A Biblical Critique of Calvinism
Part 1c: The Inclusivity of the Gospel Invitation

July 7, 2012


by Dr. Michael A. Cox, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Pryor, OK
and author of Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism


This is the third of a series of articles by Dr. Cox, with a Biblical critique of Calvinism drawn in part from his book Not One Little Child. Read part 1a here and part 1b here.


Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians maintains that Christ died for all (2 Cor. 5:15). Paul believed that Christians had been given the ministry of reconciling all to Christ (2 Cor. 5:18), not just a select group. Further, Paul echoed the words of Jesus found in John 3:16 when he wrote that God was in Christ reconciling the entire world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19).

Paul’s letter to the Colossians discloses that the apostle pleaded with everyone he could to come to Christ (Col. 1:28). If language means anything, Paul taught everyone that he or she could come to Christ (Col. 1:28), and passionately desired to present everyone complete in Christ (Col. 1:28).

The writer of the Book of Hebrews said that Christ is the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Heb. 5:9). In Heb. 12:15 the same writer admonished his readers to exhaust all resources to see to it that no one misses out on the grace of God. This insists that people pursue the grace of God. Evangelical Christians then must strive to see to it that nobody comes short of the grace of God, for we are our brother’s keeper. To rely on one’s own works is to come short of God’s grace. The writer to the Hebrews knew well that to become aware of God’s grace in Christ and still revert  to the temple sacrifices would spell disaster. To rely on anything other than the blood of Christ is to come short of God’s grace. God’s grace is tall, man’s works are short. God’s grace is deep, man’s works are shallow. God’s grace is free, man’s works are costly. God’s grace brings cleansing, man’s works leave filthiness. We must be active evangelistically such that we do all that is within our power to see to it that every person has the opportunity to experience God’s grace. And it is plainly possible to reject God’s grace. We must allow no root of bitterness to spring up, cause trouble, and defile because bitterness rots the bones. Bitterness, like sin itself, is contagious. We are herein told to uproot bitterness in our life. When the weed of bitterness rears its ugly head it poisons everyone around it. We must prevent this. Does this verse not demonstrate that God’s grace is both resistible and accessible to all? I believe that it does.

Peter argued that the atoning work of Christ is for all of mankind and that Jesus is the Master who bought all, including unbelieving heretics (2 Pet. 2:1)! Further, notice that the false teachers bring destruction on themselves (reflexive pronoun) and others. This clearly implies personal accountability for choices, arguing against having been “destined” from eternity by God to be a false teacher.In 1 John 2:2 John the Apostle insisted that Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Propitiation means satisfaction to the demand of God. His holy revulsion to sin demanded it and His loving grace provided it. God is the provider of salvation. Moreover, propitiation, in my estimation, is not appeasing an angry God, it is removing the cause for alienation.[1] John intended for his readers to understand that God does the reconciling, in that He initiated it by providing Jesus. With the death of Christ, the cause of our estrangement from God, sin, is removed and the way of approach to God is made possible through union with Christ.[2] As the propitiation, He is available to atone for the sins of all believers and for the sins of the whole world. The scope of His work is all sin and all sinners. Christ’s propitiation is effective for all, bringing life to whosoever will believe and death to whosoever will not believe, for God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Cor. 5:19). First John 2:2 is, quite simply, an obvious reference to a general atonement.

In 1 John 4:14 John echoed this same truth when he wrote that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. The apostolic witness of John and his colleagues is that they beheld Jesus Christ as the one sent by God the Father to be the Savior of the world. The apostolic witness is convincing because they were there and had been bearing witness to God’s plan of salvation, even in the face of danger and death. They refused to be silenced and continued to proclaim that the Father had sent the son. This sending by God speaks to His intentionality. “Was sent,” not “was created,” declares the pre-existence of the son, thus confessing the deity of Jesus Christ. And their confession was that the son was sent to be the world’s Savior. This means that He had a purpose and that purpose was to be the world’s Savior. This affirms that every person is important to God. God wants all to receive Christ as Savior.

Later in his life the Apostle John wrote that the Spirit and bride say come to all and take the water of life freely (Rev. 22:17). He taught that anyone who hears, who is thirsty, and who wishes to drink of the water of life may do so.

We have seen, then, that God wants all to be saved and that Christ died for all, although this does not mean automatic, universal salvation is applied to all without personal faith and repentance. We have also seen that many remain unsaved, like the Pharisees of Paul’s day and the false teachers of Peter’s. Conclusively, then, they are unsaved due to their own rejection, not God’s rejection of them. But some choose to receive Christ. Therefore, man is not so totally depraved that he cannot respond affirmatively to God’s grace. Election is not unconditional, the atoning work of Christ is unlimited in its scope, and the grace of God is resistible.

Moreover, Calvinism misses the biblical point that election was always for inclusion rather than exclusion. God extended a call to Abram (Gen. 12:1). God intended to make Abram into a great nation (Gen. 12:2). God designed to bless Abram and make his name great (Gen. 12:2). God meant for Abram to be a blessing to others as well as to Himself (Gen. 12:2). God’s selection of Abram was for the express purpose of blessing all the families of the earth (Gen. 12:3). Abram’s exclusive selection always had an inclusive objective: all humans. God intended to enter the stream of history through Abram and redeem all the people of the world. Abram was elected to be God’s primary ambassador. Abram was chosen to bring others to God and to take God to others. Therefore, these undeniable facts demand that any references to election be interpreted from the perspective that the elect are whosoever will, while the non-elect are whosoever will not.

The power of life and death rests in the work of Christ (John 17:3) and God gave Christ power over all humanity. God also presented Christ with the assignment of redeeming humanity, and Jesus did not fail. Christ purchased redemption for all humanity. I like to use an athletic illustration by saying that He “drafted” all, wishing to give eternal life to all, since He has been given all, but not all choose to sign with His “team.” The elect are “whosoever will” sign with His team, while the non-elect are “whosoever will not.” And, there is a major difference between will not and cannot. God made a way for all to come to Him, and that way is Christ Jesus. This offer of redemption is universal in its scope, meaning that it is for all of humanity. Nevertheless, this redemption must be appropriated individually by way of faith and repentance: no Universalism allowed. Redemption is not automatic. Mankind must respond individually. Alister McGrath asserts that the doctrine that Jesus died only for the elect is not found in the New Testament.[3] So, do God’s standards vary between the “elect” and the so-called “non-elect”? Does God have any expectations for the “non-elect”? If there are expectations, what does it matter, if Calvinism is biblically correct, since they are destined to remain in their non-elect condition?

Calvinists seem to be theoreticians who rarely reflect upon the serious theological and anthropological implications their system of thought necessitates. As I state elsewhere, it would be ludicrous for Paul to argue so forcefully for the condemnation of the entire race (Rom. 3:9, 10, 11, 19, 22, 23) and then argue for a cure available only to a few. Paul had been a Pharisee and was the son of a Pharisee (Acts 23:6). Timothy Trammell says that Pharisees were the most prominent religious group of Judaism.[4] They were descendants of the interbiblical Hasidism and had crystallized into a distinct party by the time of the Hasmonean era (142-63 B.C.).[5] They placed emphasis on divine providence, but also recognized that individuals are free moral agents with choices to make.[6] If Trammell is correct, Paul’s training as a Pharisee, then, would have led him away from understanding depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, and irresistible grace as defined by Calvinism.

How do most evangelicals interpret the word “depraved,” particularly with reference to the depravity of mankind as discussed by the Apostle Paul in Rom. 1:28? The Greek word Paul employs is adokimos, which is routinely translated depraved (NASV), base (RSV), and reprobate (KJV).

While word studies are necessary and helpful, they are rarely the final court of appeal when one is engaged in biblical interpretation, which is known as hermeneutics. Evangelicals have long championed the grammatical-historical method of interpretation, recognizing that word definitions are simply one of several integral elements to be included, along with other components, in order for sound interpretation to occur. Most would agree that the single most important element in the interpretive process is context.

Generally speaking, there are two schools of thought regarding human depravity. The first, that of Pelagius, says that mankind’s mind was damaged as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin. The second, that of Augustine and the Calvinistic/Reformed tradition, says that mankind’s mind was not only damaged, but that it was also destroyed such that it became totally and incorrigibly unreliable as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin.

John Newport, representing evidential apologetics and the dominant evangelical position, argues that humans can indeed grasp knowledge about God despite being hampered by finiteness and sin.[7] Conversely, Cornelius Van Til teaches that, because of the destructive effects of sin, unsaved mankind cannot understand the world as it really is. Even though God has shed His light throughout the created order, the minds of unsaved humanity are so radically darkened in sin that they cannot see spiritual truth;[8] yet, he says, the Holy Spirit will enable the “elect,” and only the “elect,” to respond to the Gospel. On his own, man is so totally depraved, says Van Til, he cannot even respond affirmatively to God. This definition of depraved uses the word “totally” and means precisely that. Proponents of this view contend that mankind’s reasoning capabilities were utterly destroyed, not merely damaged, such that God must do everything in order for one to be saved. He must even orchestrate the response of the individual.

As stated above, context is the key hermeneutical (interpretive) element. The paragraph of Rom. 1:24-32 clearly discloses that people, long after Adam and Eve, did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer (Rom. 1:28). “Exchanging” (Rom. 1:24) means they tested God at first and had knowledge of Him, but consciously rejected truth and enthusiastically received lies. A description such as this accurately summarizes an individual’s life as one which becomes hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13). The heart does not start out this way. Paul concluded that intentional casting down of God in the mind (Rom. 1:28) results in depravity. This means that anarchy and chaos come from a mind that removes God from its knowledge. In estrangement from God, speculation displaces perception, and most are keenly aware that religious conjecture is legion in today’s world. It is at this point that one is given over to do what is improper, and Paul unswervingly denounced homosexuality as improper (Rom. 1:26-27), citing this sinful activity as one classic example of depraved individuals who have been turned over to the darkness of unrestrained impulses.

Still, a depraved mind, even that which manifests itself in the vilest of ways, is not such that it cannot respond to God’s grace. Van Til’s concept of all people being born with his definition of a totally depraved mind due to Adam and Eve’s sin simply does not square with the contextual definition presented by the Bible in this passage of Scripture. Depravity does not erase innate (inborn) knowledge of God, nor does depravity render one unable to respond to God’s grace. While it is true that all have sinned and fall short of God’s splendor and perfection (Rom. 3:23), and in this sense all have a mind damaged both by Adam and Eve’s sin and one’s own sin, the human mind is not destroyed such that it cannot respond with faith in Christ Jesus, thus accepting God’s provision of grace. Sadly, though, many show no interest in God’s grace until tasting of sin’s disgrace. This is unquestionably the majority interpretation among evangelicals, regarding the biblical meaning of depravity.

From bumper to bumper, we have seen that God’s Word expresses His focus of redeeming the world. Once the Bible has been consulted, it is obvious to see that Calvinism sports a terrible inclusive weakness.


The next article in this series will explore some weaknesses of Calvinism.


[1] Edward McDowell, 1-2-3 John, in The Broadman Bible Commentary, ed. Clifton J. Allen, vol. 12, General Articles, Hebrews – Revelation (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1970), 199.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Alister E. McGrath, Justification by Faith: What It Means to Us Today (Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1988), 153.

[4] Timothy Trammell, “When John and Jesus Started Ministry,” Biblical Illustrator (Winter 2000-01): 60.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] John P. Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), 601.

[8] Ibid.

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Not The Original Les

So many things could be said about this installment. By the way, cranking them out!

I suppose one could call this a nice summary of the Arminian position.

1. Free-Will or Human Ability

2. Conditional Election

3. Universal Redemption or General Atonement

4. The Holy Spirit Can Be Effectually Resisted

5. Falling from Grace

Well, I know neo-trads do not affirm #5. Heavily Arminian might be a better designation. Just as some “Calvinists are rightly called Calvinists holding 4 of 5 points, so Arminian seems appropriate here, Evangelical Arminian.

Seems to me that “free will” is really the linchpin of the neo-trad position. And as has been asked before (and I don’t think answered) what happens to that free will after conversion in the neo-trad scheme. The General Baptists are at least consistent on that point:

“V. ASSURANCE AND ENDURANCE We believe that those who abide in Christ have the assurance of salvation. However, we believe that the Christian retains his freedom of choice; therefore, it is possible for him to turn away fromGod and be finally lost.”

    volfan007

    Les,

    Maybe we should start calling you a hyper Calvinist? I mean, the things I’ve been reading that you’ve been writing, I would be tempted to say that you go beyond just being a simple Calvinist, to being a hyper Calvinist. You have a strong, deterministic view.

    How would you like that?

    David

      Not The Original Les

      David, by all means if you think I’m a hyper Calvinist, make the case and call me that. Let’s have that discussion.

      Les

      Not The Original Les

      David, BTW, have I misrepresented this post associating it with Arminianism? If I have, please show me.

      Les

    Cb scott

    Les,

    Often you make comments that reveal you are a student of the Word seeking to understand truth.

    Yet, this comment reflects one who has read seeking not to understand. Your comment truly misrepresents what has been stated in the article. Cox has not written an article that affirms Arminian theology. That is just not true and I think you are just being stubborn here in making such an unfounded accusation.

      Not The Original Les

      Cb,

      If I have, it is unintentional. The five points I posted seem to me to be also contained in the post. If I’m mistaken, please show me how. I’m surely subject to being wrong. Just ask my wife.

      Thanks.

        Cb scott

        Les,

        There are times when the dog “…please show me how” should be put in the hunt.

        This is not one of those times. The “…please show me how” dog has no need to be taken out of the truck on this one.

        There is no Arminian ‘coon to hunt or tree. The article “shows” plainly within its content that no Arminian scent has been left. Cox is not making the argument of which you accuse him.

        If stubbornness is not your motivation this morning, then read the article again and you will have no need to ask; “Please show me” this is not Arminian in nature.

          selahV

          Good morning, C.B., good to see you up and about this lovely Saturday morning. Praying all is well for you, the kiddos and wife. God has blessed me mightily today. Another day of new mercies, another day of joy, another day to praise His glorious name and another day to spend with all my grandchildren, and another day to rest in His grace. Who could ask for more? selahV

          Not The Original Les

          Cb,

          I’m not saying Dr. Cox is arguing for Arminianism. Not at all. I know he wouldn’t.

          But I’m looking at it from a “shoe-fits-wear” perspective.

          And, if no one wants to respond, that’s fine. It’s just my opinion from what he has written.

          And hey, being an Arminian isn’t the end of the world or anything. I’m sure Roger Olsen (or is it Olson?) is a fine man, a godly man and loves Jesus and is surely a very smart man.

          Now back out to the yard where it was predestined I be today…because my wife told me that’s where I’d be today. :)

          Cb scott

          Good Morning to you SelahV!

          I also am blessed today and have a multitude of events planned for the day, such as visiting ‘Build A Bear Workshop’ with a birthday girl. But first I thought I would drop by her and check on the “hunt.”

          As always, some of the guys are trying to bring the wrong dogs out of the truck. Some of these guys are always trying to bring those old “Plot” Hounds out which are so slow running and run the same track over and over and never get to the tree.

    Bob Hadley

    Les,

    The problem I have with your post is this intentional effort to label everything as either calvinist or arminian… it is as if those are the only two positions on Scripture… actually human ability alone is NOT arminian… since they like calvinism begin with TD/TI… even conditional election is questionable since there are differing views of election and its meaning and application.

    Now, general atonement and the resisting of the Holy Spirit can certainly coincide with arminianism but not necessarily so. Just because a=b and b=c does not at all mean a=c…

    If you are really interested in contributing to the conversation, then why not actually comment on the article instead of casting generalized accusatory statements that have no basis…

    This is really a poor effort on your part to comment responsibly… as I know you are capable of doing.

    Good morning to you CB! Go Vols!!!! Football time is fast approachin!

    ><>”

      Cb scott

      Good Morning Bob!

      And you are right. FOOTBALL is in the air and FOOTBALL GALAXY domination by the SABANATION “again,” is just around the corner.

Steve Martin

Another great post.

“No one seeks for God.” St. Paul wrote that too.

What was St. Paul doing when he made his “free-will” decision for Christ? Oops.

Listen (it’s a youtube video – but the audio is what you want to concentrate on) to this on “free-will” and see if the ideas here are not biblically accurate:

http://youtu.be/eDSZNOv4LPg

Enjoy.

    Not The Original Les

    “What was St. Paul doing when he made his “free-will” decision for Christ?”

    He was wiping the “sleep” out of his newly opened (by regeneration) spiritual eyes.:)

      Don Johnson

      Les,

      Good point. Paul used his free will to believe and God regenerated Him.

        Not The Original Les

        Uh, no Don. You’re looking in the mirror and have it backwards. Keep looking though.

          volfan007

          Steve and Les,

          Yall sound like hyper Calvinist. Deterministic and fatalistic hyper Calvinist.

          David

          Cb scott

          Vol,

          Steve Martin is a member of an ELCA church. Les is a PCA guy.

          What does that mean? Well, one glaring thing it means is they are not Baptists guys. And they are definitely not Southern Baptist guys.

          Therefore, the conclusions are quite simple, you think?

          Don Johnson

          Les,

          Just following the Scriptures. I can do no other.

          Chris Roberts

          Cb,

          Because Baptists have a monopoly on truth? Or because Baptists should only listen to other Baptists?

          David,

          Do you understand what hyper-Calvinism is?

          Cb scott

          Chris,

          Baptists do not have a monopoly on truth. That is a foolish conclusion to make from any perspective. Yet, Baptists are closer to biblical truth than any other group/denomination of NT Christians on earth at this present time and have been throughout our history.

          The ELCA is a very liberal denomination and seems to be in motion to become in absolute diametric opposition to NT Christianity. Nonetheless, I have several friends among their ranks, some of which teach and work at the Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, PA.

          The PCA is a conservative denomination of Christ followers and I greatly enjoy the many friends I have made among them, yet they have a weak ecclesiology which does not reflect that of the NT as closely as Baptist ecclesiology.

          Dr. J.S. Bell said long ago to me when I was young; “An open Bible and an open mind will make a Baptist every time.” I am old now, but thus far, I have not been able to prove him wrong.

          Nonetheless, I will assume you will continue to try, as you should. But, I think you will probably, in time, come to the same conclusion if you keep the Bible and your mind open. And I am sure you will, for you do seem to be a determined young man and that, in my opinion, is a good thing.

          Cb scott

          BTW Chris,

          There you go again with that arrogant, condescending, “do you understand” stuff again.

          Chris, I am not Vol, but I know Vol and I know he understands what Hyper-Calvinism is far better than you know what it is to be Semi-Pelagian.

          I make that assumption about being Semi-Pelagian based on your continual accusations against people as being such who are plainly not.

          Chris Roberts

          Cb,

          I am a Baptist for a reason – I obviously agree with you about it having the best overall hold on the truth. My point is not to undermine the truthfulness of Baptists, but to question the need to point out when someone else is not a Baptist. What does it matter that Steve and Les are not Baptists? They have not come into this argument with their particular confessions but with their Bibles. That is what matters.

          As for the “condescending” attitude, there is no condescension but another observation. David has engaged in childishness: “You will call me what I don’t want to be called, so I will call you what you don’t want to be called!” What he has not done is defend the claim. I don’t care if you reject my argument that the Statement is semi-Pelagian, it is. I have given my arguments, I have stated my reasons, I have continued to study the issue and am only all the more convinced. The arguments are sound and have not been even remotely disproven. Les has made a (small) case that the above argument is Arminian, Others have observed that the typical non-Calvinist Baptist position is Arminian. I think the claim has a lot of merit. The case can be made. It matters not a whit if people don’t like the label; if it fits, it fits. the case can be made that many non-Calvinist Southern Baptists are Arminian in their soteriology, and the case can be made that Article II of the Statement is semi-Pelagian.

          My question for David is this: can a case be made that anyone in this argument is actually hyper-Calvinist, or is my assumption correct that he is simply being childish?

          Mary

          Let’s see Chris Roberts has debated and Chris Roberts has declared himself the winner of the debate. Chris Roberts has declared that only his arguments are right and everyone else’s arguments are wrong. Chris Roberts declares he has the only true definition of all theological labels because Chris Roberts declares all those who disagree with him as wrong therefore Chris Roberts will continue to label and call names as he sees fit because he has declared that he is the winner of all theological discussion based on the evidence that Chris Roberts thinks himself the theological and intellectual superior to all.

