10. The Southern Baptist “Pass Over”

August 17, 2016

Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL

Not since the death angel visited Egypt have so many godly people been passed over.

Recently, those disaffirming Calvinism have found it nearly impossible to be chosen as the leader of a Southern Baptist entity, the speaker at a Southern Baptist conference or the author of a heavily promoted Southern Baptist book or Bible study curriculum. To put it simply, our Southern Baptist leadership is disproportionately Calvinistic compared with our Southern Baptist membership, creating an organizational instability that grows as more Southern Baptists become aware of the not so subtle discrimination against soteriological traditionalists.

Irrelevant Intent

Before establishing the existence of our disproportionately Calvinist leadership, let us consider the issue of intent, for it is on this point that some have been routinely marginalized as conspiracy theorists. The book A Quiet Revolution: A Chronicle of Beginnings of Reformation in the Southern Baptist Convention by Ernest Reisinger and Matthew Allen, published by Founders Press in 2000, offers a blueprint for reforming the churches of our denomination to embrace the position of Calvinism.

Whether or not the instructions in this book have been followed by means of some secret plan involving a network of underground conspirators is a matter of pointless speculation and an unnecessary distraction from our sincere attempts at conflict resolution. Intentionality simply does not matter.

If the SBC today is led by those who are disproportionately Calvinistic, relative to the theological convictions of the people in the pews, then this imbalance must be corrected whether it is the result of an intentionally secretive effort or merely the product of circumstance. In other words, if our leaders do not properly represent the doctrinal views of our members, we must address the reality of this problem regardless of the manner in which our leaders have become overly Calvinistic.

Overly Calvinistic Leadership

With surprising ease, Calvinists have become entrenched within the leadership of our denominational entities, even though their position is not widely considered the majority view among Southern Baptists. In a 2006 Lifeway Research study, only ten percent of SBC Pastors indicated they were five-point Calvinists. By 2012, it was sixteen percent.[1] Our newer leaders, however, are disproportionately Calvinistic, as we shall see below.

Entity Leadership

One way of describing this increasingly Calvinistic shift is to consider the leadership of our eleven Southern Baptist entities, including six seminaries, the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, Guidestone, LifeWay and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. In 1993, when Al Mohler became President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, he might have been the only Calvinist occupying one of these eleven posts.

However, over time, newly appointed entity Presidents have shown a remarkable tendency to possess extremely close personal ties to Al Mohler.[2] For example, in 2004, Daniel Akin left Southern Seminary as the Dean of Theology to become the President of Southeastern Seminary. Similarly, in 2006, Thom Rainer left Southern Seminary as Dean of Missions and Evangelism to become President of LifeWay. In 2011, Kevin Ezell left the Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where he had served as Al Mohler’s Pastor, to become President of the North American Mission Board. In 2012, Jason Allen left Southern Seminary as Vice President of Institutional Advancement to become the new President of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2013, Russell Moore left Southern Seminary as Dean of Theology to become the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. In 2014, David Platt was appointed as the President of the International Mission Board. While his ties to Mohler were less direct, they have both been heavily involved in various Calvinistic organizations such as The Gospel Coalition and the Together for the Gospel Conference.

Frankly, it has become patently clear to every interested observer of denominational life that the current leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention is disproportionately Calvinistic compared with the theological views embraced by most rank and file Southern Baptist clergy and laity.

Conference Speakers

Another way to describe this increasingly Calvinistic shift in the Southern Baptist Convention is to consider the views of the speakers invited to preach at various conferences. At the 2000 SBC Pastor’s Conference in Orlando, Florida, not a single Calvinist was invited to preach. However, by the 2014 SBC Pastor’s Conference, 64% of the preachers were Calvinists. At the 2015 Send North America Conference, promotional posters featured five preachers. All of them were Calvinists. Only four were Southern Baptists. Traditional Southern Baptists were left to conclude that if one wishes to be selected as a speaker at a Southern Baptist conference, it is actually more important to be a Calvinist than to be a Southern Baptist.

Publishing and Promotion

In the Pastor’s Conference program in 2014, one section promoted books by five authors. Eighty percent of these authors were Calvinists. Forty percent were not even Southern Baptists. Once again, this leaves the impression that in order to gain any attention in the SBC today, it is unnecessary to be a Southern Baptist, but it is absolutely essential to be a Calvinist, and it greatly helps if you are affiliated with The Gospel Coalition. Bear in mind this Calvinist trend (64% of Pastor’s Conference preachers, 100% of Send North America’s publicized speakers and 80% of Pastor’s Conference featured authors) has been observed within a convention where only 20% of the Pastors are Calvinists.[3]

Missionary Appointments

With regard to our missionary appointments at home and abroad, we are at the mercy of NAMB and IMB to report on the soteriological commitments of appointees, and they have not chosen to provide us with this information. However, although without such statistics it cannot be established as fact, some observers hypothesize, on the basis of anecdotal evidence, that there is a significant increase in the embrace of Calvinism among the younger, newly appointed IMB missionaries abroad and among the many Send North America church planters serving largely in the inner city areas here at home.

Soteriological Sensitivity

Whenever I suggest that we take measures to rectify an overly Calvinistic leadership that fails to reflect proportionally the views of our Southern Baptist membership, I am quickly accused of proposing a quota—a suggestion so pejorative, for some reason, that meaningful discussion typically erodes. However, one need not propose a quota (I certainly don’t) in order to request respectfully that those in a position to make nominations give careful consideration to the matter of soteriological balance.

Consider all the criteria in which we already seek to be fair and balanced in our selections. These matters include: (a) clergy and laity, (b) gender, (c) ethnicity, (d) congregational size, (e) geography, and (f) age. Our general philosophy is that we want our committees and boards to represent the broad membership of our Southern Baptist churches. Adding one more category to the list will go a long way toward addressing the soteriological imbalances documented above.

One objection commonly offered is that we cannot possibly diversify our committees and boards on the basis of every single doctrinal position. Admittedly, the list of theological differences is endless. However, this objection is easily dismissed. There is simply no sense at all in which our convention today is experiencing a fault line due to these other doctrinal matters. Salvation doctrine, on the other hand, is a pivotal concern and has been for quite some time. Frankly, this issue has earned the right to be treated differently. It not only divides us theologically, but even impacts many of the ministry philosophies and practices in our churches. Salvation doctrine is a truly important consideration that deserves to be fairly represented among the leaders, speakers, authors and ministry initiatives in Southern Baptist life.

Transparency Agenda Survey Results

In a recent poll of SBC Today readers, we asked Southern Baptists to indicate if they “approved” or “disapproved” of the idea that we “Require fairness in presenting all Southern Baptist views.” With 266 respondents, 65.79% approved of such an action, while 34.21% disapproved.

This article addresses Item Ten of the Ten Item Transparency Agenda. You may READ the Transparency Agenda or COMPLETE the survey yourself. To read the articles reporting results from the other survey items, see the links below:

 

ITEM ONE 

ITEM TWO

ITEM THREE

ITEM FOUR

ITEM FIVE

ITEM SIX

ITEM SEVEN

ITEM EIGHT

ITEM NINE

 

[1] Rankin, Russ. SBC Pastors Polled on Calvinism and Its Effect. LifeWay. June 19, 2012.

[2] Harwood, Adam. Dr Mohler’s Ties with the SBC [Infographic]. Connect 316, October 25, 2015.

[3] Patrick, Rick. Demoralizing Doctrinal Discrimination. SBC Today. June 22, 2015.

Leave a Comment:

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Andy

“SBC today is led by those who are disproportionately Calvinistic,”

–> Well, I wouldn’t have believed it had I not read it directly from Rick Patrick’s keyboard…this will blow up the internet! SBC today is run by Calvinists! :-)
(Sorry, that was just too good to pass up)

Seriously, I do hope this generates some helpful and civil discussion. It is an interesting trend, to say the least, and makes one wonder why the trend is so strong. I don’t have the final answer. I am very curious to see if any sbc calvinists who have observed things can explain this trend in a way that does not Belittle Rick for observing it.

    Lydia

    “It is an interesting trend, to say the least, and makes one wonder why the trend is so strong”

    It is not really spiritual. It mirrors the trend of our society moving toward a more oligarchical top down structure. Gov is to provide jobs. The elder holds the keys…..and on and on.

    We have fast become a nation of adult children where a few select must lead us because they know best for us.

      Josh

      You wrote: “We have fast become a nation of adult children where a few select must lead us because they know best for us.” There are two different statements of criticisms here: 1. we are a nation of adult children 2. a few select must lead us because they know best. Are you suggesting that the adult children should not be led? If they are adult children, wouldn’t the pastors know better than them, doctrinally speaking? They are adult children and not mature. Also, what do you think pastors do? Traditional congregational pastors lead as well “us” as do elder led pastors. This is how it works and I would be interested in an interaction with biblical texts that show me why I shouldn’t believe that,

    Rick Patrick

    Touche’. Sometimes, even capitalization is capable of changing the meaning of a sentence.

    And you are right, Andy. Some have already attempted to belittle me for pointing out the imbalance. But I am less interested in explaining the reason for this discrimination than I am in seeking to rectify it.

    Also, I will not tolerate theological discrimination in the comments. Anyone seriously justifying theological discrimination against Traditionalists based on it being God’s will is going to be treated just like those who sought to justify racial discrimination as God’s will in Southern Baptist life years ago. There is simply no place for that kind of hatred. We are brothers in Christ and deserve to be treated equally.

kyle

Could it be the work of the sovereign God of scripture?
Just poking at you.
The last number of sbc presidents have all been non calvinist.

    Rick Patrick

    I hear you, Kyle. And I do interpret your suggestion as a joke, so I will allow it. By the same token, then, my essay would also have to be considered the work of the sovereign God of scripture, right? Thus, all attempts to right the wrong of anti-Traditionalist discrimination are indeed the will of God. That argument always works both ways.

    The SBC Presidency is an interesting case study. Fred Luter and Ronnie Floyd may not be Calvinists, but they could not be classified as Traditionalists either. Steve Gaines is indeed a signer of the Traditional Statement, so he is clearly with us theologically, as was his mentor, the late Roy Fish.

    Calvinism has made progress in the SBC by means of sympathizers such as Ronnie Floyd, whose church hosts a Southern Seminary extension site. Floyd may not be a Calvinist per se, but he has done nothing to obstruct the institutional Calvinization of the convention, which is actually a separate concern.

    Furthermore, appointing privileges notwithstanding, I would argue that the influence of the two-year SBC President does not drive the convention as much as the leaders of the eleven entities who are leading us 24/7 for 365 days per year every single year without term limits.

    Andy

    I agree with Lydia for once. The president is elected by messengers, usually about 5,000 people the last few conventions. All these other things Rick is speaking about refer to appointments and decisions made by small groups of people, decisions that may not necessarily reflect the majority view…BUT…they are things that do, over time, SHAPE the majority view. Case in point, this past convention, a Calvinistic Pastor was ALMOST elected…it was very close. Now, I’m sure that some non-Calvinists voted for him, but it does likely reflect a shift.

    I would say a shift that more an more in the convention are not opposed to having a calvinist president would be a good thing…

    I would also say a shift that more people will not be happy without a calvinist president would be a bad thing.

