Grading A Decade of Reform School | Part Two

August 17, 2015

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

Click HERE for Part One.

Over the past decade, Southern Baptists have witnessed major efforts to reform our denomination in at least the ten specific areas addressed in this essay. Part Two addresses reform attempts five through eight.

5. Funding Methods
The budgeting efforts and missionary targets discussed in the previous two sections have to do with how we spend the money. This section addresses how we raise it. Two primary approaches exist—the societal method and the cooperative method. The former has been used with limited success by the rest of Christendom while the latter has been used almost exclusively by Southern Baptists to establish the greatest evangelical missionary sending body in world history. Inexplicably, we are doing everything we can to transition from our extremely successful approach so as to imitate the less successful approach that everyone else has been using.

When it comes to fixing the decline in Cooperative Program giving, there has been no end to the hand-wringing, the arm-twisting and the finger-pointing. Dollars and percentages have been needlessly set in opposition to one another. New marketing approaches will never be savvy enough to communicate this one inescapable truth: the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention works extremely well at funding all our ministries if and only if the percentage of undesignated giving by each local church averages approximately ten percent. Instead of restoring roughly ten percent CP giving, we are reforming in favor of the societal approach—an initiative that represents the foolish deconstruction of our single greatest asset.

6. Cultural Engagement
For many years, Southern Baptists have been known for standing boldly against the rising tide of liberalism and political correctness sweeping America. Today, our approach sounds more like CNN than FOX. It starts at the top, with our Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, whose communitarianism reveals a clear shift from conservative to centrist approaches, and whose co-belligerence tactics welcome as partners those with whom we do not share a Christian worldview. In today’s SBC, we invite LGBT activists to dialogue in our conferences[i] and partner with secular humanist organizations to promote freedom of expression.[ii]

What is the harm in such associations? The harm is in sounding a very unclear trumpet regarding our principles—confusing society concerning exactly where we stand. This is how we get headlines like Evangelical Leader Preaches Pullback from Politics, Culture Wars[iii] and Not a Retreat From the Culture Wars, But a Recalibration.[iv] Southern Baptists might be forgiven for asking, “Why, in the midst of America’s complete social and moral collapse, are our leaders debating between a pullback, a retreat and a recalibration—when what is so clearly demanded by the times in which we live is a massive and unhesitant charge forward?”

Further evidence of confusion is found in the comment stream of an atheist website on which a Southern Baptist leader promoted freedom of expression: “This is the first time I have seen a theist embrace the secular movement.”[v] Do Southern Baptists really wish to be seen “embracing” the secular movement? I realize it is popular now to invoke a peculiar interpretation of Paul’s “become all things” missional approach to reach out to the lost. However, we must not forget this same Paul stood so strongly against the beliefs of his day that he was routinely beaten and run out of town. Today’s SBC would not be run out of a gay bar. We also witness to the lost when we prophetically denounce their wicked ways. It may not play as well on CNN but it carries the virtue of being seldom misunderstood.

7. Leadership
Most Southern Baptists probably assume that when a vacancy occurs at one of our denominational entities, the positions are filled (a) by Southern Baptist applicants, and (b) by leaders who represent, in a fairly proportional manner, the wide variety of theological views generally embraced by the majority of Southern Baptists. Unfortunately, both assumptions are false.

With regard to the former assumption, non-SBC workers today fill many of our vacancies. For example, at the ERLC, three of the first five hires by President Russell Moore (Dan Darling, Trillia Newbell and Joe Carter) were not Southern Baptists on the date of their hire. Consider also the many non-Southern Baptist discipleship leaders and conference speakers employed by LifeWay at youth events like FUGE. This past year, it was discovered that one Vice President of our North American Mission Board was actively attending a non-Southern Baptist Church, serving in a very public role. He has since resigned. No longer listed as an employee, he now receives his paycheck as an outside consultant paid by NAMB.

Regarding the latter assumption, consider for a moment the last four SBC entity Presidents hired. Kevin Ezell at the North American Mission Board is Al Mohler’s former Pastor. Russell Moore at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is Al Mohler’s former Dean. Jason Allen at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is Al Mohler’s former Executive Assistant. David Platt at the International Mission Board—like Moore, Allen and Mohler—has been very active in The Gospel Coalition, a Calvinist only parachurch organization.