          Nothing condescending about Chris Roberts. He’s just right always about everything because he declares it so! Those who disagree with him are obviously wrong because they disagree with him, duh!

          Mary

          David, I think you’re on to something we should just argue the way Chris Roberts does. You all sound like hyperCalvinists to me and since you haven’t convinced me otherwise that just proves it. Of course the difference is Chris Roberts goes around declaring himself being right and so therefore he gets to insist on telling everybody what they actually think cuz ya know all us poor creatures just don’t have the ability to understand theological matters like Chris Roberts.

          Brad Reynolds

          Chris
          Part of what gnaws at us is unsubstantiated claims and false labels. We have time and time and time again rejected with good cause the labels or Arminian and Semi-Pelagian. Our point has consistently been we are Baptists…and thus when one who is a member of a non Southern Baptist church walks in calling us Arminian or Semi-Pelagian we point out we expect that. When a Southern Baptist does so we ask him to substantiate his claims or pipe down.

          It is usually unwise to name-call even when one is correct (I have been unwise at times); it is sin to name-call when one is not correct.

          We will be the first to admit that if we can define the terms we can fit somewhere between a one and three point Calvinist but we reject being called a Calvinist. I imagine most of us if we defined the terms could probably also fit somewhere between a one and three point Arminian but we also reject being called Arminian. We have consistently and rightly denied that either camp rightly affirms our views. Now you can say we are all you want. You can even call us Catholic, Methodist or whatever term you fancy. This does not make it so.

          I would be hard-pressed to understand your full theological position from comments written in blogs and thus you are in a better position to state whether you are Arminian or not.

          We would appreciate the same courtesy.

          Thus to continue to call us Semi-Pelagian (a heretical view) is revealing (either an ignorance of Semi-Pelagianism or an ignorance of our views or an ignorance of both or outright dishonesty) and honestly overshadows any other perhaps legitimate comments you may make.

          My suggestions are: 1) to prove Scripturally where our views are heretical (in otherwords take a statement we made in our affirmations and show where Scripture calls such an affirmation heretical); 2) to prove from the legitimate Church counsels where our views are heretical (in otherwords take a statement from our affirmations and show where a Church Counsel condemned that statement as heretical); or 3) kindly stop the name-calling.

          Please know I do not write this in any sense of ill-will. In fact, I like to assume the best motives of all who write (I don’t think any true Christian Calvinist wakes up and says I’m gonna make some non-Calvinist upset today – I think most if not all wake up like me – grateful for another day to serve my Lord and hoping I bring Him glory today).

          Chris Roberts

          Brad,

          I’m not worthy as to whether or not someone considers semi-Pelagianism heresy, but for the record, I do not. All I’m concerned with in this case is whether or not the label fits. As for substantiating it, I (a Southern Baptist pastor, not that it matters) have gone to some lengths to do that, both in arguments throughout SBC Today and SBC Voices as well as posts on my own blog.

          Steve Martin

          I’m not a Calvinist…at all. I’m a Lutheran. Our congregation has had virtuall nothing to do with the ELCA for 10 years and we are in the process of leaving them and joining a centerist Lutheran denomination.

          The ELCA has pretty much abandoned God’s Word.

          (just to set the record straight on where I stand with the ELCA)

          volfan007

          Chris,

          Mary, CB, and Brad Reynolds get what I was trying to do. Calvinists do not like being called hyper Calvinists. But, let’s just say that I start calling yall hyper Calvinists all the time….and I show that a deterministic, fatalistic view of the Sovereignty of God and salvation shows just how much of a hyper Calvinist yall are. And, I just wont let you change my mind, and I make up all the definitions…even though yall have continually told me and shown me that you are not a hyper Calvinist….yet, I continue to use that term…because “HYPER Calvinist” is a bad word.

          I have a feeling that…IF I did that kind of a thing….that I’d be called a liar; told to quite mischaracterizing Calvinists; called dishonest and disingenuous; and would probably have many more rebukes from the Calvinist crowd.

          Yet, you, Chris Roberts, the author of the “Unity” resolution continue to talk about us as being semi Pelagian….even though we reject that label, and have tried our best to show you why we are not that….you continue to use such a bad word for us…..Unity? I think not. It really makes your resolution unity at the SBC look very hollow…almost hypocritical.

          David

          Mary

          Again Chris Roberts is the arbitor of the correct labels. He has debated, delcared himself to be right and everybody esle wrong so regardless of the fact that people have asked him nicely to quit calling people names that they reject, as a minister of the Gospel because he knows he is right and everybody esle is wrong because the burden is upon them to convince him he’s wrong – he will continue labeling people as he sees fit because that’s how Christians, spefically how ministers should act. Chris Roberts is right because he says so, so all you people who disagree with him need to get over and wear the sign Chris Roberts has determined that you deserve.

          So I think the new label for Chris Roberts is arrogant, hyper- Calvinist, jerk and according to his rules all one needs to do is to declare themselves the arbitor of all truth and all the evidence to the contrary of the fact that Chris Roberts is an arrogany, hyper-Calvinist jerk is wrong and thus he has lost the argument because his evidence just isn’t very convincing.

          Brad Reynolds

          Chris
          “Going to great lengths” to try and show it is Semi-Pelagian and actually showing that it is Semi-Pelagian is two different things.

          Further, you may not consider it heretical but the early church did and condemned it.

          Thus, if you continue to name-call, so be it. I am a firm believer in the Priesthood of believers. Just don’t be shocked that we vehemently resist such unsubstantiated and unChristlike behavior.

          Cb scott

          OK Chris Roberts,

          Let’s consider this statement you made about Steve

          “What does it matter that Steve and Les are not Baptists? They have not come into this argument with their particular confessions but with their Bibles. That is what matters.”

          Chris, In the larger scope of NT faith, and accepting Les and Steve as brothers, it means little that they are not Baptists.

          Related to what Baptists believe about Baptist identity, doctrine, and distinctiveness, it means a lot. They are not Baptists. They specifically are not Southern Baptists.

          Now here is a glimmer of hope, Chris. You stated, “They have not come into this argument with their particular confessions but with their Bibles.”

          OK, that is good. For if they truly did come into this argument with only their Bibles and if they keep their minds “open,” they may just become Southern Baptists. Then, maybe Les will get his heart right about this issue about infant baptism being biblically acceptable. And that is what certainly “matters.”

          Brad Reynolds

          David
          I did not recall Chris was the author of the unity resolution. I voted for that resolution and support the content, but it is interesting that the author keeps calling us Semi-Pelagian. Perhaps that may help shed light on where the disunity (if there is any) is coming.

          Not The Original Les

          Brad,

          You closed with Chris citing “…unChristlike behavior.”

          Will you read through Mary’s posts today and respond to her words to/about Chris as well?

          Les

          Not The Original Les

          CB,

          “They are not Baptists. They specifically are not Southern Baptists.”

          You keep saying that I’m not a SB. I think I’ve said on several occasions, even today, that I am an ordained SB minister. Now of course I also asked you today if agreement with the 2000 BF&M is required to be a pastor, and I’ll add minister, in the SBC. Maybe you’re responding there even now.

          “OK, that is good. For if they truly did come into this argument with only their Bibles and if they keep their minds “open,” they may just become Southern Baptists. Then, maybe Les will get his heart right about this issue about infant baptism being biblically acceptable. And that is what certainly “matters.””

          My heart? I didn’t see a smiley face. Should I have?

          Brad Reynolds

          Les,
          Mary did not publicly call me heretical, Chris did. Concerning Mary’s comments it appeared to me she was using Hyperbole to show Chris how offensive his comments are – but frankly that is between her and Chris – again she did not call me a heretic.

          Chris can deny he called me heretical by saying he doesn’t believe it is heretical but that does not deny the fact the Church has condemned it as such.

          Calling someone heretical is STRONG WORDS.

          Thus, my response was to the one who addressed me as heretical. I also did this with three of my colleagues when Dr. Mohler called us apparent Semi-Pelagian (although I like giving people the benefit of the doubt and have assumed he admitted he shouldn’t have written that when he said “the three weeks prior to the SBC did not find Southern Baptists at their best.” – one thing is certain he has not used that label again).

          In the article written to Dr. Mohler we stated “had Dr. Mohler quoted the 3rd edition of The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church that Semi-Pelagians “maintained that the first steps towards the Christian life were ordinarily taken by the human will and that Grace supervened only later”1 and then demonstrated where the TS “appeared” to affirm that one’s first steps in the Christian life are “ordinarily taken by the human will” with grace responding to rather than initiating human will, we would have no qualms”

          If Chris has shown that the TS affirms that one’s first steps in the Christian life are “ordinarily taken by the human will” with grace responding to rather than initiating human will” I would love to read it.

          It is one thing to personally believe the views of others come dangerously close to Semi-Pelagian because one understands the others’ views through one’s own presuppositions. It is quite another to prove it is Semi-Pelagian.

          If one could prove that and we truly are heretical than I should expect the orthodox Christians to man up and protect the church from our heresy and have a resolution from the floor next year condemning the TS as Semi-Pelagian and unorthodox otherwise “pipe-down” or don’t be surprised we react strongly against such disunity.

          I think the irony is the one who brought the resolution on unity is not “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

          Not The Original Les

          Brad,

          I’m not surprised, I suppose, with your response. Granted “heretic” and “jerk” are not the same. Mary’s actual words were,

          “So I think the new label for Chris Roberts is arrogant, hyper- Calvinist, jerk and according to his rules all one needs to do is to declare themselves the arbitor of all truth and all the evidence to the contrary of the fact that Chris Roberts is an arrogany, hyper-Calvinist jerk is wrong and thus he has lost the argument because his evidence just isn’t very convincing.”

          UnChristlike? Well….

          Brad Reynolds

          Les
          I apologize if I was unclear – sometimes typing is a poor form of communication.

          My point was that Chris addressed me and Mary did not (nor did Chris use hyperbole for that matter).

          I do not get into the puritanical/papal practice of calling to account people who do not address me unless I am in an authoritative position (I am their pastor or boss) to do so. I think the Holy Spirit does this through His wooing and their authorities and especially their local church. I have a hard enough time keeping my motives and thoughts and words pure.

        Not The Original Les

        Cb,

        “What does that mean? Well, one glaring thing it means is they are not Baptists guys. And they are definitely not Southern Baptist guys.”

        Wait a minute. I’m a Baptust. I just can affirm BOTH credo and paedo.

        And I’m a Southern Baptist too, unless some of you come get my SB ordination cert.

        Serious question: does a SB pastor have to affirm the 2000 BF&M? Does a SB church?

        My most sincere War Eagle to you and Bob.

          Chris Roberts

          “I just can affirm BOTH credo and paedo.”

          At risk of understatement, that… is pretty odd.

          Not The Original Les

          ““I just can affirm BOTH credo and paedo.”

          At risk of understatement, that… is pretty odd.”

          I know. I’ve been on one side and then the other and now I’m in both sides. Very similar to the Savoy Declaration.

          Cb scott

          Les,

          Here is the deal. True Southern Baptist do not affirm infant baptism, period. Southern Baptist affirm believer’s baptism and believer’s baptism alone.

          Like I have stated to you in the past, the people who ordained you to the gospel ministry as a Southern Baptist minister failed both the church you served and you as well, if they ordained you in spite of your position on infant baptism.

          Les, I believe you are a swell guy and a follower of Christ. I am willing to work with you in a great number of Kingdom endeavors, but I could never start/plant a church with you because of this weak ecclesiology you doggedly embrace.

          Cb scott

          I keep leaving the “s” off of Baptist when using it in the plural form. That is bad. it is about as bad as putting an “s” on Revelation when in reference to the Apocalypse.

          Anyway Les, I trust you understand what I mean. Southern Baptists do not affirm infant baptism, period. Never. Not ever.

          Not The Original Les

          CB,

          “Here is the deal. True Southern Baptist do not affirm infant baptism, period. Southern Baptist affirm believer’s baptism and believer’s baptism alone.”

          I understand your position. I really do. That’s why I asked you about the BF&M twice now. I really want to know the answer to that.

          “Like I have stated to you in the past, the people who ordained you to the gospel ministry as a Southern Baptist minister failed both the church you served and you as well, if they ordained you in spite of your position on infant baptism.”

          At that time, I did not embrace paedobaptism. They knew nothing about it because neither did I. I was newly graduated from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary and was a credo only guy.

          “Les, I believe you are a swell guy and a follower of Christ. I am willing to work with you in a great number of Kingdom endeavors, but I could never start/plant a church with you because of this weak ecclesiology you doggedly embrace.”

          I appreciate the first part and fully understand the second part. Be it known that I believe the same about you and I COULD start/plant a church with you. I do in fact partner with Baptist churches in Haiti.

          Cb scott

          “I was newly graduated from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary and was a credo only guy.”

          Well Les, if I may paraphrase Paul; “Oh foolish Les, Mid-America was and still is a good school, so who hath bewitched you?”

          Not The Original Les

          Cb,

          “Well Les, if I may paraphrase Paul; “Oh foolish Les, Mid-America was and still is a good school, so who hath bewitched you?””

          I had a former Southern Baptist turned Presbyterian PCA prof, at Covenant Seminary, relate a brief convo a student and he had. The student asked, :Dr. XXXX, you used to be SB, right? How did you come to embrace paedobatism?” Dr. XXXX replied, “I read my bible.”

          :)

        Steve Martin

        No. Actually God knocked him off his horse onto his backside…and said to him (Saul) (in essence) “you’re mine”.

        God made the decision for Paul.

        Not The Original Les

        Well at least Brad has demonstrated grace.

          Lydia

          “Will you read through Mary’s posts today and respond to her words to/about Chris as well?”

          Les, You could always do what the Presbyterian Bayly brothers and Doug Wilson of the “Kirk, do. You can demand the name of Mary’s pastor, her church and call him to “discipline” her. :o) That seems to be real popular in several Calvinist circles online.

          Not The Original Les

          Lydia,

          “Les, You could always do what the Presbyterian Bayly brothers and Doug Wilson of the “Kirk, do. You can demand the name of Mary’s pastor, her church and call him to “discipline” her. :o) That seems to be real popular in several Calvinist circles online.”

          :)

        Mary

        Les, it’s really nice to see you revealing your true colors. You’re crediability just keeps going down and down.

        I’ve often thought that SBC Calvinists are simply Presbyterians who dunk. They of course have vehemently denied this, but here you are! And now according to Chris Roberts we can just lable people any ol’ way we want and ignore their protestations to the contrary.

        As to questions of my behavior, according to Chris Roberts all one needs to do is declare themselves as right and correct and it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks – you can act any ol’ way you want. See Chris Roberts continued name-calling for examples.

        Let’s see in the scheme of things a lay-woman’s behavior vs. the behavior of a minister and the man who put forth the “unity” resolution – which one should be held to a higher standard.

        That’s right the Les, the people you don’t like should be held to a higher standard. Let Chris Roberts continue wth the perjorative names because he’s declared over and over that only his facts and evidence could possibley be correct.

          Not The Original Les

          Mary,

          “Les, it’s really nice to see you revealing your true colors. You’re crediability just keeps going down and down.”

          I’m not sure what you mean.

          Les

          Mary

          Les, you’re showing yourself as the nice guy you are – trying to get someone to address my comments because they happened to agree with me that Chris Roberts is not acting in any way close to someone who truly wants unity.

          Just trying to mix it up here on this hot Saturday night. Are you hoping someone’s gonna put me in my place? Hoping to see some fight? You think maybe Brad missed my comments? He seems like a perfectly nice man, unlike you or me, Les. Why try to drag him into your attempt to diminish me?

          Not The Original Les

          Mary,

          I’ll just leave it as you have written.

          God bless you.

      Steve Martin

      Amen!

Mike Davis

Proof-texts, proof texts. Both sides can proof-text.

And it is plainly possible to reject God’s grace. We must allow no root of bitterness to spring up, cause trouble, and defile because bitterness rots the bones. Bitterness, like sin itself, is contagious. We are herein told to uproot bitterness in our life. When the weed of bitterness rears its ugly head it poisons everyone around it. We must prevent this. Does this verse not demonstrate that God’s grace is both resistible and accessible to all? I believe that it does.

So are you exhorting the unregenerate sinner to overcome their sin nature and root out their own bitterness in order to be able to not resist the gospel? Hmmm…

Moreover, propitiation, in my estimation, is not appeasing an angry God, it is removing the cause for alienation.

Propitiation is a turning aside of God’s holy wrath, a satisfaction of His just anger. It demonstrates that His justice will be satisfied (Romans 3: 25). This is not a Calvinist vs Traditionalist issue.

Calvinists seem to be theoreticians who rarely reflect upon the serious theological and anthropological implications their system of thought necessitates.

Calvnists have been accused of a lot of things but this may be the first time I’ve seen them accused of not being thoughtfully serious. I’m not sure how a statement like that benefits the debate.

it would be ludicrous for Paul to argue so forcefully for the condemnation of the entire race (Rom. 3:9, 10, 11, 19, 22, 23) and then argue for a cure available only to a few.

Both sides agree the cure is available to all. Both sides also agree that most do not accept the cure. Why is this “ludicrous”?

Bill Mac

Not too long ago I defended this site as having some good stuff written that was not related to Calvinism. But that trend seems to have ended. I went back as far as the beginning of June, and it appears that every single article for well over a month has been against Calvinism in one way or another. Which is fine if that’s the direction that has been decided upon, but I kind of miss the occasional articles that are meant to edify all Southern Baptists, not just non-Calvinists. Just my opinion.

    Don Johnson

    Bill,

    Good to see you’re still around. I want to apologize for my comments about your presentation of the Gospel in a previous thread. I went back and re-read want you had written. I was wrong. What you said was Biblically correct, and it was an honest presentation of the Gospel. Please forgive me.

    Mike Davis

    Bill Mac,

    I think you make a good point. The blog owners certainly have the freedom–though not libertarian freedom;^)–to take the blog in the direction of strictly being about the Calvinist vs Traditionalist debate, and lots of folks, including me, are interested in that debate. But if anyone is inviting suggestions, I would also like to see what Adam Harwood, Brad Reynolds, Braxton Hunter, David Allen, Rick Patrick, Steve Lemke, and others have to say on other topics. Even though I disagree with these men on Calvinism, I like the way they exegete and would like to see their take on other issues. I think we Calvinist and Traditionalist commenters would find out that there are lots of things we agree on. For example, maybe someone could post about all the muddled attacks on Biblical inerrancy that Roger Olson has been making lately.

      Bill Mac

      Mike: I would like that too.

      Let’s face it, we like debating. It can be a good, healthy activity. But (and maybe it’s just me) when it goes on too long, there can be an edge of frustration and meanness that creeps in on both sides and that is how it seems to me.

      I think both sides need to realize some important facts:

      1. Both views are derived from the bible. It is no good saying one is biblical and one is philosophical. It doesn’t mean both (or either) are right, but no side can claim the “biblical” side.

      2. There are no new arguments. Every objection raised, or point made, has been made before thousands of times. To think you are I are going to hit on the magic formula of words that will put the other side to rest is naive.

      3. There are people of good will on both sides. Sincere, careful, thoughtful and faithful people. Doing their best with what they believe. They are not hero worshippers or blind followers.

      4. There are jerks on both sides.

      5. Sometimes, the folks in number 3 can become, in their zeal, the folks in number 4. I know I can. We should be careful.

      Tim Rogers

      Bill and Mac,

      In all due respect your charge is nothing more than a red herring. This blog is really not about the direction you would like to see it go, but the direction that the owners desire to see hit head. Now, if you do not like this direction there is an excellent blog that is all over the theological spectrum from high-Calvinism to Liberals that comment over there. Please feel free to interact with them.

      In the next day or so there will be an announcement about the future of this blog that may be of interest but remember, it still is the decisions of the blog owners that set the direction not those that are trying to promote their own agenda.

      Thank you for reading and I pray you continue. However, let’s decide to allow the blog owners to set the direction and not use tactics that call into question your intents and motives of the owners.

