Friday, January 24, 2020

Church Growth: The Old and New Baptist Way

There are some pretty remarkable differences between the Baptist evangelism of times past and that of professed Baptists in the circle of influence of Jack Hyles.

A Different Gospel

In the past, Baptists believed things such as the following on repentance:

"Saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things." (2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689; Particular Baptist)

"Unfeigned repentance is an inward and true sorrow of heart for sin, with sincere confession of the same to God, especially that we have offended so gracious a God and so loving a Father, together with a settled purpose of heart and a careful endeavor to leave all our sins, and to live a more holy and sanctified life according to all God’s commands” (The Orthodox Creed, General Baptist, 1679).

Professed Baptists in the Hyles orbit today, such as Bob Gray of Longview "Baptist" Temple in Longview, Texas, think repentance is simply changing from unbelief to belief.  This heresy is also adopted by former Hyles-Anderson student Steven Anderson, among many others. Jack Hyles' book, in which he teaches the heresy that repentance is merely changing from unbelief to belief, and in which he states that calling on the lost to Biblically repent and turn from their sins is an "enemy of soulwinning," is still for sale in the Hyles-Anderson bookstore

Different Results

As in the book of Acts when repentance was preached those who were converted submitted to baptism and continued faithful to the Lord (Acts 2:41-47), so the preaching of the old Baptist gospel led to similar results.  Consider, for example, the work of Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall:

Information about one of the first churches founded by Shubal Stearns.
The Great Awakening that swept through the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s made a significant impact on Baptists in two ways. First, the comparatively few Baptist churches that existed at the time were directly affected by the revival and saw tremendous growth in their memberships. Second, many Congregationalist churches that developed out of the revival eventually became Baptist. One historian has described these “New Light” Congregational churches as “halfway house[s] on the road to becoming Baptists.” Most of these who made the change to believers’ baptism had been converted under George Whitefield. This phenomenon caused the great evangelist to muse, “My chickens are becoming ducks!” Baptists gained over a hundred new churches this way in addition to gaining some of their most outstanding leaders, such as Isaac Backus, Daniel Marshall and Shubal Stearns.
These churches born out of revival became known as “Separate Baptist,” and they saw rapid growth in the South and on the frontier. The most incredible display of such growth came through the ministry of Shubal Stearns and his brother-in-law, Daniel Marshall.
In 1755 Stearns and Marshall moved to Sandy Creek, North Carolina, where they started the first Separate Baptist church in the South. They began with sixteen people and within three years had three fully constituted churches with a combined membership of over 900. In only seventeen years this church gave birth to forty-two churches and sent out 125 ministers.[1]

The American South still feels the impact of the blessing of the Holy Spirit on the old Baptist gospel today.  States like Oklahoma have pages and pages of Baptist churches in the phone book and the "Bible belt" still exists over two hundred years after its formation.

Compare these results with those of Bob Gray at Longview Baptist Temple in Texas.
 Mr. Gray claims to have led 1,116,887 people to Christ, yet he lives in a town with less than 82,000 people and a county of less than 124,000.  Comparing the attendance at his religious organization with the numbers of people he claims to have won to Christ, less than 0.2% of the "converts" attend his church even on Sunday mornings.  The region of Texas with his church is not by anyone's wildest dream changed the way it would be if there had been over a million people who were converted the Bible way to the Biblical God, by means of the Biblical gospel that was preached by the old Baptists.

When the old Baptists and the Hyles-"Baptists" preach such a different message, with such different results, are they the same religion?  Or are they not different the way light is different from darkness, truth from error, and heaven from hell?


[1]           Thomas K. Ascol, “From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention: What Hath Geneva to Do with Nashville?,” The Founders Journal: From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention, Fall, no. 70 (2007): 13.


DanielL said...

This is so true. Hyles took the evil way that was rejected when it was presented to Baptists by Billy Graham and made it palatable to them. What they had rejected from Graham, they accepted from one of their own. The results are shocking.

I met with a pastor recently, thinking our church might visit there on some Sunday evenings. He was a local-church received-text Baptist. He rejected any idea of repenting from sin. He said all you repented from was dead works, but not sin.

I asked if he gave them gospel to someone and they said they wanted Christ but were clear they would not give up their drunkenness or fornication, how would he respond? His response; "I would tell them, 'You don't have to!' Once they get saved God will change them."

He was, unsurprisingly, a devotee of Hyles.

KJB1611 said...

Thanks for the comment. Too bad. People who reject the Biblical Baptist gospel should be honest and stop calling themselves Baptists, as they no longer believe what Baptists believe.