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#44841 - Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:52 PM Various Evangelisms  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 34
Renat Ilyasov Offline
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Renat Ilyasov  Offline
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Moscow Region, Russian Federat...
John H. Girstner in his exposition of Edwardsian theology / evangelism used to present various approaches to evangelism by different religious groups within professing Christendom in terms of 4 'S'.

S #1 - Sacramentalism - If asked what one should do in order to be saved, the vast majority of professing Christendom would point to baptismal water - one must be baptized in order to initiate his or her salvation.

S#2 - Surrender - this is the answer of the predominant majority of evangelical Christendom - one has to surrender to God, let Him in, etc., in order to be saved.

S #3 - Shrug - this stands for a typical attitude of many Calvinistic pastors… This needs some elaboration: suppose a person in your congregation comes to you and says,
‘Pastor, I don't think I'm a believer. I just don't have that faith, love and desire for holiness, obedience and all. What should I do?’
‘Well, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, a good many Reformed pastor will say, and thou shalt be saved’.
But suppose, that parishioner continued –
‘Well, I know, pastor, I'd be saved if I believed, but I cannot believe; ‘you yourself preach emphatically about the utter inability of fallen men to ‘do any spiritual good and to believe unto salvation. What should I do?’
At this point, that typical Calvinistic pastor will shrugg his shoulders...In Girstner's opinion this is a typical situation for many Reformed ministers…And hence, the need for the last 'S'

S #4 - Seeking Salvation - in terms of that imaginary parishioner, the point of connection between him and the gospel, according to Edwards, Puritans at large and John Girstner, would be an exhortation to seek the LORD while He may be found. Girstner believes that this is the ONLY viable evangelistic option for Reformed people.
Now, aside from a peculiar notion of Edwards’ / Girstner’s, that genuine seeking can actually take place outside of Christ / covenant and result in nothing and be a promise-less affair, this presentation has a merit of presenting evangelistic approaches in a clear fashion. Now the first 2 Ss are so far off the Scriptural track, that they hardly need any additional refutation. They are clearly unbiblical. The 3d S, especially in the form of this spurious notion of the gospel “offer” is a little harder to combat within Presbyterian / Reformed Christendom, for it has, since the spread of Marrowism, gained a surprisingly wide acceptance within this camp. Not taking much time in specifically addressing this popular, yet unscriptural notion, I will only say in passing, that Christ in the preaching of the gospel, commands sinners to repent and believe, He does not “offer” them Himself, nor does He “offer” His salvation to their choice, as if Christ’s fulfillment of the covenant depended upon anyone’s whim to “accept” or “reject” that offer, as they please…
Johnathan Edwards and John Girstner and many others with them are certainly right in this: the point of connection with the gospel for unregenerate sinners is a consequential necessity for them to acknowledge themselves as “sinners”, as an absolutely indispensable prerequisite - starting point, to be called by Christ to repentance, for Christ came not to call the self-righteous, but sensible sinners to repentance.

And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.(Lk.5:31,32)


For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever (2Jn.1:2).
#44843 - Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:43 AM Re: Various Evangelisms [Re: Renat Ilyasov]  
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Robin Offline
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Robin  Offline
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I think I would tell the seeker in your point S #3 two things:

First, that the new birth is from Above, not from within. Therefore since salvation is the act of God upon persons of His choosing, he should seek the Lord while He may be found. In the case of the rich young ruler, that search ended with Jesus' use of the Law to expose his idolatry. In the case of the Elect, the search always persists until conversion.

Second, I would offer that an unregenerate soul would probably not even be concerned about his/her standing before God, beyond perhaps a mere intellectual curiosity or fear of judgment. The fact that one asks the question, and recognizes his or her own depravity and helplessness should be an encouragement to him or her, since the Lord will not despise a broken and contrite heart. Again, Edwards and Gerstner have it right: Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. And give up on all "alternative methods" of obtaining (earning, winning, accomplishing, currying) His mercy. That is superstition and I dare say it's what most people are looking for when they ask "What must I do to be saved."

-Robin

#44844 - Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:50 AM Re: Various Evangelisms [Re: Renat Ilyasov]  
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Pilgrim Online content
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Pilgrim  Online Content

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Renat,

First of all, the man's name is "Gerstner" and not "Girstner". grin

Secondly, the most salient work by Dr. Gerstner in regard to Jonathan Edwards and his views concerning the gospel and evangelism I believe is to be found in his book, Jonathan Edwards, Evangelist, published by Soli Deo Gloria. In that work is probably one of Edwards' most misunderstood and controversial views concerning "seekers". In a most simple summary, Edwards being imminently Reformed did not believe in any shape or form that the natural man has any desire to seek after God. Yet, he was compelled to urge sinners to do just that; seek after God. His contention, and I do agree heartily, was that although the natural man has no spiritual ability due to his natural hatred of God, owning a corrupt nature, sinners do have a natural ability to use the outward means by which God can and does regenerate them, e.g., the reading and preaching of the Word, praying that God would have mercy upon them, etc.

This book is a very stimulating read from America's foremost theologian (Edwards) and foremost authority on him (Gerstner). I often recommend it to all who aren't afraid to have their brain 'stretched'. giggle


[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

[Linked Image]
#44846 - Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:22 AM Re: Various Evangelisms [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Renat Ilyasov Offline
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Renat Ilyasov  Offline
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Moscow Region, Russian Federat...
Yes, indeed the name is spelled Gerstner, not Girstner. Sorry for that slip-up, which happened to occur 4 times in that post!
Yes, there is much to be commended for in the seeking methodology, except Edwards, in his justification of the use of means by unregenerate, comes perilously close to the Roman notion of "merit of congruity", which merits grace proper.