        Mike Davis

        Hi Tim,

        Sure, you are correct that it is the blog owners who get to decide the topicm and I like coming to this blog. And I think it is obvious I like to participate in the Calvinist vs Traditionalist debate ;^).

        I’m just saying that I’ve read some posts by some folks that have made me want to see what those folks have to say about other topics, and perhaps to interact with some of the Traditionalist commenters in areas of agreement. Just a suggestion, but you are right, it’s not about me.

          Tim Rogers

          Mike,

          I understand, but as CB has stated, this statement is something we believe needs to be front and center. I believe you will find that by understanding the position of those you have named above you will better understand their position on the issues you want to see them write about.

          Darryl Hill

          If I didn’t know better, it sounds as if the owners of this blog might be getting a little too big for their breeches. But hey it’s their prerogative to tell people to get out if they don’t like it I suppose. It just seems a bit harsh given that the one requesting was merely asking for more writing from these same guys on some different topics. Was anyone questioning the owners right to post what they want to post? Perhaps I missed it.

        Bill Mac

        All I did was express an opinion. I assumed that was not forbidden.

rhutchin

Kudos to the author for startign a discussion of the issue of depravity. He says, “Still, a depraved mind, even that which manifests itself in the vilest of ways, is not such that it cannot respond to God’s grace.” This is a major difference the trads have with Calvinists. Calvinists say that the depraved mind cannot respond to God except by grace (By grace you are saved). The Arminians say that the depraved mind is enabled to respond to God by grace (which is the positive sense of Calvinism). The Trads say that the depraved is just waiting for the opportunity to respond to God and this opportunity presents itself through the grace of the preaching of the gospel.

This is a good start at getting to the real issues in play.

    selahV

    hutch: You write:
    “This is a major difference the trads have with Calvinists. Calvinists say that the depraved mind cannot respond to God except by grace (By grace you are saved). The Arminians say that the depraved mind is enabled to respond to God by grace (which is the positive sense of Calvinism). The Trads say that the depraved is just waiting for the opportunity to respond to God and this opportunity presents itself through the grace of the preaching of the gospel.”

    I think you are misrepresenting what “the Trads” say with your interpretation of what they infer with the words they use which hold different meanings than what some calvinists understand their definition and meaning to be. Not one Trad that I know says that “the depraved is just waiting for the opportunity to respond to God”. I say the depraved are out doing what depraved people do; they are sinning and enjoying it to the fullest. And all sin has its pleasure for a season. But sooner or later, the lost will find themselves in the miry muck of putrid pig slop and either come to their senses…. or hear the call upon their lives and go right on wallowing in their own stench with total pleasure and disregard to anyone around them. selahV

      rhutchin

      Let’s cut to the chase. Do you think the sinner in the pig slop is Totally Depraved (as both Calvinists and Arminians agree)? I don’t think you do (or if you do, you may not understand the implications of total depravity). From what I have read in the articles, there is a real need for Southern Baptists to sort out total depravity by looking at all those verses from which Calvinists and Arminians derived the term and try to determine what those verses are telling us about the lost.

        Don Johnson

        rhutchin.

        It depends on what you mean by “totally depraved.”

        In you mean there is nothing good man can do to earn his salvation, then yes, we agree.

        If you mean “total inability”, then no, we do not agree.

        I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not a Calvinist or an Arminian. I’m a Baptist. To me, any theology named after a man is wrong. Some are more wrong than others, but all are wrong.

        volfan007

        rhutchins,

        Yes, we believe that the sinner is out there in the pig pen of the world…rolling around in the pig slop….he is totally depraved.

        For the umpteenth time….we do not believe that total depravity means total inability. Man is sinning, and he’s out there, enjoying the fire out of it….just like Hariette said. He is loving to sin all that he can, and he will not come to God on his own.

        David

        selahV

        hutch,

        now, now. You are trying to answer your own question of me while feeding me what you think I think because if I think what you say then I do not understand what you understand that I should understand in order to speak as an ambassador for Christ Jesus.

        And whether I see depraved as totally, or completely, or partially, or absolutely, is not really the issue. That seems to be your issue. I have been sharing Jesus with folks since 1976 and never once needed to discuss or believe in, nor go into any debate relating to “total” depravity.

        This post is about the inclusivity of the Gospel invitation being available to any and all, at least I thought it was. It’s about how great and awesome our God is to die for us and become the perfect payment for our redemption.

        However, for the record, “total depravity” is, as I understand it, the inability to receive Christ on our own because of sin (as calvinists teach begins from the second we are born) because we have to pay for Adam’s guilt which left us incapable of hearing anything or responding in a right way to God. Total depravity cancels out all human ability to hear the good news of Christ, to respond to Him. Total depravity means a person is totally and completely and absolutely (mind, body, soul, and spirit) corrupted. It cannot do a single solitary thing, not even think or recognize good as good because it is so evil–all because Adam disobeyed God and ate of the fruit that Eve had eaten of from the tree of Knowledge of good and evil.

        I’d guess you’d count yourself as Totally depraved. Although, I do have a question if you agree that you are.

        That said, I contend I was able to accept Christ (and God gave me that ability to be able…He just wouldn’t stop loving me), but I chose to live my way instead of His way–and He let me. And then He did not reject me when I turned to Him, even though I’d once rejected Him. And I see Him as able enough to take care of those who are inable by virtue of mental incapacitation, or age of recognition of accountability.

        So, hutch, if you are saying that a person in pig slop is totally incapable of making the decision to come out of that pig slop, then I’d say no. He is not totally incapable. He can choose to stay in there and stink, or once he recognizes he stinks, unlike a pig, he’ll want to do something about it. But since he’s stuck in that mire, all he can do is cry, “woe is me a stinky sinner, help me Lord for without you I have no hope” (that’s a bit like what I said in 1975). Then, you’ll decide to leave that muck come out of it, and He will make you into a brand new creature who doesn’t enjoy wallowing in slop. selahV

    Don Johnson

    Rhutchin,

    I don’t think anyone here believes “someone is just waiting for an opportunity to respond to God.” However, though man may be prevented from responding to the Gospel, all men are able to respond. All men (except the mentally handicapped) have the ability to believe the Gospel . One does not need to be regenerated in order to believe. A person is regenerated when he believes.

      rhutchin

      That, in a nutshell, is the total depravity issue. All people have the mental ability to believe the gospel but do they have the spiritual ability to do so? In reading Pascal’s notes (Pensees), you discover his argument that a decision to reject salvation is the most illogical, unreasonable decision a person can make. How is it that smart people, who are capabable of understanding a logical argument, would purposely choose to be irrational in their thinking? Paul tells us that Christ is a stumblimg block or foolishness to the unsaved. How can that be when people can understand the gospel and we see that they easily make rational decisions in all other areas of their lives? Does a person have to be regenerated to believe? From the way Paul and others describe the unsaved, I don’t see how they can believe unless God does something to wake them up.

        Don Johnson

        rhutchin,

        There are certainly things which keep one from believing the Gospel, but “inability” in never one of them. Everyone has the ability to believe the Gospel.

        As far as regeneration preceding faith, I cannot accept.
        There far to many Scriptures which clearly show the opposite.

          rhutchin

          Then the issue is that which the Bible says about the unsaved . Couple examples. We see that the unsaved were dead in their sin necessitating that God quicken them (of this action Paul then says, “By grace you were saved.”) One thing to sort out is the relationship between being dead in sin and being quickened by God. Then, why does Paul say that this is what being saved is all about?

          Paul says in Rom 8, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” This seems to divide the unsaved and saved into two unique groups. Can those who are after the flesh mind the things of the spirit? Or those that are after the Spirit mind the things of the flesh?

          I am not looking for an exegesis here. Just identifying a couple of verses from which Calvinists and Arminians draw the concept of Total Depravity. The bottom line is whether we should read these, and all the others cited, as describing an inability to respond to Christ without a “quickening” from God and whether this quickening is accomplished through the preaching of the gospel as some seem to think.

        selahV

        hutch, you ask: “How is it that smart people, who are capabable of understanding a logical argument, would purposely choose to be irrational in their thinking?”

        Because they don’t want to. They choose to do what they want and they think they are capable of taking care of themselves, etc. etc.

        “How can that be when people can understand the gospel and we see that they easily make rational decisions in all other areas of their lives?”

        There are as many reasons as there are people for why people purposely choose to be that irrational in their thinking. In their minds they are perfectly rational to be irrational. They’ve lived a life dependent upon what they could do for themselves. they have trusted in their own knowledge, education, brilliance, achievements, power, and who they know. Faith in God is too simple for some folks to accept. And others like to complicate it in order to make it rational in their minds in order to believe. Now me? I was a jerk. a self-saturated, self-centered jerk. That’s why I didn’t.
        selahV

        Brad Reynolds

        rhutchin

        “How is it that smart people, who are capable of understanding a logical argument, would purposely choose to be irrational in their thinking?”

        It happens everyday – look at the Supreme Court

Adam Harwood

Dr. Cox,

Thank you for your essay which draws from the Bible to explain that God loves all people, Christ died for all people, and any person can be saved by repenting of sin and trusting Christ. I appreciate your method of citing biblical support at the end of your sentences so your readers can return to the Bible to evaluate the truthfulness of your claims.

I was also surprised (but encouraged)  to read of Alister McGrath’s admission. I used his historical theology textbook in an undergraduate theology course I taught last semester. He is an outstanding theologian.

May God continue to bless your service to the Lord and His people in Pryor, OK, and to the ends of the earth.

In Him,

Adam

    rhutchin

    The problem with the “ALL” arguments is that those presenting those arguments subscribe to universal atonement but not to universal salvation (at least Olsen makes this argument and people seem to agree). TULIP with its limited atonement only says that Christ do not die for those whom God foreknew He would not save. Otherwise, Calvinists agree that the atonement can be appropriated by any and all. Nonetheless, if it really is God who saves a person, and God knew those He would save before He created the world, then we can conclude that the atonement is limited by the totality of actions God must take to save people (God always has the progative to save all but chooses not to do so, but if He did, no one will complain) .

J Weart

“Calvinists seem to be theoreticians who rarely reflect upon the serious theological and anthropological implications their system of thought necessitates.”

Not sure the author realizes the HEAVYWEIGHTS in the Calvinist/Reformed camp. Either that or he hasn’t tried to wade through Calvin, Edwards, Owen, A.A Hodge, Charles Hodge, Spurgeon, Machen, and those guys are all dead! If Calvinists are guilty of anything – it is coming at this with TOO MUCH time in their ivory towers.

If there is one thing you cannot, in a rational and coherent manner, do in this discussion is make statements like this one. You can have your position and all of its necessary implications but let’s discuss these matters with a certain amount of fairness. It is comments such as this that take the discussion into inane arenas that most people don’t have the time for.

m. b. woodside

Bill Mac,

I agree that the editors of this blog need to move on to another topic.

m. b.

    Cb scott

    I for one do not think these guys need to move on at this time. The issue being addressed here is a major issue before the SBC family at the present and will have consequences for the future of the SBC.

    I thank the owners of this blog for taking this issue seriously and being willing to pursue it to its necessary conclusion.

    If anyone is tired of the subject matter, then I would like to remind them that there are numerous Baptist blogs addressing other topics.

      selahV

      C.B. great minds think alike. hee hee. I was posting a similar comment as you were posting yours. mine got punched down a bit below this one. I like these articles. My husband likes these articles, too. So do several of my friends who have not been following the debates in the SBC blogs and convention. So, I, too am glad for their existence. selahV

      Debbie Kaufman

      What consequences CB? To work together with those you disagree with? Some consequences. To be people of the Bible together? Learning from each other instead of fighting? Oh such consequences except for the few here that insist on fighting.

      I’m going to be interested in this “announcement” in a few days Tim Roger’s alludes too.

      As for you CB you seem to be all over the map on this battle just as you were 6 years ago. I can’t seem to keep up with you, this time I won’t try.

        Cb scott

        Debbie,

        I have not had a problem with working with people I disagree with as long as they are within specific parameters of orthodox faith.

        That has, seemingly, been a problem you have had and maybe that is why you consider me to be “all over the map.” Nonetheless, I must admit, I am a ‘hard cat to clean after at times.” ;-)

        Love you, Debbie and would like to stay and play, but I have to go and buy a stuffed bear at the Build a Bear Workshop. Who would have ever thought…..:-)

          volfan007

          CB,

          Are you gonna sleep with that bear? I hear that Teddy Bears can help when someone is scared of the dark.

          :)

          DAvid

          Cb scott

          Vol,

          No. I do not sleep with these bears, but I do tuck them in at night. My world has drastically changed with the addition of female children.

          volfan007

          CB,

          And, may God bless and reward your wife and you for taking in this little girls, as well as raising those boys. You and Mrs CB are the real heroes of our world.

          God bless you, Brother. And, I most certainly hope the Teddy Bears help those little girls sleep better at night.

          Your friend,

          David

      Tom Parker

      CB:

      You said:\”If anyone is tired of the subject matter, then I would like to remind them that there are numerous Baptist blogs addressing other topics.\”

      How kind of you?

        volfan007

        Hey Tom,

        Leave CB alone. He went to some kind of build a bear place today with some little girls…..so, leave him alone.

        David

    Bill Mac

    Well, this is a blog run by non-Calvinists and so I expect to see such articles. But there used to be quite a bit of other stuff mixed in. I’m just encouraging them to mix that stuff back in again.

      Tim Rogers

      Bill Mac,

      Well, this is a blog run by non-Calvinists

      Wrong again. This a blog run by “Baptists”. When you use the term “non-Calvinists” you just elevated an Augustinian philosophical system to judge us by. You also raise the theological bar to the point that only Arminian and Calvinists theological systems are the only two systems of theology.

      Here is the the deal. We do not adhere to either system. We agree that the sin nature of Adam is transferred we disagree that the guilt of Adam is transferred. That is what makes us Baptists in our theology–Not Reformed, not Arminian, Not Calvinists–Baptists!

      When someone calls us “non-Calvinists” Arminian, or semi-Pelagian, they are saying there is only one philosophical system on which to base our theology. We say no, there is more than the Augustinian system.

        selahV

        Tim, amen. I am a Baptist. I am not a non or anti- Calvinist….nor am I a non or anti Arminian. selahV

          Cb scott

          Tim Rogers,

          I thought you were dead. I have not heard from you lately. Nonetheless, A-Men! Well said.

          Baptists are not “Non-Calvinists.” They are Baptists! Point well made, even by a TAR HEEL!!

        Debbie Kaufman

        Like it or not we are Baptists too Tim and have been for several hundred years.

        Oh no, Tim would never miss a good battle. As I said, this is going to be a long year. I’m not surprised, but it was a nice few years of no battling.

          Tom Parker

          Debbie:

          It is all about battling for some folks. I do often wonder when some of these ministers here do their other job.

        Bill Mac

        Tim: I see your point, but I am a Baptist also, so I don’t think the designation helps in the context of this discussion. Since every post for over a month has been, in one way or another about Calvinism, it seems appropriate to designate the people putting out these posts as non-Calvinists. I do not mean it in a pejorative sense. If we were having a discussion about dispensationalism, it would not bother me in the least to be considered a non-dispensationalist.

        However upon rereading your response, it seems that you do not consider me to be Baptist, since I am a Calvinist.

          Debbie Kaufman

          I’m of German descent, so am I not American even though I disagree with some government policies?

          Tim Rogers

          Bill and Debbie,

          I have not sad you were not a Baptist. What I said was you need to stop associating me with Calvinism. If you desire call yourself a Calvinists that is your business. However, you will find that if you prefer to identify yourself within a certain theological discipline known as Calvinism then you have to adhere to pedobaptism. Why? That is what Calvin promoted. Also, you will have to be affirm a state church. Why? That is what Calvin promotes. Thus, you cannot call yourself a Calvinist Baptist, or either a Reformed Baptist. Why? Because this is a system. Once you break any part of the system the entire system breaks down.

          Thus, as a Baptist we have our own theology. It is not Calvinists, it is not Arminian, It is Baptist. This theological system is one that affirms an imputed sin nature, but not an imputation of guilt. This theological system is one that allows for a libertarian position not one of compatibility. This theological system is one that affirms the security of the believer as well as the priesthood of believers.

          Thus, call yourselves whatever you desire, but when you call yourself that, then stick to your belief system.

          Not The Original Les

          Tim Rogers,

          “If you desire call yourself a Calvinists that is your business. However, you will find that if you prefer to identify yourself within a certain theological discipline known as Calvinism then you have to adhere to pedobaptism. Why? That is what Calvin promoted. Also, you will have to be affirm a state church. Why? That is what Calvin promotes. Thus, you cannot call yourself a Calvinist Baptist, or either a Reformed Baptist. Why? Because this is a system. Once you break any part of the system the entire system breaks down.”

          Brother, you are just mistaken and vainly attempting to re-write history. Just ask the are Reformed Baptist Association of churches.

          Heck, you don’t even affirm all of what Baptists, incl. Southern Baptists, have believed through history.

          Bill Mac

          Here is the the deal. We do not adhere to either system. We agree that the sin nature of Adam is transferred we disagree that the guilt of Adam is transferred. That is what makes us Baptists in our theology?

          How am I supposed to interpret the statement above other than that belief in imputed guilt is incompatible with being Baptist?

          Lydia

          ” have not sad you were not a Baptist. What I said was you need to stop associating me with Calvinism. If you desire call yourself a Calvinists that is your business. However, you will find that if you prefer to identify yourself within a certain theological discipline known as Calvinism then you have to adhere to pedobaptism. Why? That is what Calvin promoted. Also, you will have to be affirm a state church. Why? That is what Calvin promotes. Thus, you cannot call yourself a Calvinist Baptist, or either a Reformed Baptist. Why? Because this is a system. Once you break any part of the system the entire system breaks down.

          Thus, as a Baptist we have our own theology. It is not Calvinists, it is not Arminian, It is Baptist”

          Good word, Tim. I have long thought “Cavlinist Baptist” an oxymoron. Like jumbo shrimp. :o)

          Bill Mac

          Tim,

          If I were to drop the label Calvinist,(because I am not a paedobaptist, nor hold to a state church), as you suggest I should, and simply called myself a Baptist, would you not say that I was being deceptive by hiding my Calvinism (or whatever I am allowed to call it?).

          I’ll regret asking this, but how should we Baptists who used to call our selves Calvinists identify our particular beliefs, since Calvinist should be off the table? Reformed? No, I’ve heard the same argument against that word. Sovereign Grace? No, too closely related to the Mahaney cult. What then? The signers of the TS purposely wrote it in contradistinction to “new” Calvinists in the SBC, but now we learn that there aren’t any Calvinists in the SBC.

          Not The Original Les

          Bill Mac,

          If I hadn’t seen Tim commenting all over this post, except here, I’d think he had pulled and Elvis and left the building. Looks like he’s not coming back to this neck of the woods.

          Bill Mac

          However, you will find that if you prefer to identify yourself within a certain theological discipline known as Calvinism then you have to adhere to pedobaptism.

          Of course, this is just silly. I find nothing of the kind. Nor did Spurgeon, or Bunyan or any of the other Baptist Calvinists. I’ve never promoted the idea that all the SBC founders were Calvinists, but it seems pretty clear that many of them were. Were they secretly paedobaptists? Or state church proponents? Of course they weren’t.

          You may think that one has to be all those things in order to be a Calvinist, but it is pretty clear that a great many actual Calvinists don’t think so.

          I’ve always thought it was kind of silly to tell SBC non-Calvinists that they really are Calvinists after all. Well this is like that in reverse.

          Well, off to bed. We are visiting a different church tomorrow to get them interested in Operation Christmas Child.

selahV

Bill Mac, I find the articles being written very informative and hope they will continue to write about this hotly debated topic. I appreciate that someone is taking the time and putting the effort into articulating what traditional (and yes, I know our 2nd VP sees that as a pejorative, but I do not), Baptists understand scripture to say about salvation and sin. I look forward to the day that they write even more about what we understand and believe about other subjects as well. The congregational polity, the ordinances, the end times, and even how many angels can sit on a pin head (lol, a little levity). But for now, this site is the ONLY site that produces articles which defend and explain and deepen the discussions on the Traditional Statement which I think is most appropriate to be discussing (even if a few take it apart and dissect it till it is nothing like the original intent and distort its inferences). I pray you have a glorious Lord’s Day tomorrow. May grace be yours and abound. selahV

    Bill Mac

    Harriette: The articles are informative, and I’m sure thoughtfully written. The comment streams, however, are just the same old war every single time. I like debate, which is why I often show up here, but it seems like an escalation of hostilities.

