An Interview of Dr. Eric Hankins

June 22, 2012

This is a video interview of Eric Hankins by Joel Southerland on Talk SBC. The interview addresses Hankins’ views about “A Statement on Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,” of which he is the primary author, and Calvinism in the SBC. Hankins is Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Oxford, MS, and was the author of the recent “Sinner’s Prayer” Resolution that was approved at the recent New Orleans SBC convention.

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Joshua

Dr. Hankins states in the video: “since about 1900, we have, most of us, for some time, have tended not to be Calvinist. Reflected in the Baptist faith and message since 1925, so it’s been our traditional habit to not be reformed.”

In light of the clear Calvinism in the 1925 BF&M, how is it accurate to say the majority of Southern Baptists since 1900 have tended not to be Calvinists?

Ryan

I know it’s not your sole source of inspiration for the tenet, but I’m not sure expositional teaching of “Jesus Loves the Little Children” is the most helpful way to present your ideas to people who would either agree or disagree with your position. Seems to model an unhelpful approach to thinking about the issues, unless other children’s songs or hymns are admissible as evidence for or against. : P

    Joel Hunt

    That was my first thought, too!

    selahV-hariette

    Hello Ryan,
    I haven’t had the pleasure of chatting with you, I don’t believe. I appreciate that you took time to listen to Dr. Hankins’ interview.

    I can understand why someone would consider this statement rather elementary in the deeper theological discussions. However, in context of a relaxed interview, I do not track the ire or argument with the usage of his simple statement regarding “Jesus loves the little children”—does Jesus not love the little children of the world?
    Perhaps Dr. Hankins should have quoted Matthew 19:14: “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
    Would that make it a bit more digestible for you? selahV

      Ryan

      Yeah, I’ve been a lurker for a while on a variety of SBC blogs, and I tried to tune in to the annual meeting as my background noise during work. ; )

      My point is more one of modeling, right – it’s a relaxed interview designed to appeal to people who aren’t “in the thick” of a theological debate, but that doesn’t mean the way he phrases and supports the principal tenet of a proposed Southern Baptist soteriology (that every person in the world has an equal chance upon hearing the gospel to be saved) has to start with an exegesis of a children’s song. I listened to that segment again, and he literally quotes it, says “that means”, and dives into the tenet.

      I don’t care what verse he quotes – I could think of a few others besides the one you’ve listed that would be wonderful launching points, but in this interview, he didn’t. It just struck me as odd, and it seems it would serve people who aren’t neck deep in the issues but may align with him to know that he’s starting and ending with Scripture, not folk religion.

        Ryan

        (That said, I’d be interested to read the original article he mentions if anyone knows if it’s available online.)

Les

Good interview. Hankins comes off very well spoken about his positions and with an appropriate degree of humility.

Two things stood out to me.

1. The interviewer didn’t ask him what he thoughtnabout the sinner’s prayer resolution in light of the massive changes it underwent. That would have been good to hear.

2. He said something like, “there are people who are in hell who don’t have to be there.” Wow! In light of the fact that there are names already written in the Lamb’s book of life, wow!

“and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”

    holdon

    “and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”

    Wrong! It doesn’t say “before the foundation of the world, but “from”. It think Calvinistic theology can be charged with altering the Scriptures to accommodate their view.

      Les

      Holdon,

      You say I’m wrong? Brother that was cut and pasted fom the holy scriptures.

      But from says the same thing. Names were written before the old as we know it. Some were written in it. Some not.

      The New Les

        holdon

        “You say I’m wrong? Brother that was cut and pasted fom the holy scriptures.”

        Yes absolutely you’re wrong. It is no surprise to me that the reformed version (ESV) has changed the ‘from’ into ‘before’ in Rev 13:8.

          Les

          Holden,

          Well why don’t you just translate the Greek for us?

          Thanks.

          holdon

          Here you go:
          “not written his name in the book of life of the slain lamb from (the*) world’s foundation.”

          * is not there but needs to be there for good English.

          Take home to address the misconceptions of Calvinists on this verse.
          1. The name is written in the book of life of the Lamb after the world’s foundation
          2. It does not say that the Lamb was slain before the world’s foundation

          compare also Rev 17:8

          Les

          Thanks hold on. I don’t think you’ve prove that, as the vast majority if interpreters maintain, the elect’s names weren’t written in the Lamb’s book of life before, from since the foundation of the world. In other words, since before any of us were born. But thank anyway.

Ron Hale

Joshua,
There you go again trying to rewrite history, the following is from the 1925 BFM:

VI. The Freeness of Salvation
The blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the duty of all to accept them by penitent and obedient faith. Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Jesus Christ as teacher, Saviour, and Lord.

Eph. 1:5; 2:4-10; 1 Cor. 1:30-31; Rom. 5:1-9; Rev. 22:17; John 3:16; Mark 16:16.

——————————————————————————–

    Chris Roberts

    Ron,

    That statement sounds good to me!

      Joshua

      Me too! I can agree with that wholeheartedly!

        Ron Hale

        Joshua,
        You said this concerning the 1925 Statement on The Freeness of Salvation: “Me too! I can agree with that wholeheartedly!”

        Since you have stated (in the past) that you believe in Double Predestination … then how can you believe in “freeness” since decretal theology has God passing over the non-elect unto damnation. In other words, as Calvin says, “All are not created on equal terms.” (Institutes 3:21:5)

          Les

          Ron, may I cut in for a short dance? Thanks.

          “then how can you believe in “freeness” since decretal theology has God passing over the non-elect unto damnation.”

          God does not intervene in the non-elect and those people run the course of their lives in their God-hating, enmity with God state. They are free to choose Christ. But their wills are enslaved to sin and they will not choose Christ. God has to do nothing for their end in hell to come.

          Back to yur dance with Joshua. Blessings.

          Joshua

          Les,

          You have quite the strut! Was that the Charleston? :)

          Ron,

          I do believe in freeness. However, I believe the Bible’s understanding of human “freeness” is not libertarian free will. Man is free every day to respond to God with the faculties his fallen, enslaved, condemned, natural self possesses.

          God is not restraining some poor helpless soul from exercising saving faith. On the contrary, he is giving saving faith to those helpless souls who would never respond positively without his salvific love.

          Les

          Joshua,

          Well thanks. Yes the Charleston. Not the Waltz I see around these sites so much.

      Ron Hale

      Chris,
      Good chatting with you in New Orleans!

      Well …does it read better than the Abstract of Principles? I think it does.

        Chris Roberts

        Ron,

        Yes, good to meet you, though I confess to feeling increasingly nervous as you guys kept showing up!

        Offhand I don’t recall what the Abstract says and I’m too lazy to google it, but I’d guess I would find the Abstract more specific, while still correct, where the BF&M was general, and correct.

    Joshua

    Ron,

    I am surprised you would say I am revising history when the 1925 BFM affirms the recently dreaded and hated “Calvinist” doctrine of Imputed Guilt.

    “III. The Fall of Man

    He was created in a state of holiness under the law of his Maker, but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.”

      volfan007

      Joshua,

      We believe that…wholeheartedly. I believe that. Just as you say that you believe what Ron quoted above. lol. So, I guess we all agree on far more than we disagree. Because, we can all wholeheartedly agree on the BFM 1925 version, and yet, you’re a Calvinist, and we’re a Traditionalist!

      Hummmmmmmm….

      David

      Ron Hale

      Joshua,
      This last phrase in the 1925 … “and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors” takes the statement away from the Augustinian-Calvinism tradition.

      Southern Baptists line up more with the inherited sinful nature view and we receive from Adam a sinful nature and environment inclined toward sin and become guilty due to our own sinful attitudes, thoughts, and actions.

      So can when you get your Ph.D and seek to teach in a SBC college and seminary, can you sign the BFM 2000 with Article III on Man?

      Les

      Ron,

      I noticed a difference in the 1925 BFM and the 2012 TRAD.

      1925 BFM: “… he [man, Adam] transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are **under condemnation**…”

      Trad: **Each person’s sin alone** brings the wrath of a holy God, broken fellowship with Him, ever-worsening selfishness and destructiveness, death, and **condemnation** to an eternity in hell.

      Looks like TRAD says that each of our personal sins alone brings condemnation and BFM 1925 says Adam’s sin brings condemnation.

      Am I reading that right?

CW Griffith

Thank you Bro. Hankins. The entire interview was excellent and really showed the thought process behind drafting the statement on salvation. I also appreciated the willingness to publicly state the need for prospective pastors to be completely open and forthright when dealing with pulpit committees. I have seen great devastation caused by reformed pastors who were called by non-reformed churches because the pastor was not open about his Calvinist views, and this issue really needs to be addressed. Some might blame uninformed pulpit committees for this, but the truth is that Cal’s and non-Cal’s alike should be open about their views.

    Darryl Hill

    Many search committees don’t even know what they believe. Should the prospective pastor attempt to give them a theological education during the interview? This is the result of decades of weak Gospel preaching and a church filled with people who don’t even understand what Baptists believe nor where they came from.

    I do believe that prospective pastors should be honest completely but I wonder if someone said that they hold to a reformed view of soteriology if the committee would have a clue what he just said.

      Randall Cofield

      Darryl,

      “I do believe that prospective pastors should be honest completely but I wonder if someone said that they hold to a reformed view of soteriology if the committee would have a clue what he just said.”

      No, the vast majority would not. But not to worry. Most of the “non-Calvinist” brothers on this thread would be more than happy to offer them a fine caricature of the reformed faith.

      That is what this whole sad mess is all about. And the calmer, more experienced heads in the SBC know this.

      Soli Deo Gloria

      CW Griffith

      “I wonder if someone said that they hold to a reformed view of soteriology if the committee would have a clue what he just said.”

      Perhaps not. However, the blame for any issues that arose in this regard would then fall upon an inept Pastor search committee and not a disingenuous prospective pastor.

        Darryl Hill

        CW, I like how you only quoted the last half of that sentence and left out the part where I said I think prospective pastors should be honest.

        It’s very possible that many wouldn’t know what a reformed view of soteriology means because our doctrine and theology have become so weak in general in Baptist life, which has resulted in a people who don’t even know what we believe.

        Perhaps something we can all agree on is that it’s time to start teaching doctrine again and not just these fluffy therapeutic “talks” which only tickle the ears.

        And actually, I really do believe this is the reason the reformed movement has made a serious comeback. People want deeper understanding and greater meaning in their lives. So, Jesus has a wonderful plan for your life, repeat this prayer, and you’re done won’t cut it anymore with people. I will say- I thank God for this. He is the one who has been working in the lives of people to bring about this change, in my opinion.

Chris

Non-Calvinists do not want young Calvinists fresh with seminary degrees to pastor non-Calvinist churches. This leaves them with three options. They can (1) plant a church in North America or abroad, (2) pastor a Calvinist Southern Baptist Church, or (3) leave the SBC. Non-Calvinists do not want their money going to fund Calvinist church plants, so that rules out church planting. Non-Calvinists argue that the majority of Southern Baptist churches are not Calvinist. Therefore, except for a few young Calvinists, this rules out the second option. The only other option non-Calvinists give Calvinists is leaving the SBC. However, that sounds harsh and tribal, so they say that that is not their intention. I guess my question is this. What exactly do Hankins and the “Traditionalists” want from their young Calvinist brothers.

    CW Griffith

    “What exactly do Hankins and the “Traditionalists” want from their young Calvinist brothers.”

    I think honesty and transparency was what was being requested in the interview. If a non-reformed church does not mind having a reformed pastor then so be it, but don’t sneak in and then start proclaiming reformed doctrine.