Clearly, new SBC leaders today are not being drawn from a broad cross section of our general membership. Instead, recent leadership vacancies have been filled with a certain kind of Southern Baptist. Those hailing from other regions, embracing other viewpoints and claiming other mentors simply need not bother to apply.

8. Partnerships
Prior to the reforms of the past decade, when Southern Baptists spoke of ministry partners, we usually meant our fellow Southern Baptist churches and entities at the association, state and national levels. To plant a mission church, for example, one might have support from a sponsoring mother church, a local association, a state convention and the North American Mission Board—Southern Baptist partners all.

Today the typical “Southern Baptist” church plant employs a far more diverse sponsorship portfolio—including many partners who are not even Southern Baptist at all. Such partners may include organizations such as the Acts 29 Network, PLNTD, the North American Church Planting Foundation and many others, all of which affirm Calvinist only doctrinal parameters far more narrow than the views affirmed by all Southern Baptists in the Baptist Faith and Message.

To clarify, these reformed groups do not exclude other Southern Baptists by lying outside the BFM, like the suburb of a major city. Rather, they exclude other Southern Baptists by lying inside the BFM, like the kind of “city within a city” one might find in a major metropolis. Even within the BFM, they remain exclusive.

Other church planting partners outside Southern Baptist circles include ethnic denominations such as the National Baptist Convention with which many church plants establish a “joint affiliation.” What is the result of these church-planting partnerships with outside groups? On the plus side, they offer money to advance the Kingdom—although such an advance may be restricted to those promoting Calvinistic doctrines. On the minus side, these partnerships can be structured unevenly, rendering Southern Baptists as limited partners without a controlling interest in “our” plants—an arrangement that only serves to weaken SBC loyalty.

 

[i] Allen, Bob. “Emotions Mixed for Pro-Gay ERLC Conference Attendees.” Baptistnews.com. October 30, 2014.
[ii] Allen, Bob. “Southern Baptist Leader Endorses Secularist Campaign.” Baptistnews.com. May 29, 2015.
[iii] King, Jr., Neil. “Evangelical Leader Preaches Pullback from Politics, Culture Wars.” Wall Street Journal. October 21, 2013.
[iv] Galloway, Jim. “Not a Retreat from the Culture Wars but a Recalibration.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution. October 26, 2013.
[v] G_Crotty. [Comment to blogpost] “Danny Akin—Openly Secular.” Richarddawkins.net. June 3, 2015, 10:31 a.m.

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Andy

1. Regarding the ERLC conference, you said: “In today’s SBC, we invite LGBT activists to dialogue in our conferences.”

? I followed the article you cited, and just for clarification, The Pro-LGBT “attendees” (as the article puts it) were not featured speakers, nor even panel members…It seems that they were simply paid attendees who attended and then put out their reactions to it via internet & blogs afterwards. (Now, some of them might have been invited to attend in the hope of them hearing some of our positions, but I just have no information about that).

? Also, here’s a few quotes from that article you linked to:
“Pro-LGBT Christians attending this week’s Southern Baptist Convention conference on sexuality said they disagreed with much of what they heard in messages from the platform but were encouraged by the tone and their reception at the Oct. 27-29 gathering in Nashville, Tenn.”
“conference speakers granted no credence to the dissenters’ view that it’s possible to be both a faithful Christian and involved in a committed, monogamous relationship with a partner of the same sex.”
“Conference speakers included both people formerly involved in same-sex relationships who are now in a heterosexual marriage and others who say their orientation hasn’t changed but they choose to remain single and celibate.”

So it seems the SBC speakers were NOT changing their message, only perhaps adding in some kindness. I for one didn’t see anything here to be concerned about. If you did, perhaps you can clarify.

-andy

p.s. Special Thanks to the “on-top-of-it” moderators that got the comment function working again so we can dialogue!

    Rick Patrick

    Andy,

    You are correct in stating that our Southern Baptist leaders are not compromising our positions on these issues. They are, however, inviting these individuals in for a time of dialogue and engagement. While that seems very nice, it is perhaps too cozy a position. It makes some of us uncomfortable because it seems to lay the groundwork for compromise.