Ron Hale

Dr. Cox,
You said, “…. election was always for inclusion rather than exclusion.”

I agree!

Dr. John R. W. Stott, in his paper entitled the Living God is a Missionary God said of Abraham’s call in Genesis 12:1-4:

“First, it was the promise of a posterity. He was to go from his kindred and his father’s house, and in exchange for the loss of his family God would make of him “a great nation.” Later in order to indicate this, God changed his name from “Abram” (“exalted father”) to “Abraham” (“father of a multitude”) because, he said to him, “I have made you the father of a multitude of nation” (Gen. 17:5).”

Stott goes on to say about the promise of posterity, “Sometime later God gave Abraham another visual aid, telling him to look now not to the earth but to the sky. On a clear, dark night he took him outside his tent and said to him, ‘look toward heaven and number the stars.’ What a ludicrous command! Perhaps Abraham started, ‘1,2,3,5,10, 20, 30…,’ but he must soon have given up. It was an impossible talk. Then God said to him: ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And we read: ‘He believed the Lord.’ ”

Notice … that God has promised to bless the nations (the lost) …”through Abraham’s seed.” Since we are Abraham’s seem by faith … our job is simple. We must bless the families of the earth with the good news of Jesus Christ. Blessings!

    Debbie Kaufman

    Was 2 Corinthians 5 written for unbelievers or believers? As I read all of 2 Cor. 5 could it be speaking to believers only? I think so, especially when I read verses 5:21. Reading the whole chapter, especially 5-21:

    5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

    11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

    16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

      Debbie Kaufman

      If this passage were speaking of the whole world, the whole world would be atoned for, the whole world would be saved. That is Universalism and I know no one here believes in Universalism. Although admittedly I would like to believe in it, it isn’t what the Bible teaches therefore I have to reject it.

        Don Johnson

        Debbie,

        “…that God was reconciling the world to himself…”

        Could you define the word “world” as used in this text?

        Did Paul really mean “world” or could he have used a better word?

        Brad Reynolds

        Debbie,
        Part of what we reject is the idea that just because Jesus died for (atoned for the sins of) the whole world (something the Bible teaches clearly (I John 2:2)) this somehow means that the whole world will be saved.

        Interestingly the Synod of Dort apparently also rejected such a conflated view “The death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.”

        Hope you have a blessed Sunday.

          Debbie Kaufman

          The London Baptist of Faith 1689 says this on 20. The Gospel and Its Influence.

          The covenant of works being broken by sin, and made unprofitable for life, God was pleased to promise Christ, the seed of the woman, as the means of calling the elect and bringing to life within them faith and repentance. In this promise the substance of the Gospel was revealed and shown to be the effectual for the conversion and salvation of sinners.

          This promise of Christ and the salvation which comes by Him, is revealed only by the Word of God. The works of creation and providence with the light of nature do not reveal Christ or His grace even in a general or obscure way. How much less, therefore, can those who are devoid of the revelation of Christ by the promise (or the Gospel) be enabled by the light of nature to arrive at saving faith or repentance.

          The revelation of the Gospel unto sinners, made in divers times and by sundry parts, with the addition of promises and precepts for the obedience required therein, as to the nations and persons to whom it is granted, is merely of the sovereign will and good pleasure of God, not being annexed by virtue of any promise to the due improvement of men’s natural abilities, by virtue of common light received without it, which none ever did make, or can do so; and therefore in all ages, the preaching of the Gospel has been granted unto persons and nations, as to the extent or straitening of it, in great variety, according to the counsel of the will of God.

          Although the Gospel is the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace, and as such is totally sufficient to accomplish this, yet more is necessary if men who are dead in trespasses are to be born again, brought to life or regenerated. It is necessary for there to be an effectual, insuperable work of the Holy Spirit upon the whole soul to produce in them a new spiritual life. Without this no other means will bring about their conversion to God.

          Not The Original Les

          Brad,

          “The death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.”

          We Calvinists love the Synod of Dort and wholeheartedly agree with this part of Dort.

          Of course the sacrifice of Christ is “of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.”

          But “clearly” (to adopt your word from above re the 1 John passage) the intent and extent was for His elect only.

          Les

          Brad Reynolds

          Debbie and Les

          I think you both totally missed my point which reveals it was probably more my failure to be clear. My point was not that anyone can be saved (even though I affirm this), my point was that even many Calvinist affirm Jesus “atoned” for the entire world – although they would term it as sufficient for all and efficient for the elect.

          Quite frankly, this view is held by both Calvinist and non-Calvinist individuals. The non-Calvinist would just say that although it will not be efficient for all it could have been were it not for man’s resistance of God’s grace.

          Not The Original Les

          Brad,

          Thanks for the clarification, though I think I understood what you were saying. I agree with how you characterized it in your clarification as well.

          My only difference is while I agree that it was sufficient for all and efficient for only His own, I hesitate to say that He actually atoned for the sins for every individual who ever has or ever will live. That’s where my issue rests.

          Brad Reynolds

          Les,
          Also,
          If the intent and extent was “clearly” for His ELECT only we would not be having this conversation.
          When I used “clearly” I quoted Scripture when you used it you quoted an opinion – a significant difference.

          Brad Reynolds

          Les
          That’s fair.
          But you also must admit that some Calvinist could hold to His atonement for the world but its efficiency only for the Elect which was what I was trying to say.

          Not The Original Les

          Brad,

          “If the intent and extent was “clearly” for His ELECT only we would not be having this conversation.
          When I used “clearly” I quoted Scripture when you used it you quoted an opinion – a significant difference.”

          Seriously? If your interpretation was “clearly” understood as you claim, there would be no debate about what that verse means…and there clearly is debate about it.

          Also, I’m on an IPad doing this. It’s not so easy to type and/or paste the passages in…the revelant ones. But surely you know there are passages we Calvinists use to support particular atonement, don’t you? And we believe they are as clear as you believe the 1 John passage is to your view.

          But if I must: Mt. 1, Jn. 10, 15, rom. 8, etc.

          Not The Original Les

          Brad, I was typing on my iPad when you made the comment at 1:58 pm. I didn’t see it until my comment of 2:08 pm. Sorry. I think we agree on what some hold on this issue.

        Debbie Kaufman

        Don: I read this as a whole and believe the world to be used as in “Everyone come to my house for dinner.” Am I inviting the whole world to dinner or am I inviting those who hear my invitation and would possibly respond?

          Cb scott

          “Everyone come to my house for dinner.”

          Well Debbie, I reckon God could handle the whole crowd if they did respond positively to the “invitation.”

          volfan007

          CB,

          :)

          David

Debbie Kaufman

On Effectual Calling:

Those whom God has predestinated to life, He is pleased in His appointed and accepted time to effectually call by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death which they are in by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ. He enlightens their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God. He takes away their heart of stone and gives to them a heart of flesh. He renews their wills, and by His almighty power, causes them to desire and pursue that which is good. He effectually draws them to Jesus Christ, yet in such a way that they come absolutely freely, being made willing by His grace.

This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not on account of anything at all foreseen in man. It is not made because of any power or agency in the creature who is wholly passive in the matter. Man is dead in sins and trespasses until quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit. By this he is enabled to answer the call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed by it. This enabling power is no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.

Infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, Who works when, where, and how He pleases. So also are all elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

Others are not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may experience some common operations of the Spirit, yet because they are not effectually drawn by the Father, they will not and cannot truly come to Christ and therefore cannot be saved. Much less can men who do not embrace the Christian religion be saved, however diligent they may be to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the requirements of the religion they profess.

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/bcof.htm#part20

    Don Johnson

    Debbie,

    Despite what Mr. Spurgeon states, there is no such thing as an “effectual call” anywhere found in the Bible. It is neither expressed or implied. There is only one call and it’s the same for everyone.

    There are no unsaved “elect” people. People become elect when they get saved.

      Tim Rogers

      Don,

      A good word and excellent challenge.

      Debbie Kaufman

      Of course I would disagree Don beginning with Romans 8:28.

        Debbie Kaufman

        Verse 30 of that same chapter would also be included.

          Debbie Kaufman

          Romans 1:1 is another passage. Called in these passages is derived from the word kaleo which means to call into one’s presence or to summon.

          Debbie Kaufman

          Colossians 3:15. Ephesians 4. I could give more.

          Tim Rogers

          Debbie,

          According to Romans 8:29 all of this “effectual” calling is based on God’s “Foreknowledge”. As such God’s calling is not “effectual” but is presented as a result of God’s knowledge. Thus, if God knows when we will respond it moves your “effectual” call from God overpowering man’s will and our simple response to Him based on the Holy Spirit’s drawing at the presentation of the Gospel.

          However, if you agree that God looked out into the future and saw who would accept him and thus placed a calling on them to salvation at that very time, I can call that an effectual calling.

          volfan007

          Debbie,

          We believe all of those verses, and we have studied them.

          Solus Christus,

          David

          Debbie Kaufman

          Tim: I can’t agree with that because God is not limited to simple foreknowledge nor do I think him incapable(which I know you do not believe either) rendering him inactive either by choice or otherwise. God tells us his attributes for a reason.

          I cannot Biblically accept that God simply foreknows. It doesn’t say this either in this passage or the others that I have given along with many more I could still give.

          Darryl Hill

          Tim, Romans 8:29 says for THOSE WHOM He foreknew He also predestined…

          It doesn’t say for WHAT He foreknew He also predestined…

          He foreknows people here, not their choices.

          Brad Reynolds

          Darryl
          To separate our words, actions, thoughts, attitudes and motives (the What) from who we are (the Whom) is to separate who we are from who we are.

        Don Johnson

        Debbie,

        I know God calls people. That’s how anyone gets saved. We are called with the Gospel.

        My statement was there are no elect unsaved people. A person becomes elect when they are saved. God has no unsaved elect, sheep or people.

        Don Johnson

        Darryl,

        You are correct it is people that God foreknows. But, it’s exactly that “foreknown”. God had knowledge of who would become “known”. Note the text does not say whom God elected. Foreknow and elect do mean the same thing.

          Tim Rogers

          Darryl Hill,

          You said;

          He foreknows people here, not their choices.

          You may want to restate that. It seems you are promoting “Open Theism” with that wording. IOW, are you saying that God doesn’t do anything until you or I make a decision because God doesn’t know what decision we will make?

          Darryl Hill

          It’s amazing the linguistic acrobatics that you have to do in order to get around this verse.

          God foreknew the people.
          God predestined the people.
          They were predestined to be sanctified.
          God called the people.
          God justified the people.
          God glorified the people.

          The entire argument is offered as the basis for the fact that God causes all things to work together for the good of those whom He calls. Yes, the same God who works ALL things after the counsel of His own will. The reason there is comfort found in this is because of God’s sovereignty. If you follow Paul’s argument, it’s clear. The entire point here is that God’s will is being accomplished.

          1. We don’t know how we should pray in various situation, but that’s not a problem, because…
          2. The Spirit intercedes for us according to God’s will.
          3. The Spirit is able to do so because He knows the mind of God- the will of God.
          4. Therefore, God causes all things to work together for the good of those who are called according to His purpose.
          5. Furthermore, God foreknew us, predestined us, called us, justified us, and glorified us, all according to His own will.
          6. Since God controls all these things and He is for us, who can be against us?

          The basis for this entire argument is God’s complete sovereignty, even over our circumstances, which may not always, in and of themselves, be good. Yet, He works all things after the counsel of His own will for the good of those whom He has called. The comfort Paul reaches here is only found if God controls it all.

      Not The Original Les

      Debbie,

      I’m not too sure you’re going to have much success here with Don by citing scripture to him. He is the one who wrote,

      “There are no unsaved “elect” people. People become elect when they get saved.”

      No disrespect Don, but that’s one of the silliest things I’ve seen written in these discussions thus far. Again, no disrespect intended. Not only is that statement unbiblical, it is non-sensical.

      Les

        Debbie Kaufman

        Les: Haven\’t you heard? Southern Baptists mantra is that we are people of the Bible. :)

          Not The Original Les

          Debbie, I’ve heard that. I wonder sometimes what some people mean by that though.

          Not The Original Les

          Debbie, maybe you know this. I’ve asked a couple of times.

          Does one have to affirm the BF&M 2000 to be a SB pastor? Does a church have to do same to be considered a SB church?

          Thanks,

          Les

          Cb scott

          “I wonder sometimes what some people mean by that though.”

          Les,

          They certainly do not mean, “I affirm infant baptism.”

          Cb scott

          “Does one have to affirm the BF&M 2000 to be a SB pastor?”

          Les,

          Debbie’s answer will be, “with caveats of course.”

          Not The Original Les

          CB,

          “They certainly do not mean, “I affirm infant baptism.””

          :)

          Cb, can you take a minute and answer my questions about the BF&M?

          Not The Original Les

          CB,

          “Debbie’s answer will be, “with caveats of course.””

          Cb, I think you are avoiding answering me.

          Lydia

          “Does one have to affirm the BF&M 2000 to be a SB pastor?”

          Les, We are NOT Presbyterians. We do not have your top down polity….so far but I do see that changing by “marginalizing”. As far as working for an entity, I think the answer is yes.

          Cb scott

          Les,

          A Southern Baptist pastor does not have to affirm the BF&M. Yet, I must ask, why would one not?

          A Southern Baptist pastor who would not affirm the BF&M might be one who believes in infant baptism or thinks that the Lord’s Supper has sacramental powers.

          A Southern Baptist pastor who does not affirm the BF&M might think that sinners do not need to be invited to be saved or be willing to help a lost person repent of sin and call upon the Lord to save them.

          A Southern Baptist pastor who does not affirm the BF&M may not be a Southern Baptist pastor in reality. He may be something else entirely, like maybe a PCA guy or a Nazarene or a ELCA guy hiding out, waiting to see how the wind blows with the Lutherans.

          Les, a Southern Baptist pastor should be willing to affirm the BF&M and at the same time declare, “No creed but the Bible!!” and know exactly why he affirms the BF&M and exactly why he declares he has no creed but the Bible.

          Not The Original Les

          Thank you Lydia and Cb. That’s what I thought, but just wanted to be sure.

          Fair observation, “Yet, I must ask, why would one not?”

          Perhaps he agrees with some or most of it, but no all of it. But you know those “priesthood of the believer” and “soul competency” things and the autonomy of the local church apparently allows for that.

          Thanks.

        Don Johnson

        Les,

        Maybe you might want to show why it’s so silly.

        Brad Reynolds

        Les
        Just a minor point of clarification – Baptists believe in the Priestood of Believers not Priesthood of Believer. The difference being we do not believe a person becomes His own Priest without need of the authority and protection of the local church. We do believe he does not need to go through someone to get to God but we also believe he must be in an accountable relationship in a local church

          Not The Original Les

          Brad,

          Thanks for that. 1) Where in SBC life is this articulated? I glanced at the BF&M and did not see it. Maybe I overlooked it.

          Here is something I found on a website (http://baptistdistinctives.org/articles/the-priesthood-of-the-believer-or-of-believers/). Is this an accurate representation:

          The Priesthood of The Believer

          The priesthood of each believer in Baptist thought is tied closely to another concept, that of soul competency. Each person has a God-given competence to know and follow God’s will. A decision to follow Christ as Lord and Savior is an individual decision; no one can make it for another. Being a believer priest is a gift from God, not a human achievement; it comes with salvation.

          Each believer priest is responsible for his or her own actions. Individual believers can go directly to God without the aid of any intermediary. Individuals can and should read and interpret the Bible for themselves without religious officials dictating to them what to believe.

          Believer priests are all equal to one another in Christ (Galatians 3:26-28). There is only one High Priest, that is Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:23-8:13).

          Each believer priest has a responsibility to be committed to Christ and to share Christ through word and deed. As Peter stated it: to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).

          Therefore, a church does not have only one priest. Potentially it has many who communicate the love and forgiveness of God and demonstrate concern and compassion of one believer for another.

          The Priesthood of Believers

          The New Testament also speaks of the priesthood of believers. Believer priests are part of the body of Christ. They form a community of believers. Although each believer priest is individually responsible to God, all believer priests are related to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

          This communal aspect of believer priesthood highlights the fact that being a Christian involves fellowship with other believers. This fellowship functions to encourage and assist the believer in Christian growth and ministry. How sad and difficult it would be to live the Christian life in isolation from other believers.

          The fellowship of believer priests also aids in interpreting the Bible and understanding God’s will. Although each believer priest can and ought to read and interpret the Bible for herself or himself, the competent and wise believer will seek insight and understanding from other believer priests. By searching the teachings of believer priests in the past and by seeking out the wisdom of those in the present, persons are aided in their understanding of the Bible and of God’s will.

          The Baptist model of a church rests on the concept of the priesthood of believers. A church is made up of persons who have exercised their God-given competency by believing in Jesus as Savior and Lord and by voluntarily associating with a particular fellowship of believers.

          Each believer priest in the fellowship is equal to all of the others. Therefore, no one is in authority over all. Thus decisions are made by the community of priests seeking to know the will of the head of the church, the great High Priest, Jesus Christ. They do this by prayer, Bible study, meditation, discussion and decision.

          Not The Original Les

          Brad, nevermind. I found positon statements on both on the SBC website.

      John

      Tell me Don and Tim,
      When did you choose your parents, was that before or after your free will choose the Father and the Lamb?

      “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10).

        Don Johnson

        John,

        No, I didn’t choose my choose my parents. Does the Bible somewhere make this argument.

        I’m glad you gave some Scripture. Could you explain how it relates to the elect?

Debbie Kaufman

Since it seems that 2 Corinthians 5 is also talking about Justification which was also accomplished by Christ\’s death on the cross and his resurrection, I have to wonder if Paul was not speaking about and to believers in this passage and not unbelievers. I think the distinction to be important in the rendering of this passage.

Lydia

“I also am blessed today and have a multitude of events planned for the day, such as visiting ‘Build A Bear Workshop’ with a birthday girl. But first I thought I would drop by her and check on the “hunt.” ”

CB, Make sure you kiss the little heart before they stuff it in there. :o)

    Tim Rogers

    CB,

    You need to call me. I updated the software on my phone and I accidentally erased many of my contacts and yours was one of them. If you will text me I will have your number.

      volfan007

      CB,

      Dont do it. Dont send Tim your phone #. He’s a telemarketer.

      David :)

        Cb scott

        LOL. I thought so.

        Cb scott

        Vol,

        You are right. I called Tim. He tried to sell me AmWay.

    Cb scott

    Lydia,

    I really, really, really hate that part. Especially when the person waiting on us is a male.

      volfan007

      ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      I would’ve bought everyone in the store coffee at Starbucks to have seen CB Scott kiss the bear’s heart before putting it in.

      David

        Cb scott

        Vol,

        I did not kiss the bear’s heart. My little girl, Carrie, did that. But I did hug him after they put his heart in so he would know he was a member of the “Poppy Bear” family. :-) In these last seven years, I have made many sacrifices of my reputation and legend in order to be called “Poppy Bear” by two little girls. :-)

          volfan007

          CB,

          Amen.