      Chris

      I have slept since I last watched the interview, so forgive me if I am wrong. But, didn’t Hankins also suggest that he believed most Southern Baptist churches would reject a Calvinist minister if that minister really told them what Hankins wants Calvinists to tell them? Didn’t Hankins also suggest that a good use of his statement would be to educate pastoral search committees on how to weed out the Calvinist pastoral candidates from among the list of potential candidates? I don’t think Hankins really believes that this is an option either.

      Hankins does give another request that young Calvinists will not accept. He mentions that most Calvinists over the last several decades have kept their convictions on the teachings of Scripture about Calvinism to themselves and have not preached about it. I think he is right about this. However, this is not an option for young Calvinists coming out of seminary today who have had it drilled in their heads and hearts that Scripture is to be preached expositionally and that no book or passage of the Bible inspired by the Holy Spirit is to be skipped over as if it were unhelpful.

      Some of the young Calvinist pastors do need to exercise more patience and wisdom in preaching the doctrines of grace. Preaching or teaching through TULIP while one is still getting his feet wet is not a good idea and may not ever be a good idea, if it is divorced from the regular exposition of Scripture.

      On the other side, “Traditionalists” need to accept and embrace that their CP dollars will go to fund Calvinist and non-Calvinist church planters, missionaries, seminary professors, and Sunday School curriculum writers. They need to accept that young Calvinist ministers will be going into non-Calvinist churches and that these churches, if the minister is a faithful and patient shepherd, will eventually have a more Calvinistic posture than before. They need to recognize this and embrace it. If they do, I think that they will find among the young Calvinists willing and passionate partners in the SBC’s mission.

        Les

        Great evangelist George Whitfield said,

        For my part I cannot see how true humbleness of mind can be attained without a knowledge of [the doctrine of election]; and though I will not say, that every one who denies election is a bad man, yet I will say, with that sweet singer, Mr. Trail, it is a very bad sign: such a one, whoever he be, I think cannot truly know himself; for, if we deny election, we must, partly at least, glory in ourselves; but our redemption is so ordered, that no flesh should glory in the Divine presence; and hence it is, that the pride of man opposes this doctrine, because, according to this doctrine, and no other, “he that glories must glory only in the Lord.”

        But what shall I say? Election is a mystery that shines with such resplendent brightness, that, to make use of the words of one who has drunk deeply of electing love, it dazzles the weak eyes even of some of God’s children; however, though they know it not, all the blessing they receive, all the privileges they do or will enjoy, through Jesus Christ, flow from the everlasting love of God the Father.

          Chris

          Whitefield is the very embodiment of an overzealous young minister whose controversial approach to preaching and unkind words to older ministers split numerous churches and even helped to split an entire communion–the Synod of Philadelphia (Presbyterian). I am confident that young SB Calvinists do not fit his mold.

        Les

        Chris,

        What exactly did Whitfield do to split the communion?

        And controversial preaching style?

          Chris

          Whitefield preached in an over-dramatic way that was emotionally manipulative. Read Harry Stout’s The Divine Dramatist.

          Whitefield rallied a group of Presbyterian pastors and itinerants (the Log College men) around a ministry that defied ecclesiastical rules and order, that deemed those ministers who disagreed with them as unconverted, and that accepted controversial doctrines of conversion and assurance.

          Les

          Chris,

          I’ve read Dallimore on Whitfield. I have a different take on Whitfield. Would that we had men 1/10 the preachers and doctrinal preachers at that as Whitefield today. I’m out for the day so that’s all I’ve got for now.

          Chris

          I guess we will have to agree to disagree on Whitefield. If you are interested in an article about one of the older ministers that Whitefield and Tennent (although Tennent later repented) deemed unconverted and about the way they differed on preaching and conversion. Here is a link: http://www.credomag.com/2011/09/24/the-great-awakening-from-the-perspective-of-its-critics/

          Les

          Chris, I read te article in Credo. I’ve read Revival and Revivalism some years ago too. So I’m familiar somewhat. But I didn’t see Whitfield mentioned in the article. Were you referring to maybe another article?

        Darryl Hill

        Dr. Hankins wants “Calvinist” to tell search committees what he THINKS they believe. He wants reformed pastors to tell their churches his straw-man versions of their doctrines.

        For example: I understand the Scripture to plainly teach that anyone who repents and believes can be saved. I also believe that it is God who enables them to repent and believe. That is what I would teach from a pulpit or in a classroom.

        Dr. Hankins wants me to say: I understand that only certain people can be saved and the rest are predestined by God to hell and have no choice in the matter- so much so that, even if they desperately want to repent of their sins and believe, it wouldn’t matter because they’re still going to hell.

        Trouble is, the thing Dr Hankins demands that I MUST believe, I don’t believe. Even his critique of Spurgeon’s “inconsistencies” reveal his bias here. Spurgeon simply left things in tension that Scripture leaves in tension. One of those examples is how exactly man’s will and God’s sovereignty work together. It is God’s work entirely, that much is clear from Scripture. But man still makes a choice, that much is clear from real life situations. But Dr. Hankins wants us to make statements that we don’t believe.

        Another example: he wants me to state, according to the reformed view, that people are saved prior to repentance and faith. Scripture never states that, nor would I. He wants me to say that the reformed view is that God works for the reprobation of men who are not elect, but Scripture doesn’t teach that and neither does the reformed view. But these are the things he “wants” reformed pastors to tell the committee they believe.

        I would also note that he repeated multiple times that the biggest problems reformed “brothers” have, other than their warped theology, is that they are arrogant and dishonest. I wonder if dialogue is what he really wants.

    jcissell

    This and MANY other problems are why I left the SBC.

Randall Cofield

Dr. Hankins,

I know not whether you are reading the responses to your interview on this thread, but I would like to answer a question you posed.

You stated that you would like to ask the following question of a Calvinist: “Are there some people in hell, right now, who could be in heaven?”

I would, as a Calvinist, answer that question emphatically and without hesitation: NO

They, by their own obstinate free will, refused to confess their sins and repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no possibility whatsoever that they “could” be in heaven.

I would happily try to answer any follow-up questions you may wish to ask.

Respectfully

    John S.

    The first thing I thought of when he asked that question (other than “no”) was that if there are people in hell who could have been in heaven, it is “as though the word of God hath taken none effect.” God FAILED!

Jeremy Crowder

Every time I hear Eric Hankins or read something he’s written I feel pride in having grown up in the Southern Baptist Church. I’ve been concerned for several years now that as friend after friend became Calvinist that the type of Baptist of my family was on the endangered species list. I’m 30 and went to a Calvinst seminary so I know that many people like me are quietly cheering as someone says that we don’t believe we have to loose our traditions like the sinners prayer.

Leslie Puryear

Anybody who thinks the SBC in 1900 was Calvinists just doesn’t know their Baptist history. In 1900, the vast majority of SBC churches were rural churches. Also, most pastors were not seminary graduates. Most SBC pastors were pastoring more than one church at a time. Calvinist beliefs may have existed in certain professors of seminaries but it was virtually non-existent in the churches. Always has and always will be.

    Chris Roberts

    Leslie,

    Do you have history to back the claim, or just demographics? I don’t know whether or not they were Calvinistic, but that they were rural and busy and not educated does not mean they were not Calvinists.

    Joshua

    Leslie,

    Do you have any documentation you could provide that supports your assertions? I’m not understanding why being “rural” necessitates being non-Calvinist.

    Thanks!

      Leslie Puryear

      Joshua,

      Check out Leon McBeth’s “The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness,” particularly his discussion of the larger Baptists.

      Also, another interesting book about that time in SBC life is the “History of the Liberty Baptist Association,” by Henry Sheets. There are too many resources to mention. Just read some local church and association histories around the turn of the 20th century.

      I would also include experience in rural churches and many discussions with pastors who pastored in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s, but I know that won’t tickle your Calvinist fancy. :)

      The Original Les

        Joshua

        Leslie,

        Thanks for the resources! They look very interesting for folks like myself who love Baptist history.

        I must confess that I don’t have time to read those books. Are there certain pages or chapters that support what you’ve said?

        Thanks again!

          Chris Roberts

          McBeth’s book is something of the standard work on Baptist history, well worth having. My copy is at my office so I’ll have to check the reference later, but I did notice Logos has it available as a digital resource.

    Bob Hadley

    Leslie,

    What is real interesting about what people in the pew knew then or what they know now is evident in this comment thread. Here the assertion by the new guys on the block is that they WERE calvinist… and that they still are… and in the next breath they are all so terribly illiterate they cannot even be found.

    Seems to me there is some serious confusion somewhere.

    ><>”

    John S.

    This is them:
    http://sbc.org/aboutus/heritage/default.asp

    This is what they taught:
    http://www.founders.org/journal/fj21/article2.html

    http://www.founders.org/library/boycecat.html

    http://www.pbministries.org/Theology/Davis%20Huckabee/To%20Studies%20In%20Strong%20Doctrine/strong_doctrine_02.htm

    http://www.founders.org/library/dagg_vol1/bk7c4.html

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/robertson_at/wp_romans.txt

    Do a search inside the documents for either the author’s names or for some of the hot-words )predestination, election, etc.) to see that your statement above is far from true.

      Les

      Let me add,

      A SOUTHERN BAPTIST LOOKS AT PREDESTINATION
      Patrick Hues Mell

      Mell was one of the first presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention (1863-1871 and 1880-1887) and its parliamentarian for many years. He also was Professor of Ancient Languages at Mercer University. This work is hard to find but among the best brief defenses of the Doctrines of Grace.

      “Should this publication have the effect to confirm my brethren in the faith once delivered to the Saints, and serve, in any degree, to counteract the tendencites, in our midst to Arminianism, I shall have accomplished my main design in writing.” – The Author

      CALVIN 500 CELEBRATION
      SGCB Price: $6.95 (list price $10.00)

      Order the SOUTHERN BAPTIST TRILOGY on God’s Sovereignty
      SGCB Price: $18.95 (list price $30.00)

      and…

      SOUTHERN BAPTISTS AND THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION
      Robert Selph

      Well-documented book showing the historical roots of Baptists in the doctrine of election.

      One reader wrote the following:

      “This book was the book that confirmed to me where our Baptist founders stood in terms of their theology. It is a book that I am recommending to a Men’s Bible study that has been meeting and studying the Doctrines of Grace. Baptist Preachers have quoted men like C.H. Spurgeon for years, but I’ve never really heard many Baptist preachers teach that he believed in Election & Evangelism just like the Bible teaches in Romans 9 & 10. Thanks for Men of God that will write and preach the truth about what Baptise are suppose to believe.”

      CALVIN 500 CELEBRATION

      SGCB Price: $6.95 (list price $10.00)

      Order the SOUTHERN BAPTIST TRILOGY on God’s Sovereignty
      SGCB Price: $18.95 (list price $30.00)

        John S.

        Very good additions. :)

      Les

      Was Lottie Moon indeed a Calvinist as I seem to have read?

        John S.

        I’ve heard that, but can’t find any of her original writings to prove it.

        Here’s something interesting: Article IV from the Sandy Creek Baptist Association. It predates 1900, but it goes to show that “Calvinism” was part of the SBC regulars:

        “IV. We believe in election from eternity, effectual calling by the Holy Spirit of God, and justification in his sight only by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. And we believe that they who are thus elected, effectually called, and justified, will persevere through grace to the end, that none of them be lost.”

        Randall Cofield

        William Carey, “Father of Modern Missions,” was a Calvinist.

          Randall Cofield

          Kinda knocks the whole “Calvinism is anti-missional” thing in the head, doesn’t it?

Leslie Puryear

Sorry. Forgot my signature to differentiate myself from the Presbyterian, non-SBC Les.

