Demoralizing Doctrinal Discrimination

June 22, 2015

Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL

At the Southern Baptist Convention this past week, one did not have to look hard to find examples of doctrinal bias in favor of Calvinism over Traditionalism. The latter view is summarized in a doctrinal statement that nearly a thousand Southern Baptists have signed and that still remains available for signing today.

For practical purposes, we may simply define Traditionalism as the salvation doctrine espoused by all three primary confessors of The Baptist Faith and Message—Mullins in 1925, Hobbs in 1963 and Rogers in 2000. Traditionalism is therefore a view that many Southern Baptists embrace, although you would not know it based on the promotions, speakers, books, curricula and leadership panels highlighted at the Southern Baptist Convention.

As a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, I am rather unused to “playing the victim” as some have called it, or appealing for the redress of discrimination against me and my causes or beliefs. However, I can honestly say that when I walk through the convention halls today (compared with fifteen years ago, for example) I absolutely feel like a stranger in a strange land. I feel out of place in my own denomination.

I am not being divisive. I am being forgotten, marginalized and alienated. This convention wants my money, or at least the money of my church, but it appears unwilling to give significant “face time” to leaders, authors, speakers and resources that support and strengthen Southern Baptists with convictions like mine. Below are only a few examples of this demoralizing doctrinal discrimination.

1.  Pastor’s Conference Book Promotions—80% Calvinist
A section in the Pastor’s Conference program entitled By the Book promoted five specific authors—one Traditionalist and four Calvinists. Of the four Calvinists, only two were Southern Baptist. All four, however, have been very active in The Gospel Coalition. Calvinists outside the convention are being offered a greater platform than Traditionalists inside the convention who are paying the bills.

2.  ERLC Leadership Posts—100% Calvinist
This encroachment of TGC into Southern Baptist life did not begin last week. It is reminiscent of Russell Moore’s first day at the ERLC in 2013, when he hired five people, only two of whom were Southern Baptists. (All five, of course, were active in The Gospel Coalition.) The message is loud and clear—leadership positions and book deals are not for the Traditional Southern Baptists who have given their time and money for many years, but are instead reserved for all the Johnny-come-lately members of The Gospel Coalition, whether or not they are even Southern Baptist.

3.  Send North America Conference Speakers—100% Calvinist
Promotional posters for the upcoming Send North America Conference sponsored by NAMB featured an “All Calvinism—All The Time” lineup of five speakers. Not one Southern Baptist Traditionalist was able to slip through the cracks and push his way onto the promotional poster. One of the five speakers is not Southern Baptist, but all of them, of course, are Calvinists and members of The Gospel Coalition—which, by the way, excludes Southern Baptists like me by means of a doctrinal statement that is far more restrictive than The Baptist Faith and Message.

4.  LifeWay Curricula Promotional Hype—95% Calvinist
In the LifeWay presentation, much time was devoted to promoting only one of LifeWay’s four curricula—The Gospel Project. The creative team behind The Gospel Project is far more Calvinistic than those involved in the other curricula. Messengers were also shown a lengthy video promoting The Gospel Project. Its popularity was reported by means of subscription statistics. No other LifeWay curriculum was featured in this way, although the smallgroups.com resource was briefly discussed. The popularity statistics of no other curriculum were cited. Apparently, our Calvinist produced resources received 95% of the attention while our Traditionalist produced resources remained virtually invisible by comparison.

CONCLUSION
The usual response from Calvinists when I gingerly raise my hand and point out these glaring examples of doctrinal bias is to be scolded for my feelings of discrimination and alienation as if I were the problem. “Stop being so divisive!” “Quit stirring up trouble and unite for the gospel!” “It’s all about the Kingdom!” “There is no ‘us’ and ‘them.’” “Who cares about this when lost people are dying?”

History is filled with examples of people being discriminated against, marginalized or overlooked who, when they raise their grievance and ask for it to be redressed, are simply blamed for speaking up in the first place. While I am resigned to being treated in this fashion, it is nevertheless true that bias of any kind is demoralizing. If SBC leaders care about people like me, they have a strange way of showing it.

 

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rhutchin

In many areas, the Traditionist and the Calvninist agree. Salvation is by grace through faith – not works. The preaching of the gospel is necessary to salvation. God is omniscient, omnipotent, all wise, etc. The central disagreement concerns the amount of help a person needs from God to come to salvation. If a person thinks he needed God to pretty much drag him to salvation, he will lean Calvninist. If a person thinks he made a decision to accept salvation, he will lean Traditionalist. So, in all the books and promotional materials, are they agreeable to both Traditionalists and Calvinists or are they divisive?

The Traditionalist statement is not really expressing opposition to Calvinism as it is expressing opposition to doctrines that both Traditionalists and Calvinists oppose. For example, both Trads and Cals agree that: Adam’s sin did not result in the incapacitation of any person’s free will; that a sinner cannot be saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel; God imposes or withholds Christ’s atonement without respect to an act of the person’s free will; that grace negates the necessity of a free response of faith; God’s sovereignty and knowledge require Him to cause a person’s acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ. Disagreement usually comes over technical points that can involve some pretty heavy theological arguments. For ordinary everyday evangelical purposes, people in the pews are ignorant of Traditionist/Calvinist quibbles. People in the pews know that people respond to the gospel and they pretty much don’t like evangelists manipulating people to get them to come to Christ. Nonetheless, there are some for whom the salvation of family members is a heavy burden and they can look for the easy way out offered by an enterprising evangelist.

I talked to a person from my church who attended the SBC convention. I asked if he experienced any friction based on Calvinist influences. He was basically clueless about my question. He came back enthusiastic about David Platt and SBC’s evangelistic efforts – this is a person who goes on mission trips at the drop of the hat, so to speak. I suspect that relatively few people went to the convention with the perspective that Dr. Patrick did. For them, all the books and materials are helpful resources and the identifying of the authors as Calvinist or non was not an issue. Is Dr. Patrick being divisive – I don’t think so; a little sensitive perhaps. However, the issues that concern him are issues that every generation needs to confront and should be confronting; it is when there are no confrontations over the Scriptures that we will need to be concerned.

    Dr. Will Hall

    Here are some statistics for David Platt’s church that might pertain.

    In 2014 (the last year he served), the Church at Brook Hills reported an average worship attendance of about 5,000 in a press release (but listed 4,608 active memebrs in internal documents) for the last year he served and 58 baptisms. That’s a ratio of 1:86 (or 1:79 based on the active memebrship figure), or about 1.2 percent (or 1.25 percent) of its weekly worship attendance (active membership).

    For the SBC combined, the average congregation baptized 5.3 percent of its weekly worship attendance and had a baptism to worship attendance ratio of 1:19.

Bob Williford

Rick, I did not go to the Convention, but should we really be surprised at what you have found there? In view of all the rhetoric over the course of the past several years in reference to ‘making peace’ one would think that everyone would have a place at the table. When the so-called Peace Agreement was made a couple of years ago I knew that Traditionalists would lose the battle. If this same attitude had been taken after the Thirty Years War over the Bible the CBF would not have been formed and we would be standing in a forest of liberals. I also knew that the Peace Statement was poison to the Convention, but my statement to that effect was put away. With that I simply walked away from the table because I knew at that moment my place was removed. Yes, I am a Southern Baptist without the credentials because I do not support the error filled doctrine of Calvin. Politics, Power and Money seem to be the fuel for the fire instead of the Gospel that Paul comments about throughout his writing, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation….” Jesus is Lord, not Calvin.

Pam knight

Preach on Brother Rick what you have said here is not only the truth but it is so obviously evident for anyone who is heartbroken and concerned about what is happening within our Southern Baptist Denomination.
In Christ
Pam Knight

    Bob Williford

    Pam, I, too agree with Rick. However, as I see it and have been watching the SBC since I was a college student and at SWBTS in the 70’s, a Pastor, Missionary, State Convention Missionary, a great deal has changed. What I call the Thirty Years’ War over Inerrancy was won by the Conservatives disturbed many within the IMB at the time and several resigned. Back home in the late 90’s and into to the second decade of the the 21st Century I began to hear the rumblings of what has now come to fruition. All the while, I was speaking out about the present Reform Movement and was able to get a first-hand look at what was going on in a State Convention. The power of politics is staggering and the directions are shaped by very few people who will not listen to peons such as myself. In fact, Joe is threatened with job loss if he does not keep quiet. Yes, even in the sacred halls of conventions. The Reformers were given places to serve here and there at the time, and those in opposition were told to keep quite about it. I know, because I did question the logic. The logic was, sometning like this, “If we give them a place to serve here and there, in time they will go away.” Guess what, they did not and look at what we now have. The same has happened in America within every rank and file of culture. Is the SBC doomed? I cannot say, but the fabric is now being woven by the Calvinist and those who are not may not be as fortunate to win this battle and the war will be fought very soon. I will not be around to see the end of the next War because I have been serving within the SBC for 47 years now. The future for Traditional Conservatives is not looking good because there are too many who want to throw out the Olive Branch instead of doing what is right. Why? The assets of the SBC are enormous and instead of fighting to remove the elements that are challenging the direction of the Boat, they gave them a place at the Table and now ‘they’ are at the helm. There will have to be a mutiny in order to change directions now and I am not certain that there are enough on board to fight. Thirty years is a long time and I will not be here at the end to see what happens……

Jon Estes

I am sorry you find yourself being discriminated against.

I guess that is what the moderates / liberals felt like from 1979 and forward.

The ugly truth is, you and me attended conventions and voted in trustees and SBC officials at many different levels for many different platforms on the basis of being inerrantists. We were happy and glad as we fought to remove those dog gone liberals. It seems anyone who feels they are being left out today has some of the blame since inerrancy was the battle cry. I guess inerrancy is not enough to gather the troops because the Calvinists I know believe in inerrancy. They believe in it as much as you do.

Would it be fair to ask, if you were in the position to choose speakers and help others be authors, how many Calvinists would you offer a role to?

Luke 17: 7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

Sam Cathey has a great sermon out on this passage. I do not know if it is available online.

    Rick Patrick

    Jon,

    To answer your question about the appropriate influence of Calvinism in our convention, based on the notion that our leadership should be no more Calvinistic than our membership, I would say that the book promotions, speaker invitations, leadership selections and curriculum advertisements should be virtually reversed—20% Calvinist or at most 40%—not the current 80% to 100%. I do not believe 80% to 100% of Southern Baptists are Calvinists.

    Generally speaking, our convention’s leadership and public relations machine is about three to four times more Calvinistic than the people in the pews who are primarily financing this changing of the guard.

    Where are the pastors like Mac Brunson, Robert Jeffress, Gary Hollingsworth and Herb Reavis? Where are the evangelists and denominational statesmen? Is there no room at the SBC for a single sermon from Jerry Vines, Paige Patterson, Richard Land, Jimmy Draper, Bobby Welch or Morris Chapman? We have cut the cord from the leaders of the Conservative Resurgence. The Gospel Coalition is permeating our soft denominational borders.

    James MacDonald is the new face of the SBC…a man who once said that congregational polity was of the devil, whose church has been embroiled in financial controversy as well as problems with harsh church discipline. This man has greater access to the SBC Pastors Conference than thousands of faithful Southern Baptist leaders who have been serving and giving for decades.

    Sorry, but this makes no sense to me at all. It saddens me to see what looks like a lack of appreciation for our true Southern Baptist heritage. It feels like we are losing our distinctive Southern Baptist roots. I am simply not comfortable becoming a Presby-Baptist, and that’s the direction we seem to be heading.

      Scott Shaver

      Rick:

      Sermons and political posturing by guys like Vines, Patterson and Chapman are part of the reason you’re experiencing now this “discrimination” and “marginalization”.

      The CR was all about “fundamentalists” aligning themselves with the purveyors of neo-calvinism and the “doctrines of sovereign grace” for the grand cause of “biblical inerrancy” and the takeover of seminaries and agencies. Neo-Calvinists knew full well going in what they wanted the SBC to look like and “fundamentalists” (now “traditionalists”) knew full well that their new allies understood “inerrancy” to include “the doctrines of soverign grace”.

      Mentality at the time was, let’s get rid of these “moderate/liberals” first, get our seminaries and agencies under “conservative” control and we’ll worry about our neo-calvinist allies (should they become a problem) later on down the road.

      Funny thing happened on the way to Rome. Neo-Calvinist mercenaries quickly displaced their former “traditional” allies in the newly conquered territory and are now banishing/exiling/marginalizing their morale and influence exactly the same way “traditionalists” were willing to write off the views of their former “moderate” brothers and sisters.

      Now that history is turning a page, we might more aptly describe the “Conservative Resurgence” as the “Conservative Handoff” of the SBC to the designs of “Soverign Grace” and the whole authoritarian, elder-ruled, creedal ball of wax that comes with neo-calvinism.

      Wonder how “Traditional” baptists feel now?……..knowing that their children and grandchildren who remain in SBC affiliated baptist churches, will be nurtured from the pulpits and their seminaries primarily with the “Gospel” of the new pecking order.

      “Traditionalists” like former “moderate” baptists……..no longer represent the institutional or organizational faces of the Southern Baptist Convention. By their very own loyalties and decisions…they’ve been replaced and the locks to the door have been changed out.

        Rick Patrick

        I can agree with some of what you have written. The part that concerns me is that you almost seem to take delight in it, while it grieves me greatly, almost as if you were saying, “Serves you right.” If you think that moderates were done an injustice in the CR, I would assume you would be even more sympathetic toward the marginalization of one group by another today. Alliances change over time, just as Russia was an ally in WWII but an opponent in the Cold War. I have never thought of this as hypocrisy so much as it is the reality of differing priorities and interests during different historical periods.

          Lydia

          Alliances do change but tactics used in war are never forgotten but repackaged and honed.

          Scott Shaver

          Rick:

          Try not to be so quick to read into my words any attendant emotion (i.e. “delight”) that you perceive based on your own unfortunate dilemma in denominational life. What you see as “delight” is something I see as unemotional statement of fact.” I have no “emotion” for the institutional SBC.
          Lost that during the years of its “great reform”.

          I’ve already dealt with the emotions you describe dealing with now (i.e. “If you think moderates were done an injustice in the CR). Obviously you are not of the opinion they were, but you do feel “Traditionalists” are being done an injustice now.

