the Bible?
  3. Can you find our modern day definition of repentance more than 100 years ago?
  4. Why would we ignore Matthew, Mark, and Luke and only  use John as our basis for the Gospel?
  5. When Jesus cast out the money changers, gave us Matthew 18, told us to turn them over to Satan (I Corinthians 5), commanded us to rebuke before all, to reprove and rebuke was he teaching us to protect momentum?

I do not have an axe to grind, but I am deeply troubled and burdened about our lack of revival and our man-made attempts to create it.

Note From Brother Ted Alexander: First let me say that I very much agree with this article.  I am bothered by the modern day preachers tampering with the doctrine of repentance and pulling out the word repentance from their message and even tampering with the old hymns. The revisions do not line the messages or songs up with the Bible or the historic Baptist position on repentance. Brother McPhillips pointed out that the modern fundamentalist, limp-wristed, numbers- driven definition of repentance is not found before the early part of the Laodacean church age/fundamentalist movement.  We wonder why ”Christian” people today live like the world and America is going to hell!  Could it be because Jesus was right in Matt. 7?  Has our generation been decieved [sic] into easy-prayer salvation that is not salvation at all?  When our desire becomes God alone, and we seek true conversions more than numbers and the approval of the brethren, we will begin to preach for God’s glory instead of a packed pew?  THINK!!!

FOR FURTHER READING

Easy Believism Fast Track to Hell

David Cloud’s articles (Google hits) criticizing the “easy believism” or “easy prayerism” heresy of Jack Hyles

Johnny the Baptist, Does Repent Really Mean Repent? – defends the need to repent of sin

The Repentance Blacklist – a long list of so-called heretics who say repentance of sin is necessary when accepting Christ. (Actually, this fellow has done us a favor by listing those who hold to the biblical position.)

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In recent years we have heard much about Lordship salvation vs. “easy believism” (also called “easy prayerism”). This debate has been especially fierce among Independent Fundamentalist Baptists. For example, Bro. David Cloud has been accused (falsely) of extreme Lordship salvation, because he opposes Jack Hyles’ emphasis on easy believism/easy prayerism.

Bro. Cloud has written a number of articles on this subject. Click here for one of these articles, entitled “WHAT’S WRONG WITH MOST SOUL WINNING COURSES?”

I was pleasantly surprised today, when a Facebook Friend recommended the article reposted below. The article emphasizes many of the same points as Bro. Cloud’s article. Click here for the original site of the following repost.

Revival and Revivalism – A Review by Bobby Jamieson

 

‘How did we get here?’ is a question that is always relevant and often illuminating. Yet contemporary evangelicals don’t ask it as often as they should.

In his book Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism, 1750-1858,1 Iain Murray tells a story that helps explain how evangelicals — Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, and more — got to where we are today.

FROM REVIVAL . . .

The book’s title tells the whole story in a nutshell. Over the one hundred and nine years Murray examines, from 1750 to 1858, American evangelicals’ understanding and experience of evangelism morphed from ‘revival’ to ‘revivalism.’

Background: The First Great Awakening

Not that what came before 1750 wasn’t important. From about 1735 to 1740, under the preaching of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and others, the American colonies experienced a massive spiritual enlivening which came to be known as the First Great Awakening. This phenomenon was driven by preaching that emphasized the biblical truths of the holiness of God, the gravity of sin, man’s enslavement to sin, and the need for the Holy Spirit to give new birth so that people might repent, believe, and be saved.

Though superficial responses to such preaching inevitably got mixed up with the true, contemporaries of these events regarded them as a genuine revival. They believed this spiritual movement had been caused by God’s sovereign choice to pour out his Spirit in a profound and unusual way, thus causing the ordinary, biblically appointed means of evangelism to bear extraordinary fruit.

Heirs of Edwards and Whitefield

Murray’s story, then, begins with the heirs of the First Great Awakening who ministered from New England to Virginia, men such as Samuel Davies and Alexander McWhorter (Chs. 1-4). These pastors held to the same theology that drove Edwards’ and Whitefield’s preaching, and they had been personally impacted by the events of 1735-1740. Throughout the second half of the eighteenth century, these men and the ministers who followed them periodically experienced the blessing of God on their ministries in ways that also merited the label ‘revival.’

Revival: Gift of God, not Guaranteed Result

Like their predecessors, these pastors knew that revivals were the sovereign work of God and could not be explained in any other way. Therefore, they preached the gospel, pleaded with sinners, and prayed for fruit like they had for years; and for reasons known only to God, he sometimes blessed these labours remarkably, and sometimes he didn’t. These revivals, in other words, were neither planned by men nor achieved by men. They did not involve any unusual or novel evangelistic techniques. They were understood, therefore, to be gifts of God.

. . . TO REVIVALISM

Then, beginning around 1800, revival began to break out on a greater scale across the young nation, from the northeast to the western states of Kentucky and Tennessee. And what’s truly remarkable is that this large-scale revival continued in one form or another for about thirty years, rightly earning it the title of the Second Great Awakening.