      Johnathan Pritchett

      “Furthermore, appointing privileges notwithstanding, I would argue that the influence of the two-year SBC President does not drive the convention as much as the leaders of the eleven entities who are leading us 24/7 for 365 days per year every single year without term limits.”

      That’s the real issue. Which means there is no meaningful way for them to lose their positions in favor of others. I think it would be wrong to fire them just to hire non-Calvinists.

      So again, there would be no solution in the next 20 years unless these folks create the vacancies themselves through death or some better gig (which isn’t likely given the typical tenures in those President positions these days)…

      Though, with respect to SBC Presidents, with the participation in Convention matters these days making the election (clearly about soteriology as much as anything) as close as it was, I am willing to bet the trend of non-Calvinists being President is soon over. Gaines may have even been the last hurrah for the foreseeable future.

      In any case, this is one area where leadership won’t change for some time, but perhaps the dockets for Conferences and promotion can be corrected in the short term if anyone bothers at all to heed these words and be more inclusive.

        Andy

        I know this may not be kosher to mention here, but some folks from that OTHER sbc blog are now organizing a “different” smaller church pastors conference for next year, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

        If the preachers are completely unknown, nobody may know whether they are calvinists are not…and some may be in the middle somewhere.

norm

Not being aware of who Drs. Luter and Floyd may have appointed, one needs to understand that there is a two year lag time between appointment and being seated on a board or agency.

If the majority of Southern Baptist were aware that we have leaders who ascribe to the theology of a man (Calvin) who says that God sends people to hell for “his good pleasure,” then the uprising and overthrow would be short-lived.

Further, it is beyond my (admittedly feeble) comprehension how so many of the men now leading the SBC are lettered men, but are either unable or unwilling to arrive at the biblical conclusions as have former Calvinists Ronnie Rogers, Leighton Flowers and Doug Sayers, the latter being a laymen whose remarks at our C316 meeting in Ohio caused SWBTS President Patterson to remark to me regarding Doug’s theological prowess and acumen.

What began as a conviction to “take over” still exists as a convenience to stay in power.

Lydia

“The last number of sbc presidents have all been non calvinist.”

That might just communicate something you are not taking into consideration. If say, a group of trustees chose the President, that position might mirror the trajectory we see in the entities.

Greg Roberts

i qoute “in the Pastor’s Conference program in 2014, one section promoted books by five authors. Eighty percent of these authors were Calvinists. Forty percent were not even Southern Baptists. Once again, this leaves the impression that in order to gain any attention in the SBC today, it is unnecessary to be a Southern Baptist, but it is absolutely essential to be a Calvinist, and it greatly helps if you are affiliated with The Gospel Coalition. Bear in mind this Calvinist trend (64% of Pastor’s Conference preachers, 100% of Send North America’s publicized speakers and 80% of Pastor’s Conference featured authors) has been observed within a convention where only 20% of the Pastors are Calvinists” I too lament the lack of Non-Calvinist books,but it it seems to me they are not being written or at least promoted.

    Rick Patrick

    Well, all our authors can do is write them. If they are not being published or promoted as heavily as the Calvinist books and curricula, there is nothing we can do about that. (Except point it out in a blog post, I suppose.)

      Steven

      Bro. Rick:

      No one limits the number of books Traditionalists write. The problem is getting such books published. The fact of the matter is that in the current market, the desire appears to be for books based on reformed theology. I think that there are many reasons for this fact. Nonetheless, because the predominate desire is for reformed theology books, more publishers are publishing such books; that is what they do – publish books that they can sell and therefore earn a profit. It looks like simple supply and demand, and right now the demand is for reformed theology, not Traditionalist theology.

      Steven

        Robert

        Steven writes:

        “The fact of the matter is that in the current market, the desire appears to be for books based on reformed theology.”

        Perhaps Steven is correct, but how exactly does he know this to be true? What is the proof/evidence of this claim?

        Does Steven know exactly who is purchasing what books and that they are books from a Reformed perspective?

        Seems to me this is a completely unsupported claim. How exactly does he know this claim to be true and be “the fact of the matter”???

      Lydia

      “Well, all our authors can do is write them. If they are not being published or promoted as heavily as the Calvinist books and curricula, …”

      You gotta make a sweet deal with say, a Crossway then have tons and tons of conferences where such are promoted and then the adoring pastors who can’t miss a conference promote the books back at church. It is called the Christian Industrial Complex. I mean if Mahaneys books are still promoted surely……..???

      I do think on J-day you will be glad you did not take the Gospel as merchandise route.

    Les

    Rick,

    Serious and curious question. If you and other Trads controlled the conferences, etc., would you promote and steel Calvinist books and materials?

      Robert

      Perhaps I come from a different background than others (i.e. my earliest experience was with counter cult ministry, if something was false theologically I definitely would not promote it).

      If Traditionalist theology is correct, then Calvinist theology is necessarily false. If it is false why would it be promoted?

      The shoe fits the other foot as well: do Calvinists who view Traditionalist theology as false actively promote theology they believe to be false?

      If people are committed to what they believe to be true and oppose what they believe to be false, then neither side will promote the other’s material, correct???

      Les

      Robert,

      So if I understand you, if you held sway over a conference you would not make Reformed materials available at all. And you don’t expect Reformed folks to make non Reformed materials available at their conferences. Fair enough.

      I would still like to hear from Rick about my question since. And it should read, “promote and SELL” Calvinist books.

        norm

        Curious, Les, that you, a baby-baptizing Presbyterian, is so keenly interested in the SBC.
        Maybe you are considering the abandonment of your errors and will come back into the fold you left?

        Les

        Hello Norm,

        I think we have covered this ground before, but here we go again. I have many friends in the SBC and I care about their ecclesiastical welfare. As well, I have immediate family in SB churches. My 86 year old mother is a member of a SB church. One of my sons recently moved to another city and I hooked him up with a SB pastor and his church as the one I recommend for him. See, I am not so sectarian. I care and have an interest in what is happening in my family member’s churches. Also I have several partners in our Haiti ministry. And finally, the SBC is a very fine evangelical and conservative denomination and I care for all my brothers and sisters in this fine denomination as we all evangelicals seek to see lost people come to faith in Jesus and see positive influences on our culture.

        Oh and by the way, I did reply on the other thread to your questions there. I suppose my answers satisfied you since you never came back for more comments.

        Baby baptizer (and adult baptizer) over and out!

        Les

        Norm, I replied a minute ago. Went to moderation.

        Robert

        Les,

        “So if I understand you, if you held sway over a conference you would not make Reformed materials available at all. And you don’t expect Reformed folks to make non Reformed materials available at their conferences. Fair enough.”

        Do you understand the logic of my perspective Les? Do you agree with it?

        If a Bible teacher/church leader/elder/Pastor/etc. is thoroughly convinced that say their theological position A is true or the issue involves a denominational distinctive (e.g. believer baptism for Baptists), and that another position B is false. Then they teach and promote A and do not teach and promote B. This is especially true in regards to issues touching upon salvation and the nature of salvation. This is what makes the Calvinism debate difficult and complex. Calvinists are not non-Christian cultists denying essential doctrines such as the deity of Christ or trinity, they are orthodox believers on most things. However their views regarding salvation and the nature of salvation are false: if Traditionalist beliefs are true. If they are false they are not to be promoted and they actually need to be opposed (and the shoe fits the other way as well. If a Calvinist is convinced they are correct and Traditionalists are wrong, they must not promote Traditionalist beliefs and must oppose them). Granted we live in an age of political correctness. But being politically correct is not an option for a faithful Bible teacher. That is why this issue is inherently divisive: someone is right on this and someone is wrong, they both cannot be right. And being wrong on the issue of salvation and the nature of salvation has serious and negative consequences.

        The exception is theological issues in which good Christians can respectfully disagree (say position C, D, and E) as these are lesser weight theological issues (e.g. your position on the millennium, are you Amill, Premill, Postmill) not having to do with salvation. In these issues there is room for disagreement with mutual respect. So say at a conference you could have books promoting and defending the Amill, Premill, or Postmill views.

        “I would still like to hear from Rick about my question since. And it should read, “promote and SELL” Calvinist books.”
        Hopefully Rick is consistent with what I just said about A and B positions. If the debate regarding Calvinism is in the same league as the debate about the millennium, then there is not a major disagreement and no reason for division. If on the other hand, it is a major disagreement then division necessarily follows.

          Les

          Robert, actually I do agree with your logic. My question was really about whether Rick would do what he is asking be done by the other side. And…”Hopefully Rick is consistent with what I just said about A and B positions.” I don’t think from what I have seen that Rick would agree with your approach. In fact, he has said below, “I would only promote and sell books with a Calvinist perspective to the degree that the convention itself was a Calvinist convention.” So Rick would promote/sell some Calvinist books.

          But back to your logic, I think you are right. I mean no disrespect to the SBC, but the SBC suffers somewhat from a schizophrenia of soteriology. In my opinion, there are some things that just should not be “either this or that.” Soteriology is one of them. Now you and I come at the topic from opposite sides. But we agree that it should be one or the other. And I think this SBC schizophrenia on soteriology hurts. More…

          Les

          Dang it! Moderation caught me.

          1. Robert, actually I do agree with your logic. My question was really about whether Rick would do what he is asking be done by the other side. And…”Hopefully Rick is consistent with what I just said about A and B positions.” I don’t think from what I have seen that Rick would agree with your approach. In fact, he has said below, “I would only promote and sell books with a Calvinist perspective to the degree that the convention itself was a Calvinist convention.” So Rick would promote/sell some Calvinist books.

          Les

          2. But back to your logic, I think you are right. I mean no disrespect to the SBC, but the SBC suffers somewhat from a schizophrenia of soteriology. In my opinion, there are some things that just should not be “either this or that.” Soteriology is one of them. Now you and I come at the topic from opposite sides. But we agree that it should be one or the other. And I think this SBC schizophrenia on soteriology hurts. More…

          Les

          3. Robert, there are some things where latitude is no big deal. One church uses hymnals the other uses overhead projection. As you mentioned, eschatology is another. But soteriology is in a different category. An SBC member walks in any SBC church he/she should have confidence that the doctrine of salvation is consistent. At least IMO. More…

          Les

          4. Robert, as an example, in my denomination the PCA, we would never think of offering, promoting, selling books with a favorable position on the non Reformed position on soteriology. Nor on dispensationalism. Nor one promoting credo baptism only. Now we may make available some of those “Three Views on…” as a resource. But as I look at Connect 316 book offerings, we would not make any of those available. But remember, we are a truly confessional church.

      Lydia

      “Serious and curious question. If you and other Trads controlled the conferences, etc., would you promote and steel Calvinist books and materials?”

      A moratorium for as long as Calvinistas did not promote Non Cal books and lit.

      You guys are so whiny.

        Les

        Whiny. Right, can’t you just hear me whining right now. Nope. Actually, wine? Now that’s what we guys love.

      Rick Patrick

      I would only promote and sell books with a Calvinist perspective to the degree that the convention itself was a Calvinist convention. In other words, if 20% of the SBC were Calvinist and we were promoting five books in the advertisement section of a publication, then I might have FOUR books by David Jeremiah, Steve Gaines, Malcolm Yarnell, David Allen, Paige Patterson, Steve Lemke, Adam Harwood, Eric Hankins, Braxton Hunter, Leighton Flowers, Brad Whitt or Richard Land and ONE book by David Platt, Russell Moore or Matt Chandler. Our publishing would reflect and represent the membership of our churches.

