The Gospel Project:
Not for Calvary Baptist Church

August 1, 2012

Ralph Green is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Bel Air, Md.

His personal blog post below has been edited, with Pastor Green’s permission, for brevity and clarity. Pastor Green may check in on this post occasionally, but he will not be available for continual interchange with commenters due to his pastoral duties.

 

When I went to seminary, Dr. Paige Patterson, my seminary president, challenged all of us studying for pastoral ministry to always be vigilant against doctrinal error and remain faithful to the Word of God. He knows well the dangers, pitfalls and ramifications of doctrinal error and the high cost of ensuring our denomination would stay true to our Lord Jesus Christ and His inspired, inerrant and infallible Word.

Dr. Patterson assembled a team of professors at SEBTS who faithfully taught myself and many others like me that we must take seriously our responsibilities before the Lord to guard the sacred trust of Scripture and to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

I’m sharing this with you because our church was about to implement the use of a Sunday school curriculum from LifeWay Christian Resources called “The Gospel Project.” This is the new flagship curriculum LifeWay has been advertising for months. It is a curriculum that would provide Bible Study resources for preschool, children, and youth, all the way through senior adults in our Sunday School/Bible Study classes. Upon hearing of this new curriculum, Pastor Mike and I were encouraged and excited about it, as the advertised aim of the curriculum was to show that the message of the Gospel is woven throughout the Scriptures. Dr. W. A. Criswell, the great long time pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas called it “The Scarlet Thread of Redemption” in a famous sermon he preached through the entire Bible.

Pastor Mike and I were under the impression this curriculum would take a systematic theological approach, would tackle tough issues and give Christians tools to use in sharing the Gospel in everyday life. The concept as we understood the aim of The Gospel Project is a great one. However, we’ve uncovered a big problem with this curriculum. The advisory council, many of the writers and much of the supplemental sources cited throughout are from people who are Calvinists or Reformed Theologians who teach at Reformed seminaries.

In short, Calvinism or Reformed Theology is a theological system that elevates the sovereignty of God and His grace to a point that the free will of man is of no consequence. On the other end of the spectrum is what is called Arminianism, which elevates the free will of man and espouses among other things that you can actually lose your salvation. Those adhering to these theological systems have been arguing about these ideas since the 1600s! Yet the Scriptures teach that God is sovereign, a God of grace, as well as the truth man has a choice to make to accept or reject the grace of God and His provision for salvation.

This understanding of Scripture is one among many reasons we exist as Baptists. Historically, we are happily in the middle of these polar extremes as we consider ourselves to be “people of the Book,” embracing both biblical truths of God’s sovereignty and grace along with man’s choice. As Baptists, we have historically seen problems with both extremes and the dangers of using a theological system of belief as the lens to interpret Scripture. Many Calvinists and Arminians use their systems as a filter of Scripture. However, Scripture should be the filter for the system of belief one adheres to. Typically this debate has been mostly confined to seminary campuses and is not something the average person in a Baptist church hears much about.

After becoming aware of this Calvinistic/Reformed theological approach of the curriculum, Pastor Mike and I have spent literally hours and days digging through this curriculum once we received the shipment to see for ourselves. We found it to be biased in how it explains and interprets the study themes. There are numerous subtle seeds of the Calvinistic approach to Scripture and many that are overtly obvious. The more we read and studied the curriculum, the more convinced we have become convinced that this curriculum is not suitable for use here at Calvary. I am greatly disappointed because there is nothing wrong with healthy dialogue and wrestling with theological issues. But when a curriculum is designed to teach only one side of the issue, it is no longer a healthy debate but indoctrination; and we cannot allow that indoctrination to take place here at Calvary.

I do not believe extreme Calvinism accurately represents the truth of Scripture. We are not Calvinistic or Reformed or Arminian, but we are Baptists. I don’t appreciate LifeWay producing curriculum that promotes a flawed theological system to interpret Scripture. My biggest problem with extreme Calvinism is that it views salvation as deterministic where God divinely chooses who will be saved and who will not. It follows, then, that God is going to save some; He can and will do so without my personal involvement, so there is no need for me to be a witness for Christ. This idea clearly violates the commandment to be witnesses in our Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. The Great Commission then becomes more of a Great Suggestion, and only whosoever God chooses may come and have everlasting life! Yes there is a doctrine of election taught in Scripture, but God’s desire is that no one would perish but that all would come to repentance.

Honestly, I was in shock for several days as I wrestled with this curriculum. I feel as though the sacred trust has been violated because the publishing arm of my Convention seems to be embracing Reformed Calvinistic theology. You should know LifeWay does not depend on Cooperative Program dollars and they are a for-profit organization based on what they sell. They are guided by a president and trustees who’ve been duly elected by our convention, so there is accountability there. We are sending this curriculum back to LifeWay, and I’ll be writing letters to President Thom Rainer and the Board of Trustees expressing my disappointment over this curriculum and explaining why we’ve pulled the proverbial plug on “The Gospel Project” curriculum. I encourage all SBC pastors I know to examine this for yourselves and see the agenda within The Gospel Project curriculum. I hope you’ll send it back to LifeWay as well with your observations.

===============

Interview with Pastor Green wherein he will cite specific concerns with TGP curriculum.

When SBCT re-posted a commentary that appeared first on your own blog, you said you never had any intent of that going so public.

Yes. Like many other pastors, I use my blog to communicate with our church members. I realize it was posted on the World Wide Web, but I never sought the level of attention that initial post has gotten.

Why did you allow SBCT to re-post it, then?

Well, it was already public for one reason. Second, I believe I have a responsibility to my fellow pastors and all Southern Baptists to ring the alarm bell when needed. I was alarmed at what I was reading in the Gospel Project curriculum. I want to encourage everyone not to take my word for this, though. Check it out for yourselves. See what you think. I know others have blogged about this and say they see no problem with the curriculum. But I have to wonder if they are not already Calvinists. If I were a Calvinist, I’d have nothing but positive things to say about the curriculum, too.

You realize that the blowback from this could be severe?

I do. I was shocked at some of the comments I read at SBCToday when the first article was posted. I expect there will be more of the same. After reading those comments, I discovered a couple of things: 1) I must be an unqualified, inept and uneducated moron; and 2) I must be an unqualified, inept and uneducated moron who can hit his target. I think it’s ironic that all these Calvinists are claiming there’s no Calvinism in TGP.

Do the ‘less-than-favorable’ comments bother you?

No. What bothers me is that some of those who write “Sola Dei Gratia” after their names have offered so little grace to you for re-posting my article or to me regarding my perceptions of the curriculum. But I don’t take that personally. My perceptions of the curriculum are exactly that: my perceptions. If a few want to condemn me for my perceptions, that’s on them. While I believe there are some black and white evidences of Calvinism on the pages of TGP, I say again that Southern Baptists ought not take my word for it. They should do the research for themselves.

When did you first become aware of the apparent Calvinistic overtones in the curriculum?

Actually, one of my deacons brought it to my attention. He also teaches Sunday school, and he had looked at some of the initial materials offered online by LifeWay. When he told me what he was seeing, that led to my own investigation.

What are the deacon’s issues with the curriculum?

He told me, “God’s love is not evident. This isn’t theology; it’s philosophy.” He also spent countless hours reading and researching the curriculum and gave me a multi-page report of his findings.

And?

And he has some of the same perceptions I have, but many more of them. Speaking of perceptions, I think that poses a huge problem for LifeWay. People will have various perceptions about the curriculum. I get that. But what LifeWay needs to realize is that perception is reality.

What are some of the deacon’s findings?

I have his permission to share his information, so let me give you what he wrote as a summary statement of his investigation. His research has led him to conclude the following:

“Love is the Achilles heel of Calvinism. The Calvinists cannot explain it or fit it into their philosophical system. Therefore, they ignore it and substitute erudition, eisegesis and the like for it. Perhaps their weakest point is that they see no responsibility on God’s part to love us, only our responsibility to love Him. Therefore, in straight up, honest Calvinism, God hates His enemies and they go to Hell. Yet, we are commanded to love our enemies. Since God is love, if we do not understand His love, and especially if He does less than He commands us to do, we cannot know God well in spite of how much about God we think we know.

Calvinists do not know what to do with the love of God and the restraints it places on God. To the Calvinist, God’s sovereignty is somehow undone by His love in a way that the Calvinist cannot fully understand or accept. They cannot fathom that God’s love allows everyone the opportunity to choose to love Him or not. Part of this is the fact that their philosophical/logical view of ‘sovereignty’ is not biblical, but they are stuck with it. This is part of the philosophical system and approach that is driving the faulty ‘theology’ of TGP. This clearly begs the question: What to do about it?

Finally, [TGP’s] Advisory Board is virtually completely Calvinistic and only about half SBC. Yet, they are overseeing SBC materials for SBC churches. Apparently, the SBC is allowing LifeWay to pursue ecumenicity rather than Southern Baptist theological distinctives. Question: Is this the background/source of the Sunday school approach and material we want used and taught at [our church]?

Obviously, any pastor who received such observations from a deacon/Sunday school teacher would be concerned and would follow up with his own investigation. What were some of your findings?

First of all, I need to say that my associate pastor and I both earned M.Divs. from Southeastern Seminary. That means we have the training and resources to use in serving the members of our church. With these tools, we spent hours examining the curriculum and came to the conclusion that we, as a church, could not use it. We boxed up the whole order and shipped it back.

Next, my awareness that the advisory board is almost totally Calvinist, and many of the lesson writers are too – that gave me a predisposition toward the curriculum. So, I had concerns that every time I read the word “grace” I wondered, “Is this the Calvinistic ‘irresistible’ grace or the traditional Baptist view of grace?” This drew my attention to other theologically laden terms in the curriculum that were not defined. That, too, was another great concern to me. I was left wondering if there wasn’t a hidden theological agenda.

From lesson one (p. 14, Fall 2012 TGP Leader’s Guide), is this statement that I believe is a problem:

“It is also an act of grace that God would reveal Himself to us personally. God was under no obligation to pull back the curtain and let us see aspects of His character and evidences of His power. He could have spoken the world in existence and then never spoken again, leaving us in ignorance about our Creator and our purpose.”

The problem is that the last sentence of the above hypothetical statement is not true because it dismisses a major aspect of God’s character, His love. One thing God cannot do is to act in a manner contrary to His own nature. The Bible teaches that God’s love compelled Him to plan to reveal Himself to us to redeem us. But the hypothetical statement above means that God could have ignored man, who was created in His image and after His likeness, prior to any sin. However, the hypothetical statement in question provides no biblical evidence to support this view as part of God’s nature that is inclusive of love, mercy, compassion, and relational capacity. Man did not obligate God to act in love. God obligated Himself to act in love and to reveal Himself, according to both His nature and His plans. In order for this hypothetical statement to be true, God would have had to have turned from His own plan to communicate His blessings and His commands to man created in His own image, to forego His plan for redemption, and to decide to do all of this before man ever sinned. I find such a position unthinkable especially in light of the following passages: I John 4:7-9; Rom. 8:37-39; Deu. 7:9; Eph. 1:4 & 2:4; John 3:16; Micah 6:8; Matt. 25:34; I Peter 1:20, James 1:17, Mal. 3:6.

What other issues did you discover?

This quote noting the temptation of Adam and Eve (p. 51, Fall 2012 TGP Leader’s Guide) says: “The point of the story is not about the type of fruit, as if the fruit juices would poison the minds of Adam and Eve. No, the poison of sin coursed through their veins before the fruit entered their mouths. ‘It was the not the nature of the tree that made it dangerous, the bearer of covenant curse and death, but what it stood for, obedience to the word of God.’”

Does this mean the first couple was fallen before they fell?

Some have voiced that observation to me. But, taken at face value, those statements make God the author of evil which is clearly contrary to Scripture. And the tree as the bearer of covenant curse? That sounds like Calvinistic theology to me. And how can it not be? The last sentence is attributed to Michael D. Williams, a writer for P&R Publishing.

How many Southern Baptists will know that P&R stands for Presbyterian and Reformed?

How many will know he is a systematic theology professor at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis? That’s not a Southern Baptist Seminary. However, he and other non-Southern Baptists are cited in the curriculum as “Voices from the Church.”

So you think that Southern Baptists in a Southern Baptist Sunday school class reading from literature published by a Southern Baptist entity would think “Voices from the Church” implies that the “Voices” are Southern Baptists?

It’s worse than that. The theological persuasion of some of these “voices” is not revealed.

Why is that problematic?

Well, one of these “voices” is Graeme Goldsworthy (p. 58, Fall 2012 TGP Leader Guide). He is an Anglican, who, if true to his church’s doctrine, holds that baptism and the Lord’s Supper impart grace. Southern Baptists reject that the “sacraments” are necessary for salvation. Also, Goldsworthy is a prominent figure on www.monergism.com. Monergism is the notion that the Holy Spirit is the only effective agent in regeneration and the human will cannot cooperate in regeneration. TGP recommends Goldsworthy more than once as an additional resource for study. I believe some of Goldsworthy’s theological convictions violate our Baptist Faith and Message.

I have similar objections to Stephen Lennox being cited as a “Voice from the Church” (p. 57, Fall 2012 TGP Leader Guide). He’s not a Southern Baptist. He’s a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University. And, if I understand correctly, Wesleyans also believe that the Lord’s Supper and baptism impart grace.

Two more “Voices from the Church” who are not Southern Baptists are Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen (p. 60, Fall 2012 TGP Leader Guide). Bartholomew is professor of philosophy at Redeemer University College that has Calvinistic leanings, and he is an ordained minister of the Church of England. Goheen is Professor of Worldview and Religious Studies at Trinity Western University, an Evangelical Free institution. Goheen holds a Master’s degree from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, which has a Calvinistic foundation.

These two men have written a book called “Living at the Crossroads.” A review of the book at this web site, www.reformedreflections.ca, said: “Living at the Crossroads is a thoughtful book that draws on the rich tradition of Reformed thought.” Are Southern Baptists to believe that the contributions of these men to TGP will not also be influenced by that same “rich tradition of Reformed thought”? Well, the answer is no because Southern Baptists who use TGP will have no way of knowing the theological foundations of these two “Voices from the Church.”

Dorian G. Coover-Cox is cited on page 59 as a contributor to the Holman Christian Standard Bible. But she is not cited as a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary – another non-Southern Baptist institution with a Calvinistic foundation.

With the obvious theology of these “Voices,” how can Southern Baptist pastors and church members know that these contributors to TGP aren’t filtering Scripture through their T.U.L.I.P. colored glasses?

TGP also cites Andre Gide (p. 50, Fall 2012 TGP Leader Guide), who was born to a Huguenot family. He won a Nobel Prize, and nobelprize.org says of Gide: “… his work lived on the never resolved tensions between a strict artistic discipline, a puritanical moralism, and the desire for unlimited sensual indulgence and abandonment to life.”

A web search of Gide also reveals a few stunning quotes:

“There are admirable potentialities in every human being. Believe in your strength and your youth. Learn to repeat endlessly to yourself, ‘It all depends on me.’”

“Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself – and thus make yourself indispensable.”

“Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.”

Nothing in TGP warns that Gide is a skeptic and a humanist, who says people should totally transfer their allegiance from God to themselves. To cite Gide is to endorse Gide.

Did you note any others cited as part of the curriculum?

Sure. Not everyone has Calvinistic convictions or is a professor at a non-Southern Baptist institution. I did find it curious that the late Adrian Rogers was cited as a “Voice from Church History” and not a “Voice from the Church.” He was a prominent Southern Baptist, and not a Calvinist. Go figure.

Your examination of TGP – was it only of the Leader Guide?

No. I reviewed the youth curriculum, too, and found it to be more problematic. It’s hard enough to gain and keep the attention of middle school aged boys. But TGP’s packaging and graphical design is slick. I am concerned that TGP will indoctrinate the next generation into Calvinism.

I understand you had a telephone conversation with TGP Editor Trevin Wax.

Yes, I did. Our conversation was straightforward, but it was also congenial. I shared my concerns with Trevin, and he said he took them seriously and would use them to inform the spring quarter literature for TGP. But when Trevin told me that he was a 4-point Calvinist — this only confirmed for me that I had made the right decision in returning the curriculum.

Trevin said he would try to achieve a more balanced approach in the future. But when I told him a balanced approach seemed impossible since every member of the advisory board holds Calvinistic views, he did not deny this.

I also told Trevin that I was initially excited to hear that LifeWay was writing a curriculum to deal with the tough issues and would essentially be a systematic theology for lay people. But I added that LifeWay ruined a great idea by stacking the theological deck with Calvinists as advisors and lesson writers. I suggested that, at the very least, TGP needed to clearly tell people up front who these lesson writers and commentators are. The footnotes just don’t cut it, and I shouldn’t have to spend time researching these men’s backgrounds.

I cited a passage from one lesson that was problematic for me and told Trevin I was taking it at face value. He told me I shouldn’t do that. And when I noted another passage I felt I couldn’t take at face value, he told me I should. Not only was that confusing, I concluded I had been hearing double-speak.

Did you ask Trevin why the lesson writers, recommended resources and advisory board were imbalanced to favor Calvinism?

Yes, and he cited a survey saying that about 30 percent of Southern Baptists claim to be Calvinists and 30 percent don’t. That means about 40 percent are in the middle. However, that also means that about 70 percent do not identify with Calvinism. If those numbers are correct, how does LifeWay justify a curriculum so heavily biased toward Calvinism and the repeated quoting of non-Southern Baptists? Why must we quote so many Calvinistic professors from non-SBC seminaries when we have six SBC seminaries with theology departments full of professors who are paid with Cooperative Program dollars? Of the materials I investigated, I recall only three SBC seminaries represented.

What are your sentiments at this point?

I’m frustrated. I’m extremely disappointed. I feel like I’ve been deceived, and I don’t appreciate that. I will never buy another LifeWay curriculum without inspecting it from stem to stern. And you know, I shouldn’t have to work that hard on materials my own denomination produces. I don’t have time to be looking for hidden meanings. That irritates me. It bothers me that I can’t trust what LifeWay sends me.