          David

          Cb scott

          Thanks Vol,

          I never knew or even dreamed all of this was going to happen to me in my “last days,” but I have greatly enjoyed the experience thus far.

dr. james willingham

In the Church Letter , 1787, to the Georgia Baptist Association, Silas Mercer, the father of Jesse Mercer (the Founder of Mercer University), wrote: “Therefore, we believe it to be the duty of every Gospel minister, to insist upon this soul comforting, God honoring doctrine of Predestination, as the very foundation of our faith.” And: “We cannot see how the plan of salvation can be supported without it. And we believe it to be a doctrine which God generally owns and blesses to the conviction and conversion of sinners and comforting of his saints.” Seems that some folks just fail to take notice of the original traditions. One of my ancestors, Holland Middleton, seems to have been one of the executors of the Will of Elder Daniel Marshall. From my years of study of Baptist documents and history, I solemnly affirm that Sovereign Grace was the theology of the beginnings of Southern Baptists, the theology that produced the First and Second Great Awakenings and the launching of the Great Century of Missions, the Southern Baptist Convention, Southern Seminary, the Foreign Mission Board, the Home Mission Board, the SSB (following its predecessor the Southern Baptist Publication Society), and such folks who believed in Sovereign Grace as William Screvens (founding pastor of the FBC of Charleston), Dr. John Clarke and Roger Williams, Isaac Backus, James Manning, Shubal Stearns, Daniel Marshall, John Gano, Richard Furman, the Mercers, William Bullein Johnson, Richard Fuller, R.B.C. Howell, P.H. Mell, Basil Manley, Sr., and Jr., and a host others. George W. Truett in the Centenary Address for Spurgeon in London, after being introduced by the Prime Minister of the British Empire, spoke of Calvinism as pressing the crown of responsibility upon the brow of man. Prayer has been being made for more years than I have been alive (D. Martyn Lloyd Jones prayed for such a visitation for years), and I began praying for one in the Fall of ’73. Since it is Sovereign Grace theology that produces such a blessing, it follows that God must renew the theology in order to grant the blessing. From 1740-1820, the theology that produced those blessings of the Awakenings and Missions is the theology of Sovereign Grace. Research establishes that fact beyond doubt, folks.

    Tim Rogers

    Dr. Willingham,

    Wow!! What wonderful research and such a strong tradition to stand upon. If I take your position I must ask one question. If Sovereign Grace Theology is what you say it is, why did the Lord make the world wait 1600 years before we identified it?

      Darryl Hill

      Tim, the crux of this debate was identified all the way back with Augustine, that is that God grants what He commands and commands what He desires. Luther was an Augustinian monk and the reason for his protest against the Roman Catholic Church was the fact that their teachings were not in agreement with Augustine nor Scripture. So it is incorrect to state that these truths were not believed or made known for 1600 years. The Pelagian controversy dealt with the crux of this issue which is man’s inability to choose repentance and faith apart from a move of God’s grace.

        Cb scott

        There is the problem Darryl Hill. You have identified it and maybe not realized it.

        You stated, “Tim, the crux of this debate was identified all the way back with Augustine…”

        Southern Baptists do not believe that to be true. Southern Baptists see the “crux of this debate” was/is/ always will be identified all the way back to Jesus and the inerrant Word of God.

        Southern Baptists go to church and say, “Hey Augustine, get out of the way. I have come here to see Jesus.”

          Darryl Hill

          Yes I am sure that is likely true in many cases. Many do not even care about Church history at all. And actually Cb your disdain for the theologians and believers upon whom your very existence as a traditional Baptist stands or falls illustrates clearly the trouble we have. Were those people not Christians? Did they not dedicate themselves to the study of the Scriptures- and did they not also have the advantage of not growing up immersed in American culture? Yes on all counts. There is a reason those positions became orthodox positions. I often tell people this- if you find yourself in the position of believing something that no other (or very few) Christians in history have believed, it is likely you who is wrong, not historical Christianity.

          Having said this, I am at least glad you have acknowledged that your previous statement was untrue and that, instead the position which states that God must graculiously GRANT obedience has been orthodox all along. In light of this, perhaps your statement should read, “get out of the way orthodox and historical Christianity, we have gathered to encounter Jesus in our own new way.”

          Cb scott

          Darryl Hill,

          Your comment makes no sense and assumes that of which you do not know. I have no disdain for theologians and I have far more time logged up in the study of Church History than you and probably more than you will ever have.

          Actually, you betray the fact that your grasp of Church history is lacking and limited when you make such a statement to Tim that, “the crux of this debate was identified all the way back with Augustine…”

          You are hung up there. There is far more to the history of the Church than Augustinian theology. Yet, you cannot seem to move beyond that.

          Baptist history, as a part of Church history is complicated to say the least and to make a statement that, my “very existence as a traditional Baptist stands or falls” upon past theologians, especially Augustinian theologians “illustrates clearly the trouble we have” is truly without merit.

          Do Baptists have anything to learn from Augustine? Of course. But our theological composure does not hinge exclusively upon an Augustinian linchpin. It is at that point some, but not all, who have attacked these fellows who signed the TradDoc get caught in the quagmire.

          DarryL Hill, for you to state that our existence as Baptists stands or falls upon past theologians is mere foolishness. People who have had no theological training whatsoever have taken the Word of God, read it, learned it, prayed, sought the Spirit’s direction, and at the “end of the day” have a very Baptistic flavored theology, yet would not know what the word “theology” even means. They have never heard of Augustine, Calvin, Chafer, Hobbs, etc. or even Criswell for that matter and yet they are easily identifiable as Baptistic in their theology.

          Darryl Hill, it was not theologians who produced Baptists. It was and is the Word of God and the illumination of the Holy Spirit which produces true Baptists and it will always be that way.

          Lastly, for you to state that these theologians of the past had the “advantage of not growing up immersed in American culture” is just plain silly. Darryl Hill, the Holy Spirit of God can illuminate the open mind of a person who has immersed himself in the Word of God in any culture.

          Maybe the true problem here is not “identified all the way back with Augustine.” Maybe the “crux of this debate” simply has to do with people having closed their minds after having read Augustine.

        Tim Rogers

        Darryl Hill,

        Hey Hoss, Augustinian theology is Roman Catholic theology. Calvinism is a theology built from Roman Catholic theology except for the rosaries and the purchasing of penitence. As we have always joked Presbyterians are closet Catholics.

        The truths of Calvinism were not believed until 1600, unless you want to tell me that John Calvin lived before 1500. Certainly he built his theology from Augustine and that is what we are saying. Augustine and Calvin is not the only choice we have in theology.

        Thus, as C.B. has eloquently stated, Baptist theology goes past these two scholar theologians and moves back to Scripture.

          Not The Original Les

          Tim Rogers,

          I’ve encountered Baptists like you. One once said in staff meeting on Monday about a Presbyterian (PCA) couple who had visited our church the day before, “Well, it’s certainly POSSIBLE they’re Christians. But not likely. They’re really more like Carholics.”

          He displayed an incredible ignorance. Brother, someone has seriously skewed your history.

          Darryl Hill

          So Tim your argument is that the Church was entirely corrupted from the beginning and that no theologian or Christian can have an impact upon what we believe. That’s a very shaky stance indeed. Does ANY historical theologian articulate your position?

          By the way, what is this “hoss” comment? Are you angry about something? Augustine was Catholic (which means Universal Church) but he was not Roman Catholic. And Luther’s basis for his position was as a “protest” against Roman catholicism, which hardly makes either “Catholic”. I find your positions on these untenable, by the way.

          Still I am glad to at least have on record here that the orthodox Christian position means little here. That is definitely important to understand for those who may be observing and attempting to learn something here.

          volfan007

          Hoss is just the way Tim talks. He’s a redneck like me. We dont mean any harm. We’re just not as sophisticated as some others. We’re a little rough around the edges.

          But, Tim is a great guy.

          David

          Cb scott

          Guys,

          Don’t you know that “when you cross that ole Red River “Hoss,” Bob Wills is still the king”

          Anyway, that is what the great theologians Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings said.

        Lydia

        “Tim, the crux of this debate was identified all the way back with Augustine, that is that God grants what He commands and commands what He desires. ”

        Hmm. Augustine must have thought his Determinist God demanded he be celebite. Or perhaps that God forbid him to marry the mother of his child because she was of the wrong social status so he bannished her from her son. Probably not in official reformed history.

        Not sure why he is the artiber of what scripture means.

          Lydia

          “I often tell people this- if you find yourself in the position of believing something that no other (or very few) Christians in history have believed, it is likely you who is wrong, not historical Christianity”

          This thinking is what scares me. Institutional Church history is also political history and it is a horrible bloody mess that many try to rewrite to fit their interpretive paradigm. We have the “Spirit of Truth” and it is not Calvin or Augustine.

          Yes, they are interesting to read.

          Darryl Hill

          Lydia… do you even know what Augustine believed or taught? Do you realize that a council of the entire Church agreed with his stance and declared Pelagius a heretic in regard to the doctrine I stated above?

          Would you guys dump on every orthodox theologian in history and declare them all flat out wrong in order to maintain your position? Were none of these men led by the Holy Spirit? Was the entire Church apostate from the 2nd century until 1925?

          Cb scott

          Darryl Hill,

          Why is it that when lydia makes comments about past theologians that cannot be denied and yet makes some here have an uneasy feeling in their stomachs, some one will, without fail, ask her if she ” even knows what ‘whomever’ believed or taught?”

          And yet, it is very obvious she does know what “whomever” believed or taught and even more than the one asking her what she knows about what or whom she actually does full well does know.

          Not The Original Les

          Darryl,

          You must not know that Lydia “reads around history.” That’s why she knows so much more than the rest of us about these things.

          Cb scott

          Les,

          You know and I know that you are taking that “reads around history” statement out of context.

          You know exactly what she meant when she made that statement as do I.

          Les, I have never questioned your honesty and integrity. Not once. I consider you an honest man, but I think maybe you are pushing a little more out of that statement than was there. We are all guilty of that at times. This is just one of those times, nothing more, nothing less.

          Not The Original Les

          Cb,

          Perhaps. I’ve done it before. But I’ve seen her make that statement dozens of times, often seemingly derisive of the rest of us who haven’t read the authors she has read. Like our history is inferior to hers. Like we’re mind numbed robots. That’s the way it has appeared.

          That’s all.

          Not The Original Les

          Cb,

          While we’re talking, you appear to have great credibility around these parts. You could really enhance that among Calvinists by calling attention to some statements by the non Calvinists as well that need to be called out. Don’t get me wrong. Most uf us Calvinists have tough, thick skins (at least those of us older ones) and can do our own “battles.”

          But when you are constantly calling me and other Calvinists into check but remain silent when Tim Rogers says something like, “Calvinism is a theology built from Roman Catholic theology except for the rosaries and the purchasing of penitence,” well see how that looks?

          It’s hard to believe you agree with a statement like that, seeing how many positive things you’ve had to say about your PCA brothers.

          Just a thought.

          Cb scott

          Les,

          Look, I have fought many battles with Lydia. In the beginning I stupidly considered her to not know what she was talking about when she made comments. Then I began to notice she does know Church history and sometimes she brings up specifics that most of us who have theology degrees do not bring into the mix.

          I kept reading this woman and also learned she has a pretty good grasp of world politics that does not come from living in a “missionary compound” if you know what I mean.

          She is tough and she knows things that she did not learn in a classroom about many cultures. She is also, As Louis L’Amour wrote of the Tinker in the novel Lando Sackett and I paraphrase, “A learned woman.”

          It takes a while to learn Lydia, seller of purple, but once you do, you have to respect her.

          BTW, never get into a fight with her about ecclesiology. To do so will make you pound your head against the wall. Been there, done that. :-)

          Cb scott

          Les,

          Tim and I have done battle many times. I have known Tim for over 20 years now. We do not agree on all things. There are parts of the TradDoc on which we do not agree.

          You are right. I do not agree with Tim about the “rosaries and the purchasing of penitence” statement.

          Yet, I also know I do not agree with you when you imply that he is ignorant either. I know he is not.

          If you noticed, I did not engage you or Tim in either comment. Debbie has already accused me of “being all over the place for 6 years.”

          I don’t take up every fight. Besides I was dealing with dead theologians and Darryl’s contention that Southern Baptists were birthed in a birthing room built by Augustine.

          I know Tim handles himself pretty well and you are no slouch either.

          I do believe this. You would like Tim if you met him and if you were broke and Tim had a dollar, that would mean you had a dollar.

          Darryl Hill

          Actually folks I am well aware of Lydia’s approach to debate, which is to use a favorite logical fallacy, which is to find a particular personal sin of whichever theologian who has been mentioned and illogically deducing that his faults disqualify any truth claims he made in regards to theology. It’s as if she has intentionally gone digging for dirt on these men in order to dismiss both them and anyone who quotes them.

          #1 The logic of making that connection is flawed.
          #2 There is no person who is without sin other than Jesus Christ alone.
          #3 Shall we all investigate Lydia or any other person with whom we disagree and dismiss everything they say if we find any sin? I don’t believe that is a good idea.

      dr. james willingham

      Dear Tim: He didn’t. It is in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. It is in Church History. Most people these days think there is no references to such views in the first 3-4 centuries, but Dr. John Gill’s Cause of God and Truth traces each of the doctrines through the early centuries. You might be interested to know that Gill’s Works were recommended to the pastors of the Charleston Baptist Association, circa1790-1810 (I have to give the general period as I cannot remember the specific date).

      My Hebrew prof. at SEBTS, a D.Phil.from OXford, asked me at the beginning of class one day, why I believed in irresistible grace. I answered to the effect that in Psy.65:4 the writer uses the Hiphil verb (causative verb) and that was one of the reasons why I believed it. The good professor opened his Heb. Bible looked at it, said, “You are right,” closed his Bible, and began class. He had signed the Abstract of Principles which calls for a belief in such teaching (cf. Articles V,VI, VIII, IX, X) thanks to Basil Manley, Jr., A.M. Poindexter, Basily Manley, Sr., and Rev. Luther Rice (also cf. J.P. Boyce’s Abstract of Systematic Theology). Manley, Sr., and Luther Rice served on the Committee that drew up the Sandy Creek Confession of 1816 (note articles, III & IV).

    Cb scott

    James,

    That truly is a good story as Tim has stated. But I bet you that is not what you hear at Mercer today.

    Their theological position today would be kinda along the line of:

    “If you can’t be with the one you love, honey,
    Just love the one you’re with”

      Lydia

      “Actually folks I am well aware of Lydia’s approach to debate, which is to use a favorite logical fallacy, which is to find a particular personal sin of whichever theologian who has been mentioned and illogically deducing that his faults disqualify any truth claims he made in regards to theology. It’s as if she has intentionally gone digging for dirt on these men in order to dismiss both them and anyone who quotes them.”

      Darryl,

      I am coming from the position that most of church history is intertwined with political governance. Therefore I think it makes sense to take the political (governance) aspects of church history into consideration when discussing these men.

      When you wrote above “to find a particular sin” you were not taking into account that some “practiced sin” (1 John 1– walking in the dark) as a moral/political lifestyle. A perfect example of this is Calvin’s second time around in Geneva.

      Are we to conclude that what people believe does not drive their behavior and actions?

      Should we read Luther, Calvin, Augustine? Yes, as important history and for understanding how their doctrines fit the history of that day and molded the future of the church. Augustine is considered the Father of the “Roman” Catholic Church for a reason. Let’s face it; he was basically a Theonomist of sorts. As was Calvin. And the Puritans who were coming here to “plant Israel”….. and make money. :o) My goodness read Joseph Cotton and what he said about the Native Americans. Scary stuff. Did none of these men or groups understand the New Covenant?

      But Calvin, Luther and Augustine’s writing are not “Inspired” and in my opinion, which means nothing as I am a nobody, we would be wise to NOT use their writings as the interpretive grid for scripture. Jesus sent us the Spirit of Truth.

      “#1 The logic of making that connection is flawed.

      I might agree with this if we were discussing a professor of English Lit who was a reprobate. But we are discussing men who strove to interpret the Word for others. Did their beliefs drive their behavior and actions? Should correct doctrine eventually culminate in “walking in the light” even with the political history as it was? We know the Radical Reformers not only lived out that truth on the run but many gave their lives for that truth.

      #2 There is no person who is without sin other than Jesus Christ alone.

      Yes! So why use these flawed men as the interpretive grid when we do have Jesus Christ who sent us the Spirit of Truth? When we know the Temple Veil was torn in two for us to have direct access?

      #3 Shall we all investigate Lydia or any other person with whom we disagree and dismiss everything they say if we find any sin? I don’t believe that is a good idea.

      I totally understand why you felt the need to say that. This would seem to equate my words with the doctrinal writings of Calvin or Augustine. I might be flattered but I am sure you did not mean it in that way. :o)

        Darryl Hill

        Lydia, this is what I know. You do not deal with the content of any post without personally attacking whoever is being quoted. You do not deal directly with the material and evaluate it based on the way in which it lines up with Scripture. Instead, you ignore the actual truth claim and attack the guy who may have said it. If we all took that same approach, what could we accomplish here? Imagine that for a moment…

        By the way, do you know WHY people have dug and dug to try to uncover dirt on the theologians in question? I guess I could ask you why you have, but I don’t know what kind of answer I’d get. Most of the time, people dig for dirt to discredit, period.

        Consider, the Apostle Peter betrayed the Lord, denied Him three times and even swore he didn’t know Him. Even after being indwelt with the Holy Spirit, we have record in Scripture that Peter was acting hypocritical in such a way that there may have caused a significant divide between Jewish and Gentile Christians, and Paul had to call him on it.

        And now you’ve gone so far as to claim that Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and now you’ve added the Puritans to the hit list… displayed a consistent evidence of not being converted? Seriously? You are going to go that far? I won’t comment further on this because this speaks for itself. Here’s a question for you, though: is character assassination becoming of a genuine believer in Jesus Christ? Are we not called to charity, to mercy, and to grace?

        Here is what I would love to see from you Lydia, not that what I think even matters… but I would love to see you interact with other posters on the merits of their arguments and on the basis of the truth of Scripture rather than to change the subject and attack these theologians.

        One final word Lydia, it was not Calvin who invented the words election and predestination. It was not Calvin who said, “For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” It was the Apostle Paul who said these things. Calvin didn’t say, “The reason you do not believe is because you are not of my sheep; and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” Jesus said that.

        Here is your real trouble Lydia- it’s with the Scriptures. The Apostle John, the Apostle Paul, and the Apostle Peter introduced these concepts to us. So, you can disparage every scholar who disagrees with you and attack their personal lives (that’s a long list, but have at it), but in the end your trouble is that these men are simply speaking about what Scripture says.

          Darryl Hill

          I accidentally misquoted part of that verse from John 10:28… it should read:

          “My sheep hear my voice” and I know them.

          I actually left out one of the most critical parts of what Jesus was saying. Sorry for that.

          Lydia

          Man Darryl, I had no idea I had a pope! You are good at giving out the papal bulls. Guess you have a lot of practice. Please don’t send the magistrates after me!!! :o)

          Here is the deal; as you continue to argue the Augustinian/Calvin interpretive grid, I will continue to point out how they “practiced sin” as a lifestyle. I might even throw out some Puritan witch burning history for grins.

          And then I will enjoy throwing out some verses showing how wrong these “brilliant” theologians were.

      dr. james willingham

      CB: We have lost most of our state institutions due to infiltration that was planned long ago the same way we lost our theology. The folks who run things (Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope and his The Anglo American Establishment…and in case Charley puts in his two cents worth, look also at C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, his sci/fi trilogy, esp. Perelandra (in which he names one of the real conspirators in a list of supposedly fictional conspirators), and his Letters of An American Lady wherein he admits in a footnote that there was more to the conspiracy idea than mere fiction) wanted to blunt the theology that had threatened their control of the world (they like pluralism and hate calvinism which they call determinism and note Quigley even provides a nice enumerated list of their theological beliefs or principles). It took more than a century for them to succeed in really blunting, and now it is coming back again and engendering the hope of a Third Great Awakening. And this time the Awakening will go for every soul on earth and continue for a 1000 generations and reach, if man gets to publicly make it to the stars, thousands and thousands of worlds (according to the old limited atonement fellow, Dr. John Owens and his The Death of Death in The Death of Christ.), and a multitutde in Heaven so God can make good on his humorous remark in Rev.7:9.

Bill Mac

I want to be clear that I was not telling (or suggesting) that the blog keepers drop the topic of Calvinism and move on. I was just recalling that there used to be a wider breadth of topics here that I appreciated, and would like to see again.

    Tom Parker

    Bill Mac:

    But how long will this one topic play out. My guess is three months. We shall see.

Tim Rogers

Les,

You said;

I’ve encountered Baptists like you. One once said in staff meeting on Monday about a Presbyterian (PCA) couple who had visited our church the day before, “Well, it’s certainly POSSIBLE they’re Christians. But not likely. They’re really more like Carholics.”