          Myself and others like me paid our dues and took our lumps 20-25 years ago ( a quarter of a century). In fact, if I remember correctly, Fundamentalists were saying exactly the words you’ve utilized……”serves them right”…”their departure is an occasion of rejoicing for the cause of biblical fidelity in our convention” …. right up to recent and present months when I’ve seen posted on this very blog site comments like “moderates got better than they deserved” in reference to Russell Dilday being locked out of his office at Southwestern”.

          As for your personal “grief” and my perceived “delight”. I’ve never at any point in my life or professional history taken “delight” in the “marginalization” of believing Christian people of any stripe via the kind of neo-calvinist, authoritarian structures you find yourself dealing with now. My track record (especially with regard to resisting the goal and motives of the CR) if examined would demonstrate that.

          I applaud your effort to look at this not so much as a spectacle of hypocrisy but rather “the reality of differing priorities and interests during historical periods”.

          If what you say is true about “Southern Baptist” history and differing priorities, then “moderates” could not claim “injustice”, “discrimination”, “marginalization” during the CR nor can “traditionalists” make the same claim for themselves now that they’ve been replaced with quasi-baptists.

        Max

        “Now that history is turning a page, we might more aptly describe the “Conservative Resurgence” as the “Conservative Handoff” of the SBC to the designs of “Soverign Grace” and the whole authoritarian, elder-ruled, creedal ball of wax that comes with neo-calvinism.”

        Scott, it’s increasingly clear that certain leaders of the “Conservative Resurgence” were really wishing for a “Calvinist Resurgence.” And it’s been a dream come true!

          Scott Shaver

          Max: you are right but depends on how you understand the word “conservative”.

          From the standpoints of biblical and applied Christianity right now, I don’t see a lot of “conservatism” (classical sense of word) coming out of “SBC” leadership right now.

      Max

      “… our convention’s leadership and public relations machine is about three to four times more Calvinistic than the people in the pews who are primarily financing this changing of the guard.”

      It could very well be that the Southern Baptist Convention is the only institution on planet earth that doesn’t operate under the “80:20” rule. I credit that to (1) a remarkable and successful strategy by SBC’s reformed leadership, and (2) an apathetic majority in SBC’s non-Calvinst pulpit and pew. The 21st century trajectory for SBC belief and practice is reformed theology. The aggressive New Calvinist movement has effected an amazing surrender of identity by the largest Protestant denomination in America! The “too little too late” principle has supplanted the “80:20” rule. Sad to see the kids running things … reminds me of 1 Kings 12, which didn’t turn out well for either Rehoboam or Israel.

    Bob Williford

    Jon, I have been down this very same road many times in the past and, no, believing in inerrancy is not enough. Most Southern Baptists are not Calvinists, either. With the thought of inerrancy in mind; Pentecostals, Churches of Christ and a host of other faith groups also believe in inerrancy as well. Forget about being Baptist and all the rest. Why not just go ahead and forget everything that we stand for and simply say that everyone is welcome, for another kind of group and go about whatever would come of it? Calvinism is wrong for Baptists just as the others that I have named are wrong for Southern Baptists, at least i thought so. This Cal-Baptist boat is going in the wrong direction and at the next port I may be getting off if this continues. Have a blessed day. Jesus is Lord.

      Jon Estes

      “…believing in inerrancy is not enough.”

      I stated this clearly. Yet, it was enough to have as the battle cry to rid the convention of anyone we saw as a liberal.

      “Most Southern Baptists are not Calvinists, either.”

      I am of the opinion, that most SB’s have no clue to what Calvinism is and if taught would not disagree with most of it. The same group would also have no problem with Traditionalism. We are a fickled theological bunch, we Baptists.

      “With the thought of inerrancy in mind; Pentecostals, Churches of Christ and a host of other faith groups also believe in inerrancy as well. Forget about being Baptist and all the rest. Why not just go ahead and forget everything that we stand for and simply say that everyone is welcome, for another kind of group and go about whatever would come of it?”

      I do not see anyone advocating such a thing as an open door policy to any who say they believe in inerrancy. Straw man argument.

      “Calvinism is wrong for Baptists just as the others that I have named are wrong for Southern Baptists, at least i thought so.”

      Noted though I disagree.

      “This Cal-Baptist boat is going in the wrong direction and at the next port I may be getting off if this continues.”

      OK.

      “Have a blessed day. Jesus is Lord.”

      Always.

David R. Brumbelow

I’ve known of SBC leaders who bragged about promoting young preachers, when they really were only promoting a certain type of young preachers in the SBC.

It can make a world of difference to whom you offer the leadership, speaking, and writing positions in the SBC.
David R. Brumbelow

Lydia

Well, when you guys start seeking to be celebrities on the circuit and have some book deals then it might change. but then you have a face a Holy God one day, too, whose grace is not so cheap when He is being sold for profit and power. Not so sure a place at the table they now own is worth it.

Russ Moore made some horrible hiring decisions at ELRC. Joe Carter is one of the most arrogant nasty men I have ever seen on social media. There is another young guy there who is the same on social media but his name escapes me.Not exactly a great example when it comes to “speaking for Baptists to the world”. But I am not sure what else we should expect from that movement. It seems to be SOP. .

William Thornton

Perhaps my cal radar doesn’t work as well as yours, but: Floyd, Stetzer, Ranier, Pitman, Wright, Scroggins…bunch of shaved head goateed people I don’t know along with a lot of ethnic folks i don’t know.

    Rick Patrick

    William,

    I pretty much have no idea what you’re talking about here, but since you are naming names, I guess you are asking me to connect the dots in the four points of my post and spell out the specific names I have in mind. So here goes:

    1. The “By the Book” section of the Pastor’s Conference program featured books by one Trad (Gaines) and four Gospel Coalition Cals (SBC: Platt, Greear) and (Outside: Tripp, MacDonald).

    2. The five hires by Moore were all Gospel Coalition Cals (SBC: Bethancourt, Patterson) and (Outside: Carter, Darling and Newbell).

    3. The five poster boys for Send NA were all Gospel Coalition Cals (SBC: Platt, Greear, Mason and Moore) and (Outside: Giglio). These were the names and faces on the poster.

    4. The LifeWay Presentation was pretty much a ten minute commercial for TGP. Little (if nothing!) was said about ETB or BSFL.

    I hope this helps to clarify the hype for Calvinist produced sermons, curricula, books and leaders that I am sensing in the SBC.

Brent Hobbs

Rick, I don’t know how you keep seeing Calvinism in all these things. I don’t think your assessment of the convention is fair at all. I saw plenty of non-Calvinists playing very prominent roles. Ronnie Floyd was the most prominent personality on stage this year (and as far as I know he’s not a Calvinist). Steve Gaines was the next most prominent pastor in my mind, and he’s been vocally critical of Calvinism. I saw Clint Pressley on stage several times but have no idea whether he’s a Calvinist or not.

If you continue to insist that things like the Gospel Project are “Calvinist” (its been widely agreed that was a false charge from the beginning) and people who aren’t Calvinists (esp. Ezell, but also Moore and others) really are, then it’s going to be hard for you to every stop seeing Calvinists everywhere. But that’s also probably why you feel like people aren’t listening to you—most people don’t think you’re fairly assessing the situation.

I wouldn’t have had any problem with Mac Brunson, Robert Jeffress, or Jerry Vines speaking at the Pastor’s Conference. I’ve not been to that many PCs before, but I assume all of them have spoken before and likely many times. I want non-Calvinists to feel like they are represented and belong in the SBC. I don’t want you to be demoralized. And it’s hard for me to see how anyone could come away from that convention demoralized unless (1) Calvinism is the only lens you see everything through and (2) you find Calvinism in a lot of places it does’t really exist.

(It was against my judgment to wade in to this discussion here, but I hope the comment can at least bring some balance to the original post.)

    Lydia

    “Rick, I don’t know how you keep seeing Calvinism in all these things. I don’t think your assessment of the convention is fair at all. I saw plenty of non-Calvinists playing very prominent roles. Ronnie Floyd was the most prominent personality on stage this year (and as far as I know he’s not a Calvinist). Steve Gaines was the next most prominent pastor in my mind, and he’s been vocally critical of Calvinism. I saw Clint Pressley on stage several times but have no idea whether he’s a Calvinist or not”

    When you want to build a movement you start with indoctrinating young people. You start with academic institutions, Youth groups, college groups, books, learning materials and go on to conferences and gatherings and go from there. The prof in the classroom has much more influence than a talking head on a stage once a year. Same with the youth pastor and the young guru leading Cru on campus. The materials used to educate are what creates the gurus in quoting them, using their books, etc.

    That is where this movement started. And they won. You may not see it because you were in it and it is your normal.

    Why do you think most millennials are socialists? It works in public education and even the Ivy League.

    Scott Shaver

    Get real….

    To say that TGC is not “Calvinist with a capital C” is to say a duck has no feathers and webbed feet.

    Rick has certainly “fairly assessed the situation”. That much is painfully obvious.

      Brent Hobbs

      Who said TGC isn’t Calvinist?

      My argument from the beginning isn’t that there’s NO Calvinist influence. Only that (1) there are plenty of non-Calvinists represented in prominent places as well and (2) Rick is overstating the Calvinist influence in some areas (i.e. seeing it when it’s not really there), with the Gospel Project and Ezell as two of the most glaring examples.

      And is it just my comments that are always awaiting moderation over here? Or does everyone have to go through airport security to say a word?

        Rick Patrick

        Brent,

        Just to clarify, for all of the comments, including mine, pre-moderation is enabled by the editor of SBC Today.

        Rick

        Scott Shaver

        Looks like your comments are coming through loud and clear to me Brent.

        YOU said/implied citing an unnamed group that TGC is not “Calvinist”…….”If you continue to insist that things like the Gospel Project are calvinist (it’s been widely agreed that this was a false charge from the beginning).”

        I’ve read the Gospel Project sunday school lessons for adults and found the entire overarching theme for each to be the world and God as seen/expressed through the filters of five point calvinism. Spoke against its use in our Sunday School classes at my home church for that very reason.

        Lydia

        “My argument from the beginning isn’t that there’s NO Calvinist influence. Only that (1) there are plenty of non-Calvinists represented in prominent places as well and (2) Rick is overstating the Calvinist influence in some areas (i.e. seeing it when it’s not really there), with the Gospel Project and Ezell as two of the most glaring examples. ”

        Since the movement was built on covert aggression now the tactic is “gaslighting”. You don’t even know because it is your normal. Ezell totally supported Acts 29. Evidently that means he is NOT some sort of Calvinist. The TGP does the covert aggressive Sovereignty meme. And quoted quite a few Calvinists until enough people spoke up.

        Look, lots of leaders go where the latest fad and money is and that is what happened in some cases with the Neo Cal resurgence. Lots of people wanted on that bandwagon. I can still remember years back at Voices being pummeled me with “But Driscoll has correct doctrine!” so never mind all that other stuff. Same with CJ and now Matt Chandler and “church discipline of ruling elders”. 9 Marx and the Hotel California churches, etc, etc. This is really the SBC? Seriously?

        It starts adding up over the years with the covert aggression, the gaslighting and all the scandalabras and bizarre doctrines in practice. When folks don’t like it, the gaslighting begins.

        Max

        Ezell is not a Calvinist?! Good Lord, he was Al Mohler’s pastor before he was crowned as head of NAMB! Think about it.

          Brent Hobbs

          I’ve personally heard him describe his feelings about Calvinism and can assure you that he is not a Calvinist.

            Lydia

            He just thought it a proper thing to support planting all those “Reformed only” Acts 29/Sojourn churches with mostly Non Cal money and not make that clear in reporting but no where can an actual a dollar figure be found for how much on “Reformed only” church or staff?

            Oh and I remember being told that Russ Moore was not a Calvinist, either. I think it depends on the audience.

            Max

            Well, I wish he would share that with the rest of us! I’m certainly encouraged by the thought.

            Scott Shaver

            Hmmm. Personality like that can probably wear a lot of different hats depending on the audience.

          Andy

          Max, we do have a good Lord indeed!

          It seems you are still operating under the assumption that cals and non-cals cannot coexist peacefully in the same church.

          If I understand my history correctly, here is what happened. Mohler became SBTS president 22 years ago. At that time, Highview Baptist, (under a different pastor) was one of the few SBC churches in Louisville that would take Mohler in, since most of those churches were opposed to his changes at SBTS. Ezell didn’t become highview’s pastor till around 5 years later.

            Max

            Thanks for clarifying this Andy. That would make him guilty by inheritance. But I still wonder, among all the SBC pastors (over 45,000 of them), why a Louisville man was tapped for the NAMB position.

              Andy

              Guilty by inheritance? What does that mean?

                Max

                Sorry, a tongue-in-cheek spin on guilty by association. Looks like he “inherited” Highview Baptist and all that came with it … as you did in the church you are in.

            Scott Shaver

            Andy:

            There is a far different spiritual dynamic at work in a local church than there is a denominational apparatus.

            At the local church level, love, interaction and mutual edification are the things that drive people to church. The motives that drive people to “Southern Baptist Conventions” are control, doctrinal uniformity and allocation of assets….”In the name of God”.

            SBC leaders and academics are indeed delusional if they think they’re the one’s actually setting spiritual pace in the pews of the churches they claim to represent. Church start fads notwithstanding.

            I think Max is talking about the oranges of denominational life as opposed the apples of local church life. I have to agree with him on this one. Due to its history, I don’t see any way for reformed calvinism and “traditional” Southern Baptist religious ideoglogies to coexist in the same modern denomination.

            IMO: The respective natures of fundamentalism and hyper-calvinism guarantee that one or the other gets choked out in a “denominational” context.

            I know that a lot of smarter folks than me predicted/pointed this out at the onset of the ………”Southern Baptist Reformation”?

          Mary

          Max, they’ve been playing this game for years. Ezell is a four pointer and so therefore not “technically” a Calvinist. It always comes down to the U. No one is qualified for anything in the SBC unless they except the Calvinist view on Unconditional Election. And before some old fool comes along and tries to declare that the goal posts are moving – no it’s not for anybody who’s actually paid attention these last many years. Anybody remember the “Building Bridges” confererence from Founder’s? They were all really proud of themselves to be “building bridges” betweent five pointers and four pointers. This is the gaslighting that Lydia’s talking about. It’s all to try to show that there isn’t any kind of agenda to exclude certain people in the SBC.

