How Connect 316 Promotes Unity

June 1, 2015

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

From time to time, people make the erroneous assumption that because Connect 316 embraces theological convictions that are not Calvinistic, we must somehow favor sowing discord and causing conflict. Of course, that’s not the way we see things at all. In fact, our goals are exactly the opposite, to bring healing and strength to our convention through open and honest dialogue about our differences, to provide a ministry fellowship for Southern Baptists who may have felt alienated and disenfranchised by the trending Calvinism, and to continue to love one another and spread the gospel together.

Why do some people assume the worst of ministry fellowships like ours? Why might they contend, for example, that we are not merely non-Calvinist but that we are actually anti-Calvinist? What definition of unity requires that the Calvinistic trend be permitted to roll along unchecked with a full head of steam while any counterbalancing Traditionalist trend must be forced to hide under a rock somewhere to avoid the charge of breeding disunity? Four considerations are worth noting.

1. The language of the debate, for now, is still framed from the Calvinistic perspective. 

Southern Baptists in my wing of the convention have a clear theological stream. We can trace it to the Anabaptists in Switzerland in the 1500’s, the General Baptists in England in the 1600’s, the Separate Baptists in America in the 1700’s and the Traditional Southern Baptists like E.Y. Mullins, Herschel Hobbs and Adrian Rogers in the 1900’s. (Of course, our Calvinistic friends have their stream as well.)

Although we have a well-defined theological position, we lack an appropriate name that everyone is willing to accept. Among the best options I have heard are Extensivist, Volitionist and Traditionalist. (The latter may be the most common, but it has not yet completely taken hold.) Thus, we are susceptible to the charge that we are talking about the one topic of Calvinism, and we are the people against it. Such a view, unfortunately, will always paint us into a contrarian corner until our name is established.

The truth is a bit more complicated. We are not talking about one topic, but two—namely, Calvinism and Traditionalism. As each side promotes its own convictions, we will necessarily oppose the other view, but it makes no more sense to say that we are anti-Calvinist than to say that they are anti-Traditionalist. There are two theologies being discussed, and these ideologies themselves create the conflict.

2. We all have different styles of conflict management.

Some people are not especially curious about doctrinal discussions or the trends among denominational leadership. They just don’t care about such things, which is their right. But it is not a sin to care about the direction of our convention. And it is not a fault to contend for one’s theological views. There is a certain personality who simply wants to say, “Who cares about all this? We’re all not going to agree. We’re not going to change anyone else’s mind. Let’s just move forward and never talk about this ever again.” They would celebrate such an approach. This is actually their version of peace—a peace born, not of mutual understanding and respect, but of stifling conversation as tensions continue to simmer below the surface. This leads to a build up of pressure that has no release unless it can be expressed. When we suppress all dissent in the interest of unity, we are not handling conflict in a healthy manner. When we share our concerns, it is not the sharing itself that causes the conflict. The conflict is already there.

Connect 316 helps to promote unity not by ignoring our differences, but by celebrating them in the context of tolerance and cooperation in our convention. This does not mean that we necessarily agree with everything going on. That’s why we partner together, seek mutual understanding, pray, serve and try to make the convention better than it is now. We believe in a brighter tomorrow, one in which no Traditionalist needs to feel like a second class citizen in his own denomination. It has been said that “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the ability to deal with it.” Again, we did not cause this conflict. We are simply addressing it—and our goal in doing so is to bring about a healthy resolution.

3. We are insulted when tribalists suddenly denounce tribalism. 

One can hear voices today saying, “We must not form all these groups, wings or organized ministry fellowships. Such groups only create division in the convention and set back the cause of cooperation. Let us dispense with such tribalism.” Sorry, but Calvinistic tribes have formed over the past thirty years without having to endure any such warnings. The Founders, Nine Marks, Acts 29, The Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel and Baptist 21 have all been permitted to organize, promote their events and their causes, develop a following, network with one another and become influential in SBC life.

Against six such Calvinistic organizations—all of whom welcome a good number of Southern Baptists—we can only list one such Traditionalist organization—Connect 316, the newest theologically driven ministry fellowship out of all the ones mentioned. Let us not move the goalposts of denominational unity etiquette now that all the Calvinist tribes are established, well organized and in full control of the SBC. How hypocritical, in a six to one ratio of tribes, to complain that only the one is responsible for creating some kind of special division within the denomination—as if the other six had not already done so.

4. The Southern Baptist Convention will fly higher with TWO healthy wings.

Undoubtedly, there are some who wish that we did not have denominational wings at all. They are upset at the very existence of “us” and “them” conversations. This is usually a manifestation of naïveté mixed with idealism. I am sorry to break it to you, folks, but there is a well organized, strong and healthy Calvinistic wing in the Southern Baptist Convention. They are publishing books, pushing initiatives, electing their own as leaders and moving forward to bring about reforms they believe in. I don’t blame them for doing so. They have every right.

However, those of us whose convictions differ from these Calvinists possess the very same right to organize, plan, network, hold conferences, promote resources and make every attempt to strengthen our own wing of the denomination—without any false charges of tribalism or fostering disunity or creating conflict or sowing discord or any other such nonsense. We are doing precisely the same things they did—only we are doing them thirty years later, at a time when they are well established and we are not.

Connect 316 wants unity in our convention, but not the kind of unity that comes at the expense of our very existence or through sacrificing these firm convictions on the altar of a fake unity that pretends everything is fine, when below the surface, problems and conflicts are mounting that beg for resolution. The unity we seek will come as dormant theological Traditionalists rise to provide a more robust defense of our theology, as we become more engaged in the issues of denominational life, and as we carry on the traditions of our own theological stream and firmly defend them.