    Here is a statement regarding a less public gathering with LGBT leaders: “They organized a behind-the-scenes conversation with an LGBT-affirming contingent that lasted well into the night.” (http://huff.to/1rLxg8z)

    I hope nothing I wrote inferred that they were changing the substance of their message—but only that their communitarian approach could so easily be confused as soft that it sounds an unclear trumpet call to a culture who needs to hear a very clear word from us.

    Thanks for your helpful insights and clarification.
    Rick

      Bill Mac

      So they did nothing wrong but they did something that somebody somewhere might possibly interpret as perhaps being wrong? I think Jesus did that a few times as well.

      It’s hard to believe engaging in non-combative dialog without compromising your position is open to criticism. I’ve never been a fan of the ERLC, never really saw the need for it, but this seems pretty innocuous, perhaps even positive. So gay people understand that not all Christians despise them. That seems like a good thing.

        Rick Patrick

        Bill Mac,

        To clarify, I do think they did something wrong—if by that, one means using an inappropriate tactic in proclaiming our clear condemnation of homosexuality itself.

        It is certainly not immoral for Christians to have a conversation with a group of homosexuals, and under the right circumstances, theoretically this might lead some of them to faith—although I’ve never heard of a single example of this happening in the setting of a group discussion panel.

        The problem is, since it is an official, public SBC event, it draws the attention of the press, and when the press hears that Southern Baptists are in talks with the homosexual lobby, it really does seem like we are cozying up to them, weakening our stance, and compromising with the world.

        Substitute a different group of sinners and you will see what I mean. Can you imagine us having a formal get-together with white supremacists, child traffickers or pedophiles? “We’re just trying to build a bridge with this group in order to foster a greater understanding,” said the ERLC representative.

        Yes, Jesus was a friend of sinners. And sure, I think individual Christians are right to befriend the lost in order to witness to them. But in the world of press conferences and sound bites, this may not be the best way to communicate our message.

        As I understand the early results of this approach, the sin groups still hate us for being judgmental, just as Jesus told us the world would hate us because of our stand for Him. They have not come around to accepting us or our message at all. The only thing we have managed to do is to confuse our own membership and the press regarding whether or not we are now more accepting of homosexuality.

        In my view, it is better to be clear than confusing when announcing our official SBC positions.

        Scott Shaver

        What if those now practicing such “community” got to their positions of current influence by condemning their brothers and sisters previously for doing same? :o

      Chris Roberts

      The problem is, when you start to become friends with people who believe and live differently, you might start to realize that they are not Hell bound sinners under the wrath of God. We can’t have that! Gotta keep the flock separate lest they become too friendly with the flack!

        Rick Patrick

        Welcome, Chris Roberts—the author of the Unity Resolution passed at the SBC in 2012. (http://sbcvoices.com/sbc-resolution-on-unity/)

        When last I heard, Chris, you had resigned your pastorate and denied your Christian faith, having become an atheist or an agnostic. Is that still the case? It might explain what I consider to be the fairly harsh tone of your exclamation pointed comment above, in which I feel you misrepresented my view.

        To clarify, I have no problems with individual Christians getting chummy with lost prospects. Ask me about the time I witnessed to three half-drunk rednecks in their trailer. Ask me about the times I have shared my faith in prisons with convicted criminals, as armed guards stood by in the courtyard. I am NOT saying that we should refuse to befriend the lost and try to win them to Christ.

        I am saying we should be careful not to send a public sound bite message, in a press conference media event setting, that affirms any behavior God condemns in His Word. I hope you can see the distinction I am drawing here.

        Jesus loves you, Chris. Even though we disagree on many matters, I’d like to be your friend as well.

        Andy

        Or, we might realize that while they ARE hell-bound sinners under the wrath of God, so is the nice heterosexual married couple next door, and so were we, and still would we be without the loving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross!

        And so while it was flattering to have a gay man hit on me in the subway before the conversation turned to a friendly discussion about universalism (interesting story…) …and while it is eye-opening to realize that some of your christian friends think we are wrong to call homosexual behavior sin…neither of those will make a bible-loving christian abandon what they believe to be the clear teaching of scripture. I hope you realize that, it is not out of hate for people different than us…it is because of our commitment to God’s word on this, and any issue.

        Blessings,
        -Andy

    Scott Shaver

    I didn’t realize the guests from affected subculture were “paid”.