When have you heard me say that someone is probably not saved? Now you have painted me with some idiot you served on staff with and you want me to give you a debate? When you want to debate the issues, then let’s do it. If you want to call me uneducated or non-educated be my guest. But any cursory reading of history will point out that John Calvin came out of the Catholic church. So your false understanding of my understanding of history is well, intentionally targeted to shut me up. It ain’t going to happen.

Don,

Hoss, is just a colloquial expression if it offends please forgive me. I am not angry about anything. Except I do get perturbed when Les calls into question my intelligences of salvation based on his experience with someone else.

However, you say:

Still I am glad to at least have on record here that the orthodox Christian position means little here. That is definitely important to understand for those who may be observing and attempting to learn something here.

Please tell me what I have denied about the “orthodox Christian position”?

    Not The Original Les

    He hoss Tim,

    Here is what I was responding to:

    “Calvinism is a theology built from Roman Catholic theology except for the rosaries and the purchasing of penitence. As we have always joked Presbyterians are closet Catholics.”

    Brother either you are intentionally or unintentionally misrepresenting Presbyterians. “except for the rosaries and the purchasing of penitence.” Really? Catholics teach that salvation is by grace thru faith plus good works. You really think Presbyterians kept that part of RC? The RC sacraments?

    That was a careless comment on your part.

    “When have you heard me say that someone is probably not saved?”

    I never said you did. My comment that I’ve met people like you was about his careless and in his case ignorance about Presbyterians.

    “If you want to call me uneducated or non-educated be my guest.”

    I did not such thing, hoss.

    Object, your honor. That went to motive. I had/have no such intention.

    Don Johnson

    Tim,

    I think you mean someone else. I did not make the statements in your post. Sorry

      volfan007

      Tim,

      It was Darryl that made the Hoss comment…not Don.

      David

        Cb scott

        Yeah, Vol, it was Darryl alright. It sure was.

        And like Mick Jagger said and I paraphrase, “Wild, wild horses have dragged him away.” ;)

          Darryl Hill

          Yes he meant to reply to me. I think I upset him so he came back with “look hoss” and then went into his argument. I’m familiar with the phrase actually. It’s the kind of phrase you use to dismiss someone while belittling them.

Tim Rogers

Darryl Hill,

You say

Was the entire Church apostate from the 2nd century until 1925?

Don’t know that I would say it was apostate that long, but I do believe it was apostate from the 2nd century to about the 15th century.

    Randall Cofield

    Wow

      Darryl Hill

      That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it Randall?

      In one fail swoop he just dismissed anyone who might have disagreed with his point of view as well as the orthodox Christian Church of those same time periods. That is handy.

      So Tim are we to assume the gates of hell prevailed during those time periods or perhaps that all the traditional Baptists a la 2012 were all in hiding and/or being repressed and their truly biblical views dismissed by evil and warped men like Augustine of Hippo?

      Again I ask… has ANY theologian espoused your view?

        Cb scott

        Darryl Hill and Randall Cofield and any one else who might be interested,

        John Warwick Montgomery published a book around 1970 entitled: “Damned Through the Church.” In that book Montgomery records the story of the Church regarding what he called, “the damnable epochs of church history,” or “the times when the church was sending people to hell instead of sending people to heaven.”

        It might be of some interest to you or maybe not.

          Darryl Hill

          I’m assuming this Brock fellow must be on the approved reading list? I only bring that up since I’ve just been told above that we don’t trust the words of men but only direct Scripture or Jesus and the apostles. I’m assuming his opinion must affirm your position. Can you name any historical theologian who has articulated the position put forward here?

          Darryl Hill

          Sorry…. John Warwick Montgomery. I should trust him but dismiss al the writings of Augustine because he was responsible for damning millions??

          Cb scott

          “I’m assuming this ‘Montgomery’ fellow must be on the approved reading list?”

          I do not know the answer to that because I do not know the “approved reading list.” I do know he wrote on the subject you fellows are debating at the present.

          “I only bring that up since I’ve just been told above that we don’t trust the words of men but only direct Scripture or Jesus and the apostles.”

          No one made that statement. That is simply a false inference on your part.

          “I’m assuming his opinion must affirm your position.”

          That is one problem you have here. You assume far too much. I am simply suggesting a book. If you want to read it do so. If not, don’t.

          “Can you name any historical theologian who has articulated the position put forward here?”

          I have not stated a specific position here other than to state Baptists were not birthed in an Augustinian birthing room. Baptists, as I stated earlier, have a complicated history. I will state that I believe that Baptistic doctrine is closer to the biblical revelation of theological truth than that of any other, because it is based on the Scripture and not any specific theological dogma.

          “I should trust him but dismiss all the writings of Augustine because he was responsible for damning millions??”

          You may dismiss whatever you please. I did not dismiss Augustine. As I stated earlier, we gain from reading Augustine. We gain from reading Tertullian. We gain from reading Knox. We gain from reading Wesley. We gain from Mullins, Chafer, Warfield, Barth and Kierkegaard. We gain from reading Kant, etc, etc, and yes, we even gain from reading Finney. But we have life by knowing Christ through His revealed Word.

          Lastly, I did not state that Augustine is “responsible for damning millions.” Nor did Montgomery, for that matter. Darryl Hill, that is just another one of your assumptions and I have already addressed your assumptions.

          Darryl Hill

          Cb I just spent the better part of the last 45 minutes attempting to find anddownload that book. I can tell you it is 95 pages and that its title has apparently now been changed to “Church: Blessing or Curse?” But no download available.

          As for the rest of your comments all I can say is that it seems very clear to me that the so called traditional Baptist view presented here has not been espoused by ANY orthodox Christian theologian in any era and above you seemed to be agreeing with Tim that the Church was apostate from the 2nd century to the 15th century and that was your reason for suggesting montgomery’s book and specifically mentioning myself and Randall as in need of reading it while coming to the aid of Tim. I’m well aware of the corruptions within the Church throughout the centuries but I also know that, as you have intimated, Godly men can come to right conclusions if led by the Spirit. Perhaps you should point out such a thing to Lydia.

          But it seemed clear to me that you were dismissing Augustine above or at the very least appeared to agree with Tim above. You certainly didn’t correct his apostate church pronouncement. I guess I am having trouble understanding why you are here. It seems you disagree with many but only argue with the Calvinists. I guess I would like to understand where you are coming from. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind clarifying that.

          By the way, orthodoxy is important. Augustine’s view on God’s sovereignty was critical and his theological contributions were great. I do not go to Augustine (or Calvin for that matter) to establish doctrine. I go to Scripture and let it say what it says. But I have great respect for many of these theologians and would not dismiss them or refer to them as apostate just because I disagree with their positions. For example I have great respect for the Wesley brothers and evenhandedly guy like Charles Finney, even though I disagree with some of their conclusions and methods (pun intended). This is why it seems ridiculous to me for someone dismiss a thoughtful theologian and even go to the point of saying the entire Church of his era was apostate just to justify dismissing him- and I wouldn’t come to the defense of someone who would.

          Cb scott

          Darryl Hill,

          The book I referenced was published in 1970. Used volumes are still available online. The name of the book has not changed. The title is: “Damned Through the Church.” It was written by John Warwick Montgomery. He has written several books.

          If you are interested in what Montgomery has written on the subject you were debating with Tim, buy it. If not, don’t buy it.

        Tim Rogers

        Darryll Hill,

        If you want to defend the church during the dark ages then be my guest. I honestly do not find much to defend.

          Darryl Hill

          Tim if memory serves most would date the dark ages between the decline of the Roman empire until the renaissance, which would be from about the 5th to the 15th century. Augustine lived prior to this, as i would thinnk you would know. As for the church, the corruption which led to the Protestant Reformation is widely considered by Christian scholars to begin with the rise of the papacy, which wasn’t until around 600 AD. Your statements in this thread are indefensible. Augustine of Hippo is considered a pivotal scholar and theologian who influenced strongly the early Church and whose views are respected throughout the Christian community.

          The point I was making is that your statement that the ideas of reformed theology were not presented until 1600 years after Christ is ridiculous. The crux of the issue, which is the effect of the fall on man and the necessity of grace to obey God’s commands (to repent and believe for example) was strongly presented by Augustine. Furthermore your summarily dismissing the views of Luther and Calvin as Catholicism seems intentionally dishonest or simply displays a lack of understanding of their views and a lack of appreciation for their impact on your own Baptist heritage.

          Darryl Hill

          By the way Tim, I would not defend the corruption that became rampant within the Roman Catholic Church during the ACTUAL Dark Ages, which most would see as beginning around 600 AD. My problem is with this statement:

          I asked: “Was the entire Church apostate from the 2nd century until 1925?”

          You answered:

          “Don’t know that I would say it was apostate that long, but I do believe it was apostate from the 2nd century to about the 15th century.”

          And remember, I had just quoted Augustine in response to your claim…

          “If Sovereign Grace Theology is what you say it is, why did the Lord make the world wait 1600 years before we identified it?”

          It’s clear that it didn’t take 1600 years to identify the crux of this issue because this debate has been raging from the beginning of the Church age. And, as I pointed out, Augustine identified the crux of the issue, which is that God must graciously grant what He commands.

    Tom Parker

    Tim:

    You said:”Don’t know that I would say it was apostate that long, but I do believe it was apostate from the 2nd century to about the 15th century.”

    What support do you have for this?

      Tim Rogers

      Tom Parker,

      You mean to tell me you work at a college and you are going to ask this question? I tell you what, hoss, you head over to your history department and ask them to give you some classes on the “dark ages”.

        Tom Parker

        Tim Rogers:

        Your need to disrespect me with this term hoss speaks loudly of what is in your heart.

        It has been a while since we interacted but it appears to me your anger issues are still with you.

        Jogging is real good for anger issues.

      Not The Original Les

      Tim Rogers,

      Your response here to Tom here (You mean to tell me you work at a college and you are going to ask this question? I tell you what, hoss, you head over to your history department and ask them to give you some classes on the “dark ages”.) sounds like, maybe worse, than my statement to you last night (Brother, someone has seriously skewed your history.) for which you replied to me,

      “If you want to call me uneducated or non-educated be my guest. But any cursory reading of history will point out that John Calvin came out of the Catholic church. So your false understanding of my understanding of history is well, intentionally targeted to shut me up. It ain’t going to happen.”

      Bro, has Mr. Pot met Mr. Kettle?

        Tom Parker

        Not the original Les:

        Tim Rogers can really be fun to interact with. Rule number one with him is when he is disrespecting you he is just funnin. sure??

    dr. james willingham

    Well, I did six years of research on those groups not affiliated with the RC Church, the folks whom the RC Church saw to it got burned at the stake or otherwise exterminated. These include the Montanists, Novationists, Donatists, Paulicians (all of these groups had connections with the Alps at one time or another), Priscillianists, Petrobrussians, Arnoldists, Waldensians, Celtics, Lollards, and others whose names escape me now. The last Roman Garrison of Great Britain was commanded by the son of the Novation Bishop of Constantinople. He led the last legions back to Constantinople and eventually succeeded his father as Bishop of that Novation church. The Waldensians in the 1200s, according to the Inquisitor, Reinarius Saccho who had been a Waldensian, had churches in Constantinople and in Philadelphia (naw, not that Philadelphia, but the other, the one in Rev. 3 as I had to tell one fellow), and in the 1400s they sent a committee to South India to check on the church there. What Southern Baptists need are some good scholars to give their lives for the glory of Christ in Church and Baptist History to do the research, write the results and set forth testimonies of our ancestors and predecessors. Landmarkism is not what I am about either. Graves did a fine job of distinguishing between the ekklesia and the ocklos in Acts 19, and K. Schmidt’s article in Kittel’s is wanting because he never had access to Graves, but when it came to dealing with I Cors.12:13 the Landmarkers look like a bunch of chickens into which some one has heaved a handful of corn, they are darting here and there and everywhere.

volfan007

Why dont we all just get back to talking about the Gospel being for every person on the planet?

BTW, I’m so glad that whosoever surely meaneth me. And, that’s why I’ll ever tell the story, shouting “Glory, Glory, Glory….hallelujah, Jesus ransomed me.” And, I sure do hope that I’ll be more of a faithful witness this next week, than I was this week. I could’ve done more. I could’ve witnessed to more. I could’ve been more of a witness.

David

Matt

For all those who question the semi-pelagian charge,

Here is the quote from the denial in article 2 of the “traditional” statement that has caused the concern that what is meant by the statement is semi-pelagian:

“We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will”

To clarify the intent of this part of the statement, it may be helpfull to look at what the author of the statement, Dr. Eric Hankins, says elsewhere. Here are a couple of quotes from part 4 of his series “Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism: The Anthropological Presuposition”, which can be found here on the SBCToday archives in April 2012. What is important here is the denial of the need of any kind of grace, effectual or prevenient, being needed. I believe it is clear that the intent of this statement is to say that we are still perfectly able to make a possitive response to the hearing of the gospel without any work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts. Although in some places phrases are used like “hearing the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit”, if you read through Dr. Hankins Series here in the archives, it is clear that he equates the preaching of the gospel with the “power of the Holy Spirit” and does not believe in the Holy Spirit’s work within the heart. He makes it very clear that he believes no such work is needed. He also mentions the “disasterous condition” of men after the fall, but explains this as we are simply unable to “work our way back to God”. While admitting we are inclined toward sin he claims that we are fully capable of responding to the gospel in faith. Please consider these quotes:

“Nothing in Scripture indicates that humans have been rendered “totally depraved” through Adam’s sin. Genesis 3 gives an extensive account of the consequences of Adam’s sin, but nowhere is there the idea that Adam or his progeny lost the ability to respond to God in faith, a condition which then required some sort of restoration by regeneration or prevenient grace. In fact, just the opposite appears to be the case.”

“For Arminianism, total depravity, which is purely speculative, is corrected by prevenient grace, which is even more speculative, and makes total depravity ultimately meaningless because God never allows it to have any effect on any person.”

Noting the blatant denial of human will becoming unable to make a possitive response to the gospel, something affirmed by both Calvinists and Arminians, and the the accompanying denial of any type of grace being needed to prepare the heart for such a response; please compare the denial of article 2 of the “traditional” statement to these articles from the Council of Orange. This council is considered the first treatment of semi-pelagianism, and these articles were written in response to the toned down or semi-pelagian doctrines that were being taught in Gaul about 100 years after Pelagianism was comdemned as heresey. Judge for yourselfs whether or not concerns of semi-pelagianism are valid in the SBC with the release and popularity of the “traditional statement”

CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, “The will is prepared by the Lord” (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

CANON 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism — if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). And again, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.

CANON 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10).

CANON 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, “For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, “Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).

    Tim Rogers

    Matt,

    So are we going with small regional church councils to affirm or deny orthodoxy? I am certain I can find a small regional church council that denied the teaching of Augustine. Should we take that as a document we need to adhere?

    Don Johnson

    Matt,

    I don’t believe Dr Hankins stated one doesn’t need grace to saved. He doesn’t believe in the Calvinistic form (irresistible) or the Arminian (prevenient), but he does believe in grace.

    Dr. Hankins is correct about preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11) is less hindered when the messenger is first filled the Spirit. The power of the Gospel is in the Gospel itself. No one knows how to present it better than the Holy Spirit himself. Which is why the one proclaiming the Gospel should be filled.

    Tim Rogers

    Matt,

    Here is your problem. You are using Dr. Hankins article from April 2012 to interpret the statement from May 31. Not only are you intermingling various thought that are not the same but you are doing so in that no one can tell what you are referencing as a statement. For example, C.B. below quotes you as if you are saying Dr. Hankins has made a statement. You have chosen to interpret Dr. Hankins statement as follows;

    I believe it is clear that the intent of this statement is to say that we are still perfectly able to make a possitive response to the hearing of the gospel without any work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts.

    You are now judging the intent of someones motives even after it has repeatedly been stated that was not what was being said. Also, you have clearly violated a rule in reading comprehension. When a statement is issued with a “affirmation” and an “denial” one does not separate the denial from the affirmation. Why? the affirmation states and affirmative while the denial shores up the loop holes of the affirmative. This keeps one from using a post-modern reading of the statement, something you are doing with no clear understanding.

    Thus, Dr. Hankins has never stated that one can be saved apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. Your insistence on continuing down this road and linking the statement with a “semi-Pelagian” position is either your desire to call us heretics without using the word, or your absolute desire to make this a divisive controversial statement.

    Matt

    To everyone who has tried to make the claims that I have misrepresented Dr. Hankins or taken his quotes out of context,

    The quotes should be able to speak for themselves. I have given examples of Eric denying both irrisistable and resistable (prevenient) grace. What other type of grace is there that enables a response of faith to the gospel? I will admit that Dr. Hankins uses the correct language at times without the proper meaning behind that language. For example, he says that the fall has left us in a “disasterous state”, however when he explains the effects of the fall they are that we are inclined toward sin, live in a fallen invironment, and are unable to work our way back into a right standing with God. He makes it very clear in multiple places that our wills are not incapacitated and are able to respond to the gospel in faith. He says that we require God’s grace, but he describes God’s grace that is required for salvation as Christ’s atoning work and the preaching of the gospel; not any work of the Holy Spirit enabling us to respond to the gospel in faith. Sometimes when mentioning the preaching of the gospel, he uses the phrase “preaching of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit”. Now I can’t say exactly what is meant by that, and in some places it appears to mean nothing more than the message of the gospel itself. I do know one thing; in light of the multiple denials of any incapacitation or inablity of our wills that he makes, this phrase cannot possibly mean that the Holy spirit enables us to respond to the gospel in faith.

    The bottom line is this: If Dr. Hankins believes that we are capable of responding to the gospel in faith inspite of any results of the fall; and that we, are able to make this possitive response to the gospel upon hearing it, without first having our fallen wills enabled by the Holy Spirit; then His views are semi-pelagian.

    “Genesis 3 gives an extensive account of the consequences of Adam’s sin, but nowhere is there the idea that Adam or his progeny lost the ability to respond to God in faith”

    “We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will”

    So, do these statements sound semi-pelagian? I would challenge anyone to read Dr. Hankins’ 4 part series in the archives here at SBCToday, especially parts 3 & 4, with attention to how he defines the state of man after the fall (inclined to sin, but capable of responding to the gospel in faith) and what he says is the grace required for salvation (Christ’s work and the preaching of the gospel).

    Ofcourse, it would clear up my concerns as well as the concerns of others if Dr. Hankins just typed out a short post stating that he believes that we are uncapable of responding to the gospel in faith without the Holy Spirit working within us to make us capable. I just don’t see how that statement could be reconciled with all the others he has made to the contrary.

Cb scott

” I believe it is clear that the intent of this statement is to say that we are still perfectly able to make a possitive response to the hearing of the gospel without any work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts.”

I do not believe this statement reveals the intent of Eric Hankins. If it does, Eric Hankins is wrong.

Matt, why do you believe Eric Hankins embraces an idea that a human being is able to make a positive response to the hearing of the gospel without any work of the Holy Spirit upon one’s life?

Do you mean, by “positive response to the hearing of the gospel” that the positive response is that a person repents and believes the biblical gospel?

Do you believe that Eric Hankins believes that a person can repent of sin and believe the gospel to the saving of his soul without the revealing, convicting power of the Holy Spirit upon that person’s life, making him aware he is a sinner before a just and righteous God?

    volfan007

    I think Matt took Eric Hankins comment out of context. I doubt very seriously that Eric Hankins said that a person can be saved without the working of the Holy Spirit, at all. I think this was probably where Eric Hankins was speaking against regeneration before faith. If I’m wrong, maybe Eric Hankins can clear this up.

    But, Matt, of course the Spirit must call, convict, and shed light upon man before he can be saved. Eric Hankins, and others, and me are just saying that we do not believe in regeneration before faith….

    David

      Cb scott

      “But, Matt, of course the Spirit must call, convict, and shed light upon man before he can be saved.”

      Matt,

      If Vol is correct, and I believe he is, is it possible that you might admit that you are wrong. You have “published a book” to make this accusation against Eric Hankins. Would it be too much to ask that, if you are wrong, you admit it?

