[This article was first published here at SBC Today on April 5, 2011. It highlighted the groundbreaking “shot heard ’round the SBC” when Dr. Brad Whitt wrote an article expressing how marginalized and irrelevant many Traditionalists feel in today’s Calvinist-led Southern Baptist Convention. Six years later, not much has changed.]
Brad Whitt fired the shot heard ‘round the SBC about a month ago when he published his article “Young, Southern Baptist, . . . and Irrelevant?” in the South Carolina state Baptist Courier and on his own blog. In essence, Whitt expressed the concern that traditional Southern Baptist churches like his own were feeling marginalized and trivialized as “irrelevant” in many forums in Southern Baptist life. It created quite a furor, with some thanking Whitt for voicing “how I’ve felt for years,” while others criticizing him or saying that the concerns he voiced were unfounded.
Six additional state Baptist papers published the article, and discussions in blogs and Facebook from all over the country weighed in on the validity of Whitt’s concerns. Whitt, a graduate of Union University, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, serves as Pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina, and has been the President of the South Carolina Baptist Pastor’s Conference. He has now posted his response to these many comments on his blog in an article entitled, “The Challenge for Contributing, Committed Southern Baptists.”
Dr. Bob Rogers, Pastor
First Baptist Church
[Editor’s Note: This essay was originally posted here at SBC Today on September 28, 2013, and is being reposted today in keeping with our recent emphasis on Romans 9. Because this copyrighted material is under consideration for publication, any other reproduction is expressly forbidden.]
John Calvin was wrong about Romans 9.
Calvin, the famous Protestant Reformer of Geneva, Switzerland, was a great theologian. He became famous for his emphasis on the sovereignty of God and God’s predestination of our salvation. But in his commentary the ninth chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans, John Calvin took predestination beyond anything the apostle Paul intended to say. Continue reading
Dr. Leighton Flowers
Director of Apologetics and Youth
Evangelism for Texas Baptists
Paul used a literary device called “diatribe” by which he would anticipate the objections of his audience. Discovering who the objector is in the mind of the inspired apostle tells us everything we need to know to discern his soteriological position. Let’s consider the two options side by side:
Calvinism: The objector is an non-elect, salvifically hated reprobate who God has chosen from before the foundation of the world to pass over in a sovereignly decreed fallen condition from birth — a completely hardened condition from the time they are born until the time they die and thus without hope of salvation EVER.
Traditionalist: The objector is a Jew, who has freely rebelled in the face of God’s loving patience for generations (Rm. 10:21; Mt. 23:37), but who is now stumbling, being cut off, and hardened in their rebellion so as to accomplish a greater redemptive good through their rebellion. However, though he has stumbled he has not stumbled beyond recovery (Rm 11:12); though he has been hardened he may be provoked to envy and saved (Rm 11:14); though he has been cut off from the vine he may be grafted back in if he leaves his unbelief (Rm 11:23).
Which objector is the one represented in the text? You decide.
At this point, another objection I often hear from my Calvinistic brethren goes something like this:
“Well, how is that interpretation any better than ours? You still have God blinding Jews from hearing the gospel and blaming them for their rebellion. Don’t you believe that makes God unfair?”
I love this question because finally I get to say in response to my Calvinistic friend, “Who are you oh man to question God!?” And ironically it is probably the first time they have heard that reply where it actually fits the context of the original objection.
What many Calvinists do not realize is that we DO allow for the objector in Romans 9, but we just happen to believe it is the same objector Paul addresses in Romans 3:1-8. It is not the objection of a non-elect reprobate born hated by God and unable to respond to His clear truth. It is the objection of a Jew who has grown calloused by his own choices, but who now is being blinded by God in that rebellious condition so as to accomplish a greater good for all the world, including those hardened.
Pick up a copy of The Potter’s Promise for more.