The Original Les

    Les Prouty

    Les, Les here.

    I know you’re the original Les. I’m not a new Calvinist since I’ve been a Calvinist since my Baptist seminary days in the mid 1980s. But maybe I can take the New Les label.

    Anyway, sorry for the confusion. I’m going to start adding my last name. And FYI, I’m Presbyterian and an ordained SB at the same time. I know. Probably everyone of you, Calvinists and Non Calvinists alike are, “What? He can’t do that.” But I can and I am. I’m really here just lying wait to pounce on a baptism post. :)

    God bless,

    New Les

Stephen

The bible does not teach that God does not predetermine and elect people to salvation. I want to ask my semi-arminian friends where does the bible teach against election?

    volfan007

    The Bible doesnt teach against election. Who says that it does?

    David

Jim G.

Let’s cut through this little song and dance up the thread. There is only one ultimate reason why anyone winds up in hell or in heaven if one subscribes to the Augustinian-Calvin synthesis (ACS). That ultimate reason is that God wants them there! All this talk about never willing to come to Christ is just an attempt to make God look nicer. If the same two-edged decree gives God all the credit for salvation, it cannot morally remove from him all responsibility of damnation, no matter how many hoops one jumps through. If all that happens is as God wants, then he ultimately bears some responsibility for people being there.

In the ACS, did anyone in hell ever receive an effectual call that brought them to salvation? No. (Wait…I can hear the “obligation objection” coming in 3..2..1..) Can anyone believe the good news without the effectual call? No. Can anyone provide the effectual call besides God? Again, no.

The one thing that those in hell needed was the (ACS) effectual call. It never came, precisely because God did not want to call them effectually. According to the ACS, he ordained before the foundation of the world that these people would be in hell (either by positive decree or by passing over, it matters not which). The elect, those who receive the effectual call—did they do anything to receive it? No—they just did. Why is Ellie Elect chosen while Randy Reprobate is passed over? No one knows. It’s all a matter, in ACS, of God’s choice, and we cannot possibly know why he chose as he did.

So let’s stop the semantical game. The ACS system has God holding people eternally accountable for failing to do something only he can allow them to do. God damns people for eternity for failing to believe and repent, knowing full well that the only ones who can believe and repent are the ones to whom he gives the grace to do so. If he chooses to withhold the grace, the command can never be kept. The reprobate never have a chance. They are doomed from all eternity, because that is the way God wants it. He could save them, but chooses not to; therefore, it is all their fault.

It is (worse than) the moral equivalent of me beating my two year old black and blue because she does not put both hands on the ceiling as I demanded. I could lift her up so she could, but I choose not to do so and then punish her for not keeping my commandment. Such a view of God is, in my opinion, morally abhorrent.

Jim G.

    Darryl Hill

    Jim…

    #1 you totally misrepresent the reformed view.

    #2 what is the effective difference between what you describe and your own view, which means God created man and requires him, with a fallen nature, to choose entirely on his own to repent of sin and believe the Gospel, knowing all along that the vast majority will never make that choice? And though He could overcome their unbelief or reveal Himself in some clear way to them, He refuses so as not to violate their free will.

    Which is worse?

      Jim G.

      Hi Darryl,

      As to #1, show me where I did, so that I won’t do it again.

      As to #2, you don’t know my view. I’m off the Augustinian grid, so I am a little more nuanced than you give me credit for. It would take some time to explain, if you are really interested.

      Jim G.

        Darryl Hill

        Jim, here is what you said:

        Let’s cut through this little song and dance up the thread. There is only one ultimate reason why anyone winds up in hell or in heaven if one subscribes to the Augustinian-Calvin synthesis (ACS). That ultimate reason is that God wants them there! All this talk about never willing to come to Christ is just an attempt to make God look nicer. If the same two-edged decree gives God all the credit for salvation, it cannot morally remove from him all responsibility of damnation, no matter how many hoops one jumps through. If all that happens is as God wants, then he ultimately bears some responsibility for people being there.

        No matter what you demand the reformed view must believe, it does not make it so. Scripture never says that God WANTS people to end up in hell. On the contrary, He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. The reformed view doesn’t teach it. By the way, you’re making the argument that Paul anticipated in Romans 9.

        14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “ I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

        God does not force people to sin and rebel. They do it by nature. It is a consequence of the fall. They need no help in choosing to continually reject God and His mercy. Romans 1 comes to mind. Though what can be known about God can be clearly seen, they reject Him, and eventually He gives them over to a depraved mind. They reject Him by choice. They do not seek for God. They are not righteous, not even one. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

        Scripture makes it clear (forget Calvin)- man rejects God by choice.

        On the other hand, if any man desires to repent and believe in Jesus Christ, it is only made possible by God’s grace. Indeed, even as Jesus said, “the reason you do not believe me is because you are not of my sheep… my sheep hear my voice and they follow me…” And later He says, “No one CAN COME to Me unless my Father who sent Me draws Him.” It is clear and has been clear throughout Church history that any person who comes to faith only comes because of the grace of God. That doesn’t mean they don’t make a choice, but it does mean that the motivation for that choice could NOT have come from within them (a fallen nature, dead in sin, spiritually blind) but only from God.

        Bottom line: no matter how loudly you protest, you can’t make me agree that I believe something that I do not believe.

          Jim G.

          Then answer me this, Darryl. If he takes no pleasure in it, why did he decree it? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. And single predestination does not help either, because those not elected to salvation are automatically passed over to damnation.

          You can’t avoid the fact that EVERYTHING goes according to plan.

          Jim G.

          Randall Cofield

          Jim G,

          Then answer me this, Darryl. If he takes no pleasure in it, why did he decree it?

          I’m sure you take no pleasure in strongly disciplining your children. If you take no pleasure in it, why do you determine to do it?

          Peace

          Jim G.

          Huge, gargantuan, uncompromisingly large difference, Randall. God is not disciplining them so that they will not repeat bad behavior. He is banishing them from his love forever ultimately because he wants to do it. Don’t even put disciplining children in the same universe.

          I love my kids and I do discipline them for unwanted behavior. But the LAST thing I would ever do is disown them for eternity out of my own free choice because my sense of justice is offended. Or worse yet, choose to heap love, affection, and ultimate bliss on one and cast the other two into outer darkness because I am not obligated to give them bliss.

          Or, better yet, it is as if my children disobeyed me by wandering off and falling into a deep pit, injuring them, but still alive. I, as their wise father, come to the edge of the pit to see my three disobedient children. I drop a rope down to the middle child and pull him out. As the other two look up at me, I bandage up the wounds of my safe child and pick him up and tenderly carry him home as he apologizes (repents) in my arms. The other two, dazed and confused from their fall, do not realize they are not being saved. Of course, I am not obligated to save any of my children, so I leave the other two to die in the pit – they were disobedient, after all. I heap love on the child I have chosen and leave the others in their “sin.” The soon-to-be-only-child knows that he was just as guilty as his siblings, but thanks me for my grace in choosing him out of a pit of certain death. He sees it as my “loving wisdom” to do nothing to save his siblings, because they were disobedient and despised my good commandment to not wander off. He even claims I am glorified in my action of “passing over” the other two children, because their death in the cold pit will bring me more glory than pulling them out would, and I am all about my own glory: a parable.

          What would the police do to me if they found out? Better keep it a secret.

          Jim G.

          Darryl Hill

          Jim, He decrees it because He is perfectly just and holy. Is it not obvious that God has decreed that all those who refuse to repent and believe? Does a just judge whose son commits a crime take pleasure in sentencing him to prison? Would that judge have preferred his son had not broken the law? Yes.

          God prefers that all would come to repentance but that doesn’t change the fact that He will execute justice on those who refuse.

          Jim G.

          Thanks, Darryl. We’ll just have to, like Wesley and Whitefield, agree to disagree. I’m just not communicating clearly enough.

          Have a great day. If I see you this side of heaven, as I told Randall, I’ll buy you a pop.

          Jim G.

      Bob Hadley

      Darryl,

      Jim’s statement with respect to the effectual call HAS to be accurate and for ANY calvinist to try to assert otherwise is some serious doublespeak. His statement is clear; it is concise and it is accurate. Your assertion that it is not so just because you say so, will not suffice.

      As to your question regarding “God creating man and requiring him, with a fallen nature, to choose entirely on his own to repent of sin and believe the Gospel, knowing all along that the vast majority will never make that choice?

      Couple comments. The Biblical position on “fallen man” does not support total inability as the RT position posits so your assertion there falls short, at least as far as I am concerned. Second, your assertion that man must “on his own repent and believe” is completely without basis. For God has sent His Son to Calvary as a first step… and revelation and reconciliation, which are God’s sole initiative, BOTH require a response.

      In this sense, our response to God’s initiative is what determines His response to us and our eternal destiny.

      Your last statement is true; “He could overcome their unbelief or reveal Himself in some clear way to them, He refuses so as not to violate their free will.” I suggest the key to your own objection might be better stated, “He does what He does to remain true to His Character and purpose as He has predestined it to be.”

      ><>”

        Darryl Hill

        The biblical position DOES support inability of a natural man to come to Christ… I quoted one just above.

        “no one CAN COME to me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent me draws Him.”
        “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who believe it is the power of God.”
        “And you He has quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.”
        “It is God who is at work in you both to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
        “he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
        “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

        It is there. No man can come to Christ unless the Father who sent Him draws that person. They can’t come without God’s intervention. They have no desire to come without God’s intervention.

          Darryl Hill

          (Crickets…)

          Inability of natural man to come to God is saving faith found all over Scripture.

    Randall Cofield

    Rom. 9:13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
    14 ¶ What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!
    15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
    16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
    17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
    18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
    19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”
    20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
    21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?

      Randall Cofield

      Amazing how the text of actual Scripture is mostly ignored on these threads……

    Randall Cofield

    Jim G,

    “If he chooses to withhold the grace, the command can never be kept. The reprobate never have a chance. They are doomed from all eternity, because that is the way God wants it. He could save them, but chooses not to; therefore, it is all their fault.”

    What of the untold millions who have lived and died without ever hearing the gospel? They never had a “chance” to be saved, because they never heard the Gospel. Could God have provided means for them to hear the Gospel? Sure He could have. But He didn’t.

    Shall you impugn Almighty God for this?

    Brother, Calvinism is not your problem. The fact that God is under no obligation whatsoever to save rebel sinners is the rock that you are dashing yourself against. You cannot get around this regardless of your theological persuasions.

    And this is precisely why God’s grace is so utterly amazing.

    Soli Deo Gloria

      Jim G.

      Hi Randall,

      You must admit, though, I called the “obligation objection.” I’m surprised it took this long. :0)

      Jim G.

        Randall Cofield

        Jim G,

        Brother, the fact that you caricature the exposure of an obvious, gaping hole in your argument does not make it less than a gaping hole.

        So…what of those who never hear the gospel?

        Peace

          Jim G.

          Hi Randall,

          Since you asked, I don’t know. I fully believe babies who never hear (and by hear I mean hear and understand the general call) the gospel are saved. I hope that God has mercy on those who did not hear the general call of the gospel. I have no explicit warrant for claiming that he does have mercy, but I also do not think I have an explicit warrant for claiming that he does not. I am cautiously hopeful based on God’s character. But I will still bust my tail to proclaim his message to them because I know that if they repent and believe, they will be saved.

          I do not ultimately know what God does with those who never have a chance to hear. I gave you my hunch but I could be wrong. But a more pressing issue for me right now is those who have received the general call but are denied the effectual call.

          And I was not making a caricature. I know God is not obligated, but obligation is not and never was the point. Salvation is by love and grace, not by obligation anyway. So diverting to discussing God’s lack of obligation really does not solve anything. It’s just a standard answer.