    What up wit dat?

      Andy

      ha, ha,

      I mean they are attendees, who paid to the registration fee.

Ken

Dr. Rick:

You so eloquently expressed the reason why after 65 years as a Southern Baptist I no longer claim allegiance with the SBC. I see it now(SBC) as turning all over to efforts not supported by the Gospel.

Dr. Will Hall

Excellent analysis and commentary. Thank you!

Scott Shaver

Even more insightful IMO than part 1.

Especially noteworthy is comparison of beatings and imprisonings of Paul with failure of moderns at receiving sanctions from gay bars.

The spirit of Ravenhill….I like it.

William

I always appreciate Rick’s thoughts even if I don’t agree. On #5:

1. The SBC has, for the past 90 years, used a mix of both societal and cooperative funding mechanisms. The mix has shifted, not because “we have done everything we can to” move away from the cooperative approach but because churches see less value in their CP giving relative to other spending priorities.
2. You state that 10% CP giving is essential to CP success. Why is this figure axiomatic? It’s your opinion.
3. You have a plan for “restoring” giving to 10%?

    Rick Patrick

    1. Churches should not be seeing less value in CP if they truly believe the GCTF Report extolling the CP as the best approach for supporting missions.
    2. The figure is not so much axiomatic as it is proven. When we averaged close to 10% we had strong support at all levels. Today, oddly enough, at 5%, we don’t.
    3. My plan for restoring giving to 10% (the church I serve currently fluctuates between 8-9) is simple: every leader says, “I’ll do it if you’ll do it” and we move to 10%. If our state conventions can move to 50% then our churches can move to 10%. It takes strong will and commitment, but it absolutely can be done.

      Andy

      Rick or William,

      Do you know the figures about HOW LONG the decrease in CP giving has been going on? I suppose my understanding was that it goes back to around 1980? If so, it is hardly a result of the last decade of “reforms”…but please correct or enlighten me here.

      Has there not been efforts even prior to the 2000’s to boost CP giving back up towards 10%, efforts that seem to have had no effect?

        Rick Patrick

        Yes, I think there was a slide from 1980 to 2000 of a few percentage points. The megachurches get much of the blame for this. The Calvinist Movement cannot be blamed for very much of this decline.

        However, beginning around 2000, I believe you do see Calvinistic Southern Baptist Churches diverting their gifts away from SBC-CP and in favor of other “Calvinist Only” networks, such as Acts 29, which was formed in 2000. At this point, the record is fuzzy, because ACP reporting, especially among Calvinist churches, took a dramatic plunge. We don’t know where their money is going, or how much of it used to go through CP, but I think it is fair to say that all these “Calvinist Only” networks are quite probably being funded largely out of missions giving that used to go through CP.

        As for the success of boosting CP, sometimes we have to be patient. I’ve been promoting the Pro-Life Movement ever since I became a Christian 32 years ago. Under the same logic, I guess I should give up now. It doesn’t seem to be doing any good. And then, along comes a secret video, and all of America is rethinking abortion. I am not going to subscribe to a defeatist philosophy—either with regard to the culture war or with regard to CP promotion.

        lWilliam Thornton

        You probably were in preschool when the decline started. The causes are many. Rick has been data-challenged on this forever. The “few percentage points” he mentions is actually a drop of almost half, fromover 10% to about 5.4%. Rick’s church, and many others, are above average CP givers and I commend them all.

          Rick Patrick

          William,

          I am not nearly as data-challenged as you may think. As I said in my comment: “there was a slide from 1980 to 2000 of a few percentage points.” According to this article (http://bit.ly/1fobIQl) there was a drop from the 80’s to 2002 from 10.5 to 7.4. Assuming a fairly even distribution of decline, we can estimate the 2000 percentage at around 7.7, a drop of 2.8—which I call a “few.”

          Then, since 2000, the decline has continued a few more points, from 7.7 to 5.4—a drop of an additional 2.3. To clarify, I don’t blame the Calvinists in any meaningful way for the 1985 to 2000 drop. I do, however, think they have a great deal to do with the 2000 to 2015 drop.

Donald Morgan

Rick, nice follow up to part 1. Concerning the reform push, do you believe that this is jyst a pendulum swing that will self correct ? Or do you see a greter rift on the horizon? I pray it is the former.