            Max

            Ahhh … the 4-pointer dilemma! Thanks Mary for shedding further light on this. Moderate (4-point) Calvinism has always seemed a paradox to me. Can “Unlimited Atonement” truly come alongside “Unconditional Election” in a reformed theology grid? I recently ran across the following quote from a Calvinist icon: “Reformed pastor and author R.C. Sproul suggests there is confusion about what the doctrine of limited atonement actually teaches. While he considers it possible for a person to believe four points without believing the fifth, he claims that a person who really understands the other four points must believe in limited atonement because of what Martin Luther called a resistless logic.”

              Mary

              Max, if you listen to guys like Ezell and that Allen guy at Midwestern (a 3.5 guy) and even Danny Akin(somewhere between 3 and 4 points) they will tell you they are not “calvinists” and then go rambling on about how Jesus died for all. What those guys will never talk about which is what is the litmus test for anyone to hold any position now in the SBC is how they agree with the Calvinists view on unconditional election. This is why you have people who scoff and laugh and denegrate anyone who points out the Calvinist agenda – see Calvinists haven’t really taken over according to them because they can point to these less than 5 pointers and declare they’re not really Calvinist. But the point is that no one gets to any position of authority unless he agrees with Al Mohler on U. It is very deceptive and it is very intentionally deceptive. Why else when you ask someone if they’re a Calvinist do they ramble on like Allen at Midwestern about L and ignore the U? We have a church here locally who got suckered into a 4 pointer – now that 4 pointer suddently has decided that everyone has to conform to at least the U or they need to assigned kitchen duty and not importatn stuff like teaching SS. But the poor people on the pulpit committee asked him about Calvinism and he declared he wasn’t a Calvinist – because he rejects the L!

                Max

                Thanks Mary. It sounds like moderate Calvinists (3-4 pointers) desire to cover their case with Jesus during bema judgment in regard to “L” … while also being on (what they think) is the right side of SBC history as Calvinization of the convention continues at break-neck speed.

                Regarding the poor folks on that pulpit committee, there are lots of SBC stories like that. A 100-year old “traditional” church near me just fell for that lie, resulting in a church split once the real pastor stood up. The problem with deception is that you don’t know you are deceived because you are deceived.

              Rhonwyyn

              Didn’t the Synod of Dort work all this out? Why are y’all still arguing about it? You’re not making the SBC look at all appealing to outsiders. All this grumbling and complaining!

                Scott Shaver

                Rhonwyyn:

                Who cares about the Synod of Dort? We ain’t arguing. We’re comparing notes. Go scold preschoolers about “grumbling” and “complaining”.

                Can’t speak for everybody, but NOT MY JOB to make SBC look good.

                My job to serve Christ through my work and local church and call em as I see as far as the “denominational apparatus” is concerned.

                SBC was founded for service to and unification of local baptist churches, not vice versa.

                  Rhonwyyn

                  This is unified? If the comments here are any indication, there is no unity in the SBC.

                    Max

                    “If the comments here are any indication, there is no unity in the SBC.”

                    Rhonwyyn, that is increasingly clear. Agreeing to disagree, getting along to go along, singing Kumbaya under an expanding SBC tent is not unity; harmony maybe, but not unity. However, it’s tough to get a measure on the level of disunity in the SBC at large. The blogosphere debate, such as this one, is confined to 100 or so of the same characters popping up here and there (like myself) … we like to hear ourselves talk, I guess :^). The 45,000+ SBC pastors certainly know what’s going on but most won’t touch the dialogue with a 10-foot pole; and neither will they hold “family talks” in their churches to address the theological drift. Sooner or later, the soteriology differences between “traditional” and “reformed” will make it to the pew; but it’s uncertain whether the masses will really give a big whoop given the apathetic (approaching apostate) condition of the American church. As long as folks are uninformed, misinformed, or willingly ignorant, New Calvinism will spread. On another blog yesterday, numerous reports were posted regarding a growing concern with the NC movement in the Evangelical Free and Assembly of God denominations; it’s just not an SBC phenomenon. A generation of 20s-40s are changing the church landscape … for better or worse.

                Andy

                Rhonwyyn

                I, for one, stand in self-righteous judgementalism over all of YOUR arguing, grumbling, and complaining about about all of OUR arguing, grumbling, and complaining. In fact I’m so concerned about it that I want to register my own arguments and complaints against YOUR arguments and complaints about all of OUR arguments and complaints!

                ;-)

            volfan007

            A 4 point Calvinist is still a Calvinist. To try to say that a 4 pointer is not a Calvinist? C’mon now.

            David

              Brent Hobbs

              Have any of you discussed this issue with Kevin? What is it that makes you think he’s a 4-pointer? When I heard him talk about it he didn’t specify how many points he believed in. So I can’t say if he’s 2 or 3 or what he is. But I know he spoke very strongly against Calvinism in a way I don’t think a 4-pointer could.

              In fact, back in the day, it was so well known that Ezell wasn’t even reformed-leaning, that there were plenty of discussions at Southern (among students, my friends, even faculty members) about why Mohler went to Highview with the theological differences between the two of them. In fact, among, the Dever/9Marks crowd, Highview was probably the most frequent target of their criticisms. But from what I could see Mohler and Ezell got along well even despite those differences.

              I think this is a perfect example where you guys all see “Calvinism” because you want to or you’re afraid of it or whatever. Theologically he may be closer to you guys than he is to Mohler. But he doesn’t fit your mold because he won’t wage war on Calvinism the way you want by criticizing reformed church planters.

                volfan007

                Brent,

                I’m not waging war against Calvinists. For instance, I don’t try to remove a name from the Nominating Committee, just because a man is a Calvinist.
                Also, I can work and worship with Calvinists, all day long. In fact, I do. But, the militant, aggressive Calvinists are not so easy to get along with. They see Non-Calvinists as Semi Pelagian heretics, who preach a false Gospel. How can I worship and work alongside people, who think I’m a heretic preaching a false Gospel and leading people to Hell?

                David

                  Brent Hobbs

                  David, I see no place for militant, aggressive Calvinists in the SBC. I try to take them on much more so than I ever venture over here to beat my head against this brick wall.

                  And please stop saying I opposed nominations of people because of their theology. It’s not true and you know it. You KNOW why I opposed one last year, plus, he “withdrew” at the committee’s insistence, not because of my opposition (you can tell the story if you want, since you were on the committee, right?). I’ll be posting today or tomorrow at Voices the details of the nomination I opposed this time. Neither one had to do with their theology.

                    volfan007

                    Brent,

                    No, I don’t know it. What I do know is that you have opposed to very outspoken Traditionalists, who were being elected to serve on the IMB. I find it very ironic that the only two people that you’ve opposed are Traditionalists. Can’t you find any Calvinists that you have “reasons” to remove from consideration?????

                    And, the very reason that Tim Rogers was removed was because we were told that a man named Hobbs was going to bring up things from the floor that would embarrass and humiliate Tim and his family. So, rather than take that chance, the “Committee” picked someone else.

                    And, I really don’t want to go to war over these things. But, the truth is the truth.

                    David

                Lydia

                “In fact, back in the day, it was so well known that Ezell wasn’t even reformed-leaning, that there were plenty of discussions at Southern (among students, my friends, even faculty members) about why Mohler went to Highview with the theological differences between the two of them. In fact, among, the Dever/9Marks crowd, Highview was probably the most frequent target of their criticisms. But from what I could see Mohler and Ezell got along well even despite those differences.”

                Some of my more enlightened friends who have kept up with the SBC trends who used to attend Highview would disagree with you. Highview was long a typical congregational polity SBC church— so that is one of the issues. But it seems that Mohler had more influence on Ezell than Ezell had on Mohler. (He got a pretty good national job out of it, too)

                They sought to do a sort of back door evolution to “elder led” polity and also had Russ Moore preaching his brand of “I am not a Calvinist” Calvinism. (He was double dipping, too, at the time) There other guinea pig activities — trying out the latest Christian fad there I won’t go in to. Esp the Scott Brown stuff which did not even go over well at SBTS but shhh. We won’t talk about that cos there is plausible deniability in all of it. (covert business).

                Of course local celeb churches are all the rage now so it worked well for Highview . The typical pew sitter really had no clue because they were primed for the evolution. About all you have to do these days is tell them the Holy Spirit is leading us there and people believe it.

                Brent, like most young men in your world, you believe whatever you are told by those you esteem. And they could not operate well at all if more people actually questioned.

                  Lydia

                  BTW Brent, I don’t see “Calvinism” everywhere. I see celebrity- Christianity- get on- the- bandwagon- with- the- stars…..everywhere. Guru worship.

                  It just so happens right now it is Calvinism positioned as “the true Gospel”. . When that stops paying in celebrity and power, it will be something else for the doctrinal lite types. But all movements need a cause. A rally cry to recruit young impressionable troops to admire the leaders, buy the books and attend the conferences.

                Les Prouty

                Brent,

                Cynical definition: “distrusting or disparaging the motives of others; like or characteristic of a cynic. showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one’s actions, especially by actions that exploit the scruples of others.”

                Brother you are caught up in a web of cynical replies and remarks from which you would probably do well to extricate yourself. It likely will not change and all the truth you bring to bear likely will have no effect.

              Andy

              Hi David,

              Do we get to say the same thing about 4 point Arminians? what about 3?

              :-)

                volfan007

                Andy,

                If someone is a 3 or 4 point Arminian, then sure…call them an Arminian. If they seek to interpret the Bible by Augustinian philosophy, and agree with Arminius, then call them what they are.

                Who is an Arminian? Who is that you think is an Arminian. I’m not.

                David

                  Andy

                  simply comparing the traditional statement to the 5 points of the remonstrance…

                  1. God Elected to save those who believe (not choosing WHO would believe)
                  2. Jesus died for all, but it must be accepted by faith
                  3. Depravity such that a work of grace is required for one to even beleive (Prevenient grace)
                  4. Grace is NOT irresistable
                  5. Whether one can fall from grace is uncertain and merits futher study.

                  Traditionalists definitly agree with 1,2, 4.
                  Some seem to agree with 3, based on previous debates on this site.
                  They disagree with the possibility of falling from grace.

                  So a traditionalist could easily be called a 3 pt Arminian at least. (IF we are following the same rules).

                  If a person agreed with unconditonal election, perserverance of the saints, and irresistable grace, and had a nuanced view of depravity…would you not call them a calvinist?

                    volfan007

                    Andy,

                    I think what some people just can’t seem to wrap their minds around is that Traditionalists like me do not base our theology on Augustinian philosophy. We just try to let the Bible says what it says. I used to call myself a Biblicist, but that made people think I was saying that they weren’t. Some of them even got mad about it.
                    So, I am not a Calvinist, or an Arminian, or a Semi Pelagian. I’m simply a Christian, who believes the Bible, which makes me a Baptist.

                    David

                    mary

                    I’m not sure if I can make this clear so bear with me. Is it that Calvinist are the only ones (or at least the most known) to accept the U and T of Tulip and so those who accept the Calvinist definition of the U and T are accurately thrown into that camp. But Arminian points are something that full blown Arminians to Pelegians agree with and so it’s not just enough to throw one into the Arminian camp – there’s going to be differences in opinions on TD/TI, PG, is election just a mystery or something that is not a mystery? And a lot of Calvinists have stated that those who accept the U in Tulip can’t really consistently reject any of the other points. Not so in Arminianism. Also I think the rejection of Arminianism is the rejection of Calvinists deciding that they own all the definitions – Traditionalism rejects the Augustinian paradigm that Calvinism keeps trying to fit everybody into. For Calvinists – you’re either a Calvinist, Arminian, or a heretic. (or just plain dumb)

                    phillip

                    Andy,

                    Some of our Baptist brothers may not like it, but the comparisons speak for themselves.

                    I would add that if one holds to TD (#3) then they really hold to IG as well. For the Calvinist Baptist, irresistible grace brings the sinner to a point where he WILL say “yes” to the gospel, where, for the Arminian Baptist (and they are out there), irresistible grace brings the sinner to a point where he CAN say “yes” to the gospel. In both examples, this “grace” accomplishes its goal of overcoming man’s depravity.

                    God bless, brother.

                    Andy

                    Volfan,

                    Are you not willing give the same leeway of self-identification to people who “just try to let the bible say what it says” but happen to see a more individual choice of God of those who will be saved, even if they don’t accept all of calvinism’s points…even if they see both God’s choice and our choice, but don’t know how that works together…who couldn’t care less about augustinian philosophy, but whose own bible study leads them to a moderated position that agrees with some points of calvinism?

                    I’m not trying to be difficult, but i just seems some are wanting 2 separate sets of rules. Traditionalists say they are not arminians because they disagree with SOME parts of arminianism…but someone who agrees with SOME parts of calvinism must identify as a calvinist?

                    So I could also say: “I am not a calvinist, arminian, or semi-pelagian, but rather a christian who belives the bible, and a baptist.” (However, my conclusions of bible study see MORE evidence for individual unconditional election than for conditional based on foresight, or for corporate-only election.)

                    -Andy

                Les

                Good point Andy and something I’ve brought up before. Most every Trad I see posting here would be 3-4 point Arminians. I think.

                  Lydia

                  “I’m not trying to be difficult, but i just seems some are wanting 2 separate sets of rules. Traditionalists say they are not arminians because they disagree with SOME parts of arminianism…but someone who agrees with SOME parts of calvinism must identify as a calvinist? ”

                  It always cracks me up how that movement has to fit folks into 16th century era categories. Seems Christianity really began when it was systematized.

                    Andy

                    I’m glad you are agreeing with me that these traditionalists shouldn’t be so quick to insist one is a Calvinist…. :)

    Scott Shaver

    Charges of “Calvinist” against TGC “widely regarded as false charge”.

    Widely regarded as false charge by what circle?

      Brent Hobbs

      Are you mixing up your acronyms?

      TGC = The Gospel Coalition (yes, a Calvinist organization)
      TGP = The Gospel Project (a LifeWay curriculum that is intentionally not Calvinistic (neutral) in its approach)

        Scott Shaver

        No mixing of acronymns on my part Brent. I see TGC and The Gospel Project as working hand in hand.

          Brent Hobbs

          So when prominent SBC traditionalist pastors decide to use TGP in their churches… that would mean they’re either abandoning their convictions or your assessment of TGP is faulty. I’ll let you decide which is the case.

          I can tell only one if us is actually attempting to have a productive conversation here so I’ll leave you with the last word.