What kind of feedback have you gotten regarding your original blog post?

Overwhelmingly positive. Church members have thanked me for protecting the church and our doctrine. I’ve heard that at least three pastors in our association have decided not to use the curriculum. I also got a letter from someone in Valdosta, Ga., who had resigned a Sunday school teaching position because the church was planning to use TGP. This person had just left another church because there was so much emphasis on election.

What kind of problems did you envision if you had decided to use the curriculum?

One problem would have been this: I really do have rocket scientists in our congregation. Given their tendency to do research, they would have discovered many of the same problems I did and would have asked me why we decided to use that kind of material.

Also, it’s hard enough to get folks to witness. They come up with every excuse as to why they can’t. If we add to that the thought that God saves who He wishes, then we think we’re excused from witnessing, but are still acceptable to God for our lack of obedience to His Great Commission.

Why can’t we go back to being Baptists?

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Jamie

And I just returned a T-shirt to Walmart because I did not like it.

Only the Truett McConnell team would seek to make an issue out of this.

I know you guys hate Calvinism, but come on.  One church doesn’t like materials and you want to blog it?

Well, at least you are transparent.

    Rick Patrick

    Jamie,

    What kind of t-shirt was it? I want to know because sometimes, when consumers review products or readers review books, others can read the reviews and decide whether or not that product or book interests them.

    By reviewing the Gospel Project material, Ralph Green has done the church a service. You may disagree with his conclusions, but he is free to write them and SBC Today is free to publish them.

    It’s a little thing called “freedom of speech” and it has taken root everywhere in America, and not merely among the Truett McConnell team.

    As for your admission of the transparency of this site’s leadership, I can think of no higher praise you could offer. How I wish that the doctrinal positions of all Southern Baptist leaders were just as transparent, with no hidden motives or concealed plans for quiet revolutions. Transparency is a virtue we sorely need.

      Jamie

      Rick,
      My transparency comment was aimed at motive. It’s clear the Today agenda is to continually provide a skewed perspective. Pastor Ralph is free to evaluate, and Today is free to be more discerning. That the new editors are just as one-sided as the previous editors (and the founders) is clear, transparent, obvious, noticeable, and evident.

        Norm Miller

        Jamie: Would you consider it to be “skewed” that the majority of the TGP’s advisory board and writers and cited resources are from the Calvinistic persuasion? See tomorrow’s post for more on this aspect of TGP. — Norm

          Jamie

          What I consider skewed is the use of a site which claims to “restore unity” by posting nothing but venom directed at our reformed-leaning brothers.

          This site is being used more as a propaganda piece than an actual place for dialogue.

          The Gospel Project is reaching people outside of baptist life and for that we should be grateful, not condemning. Lifeway isn’t the baptist Sunday school board anymore. They are a massive company who reaches people of all denominations. Let them do their job. At last report, they said nearly 15K churches were using the curriculum. And you make a mountain out of one molehill that decided it wasn’t for them.

            Tim Rogers

            Jamie,

            Lifeway isn’t the baptist Sunday school board anymore. They are a massive company who reaches people of all denominations.

            Therein lies the issue. Don’t know if you remember it or not, but when the name to change the Baptist Sunday School Board to “LifeWay” came to the floor we were given an assurance. Dr. Draper assured the SBC that LifeWay was not going to change their Baptist identity. Dr. Draper persuaded Southern Baptists that LifeWay would be able to reach into the world of evangelicalism and bring them into a better understanding of Baptists. It was the evangelical world that needed this influx of sound doctrine because the evangelicals, as a whole, did not adhere to the inerrancy of the Scriptures. It was the Baptists that would shape and mold the evangelicals. However, LifeWay’s Gospel Project is a point of reference that Evangelicalism is shaping the Baptists.

            Like it or not, we are Baptists. We are not Evangelicals we are Baptists. I am not ashamed of the Gospel and I am not ashamed to be a Southern Baptist.

            Norm Miller

            Jamie: I take great exception to your unfounded, gross generalization that SBCToday posts “nothing but venom directed at our reformed-leaning brothers.” Graeme Goldsworthy, who is cited in TGP, is an Anglican prominent in the monergistic crowd. He doesn’t lean toward Calvinism; he is the epitome of it.
            Your statement: “This site is being used more as a propaganda piece than an actual place for dialogue.” Hmmm….seems to me we are dialoging. — Norm

          Bob Hadley

          Jamie,

          One thing that I am in agreement with is the following statement that YOU made…

          Lifeway isn’t the baptist Sunday school board anymore. They are a massive company who reaches people of all denominations.

          I for one think it is time for us to make some changes.

          May God bless!

          ><>”

Johnnie Harrison

And of course Ralph Green doesn’t give us any examples from the curriculum as to why he has labeled it calvinistic. And of course Ralph Green uses straw man argumentation to support why he thinks calvinistic doctrine is wrong. Does anyone else see a recurring pattern here? It’s like that song “I’m Henry the eighth I am”, second verse same as the first. There is never any real interaction from SBC Today bloggers about what calvinists really believe and teach. Only misrepresentations. On with the next verse I suppose.

    Rick Patrick

    “There is never any real interaction from SBC Today bloggers about what calvinists really believe and teach.”

    Really, Johnnie? You must have missed the series of articles by Ronnie Rogers, excerpting his book “Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist,” available in the Kindle version for a mere $3.39, and worth ten times that. I have linked it below. If you desire real interaction about what Calvinists believe, it is available on this site, perhaps more than any other in the Southern Baptist Convention.

    http://amzn.to/T34mlo

      Johnnie Harrison

      Actually Rick, I didn’t miss the series by Ronnie Rogers. What I did miss was his real interaction with what calvinists believe. He used straw man argumentation as bad or worse than the rest of the SBC Today bloggers I have read. Not to mention he admits he was never a 5 point calivinst. All 5 points are critical to the whole. He writes as if he was a professional in calvinistic theology, however, he falls far short of being able to actally represent reformed theology or it’s people.

        Johnnie Harrison

        I meant actually.

        Norm Miller

        Johnnie: I think you have unfairly characterized Pastor Rogers’ work, particularly with the “strawman” charge that seems to be the singular bullet that Calvinists use when someone presents research, writings and opinions that question Calvinism. If you would be willing to read his book, I’ll be happy to send you a copy. In fact, I believe Pastor Rogers would send it to you at no charge. — Norm

        Tim Rogers

        Johnnie,

        I didn’t miss the series by Ronnie Rogers. What I did miss was his real interaction with what calvinists believe. He used straw man argumentation as bad or worse than the rest of the SBC Today bloggers I have read.

        That is most calvinists pet answer when they find someone that seriously interacts with a calvinist perspective. They use a ‘strawman’ to say that others are merely using a ‘strawman’.

        Not to mention he admits he was never a 5 point calivinst. All 5 points are critical to the whole.

        So, you are saying that if one does not hold to all 5 points they are not a Calvinist?

          Johnnie Harrison

          That is exactly what I am saying. Their view is inconsistent. They might be okay with the inconsistency or they may be ignorant of the inconsistency. Either way it is inconsistent.

    Norm Miller

    Johnnie: In case you missed it, this was posted above. “Coming tomorrow: Interview with Pastor Green wherein he will cite specific concerns with TGP curriculum.”
    And you used the word “never” above, which is an unfounded generalization. Calvinists and Traditionalists are frequently interacting on this blog, and many from both perspectives have offered sincere and thoughtful input. And, if you are concerned about “recurring patterns,” then you’ll probably not be pleased with Calvinistic blog sites, either. — Norm

      Johnnie Harrison

      You are right Norm. I did miss the coming tomorrow line. When I said never, I meant never that I have seen. I’ve interacted with several posts from SBC Today regarding calvinism and every single one of the posts I have seen included straw man arguments and misrepresentations. From today on I will give more specific examples. For example Ralph Green writes:

      “My biggest problem with extreme Calvinism is that it views salvation as deterministic where God divinely chooses who will be saved and who will not. It follows, then, that God is going to save some; He can and will do so without my personal involvement, so there is no need for me to be a witness for Christ. This idea clearly violates the commandment to be witnesses in our Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. The Great Commission then becomes more of a Great Suggestion, and only whosoever God chooses may come and have everlasting life!”

      This may be what Ralph Green thinks calvinists believe but he has just entered in to straw man argumentation misrepresenting calvinists. Extreme calvinism is a silly label here. There is something called hyper calvinism that even calvinists consider heresy. When Green says, “It follows, then, that God is going to save some; He can and will do so without my personal involvement,” he is describing hyper calvinism. I agree if he is referring to the heresy of hyper calvinism. From the context it seems he is referring to calvinism, not hyper calvinism. What he is calling extreme calvinism here is the belief that God chooses from before the foundation of the world who will be saved and who He will leave in their sin. That is normal calvinism, not extreme, not hyper. Calvinists believe that the means God uses in order to bring about salvation is the preaching of the word of God. The Holy Spirit works through the preaching of the word to save men. The correct representation of calvinism disproves this. The history of the church disproves this. And the current calvinistic movement disproves this.

    Dean

    I’m so sick of Calvinist use of the term straw man!! The last line says specific concerns coming tomorrow. Its like some of you guys have canned responses that you roll out even when they obviously don’t apply.

      abclay

      Oh No!!!

      Not only do they know about the secret Calvinist conspiracy to take over the SBC, they know we have “canned arguments”.

      Looks like we have a mole……

        abclay

        sorry. “canned responses”.

        You see how we Calvinists twist your words.

Michael

You guys at SBC Today are really getting ridiculous. It is unbelievable how divisive you are and how week after week you continue to put a wedge in the SBC. Maybe the letters that need to be written need not go to Lifeway, but to the SBC to denounce this kind of silly website

    Rick Patrick

    Michael,

    Let’s see, for thirty years the Founders have tried to reform the convention. But they were not being divisive at all with their agenda for revolution. But now that a small group of Southern Baptists dare to begin discussing something of a counter-revolution, it is the second group that is being divisive, not the first?

    What about all those Calvinist church splits? What about Mohler saying our future must be Calvinism, that there are really no other options? We are not being divisive. Rather, we are being counter-divisive, trying to restore a peace in our convention that has been upset, not by us, but by the triumphant notions of a Quiet Calvinist Revolution to reform our denomination.

    If refusing to allow Mohler, Nettles and Ascol to Calvinize the Southern Baptist Convention without a response on our part means that WE are being divisive, then so be it.

    Tom Parker

    Michael:

    How many months or maybe even years is this battle against Calvinists going to last?

      Rick Patrick

      Tom,

      Although you asked this question of Michael, I believe it is in reference to my comment, so I’ll briefly respond.

      I have no idea of the resolve of others, but for my part, I am committed to opposing the Calvinization of the Southern Baptist Convention until the day Jesus calls me home to heaven. Only God knows how many months or years that will be.

      I hope this sufficiently answers your question.

    Ben

    Completely agree with Michael. This site is biased and determined to destroy Calvinism. But along with destroying the theology, you are destroying brothers in Christ. Let’s put a stop to this.

      Rick Patrick

      Ben,

      There is a difference between DESTROYING and OPPOSING.

      The Calvinistic Founders Ministries certainly OPPOSES the Traditionalist theology espoused by me and my church. They want to REFORM us, a purpose they have reduced to writing on their website. I do not believe they wish to DESTROY us.

      Similarly, a group of Traditionalists is now, after thirty years, OPPOSING the Calvinist theology espoused by the Founders and others. We may one day establish a purpose statement to define our desire to COUNTER-REFORM them. But I assure you that we do not with to DESTROY them.

        Rick Patrick

        * wish

        (Sorry for typing with a lisp.)

Fred Johnson

Is there a story here? One frustrated pastor returns curriculum and that leads to an entire blog about it? Seriously?

Maybe next you can do an article on the churches that returned copies of “Life and Work.” Maybe you can contact David C. Cook and see how many churches returned VBS literature.

We are forced to assume, as you imply, that Ralph has enough theological academic credentials being schooled by Dr. Paige Patterson and all. Or is “anti-Calvinism” all one needs?

It is good to see you being supportive of a cooperating SBC agency. Very encouraging.

This is so silly it’s ridiculous.

    Rick Patrick

    Fred,

    The story is the REASON this Pastor returned the curriculum. At least from his perspective, it did indeed contain the very kind of reformed theological underpinnings that Lifeway and the Gospel Project have consistently denied.

    It calls into question the true neutrality of the curriculum with regard to the issue of Calvinism. No such controversies were present in the “Life and Work” series, and we have no stake in what happens at David C. Cook, as it is not the Southern Baptist publishing arm.

    Your drive by comment about the scholarship of Paige Patterson reveals a lack of appreciation for one whose tireless efforts thirty years ago rescued our denomination from the ash heap of liberalism, so that in 2012 we are not at all confused about where we stand today on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

    Finally, the best way to support an agency is not necessarily to agree with them whenever they follow a course of action you find objectionable. It is still possible to be a loyal Southern Baptist, even if one does not support the Quiet Calvinist Revolution, by pointing out one’s concerns and influencing our entities toward a theological vision we can enthusiastically embrace.

      Fred Johnson

      Rick,
      My “drive by,” if you prefer to use the language of the gangland, was not an observation about Paige Patterson’s scholarship, but on Pastor Ralph’s invocation of his name to bolster his own credentials.

      But, so you will know, if Paige Patterson had never been born every Southern Baptist I know would still eat fried chicken, and none of them would be “confused” about Chick-fil-A.

        Norm Miller

        Fred: In reality, you have no concrete understanding of why Pastor Green cited Dr. Patterson. — Norm

          Fred Johnson

          Meaning that my opinion is no less accurate than yours.

            Norm Miller

            Not so, Fred. You impugned Pastor Green’s motives sans evidence. That is a fact. Now, if you KNOW that Pastor Green cited Dr. Patterson fo rthe reason you stated, trot out your EVIDENCE. Otherwise, your baseless charge stands as unsubstantiated. — Norm

    Tom Parker

    Fred:

    I found the name dropping of Paige Patterson laughable. I mean I know of him but is he really held in such high esteem that dropping his name sways the argument for ?

      volfan007

      Tom,

      Have you eaten a chiken sandwich today?

      David

      Donald

      Dr. Patterson’s time at SEBTS marked a golden moment when students were taught …differently… than they are now. For those of us “in-the-know” the answer is a big YES — ones credibility soars “if you were there when”.

    Darryl Hill

    Here’s another perspective. I’ve been in charge or have at least had major input on curriculum decisions for our church for many years, beginning in 1999. I never have returned curriculum to Lifeway but I have switched curriculum at different points because it was often filled with empty headed drivel. Even the curriculum for adults was not very challenging but just dealt with surface issues. In general, it was just poorly written. That was the norm for a long time. So, for several years, we went with other curriculum options.

    Things have improved at Lifeway in recent years and I’ve noticed the change. This Gospel Project Curriculum, while possibly having a slight slant toward the reformed side, does not attempt to indoctrinate people to a reformed view but to indoctrinate them to the Gospel, to see how the Gospel is weaved throughout Scripture.

    Here is what I think happened to the pastor above. He ordered the curriculum. Afterward, a fellow pastor or friend told him that a bunch of Calvinists wrote the curriculum. Highly offended, he went looking for reasons to say it’s Calvinistic indoctrination propaganda and he found what he was looking for. This is not surprising.

    It’s clear this pastor doesn’t even understand reformed theology since he is using the same tired cliches…

    “It follows, then, that God is going to save some; He can and will do so without my personal involvement, so there is no need for me to be a witness for Christ. This idea clearly violates the commandment to be witnesses in our Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. The Great Commission then becomes more of a Great Suggestion, and only whosoever God chooses may come and have everlasting life!”

    I would love to see where the Gospel project curriculum teaches this. I also note that he doesn’t suggest others study the curriculum and make up their minds about it. He suggests they look it over and return it. This way he is vindicated in his assessment. No bias there, eh?

    Here’s a thought for this pastor. He’s aware of who the editors are for this curriculum and he can warn his teachers of the dangers of being “indoctrinated” by these wicked calvinists. Why not just speak to the congregation about the curriculum? Ask them to interact with the material. Challenge them to find errors in the curriculum. When they find an error or something unscriptural, he could take the opportunity to teach the truth from Scripture from his own perspective. And it could possibly be one of the greatest teaching tools he has ever encountered. There is nothing like having your views challenged that will help to cement what you truly believe.

    In my opinion, this is one of the greatest problems with Southern Baptists in general, and I’ve been one my whole life. We accept what is spoon-fed to us. We do not want to think. We are becoming more and more worldly and fewer and fewer of us even know WHAT we believe. I have just written an article for a blog that discusses this very thing. So, use the curriculum as a learning experience. From what I have seen of it, (4 sessions) this may be the best curriculum Lifeway has ever produced, and I do not say that based these perceived theological issues. It is challenging and very thought provoking. This Gospel thread is an excellent way to approach all of Scripture and they have done a masterful job at that. It’s not the typical empty-headed junk I switched from years ago (BEFORE I became reformed in my views).

    Oh well, I know the agenda here. It’s fine. Everyone can see it, so that’s good.

      Lydia

      “In my opinion, this is one of the greatest problems with Southern Baptists in general, and I’ve been one my whole life. We accept what is spoon-fed to us. We do not want to think. We are becoming more and more worldly and fewer and fewer of us even know WHAT we believe. ”

      Darryl, My experience is that most Reformed think this way about the pew sitters going into churches. It is not a wise way to approach it.

        Darryl Hill

        Lydia, I would challenge you to do this- give your church a basic biblical literacy test and see how they do. And then, just for kicks, ask them some basic questions regarding theology and see the result. I’ve done this before and the students in my youth ministry scored higher than adults who had been in the church for years. There were some adults who scored very high but there were some others who scored very poorly and many others who wouldn’t even participate because they knew they couldn’t answer the questions. All I had them put on the test was their age- no name.