    Rick Patrick

    Donald,

    Thanks. I would very much like to think that the pendulum will, as you say, self correct. To quote Jerry Vines at the Connect 316 Dinner a few months ago, “Calvinism carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction.” I agree with Dr. Vines that, historically, Reformed theology in Baptist life always seems to die back down after it flares up. We do see reformed ministries struggling under various scandals today, as many of their leaders have overreached in the exercise of their authority in handling church discipline. To the extent that many of our SBC “reforms” are rooted in the “Reformed” movement, I do think there is hope to turn things around.

    Having said that, at the moment, one is hard pressed to explain exactly how such a correction would come about. The SBC is firmly under the control of our Calvinistic wing. They are setting the agenda, staffing the vacancies and spending the money. People in our Traditionalist wing have been reticent to organize, to get involved or even to connect with other like-minded Southern Baptists. Sure, we had 100 at the C316 banquet in Baltimore and 200 in Columbus, but many, many people who agree with us theologically have not yet decided to get on board with our promotion of “Counter-Reformed” (or, Traditionalist) theology and the leadership strategies stemming from it.

    Some people just don’t want to get involved. I guess I would answer your question this way: “If Calvinism and the push for reform in the SBC does indeed carry within itself the seeds of its own destruction, I think it is incumbent upon those of us who reject such reforms to water and fertilize these seeds in order to help the process along.”

      Steven

      “We do see reformed ministries struggling under various scandals today, as many of their leaders have overreached in the exercise of their authority in handling church discipline.”

      Could you expound on this, and list the examples for our review.
      Thank you, Rick

        Rick Patrick

        Steven,

        Just Google the names of the following four reformed ministers. After their name, simply type “church discipline.”

        Mark Driscoll
        Matt Chandler
        C. J. Mahaney
        James MacDonald

          Steven

          Thank you, Rick
          Glad to see, this is the group of the Neo calvinist. They do not follow the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, or the Westminster Confession of Faith and that says it all
          It is sad that noncalvinist misrepresent the true historical reformed calvinists.
          Stereotyping runs rampid to strawman arguments.
          God bless, Rick.

            Rick Patrick

            Steven,

            It seems as though I have offended you by including these four Calvinists in the same general grouping as some other Calvinists. I am sorry. If there is one category called NEOCALVINIST and another category called TRUE HISTORICAL REFORMED CALVINIST, please give me some names of the latter group so I will know what group you feel I have inadvertently misrepresented. Are the THRC’s people like MacArthur, Piper and Sproul? Is this mostly a generational phenomenon or some other wing of Calvinism?

            I assure you, any “sad misrepresentation” or “stereotyping” running rampant to “strawman arguments” was not intentional on my part. I can’t exactly misrepresent a group whose identity I don’t even recognize—and about whom I was evidently not talking in the first place. To be clear, the reforms in the Southern Baptist Convention are coming largely from the “Young, Restless and Reformed” group I believe you are calling Neo-Calvinist.

            Finally, please refer to my view as “Traditionalist” rather than using the pejorative “Non-Calvinist.” No one likes to be defined only by what they are not. For further clarification of my use of the term Traditionalist, please see this link: http://connect316.net/aWhyTraditionalism.

            Blessings to you as well, brother.

              Steven

              Rick, this was not directed toward yourself. On the forums there is a stereotyping that is throwing these so called neo calvinist that claim to follow the doctrines of grace, but instead are a mutant form of calvinism that does not represent the historical reformers and those that follow their teachings today. I would have to categorize yourselves as semi-pelagian, not traditionalist. I would have to call the historical reformers as ” traditionalist”

              “It was not the Arminian theology that provided the strength and power of the Reformation; it was “reformed or “Calvinistic” theology that called men to stand up for the truth of the gospel against the tyranny of Rome. Modern evangelicals need to recognize that Arminianism is, at its very core, a return to the very principals that the Reformation fought against in the first place! While the outward manifestations might differ, Arminianism and Roman Catholicism stand hand in hand in opposing Gods sovereign grace in salvation! Both place the final decision of the outcome of an individuals life completely in the hands of the man himself, and in so doing, deny God his rightful role as Creator and Sovereign of the Universe. Most of modern evangelicalism does not, in reality, have anything to say to Rome, simply because it has compromised on the central issue of Gods grace!