        Les

        Thanks Rick. Of course you realize discovering percentages would prove difficult. On books, etc., do you plan for the revamped book section of 316 Connect to reflect that ratio? I haven’t been to it so perhaps it already has.

        Josh

        The question is: Why are those authors not currently selling more of their books? If the traditionalist have 80% of the SBC, than that is a much bigger market to sell to in the SBC than the Calvinist market. Could it be because most of the books that they write don’t appeal to as many people? (excluding Paige Patterson because I think he has appeal on both sides) Do you think Lifeway is sabotaging sales by promoting a Platt book instead of a Gaines book? And if Lifeway did have an agenda, how would you explain the fact that they sell Osteen and Joyce Meyers books? Are they promoting Calvinism with no regard to revenue because they want to push an agenda while simultaneously selling Osteen and Meyers to increase their revenue?
        I find it hard to believe that a bookstore that will sell Osteen and Meyers is willing to decrease their profits at the SBC annual meeting by selling Calvinist’s books instead of books that would appeal to the majority, the traditionalist pastors.
        I believe the better more simple answer is that Lifeway knows that Platt, Chandler, Moore will sell more books at the SBC convention than Flowers, Land, etc. Which means that the Calvinists either attend the convention in greater numbers, are more likely to buy books than the traditionalist pastors, or that the traditionalist pastors are more likely to buy books by Platt books than Lemke books.

          Rick Patrick

          I am willing to grant there is a supply and demand issue here. Furthermore, many of the books by cool Calvinist authors are not necessarily about Calvinism. But I also think, to some degree, people will read what is published and promoted, and all Christian publishers (not singling out LifeWay) could do a better job of promoting a more diverse group of authors. I think New Calvinism, though still popular, is showing signs of fading as a movement. This fad has been hurt by the fall of several well known Calvinist pastors. I just don’t see the same enthusiasm that it enjoyed 5 or 10 years ago. I just think, generally, the SBC has been “all in” on these Calvinist authors, to an excessive degree.

          Lydia

          “The question is: Why are those authors not currently selling more of their books?”

          Indoctrination. Calvinism is guru centered even more so than other sects or movements. The young are basically taught they need those books. . They are given a bunch of free books at conferences that they take back and promote at church/Youthgroup/college. It is the Christian Industrial complex. It used to be saturated around Christian radio. Now it is conferences, internet, etc. It is all about marketing, branding, etc. A person is a “brand” now. A lot of the young guys go along because that is what they have been taught to do. It is what they think Christianity is and how it operates.

            Josh

            That is one eay to think of it. Or it’s that some people love reading books from authors they know and trust. But it couldnt be that. It has to be they are all idiots that dont know how to think for themselves. There is no other reason why peole would be reading John Owen or Jonathan Edwards or sproul or piper or macaurthur.
            More guru like? Maybe. It seems to me like billy Graham and adrian rogers and charles stanley had quite a following. And synergists do buy books lots of them. From groeschel to furtick to perry noble to beth moore to andy stanley to rick warren there is a difference between the two sets of authors that I think is quite obvious.

Ken

Rick

The points you make are indicative of fact that the problems of unbalanced leadership are a direct result of the appointment of Calvinist or Calvinist-leaning trustees and board members by SBC presidents Luter and Floyd. The only solution that I see to rectifying the problem is to elect a president who will have the courage that Adrian Rogers possessed during the Conservative Resurgence which led to the withdrawal of liberals from the SBC in the 1970’s. He worked through restructuring the membership of the boards and committees.

Having said that, however, I consider the odds against that happening to be an astronomical number. The liberal(Calvinist) trustees and board members appointments which began with Fred Luter (possibly even pre-Fred Luter), continued by Ronny Floyd, and abetted by Frank Page, and their “go along to get along philosophy,” will, IMO, be firmly entrenched for a period long enough to radically and irretrievably change the face of the SBC as we Traditionalists have known it and want it to be.

I suggest then the only solution is for the Traditional Southern Baptists immediately to leave the SBC and form their own convention because it is certain that the Calvinists have no intention of leaving. The surrender of those m\named above which resulted in the Calvinist stronghold on the leadership positions of the SBC are already solidly entrenched and beyond recovery. And, I believe that few Traditional believers will ever be willing to even make a weak attempt to unite and harmonize with any person who espouses any of the points inherent in the Calvinist TULIP as their theological beliefs. And, for any Traditional Bible Believer to do so can only be understood as a rejection of the Word of God. As for me, I can state unequivocally that the odds of my ever doing so are longer than the chances for survival of that proverbial snowball in Hell. In fact, I can’t even conceive of a situation in which I could even tolerate Calvinist beliefs.

So, let’s face the facts and make the switch and let the Calvinists see how easy it will be for them if they can’t suck off the teats of Traditionalists. I have no doubt that a newly formed Traditional Baptist Convention will not lose a step it’s worldwide work for Christ in the long run, just as happened during the 70’s when the liberals withdrew.

    Andy

    1. I think you’re not going back far enough. It started way before Luter and Floyd…for example, I believe Mark Dever was an SBTS trustee back in the early 2000’s.

      Kenneth Miller

      Andy:

      You wrote: I think you’re not going back far enough. It started way before Luter and Floyd…for example, I believe Mark Dever was an SBTS trustee back in the early 2000’s.

      I agree. I had fully intended to make that point but I was too lazy to search for the names of prior presidents. Norm also correctly pointed out my shortcoming on that point.

    norm

    The appointments Floyd made in his first year are just now coming on board. Because of our structure and rotation system, there is a two-year lag time before a president’s appointments become active. So, the fruit of Gaines’ appointments will not be seen until he leaves office, or thereabouts.

    Andy

    2. “And, for any Traditional Bible Believer to do so can only be understood as a rejection of the Word of God.”

    It sounds as though you understand Rick to be rejecting the word of God, since he desires unity with Calvinist Baptists?

      Kenneth Miller

      Andy:

      You wrote: It sounds as though you understand Rick to be rejecting the word of God, since he desires unity with Calvinist Baptists?

      I can see where I could have been clearer in what I had in mind. I was thinking of unity in the sense of giving at least tacit approval to the Calvinist lies by keeping silent about their inherent satanic teachings and fellowshipping with them. My thinking is that when we fellowship with those who distort God’s word in any respect, a casual observer would conclude that we are in agreement with their theological bents. For instance, speaking secularly, if I were to fellowship with prostitutes and drug dealers there is no doubt in my mind that people who didn’t really know me would conclude that I espoused the same beliefs and actions (or at least am giving credence to them) as those people.

      So, when a Calvinist who identifies himself as a Southern Baptist gives a speech, teaches a class, or writes a book, and we continue to participate in fellowshipping with that person, those who don’t know us will rightfully think we are in cahoots with that type of theology. In other words, we are declared guilty by association. It’s a common human trait. Logically, many SBCers will conclude. “all Southern Baptists are Calvinists”.

      Now, I would never attempt to speak for Rick, after all he is a more elegant and capable presenter of his Christian beliefs than am I, so I will simply say that it is no secret that Rick and I have different opinions which we have both stated many times about how we Traditionalists should fellowship with Calvinists. Rick loves the SBC and obviously has high hopes that Traditionalists and Calvinists can interact without conflict while I, on the other hand, consider the Calvinist TULIP as satanic and have no hope that Traditionalists and Calvinists will ever again coexist peacefully. That’s because with the tremendous inroads that the Calvinists have made in the last few years in the SBC hierarchy there is no doubt that they smell blood, and intend to forcefully, using any tactics at their disposal, “Calvinize” the SBC.

      Finally, I have no desire to retract my original statement. Let the chips fall where they may.

        Les

        Ken, you refer to our (Reformed) teaching as satanic.

        “When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.”…”So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone [don’t kill them], for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”

        Key part for you Ken, “You might even be found opposing God!”

        While many in Christendom may not agree with Reformed theology, almost all of Christendom recognize Reformed theology as orthodox and certainly not from satan. And I realize people are generally allowed to say what they want to say here, and that is fine. My big boy pants are firmly in place. But that none of the other non Cal commenters even mildly admonishes you for attributing for instance, the ministry of Spurgeon to satan, well it astonishes me.

          Rick Patrick

          Ken,
          I mildly admonish you. I think you overstate. I remember how it hurt when the Calvinists called us semi-pelagian heretics. I remember how it hurt when James MacDonald said our polity was from Satan. Would you really say these things about our Presbyterian friends? They’re all Calvinists too! You and I certainly agree on doctrine, but we do not agree on the best way to characterize Calvinists or on the best tactics to use in dealing with our denominational divide. Thanks for sharing your views, though. It is always helpful to gain an understanding of the way others think about such matters. Blessings, brother.

            Rick Patrick

            We permit a wide variety of viewpoints to be shared, but draw the line when it comes to permitting anyone to engage in language that supports or justifies discrimination against others based on theology, ethnicity, gender, age or other factors. You are free to share opinions, even this one with its negative tone. You are not free to suggest that discrimination against Traditionalists is justified.

              Lydia

              Jim, Just curious. What is your idea of Justice? Admonishment, I get. You want someone you perceive as a power here to say so and so has been naughty and offended Jim. Just don’t be offended.

              I keep telling that to my friends who keep one foot in their church that was taken over by the very dismissive and insulting 30 year old Neo Cals who load up the place with arrogant seminary friends who take over like bulls in China shops.

              So would justice include church discipline? How would that take place? Burnings are now outlawed so you guys don’t have that anymore.

            Ken

            Rick:
            You wrote: “I mildly admonish you. I think you overstate. I remember how it hurt when the Calvinists called us semi-pelagian heretics. I remember how it hurt when James MacDonald said our polity was from Satan. Would you really say these things about our Presbyterian friends? They’re all Calvinists too! You and I certainly agree on doctrine, but we do not agree on the best way to characterize Calvinists or on the best tactics to use in dealing with our denominational divide. Thanks for sharing your views, though. It is always helpful to gain an understanding of the way others think about such matters. Blessings, brother.”

            I accept your admonishment although I don’t agree with it based on your authority to do so. At least it may make Les semi-happy.

            I was merely stating my heartfelt beliefs that the Gospel cannot be compromised for any reason whatsoever and who I think is the real author of Reformed Theology. You obviously disagree, but that doesn’t make you right and me wrong. Obviously neither of us can declare our positions to be actual truth, just as our conclusions based on what we have seen and heard as well as what we have read in The Holy Bible. I’ve done a little bit of bible reading and study in my 84+ years of life and 68+ years as a Christian and decided a long time ago who and what my bible declares to be the root of all evil.

            Thus, I am totally uncompromising in my beliefs and will continue to be so unless God reveals to me that I am wrong, although I may not be able to do so on this blog. There are times, I am convinced, that forthright speech is necessary and to compromise one’s beliefs or practice political correctness for any reason would be a sin.

            I believe that approach is appropriate based on what Paul did when he was disturbed with Peter’s stance on fellow-shipping – he withstood Peter to his face in front of his peers. Also, Jesus didn’t hesitate to take certain drastic actions when He deemed them as warranted. And I do not understand why any Christian would think that there is a possibility of establishing and sustaining a harmonious relationship between such divergent and opposing doctrines as Calvinism and Traditionalism. They are as different as night and day, right and wrong, east and west, black and white, Godly and Ungodly. To slightly paraphrase another commenter on this blog, the two doctrines are so drastically opposed that one group is definitely wrong about their beliefs. I have no doubt which group that is.