        I’ve seen it for years Lydia, and yes, I’ve become more aware of it since my theology changed because I began to realize how much sound doctrine matters. Before, I knew it mattered but didn’t see it as very critical.

        Another thing I’ve seen happen many times, especially among younger couples with families, is that they will leave our church and go to the Catholic church- and then they would leave that church and go to a more chanrismatic church. I’m heavily involved in our ministerial alliance in town and other pastors notice the same thing. People moving from a Presbyterian church to a Christian church and then to a non-denominational church within a short period of time. They don’t know what any of these churches believe or teach, but they just know that they like the music or the children’s activities. Have you not seen any of these things?

          Lydia

          Darryl, I have worshipped with illiterate Romanian peasants outside Cluj who LOVED and KNEW Jesus Christ. They could not read their own language but they KNEW Christ personally. Some had even been persecuted years before without being a doctrinal scholar. They actually LIVED the life of a believer daily.

          That is NOT an affirmation not to know scripture so I hope you do not go that route. I love to study it. But I would prefer to see a fruit inspection if one must “test” believers. Please do not discount the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life, too.

          I do wonder how many pastors would be out of a job if their followers knew the bible well….and not just their own interpretion, either.

            Darryl Hill

            I agree with what you’re saying Lydia. That’s the reason my original statement also included that they are becoming more and more worldly as well. Those Christians with nothing over in Romania can’t be compared completely to the fleshly and materialistic ones in America. Those Romanian Christians aren’t church hopping, looking for more appealing music, better facilities, or certain programs, either. They’re just worshiping their Lord.

            I agree that knowledge is not always the key. The key is knowing Jesus and being empowered by His Spirit. These things I’ve mentioned just speak to the entire mindset of many in our churches.

            Still, we are encouraged to study and show ourselves approved and to search the Scriptures. So, your answer, while also true, doesn’t tell the entire story. I know you’re just looking for a way to disagree with me because it seems inexcusable to you that we might agree, with my being influenced by so many evil men.

            Lydia

            “I know you’re just looking for a way to disagree with me because it seems inexcusable to you that we might agree, with my being influenced by so many evil men.”

            Not at all! I want to agree with you more than you know. But what I want more is for those who make ministry a career to model LOVE for people not condescention for their supposed ignorance.

            One of the tenants of spiritual abusive systems is “doctrine over people”. Some doctrine is too important and must be defended at all costs. But a lot isn’t. And that is what I am seeing in the YRR: Doctrine over love for people. The Bullification of Christianity. It breaks my heart. And I do understand the YRR define love differently in many cases.

            Darryl Hill

            I’m glad to hear that Lydia. Now, if you could somehow separate me from the YRR crowd rather than lumping me in, we might be able to communicate with one another better. Just because someone who has similar beliefs to mine also does or says things that are not good, Godly, or loving doesn’t mean that every reformed person fits into the same mold.

Chris Schiller

Lifeway says they are far exceeding the number of orders they expected.

Yet, the Cooperative Program funded folks at Truett McConnell just want to keep trying to say, “Look, out of the THOUSANDS of churches using this, ONE guy did not like it.” Wahoo! Let’s make that our big blog!

Glad to know you have better things to do than to educated students at TMC.

Chris

    Rick Patrick

    Chris,

    I trust the fine folks at TMC are fully capable of operating a blog AND educating students at the same time, just like all the Calvinist site administrators who work at various other institutions we could name.

    By the way, unlike Southern Seminary, which receives Cooperative Program funding from ALL states, TMC can only receive Cooperative Program funds from churches within the state of Georgia.

    Finally, in light of your comment regarding the possibility of TMC becoming distracted in their goal of educating students, let me helpfully point out that you used the improper verb form “educated” rather than the correct form “educate.” In the future, when you make snide comments regarding the ability of others to educate people, you might wish to consider the impact of poor grammar upon your argument.

      Norm Miller

      TMC is expecting another record-breaking enrollment this fall. So odd for a school so inept. — Norm

        volfan007

        Norm,

        Amen, Bro.! I’m glad to hear that TMC is doing so well.

        David

        Lydia

        “By the way, unlike Southern Seminary, which receives Cooperative Program funding from ALL states, TMC can only receive Cooperative Program funds from churches within the state of Georgia.”

        Thank you, Rick. I will also point out CP funds have gone to help Driscoll trained Acts 29 Reformed only churches. I certainly hope no CP funds will go to parterning with SGM, too, since they are moving to Louisville.

    Bob Hadley

    Chris,

    Lifeway says they are far exceeding the number of orders they expected.

    I wonder how many of them are “paid for orders” because the first quarter is free! Here is my question, if it is so hot and in such demand why is it free to get people to try it? Most products that are in great demand do not need to be free… until the demand is no longer there.

    These are indeed interesting days for sure.

    ><>”

      Ben

      The first 4 weeks are free, not the entire quarter. Actual facts are more useful than lies.

      Kyle Thomas

      Bob,

      I don’t know where you get your information that the first quarter is free. The first month was provided free online for review, but the print materials and digital resources for the first quarter are not.

      I’m pretty sure Stetzer was talking about people purchasing the first quarter, not just people reviewing the first few lessons.

        Bob Hadley

        Kyle,

        You are probably right. I remember getting something a couple months ago from Lifeway about TPG that was free… I appreciate the correction.

        ><>”

Andrew Wencl

This post has nothing to do with The Gospel Project curriculum apart from repeating allegations that it is Calvinist indoctrination and giving bumper-sticker slogans against Calvinism. I hope tomorrow’s post actually engages with the curriculum.

I regularly write book reviews on my blog, and were I to say, “The problem with this book is that so-and-so wrote it, and he’s not the same breed of Baptist as I am,” I think I’d stop getting offers to review books.

    Dean

    Andrew, as a pastor I constantly advise members looking for a study Bible to examine the contributing editors. When advising people on spiritual matters it would be foolish not to consider the authors or editors.

      Andrew Wencl

      Dean,

      Considering who wrote and advised is helpful for determining whether to spend the time and money on the product in the first place, I get that. But it’s not sufficient for actually critiquing a product.

        Dean

        Andrew that may very well be the case but I suspect it’s not factual 100% of the time. Anyway, I do not believe the pastor offered a critique of the product. Once again he is the shepherd of his flock. SBC today did not offer a critique they gave pastors information that other pastors can use. You are applying rules for your blog’s book reviews when they don’t apply. Please be careful you tiptoeing close to creating a straw man. :)))

          Andrew Wencl

          What information? That a guy looked at the material and decided it was Calvinist indoctrination?

        Bob Hadley

        Andrew,

        Your criticism of Pastor Green is in and of itself unfounded by your own words. His church ordered the product and when he was informed of the advisory board… they THEN evaluated the Curriculum.

        He did not like what he read… not who wrote it. I certainly hope your book reviews demonstrate more critical info than you are exhibiting in THIS CRITIQUE.

        ><&gt”

          Andrew Wencl

          Bob,

          Feel free to read them and find out for yourself.

          My criticism is not unfounded. I didn’t say that he didn’t read and evaluate the material. I’m sure he did. But what is written above does not give any examples from the material. He doesn’t have to give verbatim citations (though, given the nature of this issue within the SBC, he probably should). What he’s written here is all summary judgment.

          As I said above: “I hope tomorrow’s post actually engages with the curriculum.

        Lydia

        Since it is to be a sort of cradle to grave curriculum, how long should we wait to discuss or analyze any of it? Until the last word is written and published? I am assuming the Reformed wing will tell us when we will be allowed to make comments on it.

          Andrew Wencl

          Lydia,

          It should be analyzed. But this post gives summary judgments without any analysis given. Here are the main sentences that actually discuss the content of The Gospel Project:

          We found it to be biased in how it explains and interprets the study themes.

          In what way is it biased towards a Calvinistic/Reformed theology? There should be a supporting example of how the curriculum explains and interprets the study themes in a biased way.

          There are numerous subtle seeds of the Calvinistic approach to Scripture and many that are overtly obvious.

          A sentence like this should be followed by a couple examples of the subtle and obvious “seeds of the Calvinistic approach to Scripture.” And just what is the “Calvinist approach to Scripture?” I could take that in many different ways, most of which would align with many of my non-Calvinist friends.

          But when a curriculum is designed to teach only one side of the issue, it is no longer a healthy debate but indoctrination; and we cannot allow that indoctrination to take place here at Calvary.

          Only one side of what issue? God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? Predestination? Election? The atonement?

            Mary

            It’s funny you using the term summary judgement when you acknowledge that there’s going to be a post tomorrow.

            Everybody’s already whining and moaning because they know they’re going to hate what’s being written tomorrow even though they haven’t read it yet!

            Everything you’ve written Andrew is nothing but a “summary judgement” which in legal terms means there’s not enough evidence that an actual tort has been committed even though YOU DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE ALL THE EVIDENCE YET!

            That’s ok we know no matter what evidence will be presented Calvinists will scream and moan and gnash their teeth because it’s not about EVIDENCE it’s about the fact that somebody somewhere is not agreeing with their idol of Calvinism. The EVIDENCE is pretty clear when you’ve got all these people having conniptions when they haven’t even read the entire argument yet. LOL! LOL! LOL!

            I wonder if the editors meant to show how biased Calvinists actually are or this just sorta accidently happened but what we see here is that no matter what is posted on this site Calvinists will attack, attack, attack.

            Lydia

            Andrew, As I understand it from the post, he is going to get into some of that tomorrow. I read that in the post and keep wondering why you guys insist on using that particular criticism. Can the guy not have an intro post?

            Here is an idea. Why not say: I disagree with the premise of this post but look forward to hearing more details tomorrow.

            ????

Kyle Thomas

Every church is autonomous and ought to choose whatever curriculum they think is best. Pastor Ralph decided The Gospel Project wasn’t for him.

The disturbing undercurrent to this, though, is that he seems to be saying that all the others who are using The Gospel Project ought not have access to it either.

If Stetzer’s blog is any indication, there are a lot of happy customers. http://www.edstetzer.com/2012/07/the-gospel-project-blows-up.html

    Norm Miller

    Chris / Andrew / Kyle: Pastor Green’s original post caught the attention of Trevin Wax, head of TGP, and he called Pastor Green and listened to his concerns. According to Pastor Green, Mr. Wax was grateful for the pastor’s insights and assured him that the insights would guide LifeWay as the spring section of TGP was getting underway. More about that tomorrow. — Norm

    Tim Rogers

    Kyle,

    If Stetzer’s blog is any indication, there are a lot of happy customers.

    If Lifeway were to give away, free of charge, “Life and Works” you would see that curriculum “blow up”. Don’t know your length of time in the SBC but I have noticed that since 1991 whenever the entities go out of their way to tell everyone about their terrific product it means it isn’t as terrific as they want you to think.

      Fred Johnson

      Tim-
      Why are you and Bob perpetuating a distortion? The preview material consisted of 4 weeks and was free to preview. The ordered curriculum is not free. These churches are not getting the Gospel Project for free. The Gospel Project is not free.

      Who started that inane urban legend?

Bill Mac

We should probably wait until tomorrow to engage the specifics of his objections.

    Chris Roberts

    Indeed. This post is meaningless without specifics.

      Lydia

      “Indeed. This post is meaningless without specifics.”

      To whom? Have you declared it so for everyone?

        Norm Miller

        Lydia: Apparently Brother Chris believes his pontifications are authoritative and inerrant. He fails to see that his observations and generalizations are but opinion and not fact. — Norm

SMuschany

Just FYI to the author of this original post and the editors here at SBCToday. Lifeway is NOT a “for profit” orginization. It is a “non-profit” orginization. Why should anyone take this attack on Lifeway seriously if the author and editors of this post cannot even get one minor detail correct? For everyone’s information, Lifeway is a non-profit organization and sends all profits to missions and other ministries around the world. That is unless the Lifeway Website is lying, and this author is actually correct.

Once again, why is this minor point actually important? Because the author of this text, and by proxy the editors of SBCToday, use the argument of “for profit” as a reason why SBC folk should “correct” Lifeway, by removing trusties and executives since they are doing this “for profit” not for the SBC.

    Norm Miller

    So, SMuschany: Simply because there may be one errant statement then the whole blog is of no consequence? Using that logic, we would be dismissive of your post because you spelled trustees as “trusties.” — Norm

      SMuschany

      A church leader making a definitive and provoking statement (and plea for selfish attention) posting on a board that is now supervised by a President of a significant SBC affiliated college, making a clear and immediately noticeable error, an error which while a small point in his argument, provided a logical jump to call for the consideration of the removal of trustees and executive leaders of a major SBC entity; IS FAR DIFFERENT from someone who was born with a significant birth defect causing a speech impediment for the first portion of their life, who was taught to spell phonetically in their primary education without being properly taught how to spell correctly, who wrote the post in a short amount of time in the half hour before he had to leave for work.

      But nice job deflecting and refusing to give an honest answer to a post that poses a challenge to your point of view. Nice job turning that deflection into a personal attack that in light of the realities of my difficult upbringing boarders on repugnant and is most definitely not Christ like, even though you did not know my personal story when you made your attack. I suppose that you would condemn a handwritten note you disagree with for being too sloppy and shaky, even if it was written by someone with say Parkinson’s. Maybe, instead of leveling an attack, you should respond to a person’s argument. I think that is exactly what Jesus Himself did. So why dont you?

Stephen Carp

Wow!

I came across this blog while seeing a tweet on The Gospel Project. Our kid’s ministry and adult small groups are using the material. We are really excited about it. We are not a reformed church, though I am not anti-reformed. We simply teach the text. Several discerning people I trust looked at the materials, and so did I. We found them to be very biblical, with no agenda other than Christ. We think the teaching is solid and the pointing to Christ to be be transformational.

I don’t really engage the blog world that much but find it to be rather ridiculous that one person returning curriculum becomes note-worthy. Who funds this website? Is it funded by the SBC? If so, I would rather see the giving my church does to SBC agencies and the Cooperative Program to be used to build the kingdom rather than go on a random witch hunt.

If this is some independent group, not funded by the SBC — you of course have the right to publish your own ideas. But I would suggest you change the name of the blog because it gives me the impression this is from the “SBC” and that would be very embarrassing to me.

I’ve got people to pastor — so I am headed back to work… a little more discouraged about the future of our denomination if we have SBC leaders spending their time on this stuff.

Adam Embry

I think I’m done keeping up with SBC Today. I discovered this unfortunate debate at the beginning of the summer, but have grown weary of both sides. Today, for example, illustrates my weariness. Calvinists have been snarky all morning long, and Rick Patrick has responded to each one (presumably since Ralph Green is busy with pastoral duties as he indicated). I imagine he’ll respond to my comment, as well. If he’s an editor on here, then it’s fine for him to do that. Consistent commenting on opposing views by one person gives the appearance of policing comments, which I guess is fine to do since he aligns himself with the prerogatives of this blog. It just seems odd to me. The banter between commenters on yesterday’s blog was even more discouraging, as sarcasm abounded between counter points and counter arguments. Hopefully, I’ve always tried to be respectful to all.

For what it’s worth, I’ve never read Reisenger’s book, and it was never on a syllabus in seminary. I don’t read the Founder’s blog. I remember reading an article on there in 2008 and the commenters just bickered back and forth for over 300 comments. It really turned me off, and I’ve never been back since. Also, I didn’t find the YRR book very helpful, nor did I feel like it painted an accurate depiction of the average seminary experience of students at Southern. Tim Brister had his own issues to deal with that I, for one, did not. If a student goes into a church, blows it up, causes unnecessary dissension, and has hidden agendas, it’s his own fault not the faculty’s or the seminary’s. I love my experience there and love my professors.

I just enjoyed reading the devotionals on here by Franklin Kirksey, but there’s much more to this blog than devotional material, as I’ve discovered. I would have liked to seen blogs on pastoral ministry from the older pastors who were part of the conservative resurgence. Something similar to what O. S. Hawkins has done with his book, The Pastor’s Primer, would make for awesome blog posts on here. Unfortunately, I don’t know one SBC pastor over the age of 55. I’d love to read about their experiences in pastoral ministry.

I reviewed The Gospel Project for free for a month and really enjoyed it. So did my kids. I liked its emphasis on biblical theology and capturing the story-line of Scripture. I guess I looked at it with different eyes than did Ralph Green. I read more on biblical theology, now, anyway, as Southern professors (Drs. Hamilton, Gentry & Wellum) have published two substantial biblical theology texts the past few years with another biblical theology text coming next year (Dr. Schreiner). For family devotions I take my kids through The Big Picture Story Bible (Crossway) and The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (Zondervan), both of which teach kids (and parents!) redemptive history. From what I saw, it seems as if the focus on The Gospel Project was to capture and teach the biblical story-line of Scripture. I was never taught this as a child or young adult but had to get it in seminary. Biblical theology helped me shed my belief in dispensationalism, so I’m not really looking at the curriculum through the eyes of systematic theology, per se.

It’s perfectly fine for Ralph Green to review the material and tell Lifeway what he and his church thought. I sent my thoughts to Lifeway, though I did not have doctrinal concerns like Pastor Green did. I think it’s brilliant. I teach 2 year olds at church, so I did offer some suggestions and made comments on the practical side of teaching that I thought they might consider. If the Traditionalists do not like the presentation and interpretation of redemptive history The Gospel Project presents, then perhaps they can craft their own that incorporates their nuances of systematic theology and biblical theology.

Respectfully,
Adam

    Norm Miller

    Adam: What I have appreciated most about your posts is the tone. Thank you.
    I would like for you to at least see what is posted tomorrow. Perhaps you will wonder, as did Pastor Green, why it is necessary to quote Anglicans, Wesleyans and even a French humanist/skeptic. — Norm

      Bob Hadley

      Adam,

      You and I have conversed on a few occasions and I want to echo Norm’s statement concerning the tone of your writing. Even though we disagree more than we agree, I always know that your post or comment is going to be worth reading and for that I say “thanks!”