            Scott Shaver

            I don’t care Brent, what “SBC Traditionalist pastors” use for Sunday School material. They’re not abandoning their convictions if they’re up front about what the material is and the religious ideology it’s designed to convey. As a matter of fact, utilizing TGP might be good way to teach them about the deception of determinism in general.

            I’m not what you would label as a “Traditionalist”. I was labeled a “moderate” 20 years before some “fundamentalists” renamed themselves “Traditional”.

            What Sunday School material by label a minister uses is not an indicator of his convictions. How he uses and presents the material is indicative of his “convictions”.

            For me personally, TGP was so biased in favor of a calvinistic world view passed off as “Gospel-mindedness”, “The Gospel view” that it went to the round file immediately. Better to write something from scratch in house as opposed to that option.

            Lydia

            “So when prominent SBC traditionalist pastors decide to use TGP in their churches… that would mean they’re either abandoning their convictions or your assessment of TGP is faulty. I’ll let you decide which is the case. ”

            Major PR hype. Even sending bloggers to Setzers wine and dine so they would write about it. I have never seen a more over hyped curriculum in all my life in the SBC. They must have spent millions.

    Joe Blackmon

    It is hilarious to hear folks try to claim that Moore, Rainer, and the most holy brother reverand Ed Stetzer aren’t Calvinist or that the Gospel Project isn’t heavily Calvinistic. While I don’t think there is a Calvinist conspiracy to take over the SBC, I certainly think Calvinism has a disproportionally large seat at the table. Especially given that Moore and Stetzer run their mouths taking positions that directly contradict the positions of the folks who pay their salary.

    Daniel Beckworth

    Brent, I agree with your post. I’m not seeing the big “push” towards Calvinism that is being described here.

      volfan007

      Daniel,

      I hope that you and Brent are right. But, it sure doesn’t look that way.

      David

        Daniel Beckworth

        Volfan, There is an obvious boom among younger generations, such as myself. For me personally, this was brought about by the internet and the ability to explore more viewpoints than are traditionally taught within SBC churches during my youth (I was born in 1987). Calvinism was a dirty word growing up and many of the tenets of Calvinism were misrepresented. I was shocked to discovery the rich history of reformed theology during my time in college. I have found that many young men had the same experience. We are attracted to the rich heritage of reformed theology. This movement also includes a rejection of an apathetic Christianity that is rooted in politics and being a “good ol’ boy.” There is also much greater access to a variety of authors, such as John Piper.

        I do not see a “conspiracy” or a “take over.” I do see a rejection of a system that is clearly broken and failing to adapt to a changing world. My generation is dropping out of church at alarming rates. We often find little value in watered-down churches who preach law. I don’t think traditionalist should take offense to a growing number of young reformers, but rather rejoice that a new generation is pursuing Christ.

          volfan007

          Daniel,

          So, are you saying that Traditionalists are old foggies, who preach law? Are you saying that Traditionalists are not very deep in their theology, and they’re apathetic good ole boys?

          Daniel, I was preaching grace thru faith before you were born. I’ve been teaching verse by verse thru books of the Bible since you were spitting out your pacifier. And, a lot of the men that I know….who believe a lot like me…..were/have been/are preachers with fire in their bones, who preach the Bible with passion. They preach the Gospel, and earnestly seek after souls.

          Now, have there been Pastors and Churches like you’ve described? Most certainly. Too many of them. And, I don’t know where you grew up, or what Church you attended as a youngster. But, I will guarantee you that I’ve been in Churches, where the Pastor preached the Gospel and taught the Bible, and they did with passion. Also, they didn’t believe in the fatalistic theology of Piper.

          David

            Donald

            Volfan, we do need to recognize that new Calvinism has filled a vacuum (as all successful movements do). Just look at how we’ve all changed after the Charismatic Movement exposed weaknesses in worship and music. We are now changing since new Calvinism showed our weaknesses in teaching and our lack of savvy tech and use of social media.

              Scott Shaver

              Uh, Donald:

              “New Calvinsim showed our (who is our?) weakness in teaching and our lack of savvy tech and use of social media.

              “Weakness in teaching” is a highly suspect statement about “traditional baptists” when you look at some of the neo-calvinistic pop theology pooh-pooh coming from the shelves of Lifeway …itself looking in the trinkets and Jesus candy section like a cross between Cracker Barrel and Dr. Chickenfoot’s Voodo Shop in New Orleans.

              “savvy tech and use of social media” ….now those are some clear and biblically mandated “filled vacuums”.

              Let’s see what kind of pep you’ve got left in your neo-calvin step 20 years from now….or should the power grid fail :)

            Daniel Beckworth

            That’s excellent. I commend you on your pursuit of Christ. But I think we can agree that there are far too many churches that miss the mark. As one writer suggests, this has left a void for many young men in my age range. There was a substance that I gravitated towards. Today, I preach salvation by grace through faith to all who would repent and believe (and I’m reformed). I teach verse-by-verse through books of the bible. I’m not looking to overthrow traditionalists.
            But you will completely alienate a large number of young men by making this a hill to die on. We can coexists and prosper together.

              volfan007

              Daniel,

              This whole Traditionalist movement was started in response to the aggressive, militant Calvinists, who have gained a lot of power in our SBC. And, we kept seeing Calvinists sneak into Non Calvinist Churches, and try to convert them. We started hearing things like,”If you’re not a Calvinist, then you’re preaching a false Gospel;” or, “Traditionalists are Semi Pelagian(heretics);” and a few other things that would make us all feel warm and fuzzy about….that would make us want to warm up to such Calvinists and all “get along.” And then, we started seeing Calvinist Only Clubs pop up, which was supported by many SB’s….Acts 29; TGC; B21: 9Marks: etc.

              So, Daniel, the Traditionalist Movement would never have even got started, if it hadn’t been for the Founder’s types of Calvinists doing and saying such things. The Traditionalist movement is a backlash movement. It’s a “bow our backs,” and say, “enough is enough,” type of movement.

              We didn’t start the fire.

              David

                Daniel Beckworth

                As a member of the Reformed community, I just don’t know any people like the ones you’ve described. It does not seem to be as prevalent as is being proposed.

                Certainly certain “clubs” are geared towards certain types of people. I don’t suppose you would let me be the keynote speaker at the next Connect 316 banquet?

                  volfan007

                  Daniel,

                  Why do you think Connect 316 was started? It’s not that old.

                  And, it’s hard to believe that you don’t know anybody like the Calvinists I’ve described, because there’s lots of them, out there.

                  DAvid

                    Daniel Beckworth

                    I would say the number of aggressive Calvinists that you report are greatly exaggerated. Of course, there is no data to support or deny these claims, so you can obviously run wild with speculation.

          Lydia

          “I was shocked to discovery the rich history of reformed theology during my time in college.”

          You think a state church with mandatory attendance, banishments, torture, imprisonment for daring not to tow the church line is “rich history”? Anyone who dared make fun of Calvin was punished with fines or worse. Even falling asleep during his sermons was punished. We could spend quite a bit of time talking about the “rich history” of “Reformed” all the way through to the Boers, the Puritans (who tortured Quakers and burned “witches”) and the Reformed slave owners. We could even discuss Boyce and his belief that God instituted slavery so the white man could “disciple” them. So much for the “roots” of the SBC. Thank goodness we evolved from that determinism. So much for your education. Or perhaps you knew and blew it off as “men of their time”. But that won’t hold water.

          So much for the legacy of your “rich history”. It is an evil bloody mess. And yes, doctrine drives behavior. I believe the membership covenant Reformed types in the SBC love power and control so much and are so enamored with their “correct doctrine” that if it were legal now, we would see the same today.

            Daniel Beckworth

            According to your logic we can’t celebrate the history/legacy of anyone or anything, because there are dark spots in the history of all groups. Alas, we are but fallen men and women. The hatred I sense in your responses would lead me to believe that nothing I say matters or will actually lead to further discussion. So, have a good day.

Leighton Flowers

Brent,

I do not think Rick was attempting to argue that non-Calvinists need more stage time as moderators (or whatever), but instead that our soteriological perspective in general is overlooked. I can almost assure you that just about every SBC pastor knows the TULIP on some level, but how many can rightly articulate the Traditionalists view of election or predestination? Calvinism is in vogue right now with the youngsters. Calvinists are the fad with their long beards, cigars, social drinking and hipster look being the external markings of many….we get it. It draws a crowd. Fine, but that doesn’t make it right. And it certainly doesn’t represent most of the supporters of the SBC in general.

If the one of “cool kids” puts on a conference discussing TULIP the media flocks to it like moth to a flame, but when other very intelligent and Godly scholars put out the alternative perspective what do they get? Things like, “What’s that old fuddy duddy over their arguing about… he isn’t cool like my celebrity pastor with skinny jeans… Why is he so anti-Calvinistic?” Yes, I’m exaggerating for effect, but not much.

Maybe Pastors like Rick can’t effect trends and fads, but he can certainly point out the tendency of the SBC leadership to get caught up in those trends and remind them not be swept up by every wind and wave of doctrine… Just my two cents.

    Ryan Abernathy (@absonjourney)

    Leighton,

    The stereotypes of Cals are getting old. I realize you use them to get applause from your little circle but come on. Not every Cal has a long beard, or smokes, or drinks. Not all of them are hipsters or hipster wanna-bes. Many of them take theology as seriously as the Trads do. This isn’t a trend or a fad. For me, it’s the result of coming of age in the church growth culture and finding it wanting when I begin to look at it with more theological lenses.

    I’m genuinely sorry you and Rick feel so left out. I’m sorry that Pam isn’t happy with her children’s choice of a church. But I am not sorry to see a generation that many dismissed as the most spiritually disengaged in centuries come back to thinking theologically and biblically. I’m not sorry that the man centered culture of “try harder” is giving way to a deeper understanding of grace and sanctification. I’m not sorry to see the SBC getting younger for the first time in decades.

    You shouldn’t be either.

    In Mark 9:38ff, Jesus tells the disciples that they should not be upset when the see someone doing mighty works in God’s name just because the are not a part of their inner circle. The same truth applies here. There are differences between Cals and Trads. The Cals seem more able to look past those differences than the Trads. That to me, and I have asserted this to Rick multiple times, smacks of a desire to maintain power and influence. That should not be what we are about. Cals sat in the shadows of the SBC for decades. Why is it bad for them to have a time of prominence? No one is asking you to leave or to change your way of thinking. Why not work together?

      Scott Shaver

      Ryan:

      The calvinist “stereotypes” may be getting old for you. I LOVE THEM as they serve as perpetual reminders of the history associated with this theological tradition/movement.

      I would encourage every freedom loving Southern Baptist who cherishes soul competency and other baptist distinctive to not only continue falling in love with these sterotypes, but to develop new ones for posterity’s sake.

      I recommend a John Calvin cartoon contest.

      Leighton Flowers

      Ryan,

      I didn’t say every Calvinist fits those stereotypes, in fact I even pointed to my exaggeration for effect. No negative tone was intended, it was meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek and funny. It’s hard to convey that intention with the written word. If you were a part of my “little circle” you’d know I show much respect to many notable Calvinists including Calvin himself and recognize their scholarship. I also understand the doctrinal system itself isn’t a fad, but its popularity among the young, restless and reformed crowd most certainly is… Mark my words, the popularity of Calvinism will dwindle among the young in a generation or two. History repeats these kinds of cycles of doctrinal views…its nothing new.

      The Calvinists played the victim well when they were not in charge and now that they are in control (for the most part) they are all too willing “to look past those differences” while pushing the seminaries toward a Calvinistic soteriology and changing the entire landscape of theological training. Some of us will not remain quite about that, but we speak out of conviction, love of theology, scripture and most importantly the Lord, just as Calvinists did back when they felt they weren’t properly represented.

Brent Hobbs

Leighton, Are we reading the same post and comments?

He certainly was arguing that non-Calvinists needed more stage time (wasn’t that one of the main points of the post?!). Adding “as moderators” really only lets your sentence pass on a technicality. Floyd was moderator of the business session, but he also planned & led the prayer time, organized the schedule, preached the convention sermon, and overall played the most visible role I’ve seen a convention president play at an annual meeting. Rick argued that non-Cals played little to no prominent roles and that’s just false.

    Scott Shaver

    Brent:

    I must say you sound like the guys that used to tell us during the CR that “Hyper-Calvinists” weren’t the norm in their little “sovereign grace groups”…..nothing to see, nothing to worry about here.

    25 years latter as neo-cals marginalize and give “traditionalists” the steel-toed “brotherly kiss” of goodbye…..You now want them to swallow the same hype? See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil?

    Somebody once said to Sam Cathey: “Sam, you see a demon behind every bush!” To which Cathey replied ” That’s because there’s one there”.

    Rick Patrick

    “Rick argued that non-Cals played little to no prominent roles and that’s just false.”

    Actually, I don’t remember saying that Traditionalists “played little to no prominent roles” in the convention. Most of the ex-Presidents ascribe to Traditionalist theology. At least two of the seminary presidents are Traditionalists. They gave reports. The messengers at the microphone and many of the people on the boards and committees were Traditionalists. Remember, I believe that approximately 75% of the SBC is not Calvinist at all. So clearly, in some way, they will “play prominent roles.”

    My argument had to do with four things: (1) book promotions at the Pastor’s Conference, (2) ERLC hiring of executive staff on Moore’s first day, (3) Send North America Conference poster boys, and (4) the heavy promotion of the one LifeWay Curriculum whose leadership team is almost exclusively Calvinistic. In my view, these are significant indicators of the direction we are heading. The presence of the Gospel Coalition is keenly felt. Incidentally, the prime spot on Monday evening of the Pastor’s Conference featured Greear, MacDonald and Platt—yet another 100% Calvinist lineup.

    In the words of Calvinist Ed Stetzer, “Facts are our friends.” I’ve simply shared some of them. I realize you must draw different conclusions on your side of the soteriological aisle. But when I look at these things, it seems to me that much of our convention’s leadership is simply out of balance with the majority of our churches when it comes to salvation doctrine.

Jim P

There always has been and always will be a dialectic taking place within ‘the body of the Christ’ whether anyone likes it our not. It was the case with Peter and Paul, the case with Catholics and Greek orthodox, the case with the reformers and the Catholics, the case with reformer with reformers and yes, the case with Baptists with Baptists. It’s not going away. American ‘Christianity’ being dominantly Baptist had the luxury of being separated by the rest of the world by two oceans. The Baptist could get away thumbing their noses with the struggles Christian’s had across the two oceans. Things change. Baptist’s prayer should be to ‘fight according to the rules’ if they want to win the fight. Thumbing noses doesn’t work, never did and never will.