The Second Great Awakening

In the beginning, this revival was understood in the same terms as previous ones. Yet over time, theological and practical shifts began to occur that amounted to a revolution by the revival’s end. (For this part of the story, see chapters 5 through 12.)

For example, in 1800 in Cane Ridge, Kentucky the Presbyterians’ outdoor ‘communion seasons’ (which followed a traditional Scottish practice) became the flashpoint for what looked like a major movement of the Spirit. The meetings grew quickly. Ministers from other denominations, such as the Methodists, shared in the preaching. Large numbers of people who were unaffiliated with any church travelled great distances to come and hear. Many people responded to the preaching and singing, sometimes in disruptively dramatic ways.

Eventually, the leaders divided over how to respond to excessive displays of emotion in these meetings. Some — most of the Presbyterians — thought such displays should be permitted or rebuked depending on the case, while others — the Methodists — tended to treat all of them as proof of the work of God’s Spirit.

From this point, the Methodist leaders of this work in Kentucky took a strategy that was originally a response to revival — namely, protracted outdoor meetings — and made it a key component of their efforts to bring about revival. Further, these Methodists and some others, undergirded by a radically different doctrine of conversion, began to focus their efforts on inducing outward, immediate responses to the gospel.

Two Major Shifts

The story runs along similar lines elsewhere. By the 1820s and 1830s, two major shifts had occurred throughout American evangelicalism.

The first was a doctrinal shift regarding conversion. Up to 1800, evangelicals almost universally believed and preached that God must sovereignly give someone a new nature to enable him or her to repent and believe. By the 1830s, this was widely replaced by an understanding of conversion in which the decision to repent and believe lay entirely within an individual’s own power.

This led to (or, in some cases, followed) a shift in evangelistic practice. Many evangelicals adopted practices that sought to bring about an immediate decision. The ‘anxious bench,’ the altar call, singling people out personally in public prayer, warning hearers to respond immediately or else lose their chance to repent — all these practices and more grew out of the new belief that conversion was something within a person’s power to achieve, or even to effect in others.

The Result: Revivalism

The result of these two shifts was that church leaders began to regard revival as something that could be infallibly secured through the use of proper means — ‘proper’ being whatever would induce an immediate decision or external token of decision. This understanding was most vigorously promoted by Charles Finney, but by the end of the Second Great Awakening it had become a given among a strong majority of American evangelicals. Historian William McLoughlin even went so far as to say that by the mid-nineteenth century, this new system was the national religion of the United States (277).

Thus, revivalism was born. To be sure, revivalism grew up in the soil of genuine revival. But this new practice of revivalism radically differed from the previous understanding of revival it so quickly supplanted. A ‘revival’ became synonymous with a meeting designed to promote revival. Unlike previous generations, evangelicals after 1830 gained the ability, so to speak, to put a revival on the calendar months in advance.

The goal of such revivals was to secure as many immediate decisions for Christ as possible. As such, awareness of the possibility of false conversion seemed to simply vanish from the evangelical consciousness. Few asked whether their new measures just might create as many false converts as true disciples

SEVEN LESSONS FOR PASTORS

At the risk of stating the obvious, it doesn’t take too much effort to see how we got from the 1830s to the evangelistic practices that many of us take for granted today. That holds true whether we’re thinking of stadium-based crusades or churches which seek to recreate that atmosphere every Sunday.

Yet, as Murray rightly argues in the book’s final chapter, this type of revivalism and the theology that supports it represent a serious departure from both a biblical doctrine of conversion and a biblical practice of evangelism. Therefore, Revival and Revivalism should inspire us to reflect critically and carefully about our churches and our evangelistic practices.

Toward that end, here are seven lessons from the book that should be especially relevant for pastors.

1. Don’t Confuse an External Act with Inward Change.

First, don’t confuse an external act with inward change. Murray writes about the beginnings of the altar call, Nobody, at first, claimed to regard it as a means of conversion. But very soon, and inevitably, answering the call to the altar came to be confused with being converted. People heard preachers plead for them to come forward with the same urgency with which they pleaded for them to repent and believe (186; see also 366).

It’s possible to walk an aisle, pray a ‘sinner’s prayer,’ and do any number of other activities without being converted. And it’s possible to be converted without taking any of those particular outward steps (though of course conversion will always manifest itself in visible fruit).

Therefore, pastors should not speak about any external action as if it were identical with conversion. And they should be wary of evangelism techniques which seem to equate the two.

2. Beware of Producing False Converts.

Second, beware of producing false converts. Of course it’s inevitable that some people who initially profess faith will later prove unrepentant, but pastors can evangelize in a way that either minimizes or multiplies false converts. For instance, Murray cites Samuel Miller to the effect that the anxious seat (precursor to the altar call) promotes ‘the rapid multiplication of superficial, ignorant, untrained professors of religion’ — that is, false converts (366).