      ><>”

    Rick Patrick

    Adam,

    I would not want to disappoint you by failing to respond. I do not even know Pastor Green, but having written a few articles myself, I know the frustration of posting something and then being unavailable to defend myself on a comment stream. On those occasions, I have generally been grateful to others who have helped represent my viewpoint and bring balance to accusations I often felt were unfair.

    To clarify my interest in all of this, no, I am not an editor on this blog, just an occasional writer and a frequent commenter, although this morning I have apparently worn out my welcome in your eyes by commenting too much. As it turns out, I’m off to make some hospital visits. Thus, if you want to register any further concerns about my participation here, I will have to leave my defense in the capable hands of others, who respect my right to participate as actively or as passively as I feel led.

Dr. Bruce McLaughlin

The “New Reformation Movement” has not only corrupted the SBC with hard core Calvinism, but the SBC bureaucracy has allowed it to introduce a strategy based on stealth, subterfuge, deceit, guile and duplicity employed, of course, with God’s approval for the “greater good.” This strategy is to suppress the issue of Calvinism/Arminianism in all local churches. If the topic surfaces in a church in spite of the pastor’s best efforts to suppress it, he may try to convince the congregation that each individual’s choice is simply a matter of personal preference, like whether to wear brown shoes or black shoes to church; no one must be allowed to express the possibility that Calvinism is blasphemy at its core. Because some local churches may see through this subterfuge, other strategies have been introduced with the hope of “tap dancing” around the core conflicts. These strategies include: (1) undermine all discussion and teaching on this issue and thereby maintain a level of ignorance within congregations and particularly within pastor search committees, (2) subordinate the importance of this issue to church growth, music, other entertainment and family ministries, (3) argue that the seriousness of the conflict is contrived in the sense that an Arminian pastor is really no different than an evangelical Calvinist pastor who believes in unconditional election, limited atonement and irresistible grace, (4) utilize Seminaries and Bible Colleges to convert Christians to Calvinists, (5) avoid Articles of Faith that clarify the denominational position, (6) assert the simultaneous validity of both Calvinism and Arminianism using a type of logic popular among intellectual elite called “positive tolerance,” (7) claim to be above the fray by just “believing in the Bible” and (8) assert the sovereignty of God and the free will of man are like two parallel lines that meet at infinity. The true battle lines have been drawn, however, and do not meet at infinity. The Calvinist believes, “God did will all happenings.” The Arminian believes, “God did not will all happenings.” One is true, the other is false.

The counter attack is stumbling. “Traditional Baptists” love to say, I’m not a Calvinist, I’m not an Arminian, I’m just a Bible believing Baptist!!” However, given two different (but carefully defined) sets of propositions, both Calvinism and Arminianism are logically self consistent. “Bible believing Baptists” frequently embrace a mish-mash of theological positions not having self consistency. This may work for an ignorant church congregation but it’s not going to win a debate.

Calvinists, who are masters of nuancing and distortion, consistently attack the contributors to SBC Today as back woods bumkins who can’t quite get their act together. For an uninformed reader of these blogs, this strategy is probably working.

    Christian

    Trust me all of the people who make up the congregations aren’t ignorant. If we were all the church splits over this issue would not be happening. In the words of one deacon, “This is like Obamacare, it is being pushed on us whether we like it or not.” In our small town three churches have split over this issue. Thank you SBC leadership!

      Dr. Bruce McLaughlin

      Here is a possible solution. It would confound the SBC upper echelon elite but it would ultimately achieve peace in each local church. Educate congregations about this issue and let local churches decide for themselves. This is a moral and ethical option which relies on the “soul competency and priesthood of believers” and confirms the autonomy of the local church. A local church could decide, for example, to designate itself as “non-Calvinist” meaning, in that church, Calvinism is rejected by the leadership. Another church could designate itself as “Calvinist” meaning church leaders embrace Calvinism. Currently, neither Christian nor “seeker” can confidently determine the position of a particular Southern Baptist church on this issue without conducting an extensive investigation. For example, a church may have a non-Calvinist pastor but several Calvinist Sunday school teachers. Or a church may have a Calvinist pastor because his true theology was concealed from a non-Calvinist search committee. In particularly insidious cases, Calvinist “power players” bide their time until their non-Calvinist pastor departs and then quietly sneak a Calvinist pastor through the side door. In each of these examples, is the church Calvinist or non-Calvinist? Would the congregation know? Unfortunately, most Southern Baptist congregations are far too uninformed to recognize deceitful and duplicitous conduct by a few members of their own leadership. Perhaps it’s time to inform them!

    Scott

    “The ‘New Reformation Movement’ has not only corrupted the SBC with hard core Calvinism, but the SBC bureaucracy has allowed it to introduce a strategy based on stealth, subterfuge, deceit, guile and duplicity employed, of course, with God’s approval for the ‘greater good.'”

    To the editors of this site,
    I see you interact with Reformed comments and answer their objections carefully. Yet, you allow these types of comments to stand with no rebuttal. Here is my question for you, the editors of this site, do you believe that Reformed brothers in the SBC leadership have a strategy based on “stealth, subterfuge, deceit, guile, and duplicity”? If you do believe this, please state it plainly so that everyone’s cards are out on the table. If you do not believe this, why do you not offer a rebuttal to these types of comments as well?

      Lydia

      “see you interact with Reformed comments and answer their objections carefully. Yet, you allow these types of comments to stand with no rebuttal.

      At least you get to comment and have a opposing opinion published. You would not believe how many Reformed blogs do not allow any dissent or hard questions. Even the very irenic SelahV was deleted at Voices. And TWW talks a lot about Calvinist blogs moderating out dissent as they try to ask questions just as recently happened at GC blog of Jared Wilson. I have seen a ton of moderating and deleting over the past few years on Calvinist blogs. Of course, who can prove that? That is part of the stealth.

      So many Calvinists censor info and do not allow dissent yet come here, have their dissent and even much vitriol published. I should think you would be grateful. But after quite a few years interacting in person and on internet, I am understanding the Reformed movement is a one way street.

      After all, we are people who, according to your leader, does not want to see the nations rejoice for Christ.

        Lydia

        does not should be “do not”. sigh

      Bob Hadley

      No guile. :)

      ><>”

    Donald

    ““Bible believing Baptists” frequently embrace a mish-mash of theological positions not having self consistency”

    We choose Biblical arguments over theological/logical arguments.

volfan007

What always amazes me is to see the commenters making accusations of divisiveness and mean ness and vitriol, etc.; and the way they write their comments are some of the meanest, most vitriolic, hateful spews I’ve ever seen! I mean, it’s like most of the commenters, who come into SBC Today with opposing views, are criticizing SBC Today, and Traditional types, and Truett McConnell folks for being mean and nasty and hateful and divisive, etc, etc, etc. And, the irony of it all is that the commenters comments are the ones, which are the meanest, nastiest, angriest, hateful comments in the comment threads!!!

Wow.

David

    Darryl Hill

    It truly is easy to see when someone else is being over-the-top in their comments, but seemingly impossible to see it when you’re the one doing it. Wouldn’t you agree, David?

      volfan007

      I’m just simply saying what I see. I see a lot of venom coming from some of the commenters, as they criticize the supposed venom of SBC Today. lol. I’d laugh a little more if it werent so sad.

      David

        Darryl Hill

        Thanks for illustrating my point so clearly. You are describing exactly what you see and you don’t see describing the comments of people as… “their comments are some of the meanest, most vitriolic, hateful spews I’ve ever seen!” and “the commenters comments are the ones, which are the meanest, nastiest, angriest, hateful comments in the comment threads!!!”

        Can you not see your own hypocrisy here? I’d say that there are folks on both sides who have made comments like you’ve described. Here is a question though bro. When the SBCToday posts an article from one pastor criticizing the Gospel Project curriculum, who says it’s intended to indoctrinate people to Calvinism and then suggests everyone return it to make his statement stronger, what did they expect?

        Seriously, what kinds of comments are expected in this space today? Are we expecting a calm, reasonable exchange of ideas here today? There is no GP content here given as an example of the calvinistic indoctrination. We can’t discuss the curriculum. All we can do is step back and chuck ad hominem grenades at each other. But isn’t that what was expected?

          Lydia

          David, I have been dealing with this for 6 years. They do not even know they are doing it. It comes from being told they have “truth”,the real Gospel and are the only ones who want to see the nations rejoice for Christ. (Ironically, Mohler thinks SGM has done it right and Ezell/Akin think Mars Hill/Driscoll/Acts29 has done it right. oy vey. That is how far off the reservation we are)

          It seems all they know is ad homenim and tu toque arguments. It is a result of indoctrination not education. I often wonder where the YRR will be in 20 years. Not a lot of donors will continue long term to pay people to look down on them. Some will, though, for quite a while as we have seen.

            Mary

            I think part of the problem long term is there are simply not enough YRR to sustain the movement for any length of time. What we’re seeing in these church plants isn’t so much new growth but lateral growth – the YRR plants are filled with people leaving other churches to “start” new work There simply aren’t enough Cavinists to support all these church planting networks if the growth comes from lateral movement. And yet we’re going to spend millions of dollars and SBC resources on all these untried, untested YRR.

Christian

Maybe this could have been avoided had half of the authors been Traditionalists. But we weren’t given the opportunity to make sure our doctrine was presented fairly and correctly were we? What’s your answer Mr. Wax?

carl peterson

First I have had some helpful discussions with Traditionalists here at this blog. However, I have also seen the contrustruction of many strawman by many of the Traditionalists (especially in the actual articles) of Calvinism. Today’s article while not necessarily using a strawman instead is argues against a very hyper form of Calvinism that I personally have never seen any Calvinists believe. I know they are out there and I have read about them in Church history texts. But I do not know any personally and have never read a book by one of them. The Reformed seem to be just as upset at these types of hyper-clavinists as the non-reformed.

But I think the main problem with all of this is that the Traditionalists here seem to be taking the same tactic (or preseumed tactic) as some of the Reformed. It is justified by a “They are doing it first” or “They are doing it also” mentality. That was also used to justify the negative things that Patterson and tohers did during the long conservative reassurgence that apparently is only just now possibly over at SWBTS. I remember being amazed in a Christian Home class that taught that birth control was wrong and that a pastor should not marry anyone whose wife might work (at any time) for anything but play money. But I am getting off the point.

I think this should be my last post here because it is just not a place overall for healthy and productive discussion. I have sometimes wrote posts that were inflamatory. I apologize for that. However I would just advise all here to do a few things.

1. Love God- Give Him all glory and enjoy him forever.
2. Prayerfully study the Word.
3. Know what doctrines are helping you interepret the Word. You can’t get away with interperting the Bible without a theological system. The bible was never meant to be interepreted that way and erally cannot in real life. (contra this article)
4. Pray before and be slow to talk (post) and quick to listen
5. Love your fellow brothers and sisters on this board.
6. Get out and do some ministry in the real world with real people and spend less time in the cyber world (this is one for me sometimes especially).

So that is all. Live long an prosper. Over and out. I would say it has been fun but it really hasn’t. I am sure all of us our good people who would liek each other in other contexts.

CARL

Dean

I wonder why our Calvinist brothers are upset about this blog concerning GP. I had held out hope that GP might not be just reformed Sunday school literature for Baptist. Calvinist are too upset with this particular post for GP not to be their literature. If I posted the same post about the old Bible book series no one would respond nor question any motives. The reason is simple Bible book series was no one’s darling. It was not written with a system of theology in mind.

    Ben

    Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the reason the “Calvinists” respond to this article is because it addresses Calvinism more than the Gospel Project? It would be wise for everyone here to take a deep breath and wait for tomorrow’s post on specifics. It is worth noting that most of the argument against TGP is because it quotes reformed authors/theologians. Random question, how many pastors have quoted Spurgeon in their sermons? He had entire sermons written on the 5 points. Should we dismiss any pastor’s sermons with those quotes as well?

Bob Cleveland

Perhaps it is true, that SBC Today is more indicative of the SBC Today, than anyone thinks.

Sadly.

    Tom Parker

    Bob:

    It is non-stop fighting. Do we not have some higher priorities we as SB need to be giving our attentions to?

    Nothing about Missions.
    Nothing about making christian sacrifices.
    Nothing about building up the christian body.

    I could go on and on but you will not find that here.

      volfan007

      Tom,

      Have you had your chiken sandwich today?

      David

        Tom Parker

        007:

        Are you implying what I think you are? Once again a tried and true CR tactic. If I did that to you, you would scream like a baby.

        BTW, 007, I love how you find what you believe the winning side and then are so brave to give your viewpoints. That is the tactic of a bully.

        You would cry and holler that everyone was picking on you if you were on the losing side and people challenged you.

        BTW, why do you not go over to SBC Voices anymore?

          volfan007

          Tom,

          The chiken sandwich at Chik Fil A is excellent. I also tried the spicy chiken sandwich today, as well. I know, that was a little much for me to eat, but it was very good.

          Tom, eat mor chiken….just eat mor chiken.

          David

      Norm Miller

      Tom:
      Are you not a member of a Cooperative Fellowship Baptist church? I wonder why your incessant interest in the SBC if you are no longer a part of the Convention. — Norm

        Tom Parker

        Norm:

        You said:”Tom:
        Are you not a member of a Cooperative Fellowship Baptist church? I wonder why your incessant interest in the SBC if you are no longer a part of the Convention. — Norm”

        I love the way you try to dismiss me based on information you are not evn sure of? That is a CR tactic if I have ever seen one and not christian at all. You should know better.

Darryl Hill

I had some high hopes that things had turned the corner here over the weekend, with the posting of “Southern Baptist Identity: An Evangelical Denom. Faces the Future” There was balance in that article. I was thrilled to see it posted.

And then came Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and now this. It’s just very frustrating for me personally. I suppose I shouldn’t care so much.

    Darryl Hill

    By the way, I was not only encouraged by the post regarding SBC Identity, I was also encouraged strongly by the apology that was issued regarding a reference in Dr. Cox’s article as well as the interaction offered by Ronnie Rogers and his answering specific questions by those who made comments on his blog and the general peaceful tones and unifying statements he made regarding loving those who are calvinists and even appointing missionaries who are calvinists because he evaluated the candidate based on God’s calling and not on a theological litmus test. This is the way we should interact with one another. The articles for this new week are back to the old tactics again, trying to get hits I suppose. And it will generate hits and comments, that is sure. Just like a shock jock gains listeners and a syndicated and controversial columnist gains a following. But it will do nothing to promote unity. The articles over the weekend will serve to promote overall unity and health in the debate. This kind of accusatory column without evidence is a perfect set-up for ad hominem attacks, drive-by rants, and will likely lead all involved to become more and more cemented in their own stereotypes of their “opponents” which are also their brothers.

volfan007

Coming into a Traditional, Southern Baptist blog, and complaining about the posts challenging Calvinism in the SBC, is like going into Victoria’s Secrets, and complaining that they dont have any hunting boots for men.

David

    Christian

    Good point!

    Tim Rogers

    David,

    AMEN!!!!!!

    Tim G

    Tell us how you really feel there volfan! Great comment!

    Mary

    David, LOL! It’s pretty clear from the Calvinists who post here that the only “unity” they want is for Traditionalist to sit down and be quiet. “Unity” means you must agree with Calvinists on all things.

    Tomorrow’s post will be interesting.

      Debbie Kaufman

      No Mary. It means we work together despite the differences. We quit the blasted fighting that leads to nothing but spiritual bloodshed and we concentrate on people hearing about Jesus Christ. In fact, Christ would be the focus and not this.

        Mary

        Right Debbie, and all of us who have seen first hand the attempt to Calvinize the Convention should just shut up and let the takeover happen.

        As I said Calvinists think we should shut up and get out of the way while they try to spiritually shame us into shutting up by claiming we don’t care about the Great Commission. Thanks for proving the point about how Calvinists view unity Debbie.

        Sheesh, if we are against the Calvinists taking over and kicking us out we don’t care about Christ.

    Darryl Hill

    You get ’em Dave! Those stupid calvinists! They should know better than to expect any balance here. After all, this is the anti-calvinist site. They should be satisfied with our entertaining an accusation against the editors of TGP on the basis of one witness.

      Tim Rogers

      Darryl,

      Here we see you are once again trying to make someone say something they have not said. No one has even implied “those stupid calvinists”. You are the person calling Calvinists stupid, not David. This is not an “anti-Calvinist” site. We welcome Calvinists but they better be ready to acknowledge both their belief system and the philosophy that belief system is built upon. For Trads, we are debating the issues and you keep throwing the red herrings and pushing the issues in order that someone responds to you negatively and then you can say that Trads are not promoting unity.

        Darryl Hill

        Tim, please tell me what exactly about this blog is discussing the issues and how exactly it promotes unity. Also, if you will be honest with me rather than simply tote the company line here, what kind of comments did you expect to see with this post today? This is one man’s accusation of calvinistic indoctrination by a curriculum without offering a single example from the curriculum itself other than to say there were many subtle things and some over things that were calvinistic. It has been posted here to generate discussion, but what kind of discussion CAN ensue when all you’ve offered is a baseless critique and a suggestion that everyone return the curriculum to Lifeway? What was expected?

          Mary

          Darryl, seriously did you not see that the post tomorrow is going to be more specific. Now it’s not going to matter what specifics will be offered because you and the other Calvinists have shown that you will attack and whine no matter is posted. You complaining about their not being specifics when the posts says the specifics are coming is evidence that you just want to be mad and attack.

            Darryl Hill

            The specifics should have been posted WITH the above article if any meaningful dialogue had been expected today. If you’re just going to say, “wait until tomorrow” then you should have waited until tomorrow to post this article.

            As it is, it amounts to entertaining an accusation against an elder on the basis of only one witness. You don’t give the case the day AFTER you make the accusation. That would be the scriptural approach, unless of course you do not even view these people are brothers and sisters in Christ at all.

            Mary

            Gosh darn it Darryl, you’re right! Why on earth won’t these people run this blog the way you Calvinists dictate!

            Lydia

            Darryl, why not wait to post until tomorrow then?