    Scott Shaver

    Jim P:

    Your argument about the perpetuity of “dialectic” taking place within the body of Christ might hold true if, in this particular example, we were dealing with Baptist on Baptist in the SBC.

    Such is not the case. What we have in the new SBC is “traditional” southern baptists and displaced, realigned or seminary-synthesized “presbyterians” contending with one another over future direction and physical assets.

    Right now, and as far as the dog and pony show is concerned, my money is on the dog named Calvin. Consequently, I would encourage “traditionalists” to get in all the “thumbed noses” they can at this point while they still have a voice. Either that or simply quit funding the machine.

Garrell Calton

Rick,
You mentioned 1. Pastor’s Conference Book Promotions—80% Calvinist. I was at the convention and honestly do not remember a table that stated “Pastor’s Conference books”. Where were they promoting the Pastor’s Conference books? I walked by each section and looked at each booth at the Convention Center, and I cannot remember any place that was promoting Pastor’s Conference books. Could you elaborate where this book promotion was held and how you come up with the 80%? Thanks Brother.

    Rick Patrick

    Hi Garrell,

    In the Pastor’s Conference Program, there was a five-page section entitled, “By The Book,” which featured one book per page. The five authors were Gaines, Platt, Greear, Tripp and MacDonald. Of this group, 80% are Calvinists and 20% are Traditionalists. 60% are SBC and 40% are not.

Rhonwyyn

I think it’s telling that very little Scripture was used to defend the various stances in this discussion. Both from what I’ve read here and on the SBC Voices blog, I’m getting the sense that SBC members like to argue words and terms, with little to no consultation of the Word of God, the Bible. (I Tim. 6:3-6 would be good to consider.) I think it’s really sad that you’re getting hung up on doing things man’s way (tradition). I mean, the Bible even clearly says to beware of people who tell you to do things because that’s how it’s always been done. (Look how well following tradition has worked for the Catholic church. Now they’re praying to dead people and worshiping the mother of Christ instead of Christ Himself.)

Part of the responsibility of Christians is to guard well the doctrine of Christ. See Paul’s admonition to Timothy at the end of I Timothy 6 and the beginning of II Timothy. In regards to the dreaded Calvinists, I do not think they are in error when they say that it is God who saves us. How can we who are fully evil choose to do right, outside of God’s call on our lives? I refer to II Timothy 1:9, here:
He has saved us and called us
with a holy calling,
not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace,
which was given to us in Christ Jesus
before time began.

It’s kind of hard to speak against what’s in the Bible, wouldn’t you say?

    Rick Patrick

    Rhonwyn,

    Thank you for engaging this discussion. Books have been written discussing Calvinism vs. Traditionalism. We distributed three such books at a recent conference I was privileged to host. I assure you, for every verse you cite, we can cite verses as well. It devolves into a Bible Drill Tug of War…and is beside the point of the present topic.

    I am not writing here to address the theological topic of Calvinism. I am writing to address whether or not there exists, in the SBC today, an inappropriate and unbalanced favoring of one viewpoint over against the other. It seems to me that Calvinism is the minority viewpoint in our churches, but the majority viewpoint (and in some cases, the EXCLUSIVE viewpoint) being promoted in many of our denominational ministries and events.

    I think our leadership in the SBC, in entities like the ERLC, conferences like Send NA, and in the publishing of books and Sunday School literature, should represent the theological positions held in our churches, in a fair and balanced manner. I am not making a theological argument; hence, no prooftexting of Bible verses. I am making a polity argument regarding fairness in representing all SBC views in a manner proportional to their embrace among the people of our convention; hence, the classification of our speakers and authors by their soteriological views.

      Rhonwyyn

      “for every verse you cite, we can cite verses as well.”
      Are you saying that the Bible contradicts itself? That doesn’t bode well for the SBC.

        Rick Patrick

        No, of course not. I’m saying that each side in a theological debate can point to verses in the Bible that support their viewpoint. The disagreement is not found in any kind of biblical contradiction, but rather in the individual interpretations of these verses by people on each side.

          Rhonwyyn

          So you’re saying that how we interpret the Bible depends on the reader, not the author? If both sides can quote verses to support their position, then either the Bible is contradicting itself or people are adapting/cherry-picking verses to fit their own predetermined philosophies. If we truly believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then shouldn’t it convey a unified message to those who study it intently?

            Andy

            You’re barking up the wrong tree here. Consider:

            1. Christians disagree on stuff.
            2. There ARE (whether some want to admit it or not) verses and passages, that upon first reading, might lead one toward either Determinism, or free-will, or somewhere in between.
            3. There are also passages that might lead different people to different conclusions on other issues (church polity, eschatology, roles of women, age of the earth, etc.) Some of these disagreements, to some people, are seen as more serious than others.
            4. Some of these disagreements can easily be traced to a sinfully-motivated bias: A man who leaves his wife because “God wants him to be happy” is very obviously not viewing God’s word with a holy intent.
            5. HOWEVER, I don’t believe EVERY disagreement can be traced to overt sinful motivations. We live under the curse, our minds, reasoning, and abilities are limited by the fall. Yes, this is an effect of sin, but we cannot say someone definitively: “If you believe in dispensationalism, you need to repent.” I believe the same can be said of one’s viewpoint on election.
            6. YES, one of these groups is wrong. Yes, The bible does convey a unified message that when understood correctly will leave no room for alternate meanings, Yes, in a perfect world, all who study Scripture honestly would arrive at exactly the same conclusions. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and so different sinners saved by grace see things differently. We will know who was right one day on all these issues, but for now, it is not wrong for a Christian to point to the Bible and say, “This is what I believe it means.” Even if others disagree. We are called to correct each other in gentleness. Some of those attempting to do the correcting will likely be wrong, which is why we should all correct each other humbly rather than in attack mode.

            volfan007

            Rhonwyyn,

            First of all, is that your real name? Just wondering. Interesting name.

            Secondly, here’s an example of what Rick is saying. The Bible states, “”The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).” Okay, a Traditionalist Baptist would say that God really does want to save everybody on the planet…that He really does want to save everyone….that God wants all to come to repentance. Okay? While a Calvinist would interpret this same verse to mean that God is patient, in that He wants ALL the Elect to come to repentance….that the ALL used in this verse would really mean, “All of the Elect.”

            Now then, the disagreement would be over interpretation of the Scripture. There is no contradiction of the Scripture. It would simply be the interpretation of the passage. In fact, the disagreement is not over an essential, fundamental truth of the Bible. But rather, the disagreement would be over a non-essential doctrine…over who it is that God really, truly wants to save. We say that God really does want to save everyone….that “all” means ALL. The Calvinists would say that “all” means only the Elect.

            David

              Rhonwyyn

              If it’s a nonessential doctrine, then why was this blog post even published? I don’t understand why someone (the OP) and his readers would spend so much time and energy discussing something that has little relevance in the grand scheme of things.

                Lydia

                “If it’s a nonessential doctrine, then why was this blog post even published? I don’t understand why someone (the OP) and his readers would spend so much time and energy discussing something that has little relevance in the grand scheme of things.”

                God as a “determinist” has little relevance in the grand scheme of things?

                volfan007

                Rhonwyyn,

                Just because something is non-essential, doesn’t it mean it’s not important. Believer’s Baptism by Immersion is non-essential, but it is still very important to me and a bunch of others. In other words, to believe in sprinkling, or pouring, rather than immersing will not send a person to Hell. But, to believe in anything other than Believer’s baptism by immersion is an error. So, it’s not essential to believe in immersion, but it is important.

                David

              Randall Cofield

              Volfan,

              Greetings, brother. Quick question:

              In the verse you cited above, who does Peter say God is longsuffering toward?

              Grace to you.

Lydia

“It’s kind of hard to speak against what’s in the Bible, wouldn’t you say?”

It depends on your filter. If you read scripture through a determinist lens it is going be totally different if you read it through a free will lens. That is why arguing proof texts is a fruitless endeavor.

So your suggestion would mean for a Cavlinist to guard well Calvinist doctrine. That sort of thing.

Jared

1. Acting like Baptists have just in the past few decades magically turned “Calvinist” is rather ignorant. Baptists founded their beliefs on Calvin’s teachings.

2. What about David Jermiah, Billy Graham etc who so many “traditional” southern baptists act like they are 100% correct in their teachings? They are a man, just like Calvin, and also interpret things differently. Don’t condemn someone for believing Calvin’s teachings when SBC loyalists will go to bat for their heroes without even examining their beliefs through a Biblical lense.
3. Denominational loyalty has gotten so out of hand. So many get so butt hurt because the “SBC isn’t how it use to be,” or “They stole my seminary!” The fact of the matter is if you don’t agree with what is going on then change it or get out! People can sit and complain all day when they are too lazy to try and change something. How American of us to sit back and complain while we sit on our fat butts upset with how things are.
4. We as Christians in America need to examine how much of our theology is American and how much is Biblical. Just because Grandma and Grandpa said it doesn’t mean they were right! Read the Bible and decide for yourself. Once you come to a conclusion and can back it up with scripture, then decide which man-made, imperfect denomination fits you best.
At the end of the day we spend too much time arguing over what makes us feel uncomfortable and goes against our selfish, lazy and prideful American culture, than we do sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. I hope some day we can all sit and have wholesome, edifying conversation, and can decide to come together and share the Gospel, because whether you believe in election or not, people all over the world haven’t even heard of the name of Jesus, and that’s on us.

    Rick Patrick

    Hi Jared,

    Blessings, friend. Although we clearly disagree over most of these matters, your general tone and reference to a certain body part is illustrative of the kind of response I frequently get when I mention this growing feeling of marginalization. If it is any consolation to you, it seems to me that people who believe like you do are growing in their influence at the national level of the SBC, although I really do not see this strong Calvinistic influence at all among most state conventions, associations or local churches. I do agree with you, of course, that regardless of our view, we should be active and faithful to share Christ with a dying world. In that effort, although we disagree about certain matters, we are partners and brothers in the Lord. Again, many blessings upon you and your ministry.

Randall Cofield

Sounds like you need a “Traditionalist Resurgence.” Shouldn’t be too difficult to pull off with 80% of the Convention in your pocket.

    Rick Patrick

    Hi Randall,

    It’s been a while, friend. Let me clarify what I have intended to communicate. Yes, I believe 80% of the convention shares the same view of salvation doctrine that I do. No, I do NOT believe 80% of the convention is even aware of Calvinism generally, or of its growing presence in SBC life, or of the Gospel Coalition’s influence upon the SBC. They are also unaware of the lack of representation experienced by traditional Southern Baptists in the areas outlined in the original post. Thus, due to this lack of information, it is actually quite difficult to “pull off” anything.

    Having said that, let me also quickly add that I do not believe we are headed toward any kind of “Traditionalist Resurgence.” That would assume that Traditionalists wish to drive Calvinists out of the convention the way that moderates were driven away 30 years ago. I do not know anyone who really endorses that approach. Rather, we want to see “proportional representation” among our leadership, so that our SBC leaders are only as Calvinistic as our churches. I believe that would be an example of fair and just representation.

      Scott Shaver

      No desire to see neo-calvinism checked in the SBC “the way moderates were driven away 30 years ago.”

      Game, set, match to the children of the corn (Calvin) in that case.

      This element entered the CR wars hand in hand with fundamentalists (traditionlists) … both sides knowing full well what they (neo calvinists of the soverign grace stripe) wanted to happen in SBC seminaries and agencies.

      The representational numbers are moving in a direction which seem to suggest that traditionalists are already in the middle of being “driven away like moderates”.

      Go silently into the night with pleas for co-existence and equal representation? Good luck with that.

      Keith Miller

      This is coming from the same man that wanted to place stickers on curriculum he deemed too “Calvinistic.”

        Scott Shaver

        You must have me mistaken for a “millennial” Keith.

        Don’t do stickers, trinkets, or gold-plated shibboleths in the exercise of faith.

          Scott Shaver

          Will leave the “stickers”, both biblical and bumper, to you guys in the skinny jeans

          Keith Miller

          That was a response to Rick

            Scott Shaver

            Pardon my inadvertent response, but after looking at your comment to Rick, let’s just call it a comment on your comment.

        Lydia

        “This is coming from the same man that wanted to place stickers on curriculum he deemed too “Calvinistic.”

        Hmm. You know it is interesting to contemplate every SBC seminary having a requirement of education in Calvinism (determinism) and Non Calvinism (free will) with an MDiv. Both tracks would be required for graduation. But that would be “education” not indoctrination. (And my guess is that the Calvinist entities would insist they are already doing that)

          Keith Miller

          That would be fantastic. I would have loved learning about the bible (Calvinism) in seminary!

          (Please note the gentle use of sarcasm to lighten the mood of this overly tense blog)

        Rick Patrick

        Well, I do believe in accurately identifying one’s theological framework. Since 90% plus of the creative team for The Gospel Project is Calvinistic, what could be wrong with informing people of this fact? You seem to find some kind of hypocrisy or contradiction between my desire for “unity among those who disagree doctrinally” and “clarity concerning the theological viewpoint of curriculum writers.” I want BOTH unity AND clarity. Unity does not require that the doctrinal positions of writers be veiled at all.

          Keith Miller

          Have you read The Gospel Project? Best curriculum Lifeway produces.

            Rick Patrick

            Yes, and I beg to differ. Most of our church uses Explore the Bible. Its General Editors include David Jeremiah, Tony Evans, Jim Shaddix and others. There is no undercurrent of reformed thought among the leaders. Piper, Calvin, Augustine and Spurgeon are not liberally cited. Readers are not pointed to the podcasts of young Calvinist superstars. I believe it is much better than The Gospel Project. It may even outsell The Gospel Project, but I would have no way of knowing that, since the only statistics shared at the convention were for The Gospel Project, and not Explore the Bible or Bible Studies For Life.

              Keith Miller

              They only shared those stats because The Gospel Project is the best. Solid curriculum.

      Randall Cofield

      Rick,

      It has been a while, brother. I’m trying to discipline myself to follow this kerfuffle from afar. But I do have a question.

      You say that the 80% of SB are Traditionalists, and they are “unaware” of what is going on. Max says (and I quote) this 80% is “uninformed, misinformed, or willingly ignorant…apathetic..heck, they won’t even show up for prayer meetings.”