Some years back I used the concept of seeking, with Scripture refutations of the other 'S's to challenge the Arminian addiction of some, within the PCA fold, to the heretical EE, a "tool of evangelism", invented by James Kennedy of Coral Ridge, FL. In the end I was castigated and stigmatized as a "HyperCalvinist"...
Now, am happy to see that not all modern Presbyterians are addicted to this form of false gospel peddling.


For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever (2Jn.1:2).
#44847 - Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:08 AM Re: Various Evangelisms [Re: Renat Ilyasov]  
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Pilgrim Online content
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Pilgrim  Online Content

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NH, USA
Originally Posted by Renat Ilyasov
Yes, there is much to be commended for in the seeking methodology, except Edwards, in his justification of the use of means by unregenerate, comes perilously close to the Roman notion of "merit of congruity", which merits grace proper.

One might be tempted to accuse Edwards of such a thing IF everything else he wrote is deliberately disregarded... or, there is the very possibility of one being ignorant of what Edwards espoused on the subject of man's natural state, e.g., his incredible treatise "The Freedom of the Will".

Originally Posted by Renat Ilyasov
Some years back I used the concept of seeking, with Scripture refutations of the other 'S's to challenge the Arminian addiction of some, within the PCA fold, to the heretical EE, a "tool of evangelism", invented by James Kennedy of Coral Ridge, FL. In the end I was castigated and stigmatized as a "HyperCalvinist"...
Now, am happy to see that not all modern Presbyterians are addicted to this form of false gospel peddling.

I had a similar experience when in Bible college I stood up and opposed Kennedy's "Evangelism Explosion" as nothing more than a redressed semi-Pelagian Madison Avenue marketing ploy. For the entire length of my stay at that college "EE" was not used. But as soon as I graduated, it was brought back into the curriculum. rolleyes2

There are far more biblical/Reformed resources for evangelism, although not many are to be found from so-called Reformed authors today. Some of them are to be found here: Reformed Evangelism. One of the better evangelistic training manuals, IMHO, was written by Will Metzger entitled, Tell the Truth. BigThumbUp

BTW... personally, I am not a Presbyterian. If anything, I am a Savoy Congregationalist, aka: Presbygationalist. [Linked Image]


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simul iustus et peccator

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#44849 - Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:03 PM Re: Various Evangelisms [Re: Renat Ilyasov]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 18
GoldenTrout Offline
Plebeian
GoldenTrout  Offline

Plebeian

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NC, US
I had the distinct honor and pleasure to meet Dr. Gerstner in 1992, during a seminar he was teaching on Edwards in Dothan, AL. It was Gerstner who finally "converted" me from being a stubborn, full-blown, proud Arminian into a humbled and contrite Calvinist. I had been waging war against Calvinism for years, but Dr. Gerstner explained it in such a way as I will never forget. I was so shaken up at the end of his teaching that when I went forward to meet him afterwards, I was visibly shaken. He was a very warm, kind man with a deep, gravelly voice that would strike fear into the strongest of hearts. The Lord has led me in the Reformed way ever since, and I will always be grateful for Him leading me to Dr. Gerstner to settle those theological issues in my own heart.

Concerning the concept of seeking, I think many (not all of course) professing Christians, who feel they are already saved, are actually in "seeker mode" without even realizing it, and may (Lord willing) one day be enlightened to see the full knowledge of the truth and repent of their preconceived notions and sin of pride. I say pride, because it seems to me spiritual pride is at the root of Arminianism- we arrogantly boast how "we" choose God, and not the other way around. I fit into this category at one time as well, and I remember how puffed up I was in my thinking. Such is the way with all Free Will thought.

Many years ago, I heard an old Reformed Baptist say that "You may be an Arminian now, but if by the Grace of God you enter those pearly gates, you will be a Calvinist to the core."


#44853 - Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:17 PM Re: Various Evangelisms [Re: GoldenTrout]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,354
Pilgrim Online content
Head Honcho
Pilgrim  Online Content

Head Honcho

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,354
NH, USA
yep Dr. John Gerstner was one special and godly man. I first met him in 1978 at a PCRT in Wheaton, Ill. And by God's providence, had several more privleged meetings with him. To say I was humbled and deeply impressed at each meeting would be an understatement.

Now, since you have a special love for this "saint", I thought you might truly enjoy the following: Paul - The Man.

[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

[Linked Image]
#44855 - Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:23 PM Re: Various Evangelisms [Re: Pilgrim]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 18
GoldenTrout Offline
Plebeian
GoldenTrout  Offline

Plebeian

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 18
NC, US
Thank you for that Pilgrim- I just read it and did enjoy it very much. Only the Lord knows how many lives were touched by this godly man, and I will rejoice to see him again one day in Glory.


#44856 - Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:30 AM Re: Various Evangelisms [Re: GoldenTrout]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,376
Tom Offline
Needs to get a Life
Tom  Offline
Needs to get a Life

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,376
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Dr. RC Sproul once said on the suject of mentoring. (Not exact quote) I would not be the man I am today without my mentor John Gerstner.

Tom

#44857 - Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:22 AM Re: Various Evangelisms [Re: Tom]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 34
Renat Ilyasov Offline
Newbie
Renat Ilyasov  Offline
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Posts: 34
Moscow Region, Russian Federat...
With respect to Dr. Gerstner, I should say, that the LORD Sabaoth, in His mercy and wise providence, was pleased to use the man's teaching ministry, in due time, to confirm and establish this wavering sinner (myself) in the Reformed way.


For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever (2Jn.1:2).

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