      Matt

      David,

      The question is not whether or not we can be saved without the “working of the Holy Spirit at all”; the question here is: are we, as fallen people, able to respond to the gospel in faith without being enabled by the Holy Spirit?

      You say, “But, Matt, of course the Spirit must call, convict, and shed light upon man before he can be saved.” Does this mean that we are unable to respond to the gospel in faith before ” the Spirit must call, convict, and shed light upon man”?
      If so, how could this be squared with all the statements by Dr. Hankins like, “We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will” and “Genesis 3 gives an extensive account of the consequences of Adam’s sin, but nowhere is there the idea that Adam or his progeny lost the ability to respond to God in faith”?

        volfan007

        Matt,

        Just because we reject the Augustinian/Calvinist/Arminian mindset on theology, does not mean that we are Semi Pelagian. How ridiculous. And, yes, we do believe that man can respond to God…that he really can choose.

        David

          Matt

          David,

          I understand that you reject the concept of irrisistable grace, and although I disagree with you that doesn’t make you semi-pelagian. Arminians disagree with this also. You are not answering what the question is: are we able to respond to the hearing of the gospel in faith without the Holy Spirit enabling us? I do not intend this as a personal question to you, as I believe you have said that the grace of the Holy Spirit is needed, but as a question of the intent of the author of the “traditional statement”. I have given the reasons for my concern, and believe that the quotes and references to Dr. Hankins other writings have shown this to be a legitimate concern. If Dr. Hankins were to affirm that we are naturally unable to make this possitive response, I would see a huge discrepency in his statements, but I would also be glad to declare the intent of this statement to not be semi-pelagian.

          God bless

          Not The Original Les

          If I might add, I asked this of Brad on Rick Patrick’s post.

          Can Traditionalists affirm this part of the LBC on effectual call (notice I am not copying in the entire point on effectual call):

          “Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh;”

          Can Traditionalists affirm at least this part of the LBC?

          Here is the rest of the point:

          “renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.”

    Tim Rogers

    C.B.,

    I believe it is clear that the intent of this statement is to say that we are still perfectly able to make a possitive response to the hearing of the gospel without any work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts.

    These are Matt’s words not the words of Dr. Hankins. Please note that Matt is now judging the intents of Dr. Hankins heart and motives. This is absolutely unacceptable debate and one you should avoid. Dr Hankins has stated clearly that we cannot come to God without the Spirit of God drawing us. You, as well as I, know that a free response on the person is a free response not one that has coerced the will of the person. It seems that Matt would be one that believes in regeneration before salvation. God has to regenerate one before salvation is offered.

      Cb scott

      Tim,

      I know the statement you quoted was Matt’s. Read my response to him.

      Matt

      Tim,

      The question here is what is meant by the “drawing of the Holy Spirit”. Ofcourse we should consider the authors intent, and if he is not on here clearing that up for us, then the only way we have to determine that intent is through his other writings on the subject. One good reason for determining that intent is that we have hundreds of people who believe in the need of some kind of enabling grace defending a statement that seems to deny it. If by the “drawing” or “power” of the Holy Spirit all that is meant is the proclamation of the gospel or anything short of the Holy Spirit working in a person in a way that enables a fallen creature to respond to the hearing of the gospel in faith, then the meaning is semi-pelagian.

      God bless

Not The Original Les

Fellers,

I think this could be easily cleared up. I just read back thru the statement, affirmations and denials. On this issue of soteriology, the work of the Holy Spirit does not seem clear to me.

It has been said above, “What is important here is the denial of the need of any kind of grace, effectual or prevenient, being needed. I believe it is clear that the intent of this statement is to say that we are still perfectly able to make a possitive response to the hearing of the gospel without any work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts.”

So if you fellas will just make clear how the Spirit works in the sinner at this point of conversion that would greatly help. I didn’t see that in the statement.

Monergists insist that the Spirit quickens the heart followed by the sinner expressing repentance and faith because of the specific regenerating work of the Spirit.

Arminians insist on prevenient grace, or the prevenient work of the Spirit. One description of PG is:

“The term “prevenient grace” – a distinctly Arminian doctrine – refers to a universal grace which precedes and enables the first stirrings of a good will or inclination toward God and it explains the extent or degree to which the Holy Spirit influences a person prior to their coming to faith in Christ.”

So I know you deny that you are Arminians and surely that you’re monergists.

So if someone can clear up what the Spirit does at the point of conversion (or rejection) would be helpful, keeping in mind the denial, ““We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will””

What does the Spirit do differently in the one who responds positively to the gospel vs the one who rejects it? What is the determining factor?

Thanks.

    volfan007

    It seems very clear to me.

    David

    Cb scott

    Les,

    I do not know if this will answer your question, but let me give it a shot.

    A lost person must be made aware of his state as a sinner before a just and righteous God, by the Holy Spirit.

    Any person who is made aware by the Holy Spirit that he is a sinner before Holy God, repents, and believes the gospel will be saved.

    Not The Original Les

    David, That’s good, for you.

    Cb,

    Well, that helps some.

    Cb, I’m genuinely interested in seeing this resolved. So I ask sincerely. When you say,

    “A lost person must be made aware of his state as a sinner before a just and righteous God, by the Holy Spirit.”

    Help me here. “made aware.” Is that enlightenment? I know per this statement it is not regeneration. I’m serious when I ask, is it some sort of spiritual awakening? It has to be more than bare intellectual “awareness” right?

    And what of the one who rejects. Why? Did he get some Holy Spirit action on hos heart and then walk away from the Spirit? Answer to the first part may help with this guy. Because if he walks away after Spirit work on him, is he not the final arbitrar of his salvation? But maybe that’s what the statement is saying.

    Sorry David, if it was so clear, why so many questions about this very point?

      volfan007

      Les,

      You said, “Sorry David, if it was so clear, why so many questions about this very point?”

      My sentiments exactly. Why?

      David

        Not The Original Les

        David,

        As one fellow MABTS alum to another, help us out bro. Most of the ones asking for clarification are asking in sincerity. But to juts blow me off with, “well it’s clear to me,’ well David that’s not helpful.

    holdon

    “So if you fellas will just make clear how the Spirit works in the sinner at this point of conversion that would greatly help.”

    This is a mystery that perhaps Calvinists need to clear up, since it is their position.
    Non-calvinists see the Spirit work on (not in) the sinner.

      Not The Original Les

      holdon,

      “Non-calvinists see the Spirit work on (not in) the sinner.”

      Is that like on the skin? On his clothing? On his hair? What meanest thou?

        holdon

        ““Non-calvinists see the Spirit work on (not in) the sinner.”

        Is that like on the skin? On his clothing? On his hair? What meanest thou?”

        Like this for instance: “and thou hearest its voice”. Jn 3:8

          Not The Original Les

          holdon,

          So it’s an audio function. The ear. Is that it?

          Not The Original Les

          Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
          (Matthew 13:10-12; Matthew 13:13-15 ESV) This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
          “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,
          and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
          For this people’s heart has grown dull,
          and with their ears they can barely hear,
          and their eyes they have closed,
          lest they should see with their eyes
          and hear with their ears
          and understand with their heart
          and turn, and I would heal them.’
          (Matthew 13:10-12; Matthew 13:13-15 ESV)

          holdon

          “Wherefore, even as says the Holy Spirit, To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts”

          That’s what happened to the folks “that didn’t have it”; they had hardened their hearts. See the preceding chapter 12 in Mt. Their judgment was because of this: “For this reason I say unto you, Every sin and injurious speaking shall be forgiven to men, but speaking injuriously of the Spirit shall not be forgiven to men.”
          They had chosen against Jesus, that’s why the parables “are not given to them to understand”.

          By the way, this is a very common fallacy of Calvinists. They take the position of the “could nots” from the Jews that had already rejected Jesus and yet claimed to be in relationship with the Father, and then wrongly apply those pronouncements of judgment really to all persons. They thus distort the Scriptures.

          Not The Original Les

          holdon, you and I could go back and forth all day proof texting. I have no interest in that.

          Back to the ” it’s an audio function. The ear. Is that it?” question.

          What is this that happens “on” as you say to the person? Please elaborate.

          holdon

          Les,

          Unbelievers do not have the Spirit in them. So, I am at a loss how Calvinists have the Spirit working in an unbeliever’s heart.

          Not The Original Les

          holdon,

          That’s all I got for ya. Sorry for your loss.

          Darryl Hill

          It was Jesus who defined the role of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John. In one of His descriptions of the Spirit’s work, Jesus says…

          “8 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;
          9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
          10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;
          11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”

          Whether IN or ON, it’s clear that the Holy Spirit’s work is necessary. But the real crux of this issue is found in understanding what is required of the Spirit for a person to be saved. The traditionalists want to insist that a man can choose of his own free will, without interference by the Holy Spirit, to be saved.

          Jesus just shot down that thought when he states the reason why the Holy Spirit must convict the world of sin. The reason is “because they do not believe in me.” Who doesn’t believe? The world doesn’t. Therefore, the Holy Spirit must convict them of sin in order for them to believe.

          volfan007

          Darryl,

          Your statement above just shows that you do not truly understand the Traditionalist position. We do not believe that a man will be saved without any “interference” of the Holy Spirit. In fact, we’ve stated over and over and over again, that a man will NOT come to Jesus on his own. He will NOT initiate the salvation experience. And, a man will NOT come to Christ, unless the Spirit draws him.

          We most certainly do believe that the Holy Spirit must convict the sinner. We most certainly do believe that the Holy Spirit must call the sinner. We most certainly do believe that the Holy Spirit must persuade the sinner.

          So, why do you insist on claiming these false things about us? You’ve been told different many, many times….

          David

    Not The Original Les

    Gentlemen,

    Over at http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/2012/07/06/a-commentary-on-article-7-the-sovereignty-of-god-of-%E2%80%9Ca-statement-of-a-traditional-southern-baptist-understanding-of-god%E2%80%99s-plan-of-salvation%E2%80%9D/#comments

    Layman replies to several who described how they pray for the lost. Layman said,

    “It seems that in order for a person to truly be free to choose, then God cannot intervene in his heart/mind directly to influence that decision. If He does, it seems the person isn’t truly free. So the parts of your answers that would seem to be problematic are those prayers for the sinner to “consent to the truth,” “accept the invitation,” etc. I assume you’re praying that God would intervene in the person’s life to cause them to consent to the truth or that He would open their heart or that He would cause them to accept the invitation. Some of those prayers don’t seem consistent with a belief in a truly free will.”

    Anyone here venture a comment on Layman’s analysis regarding libertarian free will and praying for God to intervene?

      Darryl Hill

      I’ll comment. Unless a person is intentionally praying a “doctrinally intentional” prayer, they pray for the lost in this way…

      “Lord, open his eyes.”
      “Lord, change her heart.”
      “Lord, show them their sin and their need.”
      “Lord, bring them to repentance.”

      The fact of the matter is this: we know our loved ones and we have tried to argue with them or convince them that they need to repent and believe; but they refuse. So, we don’t pray that they would freely choose salvation. We know they won’t freely choose salvation without God’s intervention. So, we pray that God would change their hearts in some way so that they would be inclined to believe. That’s why I say, “We all trust in sovereign grace when we’re on our knees.”

volfan007

Les,

The Spirit enlightens….and calls out to the heart of the sinner….and convicts the sinner of the truth of Gospel. The Spirit of God brings conviction…. persuades…. convinces. The Spirit of God is the one calling out to the Sinner to be saved. And, if He didnt do this work, then no one would be saved; because man will not seek God, nor initiate the salvation experience.

But, are we saying that the person must choose whether to be saved, or not? Well, as we’ve stated probably 1,033 times before…yes.

David

    Not The Original Les

    David,

    Thanks. That helps. Please help me a little bit more.

    You say, “The Spirit enlightens….and calls out to the heart of the sinner….and convicts the sinner of the truth of Gospel. The Spirit of God brings conviction…. persuades…. convinces.”

    Ok. Does this enlightening and conviction and persuading, do those DO anything to the sinner’s heart? Is there any change to the sinner’s heart by this action of the Holy Spirit before he repents and believes or he rejects? Any change on the heart?

    Thanks brother.

      volfan007

      Les,

      I do not know. I just know what the Spirit does, and I know that man must make the choice. And, I base this on many, many hours of study on the Bible.

      David

      Cb scott

      Les,

      In my case and the cases of many others that I have encountered through the years I can tell you what happened. (in my experience and in what others told me of theirs)

      I was not a church guy. Yet, the first time I read the Bible (a single passage) I became convicted that I was on my way to hell and completely helpless. I was made vividly aware that I was a wretched and sinfully despicable man before God. I had heard some gospel songs on an early morning television show.

      For about three hours I asked God to forgive me of everything I could think of that I had done. I begged and begged. Then, as clear as a bell, I remembered part of one of those songs. “There is a fountain filled with blood…”

      It was then that I trusted the one whose blood was shed, Jesus. I was immediately saved, sealed and placed in process to be delivered by Him who saved me. That is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me. The Spirit convicted me of sin and the guilty of sin and revealed to me the penalty and then gave me the understanding to call on Jesus in the depth of my soul. I was saved and saved forever.

      Oh yeah, my whole life changed in that very moment. But that is another story.

    Matt

    David,

    I would like to say that I do not think that you are semi-pelagian based on what you have said on here. However, your statements seem to go against the statement found in the denial of article 2 of the “traditional statement”. We understand that you feel that a person still must make a choice, and I just want to point out that whether or not this enabling grace is irrisistable or not is not the question that would determine if someone is semi-pelagian.

    God bless

      volfan007

      Matt,

      I believe that everyone can respond to God in repentance and faith, when they are being convicted by the Holy Spirit of God thru the preaching of the Gospel. I do not believe that they need regeneration prior to faith. I do not believe in prevenient grace…whatever that really is. I’m not saying that I have everything figured out. I dont. God is much, much bigger than my little finite mind can grasp. But, from my study of the Bible, I just know that God’s desire is to save everyone….the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment…and, that every person can choose, or respond to God’s calling….to the light which they have shed on them….and, man is responsible for the choices that he makes. But, yes, I most certainly believe that God is sovereign, and that He has sovereignly given man free will to make choices, which makes him responsible. And, this makes God more sovereign in my mind….that He can bring about His plans and purposes, and yet give man free will….that is something, and it makes God more sovereign and great and powerful. To say that God has to determine everything, in some fatatlistic way, lessens His sovereignty and greatness and power. For God to be a puppet master, lessons His wisdom and intelligence and power.

      So, call me what you will. But, this is what I clearly see the Bible teaching. I surrender my mind and heart to the Word of God.

      David

Don Johnson

The Holy Spirit Works on the heart, but not in the heart of every unbeliever through the preaching of the word. The among other things the work of the Spirit is to bring conviction of sin. Any person saved or lost who will admit he is a sinner, has had the Spirit work on his heart.

The Spirit opens the understanding or the heart of only believers.

Randall Cofield

A Suggestion To Resolve the Current Theological Impasse

After six weeks of wrangling, one thing seems apparent: “Talking” about Calvinism and Neo-Traditionalism is not going to resolve our differences. Neither will “blogging” or “commenting.” This should come as no surprise, for these issues have been debated by better theologians than ourselves for the better part of 2000 years.

As Calvinists and Neo-Traditionalists, we find ourselves bound together by the commonality of the Baptist faith and the more specific denominational distinction “Southern Baptists.” Calvinists are no more or less Southern Baptists than are Neo-Traditionalists, and Neo-Traditionalists are no more or less Southern Baptists than are Calvinists. And we are stuck with each other, like it or not.

I, as a non-hyper Calvinist, do not consider my Neo-Traditionalist brothers and sisters to be heretics. I trust that my Neo-Traditionalist brothers and sisters do not consider me a heretic. If this be the case, I would offer the following as a solution for our current impasse.

Calvinists should resolve to avoid telling Neo-Traditionalists how they should preach and proffer the Gospel, and vice versa.

Neo-Traditionalists should resolve to avoid telling Calvinists that we cannot live, preach, and teach our beliefs with liberty in the SBC, and vice versa.

Calvinists should resolve to avoid telling Neo-Traditionalists how to do mission work and plant churches, and vice versa.

Neo-Traditionalists should resolve to avoid telling Calvinists that their leaders are unworthy of leading entities within the SBC, and vice versa.

Both Calvinists and Neo-Traditionalists should resolve to love one another with a pure heart fervently.

There is a point which is being completely overlooked in this debate: Both sides have errors in their respective theologies. As Calvinists, we do not know what our errors are, else we would correct them. Conversely, Neo-Traditionalists do not know what their errors are, else they would correct them.

If we give ourselves to the above five resolutions and to advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with abandon, errors on both sides of the divide will be exposed and corrected over time.

Soli Deo Gloria

PS: The fact that there are 5 resolutions in my proposal is of NO significance whatsoever. And to my Neo-Traditionalist brothers and sisters: No, the devil did not make me do it. :-)

Adam Harwood

I am unsure why the charge of semi-Pelagianism is repeated as though it has not already been answered.

As Dr. Yarnell noted in an earlier post on this site, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (2nd edition) explains that fifth-century semi-Pelagianism “maintained that the first steps toward the Christian life were ordinarily taken by the human will and that Grace supervened only later.”

Please compare this definition with Article 2 of the Traditional Statement (TS), which explains that we “deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.” Because a free response is made to the Holy Spirit’s drawing, the TS is not consistent with the view of semi-Pelagians as defined by The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.

Even if we do grant that the council is authoritative for Southern Baptists, which I have neither affirmed nor denied, then exactly which canon was transgressed by the Traditional Statement and in what way? The canons have been copied and pasted into the comment section of this site with claims that the TS is semi-Pelagian. But there has been no connection made between the words of the council and the words of the TS. (The Canons can be accessed here: http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/canons_of_orange.html) Below are my seven replies to this charge of semi-Pelagianism based on the Canons of Orange (529).

#1. Are Southern Baptists bound by all of the statements made at the Canons of Orange? Read the decisions carefully. Then, consider the historical and theological context. Do we affirm baptismal regeneration (salvation via baptism)? No. But that was a conclusion of this council. See the first sentence of Canon 5, which refers to “the regeneration of holy baptism.” Consider also the following sentence in Canon 13: “The freedom of will that was destroyed in the first man can be restored only by the grace of baptism.” Orange was neither a Nicea nor a Chalcedon.

#2. Does the TS violate Canon 4, which requires an admission of the working of the Holy Spirit?

Article 2 of the TS states: “…we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.”

That sentence clearly affirms the work of the Holy Spirit, drawing the sinner through the Gospel.

#3. Does the TS violate Canon 5? It denies that faith “belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace.”

The TS makes no claim that faith belongs to us by nature. Rather, Article 4 states that by God’s grace, we are united “to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.” This means that a person’s union to Christ is by God’s grace (a gift) and through the Holy Spirit. These claims remove any idea that faith could “belong to us by nature.”

#4. Does the TS contradict a subsequent portion of Canon 5? Yes. A subsequent portion of Canon 5 refers to the “inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness.”

Canon 5 makes no mention of hearing and responding to the Gospel. If the claim of Canon 5 is that the Holy Spirit changes the will of an unregenerate person apart from the words of Scripture, then the TS contradicts such a claim. Article 5 of the TS states, “We deny that any person is regenerated prior to or apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.” This denial is consistent with an evangelical understanding of the Bible (Romans 10:14) despite Canon 5, which argues for regeneration apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.

#5. Does the TS contradict Canon 6? The canon affirms that God’s mercy is a gift of God’s grace.

Consider Article 4 of the TS, “We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative in providing atonement… .” Article 4 of the TS is clear that salvation is a gift of God’s grace and He takes the initiative in providing atonement.

#6. Does the TS contradict a subsequent claim in Canon 6? It states that we must “confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought.”

The TS repeatedly refers to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in bringing a sinner to repentance and faith in Christ. Consider these statements:

Article 2, “we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.”
Article 4, “We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation… in freely offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.”
Article 5, “We affirm that any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is a new creation in Christ and enters, at the moment he believes, into eternal life.”
Article 8, The call to salvation is made “by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.”

It is unclear how a claim could be sustained that the TS denies the necessity of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the work of God to bring an unregenerate person from death to life.