          Jim G.

          selahV-hariette

          Randall,
          Hello again, Nice to see you back.

          You asked:

          “What of the untold millions who have lived and died without ever hearing the gospel? They never had a “chance” to be saved, because they never heard the Gospel. Could God have provided means for them to hear the Gospel? Sure He could have. But He didn’t.”

          These questions have troubled me since the day I was saved. I’d drive down the road, come to a stoplight and think, “but what about them, Lord? How do can they know?” I’d talk with God and begin to pray for that lady with the red scarf on her head, and the man smoking a cigarette in the Dulley pick-up. I talked and talked to God about this and cried tears for those who would never hear without someone to tell them. And after searching Scripture (and especially Job), I came the conclusion that God is God. That’s how. If God says He is not willing that any should perish, then God has, at some point in time (of which I cannot know), given that person an opportunity to hear and to respond. He is without excuse.

          It’s like the Lord told me (and hey, don’t get too caught up in that, it’s not like he had a booming voice or anything) but His Spirit spoke through the Word like when He told Job about how dare he question Him? And this is what came to me:
          How do “you” know there are untold millions who lived and died without ever hearing the gospel? And my answer was “I don’t know. Who could?” What person on this earth has been with every single person on this earth who has lived and died? Has someone followed them around and kept a journal? What is that to me, other than to share with those within my sphere of influence?

          So not only could God have provided a means, He must have. It is a contradiction of His Word if He didn’t. Just because we do not know the means, does not mean there wasn’t a means. We do not know He didn’t. We do not know everything. We only know “in part”.
          This does not negate the responsibility I have for sharing Christ with those with whom God puts in my path, either. He will hold me accountable for that which I do in the body, and how He will have me give an account and, what that means precisely, is beyond my comprehension–but He will.

          So how a person ends up in hell is, in my mind, and according to scripture, that he rejected God. And how he ends up in heaven is because he did not reject God but accepted the free gift which is given to whosoever will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and repent of his sin.

          I know this is not a big theological, “causation/effectual/whatever” explanation. It may even be like that “Enlightenment” stuff that you talked about yesterday. But this is how God has given me peace with it all. That’s it. talk again later. selahV

          Bob Hadley

          Harriett,

          Very good post. You are correct; God does not tell us everything in the Bible only that He is just and has everything under His control. What He does tell us is what He has done so that people might believe in Who He is and what it is that He has done for us as a remedy for our sin. Those who trust in Him through repentance and faith, He promises He will save, both now and forever.

          Those that do not believe will perish. Now, to claim that God and God alone is the One who determines who will and will not repent and believe seems to be quite superstitious at best and well … at worst. (You can fill in the blank) Such a position I believe indeed impugns the character of Almighty God.

          ><>”

          Randall Cofield

          Jim G, Bob Hadley, and SelahV-Harriette,

          While I certainly share your empathy for those who have never heard the Gospel, I shall not presume to speak for God on this issue. He is quite clear on this point:

          1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

          Ro 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

          Ro 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

          As a Calvinist, this is my motivation for preaching the gospel.

          The three of you, however, seem to contend that God will somehow save all those who never hear the Gospel. I find this to be completely untenable biblically.

          So here is my question: If God will save them without them hearing the Gospel…but if they hear the Gospel they could very well reject that same Gospel and be forever lost…are they not better off having never heard the Gospel?

          What is your motivation for preaching the gospel?

          Soli Deo Gloria

      selahV-hariette

      Randall,

      Since you lumped my name in with Jim G, and Bob Hadley, I’m not sure what part of your response was meant to target what I said to you, but you wrote:

      “So here is my question: If God will save them without them hearing the Gospel…but if they hear the Gospel they could very well reject that same Gospel and be forever lost…are they not better off having never heard the Gospel?”

      What is your motivation for preaching the gospel?”

      1…I never said that God would save them without hearing the gospel.
      2…”better off”? how would they be better off never having heard the Gospel?
      3…I don’t preach, so I don’t have a motivation for preaching the gospel. I do share Jesus in writing (witness when I am able). My motivation is the same as yours. I pray to reach those who do not know so they will know and to encourage those who know to keep reaching out to those who do not know, and also, to encourage Believers in their walk with God. But that is just me…selahV

        Randall Cofield

        SelahV,

        You said in your previous post:
        “So not only could God have provided a means, He must have. It is a contradiction of His Word if He didn’t.”

        Where in scripture do we find that God is obligated to provide the means of salvation? If he “must” (is obligated), then it is not grace on His part, but His duty.

        Grace and Peace

          Lydia

          Oh dear. Every single comment is bent and twisted to fit the Augustinian grid in response so it becomes futile.

          What concerns me is this attitude goes into our churches and church plants. And only those who will bow a knee to the NC interpretation will be deemed a true member of the body. (After they have signed the membership covenant promising to obey the elder rule oops, elder led)

          I mean if it is this intense on a blog can you imagine poor old Mrs. Mildred who just wants to be like Jesus? (Her type was described as the “casserole” types on another blog. Not cool enough for the YRR but they will take her money)

          The Mrs. Mildreds do not stand a chance against the linguistic onslaught of changed definitions, etc, from the smart young preacher.
          (Which is why I think they prefer church plants)

          selahV-hariette

          Randall, okay, I need to get ready for church but I shall quickly answer your question. What you take my “must” to mean is not how I am saying it.

          “Must” in the sentence is that Jesus has said that no one comes to the father but by Him. So God must save him if he comes to the Father through Jesus and does not save him if he does not come through Jesus. And the question on the table in the threads from you concerning the person who needs to “hear” the gospel in order to be saved was:

          Could God have provided means for them to hear the Gospel? Sure He could have. But He didn’t.”

          And I replied to that presupposition that you made. <i.Could He and He didn't with How do you know He didn’t? How do you know He didn’t provide a means by which some person out there heard the gospel in their lifetime? Just because you don’t know of the time, doesn’t meant it did not occur, no more than just because you are not in the forest when a tree falls negates the conclusion that it did not make a sound. If God says that man cannot be saved without having heard the gospel, and that He is not willing that any man should perish, then He has provided a means–somewhere at some point for that person to hear the gospel message. He affirms that it is necessary with the very fact that when a person is saved he is saved because he needs to hear and by faith believes.

          So if he is saved because he must hear and believe by faith, then a person is lost and unsaved when he hears and does not believe and does not exercise faith. God provides the means–you just cannot begin to know when or where or how He provided it. God created hell for the devil and his angels. Men go there when they refuse to believe God.

          You gave the scriptures above that speak to what I am saying. Our reasoning is not the same. Our viewpoint is not the same. Our understanding and interpretation and logic is not the same. You see things through a 20/20 lens made from Calvinism plastic. I see through a 20/20 lens made of Traditionalist/Biblical glass. It’s very simple. I do not agree with how you come to your conclusions and you do not agree with how I come to mine reading the same Scripture. You say I am wrong. I am okay with that. It is okay that you say I am wrong. I do not lose sleep over it. And I’m sure you don’t lose sleep over me sounding like some ding-bat from lah lah land.

          Hope this helps. If not, well, we’ll get to spend eternity together laughing about it all. In the meantime, we shall both endeavor to share Jesus with everyone the Lord puts in our pathway. God bless you brother. I pray He shows Himself mightily to you in worship today. selahV

      John S.

      Amen!

      selahV-hariette

      Hi Lydia, yeah…that’s me. I’m the casserole grama and the youth teacher/really nobody in the church. What could I know? What you do make here is an incredibly valid point though that seems to be missed by all the folk in debate-land.

      I think about the dearest sweet ladies in our church who are volunteering at the pregnancy resource centers and how they share Jesus with the single-moms who think they have to get an abortion to live a life of freedom with less constraints. I am sure glad they do not feel they have to explain each and every point of what reformed folks say must be explained and understood before the Lord can draw them close enough to comprehend their elected status. Many of them come to the resource center thinking they are next to dirt and slime already. I’m sure that Ms. Sally and Ms. Rita are fully capable of sharing Jesus with them and leading them to receive the grace God offers through the blood of Christ His Son. selahV

    Christian

    Well stated! I totally agree.

    Debbie Kaufman

    It is (worse than) the moral equivalent of me beating my two year old black and blue because she does not put both hands on the ceiling as I demanded. I could lift her up so she could, but I choose not to do so and then punish her for not keeping my commandment. Such a view of God is, in my opinion, morally abhorrent.

    This is exactly what those without Christ say about God and our view that there is a hell and Christ is the only way of escape.

Stephen

Jim G. your comment affirms just what I thought. You cant point to a scriptural text. Instead your feeling are the authoritative source for your theology. This is evidenced by the last sentence of your speal. For those who believe in election and predestination, scripture is the final authority. My recomendation to you is: first, pray that God allow your feelings to be controled by scripture and second, use a concordance and study all the references to election and predestination. Sometimes it is hard to accept things in scripture. In college I had an atheist friend that refused to believe in an eternal hell bcause he thought God would be a moral monster if that was true. I encourage you not to be like my atheist friend instead just affirm what scripture affirms regardless of how you feel and your traditions.

    Don Johnson

    Stephen,

    Yes, the Bible mentions election and predestination. However it doesn’t state anyone is elected to be saved.

    Jim G.

    Thanks for the advice, Stephen. I really do appreciate it and it is good advice. I am quite familiar already with the predestination and election texts in the New Testament. I do not question what they say. I do, however, question the meaning the ACS has placed on them given Augustine’s philosophical presuppositions that most western thinkers after him have uncritically adopted.

    Now, I could quote a bunch of texts in my posts if I so wanted, but I don’t think it would be helpful. We probably would not agree on the meanings of those texts. Our respective interpretive grids would cause us to be like two ships passing in the night.

    Now I do want to correct you on one point. My feeling is not the starting point. I know a little theology from here and there, and I would be your classic Protestant Liberal in the tradition of Schleiermacher if I started from feeling. My starting point of all my theological endeavor is the triune God revealed in Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit attested to in the Scriptures. That is a long way from feeling, my friend. Tell me, did I misrepresent a thing I said about the ACS? If I did, I’d be happy to correct it.

    Jim G.

      Mary

      Jim G., getting a little fiesty tonight ain’t ya :)

        Jim G.

        I need to get off the ‘puter and hit the sack. I’m taking my 9-yr-old blackberry picking in the morning. I want to hit the patch before it gets too hot.

        Jim G.

          selahV-hariette

          Jim G. , you are the sweetest guy. I love your responses and look forward to seeing you again after the berries are picked washed and ate. Sounds wonderful. I do believe I eat more than I bring home. Can’t help it. I just tell the people tallying them up to add a couple more pounds to the price tag. lol. selahV

          Cb scott

          Jim G.,

          I trust you took your trusty .44 cal. wheel gun with you loaded with snake shot. There are Copperheads and Rattlers in other places that Baptist blog comment threads, you know?

          Jim G.

          Back….

          We got almost 3 gallons before the heat ran us out. My wife is going to juice them to make jelly. I only pick wild ones, so you have to beat others to the sweetheart patches.

          CB, actually, you see more blacksnakes in berry patches. I’m not too scared of the snakes without legs. The ones with two legs have nastier venom.

          Jim G.

      Tim Rogers

      Jim,

      You are still the theological geek, I met in McDonalds for a Frappe Mocha. Let’s do it again soon.

      Tim

        Jim G.

        Any time, Tim. I’m always up for a good discussion, especially when I can drive 15 minutes!

        Jim G.