              Further, since Arminianism is, when taking to its logical conclusions, antithetical to simple Christian theism, those who embrace this system find them self incapable of consistently dealing with the philosophies of man, simply because they have embraced some of the most fundamental concepts of those philosophies rather than accepting the revelation of the sovereign God! In a vain effort to “win” men by seeking to avoid offense, the strong doctrines of God as Creator and Sustainer of the universe are left to the side, and the battle is joined on the home ground of the atheist or secular humanist. The gospel is compromised in the interest of defending it! Such simply ought not to be.
              Dr. James White, aomin.org

              Thank you, Rick for your time
              God Bless

                Scott Shaver

                If James White and his disciple, Steven, want to believe it was “Calvin who provided the power of revolt and spirit of truth against Roman Catholic excess” ….chalk it up to another example of the Holy Spirit not being able to do anything without old John. No, we can’t even properly understand old John without James White and Steven.

                Wonder how the fledgling church and it’s faith managed to limp by until Calvin’s birth? Shortly thereafter, some anabaptist types were profoundly wishing old John had never been born.

                  Lydia

                  “If James White and his disciple, Steven, want to believe it was “Calvin who provided the power of revolt and spirit of truth against Roman Catholic excess” ….chalk it up to another example of the Holy Spirit not being able to do anything without old John. No, we can’t even properly understand old John without James White and Steven.”

                  Too bad there was no “spirit of truth” when it came to the Radical Reformers and “Reformed excesses” in Geneva. They became as cruel as their enemies, the Catholics.

                    Dennis Lee Dabney

                    Thanks Lydia, excellent response.

                    Preach!

                Jim P

                Steven,

                Your comment, “The gospel is compromised in the interest of defending it’.” How is that? That seems to be such a inner circle kind of comment. If the Gospel is News, which it is, then how is News compromised. I don’t see it. Unless it is news of ones own making? News is news, period. It can not be compromised if it is what it is. I can only conclude compromise enters if in some way the news has been made to fit an agenda, whether unintentionally of not. If the Gospel is presented according to what it is, there are only three reactions: Foolish news, Scandalous news, or Power of God news.

                  Jim P

                  Some other things should be added to the above note: The three reactions mentioned, Foolish, Scandalous,Power of God, are three reactions recognized Biblically. In each reaction, all three recognize exactly what that Gospel was, not confused about it, not manipulated by it.

                  The Foolish reaction was from the particularly Greek thinking culture, which in general, is today’s thinking, the Scandalous reaction is the Jewish reaction, and the Power of God reaction is to those, who see by faith, God in that News. No one can claim ownership over news. It is what it is. But news can be distorted so it is not the Good News (Gospel). Distorted in order to manipulate. If anything needs to be gotten right I don’t know what more. And how can anything right be built if this is not the true news? That is why my note about ‘compromise.’ The only compromise I understand is if it is not the Gospel, which Scripture does recognize happens.

                Rick Patrick

                Steven,

                I don’t know where to begin. First, I’m not Semipelagian because I don’t believe man can initiate the process of salvation. Second, I have consistently disaffirmed Arminianism, disagreeing with them on the one side even as I disagree with Calvinists on the other. Third, the historical (magisterial) reformers you lift up as heroes were cutthroat killers of the true (radical) reformers I claim as my spiritual ancestors, namely, the Anabaptists. Fourth, those who affirm “whosoever will” doctrine embrace a God just as sovereign as yours—sovereign enough, in fact, to endow man with free will.

                Finally, if you are concerned about the “mutant form” of Calvinism ruining things for the rest of you, please write some articles and essays distancing yourselves from them. It would actually help to have “Mutant Calvinists” in the title. As things stand now, all the Calvinists are indeed getting lumped together. Once again, I apologize for my part in this. Please help articulate the differentiation.

                Blessings,
                Rick

                Andrew Barker

                Steven: There is a real problem with cut & paste. It’s like that old joke regarding education which goes like this. Education is the process by which information travels from the notes of the lecturer to the notes of the student without going through the minds of either. James White will not come on to an open blog like this because he doesn’t have any editorial control. So please don’t quote vast swathes of his material without first coming to grips with it yourself.

