Archive for August, 2012

A Selective Review and Critique of Whomever He Wills – Part 2

David L. Allen

Matthew Barrett and Thomas Nettles, eds. Whomever He Wills: a Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2012), 401 pgs.

(Ed.’s note: Dr. Allen’s “Part 2” is approximately 8,000 words in length. SBCToday will therefore publish Part 2 in 2,000-word (approximate) increments. These shorter installments will be signified thusly: Part 2A; Part 2B; etc. What follows below is Part 2A. This follows sequentially Dr. Allen’s “Part 1” that appeared on Aug. 10.)

In Part 2 of this review, I intend to cover the first two sections of David Schrock’s chapter “Jesus Saves, No Asterisk Needed: Why Preaching the Gospel as Good News Requires Definite Atonement,” 77- 119. Schrock replies in part to my chapter in Whosoever Will: a Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism entitled “The Atonement: Limited or Universal?” (61-107). Schrock’s chapter is divided into five sections: “Christ’s Death is Particular,” “Christ’s Death is Efficacious,” “Priestly Arguments for Particular and Effective Atonement,” “The Covenantal Nature of the Atonement,” and “The Universal Impact of Definite Atonement.” I intend to offer a detailed two-part critique of Schrock’s chapter. What follows is the first installment covering his sections “Christ’s Death is Particular” and “Christ’s Death is Efficacious.” By way of clarification throughout this review, with respect to definitions, the phrases “limited atonement,” “particular redemption,” and “definite atonement” as used in Schrock’s chapter and by me in this review all should be defined to mean that “Christ died only for the sins of the elect.” The “limited” in “limited atonement” refers to the limited sin-bearing nature of Christ’s death; he only satisfied for the sins of the elect.

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A Selective Review and Critique of Whomever He Wills – Part 1

By David L. Allen

David L. Allen is Professor of Preaching, George W. Truett Chair of Ministry, Director of the Southwestern Center for Expository Preaching, and Dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Allen is co-author of Whosoever Will: a Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism.


Matthew Barrett and Thomas Nettles, eds. Whomever He Wills: a Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2012), 401 pgs.

Whomever He Wills (hereafter WHW) is the latest installment and a welcome addition in the ongoing discussion in the Southern Baptist Convention over the subject of Calvinism. Published by Founders Ministries, with Dr. Tom Ascol as Executive Director, the book is, in part, a response to David L. Allen & Steve W. Lemke, eds., Whosoever Will: a Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism, published in 2010 (hereafter Whosoever). WHW is co-edited by Dr. Tom Nettles, Professor of Historical Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Dr. Matthew Barrett, Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at California Baptist University. This multiple-part review/critique is "selective" in that I will not address most chapters in the book, and it is a "critique" in that I will be evaluating the arguments of those I do address.

WHW contains a foreword by Dr. Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School; a preface by Fred Zaspel, pastor of Reformed Baptist Church in Franconia, PA; and an introduction by the co-editors. Thirteen chapters comprise the book, divided into two parts. Chapters 1 – 9 are introduced with a sermon on Revelation 5:1-14 by Dr. Steve Lawson, pastor of Christ’s Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, AL.; followed by five chapters, each addressing one of the letters of the traditional Calvinist TULIP acrostic; and three chapters dealing with the issues of determinism and human freedom, God’s sovereignty over evil, and evangelism and missions in Calvinism. Part Two contains four chapters dealing with Calvin’s understanding of the atonement, sovereign grace and evangelism in the preaching of Bunyan, the SBC and evangelical Calvinism, and the impact of Calvinism upon local Baptist churches. The book contains an index of People and Places along with a Scriptural index.

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Rite of Passage Parenting:
Yes, Jesus Loves Me

By Walker Moore

For someone who isn’t a writer, coming up with an article each week is a daunting task. One of the problems I face is that I have only one mind, 10 ten fingers and 26 letters to work with. I sometimes think if we just had a few more letters in our alphabet, my job would be much easier. The Germans have 30 letters, the Armenians have 38; and when I lived in Budapest, Hungary, I was jealous because they have 44 letters in their alphabet. Oh, what could I do with 44 letters.

I still feel a little slighted that I don't have as much to work with as the Hungarians. Sometimes I think if I can’t have more letters in the alphabet, a couple more fingers would help. But I have a hard time getting the 10 I have to cooperate; and the older they get, the less they want to act like team players.

I have to admit, the mind I have is not normal. It runs at 100 miles an hour with gusts up to 200. Trying to get my thoughts through a set of lips with a governor that keeps them from going over 40 miles per hour can be interesting. So with a hundred mile an hour brain, 40 mile an hour lips, three mile an hour fingers and only 26 letters to work with, you can see the challenges I face each week.

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Working on Commission
Balancing Our Mission to Reach Both Souls and Groups

By Dr. Rick Patrick
Senior Pastor
Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
Hueytown, Alabama

Although at our recent Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting the new descriptor “Great Commission Baptists” went over like a pregnant pole vaulter, there is another issue concerning the Great Commission in Southern Baptist life that has largely eluded our focus, even though it profoundly changes the very way we define the Great Commission given to us by our Lord. After explaining the two views, this article will briefly explore the strengths and weaknesses of each, along with their theological underpinnings, their associated missionary strategies, and the curiously nonexistent Southern Baptist conversation on this issue.

The “Reaching Souls” perspective is the predominant view I have heard preached and taught nearly my entire life, which considers the primary task of the Great Commission to be the effort of reaching as many souls as possible wherever they may be found. One might say this approach is geographically and societally neutral, which is to say that any soul reached for Jesus is no more or less important than any other in accomplishing the Great Commission task. No matter where a person might live, no matter which people group they represent, as we reach each person on the planet, we are fulfilling the Great Commission task in a measure equal to the reaching of any other person on earth.

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John Calvin: In His Own Words
Article II: Reprobation

Ron F. Hale

He has served as Pastor, Church Planter, Strategist (NAMB), Director of Missions, and Associate Executive Director of Evangelism and Church Planting for a State Convention, and now in the 4th quarter of ministry as Minister of Missions.



People take pleasure in rooting for the underdog.  I’ll never forget the boys of the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team beating the brash Soviet Team for a gold medal in 1980.  It was a David vs. Goliath magic moment as America surprisingly celebrated the thrill of victory instead of the agony of defeat.

To me, the reprobate is the underdog in the theological world.  How would you like to be doomed for destruction?   The contrasting proposition of Calvin’s view of divine election is reprobation.

Before we look at what Calvin had to say, I want to introduce a definition from a book that has chapters from prominent SBC Calvinists and non-Calvinists, it says:

Reprobation – From the Latin verb reprobare, to reprove.  This is the belief that God has eternally condemned all non-elect persons to eternal condemnation for their sins.  Calvin insisted “that this is not just a matter of God’s ‘passing over’ the non-elect, but an actual hardening so that they are actually strengthened to resist the gospel,” although he also taught that humans are unable to understand the full counsel of God on this issue and must humbly trust His goodness and justice in this.” [i]

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