            Let’s take a look at the ad homenim you have thrown at people in one paragraph:

            “Also, if you will be honest with me rather than simply tote the company line here, what kind of comments did you expect to see with this post today?”

            So you question Tim’s honesty out of the gate. Then you accuse him of not being able to think for himself. Then he is supposed to be soothsayer and predict the comments.

            In one way that last line is like a person blaming someone else for “provoking” their bad behavior or response to some stimuli. You are not Pavlovs dog, Darryl.

            “This is one man’s accusation of calvinistic indoctrination by a curriculum without offering a single example from the curriculum itself other than to say there were many subtle things and some over things that were calvinistic. It has been posted here to generate discussion, but what kind of discussion CAN ensue when all you’ve offered is a baseless critique and a suggestion that everyone return the curriculum to Lifeway? What was expected?”

            And why is one man’s opinion not worthy of consideration or “baseless” as you called it? And this is posted on a blog where people read who ALREADY had questions/problems concerning the advent of the GP. Some of us are interested in his opinion. Why are you the arbiter of what we should or should not be interested in? (This is what scares me about the Reformed wing of the SBC)

            Now, would a “bible test” help us here? I think not.

    Lydia

    It is back to the same scenerio. If you post what they want, change the statement to satisfy their interpretation, interact how they think you should, then everything is ok. One way road.

    Can you imagine going on an SBC Calvinist blog and telling them what they should post or not post? Or they are heretical (leaning, semi, error). You would not last long. They are less tolerant in my experience with dissent.

    Chris Roberts

    David,

    I believe the title of the blog is “SBC Today” which at least implies a desire to speak to the SBC as a whole. Now, I would agree that the blog does not speak to the SBC as a whole, particularly as it continues to launch repeated anti-Calvinist attacks, but one hopes it would return to what it should be. Despite the attitude of SBC Today, Calvinism does not have to divide us.

      Mary

      Name-calling again are we Chris Unity Resolution Roberts. Of course because any blog that post disagreements with you and Calvinism must be ANTI-Calvinist.

      We’ll just call you Chris Unity Resolution but really an ANTI-Tradtitionalist Roberts

      Luther

      Amen Chris Roberts. Thanks for this good call to unity.

        Lydia

        I love it! “Unity” on his terms, though. That is how it works in the NC movement some of us have found out the hard way.

      Lydia

      This blog could be like Rush in the early days. He was the ONLY balance out there to the other side for a long time who owned the airwaves. That is how I think of this blog. Finally, some folks who not Calvinists posting what they believe!

      Besides, have your comments been moderated out, Chris? You DO have a voice here.

      Calling disagreement with Calvinist doctrine “anti Calvinist attacks” is not very unifying, Chris.

      volfan007

      I love Calvinists.

      David

Luther

Ralph Green opens his article bascially warning us that the Gospel is at stake in the subject of his article: “be vigilant against doctrinal error and remain faithful to the Word of God. He knows well the dangers, pitfalls and ramifications of doctrinal error and the high cost of ensuring our denomination would stay true to our Lord Jesus Christ and His inspired, inerrant and infallible Word…. guard the sacred trust of Scripture and to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

WOW! With an opening like that, and then to talk about “The Gospel Project” in the very next paragraph, one can only imagine that the Gospel must be at stake. One must assume that “to stay true to our Lord Jesus Christ” will require sending back the LifeWay Gospel Project resources. After all, after giving his compelling speech regarding staying true to Jesus Christ and contending for the faith the very next sentence tells us “I’m sharing this with you because our church was about to implement the use of a Sunday school curriculum from LifeWay Christian Resources called “The Gospel Project.”

Well then Mr. Green, you had better show some grevious errors in the Gospel Project resources or you shall be a laughing stock, my friend! It must contain greivous error indeed, or else why would Mr. Green’s heart desire be concluded with these worrds: “I hope you’ll send it back to LifeWay.”

I can tell you right now, that if you do not show grevious errors in the Gospel Project material you ALREADY look very foolish, Mr. Ralph Green.

BTW: Two months of reading what SBCtoday posts in the “SBCtoday project” confirms that SBCtoday are enemies of peace and unity in the body of Christ.

    Luther

    In case anyone thinks I am being unfair in what I said about Mr. Green. It would only be unfair if SPBtoday and Mr. Green were Special-Ed students, unable to write in a way normal children can. Otherwise it is completely fair as shown below:

    Mr. Green writes: “I’m sharing this with you because our church was about to implement the use of a Sunday school curriculum from LifeWay Christian Resources called “The Gospel Project.” What is the “THIS” he shared with us? Here is the “this” he shared:

    – be vigilant against doctrinal error
    – remain faithful to the Word of God.
    – know well the dangers, pitfalls and ramifications of doctrinal error
    – stay true to our Lord Jesus Christ and His inspired, inerrant and infallible Word.
    – take seriously our responsibilities before the Lord to guard the sacred trust of Scripture
    – contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints

    This, above, is the accusation laid. If not, then either:

    1. Mr. Green should be riding the short bus to school
    2. SBCtoday editors are totally incompetent
    or
    3. There must be errors in the “Gospel Project” literature which will cause us not to remain true to Jesus Christ and remain true to the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.

    If none of the above is true, then all that is left is for Mr. Green and SBCtoday editors to issue a public retraction and sincere apology for the contemptable things written. If none of the above are true and a retraction and repentance are not offered, well then Mr. Green and SBCtoday editors are living in unrepentance for their slander and they need to be confronted.

      peter lumpkins

      A public retraction? A sincere apology? For posting the personal conclusion of an in-depth study of SS material? What a Georgia hoot!

      A similar benign call was issued when I posted a piece showing virtually all the people involved were Reformed. Rewrite! Retract! Restate! Repent!

      What must be the end of the rhetorical flim-flam only heaven knows for sure.

      With that, I am…
      Peter

        Luther

        Lumpkins:
        If what is found in the Gospel Project would not cause people to be untrue to Jesus Christ, then Mr. Green (or SBCToday editors) is either a liar or an incompetent.

          Norm Miller

          Luther: Your insensitive use of “Special-ed students” and the “short bus” are two of the most insensitive statements ever in my tenure as site moderator. I’m not asking you to apologize for insulting that segment of our society. I am, however, insisting that you do no such thing ever again. — Norm

      Dean

      Luther the opening paragraph seems to me to be an explanation as to why he was reviewing GP. The exact same statement as the opening paragraph could have been followed with endorsements of GP. I led my church one year to use Vine’s Sunday school material for a few adult classes. I read over his material before we used it for the exact same reasons found in this opening paragraph. I then supported a couple of my classes using the material.

      Could Bro Green be saying in the first paragraph I was fulfilling my calling not looking for a fight; I was taught to do this in seminary? Having established this he then moves to his findings about GP.

        Bob Hadley

        Dean,

        You are correct in your statement here. I talked to pastor Green personally last week and when a deacon came to him with the advisory panel information, he was taken back a bit but fully expected to be able to tell the deacon they were proceeding. Unfortunately, for him that was NOT the case.

        ><>”

      Joel

      To those of you who question Pastor Ralph Green’s mental capacity and/or integrity, I ask you to refrain from such until you have seen and heard everything from him. As one who knows him personally, it might be best if you simply stay away from those accusations altogether.

      I know Ralph. Prior to his coming to MD, he was a missionary in New England. He and I were commissioned together by NAMB 10 years ago. He has a passion to see people know Jesus, and has served both his church, and our work as a state convention well.

      I have not yet spoken to Ralph about this issue. I too am genuinely curious as to what he has found, and plan on trying to contact him directly. I say this as someone who has examined the curriculum myself, found no major problems with it, and recommended it to churches in my Association. I also happen to be “one of those” Reformed guys, who suspects that many in my own camp sometimes miss obvious biases, just as I believe some in the non-Reformed camp might occasionally be hyper-sensitive. The answer is, I believe, in talking to each other, as I plan to do with Ralph.

      Another pastor in my association has also expressed concerns about TGP. My proposal to him was that he and I look through it together. In this, we can offer our differing perspectives, reveal biases in our own hearts, and walk away with our iron sharper than it was before.

      In short, if you want to inflame these issues, either blog about them or spend time responding online to people you don’t really know. IF both sides really want unity, the answer is to sit down and talk to each other like men and brothers in Jesus.

      For 7 1/2 years I’ve worked alongside almost 60 pastors in this association, some Calvinists and some not. Together, we have planted more than 30 churches in our own region, and many more on every inhabited continent on the globe, and my heart breaks when I see division over issues like this. My humble suggestion? Let’s stop speaking past each other in the blogosphere and start talking to each other.

      And in the mean time, let’s not attack a brother merely because he claims to have issues with TGP that he believes might be hazardous to his church. Whether he is right or wrong, Ralph Green is doing his best to be a good pastor to his people. I applaud him for that.

    Tim Rogers

    Luther,

    You show up here anonymous and complain that we are not promoting unity? That is like sending an anonymous letter to a pastor that you think he is destroying a church.

David R. Brumbelow

Thoughts about The Gospel Project:

First, I remember Calvinists challenging anyone to disagree with it and give examples of how it showed any Calvinist leanings. Now, when someone does, they are condemned by Calvinists.

Second, Calvinists vehemently denied this was a “Calvinist Project,” yet seemed, and now seem, willing to defend it to their dying day. If The Gospel Project has nothing to do with Calvinism, why are the Calvinists so intent on defending and promoting it?

Third, the ones chosen for leadership in this project lean heavily toward Calvinism. If nothing else, in this way they have promoted and given great visibility to Calvinist preachers and writers. Some who claim to only want to promote young leaders, seem to be only promoting one type of young leaders.
David R. Brumbelow

    Darryl Hill

    David, you begin with…

    “I remember Calvinists challenging anyone to disagree with it and give examples of how it showed any Calvinist leanings. Now, when someone does, they are condemned by Calvinists.”

    The trouble is this pastor didn’t give examples of how it showed calvinistic leanings. That’s the real beef here. He simply made attacked the literature and gave no evidence. Here is the full content of what he said he found…

    “There are numerous subtle seeds of the Calvinistic approach to Scripture and many that are overtly obvious.”

    Are we simply to trust his word? What are these numerous subtle seeds? And at the very least, what are the overtly obvious examples? We are given none. What we have here is the Scriptural equivalent of making an accusation against an elder on the basis of ONE witness.

      Tim Rogers

      Darryl,

      The trouble is this pastor didn’t give examples of how it showed calvinistic leanings. That’s the real beef here.

      If that is the “real beef here” then why are you blowing up this comment stream? The article clearly states:

      Coming tomorrow: Interview with Pastor Green wherein he will cite specific concerns with TGP curriculum.

      Why not wait until tomorrow to interact with the “specific concerns”? Unless, it is easier to yell and scream at noises in the dark.

        Darryl Hill

        When all you post is “noises in the dark” that is all anyone can respond to. The posts should have been posted together if any meaningful dialogue could be had.

          Mary

          Or maybe you should have resisted the urge to attack today and save yourself for tomorrow since by attacking today you show that no matter what is posted tomorrow it is your intention to hate and attack.

            Darryl Hill

            I will respond to the actual findings when I see them Mary. To this point, I have not seen them. My intention here is to defend brothers in Christ against baseless accusations, which is what this post today amounts to. These kinds of actions are the same kinds of things that get pastors fired around our convention on a weekly basis. Some person comes up with an accusation and people shoot first and ask questions later. At some point down the road, we might find out why the guy is gone. Until then, we have to decide whether to believe the accusations or not. That’s where we all are today.

            Perhaps the SBCToday should have just turned the comments off on this article. I’m still wanting an answer to “what did you expect would happen here today?”

            Mary

            The only people launching baseless accusations are the Calvinists like you Darryl. You were specifically told you didn’t have all the information. Yet still here you are attacking anyway.

Doug Mize

With so many of these blog posts a stern complaint and many full of straw-man arguments with condescending overtones, I am simply sad. Knowing this may never change here on this blog, I ask you simply also find a way to show grace to a lost person today and share the Gospel today. It seems you have little grace for many of your SBC brothers, especially with those that lead us. I am simply sad for you, and disagree with the direction you have taken this blog. Yet, you are still my brothers in Christ, so I am thankful that we bear the same marks of Jesus!
-Doug Mize (and by the way, I am not a calvinist.)

jdbarker

“My biggest problem with extreme Calvinism is that it views salvation as deterministic where God divinely chooses who will be saved and who will not.”

-And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “ The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written, “ Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

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.

    Tim Rogers

    jdbarker,

    It seems you are using the verses that call attention to an election by God for a nation and applying them to salvation. I do not think you will get anyone to argue that God doesn’t choose who is going to be born in American and who is going to be born in Iran.

      Fred Johnson

      Tim,
      Why are you perpetuating the falsehood that LifeWay is giving away the Gospel Project? Are you aware that is a complete fabrication?

      Darryl Hill

      Yes Tim, I’ve heard that interpretation many times before, from people who are desperately attempting to avoid what Paul is actually teaching there. He is merely using Isaac/Ishmael and Jacob/Esau as examples and then applies it to individuals. He makes clear his purpose at the very beginning of the chapter. Look again, if you will. Has the word of God failed?

      5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
      6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;

      There it is. “they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” What is he saying? Not every individual who is a physical son of Israel is his spiritual descendent. All the spiritual children of Israel will be saved. And now he mentions as examples to distinguish the physical children from the spiritual children.

      Isaac was the child of promise, not Ishmael.
      Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated.

      And what is the complaint Paul anticipates? He anticipates a charge of injustice against God. Why? Because God didn’t choose Esau and because, by extension, God doesn’t choose every person. It’s the same charge we see here daily when we speak of election. Here is the charge and Paul’s answer…

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

      It’s amazing to me how people twist this text in order to remove the power of the potter over the clay. The clay rises up and says, “Why did you make me like this?” And now God has to answer to the clay? No. Why does Paul anticipate this argument from his hearers if this is intended to only apply to nations? And why does he describe the vessels of honor prepared for glory as “even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”

      It’s clear that he is speaking of individuals, not just nations.

        Luther

        Darryl. You are absolutely right. And I would add that the Holy Spirit, speaking through the Apostle Paul anticipated well the Arminian-Traditionalist cry of “unfair!” with these words:
        “You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?’ But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God?” (Rom. 9:19-20) In deed Paul, who are these Arminian-Traditionalists to reply against God?

RobertA

A tempest in a tea pot. Not much else here folks.

Clay Gilbreath

first time commenter… I have been reading for a couple months now. One question: am I the only one offended by Luther twice mocking Mr. Green by mentioning “Special Ed students” and the “short bus.” Seems many were outraged a few days ago with an offensive analogy… is this not another one, this time by a Calvinist???

    Luther

    I think the analogy you were refering to was about rape. That one was often justified by saying a Calvinist had used the anaology. So I suppose if I could find a traditionalist who had ever used my words above, it would be justified? Of course not. Things are only justified here if you believe man is the author of his faith, rather than God.

Jared Moore

People said the Traditionalist statement was sem-Pelagian. The question from the Traditionalists was, “Where?” You wanted proof. So, now, a pastor says The Gospel Project has Calvinist overtones. People ask, “Where?” What’s the difference? Any time something is critiqued, proof should be provided to back up the critique. The editors of The Gospel Project have said publicly that the curriculum is not overtly Calvinistic. They’ve actually said that The BF&M2K was their guiding document. They’ve even made efforts to quote a balance of both Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the curriculum. Thus, the pastor should provide proof for his public accusations since they go directly against what the editors have said about this curriculum. What some of you fail to realize is that Lifeway isn’t a person-less corporation, but is made up of real Christians who are your brothers and sisters in Christ. The Gospel Project is over a year in the making, and many brothers and sisters in Christ have invested countless hours in its production.

Let me be clear, I’m not sold on The Gospel Project yet (I like the concept though). I haven’t studied all of it. My church is test driving it for 3 months. We’ll see what all my teachers and Sunday school director think. All I’m saying to the critics is, “Read the curriculum before you decide.” This pastor did that, but then posted his accusations without any quotes from the literature.

In similar manner, I think I’ll write an article publicly criticizing one of the sermons this pastor has preached. I won’t provide any quotes that back up my accusations though. I also hope he expects those in his congregation to treat his sermons with the same courtesy he has the The Gospel Project, its editors, and authors. Hopefully, those in his congregation make negative, public statements about his sermons contrary to what he professes to believe without quoting anything he’s said in his sermons.

In other words, my problem with this post is that this pastor hasn’t loved his neighbor as himself; he hasn’t loved the editors and authors of The Gospel Project as himself, unless he wants Christians to critique and criticize his sermons without providing any proof for their accusations.

    Clay Gilbreath

    like others, Jared, you missed the footnote that specifics are coming tomorrow. Wait until you read tomorrow, then see if what you claim has merit!

      Jared Moore

      Clay, I didn’t miss it. I saw it. The proof should have been posted with the accusations.

    Norm Miller

    Jared: In case you missed it, the following is posted above at the end of Pastor Green’s article. “Coming tomorrow: Interview with Pastor Green wherein he will cite specific concerns with TGP curriculum.” — Norm

      Chris Roberts

      I’m wondering why they weren’t done together? This post is completely meaningless without specifics.

        Rick Patrick

        All together now…

        “The sun’ll come out…TOMORROW!”
        –Annie

          Mary

          Rick, it’s “just thinkin’ about tomorrow” that’s the problem here.

          But here in our house we’re lovin’ tomorrow cuz it’s girls road trip to the Art Institute of Chicago for us. Sorry I’m gonna miss the fun, but I’ve already got a pretty good idea of what’s gonna happen – more Calvinists bashing SBC Today for posting something the Calvinists don’t agree with!

        Lydia

        “I’m wondering why they weren’t done together? This post is completely meaningless without specifics.”

        Because you are not running the show, Chris, as much as you might like to judging by all your comments over the past month. Does repeating your “meaningless” comment concerning this post foster “unity”? Or, again, is it YOUR truth therefore it must be for all?