            No, I didn’t blink when the Calvanists referred to Traditionalists as semi-pelagian heretics and satanic and did not do so when the Liberals called us uncaring and ignorant concerning the Scriptures. I felt they had their right to express their true beliefs so I just considered the source and became more deeply entrenched and rooted in my expressions and support of what I considered to be the true Word of God.

            Yes, I include in my statements any person, group, sect, or denomination who/which adheres to Calvinist/Reformed doctrine as the true Gospel, whether Presbyterian or otherwise,

            Sorry we can’t agree on this matter since we seem to agree on most theological matters. In fact, I have always admired your courage to truth-tell. Keep up your courageous battle to right the ship of state, aka, the SBC. I would like nothing better to once again be able to declare myself a Southern Baptist although at my advanced age I am not confident of ever being able to do so.

              Lydia

              Ken, You are 84! What a blessing. It is just that the Neo Cals can dish it out but cannot take it. When they say similar about non Cals (which they never admit and tell us we misunderstood), it is truth. When others say similar, it is sin. That is how they roll. Its one reason why so many blogs exist discussing the Neo Cal resurgence and the havoc it is brought in sooooooo many places and in so many lives whether they recognize it or not. (pssst–they are now going social gospel trying to rebrand so I think they do get it).

                Ken

                Lydia:

                Thanks. I might add that your postings have always inspired me. You have a tremendous knowledge of church history which I could only wish I could equal.

                Keep up your firm stance in support of the true Word of God.

              Les

              Lydia, I don’t know any new Cals personally or in public life, but if I run across any I’ll let them know of your concerns.

          Robert

          Les,

          “While many in Christendom may not agree with Reformed theology, almost all of Christendom recognize Reformed theology as orthodox and certainly not from Satan. And I realize people are generally allowed to say what they want to say here, and that is fine. My big boy pants are firmly in place. But that none of the other non Cal commenters even mildly admonishes you for attributing for instance, the ministry of Spurgeon to Satan, well it astonishes me.”

          You may not like this Les, but it is possible that Calvinist ideas could in a sense be considered “satanic”: while at the same time the ministry of someone like Spurgeon was NOT satanic.

          How could this be possible?

          Allow me to explain.

          First, let’s assume that Spurgeon and other famous Calvinists were all saved persons, they were not practicing Satanists. So let’s get that out there, so we are clear. We are dealing with genuine Christians who in my view are mistaken about certain theological beliefs.

          From God’s perspective you are doing things His way or not (hence Jesus’ comment that you are either with me or against me). From God’s perspective, if something opposes God’s will and plans it can be considered satanic. Here I would bring up the famous example of where Jesus is speaking of God’s will as being that Jesus go to be crucified for the sins of the world. And Peter, a genuine believer, one of the twelve apostles tells Jesus not to go. What was Jesus’ response? GET BEHIND ME SATAN. Now was Jesus saying that Peter was a Satanist? No. Was Jesus saying that Peter was not saved? No. Was Jesus saying that Peter’s belief (that Jesus should not go to the cross) in that instance WAS SATANIC? YES. Because Peter’s belief, that Jesus should not go to the cross was going against God’s will, going against God’s purpose.

          Now I know this is possibly beyond your capability, but ASSUME that Calvinistic ideas are false, that they are not from God, that they go against God’s will (e.g. God desires that all be saved, while Calvinism falsely says that God desires to save only some, the elect, if Calvinist is false then that idea, that way of thinking is going against God’s will). If they are actually false beliefs, unbiblical beliefs, then in some instances these beliefs are going against God’s will, they are opposing God’s will and purposes. If that is true, then just as Jesus could say to Peter a genuine believer, GET BEHIND ME SATAN: God could say the same thing about sincere Christian believers like Spurgeon.

          Now lest you think I am being unfairly biased against Calvinistic beliefs, the SAME REASONING could apply to SBC Traditionalists as well. ASSUME that SBC Traditionalist beliefs are false, that they are not from God, that they go against God’s will (e.g. God desires to save only the elect, while Traditionalism falsely says that God desires to save all, if Traditionalist ideas are false then that idea, that way of thinking is going against God’s will). If these Traditionalist beliefs are actually false beliefs, unbiblical beliefs, then in some instances these beliefs are going against God’s will, they are opposing God’s will and purposes. If that is true, then just as Jesus could say to Peter a genuine believer, GET BEHIND ME SATAN: God could say the same thing about sincere Traditionalist believers like Adrian Rodgers.

          Do you see my point Les?

          This is why I see this debate as so important. Someone is wrong here, and it concerns salvation and the nature of salvation. Someone is opposing God’s will and purposes by their false beliefs here. So in that sense someone could be doing the same thing as Peter when he told Jesus not to go to the cross.

            Les

            Robert, I do get what you are saying. If we are going to call our differing interpretations satanic (the other side we deem misinterpreting) then almost any and everything Christians disagree on becomes satanic. I would argue, though, that our differing interpretations are just that, and acceptable in the wider range of Christianity. More…to avoid moderation

            Les

            Robert, more… Rather, though, I think what would qualify as satanic would be doctrines that all orthodox Christians deem unorthodox and outside Christianity. Things like denials of the trinity, justification by faith, the deity of Christ, etc. These other matters, even things like LFW, order of salvation, and such are in my mind matters of interpretation among believers not striking at the heart of Christianity. So for me to call LFW satanic would be foolish and out of bounds or to call faith before regeneration satanic would also be foolish and out of bounds. And the same the other way around. Do you see what I’m saying?

              Robert

              Les,

              “Robert, I do get what you are saying.”

              I don’t think that you do. What Peter was opposing was God’s will and purpose. Jesus did not respond: well that is just your interpretation”. He said GET BEHIND ME SATAN. Because Peter was opposing God’s will and purpose (for Jesus to go to the cross) with his own belief that Jesus should not go to the cross.

              “If we are going to call our differing interpretations satanic (the other side we deem misinterpreting) then almost any and everything Christians disagree on becomes satanic.”

              I am not talking about mere differences in interpretation. Those interpretations will lead to actions, and the question is if those actions are in line with God’s will and purposes or opposing God’s will and purposes.

              “I would argue, though, that our differing interpretations are just that, and acceptable in the wider range of Christianity.”

              Again if it were only “differing interpretations” it would be one thing. But these differences lead to real world actions (e.g. those opposing public altar calls, most do so for theological reasons and it is usually Calvinists who oppose them, conversely the non-Calvinist believing that God truly desires for all to be saved is more likely to have an altar call, that is just one example, another example is how we explain salvation to people, is it God controlling people so that they have to have a faith response or is it people freely choosing to trust in Christ).

              Ideas have consequences. And when the ideas relate to the salvation and the nature of salvation they have major consequences. And someone here is opposing God’s will and purpose with their false theology.

              “Robert, more… Rather, though, I think what would qualify as satanic would be doctrines that all orthodox Christians deem unorthodox and outside Christianity. Things like denials of the trinity, justification by faith, the deity of Christ, etc.”

              Right, denials of essential doctrines are wrong and may even lead to a person being legitimately charged with being a heretic.

              “These other matters, even things like LFW, order of salvation, and such are in my mind matters of interpretation among believers not striking at the heart of Christianity.”

              I understand what you are saying here, at the same time, when the beliefs concern the nature of salvation: isn’t that the territory of essential doctrines? For example, why the Protestant disagreement with Catholicism on justification by faith? Isn’t this a debate on the nature of salvation? It seems clear that in disagreements concerning essential doctrines these are not merely differences in interpretation. When they are salvation related most of us do not say it is just a difference in interpretation.

              “So for me to call LFW satanic would be foolish and out of bounds or to call faith before regeneration satanic would also be foolish and out of bounds. And the same the other way around. Do you see what I’m saying?”

              I see what you are saying, but you are not taking what I said about Peter and Jesus’ response sufficiently into account. Peter was a genuine believer, an apostle, and yet here is Jesus saying to him GET BEHIND ME SATAN. Peter is messing up somehow, and Jesus does not respond, “well that is just a minor disagreement in interpretation”. Peter is by his false belief, opposing the will and purposes of God. And likewise if we by a false belief end up opposing the will and purpose of God, THAT is the problem. I am not saying every disagreement in interpretation should result in someone saying GET BEHIND ME SATAN. However the case of Peter illustrates perfectly how a genuine believer can be wrong in their belief and have God himself designate this false belief as “satanic.”

                Lydia

                I see it like this. If someone very clever were to come up with a “Christian” system to lure people away from seeking Christ, it would be determinism. I think Augustine got a good start and Calvin hit it home.

                  Robert

                  Lydia,

                  “I see it like this. If someone very clever were to come up with a “Christian” system to lure people away from seeking Christ, it would be determinism. I think Augustine got a good start and Calvin hit it home.”

                  That is another sense in which Calvinistic beliefs could be “satanic.” If determinism is unbiblical, derived from pagan influences, contrary to God and His will and his purposes: then if would make sense for Satan to get such false ideas into Augustine’s head. Augustine would then inject the church bloodstream with deterministic ideas and Calvin would further it as you say.

                  A person who thought ahead and thought of how much division and confusion deterministic ideas in the church could have would have to be pretty smart.

                  And it would be so subtle as some people would honestly believe their defending and espousing deterministic ideas would be “good” for the church (not knowing it originated in pagan thinking which further originated with the adversary himself).

                Les

                Robert, yes I do get it. You are trying to take matters of interpretation and make them tests of orthodoxy. Are you prepared to say that all the Reformed theologians of say the last 200 years hold/held to satanic doctrines?

                Yes I know what Jesus said to Peter. Jesus is, well, God. You are not on par with Jesus in ability to make such declarations. But if you insist we classify our differences on the order of salvation and LFW as satanic or satan inspired, well Robert your soteriology is satanic. As is the Trad statement. So ok. Now where does that get us Robert? You call Reformed soteriology satanic and I call non Reformed soteriology satanic. Now lets get out together and share the gospel. Silly my friend.

                  Robert

                  Les,

                  “You are trying to take matters of interpretation and make them tests of orthodoxy. Are you prepared to say that all the Reformed theologians of say the last 200 years hold/held to satanic doctrines?”

                  Regarding “orthodoxy” that is a term that really depends upon which group you are talking about. For the largest Christian body considers it to be heresy. E.g a citation from the Catholic Encylopedia says this:
                  “Against such blasphemous teachings the Second Synod of Orange in 529 and again the Council of Trent had pronounced the ecclesiastical anathema (cf. Denzinger, nn. 200, 827). This condemnation was perfectly justified, because the heresy of Predestinarianism, in direct opposition to the clearest texts of Scripture, denied the universality of God’s salvific will as well as of redemption through Christ “

                  So you’ve got two major councils condemning it as “anathema”, as heresy. That is the Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox also consider it heretical. So that is two-thirds of Christendom that consider your doctrine to be heretical.

                  Regarding being “Satanic” it depends upon the source. If determinism has its source in pagan ideas (as some have suggested, and which would indicate a satanic origin) and if theological determinism then has its source in pagan ideas, then in that way the ideas are satanic.