#7. Does the TS contradict Canon 7? It states that no one can be saved by “assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” In other words, the ministry of the Holy Spirit must be acknowledged in one’s understanding of a sinner’s regeneration.

See #6.

I have provided seven reasons why it is neither helpful nor accurate to repeat the charge of semi-Pelagianism on the basis of the Canons of Orange. If I have misrepresented the theological declarations, please advise. If I have misquoted the TS, please advise. Thanks for your time.

In Him,

Adam

    Brad Reynolds

    Adam
    I had the same thought and had written this before I read yours. But perhaps the more light we shed on the dark “Semi-Pelagian” accusation the better.

    We shall point out the error in conflating the Traditional Statement (TS) with a heresy condemned at the 2nd Council or Orange. The problem seems to be the Calvinists’ inability to look at our statement without the presuppositions of Calvinism. Let’s try to remove those presuppositions for a moment and try not to define our words in ways we do not define them.

    In showing the error of conflating the two it is important to note that the T.S. has never been shown to be in direct conflict with the Canons – to do so would require something like this: “The 2nd Council of Orange states “If anyone…does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the working and infusion of the Holy Spirit…” and the T.S states “our will to be cleansed does not come to us through the working and infusion of the Holy Spirit””

    Obviously, this has not, nor can it be done.

    Second Council of Orange:
    Canon4: “If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself…”

    T.S.
    Article Two:”we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.”

    My comments
    Note we deny a sinner is saved without the Holy Spirit’s drawing – while some may deny that the drawing by the Holy Spirit of God is God’s grace, we do not. Nor do we deny that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. In fact, we kindly highlight that.

    Second Council of Orange
    Canon 5: “If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism — if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles…”

    T.S.
    Article Two: see above
    Article Four: “We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative…in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit…”

    My Comments
    Notice we affirm that it is by God’s grace and through the Holy Spirit that a sinner comes to Christ. We do not accept the Arminian or Calvinist definition of Prevenient or Irresistible grace – We ARE NOT ARMINIAN OR CALVINIST. If one chooses to change the term Prevenient to Resistible I imagine both Methodists and Traditionalist would rightly object.

    Second Council of Orange
    Canon 6 “If anyone…does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought.”

    T.S.
    Article 2: see above
    Article 4: see above
    Article 8″We affirm that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God’s gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.”

    My Comments
    Notice we define free will as the ability to choose between two options but we do not state the will was not affected by sin. Further, notice we affirm God’s call is a call given through Grace (Gracious call) and by the Holy Spirit.

    Second Council of Orange
    Canon 7 “If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life…without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit…”

    T.S.
    Article 2 See above
    Article 4 See above
    Article 8 See above
    Article 7 “We affirm God’s…sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation.”

    My Comments – Not sure what others think we meant by “Sovereignty over” but what we meant is that God is Sovereign over every person’s salvation.

    Now can we cease the unChristlike name-calling?

    While we as Baptists claim “Scripture Alone” and not “Council’s Alone” we as Traditionalist nevertheless reject the idea that our statement was condemned at the 2nd Council of Orange

    However, something that was condemned at the 2nd Council of Orange which I expect all Baptist Calvinists will join me in affirming is “We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.”

      Adam Harwood

      Dr. Reynolds,
      Excellent! Although separated by four states, we’re still on the same page.
      In Him
      Adam

    Matt

    Adam,

    I believe you have missed the point of most of what I wrote. First, I have never claimed that the Council of Orange is binding on Southern Baptists. I do not believe in baptisimal regeneration. The challenge was put out there to show how the “traditional” statement could be accused of being semi-pelagian, so I went to the source of the earliest church findings on these beliefs. This is considered the defining document of what semi-pelagianism is. The definitions that have followed in more recent times are based on the findings of this council. The definition from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church which you quote, “maintained that the first steps toward the Christian life were ordinarily taken by the human will and that Grace supervened only later.” is in reference to a person, in a fallen state, being able to take the first steps of a faith response to the gospel without being enabled by the Spirit. This draws heavily from the cannons of this council.

    You say, “The TS makes no claim that faith belongs to us by nature. Rather, Article 4 states that by God’s grace, we are united “to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.” This means that a person’s union to Christ is by God’s grace (a gift) and through the Holy Spirit. These claims remove any idea that faith could “belong to us by nature.”

    If Dr. Hankins does not believe that faith belongs to us by nature then what could this quote from pt.4 of his series “Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism” possibly mean, “Genesis 3 gives an extensive account of the consequences of Adam’s sin, but nowhere is there the idea that Adam or his progeny lost the ability to respond to God in faith” If you read through Dr. Hankins’ writings here on SBCToday, it is clear that the quote you give to refute the claim that Dr. Hankins affirms that we are naturally able to respond to the gospel in faith is a speaking of the Spirits work after a faith response where he says that the Spirit unites us to Christ and seals us.

    You quote cannon 5 as saying the “inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness.” You then go on to say, “Canon 5 makes no mention of hearing and responding to the Gospel.” What other meaning in the context of these cannons could be intended by “turning it from unbelief to faith” if this turning was not in response to God’s offer of the gospel? I see that you agree that the TS does contradict this cannon if this is the meaning, but I think the center of the concerns that have been expressed rest on the question of whether or not a person is enabled to turn from unbelief to faith by the work of the Holy Spirit. The quote you provide from the TS, “We deny that any person is regenerated prior to or apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.” doesn’t address this question.

    You go on to quote article 4 of the TS, but this doesn’t mean that by taking the initiative of providing an atonement that God has taken the “first steps” in the sense meant by the definition of semi-pelagianism you cited above. I would think that if the part of article 4 that says, “freely offering the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit” were defined to mean that the Holy Spirit’s work accompanied the gospel in a way that made our previously incapable natures capable of responding in faith, that all concerns of semi-pelagianism would be put to rest. Nowhere in this statement or in Dr. Hankins’ other writings on SBCToday can this meaning be found though. Infact this meaning would be in direct contradiction of the denial of article 2, where Dr. Hankins says, “We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will”

    You go on to quote several parts of the TS that mention the “drawing” and “power” of the Holy Spirit, but as I mentioned above, these phrases do nothing to refute the concerns of semi-pelagianism unless they mean that an enabling power of the Holy Spirit is required for a response of faith. I don’t see the possibility of any such meaning given Dr. Hankins flat denial, in the TS and his multiple articles on this website, that we were rendered unable to respond in faith.

    You say, “Does the TS contradict Canon 7? It states that no one can be saved by “assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” In other words, the ministry of the Holy Spirit must be acknowledged in one’s understanding of a sinner’s regeneration.”

    To be more accurate your paraphrase should read: The ministry of the Holy Spirit must be acknowledged to make a previously incapable person capable in one’s understanding of a sinner’s regeneration. This sentiment is not found in the TS; instead we find that our free wills are naturally capable of responding to the gospel in faith since Dr. Hankins claims, “We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will”.

    As I have said before, I would invite anyone who is interested to go back and read Dr. Hankins’ series “Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism” along with all his comments following each article. Phrases like the “drawing” and “power” of the spirit are never defined in anyway that would reject semi-pelagianism, but there are multiple statements such as this one saying, “nowhere is there the idea that Adam or his progeny lost the ability to respond to God in faith.” The grace of God preceeding salvation is mentioned, but it is only defined as Christ’s work of providing the atonement and the preaching of the gospel. The bottom line is that the TS seems to be a semi-pelagian statement based on the denial of article 2 and the other writings of it’s author. I want to be clear that I am not saying that this is heresy. I am also not saying that all the signers of this statement affirm semi-pelagianism; I know that many of them do not. I am only pointing out the problem with this charge that is in article 2, and showing that the other writings of Dr. Hankins on related subjects makes it clear that he does not believe that the fall rendered us incapable of responding to God in faith. If he believes that our natures are still capable of a faith response, then by the defining points found in the cannons I cited above, he is affirming semi-pelagianism no matter how much he wants to deny the name.

    God bless

      Brad Reynolds

      Matt
      I am not Dr. Hankins nor Dr. Harwood (and would never presume to speak for either, but will state it is unfair to both the good Dr’s to ask either to speak for the other) but since I have participated in this discussion allow me to make some observations:

      1. Dr. Hankins comments are not the TS
      2. Dr. Hankins has affirmed both the BFM2000 and the TS.
      3. If you feel the BFM2000 does not protect us from Semi-Pelagianism I suggest you bring a motion to rewrite it (explaining in what ways the BFM2000 and her committee left this heretical door open) so as to protect our seminaries from hiring Semi-Pelagians.
      4. It may be wise until you have a sit-down with Dr. Hankins and ask him personally these questions to take his comments in lieu of his affirmation of both the TS and the BFM2000.

      I hope that is helpful.

        Matt

        Brad,

        I’m not asking Adam or Eric to speak for eachother. I know Adam and am not concerned about his being semi-pelagian, because I know he is not. My purpose in writing my post that quoted both the second Council of Orange and Dr. Hankins writings was to give reason for my concerns that the actual wording and intent of this statement may be semi-pelagian. How do you interpret any didactic writing? How do you interpret the Bible? I have a feeling that it involves using what is written in other parts of the whole to understand the intent of a single sentence. This is all I am doing in using Dr. Hankins written expressions of what he believes from April to better understand what he intends in article 2 of the TS.

        I would be happy to sit down with Dr. Hankins and discuss these things, but since we are two states away from eachother and I do not know him personally, I doubt that is going to happen. So, I am stuck with only being able to post my concerns here. I would like to point out that this is the place where he made these statements and has been very active in debating his beliefs at least at many times in the past few months.

        I would also like to point out that I have not called Dr. Hankins a heretic (or anyone else here). I only use the heretic charge for those who affirm beliefs that I believe to be unchristian. I do not think semi-pelagianism crosses that line. I know that the Council of Orange condemns semi-pelagianism as heresy, but I only refer to the cannons of that council to provide a definition of these beliefs. I do not believe that council is binding on us as Christians or Southern Baptists. A hundred years before that council you can see a huge difference in the way Augustin dealt with Pelagius and the way he dealt with Cassian. This, I believe, was due to him believing one to be teaching heresy and one to be teaching an error. I find Dr. Hankins teachings on soteriology to be an error, not only on this point, but I do not consider it heresy.

        God bless

          Brad Reynolds

          Matt
          You interpret a document (especially one with signatures) based on the document itself. Otherwise, if you are correct about how to interpret a document then we should understand the BFM2K in the way Dr. Adrian Rogers understood it (surely as a Calvinist you would object).

          Your statement that you do not believe it is heresy does not in anyway negate the fact the church has called it a heresy. Our personal opinions don’t hold quite the weight of early church counsels. Even though I would definitely affirm they are not authoritative. But the point is when you call us Semi-Pelagian you are using a term which the church has judged condemned as heretical. If you don’t intend to call us heretics then don’t – use another term or simply quote us.

          Again – he affirms BFM2K. If that does not protect him from Semi-Pelagian then maybe it should be modified to do so. If it does than trust he has reconciled these apparent contradictions you think you see or if you feel he can’t and it bothers you that much make an effort to contact him.

          Brad Reynolds

          Matt
          One other word – if you want to know what the authors intended in article two Dr. Harwood has provided a great commentary to it “Roger Olson is correct…” – notice his denial and evidence it is not Semi-Pelagian now please either kindly stop using such unChristlike accusations of heresy concerning the TS or at least admit you have other purposes for using that descriptor.

          Matt

          Brad,

          It doesn’t seem to matter what I write, unless I am agreeing with you, you will not be happy. The BFM was written vaguely on points to allow people of differing views to sign it. Would you say that Dr. Hankins wrote the TS in a way to enable semi-pelagians to sign it? Based on his previous writings, it would seem that he shares thier beliefs.

          If you notice I have made no accuasations about anyone who has signed this statement; infact, I have said that I believe at least most of the signers are not semi-pelagian. So your statement, “But the point is when you call us Semi-Pelagian you are using a term which the church has judged condemned as heretical.” must not have been meant toward me but toward Mr. Straw who probably posted something like that somewhere else on here.

          Dr. Harwood expressed his beliefs clearly in his article, but he is not the author of this statement, and as you correctly pointed out previously, “it is unfair to both the good Dr’s to ask either to speak for the other”.

          After all the trouble I went to to make it clear that I was not accusing Dr. Hankins or anyone else on here of heresy, you still say, “now please either kindly stop using such unChristlike accusations of heresy concerning the TS or at least admit you have other purposes for using that descriptor.” Maybe you were addressing Mr. Straw again and not me. My only purpose in posting what I posted was to answer the call to present evidence of semi-pelagianism. People asked for evidence, and now I am told I am being unChristlike for presenting some.

          God bless

          Brad Reynolds

          Matt
          Either you are calling the TS Semi-Pelagian or you are not.

          If you are not then I am confused as to why we are having this conversation. If you are then you are saying those who signed it have Semi-Pelagian (heretical) beliefs. Thus, please stop calling us heretical (Semi-Pelagian).

          Concerning the authorship of the TS in the preamble it is CLEARLY stated “Compiled by a number of pastors, professors, and leaders in response to the growing debate over Calvinism in Southern Baptist life, it begins with a rationale for such a statement at this time, followed by ten articles of affirmation and denial.” So any assumption you may make about its authorship may be wrong. Hence, my other statements.

          Dr. Harwood who may have been one of the pastors, professors etc who helped write the statement then wrote a commentary on article two explaining it. Now, if you have ACTUAL evidence from the document where it is Semi-Pelagian then please know that is more than welcome. Otherwise, stop the accusation of heresy without evidence or don’t be surprised when we call such practice unChristlike.

          PS – there is no doubt I would be most happy if you agreed with me in all areas. But I would be happy if you would just read the document for what it says and not read into it things it doesn’t say

    Randall Cofield

    Lydia,

    Cranky….Contrarian….Christian…..

    Which of these 3 words does not belong with the other 2?

    Matt

    Lydia,

    He has missed the whole point of the discussion by going on and on about imputed guilt. Belief or unbelief in imputed guilt doesn’t determine whether or not someone is semi-pelagian. Also by using the Council of Orange to define semi-pelagianism, that is all I am doing (defining it). This was the first statement made regarding these beliefs and is usefull for that purpose. Nobody has said that Southern Baptists are bound by the findings of this council. I think Johnathan pretty much missed the point all the way around.

dr. james willingham

What I like was how a Spurgeon came to believe in Irresistible Grace. We had been fellow students at East Texas Baptist College in the Fall of ’58, where we had been introduced to the Doctrines of Grace by a fellow who had evidently had an experience of Irresistible Grace in being saved. He had sat down at the table in his brother’s house (who was a Baptist preacher) to eat supper, when something literally knocked him out of his chair and to his knees where he cried out for mercy and forgiveness of his sins and got it (he told how he wasn’t even thinking of salvation and no one had said anything to him about salvation, when it happened. He went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Hebrew from Dropsie College, I think. Anyway he became a Baptist preacher teaching in a Presbyterian seminary extension center). We both rejected it (though I had heard it preached in my childhood, I did not know it). Then Spurgeon dropped out of College to get married, and we met again in ’65-66 at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo. There I told him I had come to believe in these teachings. he said he did not believe them. Anyway on a soul-winning venture during a revival a few weeks later, a young lady responded to his efforts so readily that he asked her why, and she said, “O! It was so wonderful that I could not resist it.” He said, “When she said that, what you had said about it being irresistible popped into my mind.” I asked, “Well, have you changed your mind.” He said, “No, but I am thinking about it.” Fast forward to 2002-03, he was still thinking about it. Then in 2007 he reported he had changed his mind. Pardon me, all of you folks, I find that God can put it to a sinner in such a way that he or she finds it so wonderful they can’t resist it, don’t want to resist it, and gladly embrace it with joy. The time of the Third Great Awakening is surely drawing near, that is why folks are talking about Sovereign Grace Theology. You got to have the right theology in order to have a Great Awakening. And the only theology that produces such a blessing or is blessed to produce such a visitation is Sovereign Grace or calvinism as some mistakenly call it. I have been praying for a Third Great Awakening since the Fall of ’73. Others have been praying for one even longer. Some have gone into eternity who prayed for it 80-100 years ago. Just study the records, and you will find the theology blessed by God to the salvation of souls and the transformation of society in a Great Awakening is Sovereign Grace. Even Wesley conceded in his letter recorded in his Journal that there were some chosen, some who would reach a state from which they would never fall, and C.H. Spurgeon said Welsey used language about making people be saved that he would not use!!!! Just think a 1000 generations of converted souls and worlds with a whole vibrant faith!!!

    Brad Reynolds

    “The time of the Third Great Awakening is surely drawing near, that is why folks are talking about Sovereign Grace Theology. You got to have the right theology in order to have a Great Awakening. And the only theology that produces such a blessing or is blessed to produce such a visitation is Sovereign Grace or Calvinism as some mistakenly call it.”

    Wow – my initial response is “keep talking” but on second thought let me ask doesn’t that limit Gods Soveriengty?

      dr. james willingham

      I was merely speaking historically. All one has to do is to do the research, and that person will find the evidence in the First and Second Great Awakenings and in the launching of the Great Century of Missions. The most incredible intensely invitational sermons are those setting forth the Gospel of Sovereign Grace. The so-called biblical critique of calvinism was neither very biblical and not much of a critique, failing to note the 800 lb. gorilla setting in the room, the Awakenings and the Mission venture with the theology that produced them. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

        Brad Reynolds

        Dr. Willingham,
        I don’t think I will agree with you concerning your historical analysis (John and Charles Wesley, Charles Finney, etc) but that does not deny the impact of Presbyterians on both Awakenings, it just denies that others had no impact. In the early 1700’s the persecuted Baptists (anabaptists) were still a very small group (having been persecuted by Catholics and Reformers alike) and really played no major roles.

        Moreover, it appears to me the sermons used most by God are those that “preach the Word” not those that preach the doctrines of grace (and I will adamantly disagree that the “Word” is the doctrines of grace or vice-versa). But as a firm believer in soul-competency and local church autonomy believe as you will under the authority of your local church.

        Thanks for participating

          T.R.

          Charles Finney was a heretic who denied clearly in his systematic theology that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. But the heretic Finney would agree with the neo-trads on some points.

          Brad Reynolds

          TR
          “Charles Finney was a heretic”

          I would certainly never use those terms to describe a man God used but I would affirm his concept of perfection is errant and unbiblical. But your affirmation that Finney did not hold to the doctrines of grace affirms my point about the two great awakenings.

          T.R.

          First, you are assumming that God used Finney. Perhaps He did. God even used an donkey to speak. But more likely is that Finney led many to put faith in themselves. Read Charles Finney’s chapter on Justification in His systematic theology. I have never read anyone who understood clearly what the Gospel was and rejected it so clearly as Finney. He is a heretic, and the church has made that heretic a hero. You cannot read Finney’s chapter on justification without realizing that He denies the core of our faith.

          Brad Reynolds

          TR
          “you are assuming God used Finney. Perhaps he did”

          And

          “Finney led many to put faith in themselves”

          Pardon my amusement. Every now and then something will strike me as odd and a Calvinist saying such just seemed odd.

          dr. james willingham

          Funny thing about the deal is that Edwards mentions that the Awakening, to paraphrase him, became more and more evident as he preached sermons on Sovereignty. You should read the sources, e.g., Leland, Gano, Taylor, Backus, the minutes of the Associations, Silas Mercer was on the mark about predestination being a doctrine God blessed to the conviction and conversion of sinners and the comfort of saints. All of the doctrines of grace are invitations to sinners to do the impossible. *remember Jesus said, “with man it is impossible”!

          Brad Reynolds

          All the preachers I know preach sermons on Sovereignty – it’s in the Bible ALOT. Thus God blesses it.

Randall Cofield

Lydia,

Cranky….Contrarian….Christian…..

Which of these 3 words does not belong with the other 2?

    Lydia

    Randall,

    I saw you the first time. Sheesh!

    Have you not heard? He is the “James White” of the non Augustine/Calvin set.

      Matt

      except James White understands the subjects he speaks about.

Lydia

Matt, Some of us are pulling for you to grow out of your cage stage.

T.R.

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