        If you guys could hear yourselves, you would get it why churches are splitting over NC. It isn’t ALL doctrinal. A lot of it is the incredible arrogance coming out of the YRR movement.

        Bob Hadley

        Chris,

        Apparently it is NOT too meaningless you have commented more than once…

        Well maybe you are right!

        ><>”

        Norm Miller

        Completely meaningless, Chris? I would guess you would think so. It for sure isn’t completely meaningless to those who understand it. Would you be detracting from it for detraction’s sake? — Norm

          Chris Roberts

          Norm,

          Why the decision to post the accusation one day and the evidence the next? Why not post them together?

            Lydia

            Why are you calling it an ‘accusation’ instead of an opinion? Why are you asking that question as if there is some nefarious reason. What nefarious reason could it be, Chris?

            And what is the “accusation” made? That the GP was written by Calvinists and is Calvinistic? It could be a fact.

            And Chris, think again before insulting Mary lest we discuss unity resolutions and “class”.

          Mary

          They did it just to irritate Calvinists like you Chris.

          Or it could be some sort of standard editiorial rule of thumb that anything over 800 -1000 words is too long and eyes start glazing over so they had to split a long post in half.

          Of course Calvinists being superior in all things don’t have to follow the same rules as the peasants, but they may have been thinking about putting this in chunks for the little people to read and comprehend.

          But then again Chris Unity Resolution really an AntiTraditionalist Roberts must think there is some nefarious purpose. It’s a plot Chris, clearly. Stay consistent with your antiUnity actions there Chris.

            Chris Roberts

            Mary,

            Keep on keeping it classy.

            Mary

            Chris, classy as in your implication that there is some ulterior motive for not putting out one blog post to appease you?

            Yeah Chris, you’re definition of classy is about as accurate as your definitions for unity and semi-Pelegian.

            Luther

            Mary, Calvinist eyes don’t glaze over nearly as quickly. Have you seen the Systematic Theologies we read?! This 800-1000 word editiorial rule must be for Traditionalists. But it is off putting that sbctoday no problem with putting up accusations without evidence. But there is of course a clear double standard here if you are part of the freewill club.

      Jared Moore

      Norm, tomorrow ain’t today friend. This article is already out in the public (it has been on his blog since July 17 as well.). How many will read this post without reading the next one? Or, how many read his post on his blog without reading the one that is coming tomorrow? The accusations shouldn’t have been made publicly without providing proof to back up the accusations.

      Any pastor knows that he doesn’t want this same treatment in his local church. Is there any pastor who would say to his church, “I want you to publicly critique and criticize my sermons without providing any proof for your accusations.” Or, would any pastor say, “I’m fine with you publicly critiquing and criticizing my sermons, so long as you eventually provide proof for your accusations.” No. If there’s criticism, we expect proof. The question on everyone’s mind should be, “Why is there no proof to back up these accusations?” “It’s coming tomorrow,” still doesn’t answer why this article was posted without proof to back up what it claims.

        Andrew Wencl

        In my studies, I got tired of trying understand terminology used to see if there was a hidden meaning..”

        Found this quote from the author’s comment stream on his original post. I typically find that if you have to go looking for “hidden meaning” it’s not really there.

          Rick Patrick

          Alternatively, if a hidden meaning is indeed present, then by definition, one must look for it.

        Lydia

        “This article is already out in the public (it has been on his blog since July 17 as well.). How many will read this post without reading the next one? Or, how many read his post on his blog without reading the one that is coming tomorrow? The accusations shouldn’t have been made publicly without providing proof to back up the accusations.”

        Accusations? You mean the accusation that Calvinists wrote a Calvinist leaning curriculum? GASP!

        Here again we have a YRR who thinks the “public” here are stupid unless they tell them what to think and advise a writer how to present his opinions . Sheesh!

        You guys continually prove how little respect you have for the peasants.

        And what pastors are going to lost their job over this post? You are Mr Proof…..so prove it.

        Norm Miller

        Isn’t patience the fruit of the Spirit? — Norm

      Luther

      In other words, Traditionalists are held to one standard here, and Calvinists held to another. But don’t complain about the double standard here, or expect a tongue lashing. But don’t expect anything to change.

    Lydia

    “Thus, the pastor should provide proof for his public accusations since they go directly against what the editors have said about this curriculum.”

    Can you guys not wait for tomorrow?

    And shall we list all the ways Calvinists (even leaders!) have insulted their brothers and sisters in Christ? Shall we really go down that road?

      Mary

      Lydia, they’re just so determined to attack today they can’t help themselves but what they show is that it doesn’t matter what tomorrow brings – they know that if it’s not in written as a full endorsement of their current idols in the SBC then they are prepared to attack and destroy. It doesn’t matter how good the evidence or how good the argument their minds are already made up and they will attack and destroy. They don’t need evidence when they know they’re right all the time on every issue.

        Jared Moore

        Lydia and Mary, because of the wonderful love you’ve displayed in the comment stream, you’ve almost persuaded me to become a Traditionalist.

          Lydia

          “Lydia and Mary, because of the wonderful love you’ve displayed in the comment stream, you’ve almost persuaded me to become a Traditionalist.”

          Well Jared, At least we are not being paid to “display love” in ministry positions. We do it for free. What is your excuse?

Matt Wethington

I think this is an interesting perspective, on both sides, of this single blog from Ralph Green. I do not know Ralph but am grateful for his service to Christ and the local church. In his blog he makes a statement that caught my attention. The statement he made was this, “There are numerous subtle seeds of the Calvinistic approach to Scripture and many that are overtly obvious.” As a local church pastor I am fairly certain of one thing and this one thing breaks my heart – the average church member sitting in a Southern Baptist Sunday School class will not come close to picking up on ‘the subtle seeds of the Calvinistic approach’ and most likely will not pick up on the ‘overtly obvious’ either. Why is this? Because we have done an incredibly poor job over the past several generations of making Biblical literate disciples (I include myself in the we). If we think for one minute that the same church member who cant lead their neighbor to saving faith in Christ will remotely come close to picking up on these ‘sublte seeds’ we are grossly mistaken.
I have found the Gospel Project to be inundated with Scripture and yet profoundly simple in its presentation of truth and application of truth to our daily lives. I am not a Calvinist nor am I Arminian but I will encourage the people God has called me to shepherd to use this material because this curriculum is Gospel saturated and Kingdom driven. In my opinion it is the best curriculum to come out of Nashville in years.

Shawn

To All my Brothers and Sisters,

During the course of my ministry, I’ve been disappointed in a lot of Lifeway products for being man-centered, driven by pragmatism, and overtly moralistic rather than gospel-centered. I’ve even returned some. Where are all the blog posts representing my perspective?

Honestly, I support and honor this pastor’s decision to make sure his church’s Sunday School material matches what he and his leaders teach about the Bible. But given how much buzz the Traditionalists have generated regarding its release, how could this pastor not have anticipated this theological difference? It seems set up to me. Pastors return Lifeway material all the time — it does seem like the SBC Today folks are just hyping this particular occurrence because it serves their agenda. . .

    Lydia

    Shawn, I NEVER use Lifeway materials. I quit using them long ago when the precept on Genesis had a sidebar on how godly it was to not use styrofoam plates in order to be good stewards of our planet. That is just one example.

    We need the Bible, the Holy Spirit and an interlinear. Let’s go.

    I don’t even go in Lifeway stores anymore. I am afraid they are going to ask me if I want some fries with an Osteen. :o)

Donald

“During the course of my ministry, I’ve been disappointed in a lot of Lifeway products for being man-centered, driven by pragmatism, and overtly moralistic rather than gospel-centered”

Truth!

We bemoan the Calvinist their errors and agenda, but it is us who have left a vacuum in theology and in worthwhile Sunday School materials. We left the gate open and blame them for breaching our defenses. If we had been doing our job since the CR, we would not be where we are now.

    Shawn

    Hey Donald,

    Can you honestly contend that the Calvinists have “breached your defenses” when everything we teach fits securely within the bounds of the BF&M 2000?

    And you thought “Luther” was dramatic . . . . ?

      Donald

      ” Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.”

      Those People teach that people are under condemnation before they are capable of moral action and become transgressors. So, at least here, they are outside the bounds of the BF&M 2K.

      That being said, I used the dramatic phrase about defenses as a continuation of the “leaving the gate open” illustration. My point was that it was traditionalist failures (post-CR) that made is easy for Calvinist to shine by doing well those things that we did poorly. We should not blame Calvinist for being Calvinist and doing what Calvinist do. If we had faithfully discipled our people, they would not be vulnerable to the errors of Calvinism.

Christiane

what specifically was found in the curriculum that caused concern enough to return the product?

any examples?

usually when there is a blanket statement of disapproval, some examples will be given that are reflective of what caused concern

have I missed something?

    Mary

    Yeah you’ve missed the last line in the article.

      Donald

      “Yeah you’ve missed the last line in the article”

      :-D

        Lydia

        “Yeah you’ve missed the last line in the article”

        We have learned the truth. People don’t really read the actual blog post. :o)

        Poor Pastor Green. I hope he posts the next one. I would not blame him if he decided not to. The pressure for it to be perfect and not “misrepresent” Calvinism will be enormous.

          Mary

          Lydia, I think that today has been very enlightening.

          You can see the reason why we can’t really have a discussion. The Calvinists are told to wait for tomorrow, but they begin attacking today based on what they think is going to happen tomorrow. They show that no matter what Traditionalists write/say/do that they must be wrong simply by the fact that they disgree with the superior Calvinists. Calvinists are unteachable as they know everything there is to know already.

          This darn Traditionalist blog doesn’t even know how they are supposed to post articles – you can see the condescension in “how” this should have been posted so the Calvinists wouldn’t have been forced to attack it.

          The editors should have forseen that the Calvinists were going to make fools of themselves by attacking the article today for lack of information that they were spefically told is coming tomorrow.

          I think the scripture against two part blog posts is found in the book of Hezekiah. Since the attack is being made that it’s, you know unscriptural to not manage your blog the way the Calvinists dictate, there must have some biblical support.

      Christiane

      got it . . .
      I take it you mean this:

      “Coming tomorrow: Interview with Pastor Green wherein he will cite specific concerns with TGP curriculum.”

Luther

I wish to make a public that I have been studying Norm Miller and Ralph Green and I have found that there behavior is of such grievous kind, that associating with them will cause people to be unfaithful to God’s Word. In fact, accociating with them will even cause some people to be untrue to Jesus Christ. It is my hope that good Baptists will stop accociating with these men, so as not to be unfaithful to Jesus. I realize these are serious charges I am leveling against these men. Therefore, I will post these same comments on my blog, with no evidence for my accusations against them. Then in two weeks, I will again post these same comments about them on a Calvinist blog, again with no evidence to substantiate my accusations about them. Finally, a day after that (over two weeks from now) I will interview with like-minded Calvinists and actually give some evidence for my accusations against them at that time. I trust this is perfectly okay for me to do, since I am following the behavior of Traditionalists before me.

For the sake of unity.
Luther

    Chris Roberts

    Luther,

    A bit over the top, methinks.

    Donald

    Luther,

    I’ll bet that sounded a lot better as you rehersed it in your head…

      Luther

      true that!

        Donald

        I am an awesome orator in my head. Something happens on the way to the pulpit…. LOL

    Lydia

    Luther, Are you mapping your “not associating with Norm and Ralph” to not associating with John Calvin?

    Could you be more clear on WHO Norm and Ralph are telling people NOT to association with? Are they alive or dead? Because I see no such declarations from either one of them.

    volfan007

    Luther,

    The statement you make is one of the silliest comments I’ve read in a long time. I may start encouraging you to eat mor chiken, along with Tom.

    Luther, for the love of Pete…just eat mor chiken.

    David

Luther

“their” not there
“associating” not accociating

James

Let’s see if someone will answer a question or two here:

1) Those one the Non-Arminian, Non-Calvinist parade float – whom do you believe God chooses? Do you believe He chooses all or none, because you’ve clearly ruled Him choosing “some” out. Yet Romans 9:14-18 makes as plain a case for God’s sovereign choice bein the operative in salvation as I could see.

I have great trouble, having been reared in the faith as one who believes in God’s sovereignty and personal responsibility, with this set of verses. We call Romans our “Constitution of the Christian Faith” but want to amend and abandon it when it gets to chapters 8 and 9.

Paul plainly says God chooses and in v. 16 says flatly “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (ESV)” How can you, then, argue “free will and human choice” without calling Paul a liar?

He then goes on to say, “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 honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”

“Prepared for destruction”??? “Prepared for glory”??? How can the idea of election be any plainer?

Moreover, why is it that we dig in our heels at the idea that after 33 AD anyone is “prepared for destruction” but have no trouble believing that prior to 33 AD, God had a “chosen people”?

If God is not permitted that sovereignty post-Golgotha, why is He permitted that sovereignty pre-Golgotha? Is God not immutable and if He were just to have chosen the various “-ites” who stood in Israel’s way, why is He now decreed unjust to have chosen people?

Finally, individually, did God choose you?

I am really struggling with all these perspectives. I am, believe it or not, not an expert with my mind made up to be in any specific camp except that I wish to be able to Biblically account to my wife and kids how salvation occurs – and other than saying God has reconciled us to Him through Christ, I am not sure what else to say.

    Mary

    James, there was actually a good post over at SBC Voices on Romans 9 if you know how to search it or someone here will step in and give the link. You’ll want to read the entire comment stream to get both sides of the interpretations.

Mary

James, there was actually a good post over at SBC Voices on Romans 9 if you know how to search it or someone here will step in and give the link. You\’ll want to read the entire comment stream to get both sides of the interpretations.

David R. Brumbelow

James & Mary,
The article on Romans 9 can be found at:

http://sbcvoices.com/romans-9-calvinism-traditionalism/

The article presents some views of ones who would probably be viewed as Traditionalists or non-Calvinists. Calvinist views of Romans 9 are given in detail in the comments.
David R. Brumbelow

    Mary

    David, that’s the article I was thinking about. Thanks :)

      David R. Brumbelow

      Mary,
      You’re welcome. Thanks for mentioning the article.
      David R. Brumbelow

        James

        Thanks Mary and David!

        I want to understand more, but the vitriol that flows like soda from a Chuck E. Cheese fountain here over this issue makes me a bit leery, I must confess!

        But you two have been helpful with a pointing toward a starting location. Again, thanks.

David R. Brumbelow

The article giving Traditional views on Romans 9 can also be found at:

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2012/07/romans-9-calvinism-traditionalism.html
David R. Brumbelow

Tom Parker

If people are wondering were all of this is headed, here is what Ed Stetzer believes:
“As I see it, there are two groups currently exist in the Southern Baptist Convention that ultimately, I don’t think will stay in the SBC.

The first group is composed of the anti-Calvinists who fundamentally believe that Baptist Calvinism is close to heresy and must be rooted out of the denomination. In many ways, these are the same people who believed both the contemporary church movement, and later those who called themselves missional, needed to be rooted out of the denomination. These individuals often do not want to have anyone in the denomination who is unlike themselves. For this reason, they will ultimately find they are not comfortable in the Southern Baptist Convention. They want a more narrowed parameter than the Baptist Faith and Message provides.

The second group of individuals I think will not remain in the denomination are those whose defining narrative is Calvinism. Though they are by no means the majority of Calvinists, some of the more vocal and well-placed Calvinists are driven by a strictly Calvinist agenda. They will struggle being in the denomination. I’m not sure they like the convention and, when they see they can’t reform it in the way they want, will ultimately leave.”

    Lydia

    Tom, If I remember correctly, you are in the CBF and left the SBC after the CR. Using that experience as a metaphor, let me explain the current situation. The Calvinists think of the Trads pretty much the way the CR guys viewed you liberals: We don’t have truth. We have shallow, liberal, doctrinally unsound churches. And we must take over and staighten this mess out and take us back to our (pro slavery, mind you) Calvinist roots. Hence: “Founders”.

      Mary

      According to Founders the reason we needed the CR was because of Traditionalists and the only way for the CR to be complete is the total reformation of the Convention.

      You’d think ol’ Tom there’d be on the side of the Trads since this is just a continuation of the CR for Calvinists.

Mary

“…..some of the more vocal and well-placed Calvinists are driven by a strictly Calvinist agenda…”

That’s an interesting quote and you wonder if the Calvinists were to actually corral those Cavlinist that Stetzer is alluding to, how many of those who people keep calling ANTI-Calvinist will be shown to not actually be ANTI-Calvinist, but just ANTI-Calvinist takeover. And why is that Stetzer chooses to name call one side but not the other?

Now what will interesting is the PROVE IT PROVE IT PROVE IT screamers over at SBC Voices (yeah Jared Moore I’m looking at you) those people would never allow a statement like that from a Traditionalist without the screechin’ PROVE IT PROVE IT PROVE IT GIVE ME THE NAMES ARE REPENT OF YOUR LIES. But since it’s Stetzer I think he’ll get a pass for admitting that there are Calvinists in high places who have an agenda to Calvinize the Convention. Which means that all those people who’ve called us liars for so long for pointing out that there are Calvinists in high places who wish to Calvinize the SBC need to repent of their attacks against us all this time. Don’t worry I’m not holding my breath.

abclay

I honestly don’t know what the big deal is really.

I’ve been rejecting the stuff from Lifeway for years and I never went to the papers about it.

    Rick Patrick

    The big deal is that the REASON he rejected it is his belief that it contains a bias in favor of Calvinism, a widely held notion among many of the Traditionalist readers of this blog, but a view that has been denied consistently by all the Calvinists working on the Gospel Project.

      Jared Moore

      Rick, don’t forget to mention that not a single Traditionalist has provided any proof for any of their accusations about The Gospel Project . . . ever.

        Mary

        Jared, Jim G actually did and somehow everybody ignored him.

        I’m looking forward to you confronting Stetzer on his statement that “…..some of the more vocal and well-placed Calvinists are driven by a strictly Calvinist agenda…” or perhaps you’ll be apologizing for all the times you’ve called people liars for pointing out that there is an agenda to Calvinize the SBC.