                  “Yes I know what Jesus said to Peter. Jesus is, well, God. You are not on par with Jesus in ability to make such declarations.”

                  I never said I was, you are now completely twisting my reason for bringing up Peter as an example. Recall I brought him up as an example of a godly person who could hold a false belief that was satanic (as it opposed the will and purpose of God).

                  “But if you insist we classify our differences on the order of salvation and LFW as satanic or satan inspired, well Robert your soteriology is satanic. As is the Trad statement. So ok. Now where does that get us Robert? You call Reformed soteriology satanic and I call non Reformed soteriology satanic. Now lets get out together and share the gospel. Silly my friend.”

                  Your little diatribe here perfectly illustrates why there are problems with non-Calvinists and Calvinists evangelizing together: they hold such differing soteriologies that it makes it difficult and in some cases impossible.

                Les

                You see Robert, YOU don’t get to decide by yourself what is orthodox and what is not. Well unless you have private interpretation privileges the rest of us don’t have and can make ex cathedra pronouncements. And if the theologians for centuries have considered Reformed soteriology orthodox, then who appointed you to overturn that? If orthodox (which by the way I have seen you say that Reformed theology is within orthodoxy) then it cannot be satanic. You have staked out an untenable position and you and two or three others are on an island on this.

                  Lydia

                  “You see Robert, YOU don’t get to decide by yourself what is orthodox and what is not”

                  That’s right. A few men writing creeds decided.

                  Les

                  Lydia, strike one.

                  Robert

                  Les,

                  “You see Robert, YOU don’t get to decide by yourself what is orthodox and what is not.”

                  I never claimed that I ALONE DETERMINE ORTHODOXY. At the same time, I am free to survey church history and see what others have said regarding a particular doctrine. Regarding your double predestination doctrine it is condemned by two thirds of Christendom has heresy and rejected by most Protestants. Even with Protestant circles most reject it and non-Calvinism is the majority view.

                  “Well unless you have private interpretation privileges the rest of us don’t have and can make ex cathedra pronouncements.”

                  Again, it is not my private opinion, that your double predestination is false, it is the opinion of the vast majority of believers across all theological lines (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant).

                  “And if the theologians for centuries have considered Reformed soteriology orthodox, then who appointed you to overturn that?”

                  Which THEOLOGIANS? Again if we take a wider view, look at what believers across the board have said, double presdestinaiton is rejected by the vast majority of Christians and even condemned as heresy by some.

                  “If orthodox (which by the way I have seen you say that Reformed theology is within orthodoxy) then it cannot be satanic.”

                  Orthodox **only** within Protestant circles (outside of Protestant circles it is considered heretical). And even there it is again rejected by most Protestants (including most Baptists since we are in a Baptist context here).

                  Regarding being “satanic” the available evidence suggests that it originated with Augustine in church history. And he seems to have brought his Manichean beliefs which were pagan and satanic into his Christian belief system. So there is most definitely a basis for claiming that theological determinism in the Christian church has a pagan and hence satanic source.

                    Les

                    Robert,

                    Three Things: 1. Define double predestination so we can see if what you are calling DP is what Reformed theologians actually hold. 2. Are you prepared to call right here and right now Dr. Al Mohler’s doctrine which he confess satanic? 3, Can you find even one Southern Baptist seminary professor who not only agrees with you that Al Mohler’s doctrine is satanic but will also publicly declare such? I’ll be waiting for your answers.

                Les

                Robert, something else. So your position is that Reformed soteriology (RS) is satanic. You go against virtually all of protestant, evangelical Christianity, including virtually all protestant, evangelical theologians over hundreds and hundreds of years. I bet you can’t find enough protestant, evangelical theologians to fill a phone booth that agree with you calling RS satanic.

                Here’s a challenge. Find ONE Southern Baptist seminary professor willing to go on record as calling Al Mohler’s and Tom Nettles’ soteriology satanic. One. I’ll be standing by.

                  Robert

                  Les,
                  You refuse to acknowledge my points so I refuse to respond to your challenges. You asked earlier: how could reformed theology possibly be considered “satanic”? I gave the answer: if its source is pagan ideas (and pagan ideas **are** satanic) then in that sense it is satanic. Church historians (especially Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) recognize that previous to Augustine no one on the Christian church taught Calvinistic beliefs. So it starts with Augustine. We also know Augustine came out of a Manichean background (and these beliefs included pagan ideas of determinism). So connect the dots: it appears that Calvinistic beliefs began in the church with Augustine. For the first four hundred years no one taught, espoused, defended, preached, promoted Calvinist ideas. It appears that Augustine began these beliefs in church history. If they came from his Manichean background then in ****this sense they were pagan and satanic****. I will not continue to make this point. It is a point recognized by Catholic and Orthodox theologians and historians. So I answered your original question as to how this could be possible. I haven’t seen him post here lately but a SBC professor named Jim used to make this connection concerning Augustine as well.

                  Les

                  Robert, that’s fine. You and others ‘suppose’ the pagan background of Reformed theology. You can say you are connecting the dots till the cows come home. Still, supposition brother.

                  And I understand why you would use my lack of engaging your lame attempts to ‘prove’ the satanic origin or Reformed theology as a reason to refuse to answer my questions/challenges. Fact is, you won’t define DP because you know that your definition is a caricature and thus you would be exposed. Further, you refuse to name even one SB seminary professor who will publicly call Mohler’s theology satanic because, well, there isn’t one. So here we stand. And as per your way of thinking, we each think the others’ soteriology is satanic. Seems so helpful Robert.

                    Robert

                    You asked how it could be possible? I answered that. I am not fully convinced myself that this is in fact what occurred. I would need to know a bit more about Augustine to know for sure. It is an interesting possibility however, that would actually explain a lot.

                  Les

                  Robert, this: “I am not fully convinced myself that this is in fact what occurred.” Then that is a good enough reason to drop this whole “satanic” thing. It is divisive and based on something you are not sure of and/or some sort of attempt at logical extrapolation, i.e. “satan is the father of lies. Calvinism is false. A false hood is a lie. Hence, Calvinism is satanic.”

                  Just drop it already. You believe Calvinism is wrong. That is enough. And if you believe Calvinism is within orthodoxy and that Calvinists are brother, then stop the slander by even discussing the “possibility” that it’s satanic.

                    Robert

                    Les,

                    I repeat my first words on this issue:

                    [[You may not like this Les, but it is possible that Calvinist ideas could in a sense be considered “satanic”: while at the same time the ministry of someone like Spurgeon was NOT satanic.
                    How could this be possible?
                    Allow me to explain.]]

                    Note I said Spurgeon was not satanic: I spoke of how Calvinistic ideas COULD IN A SENSE BE CONSIDERED “SATANIC”: how this could be POSSIBLE. Later I elaborated that this would primarily be true if Augustine brought over pagan/satanic ideas from his Manichean background into his Christian theology.

                    “Robert, this: “I am not fully convinced myself that this is in fact what occurred.” Then that is a good enough reason to drop this whole “satanic” thing.”

                    I have no problem dropping the topic.

                    ‘It is divisive and based on something you are not sure of and/or some sort of attempt at logical extrapolation,”

                    Well if the ideas originated with pagan ideas they would be divisive, and that explains why they have been divisive every time in history they are brought up. Every time Calvinistic ideas are brought up there is confusion and division. This pattern is repeated throughout church history.

                    You still don’t get the logic as you claimed the logic was this:

                    “ i.e. “satan is the father of lies. Calvinism is false. A false hood is a lie. Hence, Calvinism is satanic.”

                    That is not the logic at all. Surprised that I have presented it now multiple times and you either don’t get it unintentionally or intentionally refuse to see it.

                    Here it is. Manichean ideas are pagan and their source is Satan who invents and propagates false religions to get people away from the true God. Augustine held Manichean ideas before his conversion to Christianity. If Augustine brought these ideas into his Christian thinking including his Calvinistic ideas, then the source of his Calvinistic ideas is pagan and satanic. Available evidence indicates no one was espousing, presenting, defending, teaching, and promoting Calvinistic ideas BEFORE Augustine (which suggests he is the first to bring in Calvinistic ideas into the church). If Augustine originated these ideas and they were originated in his Manichean background, then their source is both pagan and satanic. In this way, if this is what happened, Calvinistic ideas would in this sense be satanic.

                    “Just drop it already. You believe Calvinism is wrong. That is enough.”

                    Again no problem “dropping it” as long as you understand the logic of it, how it could be possible.

                    “And if you believe Calvinism is within orthodoxy and that Calvinists are brother, then stop the slander by even discussing the “possibility” that it’s satanic.”

                    Here you are confusing two very different things. When I say it is possible, that is not a “slander” against Calvinists, as I said earlier you could be a godly person like Peter and hold a belief that is wrong. That is the issue of Calvinists themselves. I am not discussing THAT issue, I was discussing another issue, how Calvinistic ideas could possibly be satanic in origin. Put another way, I was talking about the possible origins of the ideas, I was not talking about Calvinists as persons.

                    I have gone on record multiple times affirming that I believe Calvinists are genuine believers, considered orthodox in Protestant circles, and I believe they are mistaken about their theology and ideas (note that is what I think of Calvinists as persons).

                    But Les our little discussion here was not about Calvinists as PERSONS, but about how the IDEAS could POSSIBLY have a satanic origin. You are trying to equate one issue with the other (now trying to have me slandering the PERSONS) when I never did so and was focused solely on the origin of the IDEAS.

              Les

              Robert, a fuller reply when I’m not using my phone.

            Ken

            Robert:

            Your response to Les was excellent and reflects your deep knowledge of scripture, especially God’s Plan of Salvation.

            Keep up the good work.

            Ken

            Robert:

            Excellent response to Les.

          Ken

          Les:

          You wrote, “almost all of Christendom recognize Reformed theology as orthodox.” Based on the primary definition of “orthodox” as being “sound in opinion and doctrine,” I consider your conclusion to be way off base, perhaps even more than you consider my statements.

          Anyhow, let me clarify one thing. I hope I have never referred to an individual as satanic. If I did, I apologize for that. My intention is always to denote that the doctrines included in the Calvinist TULIP acronym are inspired, in fact, created, by Satan. I have no doubt that any person, no matter how religious, or how well intentioned, can be swayed by Satan to accept certain positions which are contrary to God’s stated will, out of ignorance or otherwise. As you said, perhaps there are areas where I fall into the category of “opposing God.” If you think you have discovered any of those areas in me feel free to express your feelings thereon.

          I realize my position is contrary to a Calvinist’s belief system. You mention Spurgeon, who I recognize as one who espoused many of the beliefs and scriptures as Traditional Christians, but whom I feel is totally out of sync with the Word Of God when it comes to the TULIP doctrines. Spurgeon’s sermons on other scriptures are completely in sync with my understanding of scriptures.

          I hope that will clarify my intentions. I don’t ever envision a time that you and I will agree in our soteriology but it would be nice if we could understand where each other is coming from in our comments.

            Les

            Ken,

            I understand where you are coming from. I just think you are so misguided and so far out of the mainstream of hundreds of years of historical theology that you don’t even have a clue how far off base you are. No offense taken brother. I hope you are ok with me referring to your doctrine as satanic and based on lies going forward. Robert seems to think that’s the way these conversations should go. So you think that wil; be productive?