      While I’m sure many would be offended at yours and Max’s characterizations, I can’t help but ask the obvious question: THIS is the group who should be handed “proportional representation”?

      Really?

        Rick Patrick

        Traditionalists are much more engaged at the state convention, association and church level. They probably comprise the majority of our Disaster Relief Teams, our Brotherhoods and our WMU’s. It’s not that they lack theological sophistication. It’s that they never had to be bothered with the Calvinistic dictionary of terms and definitions. They probably would not speak of compatibilism, decretive will, monergism or the golden chain. But they are people, for the most part, who love Jesus, share their faith, support missions and probably deserve more respect than they are presently receiving. And yes, they deserve more representation because they are Southern Baptists too, and should not be set aside.

          Randall Cofield

          Rick,

          Brother, a point of clarification. You state: “Traditionalists are much more engaged at the state convention, association and church level.”

          More engaged than who? Calvinists?

          Maybe that’s not what you meant. If you mean they are more engaged at the church/association/state convention level than at the national convention level, perhaps this may be part of your problem?

          Grace to you.

    Max

    The problem with that 80% majority is that they are uninformed, misinformed, or willingly ignorant about the Calvinization of the largest non-Calvinist denomination in America. And in that apathetic state, we can’t budge them to resurge anything … heck, they won’t even show up for prayer meetings! Easy pickins’ for any theological shift … SBC’s New Calvinist leaders knew that.

    Lydia

    “Sounds like you need a “Traditionalist Resurgence.” Shouldn’t be too difficult to pull off with 80% of the Convention in your pocket.”

    First they would need to implement a covert takeover of the entities. Seminaries first. (They could constantly claim so and so is not a trad!) Then start partnering with many outside the SBC with trad like celebs to plant churches and do conferences.

    Who will be their John Piper?

Lydia

“We as Christians in America need to examine how much of our theology is American and how much is Biblical.”

And how much of it comes from the 16th Century interpretation of scripture. And I would prefer not to “go back” to our “founding” doctrines. I am very glad they evolved away from the caste system brand of Calvinism.

Calvinism is not “good news” for all.

    Max

    “Calvinism is not “good news” for all.”

    Indeed! “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL people” (Luke 2:10). Calvin’s gospel does not bring “great joy” to all people.

Greg Key

Mr Rick
First of I would like to say that I am sorry you feel this way. I am sorry that you feel leadership you have invested in have let you down. I am not a “Senior Pastor”, and I am not reformed. So hopefully my comments will be seen as unbiased.

1. I wish people would stop calling Reformed Baptist “Calvinists”. John Calvin believed in baptizing babies. Last I checked, none of my Reformed Baptist brothers baptized babies.
2. You call yourself a “Traditionalist”. Yet Baptist heritage has always been both reformed and non-reformed. At the outset, we have always had General Baptist (Not Reformed) and Particular Baptist (Reformed). Throughout time, both parties have sustained incredible impact on their communities.
3. This doctrine is not what defines us as Baptist. Believer’s Baptism by immersion, and the autonomy of the local church is what defines us as Baptist.
So, my appeal to you Brother is to pray for our churches and join together with others regardless of reformed or not reformed, Baptist or not Baptist. If you feel the material LifeWay is producing is contrary to Scripture, don’t use it. The beauty of being “Baptist” means our churches can do whatever we feel is right for our congregation to honor the Lord.

I have a very deep desire to see us come back together again for the real fight – which isn’t reformed vs non-reformed!

    Rick Patrick

    Hi Greg,

    Thank you for your sympathy. Let me clarify that the only way our leadership has let me down is by not including, in a proportional manner, more of the people whose theology lines up with the majority of the convention. I think, in many areas, we are doctrinally out of balance. I will reply to each of your numbered items.

    1. Here I am in a no-win situation. When I have used the term “reformed” in the past, certain Calvinists have urged me to use nomenclature that is exactly the opposite of your recommendation. Sorry, but I just can’t win on this one.

    2. Have you ever heard of a “Traditional” worship service at a church? Chances are they are referring to music popular from 1950-1980, hymns and Gaither songs and Sandi Patti. (Google her.) Our Traditionalist doctrine was shared among most Southern Baptists during this time. I agree with everything in your historical assessment here. There is nothing about the term Traditionalism that denies anything you have said. We have always had these two streams. For a more detailed analysis of Traditionalism, please see: http://connect316.net/aWhyTraditionalism.

    3. I agree with you that salvation doctrine does not define us as Baptists. Nevertheless, I believe it is important that the views of our leadership line up with that of our membership. It is an important doctrine, but no one is insisting on complete uniformity. What I am arguing for is not uniformity, but proportionality. And by the way, since you brought up the importance of believer’s baptism, would you believe that some churches today are accepting as members by statement those who have merely been baptized by sprinkling at another church? One example of this is the Village Church, led by Pastor Matt Chandler. To be clear, he does not sprinkle, but he accepts those who have been sprinkled elsewhere. I am curious…when you say that baptism by immersion “defines” us as Baptists, do you believe that churches who do not require immersion should therefore be considered outside of Baptist life? If so, I think I might agree with you there. Perhaps Village Church should not really be considered SBC.

    Finally, your appeal that we join together is one in which we are in complete agreement. I am not seeking to fight over these matters in the least. I hope I can raise concerns without being considered a “fighter” or a “sower of discord.” That’s not my heart in the least. You also mentioned something about me believing LifeWay was producing literature contrary to Scripture, which was never an assertion I made anywhere in my article. I think all three curricula are biblical. I simply believe that ONE of the three curricula is produced by a creative team that is dominated by Calvinists, while the other two curricula are not, and I observed that the one produced by the Calvinists was receiving the lion’s share of the promotional time.

      Scott Shaver

      Rick:

      Like it or not, since 1979 the Southern Baptist Convention as a denominational entity has operated more consistently with Sun Tzu’s Art of War as opposed to “The Bible”.

      150-200 years is not very long time frame from which to assume that hyper-calvinism and traditional “Southern Baptist” theologies are compatible enough with each other to coexist in denominational harmony. Especially when you consider that the high Calvinistic influence at work in the early days of the SBC waned accross its subsequent history until recently.

      Based on this recent “revival of Calvinism” among the young, I do not see any present indicators which point to the possibility of these two religious mindsets coexisting. Nor has concrete historical evidence regarding the SBC yet been presented to prove that they’ve always coexisted. I see, across the SBCs history, a lot of new “associations” being formed or “dying off” ….many times based on riffs between general baptist sentiment and 5-point calvinist authoritarianism.

      I say in the new SBC they will coexist only as long as it takes for one side to choke the other out.

      Keith Miller

      If you’re not seeking to fight over this matter, why do you constantly bring it up? It would seem that you’re obsessed with a make-believe monster under the bed. If you would like, I can come over and check for Calvinist hiding under your bed.

        volfan007

        Keith,

        Is your sarcasm really needed? Is your attempt to marginalize Rick and those, who believe like him, really a good thing to do?

        David

          Scott Shaver

          With all due respect Keith:

          This coming from a guy who throws more rhetoric around online than Carter has liver pills?

          Is it sarcasm or a smattering of truth that unnerves you?

          Keith Miller

          Absolutely.

        Scott Shaver

        Don’t have to check for “Calvinists under my bed” there Keith. I’ve already fed them to my Schnauzer (which also has no teeth).

        Lydia

        “If you’re not seeking to fight over this matter, why do you constantly bring it up? It would seem that you’re obsessed with a make-believe monster under the bed. If you would like, I can come over and check for Calvinist hiding under your bed.”

        Gaslighting straw men. That movement has all the tactics ingrained.

        Save you some time, Keith. Here is a link to the Luther insulter:
        http://ergofabulous.org/luther/

        Some good old fashioned Reformed insults! :o)

          Keith Miller

          Reformed insults are great. We need fewer sensitive men.

            Lydia

            I figured you would like it. :o) Yes, the world needs more Mark Driscoll types. That is why he was so popular with the young men. Insults for Jesus!

        Rick Patrick

        Seriously? The only matters one brings up on a regular basis are matters one wishes to fight over? I bring up the gospel regularly. I talk college football. Politics. The latest movies. There is no obsession here or call for a fight, just a desire for proportional representation in SBC life. I think we are being marginalized, and I’d like it to stop. When it stops, I’ll stop talking about it. But I’m not fighting.

          Keith Miller

          You’re not being marginalized.

    Andy

    Greg, I share some of your desire for co-laboring, but If I may disagree with some of your reasoning…

    1. I don’t think the labels of “reformed” and “calvinist” are the problem. Because (a) Many Baptists refer to THEMSELVES as calvinists, just like spurgeon did. They do so describing only soteriology, and most people know what they mean…in fact some people in past decades would call themselves calvinists based ONLY on the fact that they believed in eternal security… (b) Even “reformed” is not a good substitute, because presbyterians would say that baptists are NOT fully reformed, since they reject infant baptism and the presbrytry, (c) even “Reformed Baptist” is a specific moniker that describes a church that not only embraces calvin’s soteriology, but also elder leadership, covenant theology, and a somewhat more narrow view of the regulative principle than most of the YRR crowd today.

    2. I agree somewhat with your point that Traditionalist/traditionalism was not the best choice of terms for this movement to take on. Perhaps in time, it will come to be more widely recognized. For now, as you say, it ignores PART of SBC tradition, even if a minority part.

    3. Would you make this same argument if there was a widespread promotion of Charismatic belief sweeping though the leadership structures of the SBC? If several seminaries seemed to wholy embrace it, and most new entity heads embraced it as well, and much of the literature being promoted was by charismatic baptists, as well as non-baptist charismatics? It seems a similar analogy, since our BFM says nothing against or for sign gifts, and there have likely been minorities of SBC churches that practice them over the last 100 years. Would you say if such a thing happened, that more “traditional” SBCers should say nothing?

Greg Key

Pastor Rick
Thank You for actually reading and responding to my post! I apologize if I misrepresented any of your statements. Believe it or not, I also desire a denomination that embraces the diversity of this and has equal leadership. Clearly I don’t know as many of the leadership you know. My distant perspective kind of thinks the leadership is diverse, but I recognize I haven’t serve as long as you have or at the level you have. My prayer is that both perspectives would have “equal time”. Thanks for posting the article.

Andy – Thanks too for reading and posting.

Ray Wilkins

Until Non-Cals take academics and theological education serious and start producing academic works there will always be a disparity. As a student at Union University in the early 90’s the Non-Cals were focused on getting a piece of paper so they could move up the church ladder while the Cals were off reading the weightier theological works. When one looks at all the good critical-commentaries and Systematic Theologies they are almost all by Cals in part because they are the ones dedicating themselves to higher academic work.

Scott Shaver

Ah yes…..good solid Christianity is absolutely dependent upon “weightier theological works”.

That’s why Paul counted academics as DUNG when compared to that which was spiritually revealed to him in Christ.

    Ray Wilkins

    Paul was an extremely well educated man. Acts 17 is proof of that!

      Scott Shaver

      Exactly my point. And he compared it (Education/Academia) to steaming fresh bull droppings in the light of spiritual revelation.

        Ray Wilkins

        Actually what he compared to dung was academic knowledge that didn’t have the cross as its starting point.

          Scott Shaver

          Good try Ray…..but the little self-imposed twist on context gives you away.

            Ray Wilkins

            have you ever read 1 Corinthians? Paul does not disparage wisdom, just wisdom that does not begin with the cross.

              Scott Shaver

              Read it many times Ray.

              Again ……exactly the reason Paul listed his academic accomplishments, to establish the fact that he was highly educated …..in “theology”, “wisdom”, “zeal for Judasim” (however you want to define earthly wisdom and religious sincerity) right before he turned around and counted his own intellectual prowess and capacity (“wisdom”) as cow cookies when compared to the things he realized through spiritual revelation in Christ.

              “The Cross” is a great place to hide from sin, Ray …. but not such a good place to hide from the text.

              If Paul was not “disparaging” education’s ability to ever spiritually apprehend the nature, attributes and source of ultimate truth….I don’t know what “disparagement” looks or sounds like and you have my apology.

                Ray Wilkins

                He is saying that (the worlds) knowledge and wisdom is rubbish compared to knowing Christ. But when knowing Christ and the power of the cross is ones starting point, then knowledge and wisdom are a positive. I happen to think that many biblical scholars have been guided by the HS in their works. As I would hope every preacher who steps in the pulpit is guided as well.

                  Scott Shaver

                  Ray:

                  I agree that many “biblical” scholars and preachers have been guided by the HS in their works. An equal and proportionate truth is that many have not been so led.

      Lydia

      “Paul was an extremely well educated man. Acts 17 is proof of that!”

      Oh yes. His Pharsetical education was really important to the Gentiles. (Wink)

        Ray Wilkins

        It appears that his education went well beyond the typical education of a Pharisee. Most Pharisees would be ignorant of Greek philosophers and poets.

          Scott Shaver

          That’s a curious hypothesis. Why would MOST HIGHLY EDUCATED Pharisees (subjects of Rome by the way) be ignorant of Greek Philosophers and poets?

            Ray Wilkins

            Because the typical education for a Pharisee focused on the Torah and the Oral Tradition. They would not have concerned themselves with the works of Pagans. Particularly lesser known pagans.

              Lydia

              “They would not have concerned themselves with the works of Pagans. Particularly lesser known pagans”

              Oh my what a narrow view considering the influence of Greek culture on the Diaspora.

              In any case, Paul grew up in Tarsus, a sort of crossroads trading route that had been heavily infused with Greek poets and philosophers.

                Andrew Barker

                “In Him we live and move and have our being …..” “for we also our His children” Paul quoting Greek poets/philosophers, or did he just make it up on the spot?

                Guess he didn’t understand gnostic heresy then either? ;-)

                Ray Wilkins

                Exactly! Paul was highly educated.

    Mary

    The peasants should really learn to pay attention to their betters a/k/a the “high priests” who will dictate how the Bible should be interpretated. Wasn’t it Driscoll who told his congregation not to do word studies on their own. How dare the little people think the Bible can be read without “academic works.”

      Ray Wilkins

      I have no idea what you are talking about Mary since the original post was focusing on “why so many books by Calvinists.” Truth is, they are the ones writing the books. Sure you can read the bible for yourself, but there are some things, without deeper study, you will remain ignorant of. So thank God for academics who help us bridge the gap between the Ancient World and ours. Unless you think the bible was written in English to a Post-Enlightenment audience. If that’s the case I really can’t help you. But thank God for all those academics who did translate it into English for us and had to make academic and theological decisions as to word choice.