      Stephen

      Your wrote, “Now, I could quote a bunch of texts in my posts if I so wanted, but I don’t think it would be helpful. We probably would not agree on the meanings of those texts. Our respective interpretive grids would cause us to be like two ships passing in the night.”
      Of course we may not agree at first. But I would hope that we would both want to spend time exegeting the text and maybe Gods word, being more powerful than a two edged sword, would transform either one of us or both of us. If we give up hope there then what is the point of all the theological discussion? Yes I am a calvinist. Yes I am an augustinian. But I care far less about Augstines debate with Pelagius than I do in comparison to the Holy Scriptures. What we need is good historical-grammatical exegetical arguments from both sides.

        Jim G.

        Hi Stephen,

        I am answering this in all honesty, so please don’t take me for a smart-aleck. I think we would highly agree on exegesis. It is interpretation where we would disagree. We come at the Scriptures with a different set of theological presuppositions.

        Now, I truly would love to sit down face-to-face and do just what you suggested. Doing it on a blog would be impossible. Just know that I sincerely would love to do so and perhaps we could both walk away a little more appreciative of the other point of view, even if we remained unconvinced. This is a 1600-year-old problem, but there is always hope.

        Jim G.

          Randall Cofield

          Jim G,

          “I think we would highly agree on exegesis. It is interpretation where we would disagree. We come at the Scriptures with a different set of theological presuppositions.”

          Jim, I’ve seen this idea set forth a couple of times on these threads. I understand sound exegesis itself to be the means of accurate interpretation. Hence, when I exegete a passage and it contradicts my theological presuppositions, it seems to me that I must revisit those presuppositions and calibrate them accordingly.

          What am I missing here?

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Jim G.

          Hi Randall,

          As a student of the intersection of Bible and theology, I don’t think it is always as simple as you suggest. Now often it is, but there are some times (a minority of the whole, in my opinion), where exegesis and interpretation are far apart.

          One good historical example is the Arian controversy. Each side had their “texts.” They all spoke Greek, so exegesis was not a major issue. For every John 14:10-11 the Trinitarians shot out, they were met with a John 14:28 from the Arians. Back and forth they went, with proper exegesis on both sides, but the Arians lacked the proper interpretive framework to understand how the texts fit together.

          Now this present debate is very similar. The ACS is controlled by a couple of very important philosophical presuppositions coming directly from Augustine. One is the well-ordered world upheld by God’s meticulous sovereignty. The other is a “proto-infralapsarian” view of humanity that presupposes a real change in human nature at the fall. I do not know that there is any biblical text that will clearly confirm or deny these presuppositions, which is why theological reflection must be utilized to examine their explanatory power (much like Athanasius did in “Against the Arians”). I happen to think these presuppositions cause more problems than they solve, and should be rejected. So I do not read the Bible through those lenses, while most in the ACS world do. That is why the debate sits on the interpretive, rather than the exegetical level – it is what the texts mean given our presuppositions that causes the difficulties.

          Jim G.

          Stephen

          If your not interested in doing the hard work of exegetical argumentation then why even post on threads like this trying to present arguments. Seems like a waste of time.

          Randall Cofield

          Jim G,

          You said: “…it is what the texts mean given our presuppositions that causes the difficulties.”

          Three questions:

          1) Were the human authors of the Bible moved along in their writing by their presuppositions or by the Holy Spirit?

          2) Do you believe that it is possible to discern the meaning of the text from the text itself?

          3) What are your interpretive presuppositions?

          Well, four questions, actually:

          4) Should not our presuppositions (yours and mine) be fully informed by the Word of God?

          It seems your contention here may be only one step removed from the post-modern insistence that words have only the meaning attributed to them by the individual reading them.

          Peace

          Cb scott

          Randall Cofield,

          Why do you constantly place your entire comment in bold print?

          1). Do you think you need to yell?
          2). Are you yelling?
          3). Are you trying to yell the person you are in dialogue with down?
          4). Do you feel that your comments are of a superior nature to those of all others in the comment thread?
          5). Are you angry?
          6). Are you just immature and are throwing a tantrum?
          7). Did you lack adult attention as a child and do not know how to communicate with adults in a community dialogue?
          8). Are your computer skills lacking and your type pad is locked in bold print and you do not know how to stop it?
          9). Have you traded up from a PC to an Apple and are learning to use the new computer without reading the instructions?
          10). Are you just one of the “Elephant in the Room, Hybrid-Cals who is causing the problems in the SBC that brought about this needless divide in the first place?

          Jim G.

          Stephen and Randall,

          Let’s stop assuming the worst, okay?

          Stephen: I don’t appreciate being called lazy. You know nothing about me. Don’t presume to assume.

          Randall: What about those people who have received a general call but God denies them the effectual call? I haven’t forgotten. Instead of presuming to know my motives and attacking them, why not just answer the question? And the bold is getting old.

          Jim G.

          Randall Cofield

          CBScott,

          Re: Your litany of questions…

          Ga. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
          23 gentleness, self–control; against such things there is no law.

          Brother, sarcasm is not a fruit of the Spirit.

          Peacefully submitted,

          R. Cofield

          Randall Cofield

          Jim G,

          “Randall: What about those people who have received a general call but God denies them the effectual call?”

          They cannot be saved. They have rebelled against a gracious and benevolent Creator, and He has determined to allow them to remain in the obstinate rebellion of their own free will.

          “Instead of presuming to know my motives and attacking them,…”

          I have not consciously presumed your motives, nor am I aware of my having attacked you. If you will point out where I have been guilty of either of these I will humbly seek your forgiveness.

          “….why not just answer the question?”

          I have, and will continue to do so to the best of my ability. I trust that you will reciprocate.

          “And the bold is getting old.”

          I set my comments in bold because it helps me locate my conversations more easily when scrolling through these rather lengthy threads.

          As it seems some are offended by this practice I shall desist for the sake of my brothers.

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Jim G.

          Thanks for answering, Randall. While I do not think I will change your mind, I hope you see my point, which is that, for one reason or another, God does not want to save them. He could, but he chooses not to. This, of course, brings us face to face with a large set of texts spanning both testaments and most literary genres that says such actions are out of character for God.

          Throw in the idea that most historic Calvinist confessions proclaim that God is the cause of all events, and the meticulous determinism it entails, and I hope you can see why I am forced to another paradigm to preserve God’s goodness. You don’t have to agree; I just want you to understand. If you are okay in that paradigm, fine. But it is not the only viable answer.

          Now, you strongly hinted up the chain that I was presuming to speak for God. If you go back and reread what I actually wrote, you will see that I said I don’t know how God works in judgment upon those who do not have a general call. I’m not presuming to speak for him. I said I hope he has mercy, but I do not have biblical warrant for being certain of it. That’s not presumption. Also, I’m not a postmodernist when it comes to biblical interpretation. I do see the meaning coming from the divine author. But we interpret the text differently and I do not see exegesis as a fool-proof formula to decide between competing interpretations (see my comment above on the Arian controversy). As I said above, you are assuming the worst in me without knowing the full story.

          Bold (while it works for you) is considered bad netiquette. That is what CB was getting at.

          Hope this clarifies.

          Jim G.

          Cb scott

          Randall Cofield,

          You are right. Sarcasm is not a fruit of the Spirit. Nonetheless, it is an effective form of communication and was often employed in the Scripture by a multitude of personalities in both the Old and New Testaments. It is extremely effective when dealing with jerks and various other types of people with inflated egos with such selfish, self-centered personalities who would be so “bold” as to state their selfishness and self-centered, narcissistic motives for making all of their comments in bold print by the following:

          “I set my comments in bold because it helps me locate my conversations more easily when scrolling through these rather lengthy threads.”

          Of course, you may not be as described above one bit, come to think of it. Normally, most folks have the cognitive ability to find their comments without attaching “boldly” shining neon lights to them.

          Therefore, let me apologize for having exposed in print what should have been obvious to me all along. I should have kept my questions to myself and not shed this “bold” light on such a stark and “bold” reality right before my eyes.

          So you just go on with your “Elephant in the Room, Hybrid-Cal, Bad-Boy” self who has arrived with all the answers to all the questions and I will just sit over here in the corner and keep my sarcastic self out of your so very important comments that all need to read in “bold” print.

          Shalom

          Randall Cofield

          CB Scott,

          While it was certainly never my intention to offend you, clearly I have.

          I humbly ask your forgiveness.

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Randall Cofield

          Jim G,

          “I hope you see my point, which is that, for one reason or another, God does not want to save them. He could, but he chooses not to. This, of course, brings us face to face with a large set of texts spanning both testaments and most literary genres that says such actions are out of character for God.”

          Brother, that is why I asked the above questions concerning those who never hear the Gospel. Clearly they cannot be saved without hearing the Gospel, and clearly God could provide the Gospel message for their hearing. Yet he does not.

          The claim that the Calvinist positions denigrates God’s character is not a valid argument, for even those who are non-Calvinists are left with the same problem–God could provide the Gospel for all, but he does not. Without the preached Gospel they cannot be saved, per the clear passages I offered above.

          In light of this, the large set of texts to which you refer are just as difficult for you to interpret as they are for me. So what to do?

          In my understanding, simply this, which speaks to the questions I posed concerning exegesis: Interpret the passages in the standard fashion–literally/grammatically/historically/ *contextually.* By contextually, I understand that we are to interpret the passage first in its immediate context (surrounding verses), then in the larger context of the surrounding chapters/book, and finally in the context of the whole of Scripture.

          If my interpretation of a passage contradicts another passage (anywhere in the Bible) there are only one of two possibilities (assuming inerrancy): Either my interpretation of the passage in question is wrong, or my interpretation of the passage it contradicts is wrong. I am aware of no other possibilities.

          To contend (if that’s what you were doing) that exegesis alone is insufficient for interpretation leaves us in no-man’s-land. We simply cannot know what the Bible is actually saying.

          If we claim that presuppositions determine our exegesis…and hence, our interpretation (wasn’t that what you were saying?), then our presuppositions must be brought to the crucible of God’s Word (Presuppositional Apologeitcs) and vetted for accuracy.

          And that puts us right back to having to do the heavy work of faithful, sound, exegesis, does it not?

          Where am I wrong, Brother?

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Jim G.

          I did not say you were wrong, Randall. You might be right. I doubt it, but the possibility exists.

          As for me having the same problem as Calvinists, that is not true by a long shot. I have a somewhat similar problem, but it is not the same. I really believe God wants everyone to hear and be saved. You do not believe that, because you believe he has chosen those whom he will save and does not want the rest. Now, when we run into the texts that say God wants everyone saved or that he does not desire the death of the wicked, what do we do? I would imagine you do as every ACS subscriber since Augustine has done, you explain them away. So it is not about the plain meaning in those texts. It is about bending them to fit the preconceived theological system. “All” just cannot mean “all” in 1 Timothy 2:4. Ezekiel 33:13 cannot mean what it plainly says. 2 Peter 3:9 is troublesome. Jeremiah 19:5 and 32:9, and on and on.

          If you treat them straightforwardly, the idea of election to reprobation (whether done in infra or supra) loses some punch. Then come my theological reasons, which are legion.

          Therefore I reject the two primary Augustinan-Calvin assumptions that lead to the doctrine of individual unconditional election to salvation and/or reprobation. I don’t want to belabor this, but we just disagree. And this disagreement goes deeper than just the words of the Bible. It is our presuppositions, our hermeneutical method, and a variety of other things.

          Jim G.

          Randall Cofield

          Jim G,

          “As for me having the same problem as Calvinists, that is not true by a long shot. I have a somewhat similar problem, but it is not the same. I really believe God wants everyone to hear and be saved.”

          Brother, I would propose that you have a significantly more difficult problem that do Calvinists. If God truly *wants* everyone to be saved, yet everyone is not saved, I see only one possibility: God is not capable of saving everyone. I’m fairly certain you don’t believe that, yet the “problem” remains.