        So which is it you admit you’re wrong or you confront Stetzer as you’ve done Trads in the past?

          Jared Moore

          Mary, search the blogosphere and find the quote where I called anyone a liar for believing there’s a Calvinist agenda to Calvinize the SBC. You won’t find it because I never wrote it. If I did, then copy and paste it here.

          BTW: So, Jim G posted quotes from The Gospel Project that prove its Calvinist agenda? You got a link?

            Lydia

            It was in a long comment on voices. If I remember correctly, he was more concerned about concepts presented not being unpacked as to their meaning. I don’t remember what thread it was in. But he only saw a small piece of it and made that clear. He is a very judicial and irenic guy in comments.

            Mary

            Oh Jared please you are constantly screeching at people to PROVE IT when they would tell you about Calvinists causing damage to churches. So implying someone wasn’t telling the truth because they wouldn’t give you names is not calling them a liar. DENIAL ain’t just a river in Egypt. So Stetzer gets a pass and you’re not going to demand names. You’ve just shown you have zero creditability. Let’s find that crazy Svodada post where you and he were sure yuking it up claiming nobody had proof of Calvinists behaving badly because they wouldn’t give you the names of churches. Remember that day Jared? You were giddy because nobody would give you one name. But yeah that’s not the same as calling people liars.

            And yeah Jim G. posted in a thread over at Voices where he was challenged to do so, but don’t bother looking it up since you being superior and all already know everything there is to know and you know everybody who disagrees with you is wrong.

            Jared Moore

            Mary, give me a link to where I called or implied that anyone was a liar. I’ve written a ton of articles and comments in the blogosphere. It should be easy for you to find.

            Mary

            the proof is down below. Claiming someone mentioning the Calvinist agenda is all in their head I think is akin to calling them a liar unless of course you were seriously calling them mental incapcitated?

          Lydia

          My interest would be if they have a glossary of terms that would alert the teacher there are different definitions for commonly used words/concepts. Like Total Depravity meaning total inability and so on.

      Mary

      The other big deal is that there are churches where some deacon is ordering the SS material and he only orders from the Baptist Book Store a/k/a Lifeway because that’s the only place a good Baptist can trust.

      Several years ago now someone made a suggestion in business meeting that we look at VBC materials that weren’t from Lifeway and good night you woulda thought we were talking about flipping the organ and the piano and ripping out Just As I Am from the hymnal. You have to order from Lifeway if you’re Baptist because they’re the only ones you can trust.

Jared Moore

Rick, “proof from The Gospel Project itself,” that is. (The only proof that matters.)

    volfan007

    Jared,

    I sincerely hope the Gospel Project is as good as advertised. I really do. And, maybe it’ll be exactly what some of you are saying….a fair and balanced view of Jesus and the Gospel thru out the Bible. I really do hope it is.

    But, when EVERY person on the Advisory Council is a Calvinist, can you not see the reason why some people are feeling like they do? And, why they have concerns?

    Now, you tell us to believe Trevin Wax and Stetzer and co. You tell us to believe them when they say that it wont be Reformed indoctrination. Well, this Pastor is saying that he has seen things that concern him in this matter, and he will share those concerns tomorrow. Let’s just wait and see what the man says.

    David

      Jared Moore

      David, the problem is that many of those in your camp aren’t “waiting and seeing.” Les Puryear even linked to this article as proof that The Gospel Project is Calvinist material. He even implied that The Gospel Project is “Calvinist indoctrination.” Does this article prove what Les claims it does? Nope. Not in the least.

        volfan007

        Jared,

        You’ll have to ask Les.

        David

      Mary

      David, even when you provide “proof” Jared will deny it’s actually “proof” because he won’t admit he’s wrong. See below for evidence.

        Jared Moore

        Mary knows my decisions before I even make them. Ah!

          Donald

          “Mary knows my decisions before I even make them. Ah!”

          You do have a static M.O.

          Maybe you’ll suprise us all, but it hasn’t happened yet.

            Lydia

            “You do have a static M.O”

            +1

Lydia

“Rick, “proof from The Gospel Project itself,” that is. (The only proof that matters.)”

Jared, Believe it or not, It would be folly to try and convince any Calvinist that the GP is Calvinistic. Oh the irony! See, they have declared it biblical according to their interpretation. End of convo. But perhaps some others would be interested in hearing a non Calvinist’s critique of the curriculum. I feel blessed that the absence of a Reformed state church allows us to do such things.

So when you read the post tomorrow, keep that in mind. No one is trying to convince the Calvinist’s it is Calvinistic.. It cannot be done. In fact, the whole thing is a bit surreal. Calvinists seem to be offended that someone would dare critique a curriculum written by Calvinists to see if it is Calvinistic. You cannot make this stuff up.

    Jared Moore

    Lydia, did you read where I’m not sold on The Gospel Project yet? I’m “waiting and seeing.” At least examine the curriculum itself instead of the various conspiracy theories.

    If this pastor proves The Gospel Project is Calvinist indoctrination, then I’ll believe it. I’ve got to see the quotes though.

Mary

Lydia, they’re living in such a bubble that they have no clue how arrogant and condescending they are coming across in these blogs. Today just shows they don’t care what tomorrow’s post is about – it’s already wrong simply for disagreeing with them.

The stuff they’ve posted here today could be shown as satire because people wouldn’t believe they were really being serious with their attitudes – over and over and over. The implication that there was some hidden nefarious purpose for not posting the whole thing at once. I mean the hysterics because this is split into two posts? LOL! Comedy gold. But it’s really sad too.

    Jared Moore

    Mary, so, you’re fine with another believer accusing you of something without providing proof for their accusation(s)?

      Mary

      Here you go Jared: After this you either need to repent and apologize or immediately go over and tell Ed Stetzer he’s a conspiricy theorist like the Trads. Of course knowing you, you won’t. And anyone who knows you’re history knows how you have constantly attacked everybody who ever dares to tell the story of their mistreatment by Calvinists.

      http://sbcvoices.com/who-are-the-new-calvinists-start-naming-names/

      Jared Moore June 13, 2012 at 12:28 am

      Bob, this may be the truest statement you’ve ever made on SBC Voices: “It is as if I care more about the Calvinist agenda than anyone in here…”

      You do care more about the “Calvinist agenda” than anyone in here because there is no Calvinist agenda except that one that exists in your head. I’ve asked for proof from you and others numerous times. The only Calvinist agenda that exists is the one that you and others have manufactured. You care about the Calvinist agenda more than Calvinists do because you and others like you are the only ones who know about this agenda. There is no Calvinist agenda in the SBC.

        Jared Moore

        Mary, you’re joking, right?

        Bob Hadley made outlandish claims without a shred of proof, and I’m just supposed to believe there’s a Calvinist agenda because Bob Hadley says so? So, you want me to be a Hadleyite? I thought you were against blindly believing what pastors say, or does this just apply to Driscollites?

          Mary

          Oh wait so the proof that you’re calling someone a liar is not proof now? Nice try Jared.

          Z.E.R.O. C.R.E.D.I.A.B.I.L.I.T.Y

            Jared Moore

            Mary, I do believe that the Calvinist conspiracy Hadley believes in exists only in his head. I never called him a liar. You’re adding those words Mary.

            Mary

            Jared, I’m saying this in sincerty as a sister in Christ. You’re looking absolutely pathetic right now in you’re trying to deny you’ve treated people in a hateful manner. Repent and apologize and stop digging deeper.

            Jared Moore

            Mary, you said I called people liars. Are you retracting this accusation now?

            Mary

            Jared, again with the distraction and trying to make this about me.

            Either you were implying that Bob and others were lying or you were seriously saying that anyone who thinks there’s a Calvinist agenda is mentally incapicitated.

          Mary

          And fans in the cheap seats need to notice how Jared has asked for proof from Bob “and others” but they all were liars too. Guess Ed Stetzer’s a liar now too.

            Mary

            And also don’t miss the you and others like you references from Jared as he tries to distract and deny.

            Jared Moore

            Mary, once again, show me where I called anyone a “liar.” I didn’t call Hadley a liar.

            Mary

            Jared, you implied lying or were you seriously saying Bob and “others” are mentally incapicitated? “All in our heads.” Yeah right.

            Jared Moore

            Mary, I believe that several have manufactured the “Calvinist conspiracy.” They connect dots that don’t exist. They see smoke when there’s no fire. They think it exists. I don’t. I ask for proof. They don’t provide any. Why don’t they provide proof? Because the Calvinist conspiracy is “unwritten.” If it’s unwritten, how do they know it exists? It exists in their heads. They gravely mistaken. It doesn’t make them “liars.”

            I didn’t “imply lying.” Let’s be clear here. You are implying that I’m lying. Can you not tell the difference?

            abclay

            Jared,

            I searched the comments in the link given for the words “liar” and “lie” and “lie” only appears once in the whole comment thread. You didn’t say it.

            There’s a sign in the parts store where I buy auto parts. It says,

            Arguing with a parts salesmen is like wrestling a pig in the mud, you both get muddy but the pig likes it.

            Mary

            Yes Jared that’s right there is no Calvinist agenda. Ed Stetzer is now part of the woo woo wacko conspiricy theorists. But you’re not going to go tell him it’s all in his head and demand he give you proof are you? Of course you’re not.

            Mary

            Yeah ABC whatever calling people mentally incapicitated is so Christlike and much better than calling them liars. Nothing condescendng there.

            Jared Moore

            Mary, come on! I didn’t call them “mentally incapacitated” either. Can you not just interact with what I’ve actually said? Do you really have to constantly read your thoughts into what I’ve written?

        Mary

        And Jared, I’m through with you, you have demonstrated very nicely why there will be no discussion in the SBC. First we show evidence where you are hateful to everyone who ever dares say a word against Calvinism than you deny that you ever say anything hateful – implying a man and “others” believe things in their head but that’s not actually calling anybody a liar? And now look at how you try to spin and spin away your behavior because YOU WILL NOT ADMIT YOU ARE WRONG. So you must spin and spin and spin. You Jared have shown that you are not anybody anybody should be discussing anything with. You will defend your idol of Calvinism at all costs even when you are looking like an absolute fool. Even when you have been shown to be hateful in your rhetoric against people saying the same thing Ed Stetzer says. This whole exchange demonstrates why there can be no discussion.

          Jared Moore

          Mary,

          First, do you really want to put the comments you and I have made in blogdom side-by-side and have a “who’s more hateful” contest? I don’t think you do.

          Second, you said I called people “liars.” That’s what you originally accused me of; and now, you’ve conveniently changed your accusation.

          Third, there can be discussion between Calvinists and non-Calvinists, just not with you. I serve and speak with Southern Baptist non-Calvinists and Calvinists on a daily basis without any unity issues. Do you unite with Southern Baptist Calvinists as well?

          Fourth, if I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. It won’t be the first time and unfortunately not the last. But, I’m going to need more than you telling me what my words “really meant.” I know what I meant, and it’s not what you claim. So, either call me a liar or drop it.

          Finally, I look forward to one day when you and I stand before the King of kings and Lord of lords perfectly united as we worship and enjoy Him for all eternity. All because of His saving work!

Mary

Let’s just put his quote from Ed Stetzer next to Jared implying we’re all liars or mentally incapcitated for claiming there is a Calvinist agenda. We’re now in good company with Ed Stetzer. And again notice Ed’s reference to vocal and well placed Calvinists.

“The second group of individuals I think will not remain in the denomination are those whose defining narrative is Calvinism. Though they are by no means the majority of Calvinists, some of the more vocal and well-placed Calvinists are driven by a strictly Calvinist agenda. They will struggle being in the denomination. I’m not sure they like the convention and, when they see they can’t reform it in the way they want, will ultimately leave.”

    Jared Moore

    Mary, what’s interesting is that Les Puryear, Bob Hadley, Tim Rogers, and others believe that Stetzer is part of the Calvinist agenda to Calvinize the SBC. He is, after all, one of the editors of The Gospel Project, which some claim is a “Calvinist indoctrination tool.” Hmmmm, maybe Stetzer was talking about himself, and he’s planning to Calvinize or leave the SBC?!

      Mary

      Nice try at distraction there Jared – repent and apologize for your hateful behavior or go confront Ed Stetzer the way you’ve always confronted those who’ve made similar statements.

        Jared Moore

        Mary, be truthful in your accusations or prove that I called people liars. Once again, you won’t prove it because you can’t find the proof. It doesn’t exist.

          Mary

          I already proved it and if I had time your name and accusations are all over the internet for all to see. You saying everybody making stuff up because they won’t give you “proof” is the same as calling them liars.

      Tom Parker

      Jared:

      It sure is a mighty tangled web and the folks you mentioned they are leading the Calvary against all those Calvinist that are going to TAKEOVER their convention.

      I find it extremely amazing the folks that did the previous TAKEOVER are now paranoid about being took over.

      Does this maybe have something to do with reaping and sowing?

      And believe you me the world is watching how SB treat each other.

        volfan007

        Tom,

        I’ve heard that Chik Fil A is even open for breakfast.

        David

Darryl Hill

I would just like to add that, while there are supposed to be some answers coming tomorrow for us here at SBCToday, he has never offered any concrete examples to readers of his own blog, and this post has first put up on his blog on July 17. His blog can be found here: http://pastorralphgreen.blogspot.com/2012/07/guarding-sacred-trust.html

He has accused the writers of the Gospel Project curriculum of attempting to indoctrinate people to Calvinism while offering NO real answers as to why. This flies in the face of the Scriptural approach to dealing with alleged sins of other believers. It appears from his responses to the blog that he contacted Lifeway but simply wasn’t satisfied with their explanations. It also appears that he doesn’t understand the terminology used in the curriculum, which he wouldn’t elaborate on except to say…

“In my studies, I got tired of trying understand terminology used to see if there was a hidden meaning. I also tired of reading statements that to me clearly had a Calvinistic/reformed point of view but being told as I shared examples with TGP leadership my understanding of the plain meaning is not what the writer meant.”

Seems like he was searching for hidden meanings when he ran into words he didn’t understand and though he was given answers he assumed the people who wrote it had an agenda of indoctrinating people, despite their claim that they took a balanced approach to the curriculum.

He’s a star here now, though. It seems he may be a reluctant star because he basically told people who visited his blog that he wasn’t going to spend time interacting. He has now directed people to this site.

Bill Mac

It will be interesting to see what the specifics are. Honestly, the idea of “subtle overtones” suggests what I suspect will be a cherry picking of what people think of as reformed code words. So for example, if one of the authors used the term “sovereignty”, that will be considered a Calvinist overtone, even though non-Calvinists believe in God’s sovereignty. If the Calvinism in the GP is so subtle that all these uninformed churches miss it, it will not be very effective as an indoctrination tool. From what I have read, full blown Arminian churches have ordered the GP.

But, the pastor said that the Calvinism was evidently so overt in some places in the GP that he was “in shock” for several days. So I look forward to seeing where the Calvinism is so overt that it will literally throw people into shock.

But I do want to ask my non-Calvinist brethren an honest question, since we have another day to wait. What would a fair reading of the GP look like? If, for example, in the whole book, there were ten terms, concepts, or phrases that could be construed subtly reformed, would that convince you that all the fears about the GP were founded? I guess what I’m asking is what would it take for you to judge the GP to be a decent curriculum? Would you have to be able to read the entire thing with a fine tooth comb, and not find a single questionable spot to give it a thumbs up? What would it take? Honest question.

The reason I ask it this: At first, the GP was predicted to be a flat out reformed curriculum. When Trevin Wax and some authors said it wouldn’t be, then it was predicted that the Calvinism would be hidden. After that, some people seemed to forget about the content completely, and simply said the curriculum was a no-go because of the Calvinism of most on the advisory board. It didn’t really matter what the content was. So: What would it take? Or, does the content matter at all? Does the reformed leanings of the advisory board constitute all you really need to know?

    Donald

    “At first, the GP was predicted to be a flat out reformed curriculum. When Trevin Wax and some authors said it wouldn’t be, then it was predicted that the Calvinism would be hidden. After that, some people seemed to forget about the content completely, and simply said the curriculum was a no-go because of the Calvinism of most on the advisory board. It didn’t really matter what the content was. So: What would it take? Or, does the content matter at all? Does the reformed leanings of the advisory board constitute all you really need to know?”

    There is some validity to having caution due to just the reformed leanings of the advisory board. This makes the curriculum untrustworthy.

      Andrew Wencl

      Vol,

      Thus far they’ve been very transparent and haven’t tried to hide the theological leanings of the advisory board, yet for all this transparency, you find the curriculum to be untrustworthy merely because the advisory board fits within the Reformed camp. It’s one thing to disagree with someone over a theological issue. It’s another thing to distrust that person merely because they hold to a different theological view than you do.

      Bill Mac

      Donald: So is your answer: The content doesn’t matter?

      If so, OK. I’m just trying to get a feel for what people are thinking.

        Donald

        “Donald: So is your answer: The content doesn’t matter?”

        I’m saying that it is valid to be wary when you know the authors are in error. I’m saying that it would be more trouble than it’s worth to have to constantly proof content. How could the writers possibly avoid the inclusion of their erroneous theology in what they teach?

        We’ll just stick to inductive Bible study. I know I can trust that author.

          Bill Mac

          So, you don’t use any study materials at all? Fair enough. That is my preferred method also.

          Although I would suggest that “proofing content” is always needed, from any source.

            Donald

            “Although I would suggest that “proofing content” is always needed, from any source.”

            Can’t argue. Sad thing is, SS materials have been very bad for a very long time. The vacuum created has left a huge opening for well done material, even if it will have a slant to it. I don’t know what I would recommend a church use instead of TGP. What is the “really good” other option?

    Bill Mac

    Will no one answer the question: What will it take?

      Donald

      “I guess what I’m asking is what would it take for you to judge the GP to be a decent curriculum?”

      Time, more than most anything. The quality of the work will speak for itself. Otherwise, a balanced staff of writers would be the quickest and best way to gain credibility.