              Ken

              Les:

              You wrote, “I understand where you are coming from. I just think you are so misguided and so far out of the mainstream of hundreds of years of historical theology that you don’t even have a clue how far off base you are.”

              Sorry Les, Calvinism is false doctrine, is false doctrine, is false doctrine. You can repeat and write that doctrine for millions of years but it will still remain false doctrine.

              For example, the ancients taught for thousands of years that the world was flat. In spite of their thinking that they were right the world was a perfect sphere and still remains as such to this day.

              Les

              Sorry Ken. You repeating three or more times that Calvinism is false doctrine doesn’t make it so. That is of course your opinion, but your opinion does not alone establish fact. Has it ever occurred to you that YOU may be wrong?

                Lydia

                The fact that your religion is named after a despotic tyrant is not the tiniest hint of a clue? :o)

                Les

                Lydia, my “religion” is named after Christ. It’s called Christianity. Try to keep pace.

                Strike 2.

                  Lydia

                  “Lydia, my “religion” is named after Christ. It’s called Christianity. Try to keep pace.

                  Strike 2.”

                  Which is why 500 years later people refer to it as Calvinism.

                  That sound like the typical Calvinist cognitive dissonance.

                  Les

                  Lydia, you are striking out a lot. Nothing new there.

                  No, as I said it’s Christianity. It’s not referred to as Calvinism. Your CG had your thinking all messed up.

                    Lydia

                    The ruling elder Calvinist magisterium has spoken!

                    My contention is Calvin made up a god in his own image.

                  Les

                  “My contention is Calvin made up a god in his own image.”

                  And you would be wrong, but in your philosophy you have libertarian free will so you have the freedom to be wrong, a lot. :)

                    Andrew Barker

                    Such a comment can come only from one who is ‘determined’ to be wrong.

                  Les

                  Andrew, for once we agree. Apparently Lydia actually is ‘determined’ to be wrong. Very perceptive of you and gives me hope that you may come around to correct theology after all. :)

                    Andrew Barker

                    Only someone practised in twisting the truth could come to that conclusion, but then you’ve had years of practise!! :-o

                  Les

                  Andrew, work on your clarity for next time and this won’t happen. :)

                Ken

                Les:

                You wrote, “Sorry Ken. You repeating three or more times that Calvinism is false doctrine doesn’t make it so. That is of course your opinion, but your opinion does not alone establish fact. Has it ever occurred to you that YOU may be wrong?”

                Not for a moment. If I am wrong then God’s Word is wrong, and that is impossible.

                  Les

                  “Not for a moment. If I am wrong then God’s Word is wrong, and that is impossible.”

                  Sorry Ken, no can do. And I doubt you can get a Trad to agree with you. You are elevating your reading/understanding of passages with scripture itself. Bad idea.

            Jon Estes

            “Spurgeon’s sermons on other scriptures are completely in sync with my understanding of scriptures.”

            I’m with Les here. You want us to accept that only those things which you agree with are from God, all else is satanic. Why not just tell us to throw our bibles away and come to your truth?

            Traditionalism at its best. Sign me up. NOT!

            At least we now know what Traditionalists are saying about our beliefs that do not line up with theirs.

              Lydia

              Jon, Have you not heard? Jesus sent an Advocate.

                Jon Estes

                Lydia –

                I have heard and his name is not Ken.

                  Ken

                  Jon:

                  You wrote to Lydia, “I have heard and his name is not Ken.”

                  Wow, in my 84 years I thought I had encountered every type of person imaginable.

                  How wrong I was. Congratulations, I consider you to be in a class by yourself.

                  Lydia

                  Nor…… Jon, Al, CJ, John, Russ, and so on….

              Ken

              Jon and Les:

              Les:
              You wrote to Robert, “Rather, though, I think what would qualify as satanic would be doctrines that all orthodox Christians deem unorthodox and outside Christianity.

              Jon:

              You wrote, “I’m with Les here. You want us to accept that only those things which you agree with are from God, all else is satanic. Why not just tell us to throw our bibles away and come to your truth?”

              I will respond to you both in one post. First, allow me to quote a verse of scripture, then offer my Traditionalist interpretation, finally comparing my interpretation with the Calvinist interpretation, if I really know what that is.

              “For God so Loved the world He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” And I could add many verses which essentially proclaim the same thing.

              Now I interpret that verse to mean that before the foundation of the world God established a Plan for Salvation that applied to “whosoever believeth,” where “whosoever” means every person who has ever been or who ever will be born into this world, “world” means all the people of all time in the world, and “believeth” implies that every person must make a freewill choice concerning one’s salvation.

              “Calvinology,” if I understand correctly(I’m sure you both will correct me if I’m not), interprets both whosoever and world as “the elect” and restricts membership in the eternal life club to only those “elect,” sentencing all the non-elect(reprobate) to an eternal Hell.

              It is obvious that those two interpretations are so utterly contrasting that a rational thinker (allowed under Traditionalism) can only conclude that some extraneous force is at work to create such a diversity in interpretations. My conclusion is that Satan is behind one or the other and I think you both know which one I believe that is, just as I know what your understanding is.

              Now, you guys can feel free to conclude that my interpretation is satanic, and I will respect your right to do so, even if I vehemently disagree with you, and I can conclude that your interpretation is satanic, although it is clear that you both do not think I have the right to do so.

              Since I see our two views as entrenched and irreconcilable it is obvious that it will be necessary for us all to wait until either death or the Rapture occurs when we will find where our eternal resting place will be, and if we have made the right choice about the way of arriving there. Of course, even a Calvinist would admit that I am one of the elect since God permitted me to pray the sinner’s prayer some 68 years ago.

              I just hope that we all will find that we have made the right choice. I have no fear of facing death or the Rapture clinging to my beliefs.

              Really, I don’t understand why we three even debate our interpretations since the chances of us swaying each other to our side is about as close to zero as possible; I suppose we are just a trio of “A” type personalities arguing for argument’s sake.

                Les

                Ken,

                ““Calvinology,” if I understand correctly(I’m sure you both will correct me if I’m not), interprets both whosoever and world as “the elect” and restricts membership in the eternal life club to only those “elect,” sentencing all the non-elect(reprobate) to an eternal Hell.”

                Ken, here is the Reformed interpretation of that verse. Whoever will believe in Jesus will have eternal life. They will not perish. It’s just that simple.

                  Ken

                  Les:

                  You wrote, “Ken, here is the Reformed interpretation of that verse. Whoever will believe in Jesus will have eternal life. They will not perish. It’s just that simple.”

                  Sounds good. However. did you leave out one pertinent proviso that Reformed persons attach to that concept, which is, that only the elect will be permitted by God to make that choice?

                  I think that is what I keep reading from other Reformed contributors to this blog. I realize that, just like Traditionalists, not all adherents agree on all aspects of their theological beliefs.

                  I am curious because taking your response literally the Reformed belief is the same as the Traditionalist belief, that any and all persons without exception are able to believe on Jesus Christ and be saved.

                  Perhaps you would be willing to clarify that point for me. Maybe we are not as far apart as I have been thinking about the way to salvation.

                  Thanks

                  Les

                  Ken, no I didn’t leave anything out. What I stated is what the verse says. Whoever believes will have eternal life and not perish. There is nothing in this verse about election, etc. It just says that whoever believes. Pretty straightforward. You are trying to get me to read into this particular verse more than is says in a very straightforward way. Now if you want to talk election and choice, that will need to be from different passages.

                    Ken

                    Les:

                    You wrote, “Whoever believes will have eternal life and not perish. There is nothing in this verse about election, etc. It just says that whoever believes. Pretty straightforward.” And, Now if you want to talk election and choice, that will need to be from different passages.”

                    I agree Les. But I can’t help feeling there is gross obfuscation in your response.

                    Let me reword my original question to read, “does Calvinism hold that every person born into this world is qualified and authorized by God without any prior or ongoing intercession by God to pray the sinner’s prayer and thus become saved?

                    Just like you said about John 3:16, that is a straightforward question. Why do you insist on postponing your answer.?.

                    I have stated my position on that question and can’t understand your reluctance to address it. It requires a simple yes or no answer.

                    Are you willing?

                  Les

                  Ken,

                  No obfuscation. I answered according to the question you asked…interpretation of a verse. You didn’t ask me about other matters. As to your new question, you’ll need to define ‘qualified’ and ‘authorized’ as you are intending them to be used.

                  Now, if you just want to know my views on the atonement, well just ask. Or probably remember we have already been over this probably.

                  Les

                  Ken,

                  I’ll be back in a little while and will lay out my views (again) on the sinfulness and helplessness of man and the atonement. That’s what I think you’re getting at. Just short of time right now.

                    Ken

                    Les:

                    No need to waste any more of your time. I have tried to present my questions in a manner that a kindergartner could understand so I am incapable of refining them any further.

                    But I suspect that the real problem is that evasion and obfuscation are the normal approaches for Calvinists when they don’t want to answer even the most simple theological questions.

                    I think your time would be spent more productively avoiding the questions of others since we seem to be trapped in a circular pattern.

                  Les

                  Ken, my views are that every human is born in sin and deserving of hell due to the fall. Every human will spend eternity separated from God in that hell unless God intervenes. Every human is culpable and responsible and has nothing he can say back to God about it not being fair. God’s grace is that He has chosen from eternity past certain ones of all of hell deserving humanity to save. They don’t deserve it but as said already, actually deserve hell. Hence the word grace. Getting what one does not deserve. Nevertheless, all humans everywhere are commanded to repent, and so are under obligation to repent and obey the gospel. And apart from God intervening, no human will repent and believe nor is he able on his own apart from God’s intervention in and upon his wicked and God hating heart. And, God has chosen to command us Christians to take the good news of Jesus’ the Savior to everyone. He has NOt chosen to command us to take this good news to the elect only, since only He knows who they are. So we preach Jesus everywhere and to everyone trusting God will intervene in and upon the wicked and God hating hearts of the elect in His perfect time. The other hell deserving wicked God haters He passes over and leaves them in their wickedness and hatred for Him, hence grace is not for everyone (that would be universalism). As the old song says, Jesus saves.

                    Ken

                    Thanks Les, your explanation helps me understand why we differ so completely in our theological beliefs in the areas covered by the TULIP.

                    At least we can agree on one Biblical truth – JESUS SAVES! Praise The Lord!

                  Les

                  Ken when my comment currently in moderation gets released you’ll be left with some obfuscation accusation egg on your face.

                    Ken

                    Les:

                    What happened to that post of yours not yet released from moderation? It must have been a doozy to still reside in that state.

                  Les

                  “At least we can agree on one Biblical truth – JESUS SAVES! Praise The Lord!”

                  Amen to that Ken.

                  Les

                  Ken, I don’t know. It wasn’t anything controversial. Just a bit longer so moderation. Maybe the moderators have the afternoon off.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Wrong….. again Les. This is becoming a habit. The ‘Reformed’ interpretation is NOT WHOEVER WILL but WHOEVER CAN.

                    Ken

                    Andrew:

                    You wrote to Les, “Wrong….. again Les. This is becoming a habit. The ‘Reformed’ interpretation is NOT WHOEVER WILL but WHOEVER CAN.”

                    You are so right. That truth is so simple and logical it defies any human logic that God’s word says otherwise.