          “You do not believe that, because you believe he has chosen those whom he will save and does not want the rest.”

          Again, Brother, this leads to serious problems. Does God not have the…shall I say “free will”…to chose whom He will save? Shall we claim free will for man, but refuse it to Almighty God?

          As for God not “want(ing) the rest,” why would God want those which rebel against Him, sin against Him, and are His enemies? Does not His Holy and Just character demand that He judge and punish such?

          Is he somehow obligated to want that which is antithetical to His very nature? If He is thus obligated, then for God to save anyone is not salvation by grace but by duty. And if it is by duty, then is He not bound by that same obligation to save all?

          Nay, brother. Salvation is all of grace, and you and I are no more deserving of such grace than the vilest sinner already in hell.

          To me, the wonder of salvation is that God would “want” even one of us, let alone a multitude that no man can number from every kindred, tribe, and tongue. The fact that He didn’t want all of us is not that difficult to for me to understand…

          Of course you can point to my anthropological/theological presuppositions and dismiss all I’ve said here. But that would be no better than me saying “my hermeneutics /presuppositions are better than yours” (which, by the way, is exactly why these discussions on these threads are seldom productive–that’s what the vast majority are, in essence, saying).

          Why not do a little presuppositional apologetics and deal exegetically with the roots that lie at the base of our disagreement?

          Where am I wrong, Brother?

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Jim G.

          Hi Randall,

          “Where am I wrong, Brother?”

          Two things, though you’ll likely not agree and I’ll go away.

          First, you confuse what the Bible says and what you think it says. Your tradition, with its emphasis on everything is exactly as God wants it, can never be comfortable with texts that seem to go against such an assumption. Beginning with Augustine, God can’t REALLY want all to be saved, because it is obvious that some are not saved. Therefore, an alternate “exegesis” (really “interpretation”) of 1 Tim 2:4 and many like it must be given. They cannot mean what they say. It contradicts assumption #1. It’s a common thread for 1600 years now.

          Second, spend a few hours listening to what your opponents say instead of what your friends say they say. You are shooting the standard Reformed line right back at me, with its oversimplified (and dare I say man-centered) critiques of what I believe. The “if God wanted everyone to be saved and they are not which makes God a failure or impotent” line is pretty tired. You’ve never looked into why we believe as we do. You just poll-parrot the standard Calvinist come-back. I’ve taken the time to understand your view (despite Darryl), now please use the same courtesy and take the time to understand mine.

          Those are the places you are wrong.

          I’ll bow out now.

          Jim G.

          Randall Cofield

          Jim G,

          2Pe 3:9 ¶ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us–ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

          I deal with this passage exegetically by taking usward to mean the elect, rendering the following clause to mean that God is not willing that any of the elect should perish, etc. I do so on the following grounds:

          1) The entire letter is addressed to those
          already saved (1:1)
          2) Vs. 8 indicates that he is still speaking to the
          saved in the term “beloved.”
          3) Vss. 11-14 indicate that the addressees have
          not changed within the context.

          But let’s assume that exegesis is wrong. How do you reconcile your interpretation of 2 Pe. 3:9 with the following texts:

          Isa. 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
          10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

          and

          Da 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

          Obviously, you know that there are multitudes of other texts declaring God’s unrivaled competence to accomplish that which He wills, but let’s start with just these 2.
          ********************

          You said:

          Second, spend a few hours listening to what your opponents say instead of what your friends say they say.

          I have. Born and raised in a pastor’s home, believed exactly the things you have posted here for the first 30 years of my life. Embraced what I currently believe after 2 years of struggling fiercely against the Doctrines of Grace. Been a Calvinistic pastor for 15 years. Have had to defend myself once or twice. Have both seen and believed every anti-Calvinism argument offered to date on these threads… + a few that were actually cogent.

          You said:

          You are shooting the standard Reformed line right back at me, with its oversimplified (and dare I say man-centered) critiques of what I believe.

          If they are over simplified it would seem that they would be rather easily refuted. (Note: Calling them “tired,” “oversimplified,” and “man-centered” is not = to a sound refutation.)

          You said:

          The “if God wanted everyone to be saved and they are not which makes God a failure or impotent” line is pretty tired.

          Again, this does not qualify as a refutation.

          You said:

          You’ve never looked into why we believe as we do.

          Really? Never? May I borrow your crystal ball? (See above)

          You said:

          You just poll-parrot the standard Calvinist come-back.

          Caricature does not = refutation.

          You said:

          I’ve taken the time to understand your view…

          Are you contending that this opening salvo against me was tantamount to having “taken the time to understand” me?:

          Let’s cut through this little song and dance up the thread.–Jim G.

          You said:

          now please use the same courtesy and take the time to understand mine.

          Right….

          You seemingly want to play rough, so let’s dance.

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Jim G.

          Go dance by yourself, Randall. I’m not interested. We’ll not accomplish anything. I’ll see you in heaven, if not before. If I do see you before, I’ll buy you a pop (not a coffee drinker, sorry). Be blessed in your faith.

          Jim G.

          Randall Cofield

          Jim G,

          Thanks for the exchanges, brother.

          I do look forward to the time when we can all begin to understand the matchless glories of our Lord with glorified minds. I am firmly convinced that then all of our positions on these issues will pale in comparison to the majestic revealed reality of God’s glorious redemptive work in Christ Jesus. See you there.

          In the mean time, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and your family.

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Jim G.

          Now THAT, I can agree with. :0)

          Jim G.

Stephen

Don,
Sure it does. Consider Ephesian 1:11-12. “In whom also we have been elected since we have been predestined according to the purpose of the one who works all things after the council of his will, for the purpose that we would be the first to hope in Christ to the praise of his glory.” The eis in verse 12 is modifying proorizo in verse 11. Also notice here that Paul uses Gods soveriegnty in the highest possible terms. The very fact that Paul uses proorizo would indicate to a first century reader that Paul believed in some form of determinism and not libertarian free will. This is to be expected given the fact that compatibalism was the dominant perspective of the Pharisaic school as apposed to the Saduccess who believed in libertarian free will. Don’t believe me look it up in Josephus.

    volfan007

    I always chuckle a little bit when someone comes in here quoting a Scripture that we all believe, and then acts like the rest of us dont really dont what it says, or else, we’re refusing to believe it. lol

    C’mon, Stephen, we all believe that verse…..just probably not the way that you read it….with your Augustinian eyeglasses on…..
    David

      Randall Cofield

      Hi David,

      “C’mon, Stephen, we all believe that verse…..just probably not the way that you read it….with your Augustinian eyeglasses on…..”

      So why not deal with the passage exegetically and show him the error of his Augustinian way?

      Peace

      JCJ

      Volfan, you make me laugh.

    Don Johnson

    Stephen,

    Read the verse again. Those are spritual blessings for those who are “In whom”. In other words it is for those already saved, unless of course you believe someone can be in Christ before they are saved.

    Again, I’ll repeat there are no verses in the Bible that state one is elected to salvation.

      Chappy

      Don,

      read:

      Acts 13:48 – as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
      Romans 8:28-30 – those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justifed.
      Ephesians 1:4-6 “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, acording to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.

        Don Johnson

        Chappy,

        Let’s take one at time.

        In Acts 13:48 where does it say “elected”?

        Ordained is not the same as elect in English or Greek.

        I also assume you what in read into the text that “God ordained” am I correct?

          Chappy

          I am assuming that your objection to election is that you do not believe that God, in eternity past, chose, elected, or ordained individuals who would be saved . I’m assuming you believe that God ordained, elected or chose, that anyone who freely trusts Christ would be saved. I’m using the words ordained or elected interchangably there because I know both communicate the idea you reject.

          I also don’t think I’m reading into the text that God did the ordaining. Do you think that we ordained ourselves? What is the other alternative?

          Don Johnson

          Chappy,

          You said you don’t think you are reading “God” into the text. Does that mean you don’t believe “God” did the ordaining and we should determine from the context who did the ordaining?

          Chappy

          I don’t understand your question or what you meant by the phrase “reading in to the text.” I’m not sure that matters.

          I believe God did the ordaining.
          Who do you believe did the ordaining?

          Don Johnson

          Chappy,

          What I mean by reading into the text is inferrng a word or words which are not in the text, in order to fit ones theology, instead of using the context.

          Chappy

          Maybe I am reading that into the text. It doesn’t say that God did the ordaining. I’ll grant you that.

          I am assuming, based on my system of theology that God did the ordaining. I could be incorrect.

          I have an open mind, tell me, who did the ordaining?

      Stephen

      Don,
      That is speaking of union with Christ. The participal prooristhentes is an adverbial participal explaining the cause of the verb: “In him we were elected because we were predestined …”

      I will have to say that Chappy’s pointing out Acts 13:48 is quit clear. Notice here it is “… to eternal life.” Thus I think you should take back the last sentence and change your position.

      Chappy

      Don,

      I also want to say that I do believe that we are, in some sense, “in Christ” before we are saved in time. Actually, in some sense, our union with Christ is eternal because we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of time and we will be unified with Christ when time is no more.
      Eph. 1-4
      2 Tim 1:9

        Don Johnson

        Chappy,

        If we were in Christ before we were saved, why did Paul say Andronicus and Junia were in Christ before him (Rom. 15:7)?

          Chappy

          I think in that context he was speaking of our union with christ which occurs “in time” as opposed to the eternal nature of the union.

          Don Johnson

          Chappy,

          Are you saying Christians have always been God’s (elect, chosen, beloved, people)?

        Chappy

        In a sense I suppose that is what I am saying.
        The election took place before the foundation of the world. Therefore, when the world was founded and time as we know it was established, we were in some way related to Christ because we were chosen, ordained, and elected beforehand in eternity.
        Now, from my experience in time, I was not always “in Christ.” I was born with a sin nature that caused me to be an enemy of God. However, for some reason, I was blessed enough to live in time and place where the gospel was proclaimed one Spring night of 1982 and I responded in repentance and faith and was saved.

        I think in your question you might also be asking me if I think Christians were always elect as opposed to the nation of Israel. You may not be asking me that. I sort of feel like you are trying to trap me. So I’m not sure what you are wanting me to say to fall in your trap.

        But, I don’t think that the Church was plan B and that the church became elect after Israel failed.

        Perhaps you could ask the question in another way, maybe you could make a statement and ask me if I agree with you.

          Don Johnson

          I will in the morning. I’m going to bed.

          Don Johnson

          Chappy,

          I often read someone saying they don’t know who the “elect” are so they must give the Gospel to everyone.

          Again, my point is that there are NO unsaved “elect” people in world unless they are Jews. A person becomes “elect” when he gets saved. Before becoming saved he is the enemy of God (Rom. 5:10) and not His elect. There is no such thing as an “elect-enemy.”

          Rom. 8:9 …Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.

          If “none” means “none” (and it does) then no one is God’s elect until he receives His Spirit.

          If “none” means “none” in Rom 3:10, it also means none in Rom. 8:9.

      Stephen

      Don you wrote, “Read the verse again. Those are spritual blessings for those who are “In whom”. In other words it is for those already saved, unless of course you believe someone can be in Christ before they are saved.”

      No. This isnt talking about people who are already saved. Notice that he elected us in union “before the foundation of the world in him.” Ephesian 1:4. Alright I am really going to bed now as I said before :)

    Bob Hadley

    Stephen,

    What I am wondering as you look at the Greek, as I am supposing you are, why you do not simply comment on what the Greek says in verse 12, “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” as opposed to the longer version that you conveniently quoted. “that we” who??? “those who FIRST TRUSTED IN CHRIST not those God chose to trust in Christ.