      I will say, after reading the posts of the gentleman-bloggers that have attacked the TS I am much more inclined to be wary of what might come out of the mostly-Reformed group of theologians putting TGP together.

        Bill Mac

        Donald: I see your points, but I think you are missing mine. Let’s say you have the GP in your hands. The authors are who they are. Do you think you would be able to impartially judge the content of the GP? If so, would you ditch the whole thing if there were a few references that could be construed as reformed? I realize I’m asking for conjecture, but as someone pointed out, this will be, I think, almost a classic case study in confirmation bias. As a researcher, I know this is a big problem in evaluation of scholarly work.

          Darryl Hill

          Judging from most I’ve met here, I would say that having an advisory board made up of reformed folks automatically throws out the curriculum. Nobody here trusts any of us. As Donald said just above: “I’m saying that it is valid to be wary when you know the authors are in error.” They have decided we are in error and we can’t be trusted in any way to interpret Scripture.

          It doesn’t matter what is found or what is said in the interview of the newest hero of SBCToday when it is finally posted. It will be seen as calvinstic indoctrination material. There is no way on God’s green earth that anyone here would ever admit the curriculum is even decent, much less a good curriculum.

            Donald

            “They have decided we are in error and we can’t be trusted in any way to interpret Scripture.”

            I did say that, but it sounds a lot worse when it’s repeated back to me.

            I was overly stark to make a point. “IF Calvinism is in error THEN Calvinist are in error THEREFORE one has to be wary of the teachings of a Calvinist since he will teach error” – is my basic logic.

            I do not believe Calvinists are always wrong, but I do disagree with their hermeneutic. It’s just hard to know when the error will appear. For example, I was reading Jay Adams a few days ago and he was making a long argument (on a counseling situation) that I was enjoying until he ultimately based it on his post-trib theology. I liked his conclusion, but his epistemology is just plain wrong. What am I to do with what he was teaching? I have to either go back and build my own biblical argument or erase what I learned. It is almost impossible to “erase” something once it has been learned – especially if you found it personally appealing.

            volfan007

            Darryl,

            You know why you’re wrong about this? Because, I…as a Non Calvinist…use Dr. John MacArthur’s Study Bible, and read Spurgeon….have used Spurgeon’s commentaries on the Psalms.

            I think they are good.

            If the GP is actually good, and not full of Reformed theology, and recommending for people to read Reformed authors on the side notes, or on the back of the SS Book; then, I’ll gladly say that it’s good.
            As a matter of fact, I like the premise; although I much prefer a verse by verse thru books of the Bible approach.

            David

            David

            Darryl Hill

            David, if you’re ok with MacArthur’s study notes, you’re not going to have ANY trouble with the Gospel Project. I use MacArthur’s Bible and commentary as well and agree mostly, though not always, believe it or not. Do you consider MacArthur’s commentary to be calvinistic indoctrination propaganda?

          Donald

          Bill,
          I have come out a bit strong here. I have learned a lot from certain Calvinist. For example, Ted Tripp’s “Shepherding a Childs Heart” is easily best of breed. Thers is no better single source on Biblical parenting in existence (outside of the Bible itself). BTW, Ted is a “real” Calvinist — not one of ya’ll Baptist wannabes :-). His brother Paul is also a great Calvinist resource. I have studied Jay Adams. I have used materials put out by Mark Dever (9 Marks) ever since Dr. Patterson introduced his stuff to the entire campus at SEBTS with a glowing recomendation.

          And, yes, I filter out Calvinist Hermeneutics when I see them. Calvinist are not always, nor even mostly, wrong. They do seem to come out of left field at times.

          So, NO, I would not ditch TGP because of a few references. But in the current theological environment I would be wary and I understand why others are wary also. There does seem to be an agenda that was not present a decade ago.

Donald

“Jared, Believe it or not, It would be folly to try and convince any Calvinist that the GP is Calvinistic. Oh the irony! See, they have declared it biblical according to their interpretation.”

Truth!

Those People see no difference between Calvinism and the Gospel.

Mark

Another perspective on the Gospel Project from a non-Calvinist SBC pastor.

I love the new curriculum! I heard some of the buzz about it being Calvinistic in its leaning. I’m not an anti-Calvinist, but my church members probably would not accept it if it was Reformed leaning. We poured over the material and found the rumor mill about the Calvinism to be totally unfounded. In fact, we have a seminary professor from another denomination in our church, and he looked over it too. We all really see it as top notch missional and evangelistic. I can see why you sold out as quickly as you did. Keep up the good work. There will always be detractors, but the Gospel Project is really good for the Kingdom. –Franklin Montgomery

    volfan007

    Mark,

    I hope this is true. But, we will see….wont we?

    I have a question for folks, out there. How many SBC churches are buying the material? Not the free stuff…but buying. And, how much of this material is being sold to Presbyterians, Lutherans, non-denominational, etc.? I ask, because I’ve heard that Stetzer said that Churches from all of these different denominations are buying it, and like 15,000 Churches are trying the free stuff…..anyone know?

    David

      Bill Mac

      I hope this is true. But, we will see….wont we?

      David: I’m not sure we will. One man says the curriculum is so overtly Calvinistic that it threw him into shock for days. The next man (non-Calvinist) says the curriculum is great, not Calvinistic at all.

      I have no doubt that people who study the GP with the intent on finding “Calvinistic overtones”, whatever that means, will find it. How could they not? Calvinist and non-Calvinist use the same bible, many of the same terms and verses. So it is inevitable that when terms like sovereignty are brought up (which both Cals and non-Cals believe in), people will cry “REFORMED”!! Won’t they?

      To be fair, a lot of reformed will be just as biased on their side. So, is an objective reading even possible?

        Darryl Hill

        I’ve looked through the sample sessions and my opinion, regardless of any theological leanings, is that it is the best things I’ve seen from Lifeway in my lifetime. It looks excellent, groundbreaking even. I predict that traditionalists will say they hate it and then they will attempt to duplicate the format in their own material. It’s the fact that the Gospel is seen as woven throughout every story that makes it so great, NOT any calvinism, arminianism, or otherwise. [beats head against wall]

          Donald

          “I’ve looked through the sample sessions and my opinion, regardless of any theological leanings, is that it is the best things I’ve seen from Lifeway in my lifetime.”

          I agree.

          “I predict that traditionalists will say they hate it and then they will attempt to duplicate the format in their own material. ”

          I hope so. Or, better still, that there will be a change in TGP so that there is a balance in the theology of the writers. Something like this is long overdue, but it should be something-else like this.

          “It’s the fact that the Gospel is seen as woven throughout every story that makes it so great, NOT any calvinism, arminianism, or otherwise. [beats head against wall]”

          But, to the Calvinist, Calvinism IS the Gospel. They cannot seem to see that it is a man-made system of thought that develops “models” to explain what they see in scripture (at times contrary to the simple reading of the text).

            Bill Mac

            But, to the Calvinist, Calvinism IS the Gospel.

            No, Donald. You’re wrong. Some Calvinists have stated it thusly, but they are wrong also. It is not the Gospel.

            And yes, sometimes we deny the plain reading of scripture. So do you. The plain reading is usually best, but not always the best. Lutherans, for example, are closer to the plain reading of the text regarding the Lord’s Supper (this ismy body) and Baptism (baptism now saves you) than we are. But I think they are still wrong, and so do you.

            Darryl Hill

            Donald I really do believe that the calvinist’s undertanding of the gospel and the traditionalist’s understanding of the gospel are close enough that in material like this it would be very possible to weave the gospel in without focusing on the specific places of argument.

            For example; we all believe God calls and God draws people to himself. We all believe God takes the initiative. We all believe man must be made aware of his helpless condition. We all believe that salvation only happens by the power of God. We all believe the same things about the atonement and about the birth,life, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. We believe the same Gospel. We simply disagree in regard to how God accomplishes this plan in the lives of individuals.

            For my part, I will never reject a material just because the guy who wrote it is a traditionalist.

            Donald

            Bill said “No, Donald. You’re wrong. Some Calvinists have stated it thusly, but they are wrong also. It is not the Gospel.”

            Bill, you and I would have no real issues then.

            “And yes, sometimes we deny the plain reading of scripture. So do you. The plain reading is usually best, but not always the best. Lutherans, for example, are closer to the plain reading of the text regarding the Lord’s Supper (this is my body) and Baptism (baptism now saves you) than we are. But I think they are still wrong, and so do you.”

            In either case, the plain reading is best. 1 Peter 3:21 explains itself on Baptism very clearly. The plain reading stands. “Plain” does not mean woodenly simplistic. On the Last Supper, “the body” is naturally understood as something other than his literal flesh since he is standing right there and the narrator tells us he is breaking bread. Once again, the plain reading (as literature) stands. There are textual reasons to avoid wooden simplicity in this text.

            The error we are discussing is when the plain reading seems to be in conflict with one’s understanding of the mega-context of scripture, so she forces a meaning on the text that is foreign to the actual words (a good example is the standard Calvinistic interpretation of 1 John 2:1-2).

            Donald

            Darryl said “Donald I really do believe that the calvinist’s undertanding of the gospel and the traditionalist’s understanding of the gospel are close enough that in material like this it would be very possible to weave the gospel in without focusing on the specific places of argument.”

            I would hope so. I am not, contrary to how it seems right now, anti-Calvinistic. I have been greatly bothered by what all has been written by Calvinist in response to the TS. I do not feel that they believe what you have written about our common beliefs. If the writers of TGP are of the same mind as these guys, then I have little confidence that they desire to avoid those places in Scripture where our conclusions differ.

            Perhaps my biggest concern is that TGP will teach a flawed hermeneutic (by example if not by intention) to the masses of SBCers who study the material – even if they do not emphasize those areas where Calvinist tend to hold theological conclusions different than most of the SBC.

            Bill Mac

            Donald: Is it your contention that the plain reading is always the right one? You seem to be hedging a little. It may be then that people will differ as to what the plain meaning may actually be.

            Donald

            “Donald: Is it your contention that the plain reading is always the right one? You seem to be hedging a little. It may be then that people will differ as to what the plain meaning may actually be.”

            “Plain reading” involves nuances of language, whatever the language. There is a huge difference here, and I think you know what I mean.

            Bill Mac

            Of course I do. But a plain reading of Heb. 6 could easily lead someone to believe that salvation can be lost, so we must look at the verses in light of the rest of revelation, which indicates that it cannot. All sets of beliefs are “systems” even if they are not as well known or as well codified as Calvinism.

            Donald

            “But a plain reading of Heb. 6 could easily lead someone to believe that salvation can be lost”

            See, that’s just it. No it can’t. To take that away from Heb 6 is to read into the text something it never actually says.

            Will some make this error? Obviously! But to do so is no failure of the text.

            When I first begin to teach folks how to interpret scripture, we work in small groups and use an inductive approach.

            We ask three questions:

            What is the text writer talking about in this passage? (Subject/theme)

            What is he saying about his subject? (treatment)

            What significance do these ideas have for us? (application)

            Properly answering the first question is key to understanding what is being said. Whatever the author writes is to be understood under the subject/theme (i.e. the immediate context). This keeps us from error/heresy. Any other interpretation is suspect.

            In Heb 6, the text means exactly what it says. The confusion is between folks interpreting it according to the views which they hold on the question about falling from grace. However, falling from grace is not the subject/theme of the text.

            Bill Mac

            No one said it was a failure of the text. It is a failure of interpretation, just as all wrong doctrines are. I just said someone could come away with that understanding. You said no, then said yes, they could. Of course we both think they are in error. A plain reading of James might lead some to believe that we could be justified by works. But we don’t read James in a vacuum. You can’t say “no it can’t” because for some, it obviously does. Simple does not always mean correct and complex does not always mean wrong.

            But I’m beginning to think we are using different definitions of “plain reading”.

            Donald

            Bill,
            I appreciate the discussion.

            “You said no, then said yes, they could.”

            Actually, I said no IT can’t, meaning the plain (or natural) reading of this text cannot lead someone to believe that salvation can be lost. These are not the same. Why do you think you missed that?

            “But I’m beginning to think we are using different definitions of “plain reading”.”

            Perhaps. “Plain” is not a well-defined technical term. I think “natural” might be better. Simply, I mean that the words mean what the words mean and one must have a compelling textual (e.g. grammatical, literary, or such) reason to deviate. Certainly, much more than merely if a particular text does not agree with one’s theological conclusions.

            Many people simply are not very good at technical reading, grammer usage or literary analysis.

            Example: Luke 19:40 is an example of classic anthropomorphism, used as a rhetorical/literary device. The plain/natural reading of the text understands this.

Clyde Copeland

As Baptists, we have historically seen problems with both extremes and the dangers of using a theological system of belief as the lens to interpret Scripture. Many Calvinists and Arminians use their systems as a filter of Scripture. However, Scripture should be the filter for the system of belief one adheres to. Typically this debate has been mostly confined to seminary campuses and is not something the average person in a Baptist church hears much about.

There has been a claim that “We are biblicists” or “We are Baptists”, as though we have the truest and best method of theology. It seems to say that it is wrong to operate in a theological system, but rather it is best to show up to biblical interpretation with no presuppositions. Is this even possible? Are we saying here that we have no filter when we look at Scripture?

    Donald

    “There has been a claim that “We are biblicists” or “We are Baptists”, as though we have the truest and best method of theology. It seems to say that it is wrong to operate in a theological system, but rather it is best to show up to biblical interpretation with no presuppositions. Is this even possible? Are we saying here that we have no filter when we look at Scripture?”

    “no presuppositions” is probably overly strong. I presuppose certain things (I refer to these as axioms) among which are verbal plenary inspiration (including tense, mood, voice, etc…), historical accuracy, sufficiency, and so on. Where Calvinists tend to err is in their theology informing their exegesis. They are, generally, guilty of deductive rather than inductive study and skipping biblical theology in favor of systematic theology (two separate, though related, disciplines).

      Darryl Hill

      What is sad is that you can’t trust a brother to interpret even a text that has no calvinistic overtones whatsoever. You have already determined he is in error and you won’t listen to anything he says. And by the way, I am fully capable of letting a text say what it says. That is how I teach. You assume this curriculum is full of systematic theology AT THE EXPENSE of biblical theology. Good systematic theology IS biblical, as you know. Let me just tell you this- my theology changed about 7 years ago but I love to listen to sermons, and I still listen to guys who disagree with me on calvinism but are solid exegetical preachers. I love listening to Adrian Rogers (God rest his soul). I was just listening to him this afternoon. Should I ignore him because he wasn’t a calvinist? He made a comment in the sermon I heard today that I didn’t entirely agree with, but that did not stop me from learning from what he was saying. Does anyone here see my point or am I trying to indoctrinate you?

        Donald

        “What is sad is that you can’t trust a brother to interpret even a text that has no calvinistic overtones whatsoever.”

        A flawed Hermeutic is still….flawed.

        “And by the way, I am fully capable of letting a text say what it says. That is how I teach.”

        1 john 2:1-2?

        “You assume this curriculum is full of systematic theology AT THE EXPENSE of biblical theology.”

        I KNOW this is, generally, the tendency among Calvinist. I also KNOW that the theology of a teacher will influence his teaching. It would be impossible to be otherwise.

Brad Bunting

I’m concerned about having a cooperative program school that is decidedly anti-Calvinistic. It seems to me that those making the charge are largely guilty themselves. I guess the only thing acceptable to the editors of this blog is curriculum and education that is decidedly non-reformed. So much for tolerance and cooperation in the SBC!

    Donald

    “I’m concerned about having a cooperative program school that is decidedly anti-Calvinistic.”

    I’m concerned about having a cooperative program school that is decidedly Calvinistic.

    I’m sure you’re with me on this…

Randy Everist

I’m really not for Calvinism, but I was a little concerned by two things in this review. First, the main motivation for careful crutiny was that Calvinists were involved. That creates an environment where one is more likely to see what their suspicions are; a phenomenon known as “confirmation bias.” That may or may not be happening, and it can be overcome. But I was hoping to be able to judge for myself through this review. Which brings me to: Second, this was not a review inasmuch as literally no examples are given. I know virtually no more about this than I did before reading it, and thus could not make an informed decision. I fully stand against five point Calvinism, but I want to be fair to our brothers and sisters who feel differently. I’m not entirely sure this post does that.

    volfan007

    Randy,

    First of all, the concern is not that Calvinists are INVOLVED. The concern is that ALL the people on the Advisory Council are Reformed. ALL of them. Not just the Elect, but ALL of them.

    Secondly, I believe the owners of this blog have said that a more detailed writing of the concerns of this Pastor are coming in the future.

    David

      volfan007

      Chris,

      I believe Norm told you why below. He is out of town, and busy, and he wants to be able to moderate and participate in the discussion, which will surely follow.

      Why cant you just trust him? Why cant you just take him at his word? I mean, he is a Believer, and he has told you why….sound familiar? You know, the GP….

      David

      Randy Everist

      I certainly welcome it! Thanks David. :)

Chappy

Is this blog a joke?

    volfan007

    Chappy,

    You know, whenever I wake up in a bad mood, like you’re in, I just drink a couple of cups of coffee. Also, you might wanna grab you a krispy Kreme, if they’re available. It’ll perk ya right up.

    David

Darryl Hill

Here is the question I have for the SBCToday folks. If this interview with Ralph Green has already been conducted, and from all apparent indications it has, what is stopping it from being posted here? If articles can be posted by others here regarding other topics, why couldn’t the post which contains the interview with Bro. Green be forwarded to one of them to post or posted by someone else? Posting a blog article isn’t rocket science. Something seems amiss to me.

    Donald

    “Something seems amiss to me.”

    They plainly posted what was “amiss”.

    Or, do you think they’re lying to us all?

    Norm Miller

    Do you want it to be amiss, Darryl? I’m out of town on other business and need to have more time to moderate the site when the post goes up. I can’t do that now. I’m taking a brief break now to eat lunch, and then back at other duties. We will post it when we can. Exercise the fruit of the Spirit, and please be patient with us. — Norm