              Ken

              Jon:

              You wrote, “Traditionalism at its best. Sign me up. NOT!”

              What a blessing it would be if all Calvinists in the SBC would take that stance.

              You also wrote, “I’m with Les here. You want us to accept that only those things which you agree with are from God, all else is satanic. Why not just tell us to throw our bibles away and come to your truth?”

              I’ll use the same elementary example I used with Les. If you preach that the world is round I will agree with you. If you preach that the world is flat I will disagree with you.

              So, if you preach that every man born into this world can be saved by believing on Jesus, I will agree with you. But if you preach that only the elect(Calvinist definition of elect) can be saved I will disagree with you and consider your theology misguided.

              That is a simple fact.

                Jon Estes

                Ken… Let me say to you… If you preach that the world is round I will agree with you. If you preach that the world is flat I will disagree with you.”

                “So, if you preach that every man born into this world can be saved by believing on Jesus, I will agree with you.”

                I have no problem preac hing that every man born in this world who repents of their sin and believes in Jesus will be saved.

                “But if you preach that only the elect(Calvinist definition of elect) can be saved I will disagree with you and consider your theology misguided.”

                I’m sure you will. I don’t live my life or prepare my sermons areound Calvinistic theology, but around the ery Word of God. I do not sit around and concern myself on who is or is not the elect. As far as I am concerned, all men are lost… I am responsible to tell all men about Jesus… As far as my concern goes, every man, woman or child I speak to is a part of the elect. That’s on God’s hands. If they come to Jesus the day I share or sometime after, they are the elect. If they don’t, they were not.

                I don’t have to argue God’s ability to be sovereign over a persons salvation or His right to choose some and not others. I do need to understand, there is nothing I can do to warrant His favor and no way I can choose Him before He chooses me. And no way I will miss choosing HIm if He has chosen me.

                If a man preaches that all are sinners and bound for hell without choosing Jesus but does not qualify that such a position does not include infants, are they presenting the full gospel? Are they being totally honest?

                FWIW – I believe babies go to heaven. The question is when a Traditionalist preaches on Romans and states all to mean all humanity but doesn’t really believe that – are they being honest about their beliefs?

                  Ken

                  Jon:

                  Thanks for your detailed response. It makes me wonder if we two have more in common in our beliefs than I thought. Perhaps I have made conclusions about yours in the past which are not correct, If so, I apologize.

                  I had taught adult SS classes for over 60 years until a couple years ago when I found it prudent to stop teaching because of my severe hearing loss. From the first lesson to the last the only fear I had was that I would teach something that was contrary to God’s Word. Consequently, I would spend anywhere from 20 to 40 hours per week, depending on the complexity of the specific scriptures, on a lesson, getting the insights of men that I respect on those scriptures. Similarly, I would not desire to misconstrue the theological posture of any person.

                  You wrote, “I have no problem preaching that every man born in this world who repents of their sin and believes in Jesus will be saved.”

                  So, if you mean that you preach that every man born into this world is given the capability by God to make such a decision, we are on the same wave length. If you mean that all men who have been selected for conditional salvation before the foundation of the world(the elect) and make that decision, which seems to me to be is a popular Calvinist position, then we are definitely not on the same page.

                  My definition of “the elect” is “any and all persons born into the world who have made or will make a confession of their sins and accept Jesus as Savior.”

                  You also wrote, “I do need to understand, there is nothing I can do to warrant His favor and no way I can choose Him before He chooses me. And no way I will miss choosing Him if He has chosen me.

                  I read into your words, and tell me if I’m wrong, that you are saying that God really does pre-choose those people who are eligible to make the decision to repent and accept Jesus, and once He does that, they will do so and be saved. Once again, if that is what you mean, we are on opposite pages. IMO, God creates every man and issues to every man the right to exercise his free will to decide whether to accept or reject His Son and, consequently, be saved or condemned.

                  Am I reading your position and expressed our differences incorrectly?

                  You then wrote, “If a man preaches that all are sinners and bound for hell without choosing Jesus but does not qualify that such a position does not include infants, are they presenting the full gospel? Are they being totally honest?”

                  To answer your question, they may be honest in what they believe, but they are in error in their theology. Also I would expand “infants” to read “those who have not reached an age of accountability(a decision only God can make for each person). I say that because I believe that not just infants but all children, before they reach that age of accountability, are reserved a place in Heaven eternally. I also consider that a mentally retarded person, incapable of understanding what all that means, is included among the infants and children.

                  However, I am 100% opposed to not only infant baptism but any other baptisms before a person truly makes the decision to accept Jesus as Savior.

                  You also wrote, “FWIW – I believe babies go to heaven. The question is when a Traditionalist preaches on Romans and states all to mean all humanity but doesn’t really believe that – are they being honest about their beliefs?”

                  Once again I think they could be honest about their beliefs but they are definitely in error in their theology.

                  Hope you had a blessed and fruitful Sunday service.

                    Jon Estes

                    Ken –

                    “Am I reading your position and expressed our differences incorrectly?”

                    I think you are, mostly.

                    I do not live and witness thinking election but lostness. As far as I am concerned, every person I witness to is a part of the elect. If they choose to not accept Christ,I do not walk away thinking they are of the non-elect. I think they are lost and opportunity for them to find Christ still exists. I do not play God about their eternity. I leave all that to the One who created and sustains it all.

                    “Hope you had a blessed and fruitful Sunday service.”

                    Well, we have our USA type worship on Friday here in the UAE. We had a great day. They just keep getting better.

                    Press on…

                    Jon

                  Paul N

                  Those who are “elect” have no need to be concerned. It is always easy for the elect to not worry about how God elects some while passing over most. You are all good! so it is quite an easy thing for you to be unconcerned. I dare say that if you thought you where passed over by God you would be quite concerned and it would not so easy to accept His sovereignty.

                    Jon Estes

                    “Those who are “elect” have no need to be concerned.”

                    As oneof the elect, I am completely concerned about the lost. God is, so am I.

                    “It is always easy for the elect to not worry about how God elects some while passing over most.”

                    I’m not sure if those of reformed thinking walk around thinking about God passing over some. We do think about God’s command for us to tell all.

                    “You are all good!”

                    Can you share with me one Calvinist who thinks they are good? Everyone I know, understands completely how rotten we are.

                    “so it is quite an easy thing for you to be unconcerned.”

                    Please show me where I am unconcerned?

                    “I dare say that if you thought you where passed over by God you would be quite concerned and it would not so easy to accept His sovereignty”

                    His sovereignty in no way depends on my position before God. Do you go out witnessing telling others that God is insuffecient / non-sovereign in choosing them? Do you tell them God takes second seat in the process of their salvation choice?

                    I would not accuse you of such things. I imagine that if we were stadning side by side and presenting the gospel with a lost person, you would agree completely with what I share and how I share it.

                  Les

                  Ken,

                  You said, “My definition of “the elect” is “any and all persons born into the world who have made or will make a confession of their sins and accept Jesus as Savior.”

                  Well we agree again. That definition is consistent with Reformed theology.

                    Ken

                    Les:

                    You wrote, “You said, “My definition of “the elect” is “any and all persons born into the world who have made or will make a confession of their sins and accept Jesus as Savior.

                    Well we agree again. That definition is consistent with Reformed theology.”

                    You must delight in trying to confuse me. I admit I am an easy mark, but not that easy.

                    For instance, I have always understood Calvinism to declare that “the elect” are those who were predestined for salvation by God before the foundation of the world. Then some Calvinists say that decision by God is final and irrevocable and it matters not whether one even turns out to be a God hater, an infidel, a denier that there is an afterlife, either heaven or hell, and even an atheist, he will still be saved whether he wants to be or not(hyper Calvinism?). Other Calvinists believe that God predestines the ability of a person to be eligible to make a profession of faith and he must do so, and, in fact, will do so and be saved. In both of those examples, anyone not predestined for salvation is automatically sentenced to eternal damnation.

                    The statement you made seems to me to illustrate that there is no such thing as predestination and every person born into this world is on an equal level and permitted a free will decision to accept or reject Jesus as Savior and be saved.

                    What have I misunderstood? Are you personally saying that there is a third Calvinist belief which agrees with the Traditionalist belief?

                    Just trying to understand.

                  Les

                  Paul N,

                  “Those who are “elect” have no need to be concerned.” Who says we who have been saved (and therefore are numbered among the elect) are not concerned about how God elects? We are. But we are more concerned to see more elect profess faith in Jesus.

                  “I dare say that if you thought you where passed over by God you would be quite concerned and it would not so easy to accept His sovereignty.”

                  Who thinks he or she was passed over by God? In this life, no one can even know that.

                    Paul N

                    Les, I don’t believe it anyway, that God is passing over people. My point is that if one knew they were being passed over they wouldn’t be quite so dismissive and unconcerned about God’s sovereign choice in passing them over. It is quite easy to be at ease when you think you are one of the lucky few.

                  Jim Poulos

                  Just like the term ‘water’ used in the other debate brought two sides of theology together because they didn’t know where water fitted and both understood it incorrectly so too here both sides probably don’t understand where the term ‘elect’ fits in and maybe understanding it incorrectly.

                  It is ‘right’ theology to pin down its meaning.

                    Ken

                    Jim Poulus:

                    You wrote, “just like the term ‘water’ used in the other debate brought two sides of theology together because they didn’t know where water fitted and both understood it incorrectly so too here both sides probably don’t understand where the term ‘elect’ fits in and maybe understanding it incorrectly.

                    It is ‘right’ theology to pin down its meaning.”

                    Couldn’t agree more. How about you starting the ball rolling with your definition.

                    Thanks

                    JIm Poulos

                    Mr. Williams,

                    There is too much insulting from those who don’t agree.

                    Until that matter is owned up to the ball is not mine to get rolling.

                    But these are underlying misunderstandings that permeate these discussions, like the term ‘water’ did earlier and I won’t hesitate to identify these misunderstandings.

                  Les

                  Ken, no intention to confuse. I was simply saying that what you typed, Reformed theology agrees with. No new third Reformed belief that agrees with Trads.

                  Now further, God chose some from the foundation of the world for salvation. I have already stated that earlier 21-08-2016, 13:21. That pretty well sums up my view. Please re read that for my view of God choosing.

                  Thanks

                  Les

                  Paul N,

                  “My point is that if one knew they were being passed over they wouldn’t be quite so dismissive and unconcerned about God’s sovereign choice in passing them over. It is quite easy to be at ease when you think you are one of the lucky few.”

                  I get what you’re saying. It’s just really of no use to say that. No offense brother. It’s like me saying if I had wings I could fly. But I can’t have wings. it’s impossible. And someone KNOWING they are passed over and left in their sins, is impossible in this life. So it’s meaningless. In addition, there are no “lucky few.” God chooses out of His saving love for His elect. Very deliberate. Not luck or capricious at all. No such thing as luck.

                    Paul N

                    Les, not offended at all. But, with all due respect, I reject the whole lot. You are talking to me as if I accept it as biblical truth…I don’t.

                    My point is quite valid. The person who thinks they are elect, does not have to be concerned about the unlucky ones whom God hates and has passed over, as their eternal bliss is set. It is easy to trust God’s sovereignty in this regard. I am sure you would agree.