        Lydia

        “I have no idea what you are talking about Mary since the original post was focusing on “why so many books by Calvinists.” Truth is, they are the ones writing the books. ”

        Thanks Crossway! And they are very good at promoting each others books at each others conferences.

        How many reading here own CJ’s academic work on humility? Or, Driscoll’s scholarly works?

          Mary

          If Calvinist publishers are publishing Calvinist “academics” that are bought by Calvinists than that must mean there are no nonCalvinist “academics.” And if the SBC is only pushing Calvinists authors through the books it showcases at the convention and through the Gospel Project which links to Calvinists for futher reading well that too means nonCalvinists are not writing anything. Perfect logic if your Calvinist and if not you’re too dumb to get logic anyway so sit down and don’t hurt your brain trying to think.

        Lydia

        “Sure you can read the bible for yourself, but there are some things, without deeper study, you will remain ignorant of. So thank God for academics who help us bridge the gap between the Ancient World and ours. Unless you think the bible was written in English to a Post-Enlightenment audience”

        Sadly for you, most of that is free now and only a click away for those willing to invest the time. There is a reason the clergy did not want people to be able to read scripture on their own. Same thinking. Different time.

          Scott Shaver

          Lydia:

          Further confirmation of the truth of your statement lies in the fact that most seminaries now do online education and compressed interactive video to retain their matriculating baselines. Undergraduate schools at what were traditionally graduate schools only…..same goal of retention.

          Ray Wilkins

          I have always encouraged people to read their bibles, you are creating a straw-man argument largely with yourself. But I guess since we don’t need trained teachers and pastors we can consider Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 12:28-29 to be outdated.

            Lydia

            “I have always encouraged people to read their bibles, you are creating a straw-man argument largely with yourself. But I guess since we don’t need trained teachers and pastors we can consider Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 12:28-29 to be outdated.”

            Or perhaps John is outdated too?

            26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

            Or dare we say, Jesus? Here is what he had to say about the “religious leaders” of His time in Matthew 23?

            Be careful about exalting your function in the Body as the interpreter for others who “cannot understand” unless YOU teach them.

            Mary

            So people can read the Bible for themselves but they just can’t understand it without the help of “academics.” The reason why Calvinists think that’s true is because when people just read the Bible they don’t find Calvinism – Calvinism needs the help of “academics” forced back into the Bible. Look at how theology has developed through history – where there were State Churches enforcing “correct doctrine” than Calvinism flourished but when people got away from the State Churches and all they had was a Bible and the Holy Spirit Calvinism went by the wayside. Calvinism has to be taught. That’s why “academics” are so necessary.

              Ray Wilkins

              I am not a Calvinist. Second, the bible from the Apostolic period onward has always been read in the context of the body of Christ.

            Scott Shaver

            It’s not that we don’t need em Ray.

            Just ain’t bowing to them nor their parabiblical creeds, strange doctrines and experiments in social engineering.

        Scott Shaver

        Where in the 66 books of the cannon does it indicate that “without deeper theological study” a Christian has limited access to the truth, wisdom, and guidance conveyed by the Holy Spirit? Methinks “Much learning (or at least a fascination with academia) hath made thee mad”.

      Max

      So much for “priesthood of the believer” and “soul competency.” Regarding “academic works”, education doesn’t produce one ounce of revelation. It’s by the Spirit, thus saith the Lord.

        Mary

        No Max, priesthood of the believer has now become priesthood of believer(S). Which means that there have to be high priests to declare us “ignorant” of really important things and thus incapable of fully understanding anything about anything to do with the Bible. It’s not scripture alone illuminated by the work of the Holy Spirit – it’s scripture, plus a bunch of “academic works” and high priests, no Holy Spirit needed since our betters are here to tell us how simple we are thinking we can just read the Bible.

          Max

          “… priesthood of believer(S) …”

          Yes, Mary, a subtle shift in BFM2000 terminology that the masses missed. Referring to that doctrine as plural (believers), rather than singular (believer) essentially rejects a long-held Baptist distinctive of the priesthood of each individual believer and replaces it with a more reformed perspective. A willful, individual, personal experience with Christ redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb which accesses grace by faith gets lost in all the mumbo-jumbo points focused on an approved belief system. Diminishing the importance of “the priesthood of the believer” and “soul competency” changes everything in regard to the Southern Baptist identity I have known for over 60 years. Jesus came to work through individuals, not institutions! The institution we call “church” is OK if it is reaching lost individual with the Cross and message of Christ, and then equipping them to do the work of the ministry together. That is the true Body of Christ. The non-Calvinist mind says that is what we are doing, but so does the Calvinist. Thus, our dilemma under the big SBC tent these days.

          Les Prouty

          Max, you said, “Referring to that doctrine as plural (believers), rather than singular (believer) essentially rejects a long-held Baptist distinctive of the priesthood of each individual believer and replaces it with a more reformed perspective.”

          Serious question my brother. How do you define each of these different positions?

          Thanks.

        Ray Wilkins

        It has always been Priesthood of the Believers. This reflects the biblical focus on community rather than individuality. We do not read the bible as individuals but as the body of Christ.

          Lydia

          “It has always been Priesthood of the Believers. This reflects the biblical focus on community rather than individuality. We do not read the bible as individuals but as the body of Christ.”

          We do not read the bible as individuals? Huh? Are you sure you did not mean to write: You ignorant pew peon must let us interpret it for you in the Body.. Don’t you dare believe the Holy Spirit can illuminate its truths to YOU. Reminds me of the horrible translation of 1 Corin 14 which ignores Paul’s admonition to the person who was basically quoting the Talmud:.

          36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

          Nice try, Ray. We are individual saved people coming together as priests.

            Ray Wilkins

            Once you are saved you are a part of a corporate body and no longer an individual. Individualism would have been completely foreign to the original audience.

              Scott Shaver

              Haaa!….as if you were there taking notes late first century?

              Scott Shaver

              Hey Ray:

              Why didn’t somebody share your views on “individualism” with Luther before Wittenburg so we wouldn’t be having these arguments now and Calvin would never have appeared?

              “Soul Competency” is/was an “axiom” in “Southern Baptist” faith and practice long before Mohler was even a prototype for YRR, slinging propaganda as a newsletter editor.

              Andrew Barker

              Ray Wilkins: May I just ask a question regarding your understanding of election? Do you think we are elected individually or corporately and when does this election take place?

                Ray Wilkins

                I beleive election is corporate.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Ray, if you believe election is corporate, when are people actually counted as elect and what does elect mean in those circumstances? I ask this because if ‘the elect’ equates to those who are saved, then are they saved from before the foundation of the world?

                  From my perspective, election has to involve an individual choice to join a corporate body. ( I suspect that there is some confusion over form and function on your part here. )

                  Your assertion that we lose our individuality when we are part of the body of Christ is way off beam. It is only when we as individuals function properly that the body works properly. Each member relating to the Head which is not some guru pastor but Christ. We never lose our individuality and each one of us is going to have to account for the things ‘we’ have done.

                    Ray Wilkins

                    God, in my understanding ( Cf. Wolfhart Pannenberg)) elected a people from before the foundation of the world. I choose, by a response of faith, to be a part of that people. Once I become a part of the body I am now identified through that corporate people and not as a lone individual. Just like when I chose to get married I became one-flesh with my wife and took on a whole new, corporate, identity. I think much of our emphasis on individualism is part of the Americanization of Christianity. People of the ANE saw themselves as existing within a corporate dynamic.

                  Andrew Barker

                  If you were elected, before the foundation of the world, as a group of people perhaps you should consider adopting corporate salvation? Why the need for any individual response? Come to that, why the need for any response if it’s all done and dusted?

                    Ray Wilkins

                    Corpprate election and individual salvation seems to be what the bible teaches. Why it is that way is not for me to say.

                  Jim P

                  Ray,

                  You are right, it is a corporate thing. To see it otherwise is a very Corinthean Church thing, I’m of Rogers, I’m of Piper. There is a place for distinction and individuals but God is building, ONE People, and those distinction should contribute toward building the ONE People.

                  “I would that they were one as the Father and I are one.”

                  And You are correct, America, particularly the mid-west, is always ready to fight if you say otherwise and even if you don’t say otherwise.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Jim P: “You are right, it is a corporate thing.” These terms all need clarifying because Ray will go away with one idea and may well have another in your mind. This is why I mentioned that there is confusion over the term elect which is used in different grammatical ways.

                    Election is by its nature ‘corporate’ which is one of the reasons I don’t use the phrase corporate election. It’s a tautology as far as I’m concerned. So when we are saved we are as it is termed ‘in Him’ and therefore we are elect in Him. But where people go wrong (IMO) is that they confuse being chosen in Him with being individually elected into Him “before the foundation of the world.” Reformed theology will try and convince you that this state of being ‘elect’ is one of not being saved but guaranteed to be saved. They will probably allude to the verse I’ve just used but that’s not what it says. ‘The elect’ ARE saved and guaranteed their inheritance therefore it’s not possible to square that fact with anybody being elect before they are born or indeed before the world came into being. If you can find a passage which indicates that God’s elect are not saved, please let me know. Seriously!

                    Salvation is an individual, personal matter between the person and God. Being part of the body of Christ is a corporate function, but even then we function as individual units within the body. We are all priests aren’t we? There is no pecking order either. We relate to the one High Priest who is Jesus.

                    What I think Ray is trying to argue, is that the selection for election is done on a corporate basis ie all the elect are chosen as a group beforehand. The members of that group then have to respond as individuals who are then placed ‘again’ into the group called ‘the elect’. I don’t think this is supported in scripture.

                    Being ‘chosen in Him’ is a way of explaining that God’s plan was/is that all those who come to faith will become one of the elect and as such share all the privileges associated with that election. It is not a prior selection of those who are in and those who are definitely out!

                    Andrew Barker

                    Jim P: I totally agree with the ONE People concept. But that doesn’t mean our salvation is anything other than an individual matter.

                    Jim P

                    Andrew,

                    I appreciate your point of view. I think that ‘unity’ character is lost too easily.

                    Thanks for you note.

              Lydia

              “Once you are saved you are a part of a corporate body and no longer an individual. Individualism would have been completely foreign to the original audience”

              Now you sound like Trotsky. Which makes sense. Calvinism is totalitarian in nature.

          mary

          I don’t know what “it” you’re referring to but the BFM was changed in 2000 from priesthood of THE believer to priesthood of believer(s). Maybe you’ve got a mouse in your pocket when you read the Bible but when I read it – it’s me and the Holy Spirit unless I’m in cooperate worship/study and even then it’s my soul the Holy Spirit is working on and my responsibility to harken to the Spirit or not – the group doesn’t have responsibility for me before God – I stand alone.

            Ray Wilkins

            I mean Priesthood of the Believers has always been just that. In its Perrine context it is plural. When Martin Luther spoke of it as part of the Protestant Reformation (the first to do so), he did so in corporate, not singular terms. When Baptists first used it they did so in terms of Believers. It is only through the influence of Classical Liberalism that it became Priesthood of the Believer.

          Scott Shaver

          Ray:

          Either you’ve not been a Southern Baptist very long or you intentionally misrepresent what you don’t know about the history of this organization.

          The doctrine of soul competency was, until Mohler et al started toying with the BFM, articulated and defined as “Priesthood of THE BELIEVER”.

          The Bible focuses on “community” where it addresses community, it focuses on the individual where the individual is the subject of instruction.

          You and your pals may not read the bible as individuals but the majority of Christians do. The Bible contains both individual and communal instruction.

          The idea that scripture cannot be read/understood individually apart from the collective is part of Mohler “neo-orthodoxy” meant to dispell any question or crticism of Southern Baptist leaders and constantly changing creeds.

          Sell that one (community) in this context to the Air Force. Don’t think anybody here with baptist blood left in their veins is buying it.

            Ray Wilkins

            I have been a Southern Baptist since my conversion and I am quite well informed on Soul Competency. Soul Competency, as Mullins first expressed the term, has to do with salvation and only salvation (have you actually read Mullins?). Priesthood of the Believers has to do with how we live after conversion and Southern baptists did not invent the phrase, “Priesthood of the Believers.” If you really understood SBC history, you would know that it was the Moderates (Liberals) who changed the meaning of the doctrine of Priesthood of the Believers in order to justify their un-baptistic positions.

              Scott Shaver

              Yes. Any self-respecting Southern Baptist should have read Mullins and not listened to Mohler.

              I prefer the individualism of Mullins to the religious aristocracy of you, Mohler and your pals. Mullins was trashed by your ilk, still is.

              Don’t take it personal…….just take it away to somebody else who might give credibility to your argument :)

      Scott Shaver

      Mary:

      Or as my old friend SnagglePuss would say: “UNDERSTOOD EVEN !”

Ken

I’d like to suggest that all SBCers adopt my approach (I recently denounced my SBC membership because of the growing influence of Calvinism in the convention) and recognize that Satan must be jumping for joy at what he has been able to accomplish in deflating the influence of the greatest missionary organization since the early apostolic movement, using this Calvinist resurgence, and he surely realizes that there will never be peace and unity, and thus, effective ministry, forthcoming from the SBC as long as he can keep this Calvinism movement active. So, the only way to reverse this huge satanic victory is for SBC Traditionalists to politely and lovingly ask the Calvinists to leave the SBC and form their own convention. It should be noted that when the liberals departed the SBC in the 70’s and 80’s the dire consequences that were predicted were only temporary and the convention recovered quickly and moved forward, exceeding its previous witness.

All one needs to do is review the SBC’s own statistics which show that only a small % of the 16+ million SBC members attend a weekly worship service in their church, that membership has suffered a deep decline over the past ten years, and that baptisms have experienced a severe drop-off in recent times to realize that people are just fed up with the current leadership of SBC agencies and entities and, like myself, have decided to quit rather than fight.

Thank God, there are many independent churches around which are standing firm for His Word and choose not to fellowship with unbelievers of God’s Word.

The false unity and peace and political correctness which is constantly being declared by the SBC “leadership” so strongly promoted by Fred Luter and Frank Page, is fooling no one except those SBC leaders who are totally out of step with most SBC members and, coincidentally, with the Word of God.