3. Be Cautious about Giving Immediate Assurance of Salvation.

Third, be cautious about giving immediate assurance of salvation. Perseverance, as the New Hampshire Confession says, is the grand mark of a true Christian (Heb. 3:6, 14). Faith makes itself known by its fruits — whether good or bad, true or false (Matt.7:15-27). Yet Murray points out that the new revivalistic methods were actually founded on the promise of immediate assurance:

But the anxious-seat evangelism wanted to do away with any doubts in those who made the public response. The whole strength of its appeal . . . lay in its suggestion that a response would ensure salvation. To have conceded that there was no sure connection between answering a public appeal and being converted would have been to undermine the whole system. (368)

In other words, the whole point of the new methods was that a response guaranteed salvation. And on that basis, preachers assured people of their salvation immediately and unreservedly simply for coming forward at the end of the service.

Assurance of salvation is possible for the youngest and weakest Christian, but it should always be grounded in the objective work of Christ and corroborated by the fruit of a transformed life.

So pastors, be cautious about giving immediate assurance of salvation. And be careful not to give it on the wrong basis.

4. Tether your Ministry to What God Requires in his Word.

Fourth, tether your ministry to what God requires in his Word. In some ways, the crucial turning point in Murray’s narrative comes when the early nineteenth-century Methodists came to regard certain novel, extra-biblical practices — long-duration outdoor camp meetings, techniques to secure immediate decisions, and so on — as the crucial keys to producing conversions (184).

Certainly, Christians are free to pursue evangelism in ways that are not directly exampled in Scripture. If Paul could rent the hall of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9), why shouldn’t modern evangelicals evangelize in stadiums? But the catch is that these new methods became mandates. They became magic bullets. And they became the givens without which people could not imagine anyone getting saved.

Instead, place your confidence in what God has required you to do — preach the Word. Trust that God has given you, in his Word, what you need to be a faithful pastor. Labour with the tools he’s given, and trust that he will cause your work to bear fruit.

5. Make Sure your Theology Drives your Practice, not Vice Versa.

Fifth, make sure your theology drives your practice, not vice versa. Murray writes about the spread of the altar call among Baptists, who in the early 19th century were almost unanimously reformed in their soteriology:

It had not captured anything like the majority of the churches in the 1830s but there can be no doubt that, with the Baptists also, it was the alleged success of the new evangelism which hastened both its adoption and the gradual doctrinal shift to justify it. (325-326)

In this case the practical tail wagged the theological dog. The logic of the new evangelism worked its way into their theological system and re-wrote the DNA. Without realizing it, huge numbers of Baptists adopted an evangelistic method that was not only at odds with their theological commitments, but eventually undid them.

6. Don’t Equate Outward Success with a Divine Endorsement.

Sixth, don’t equate outward success with a divine endorsement. During the conflicts Murray chronicles between the old guard and the new, the revivalists often played the trump card of outward success (282). As one contemporary pastor has famously put it, ‘Never criticize what God is blessing.’

The first problem with the argument from success is that ‘success’ is not always success. Murray writes,

What was indisputable was that making ‘conversion’ a matter of instant, public decision, with ascertainable numbers immediately announced in the religious press, produced a display of repeated ‘successes’ on a scale never before witnessed (283).

But how many of these ‘decisions’ represented genuine conversions? How many were baptized, joined churches, and began new lives? If the numbers back then match the numbers generated through similar methods today, the likely answer is, ‘Not many.’

The second problem with the argument from success is that, in one way or another, God is always blessing us in spite of ourselves. Every time God uses a pastor’s preaching to convert people, he’s blessing that man’s work in spite of that man’s sins and errors. So how can you be sure that God is blessing a ministry because of some new method rather than in spite of it?

Certainly we should expect God to bless preaching and practices that are in line with his Word. But we can’t reduce his workings to the mechanics of ‘most faithful’ = ‘most blessing.’ Nor can we work backwards from apparent success to discern what must be correct theology and practice.

7. Celebrate the Normal.

Murray writes of the earlier generation of ministers who regarded revival as a gift from God, ‘The men of the Old School, while believing in revival as fervently as they did . . . nevertheless knew no biblical reason to be cast down by the normal’ (385). These men knew that most of the time, ministry is slow and plodding work. They knew that some sow and others reap. They ‘believed that God would grant his blessing in the measure that was appropriate — whether in its heightened form . . . or in quieter ways’ (385).

So, finally, don’t be discouraged by slow-ripening fruit. Instead, rely on God to work through the regular means of grace. Celebrate the normal.

GOOD REASONS WHY IT’S ALREADY BECOMING A CLASSIC

As I hope this review has proved, there are many good reasons why Revival and Revivalism is already becoming a classic. It’s long, dense, and somewhat rambling, but it more than repays the time and effort it takes to get through it. I commend it to all present and aspiring church leaders, and to any Christian who likes to ask, ‘How did we get here?’



Note:

1. Revival and Revivalism
Iain H. Murray
480 pages, clothbound
£15.00, $33.00
ISBN 978 0 85151 660 8

Bobby Jamieson is assistant editor for 9Marks, author of the 9Marks Healthy Church Study Guides (Crossway, forthcoming 2012), MDiv student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a member of Third Avenue Baptist Church. This review article is taken from 9Marks Journal, March/April 2012.

 

By Bobby Jamieson

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