The determinism of Calvinism is best understood as micro-determinism because it is not limited to the area of salvation (including reprobation). Well-known moderate Calvinist Millard Erickson, in contrasting Calvinism and Arminianism, says of Calvinism, “Calvinists believe that God’s plan is logically prior and that human decisions and actions are a consequence. With respect to the particular matter of the acceptance or rejection of salvation, God in his plan has chosen that some shall believe and thus receive the offer of eternal life. He foreknows what will happen because he has decided what is to happen. This is true with respect to all other human decisions and actions as well. God is not dependent on what humans decide. It is not the case, then, that God determines that, at times, what humans will do will happen, nor does he choose to eternal life those who he foresees will believe. Rather, God’s decision has rendered it certain that every individual will act in a particular way.” (italics added) Continue reading
Dr. Rick Patrick, Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL
Executive Director, Connect 316
The recent SBC Today post entitled Helps For the Baptist Search Committee is already making a significant impact in fostering greater understanding between churches and candidates. This article pointed to a resource entitled Questions For Non-Calvinist SBC Pastor Search Committees. The following is a brief testimony showing how effective this questionnaire can be in preventing yet another theologically-driven church split tragedy.
Honesty. It really is the best policy. Integrity and honesty are important in the home, important on the job, and are certainly important in the ministry. However, that is not always practiced as the case. Most of the time the problem is not a case of outright lying as it is a case of withholding information. This is especially true as it relates to the issue of Soteriology. I believe that a potential pastoral candidate should be open and up front with the pastor search committee and the congregation as to whether he is a Calvinist or a Traditionalist, in the realm of Soteriology. I have had good friends express a desire to recommend me to a particular church and once I find out that the church is not a good fit for me (which may be in worship style or the church might be a Calvinist/Reformed church) I decline their offer to be recommended. Continue reading