I had been a SBC member for over 65 years and have never seen the SBC in such a sorry state. The anti-liberal movement in the 70’s was a piece of cake compared to this Calvinist threat.

    Scott Shaver

    Ditto Ken:

    And there you have it.

    Keith Miller

    Surely you’re not suggesting that a growing number of “Calvinists” is an act of Satan. If so, you’re blind. It is quite unfortunate how this secondary issue has become the golden calf of doctrine for so many. It’s no wonder our convention is in constant decline as we focus our eyes on conspiracy theories rather than Christ.

      Lydia

      “It is quite unfortunate how this secondary issue has become the golden calf of doctrine for so many”

      How can it be “secondary” when the President of one of our seminary’s said it was the only place to go if you want to see the nations rejoice for Christ?

      The Neo Cals in the SBC are the ones who made it “primary” by contending that Calvinism is the Gospel and they must return the SBC its roots: The “true’ Gospel.

      We do understand that gaslighting and rewriting the narrative is happening now. We will all have to die off before your rewritten narrative will work again.

        Keith Miller

        This narrative has existed since the foundations of the baptist church. It’s not new.

        To the first point, Calvinism is not a closed-handed issue that should be of primary importance. Btw, I’m one of those scary “Calvinist” you’ve heard about and I do not believe Calvinism is a primary doctrine.

          Robert

          Keith,

          You said of Calvinism that: “I’m one of those scary “Calvinist’ you’ve heard about and I do not believe Calvinism is a primary doctrine.”

          First you are not one of those so-called “scary Calvinists” if you view Calvinism as a secondary issue, for the “scary” ones it **is** a primary doctrine, so primary as to do whatever is necessary to promote and protect it to the point of declaring those who think differently as promoting a “false gospel”, not the true Gospel that these Calvinists promote.

          Second, last time I checked Calvinism deals with issues pertaining to salvation (Including = how God elects people, whom God desires to save, the nature of the atonement that saves, how a person is saved through irresistible grace. etc.):

          So are salvation issues NOT a PRIMARY doctrine???

      Jim P

      Keith, the word is not ‘blind’ it is ‘bitter’. Bitterness causes blindness but bitterness is the source and looks to spread itself even more than calvinism does.

      Hebrews 12:15

      Scott Shaver

      I can’t agree with you about “churches missing the mark” unless I know how many you are actually intimately familiar with Daniel. Certainly not a representative sample large enough to be described as “far to many that miss the mark”.

      Who’s “mark”…Your “mark”?….God’s “mark”? If God’s….what exactly does the mark look like? Does it look like something you define based on your limited experience in a limited number of churches or is God’s “mark” for local churches something completely different altogether than what you perceive or insist.

      It’s a loaded question.

      Scott Shaver

      Went back and checked previous comments Keith. “Act of Satan” are your words alone…..bait and switch, another tactic neo-calvinists and their pop gurus like to employ.

        Keith Miller

        If you’ll read the first paragraph of the post I responded to it should clarify the matter. Please note that I didn’t quote the previously mentioned post (we use this funny symbols to denote a quotation “”””””””), but I summarized and asked a question. Crazy.

      Ken

      Keith Miller:

      Call me blind if it suits you but as far as I am concerned my vision is 20/20 when it comes to defining the source and power of Calvinism.

        Keith Miller

        Yea, you’re wrong.

Lydia

Now we have the Driscoll insulter with

http://driscollize.me/

Driscoll’s insults from his books and MH message boards. And to think the SBC helped fund his Acts 29 church plants with his DNA all over them from boot camps and such. The SBC YRR idolized him.

linda

Points of fact: this SBC since 1968 person left already. Not only do I believe hyper Calvinism is a different religion altogether than Biblical Christianity, I got sick and tired of the only SBC game in town, the local Calvinist one, constantly proclaiming 3 things: 1. If you disagree and divide over this you are evil. 2. People in the pew just don’t know the difference between Calvinist and non Calvinist theology. 3. People in the pew don’t know because they just are not intellectually bright enough to understand Calvinism, or they would be Calvinists.

Balderdash! Found a Biblical church, non SBC, left, and not looking back.

    Keith Miller

    Cool. You’re points of “Calvinist” churches are not the norm, but cool.

    Max

    “Balderdash!”

    Linda, you provide a great Biblical word that describes my sentiments as well! ;^)

    My SBC tenure goes back to the 1950s. Thousands are beginning to feel just as you as they see the Southern Baptist Convention they have known drift in belief and practice. Of course that church you left probably quoted Scripture to you like “They went out from among us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have surely remained with us” … and they would be right!! You didn’t leave the SBC; it left you!

    At this point, I’m probably done but just ain’t quit yet. Speaking of being done, there is a great piece on one of the fastest growing segments of Christendom called the “Dones” over at http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/06/22/the-dones-faithful-church-refugees-and-the-dechurched-project/

linda

We are seeing a rise here in “Bush Baptists” and it has nothing to do with Republican politics.

“Bush” is a term for those who live remote in extremely low population areas. Those folks get together for church in a living room sans clergy. Or denomination.

We are not that remote, but many former SBC are “Bush Baptists” still doing traditional southern Baptist worship, just without the organization.

J

Have we forgot that the very first seminary in the SBC was founded by Calvinist. That was in 1859. If anything the traditional view of the SBC could lean Calvinistic from the seminary starting point.

    Rick Patrick

    The term Traditional can mean a variety of things. The SBC began in 1845. There were BOTH theological Calvinists AND Traditionalists present at that time. By the 1900’s, Calvinism waned. It is not necessary to label the earliest Baptist position as the “traditional” one. Which position has the majority of Southern Baptists (all time) believed? Since most Southern Baptists became SBC in the 20th Century, I believe many, many more have held to the Mullins-Hobbs-Rogers tradition than the Boice-Mohler-Dever tradition. For a more thorough discussion: http://connect316.net/aWhyTraditionalism

    Lydia

    “Have we forgot that the very first seminary in the SBC was founded by Calvinist. That was in 1859. If anything the traditional view of the SBC could lean Calvinistic from the seminary starting point.”

    On the eve of the Civil War and all that led up to it and the reason for the SBC’s founding. But the determinist god of Calvinism did not allow the slavers/confederate to win. It takes people quite a bit of time for their thinking/beliefs to evolve and we see that focus on determinism to start waning in the SBC over the decades after. For good reason. It is a good thing to admit: We were wrong. Broadus relates in his bio of Boyce that he saw slavery as God bringing them captives to disciple. (God doing evil to bring good—very Calvinistic thinking–very authoritarian thinking. God as Stalin for ideological purposes)

    Now that our culture is becoming more and more authoritarian with a more oligarchical government, Calvinism fits right in with that bent. The entire foundation of Calvin’s ST and modus operandi is deterministic and authoritarian.

    Max

    “Have we forgot that the very first seminary in the SBC was founded by Calvinist. That was in 1859.”

    And isn’t it just like God to forgive us of that poor theological start, along with the slave-holding sins of the founders, and give the denomination a second chance! It took our ancestors 50 years to stop preaching reformed theology and focus on the precious story of the Cross and whosoever will message of Christ for ALL people … until New Calvinism came along.

    Scott Shaver

    J:

    Yes the first SBC seminary president was a 5-point Calvinist. And now the young white-guilt reconstructionists of the “Old South” like Russell Moore and Allan Cross may have just guaranteed the expunging of his name forever removed from the campus at Southern Seminary in Louisville. You might not want to draw any more attention to that guy right now than absolutely necessary.

    Just sayin. LOL

Charlie Goodman

Brother Rick,

I would like to commend you on having the analytical skill of observation to see this problem, and the courage to write about it. Without question our beloved convention is being taken over from the inside out by those who could be called clandestine Presbyterians. Of course they would never refer to themselves this way, but their soteriology is certainly more Presbyterian than it is Southern Baptist. I am proud to say that I am not a Calvinist, nor an Arminian; but rather I am a Traditional Biblical Baptist. Moreover, I am persuaded that at least 70% of the SBC’s fifteen million members would identify themselves as non-Calvinistic in their theology as well.

    Andrew

    “I am a traditional biblical baptist.”

    Lol

    I’ll stick to being a Christ follower and a disciple maker. After all, that’s both Biblical and what we are called to do.

    Woah, now that’s a concept. Guess that’s what a REAL “traditionalist” is if I had to say, not a Southern Baptist…

Lydia

“And, the very reason that Tim Rogers was removed was because we were told that a man named Hobbs was going to bring up things from the floor that would embarrass and humiliate Tim and his family. So, rather than take that chance, the “Committee” picked someone else. ”

Very familiar with those sorts of tactics from “Christians”. So he won’t tell us the “horrors” of Tim Rogers if he just recuses himself? A whole committee spared us from knowing the horrors of Tim Rogers?

Well, planting the poisonous seeds worked quite well. How is Tim Rogers to deal with this? There is this horrible thing about Tim Rogers. That is exactly what these people wanted to plant. A rotten fruit tree. What insidious deceptive lives these people dare live out in the Name of Christ. How can they ever trust each other?

Lydia

‘ For Calvinists – you’re either a Calvinist, Arminian, or a heretic. (or just plain dumb)”

Reminds me of the sort of education that came out of USSR public schools for 80 years. You were either an Imperialist or a communist/socialist. There were two categories. If neither, then mentally ill.

    Christian

    Lydia,
    I love reading your comments. I think you have the best insight of what is happening in the SBC. I totally agree with you. Do you have any suggestions as to how this problem can be remedied? I wish you would start a blog. I think it would be fantastic!

    Max

    Lydia, I agree with Christian. You see and speak accurately about what ails the SBC – most “tradtionalists” have their heads in the sand. A “Tell It Like It Is From Lydia” blog would be tremendous! As I’ve said before, you are one of the most godly men I know! If you were a preacher, I would come to your church! ;^)

Jim G.

He who lives by the sword dies by the sword. If I were a YRR-SBC Calvinist with some pull, I’d be sleeping with one eye open in about 15 years.

Because another takeover is coming. Who knows when or by whom, but it is coming. 125 years ago, almost all of organized Protestantism was conquered by the liberals. 30 years ago, the CR takeover occurred. Now we are seeing the finishing touches of the YRR takeover. But you can mark my word, another takeover is coming. The SBC, as a human institution, is too big and powerful not to be coveted by someone willing to do whatever it takes to rule it.

The next takeover is not imminent. Mohler is too strong. As long as his health holds up, he has another 15 years or so of power. Whether he decides to pass the torch to another or hold on when his time is up is anybody’s guess. If he does the former, his successor will need to be as strong or someone will rise up to take a shot at the title. If he holds on to the end, someone may rise in his lifetime. It remains to be seen.

The takeover will not be orchestrated by trads, at least not in their present form. There are several reasons for this. First, the champion of the trads – Rogers – is dead. Live generals win battles, not dead ones. Second, there are no trads powerful enough or interested enough to challenge the current regime. Most of the remaining big trad dogs are either too old to fight or have settled in to a diminished but visible role given by the current regime in exchange for not fighting. Third, the trads are not able to rally youth around their cause the way the CR and YRR did. They do not have a broad-based compelling message at this time, at least nothing rivaling inerrancy or the majesty of God. Without a leader, officers, or foot soldiers, they are no threat to the regime. They will continue to be further marginalized, with all the candy positions going to the loyal YRR soldiers. That has been the case for at least the last 5 years.

Remember, it’s not just about the old guard using the young to secure their position. The young use the old, too. The same way the YRR used the CR, someone will be using the YRR to rise to power. Someone, out there somewhere, will be or already is studying the tactics of the CR and YRR in detail. They will use them, with tweaks and improvements, to eventually bring down the current regime. And the cycle will repeat until one of three things happen: Jesus comes, the SBC is no longer worth the effort it takes to win it, or some regime will repent and seek to include other micro-tribes into their power base for motives other than mere utility. The last option would be a great cause for rejoicing but it did not happen at all in the CR and is not happening at all in the YRR. So, a new regime is coming. We just don’t know what their rallying cry will be, who they are, or when it will happen. But it will.

Jim G.

    Max

    “So, a new regime is coming.”

    Thy Kingdom come, Lord Jesus! We’re getting weary with the ones made by man.

Lydia

Max and Chris, I am blushing!

I have no remedy, Chris. Smart organizations do an analysis after a crisis (or any other sort of major shift) and in some ways I think that is part of what is happening now. And you are hearing different views from denial, to gaslighting to proposed solutions.

I tend to take a birds eye historical view to these sorts of issues because I think it all starts with how we think and what we think. What comprises most of history? A few humans working to gather enough power to control land, resources and other people. When you slap a fish on it and call it spiritual, you have the state church. The only way this works is to recruit followers and keep people from thinking and maturing as independent adults. Easy to do 1000 years ago. Why is it so easy today?

Just going back to my childhood I can tell you that I cannot even fathom my SBC Aunts, Uncles and parents putting up with the tyranny I am seeing in church today. It is unthinkable. Is it because they were WW2 generation and recognized tyrannical behavior when they saw it?

How is it they became mature adults who believed they had the same Holy Spirit as any pastor? Why was their thinking so different than what we are seeing today in following gurus? As I told one TVC apologist, if you cannot run by your pastors house and borrow his lawn mower, maybe you should not be there. That is pedantic but do you get my drift on that? I have even seen blog posts by pastors discussing why it is not a good idea to become friends with your congregation. Seriously? That is not the Body of Christ. That is an organization with a fish slapped on it.

I cannot even fathom my parents and extended aunts and uncles attending a church where they did not have full access to the budget. Unthinkable. But many today are signing covenants saying they will obey elders believing it means obeying Christ!

. I honestly believe the church is following the way of the culture. More and more people are looking to government to take care of them including their health care needs. They look to church to tell them what to believe and how to think in terms of spiritual matters. And people love “systems”….formulas to follow to organize ourselves. And that can be dangerous because in the Body, the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you. Not exactly systems thinking! :O). Relationships over systems. Messy stuff. Like sausage making.

. As our society is moving toward an oligarchical government (are we there yet?) so are the churches. It is great for the oligarchs. Well…..for now.

What ever happened in delighting over someone maturing, becoming completed, walking in the light and being an independent, productive adult? Now, we are constantly told and taught that that someone better who has special knowledge or more spiritual access has to be in charge of the adults. I say, RUN! And teach your kids to think, politely ask tons of questions because we desperately need a generation that actually questions the “great ones” again in government and church.

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