                You complain about stereotyping and then quote the arch villain of the stereotype, James White. In any other context it would be quite funny. Well actually, in this context it will raise a smile or two. He is hardly the person one would turn to for a balanced view on Arminianism! To cap it all Rick wasn’t even talking about Arminianism! We can see where you’re learning your trade. Suggest you get a new teacher!

                  Scott Shaver

                  Gracias Andrew:

                  “Won’t come on a blog site like this because he has no editorial control”

                  White’s not the only religious that cannot debate, discuss or argue publicly apart from occupying the vantage position of control or moderation. Can name you a few others.

                  The more certain of themselves they become…the more sequestered :)

                Andy

                “Arminianism and Roman Catholicism stand hand in hand in opposing Gods sovereign grace in salvation! Both place the final decision of the outcome of an individuals life completely in the hands of the man himself, and in so doing, deny God his rightful role as Creator and Sovereign of the Universe.”

                “In a vain effort to “win” men by seeking to avoid offense, the strong doctrines of God as Creator and Sustainer of the universe are left to the side,”

                “The gospel is compromised in the interest of defending it!”

                If you really agree with James White on these points, then you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need to read you some A.W. TOZER…Perhaps “Knowledge of the Holy”, and then come back and tell us that Tozer does not describe a great and sovereign God. I’m not saying you’ll agree with everything, but you can’t argue that his arminianism has made him lose his respect for God.

                Perhaps you need to come to terms with the simple fact that some people believe God sovereign CHOSE to give his creatures freedom of choice…unless you believe God is not powerful and sovereign enough to do that? :-)

              Scott Shaver

              Thanks Rick:

              Shows how in the dark I am. Did not realize in the context of these conversations that “non-Calvinist” was perjorative.

              I thought it was a compliment :)

              How many different stripes within the 5-point camp are we talking about here, out of curiousity?

                Rick Patrick

                My greatest concerns are with U-L-I. Depending on the definitions, I might or might not affirm T and P. So I could describe myself as a Zero Pointer or a Two Pointer…but clearly not a Calvinist. And yes, Non-Calvinist is a terrible name. What Cowboys fan wants to be known as a Non-Redskin?

                I think 5 Pointers and Amyraldists both qualify as Calvinists here. Usually a four-pointer will cave on L but embrace the others. How do they get to three? Both U and I seem to go together, I think.

                  Donald

                  I could only agree with some of TULIP if I am able to define the terms. As I see how some prominent SBC Calvinist define the terms, I would agree with none.

                Bill Mac

                For the record, I continue to use the term non-Calvinist when the topic is Calvinism because Traditionalists cannot claim every SBCer who is not a Calvinist. I have no problem using the term traditionalist when the topic is the TS or when speaking specifically about people who I know are Traditionalists.

                If the topic were Dispensationalism, I would refer to people who don’t hold to that doctrine as non-dispensationalists ( or non-dispys if I’m sick of typing), because dispensationalism doesn’t have a single alternative.

      Donald Morgan

      Thank you for your reply, i apologize for starting an arguement. My reason for asking is I come from a Baptist family with deep roots. My Grandfather was ordained in the 1920s. And one of my uncles in 1947. I fear a split coming within the Southern Baptist Convention over this unless we can return to being followers of Jesus first, and agreeing to disagree on the calvinist arguement.

        Rick Patrick

        Donald,

        I am less interested in the actual theological argument than most, believe it or not. I know what I believe and I am certainly willing to allow others to believe what they believe.

        The problem for me comes in when we have to decide things like: (a) what kind of new churches will we start, (b) what will we teach in our seminaries, (c) who will speak at our conferences, (d) who will write our Sunday School lessons, etc. In other words, it’s not the Calvinism, it’s the ownership and the leadership of the convention and her entities.

        I, too, hope there will not be a split. But it’s not fair for Traditional Baptists to pay for the Calvinization of the convention. I believe we need to be firm and clear: we don’t want to split the convention, but we are not willing to remain the second-class citizens of the SBC, when there are likely fewer Calvinists than there are Traditionalists.

          Scott Shaver

          With all due respect:

          The “Split” has already occurred….past tense.

          Now are the pains of further fracturing along “Reformed/NeoCal” and “Traditional Baptist” lines.

          Rick, I acquiesce to the preferred labels (or at least give it the old college try).

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