    Elected and Predestined as Jim has said carry differing applications and I am confident you have heard them espoused more times that you care to own up too.

    Your own statement that “Paul uses Gods soveriegnty in the highest possible terms” is interesting as well; how else could sovereignty be expressed?

    Now as for Paul believing in “some form of determinism” I am confident IF THAT WAS THE CASE… and I am not saying it is since this is the first time I have read that kind of statement at least as you present it here, the SOME is key… because I am confident that the determinism he MIGHT had held is most certainly not the determinism held to today.

    ><>”

    Godismyjudge

    Steven,

    The Pharisees held to libertarian freedom. Here are the two main quotes:

    3. Now, for the Pharisees, … and when they determine that all things are done by fate, they do not take away the freedom from men of acting as they think fit; since their notion is, that it hath pleased God to make a temperament, whereby what he wills is done, but so that the will of man can act virtuously or viciously.

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/ant-18.htm

    the Pharisees are those who are esteemed most skillful in the exact explication of their laws, and introduce the first sect. These ascribe all to fate [or providence], and to God, and yet allow, that to act what is right, or the contrary, is principally in the power of men, although fate does co-operate in every action.

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/war-2.htm

    Both quotes ascribe the power of contrary choice (i.e. libertarian freedom) to man.

    God be with you,
    Dan

Stephen

Volan007,
I have provided not only a text. I have also provided a short exegetical argument. I have appealed both to grammar and history. What other aruments are you wanting besides scripture? I must say if your not interested in an exegetical argument perhaps it is becuase your not interested in scripture. If your not interested in scripture you shouldnt engage in a SBC threat because SBC people are people of the book. Moreover you can’t find a text in all of Holy Scripture that teaches that God doesnt predestine and elect. Perhaps that is why you dont want to engage with the scriptures.

    holdon

    “Moreover you can’t find a text in all of Holy Scripture that teaches that God doesnt predestine and elect. Perhaps that is why you dont want to engage with the scriptures.”

    I don’t want to respond for Volfano.

    But the Holy Scriptures do not teach “election unto salvation”. Sorry. Of course God does predestine and He does elect. But how can anyone choose say out of 100 perfectly equal balls? It’s an impossibility, because “choosing” means “selecting” i.e. making a choice based on differences. And “choice” throughout the Scriptures has to do with certain qualities. Therefore we read of “choice-men”, “choice meal”, a “choice race”, in order to indicate the exquisiteness. God cannot choose because He is just and impartial. Only if someone stands out can He choose.

    Election does not mean salvation:
    Jesus was elect, but He didn’t need to be saved. Judas was elect and was not saved. The Jews descending through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Rom 9) were elect based on descent but did the majority rejected Jesus, (however an election (in the sense of an exquisite group) did accept Him), and God the Sovereign Potter is free to bring in the non-elect Gentiles (Rom 9 and 10) and the Jew cannot complain about injustice, because the Sovereign Potter can do just that: discard the hardening clay (a hardening had come over Israel) and take up soft clay of the willing Gentiles.
    In the OT non-elect were saved or desired to be saved: Rachab, Ninevites, Naaman, etc.. Actually the election of Israel was meant to be for salvation of the Gentiles: that was (and is) what election and predestination is for: to execute the purposes of God. Salvation is for all who believe.

Casey

Cheeky comments ensue:

Spurgeon > Hankins
Spurgeonism > Hankinsism
Calvinism > Notsurewhatthisisism

    alsbc623

    very Christlike post…

Stephen

Holdon,
I would read my earlier comment. Also, no one is saying that election is salvation. Instead what the scripture teaches is that God elects to salvation. Just like the word “choice” doesnt always imply the same object neither does the word elect. No one is saying that. Except perhaps you. As worthy a subject as Romans 9 is, it is simply too late for me to engage with you on Romans 9. I must go to bed.

    holdon

    “Instead what the scripture teaches is that God elects to salvation.”

    I am convinced it doesn’t. But feel free to come with solid proofs.

      Les

      holdon,

      Do you affirm the new traditional statement authored by Dr. Hankins? Or do you disagree with it?

Justin

So what is the problem of Augustinianism?

Is there a problem with Augustine’s critique of Pelagius?

When someone critiques Augustine’s view is the critiquer thereby affirming Pelagious’ view that man is born inherently neutral?

What are the problematic texts in Augustine’s corpus?

Carl Peterson

Okay first what we all believe:
1. God willingly sends some people to hell even though He could send them to heaven.
Basically some go to hell and God could make it so no one does. God chooses to send some to hell.

2. God chooses to allow some less of an opportunity to receive and believe (basically be saved) than others.

Again this is clear because Calvinist’s believe that the atonement is limited. However even the non-Calvinist must admit that the person who grows up with deply committed christian parents probably has a better chance to believe than one who grows up with deeply committed Muslim parents. Or maybe the one who hears the gospel has a better chance than one who never hears it. God is sovereign. I do not know of any Baptist who would claim otherwise. So God chooses for some to hear the gospel and some to not hear the gospel. He could choose otherwise.

The reason why I posted the above is to demonstrate that the Calvinist, Arminian, semi-Arminian, and even “traditional” (as defined by the statement) believe that God gives some more help (might I say more grace (maybe not)) than others.

So the real question is not Does God give every man an equal chance to be saved. That is clearly no. I think that sometimes non-Calvinists represent the argument as if the non-Calvinist believes that God is fair to all and thus gives all an equal shot at salvation while the Calvinist God plays favorites and does not. Either way God chooses some to have a better shot at choosing to place their faith in Him.

I really think that often this argument is not directly about what the Bible says either. I think often it is about what we think is a “legitimate chance” at receiving the gospel. Some of us (most likely non-Calvinists) choose a more modern view of freedom and fairness. Calvinists generally choose an older definition of freedom and fairness. Hankins in this video argues that his understanding of fairness and freedom is the right way. He characterizes Calvinists as arguing that some do not have a “legitimate” chance at receiving the gospel. So he is using the modern definitions of fairness and freedom to argue for his view. He is counting on these definitions from the viewer so that he or she will agree with him about what a “legitimate chance” means.

I believe that Calvinists do believe that all have a legitimate chance at receiving the gospel and that anyone who wants to be saved can be. So it is not if one can be saved but if one wants to be saved. One might say this is unfair because he or she defines freedom and fairness in very modern ways.

I hope this post can clear up some of the misunderstandings between Calvinists and non-Calvinists. I am tired of hearing each talk past each other and the real issues are not being discussed because those involved in the discussions (me included sometimes) put incorrect labels on ourselves, the other person, and God and use definitions that are not universally accepted.
CARL

    Bob Hadley

    Carl,

    Thanks for your seasoned look at some of the differences in the opposing camps. I think there is a lot of wisdom in your comment and for the MOST part, I believe it is accurate where most will fall on both sides of the issue. I will even concede that there amay well be more similarities than there may be differences, where most stand on either side of the calvinist divide.

    However, there are those who are much more dogmatic than what you describe here. While I do agree your assessment does probably characterize the majority of those who may or may not have dug their heels in so to speak on the ramifications of the extensions and logical conclusions of the various theological positions, there are those who have done so and those who are at the forefront of the reformed revival in the SBC have run the theological implications and are fully aware of those implications and their relationship with the SB in the pew. This is where my focus is really aimed. I do not beleive the theological implications of calvinism are accurate and I do not believe they belong in the circles of influence that the entities of the SBC hold. There are some, perhaps even a minority that believe the SBC needs to relect the calvinist tradition of its founding fathers and that seems to be the goal of their work.

    I am grateful that there are a lot of folk on both sides of the issue that are more interested in shepherding their flocks than they are arguing theology on blogs. I wish I were one of those. I am sure you would prefer that as well. However, I believe the problems that exist in our convention are very similar to those that exinst in our country; we are content to sit back and take care of our Jerusalem and we somehow believe that the Judea will take care of itself; after all there are highly qualified individuals leading the entities and they will lead us to higher ground.

    Well that has not worked too well in Washington and I am afraid it is not working too well in the SBC either. There is “Hope” and that is my prayer and focus.

    ><>”

      Randall Cofield

      Bob,

      “I do not beleive the theological implications of calvinism are accurate and I do not believe they belong in the circles of influence that the entities of the SBC hold.”

      In light of that, Brother, what do you propose be done with the Calvinists that are in the SBC?

      Soli Deo Gloria

      JCJ

      Bob and Carl, well stated by you both. Randall wants to know what to do with those of us who consider ourselves to be Calvinistic. Well boys, I tell you, it is like this………..yes, nothing. Work together to advance the Gospel of Jesus the Christ where He chooses to send you. Theological discussions are great, but following the command of Matthew 28 is greater. Yes, Randall, I do agree with the TULIP, however, if you disagree, so be it. I will not tell you you are wrong. I will debate and discuss with you, but I can not tell you that you are wrong. All that I can do is show you from scripture what I believe, and I believe that Jesus the Christ would most likely do the same. I agree with Carl, we’ve been slinging a lot of mud at each other these past few days. And Bob is right, we probably agree more than we disagree. Boys, no one can get any two of us Baptists together and find that we agree on everything. The same goes for all Christians. So what Eric Hankins says what he does……he has that right and if we disagree, be hospitable. We can all Cooperatively work together than we can by being divided.

      Carl Peterson

      Bob,

      Thank you. First I have been impressed by the well thought out posts I have read by you on this site. Also I think you should know I am an ex-Baptist who graduated from a SBC seminary but began to became reformed and started to believe in infant baptist during my time at seminary. I am now a dreaded Presbyterian (EPC) but a fellow brother in Christ. I know many great Baptist brothers and sisters and respect them. I know may professors that have shaped my theology and spiritual life. I owe a great debt to Southern Baptists and especially certain churches and pastors/ministers.

      But anyways I know you are right about some very dogmatic reformed people. I was called a heretic by one group on the blogosphere because I stated that they should give mother Theresa a little bit of a break. I personally do not think the SBC should be reformed or arminian, or Traditional. It should have room for all. I think making the claim that one soteriology is “traditional” does not help and is not very accurate.

      Well I am not a Baptist or go to a SBC church so in a sense I do not have a vote. But I hope that some can get beyond the politics and really talk to each other. I think some have but I fear that some leaders in all the camps (reformed, Traditional, Arminian (I really think Traditional is not much different than the Arminian camp in their theology though)) will take a good dialogue and make it about power in the convention and politics. That seems to be some leaders only way of leading.

volfan007

Stephen,

It’s good to discuss these things with you. I hope you’re doing well on this fine morning. But, the point is….you come to conclusions based on your “exegesis,” and other people come to their conclusions based on their “exegesis.” You both cant be right. One of you is wrong.

Do you agree that there’s room for disagreement on certain doctrines? on the finer points of doctrines? I mean, we all should and must agree on the clear teachings of the verses; but there’s wiggle room for disagreement on the finer points.

Take the doctrine of eschatology for example. I’m a Pre Trib., Pre Mil. kind of guy. Others dont agree with me. Okay. Fine. I believe my view is closer to what the Bible teaches. They think that thier view is closer. I guess we’ll all find out, one day. lol.But, the main things to believe about this doctrine is that Jesus is coming back in a visible way, one day. He will come as the Judge of all men, and He will rule from the city of Jerusalem over this universe….those are the main things.

The same is true for the doctrines of election and predestination. Brother, good, sound, godly men have been exegeting on the versese that deal with these doctrines for years. They’ve exegeted these verses forward and backward, upside down and right side up, sideways, and in every other way. And, good, godly men have disagreed on the finer points of these doctrines for years and years and years.