                  Les

                  Paul N,

                  ” I reject the whole lot. You are talking to me as if I accept it as biblical truth…I don’t.” I get that. You reject Reformed theology.

                  “My point is quite valid. The person who thinks they are elect, does not have to be concerned about the unlucky ones whom God hates and has passed over, as their eternal bliss is set.”

                  Not valid at all. Earlier you said, “My point is that if one knew they were being passed over…” Well, on what biblical basis can you show that any person can KNOW that he/she is being passed over by God? That is what is invalid. Well, unless you can prove that any person can KNOW that they are being passed over. Can you? And again, no “lucky” ones. Graced ones? Absolutely.

                    Paul N

                    Your concern is not relevant, Les. I know exactly what I said and stand by it. If re probation is unbiblical how do you want me to make a biblical argument regarding it? It is not biblical as far as I can see.

                    Again, The point is that when you are one of a Gods lucky elect it is easy to rest in God’s sovereignty.

                    Kinda spinning wheels here.

                  Paul N

                  Jon Estes 24-08-2016, 04:15

                  “As one of the elect, I am completely concerned about the lost. God is, so am I.”

                  Who do you mean when you say lost? Are you saying that God is concerned by those whom He has passed over? If so, how or what is He concerned about? Or maybe you are concerned about the elect? They are safe, chosen before they were even born.

                  “I’m not sure if those of reformed thinking walk around thinking about God passing over some. We do think about God’s command for us to tell all.”

                  Ok. My point is, it is easy not to worry about God’s sovereign choice when you think you are one of His elect. That is really my point. Not whether you obey God’s command to witness or not.

                  “Can you share with me one Calvinist who thinks they are good? Everyone I know, understands completely how rotten we are.”

                  Saying “all good” is slang for saying you are good in a particular situation, not that you are a perfect moral human being. Your position in Christ is set.

                  “Please show me where I am unconcerned?”

                  Again, you can simply trust in God’s sovereignty in choosing you. You are safe. Why would you have to worry about God’s “just” decision to send people to hell before they did anything evil or good?

                  “His sovereignty in no way depends on my position before God. Do you go out witnessing telling others that God is insuffecient / non-sovereign in choosing them? Do you tell them God takes second seat in the process of their salvation choice?”

                  Do you tell people that God has either chosen them or passed them over when you witness? And that there is nothing they can do about it, if they have been passed over?

                  I tell people that they are sinners and that Jesus died for them. I tell them that Jesus loves them. I tell them that they have a choice to make; to either place their faith in Christ or reject Him. I can look people square in the eye, convinced (by scripture and The Holy Spirit) that Jesus died for them, each and every one.

                  “I imagine that if we were stadning side by side and presenting the gospel with a lost person, you would agree completely with what I share and how I share it.”

                  The gospel at its core is simple and all inclusive. The added isms confuse the matter.

                  Les

                  Paul N,

                  I don’t know if you are just not reading fully or just being obstinate. I have not asked you to make a case for reprobation. My comment just above is pretty clear on what you very clearly said:

                  ‘Not valid at all. Earlier you said, “My point is that if one knew they were being passed over…” Well, on what biblical basis can you show that any person can KNOW that he/she is being passed over by God? That is what is invalid. Well, unless you can prove that any person can KNOW that they are being passed over. Can you? And again, no “lucky” ones. Graced ones? Absolutely.”

                  2 things. 1) Continuing to use the word “lucky” to describe the chosen is not only unbiblical but betrays a lack of understanding of election. 2) I am left to assume you have no biblical argument for your statement, ‘My point is that if one knew they were being passed over…” You have no biblical argument for anyone KNOWING they have been or are being passed over. Not reprobation itself. But the notion that one can KNOW they have been passed over. I think you must just be avoiding answering what I’m asking since you have no answer.

                  Les

                  Paul N,

                  Now if you are using the phrase, ‘My point is that if one knew they were being passed over….’ in the same ways as if one said, ‘if I had wings I could fly,’ well then I get it. It’s still a meaningless statement in these discussions, but ok.

    Andy

    3. In fact, I can’t even conceive of a situation in which I could even tolerate Calvinist beliefs.”

    What if you were in a setting very opposed to Christianity, and you discovered that you and a Calvinist brother were the only people in your area who found hope in Christ for salvation and desired to share that hope with others? You don’t think you might find some commonality with such a person, perhaps pray and witness with Him?

      Kenneth Miller

      Andy:

      You wrote, “What if you were in a setting very opposed to Christianity, and you discovered that you and a Calvinist brother were the only people in your area who found hope in Christ for salvation and desired to share that hope with others? You don’t think you might find some commonality with such a person, perhaps pray and witness with Him?”

      That’s a question that will require me to respond in what many would consider radical thinking. In fact, I will be surprised if it survives moderation. But you asked an honest question and I will attempt to give an honest response.

      Let me first say that the answer to your question as to what my desire would be in this instance is an emphatic NO! To me, the basic, underlying truth (the Gospel) of Christianity is the believe that God, in the form of a child named Jesus, God in the flkesh, came into this world, was crucified, died for the sins of all mankind, and resurrected to give every person born into this world the free will and opportunity to choose to accept that same Jesus as savior and inherit eternal salvation. I would never be so brash as to declare that those who accept the Calvinist way to salvation are not saved, because, in spite of themselves, some of them apparently do accept Jesus as Savior (perhaps that is all instead of some, I’m not sure), but only because they believe that the fact that they can do so is because they were predestined and given the authority by God to do so. But, whether they have had a “true heart” profession or merely a superficial action based on their predestination belief, I don’t know. I do know that I have never found a single word in Scripture that would lead me or them to conclude that they were among those predestined to do so.

      Therefore, because there is no way of knowing their eternal state I would find no more solace in their company than I would in the company of an atheist( a non-calvinist atheist, of course, since it is my understanding that many Calvinists believe that even atheists are among those predestined for salvation).

        Andy

        Ken, thanks for the replies.

David R. Brumbelow

Didn’t Connect316 have a webpage with recommended books for sale? Is that page still out there?

Books of the Traditionalist point of view need to be made available. Many are already out there, but folks need to be made aware of them.
David R. Brumbelow

Greg Peters

Rick said: “our Southern Baptist leadership is disproportionately Calvinistic compared with our Southern Baptist membership”.

Surely you’re not saying that the SBC’s doctrine should be determined by a congregational majority vote. Can’t imagine Paul suggesting that for any of his churches. This same kind of argument was made back in 2012 in the introduction of the Traditionalist Statement. I don’t get it.

    Rick Patrick

    During the Conservative Resurgence, Adrian Rogers said something like: “If Southern Baptists say, ‘Pickles have souls’ then our professors ought to teach that pickles have souls.”

    Yes, I want the doctrinal position of our convention to line up with the faithful pastors and people in the pews who are actually paying the bills. As a matter of good Christian stewardship, I want traditional Southern Baptist money to replicate the DNA of traditional Southern Baptist Churches and not create a new class of very different Calvinist Charismatic Evangelical Churches formed in the mold of congregations pastored by C.J. Mahaney and James MacDonald——which have only recently become classified as Southern Baptist.

    Now, it’s not exactly right to say that a congregation will cast a vote and choose the doctrine for the entire SBC. However, I do believe that a congregation, by majority vote, can affirm missionaries, set apart ministers and deacons, test them for doctrine, license them, ordain them, approve doctrinally sound Sunday School teachers, fire a pastor whose doctrine does not line up with the tradition and understanding of the church, etc. The Bereans were more noble because they checked everything against the Word for themselves. This is still the noble task of the laity.

    But the principle I am dealing with here is denominational, not congregational. In the same way that Southern Baptists don’t fund Methodist church plants and Lutheran church plants, because we draw doctrinal lines and say, “We will not pay for the promotion of this doctrine,” we can still do that today if, for example, a pastor considers our congregational polity to be Satanic in origin.

Lydia

No Greg, a frew men in a room should interpret scripture for the rest of us. That is how the state church did it and pretty much how determinists think, sadly. Heaven forbid an adult of the pew class can have a personal relationship with Christ and be guided by the Holy Spirit. No. We must have human mediators who tell us what to believe and what it all means. Hmm. The first mediator between God and humans was the serpent. Not a good idea to rely on that!
You can’t allow the peasants to have input! God does not allow mere peasants to have any spiritual wisdom!

Sheesh. It just boggles my mind how you guys think or don’t think, really. Like Islam, however do you deal with a bill of rights?

Ron

I’m late to the party and may be dancing alone, but I disagree with everybody. I’m a Calvinist but I reject being lumped in with the Al Mohler group. They are politicians and change agents; they are not true men of God and they do no speak for me. I believe the SBC in general is, and most SBC churches are, apostate, and it was headed there before Calvinists took over and will still be the case regardless of any “soteriological balance” that may be achieved. In fact, accepting some state of soteriological balance would pretty much prove my case. This whole dispute isn’t about truth; it’s about control. It’s about which group of apostates is going to control this sinking ship. I’m not saying either side doesn’t believe what they argue for; I’m saying it’s not really ABOUT that, and I’m dismayed by the fact that what I believe to be biblical truth is associated with this raw, shameless quest for power by Mohler group and what I believe to be biblical error is perpetuated by the same raw, shameless quest for power by the Traditionalist camp. I agree with what Lydia said earlier: the trend in the SBC does mirror the trend in our larger society (in fact, I think they may be more connected that most would suspect), and it’s the same conditions in the church and in larger society that allow it to happen: apostasy. General moral, spiritual and political apostasy in the larger society and specific moral, spiritual and biblical apostasy in the church, all combined with a healthy dose of deliberate and intentional manipulation. That’s pretty much all I wanted to say. Thanks for the dance.

    Rick Patrick

    I have heard many suggest that this is only a power struggle. I disagree. I believe significant ministry philosophies and strategies flow directly from our differing theological perspectives. I further believe that the ministry philosophies and practices flowing from Traditionalism will result in a better SBC than the vision and practices that flow from Calvinism. While I don’t think it’s simply about power, I do think it is about the future of the SBC.

    Andy

    I’m curious, other than desiring power, what is the big error, or errors, you believe are being promoted by ABC leaders and or “most churches”?

Jon Estes

“In a 2006 Lifeway Research study, only ten percent of SBC Pastors indicated they were five-point Calvinists. By 2012, it was sixteen percent.”

I do not think you can make a case for the people in the pew and where they stand on this by polling pastors. You would not accept an argment which stated the percentage of those in SBC leadership is an indicator of the theological makeup of the SBC.

Using the percentages as you do at best makes the argument you want to be made.

I know you can throw out some story of a reformed pastor tearing a church up. Baptists have been good at seeing churches torn up, long before the present conversation started. To many of our churches have been established on church splits and this was under what you would probably call a Traditionalist pastor. If Calvinism were not in consideration today, churches would still be splitting. I think Baptist genetics causes it.

Get some real numbers and make sure the people in the pew who are asked, really understand Calvinism, not just your verbal brand of it.

You might be surprised that there are more who would agree with Calvinism than you presently think.

Rick Patrick

Rest assured that many, many, remarks are permitted here that disagree with the position of the moderators. Nevertheless, any remarks condoning denominational leadership that is not theologically representative of denominational membership are considered prejudicial and discriminatory, and will not be tolerated. Furthermore, the decision of the moderators is not subject to appeal, and will not be adjudicated in the public comment stream.

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