The main thing is that we all do believe that God chose to save people. He planned to save people. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith, and all praise and glory goes to Him for our salvation. We all believe that salvation is by the grace of God thru faith.

Now, you Reformed guys like to see the finer points of these doctrines thru an Augustinian/Calvinistic philosophy. Others dont. That doesnt mean that they dont believe these doctrines, and it doesnt mean that they’re heretics.

So, you and I can go back and forth all day long about the exegesis of this verse, and who believed this way about it, and who believed that way about it; but, I dont think that you’re gonna change your mind, and I’m sure not gonna change mine. I have studied the verses….have read the commentaries….have heard the arguements….and, I still dont see the Reformed position. I love yall, and I appreciate yall as Brothers and Sisters in Christ; but I do not agree with your interpretations. I believe they are flawed, and do not line up with other verses….

David

JCJ

Rev 17:8 NLT
The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world, whose names were not written in the a Book of Life before the world was made, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died.

    volfan007

    JCJ,

    OOOOOhhhh….we’ve never seen that verse before in our lives. We’ve never studied it, and we’ve never preached it. Wow, I just became a Calvinist, because you quoted it.

    lol

    David

      JCJ

      It is about time! LOL

John S.

I think he accidentally gave himself away at 11:08. Apparently anyone who sees the promise of God differently than a “non-Calvinist” is not one of the good pastors.

I guess that rules out most of the “great” leaders on the SBC’s homepage: http://sbc.org/aboutus/heritage/default.asp. Find their works online and read them for yourself.

If “Calvinists” sound “arrogant” maybe it’s because we’re also “tired” of being pushed around and out by guys who ignore history and who don’t understand the gospel of the promise.

    JCJ

    Amen John.

    Lydia

    “If “Calvinists” sound “arrogant” maybe it’s because we’re also “tired” of being pushed around and out by guys who ignore history and who don’t understand the gospel of the promise.”

    Are you sure it is wise to use the history argument?

    Who has “pushed” you around and out?

      Randall Cofield

      “I do not beleive the theological implications of calvinism are accurate and I do not believe they belong in the circles of influence that the entities of the SBC hold.”–Bob Hadley

        Lydia

        Bob Hadley is pushing you around and out? I don’t get it? Your Reformed Mohler and his fellow travellors have the positions of power in the SBC controlling money and some entities. Give them some time and they will have plenty of the churches, too. Seems to me you have it made.

          Randall Cofield

          Lydia,

          So, what do you think should be done with the Calvinists in the SBC?

          Peace

          Lydia

          What do I ithink should be done with the Calvinist in the SBC?

          How about we start with a Dale Carnegie course

          Randall Cofield

          Lydia,

          I checked. Paige Patterson has enrolled all of the YRTs (Young, Restless, and Traditionalist) and the course is full. :)

          You know, for all the chest-thumping and drum-beating you YRTs are doing, none of you seem to have enough actual conviction about the “Calvinist Problem” to just state flatly that you want them out of the SBC.

          You’re gonna have to be a good deal tougher than that to intimidate most Calvinists, sister.

          Peace

      John S.

      Well, I’d rather argue from Scripture, but that doesn’t seem to work. The question now is whether there’s room for Calvinists in the SBC. Broadus, Dagg, and a bunch of others are listed on the main site as “great” leaders, so shouldn’t they also be asking whether there’s room for them too? That contradiction makes me think history might be a good argument. Perhaps someone will hear all these people calling us “Calvinists” and then research for themselves and find out that we’re very different than the caricatures and very similar to the heralded leaders.

      As far as my personal experience, last February I was run out of a church for this very thing. It’s very sad and very hurtful. Maybe the reason I’ve got an interest in this is that the folks went to guys just like Hankins to find out what to do: “Put your fingers in both ears and sing ‘Jesus loves the little children’ as loudly as you can. Don’t bother reading anything or listening to what the guy says–just call him a Calvinist and tell everyone he thinks babies are going to hell. Be “tired” of not being able to convert him back to the Baptist way.”

      John S.

      Lydia, I reread my post and realize it might have come across differently than intended. While typing I’ve got a calm, gentle demeanor :)

      From my perspective (which is limited and often unlearned) there’s an unfair amount of harassment directed at people branded as Calvinists. I take doctrine very seriously and it’s hard to not be offended when they talk about us like we’re some cult in need of salvation. I wouldn’t be surprised if they print an Interfaith Belief Bulletin about how to evangelize us! Again, I’m smiling…

        JCJ

        John S., you are so right my friend!
        And here’s a funny for you; The Arkansas Baptist State Convention was formed in the small Arkansas town of ………….TULIP. So ironic.

        Lydia

        ” From my perspective (which is limited and often unlearned) there’s an unfair amount of harassment directed at people branded as Calvinists.”

        John S, I really am sorry you got run out of your church. I have seen so many hurtful things done by Christians over the years, it boggles my mind.I have seen people financially ruined who dared to disagree. The levels of spiritual abuse are at epic proportions out there. And I am not speaking of just Reformed who seem to be very top>down.

        ” I take doctrine very seriously and it’s hard to not be offended when they talk about us like we’re some cult in need of salvation. I wouldn’t be surprised if they print an Interfaith Belief Bulletin about how to evangelize us! Again, I’m smiling…”

        John, Let us take Jesus seriously. The early Christians did before the doctrinal wars started. So, while fighting the doctrinal wars during Nicea the church became the state. And then Christians were killing each other over doctrine.

        Saying ‘let us take Jesus seriously’ is not just some silly cliche. It is not intellectual. It does not sound high minded. It certainly does not fit robes and pointy caps. It is the simplicity of Jesus that so many came to him who were uneducated and poor.

        All of us seem to take more seriously everything BUT how Jesus lived while here. What He did. How He treated people and how we are to live now. We take the creeds more seriously than the Sermon on the Mount. All of us are guilty.

        You cannot escape history, my friend. Do you realize that when those who systemized what you believe with their name proclaimed as truth, imprisoned, tortured and even murdered believers because they did not believe exactly like them…..they actually did those things to Christ?

        We cannot go wrong with more Jesus and less of the brilliant theologians.

          John S.

          I smile because I don’t want you to think I’m growling or being condescending. I think you know (and I shouldn’t have to say) that doctrine is my understanding of Jesus…therefore I take it seriously.

          I appreciate your view, but I don’t think we’re coming from the same angle. I’ve never read anything from Calvin, Augustine, etc. I’m aware of them and some of what they believe, but I’m not with the “ists” and the “isms.” I don’t read Sproul, Macarthur or Piper…I understand grace from what I find in Scripture, and that’s all I want to be known for.

          As far as Christians killing each other: “no murderer has eternal life in him.” I don’t think we can honestly say that these Catholic and Protestant systems were in the right, and I don’t think they speak for the church. Historically, the church was persecuted by them both.

          To me it’s all very simple: God made a promise to Abraham to save him and his spiritual seed. What we see throughout history is the fulfillment of that promise through Christ.

Joel Hunt

It was really nice to watch the video, and get a better grasp on the man behind the blogosphere uproar as of late. While he seemed well-spoken about his beliefs, his attitude (along with the gentleman hosting the interview) belied that it is not only Calvinism they find offensive, but those who are themselves proponents of the DoG. I am glad for the opportunity to watch the body language, because I now feel much more comfortable in my original feelings about who it was who penned the traditionalist/modernist statement.

Joel Hunt

I think the worst aspect of the whole sinner’s prayer debate is the missing element in the discussion. Which is that the so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” is almost always coupled with the teaching and assurance of “Once saved, always saved.” While the perseverance of the saints is undoubtedly a biblical truth, when taught/preached as an doctrine inseperable from the traditional “Sinner’s Prayer,” it tends to focus the prayer on gaining an insurance policy againt the guilt of sin, rather than on the actual need to repent from it. While the assurance of Heaven is undoubtedly a comfort which incurs no small motivation in one’s decision to turn to Christ, the real need of true repentance is almost always minimized in light of the bigger, more glorious aspect of the undeserved reward. As believers, we need to have a mindset of glorifying God first and always, and in bringing others before the Cross, we should teach them the true awfulness of our sin, and of the absolute need for a repent heart. When we encourage the use of the sinner’s prayer, it ought to be a prayer which demonstrates the crucifying of self, and the exaltation of God Almighty. The thought of eternal security is but a by-product of our true need to bring ourselves back into right standing with the Creator.

    jcissell

    Well said Joel.

    I’ve been in the Baptist Church my entire life (right at 30 years) until I left almost a year ago. My dad has been a Baptist deacon and has served at the state level so I’ve seen the in’s and out’s of the church.

    For me the problem with the sinner’s prayer and all the things that surround it is that it makes it seem like it is about getting a ticket to Heaven and once we get that ticket to Heaven, we are supposed to help others to get their ticket to Heaven. The way I see it, it is my job to live life with them, point them to a Jesus that carries our burdens and pray that they see Jesus/God in a way so strong that they no longer say “Daddy, I obey me.”

    What I see in the Baptist church is that the members as a whole DO NOT know what they believe when it comes to what I call “man’s responsibility vs chosen.” I don’t like the labels Calvinism/Arminianism because I just read scripture. I don’t read those guys. I spoke with a few from a pastor search committee this weekend and were told that no one on the committee knows anything about Calvinism/Arminianism. When an arminian/traditionalist prospective pastor brought it up, they all just looked at each other like “ok?” I ask people in the Baptist church (teachers/leaders) all the time what they think about it and get the same answer. “I don’t know. What does it mean?” or “I don’t really have an opinion.” If you say the loaded words of “predestined vs free will” they immediately say free will, but not because they have studied it and formed their own opinion. Only because of what they have been taught. My problem with this video is the fact they are trying to state what most Baptists believe when most Baptists can’t tell you what or why they believe it.

    I believed we had a choice my entire life. I only began to study the debate at all to prove some “calvinists” wrong. Over a 2 year period, I came to the conclusion that the scripture does not reconcile man’s responsibility and being chosen. The way I read scripture, I see that it is both there. I’m ok with saying the entire ocean can’t fit in a coke can and that God is bigger than my understanding. I see people that were obviously chosen and also I see where Abraham prayed for Lot to be brought out.

    I, now, will err to the opinion that we are chosen due to my own story, due to what God has done in my life. I DID NOTHING! I continually said and still say “Daddy I obey me!” but for some reason, God continues to make my heart more like his and make me want the things he wants. He continually points my arrow more and more toward Jesus.

    I’m ok with someone that says “I believe everyone has a choice” as long as they will say, but I can see why you believe we are chosen. It is both there. That attitude in my opinion is the heart of God. Listening, and then understanding that we can differ and still chase after Jesus. Because of the Gospel, I can be wrong!

    The more I read and study, the more I can say that I know nothing but Jesus and the cross.

    Josh

Brandon Smith

So many absolutely divisive and sweeping statements about a group of Jesus-loving people in the SBC. We don’t need to “have some hard conversations” nor owe anyone an explanation for 3-point, 4-point, 5-point Calvinism and how we work that out. We need to have conversations about the gospel and about mission.

“New Calvinists” are very evangelistic and I dare say defined by their emphasis on missional living. Many Calvinists are arrogant, and so are many Arminians, and so are many Charismatics, or whomever else. It’s not the systems that are the problem; it’s the people within them. It’s akin to saying, “I’m not a Christian because of all the hypocrites!” Christianity isn’t the problem, its the imperfect people that comprise it and sometimes misrepresent it.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if there have been Calvinists in the SBC for one month or 100 years. It doesn’t matter who makes up the majority or what the “traditional” stance is. Not at all! Jesus matters. Let’s stop this nonsense and band together on the BFM.

I’m praying daily for unity and focus on the GCR and I hope you are, too.

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