Calvinists should welcome the formation of a Traditional ministry fellowship like Connect 316, if only for our faithfulness to the adage that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Calvinists are the ones who taught us how to form a group within the overall organization of the SBC, a place where like-minded brothers can find great encouragement in promoting the gospel as we understand it. It is hard to imagine that they would deny to our side in this debate the very approaches they themselves used.

Just as a bird is only able to fly properly when both of its wings are healthy, Southern Baptists are not doing very well right now, and at least part of the problem is that our Calvinist wing, though perhaps fewer in number, is far stronger and more influential than our Traditionalist wing. If Connect 316 can promote a stronger and healthier Traditionalism in SBC life, then we will have served the cause of unity by bringing back disenfranchised Baptists, giving a sense of belonging to those who have felt alienated and out of place in this Calvinistic culture, and restoring greater balance in the life of the convention. As our wing of the denomination heals, the entire SBC will be better for it, and Calvinists too will benefit from a convention whose brand of unity deals openly with problems rather than ignoring them.

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Bill Mac

Rick: We’ve had this conversation before. I don’t disagree with anything you say here, even though I lean more Calvinistic. In the Calvinist tribe, there are those who believe that non-Calvinism is a false Gospel, that it preaches a works salvation. There are those in the Calvinist tribe that don’t just disagree but are actively unkind and ungracious to, and frankly unthruthful about those who don’t believe as they do.

But your tribe has attracted them as well. There are folks on both sides of the soteriological divide that don’t want two healthy wings of the SBC, they want the other side stamped out. Period. They have said here and on other blogs that co-existence is not possible, and should not be encouraged. How can it, if one side thinks the other is not just wrong on a non-essential, but in fact heretical and evil?

    Rick Patrick

    Bill Mac,

    I am glad we are in basic agreement. Your point is well taken about the existence of a few people on the extremes in both wings. Unfortunately, I occasionally come across people who choose to view Connect 316 as part of this extreme fringe. They believe in the analogy that Connect 316 is to Joseph McCarthy as Calvinism is to Communism. This simply isn’t true, which explains the purpose of my post. Hopefully, over time, the extreme fringes in both wings will be more clearly identified, and Connect 316 will not be so uncharitably lumped among the troublemakers.

    Les Prouty

    “There are those in the Calvinist tribe that don’t just disagree but are actively unkind and ungracious to, and frankly unthruthful about those who don’t believe as they do.

    But your tribe has attracted them as well.”

    Yes there are…on both sides. And it would do well for greater unity if other Calvinists call such ones out when it occurs against Traditionalists and Traditionalists would call such ones out when it occurs against Calvinists.

    I think if there is to be greater unity among brothers of both “wings” as these matters are discussed (usually online) then the unkind and ungracious commenters from both “wings” should be called on the carpet and urged to clean up their manner of conversing. All would do well to have these conversations in the spirit of Ephesians 4:

    “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

    I am reminding myself of this even as I type.

    Lydia

    “They have said here and on other blogs that co-existence is not possible”

    Co existence is totally possible if you are dealing with upfront, honest and transparent people. The fact the tactics of the movement were so covert and underhanded made co existence impossible. You have to be able to trust the people you “co exist” with don’t have some backroom agenda they are not sharing. It also helps not to hear that people who signed the Trad statement should be marginalized by the leading face of the SBC. Then we have the whole “they promoted Driscoll and Mahaney” problem that dares not be mentioned now. I realize now we are to pretend the last 10 years never happened. I just wish everyone would stop playing pretend. I mean look at how many NON Baptists have been hired at Lifeway/ELRC in big jobs. What is that all about? We don’t have any qualified people? Or perhaps they were not Calvinist qualified?

    The YRR movement in the SBC has not exactly garnered trust. We have trained a lot of young men out there to use these covert tactics in churches.

    Bill, the biggest problem the Cals have about being totally honest about YRR Calvinism is that people might start doing their homework and disagree and then the fame and money dries up. Right now, their biggest hold on people is authoritarianism and membership covenants. They are churches you cannot leave without permission of the ruling elders..

    Rick I have an idea for a name: How about Soul Liberty Baptists? What happened to Great Commission Baptists? I keep driving by SBTS and I don’t see the new sign. Mohler tweeted after the vote the name was changing. I just cannot keep up.

Les Prouty

Rick,

I realize I am at best on the fringe of SB life. Though not now active in a SB church I am nevertheless connected in some significant ways via my Haiti ministry. I have several important SB church partners in the ministry in Haiti. And I’m thankful for these brothers and sisters. In addition, I have close family members and friends who are long time active members in SB churches and in fact will be performing the wedding for one of my precious nieces later this month in her SB church in Alabama. And BTW, I don’t think any of my SB family members are Calvinists. I suspect they are not, but the fact is we have never even had the discussion.

All that said, for what it’s worth, I think you and your brethren have every right to have your “wing” of the SBC promoting your views. Amen! I agree with the statement from 2013 authored by Eric Hankins and Al Mohler (TRUTH, TRUST, and TESTIMONY in a TIME of TENSION) when they said, “We have learned that we can have just this kind of conversation together, and we invite all Southern Baptists to join together in this worthy spirit of conversation.” I think these two men well represent the kind of conversation that can take place. In the statement they don’t deny their differences. And they affirm many common ground positions. They go so far as affirming that doctrinal discussions are healthy: “We should be thankful that these are the issues Southern Baptists are now discussing, even as liberal denominations are debating the full abdication of biblical morality and allowing the denial of central doctrines. We are, seen in this light, blessed by the discussions that come to Southern Baptists who want to affirm the fullness of the faith, not its reduction.”

Drs. Hankins and Mohler said, “We recognize that significant theological disagreement on such issues has occurred with respect to Calvinism. It is, therefore, our responsibility to come together with open hearts and minds in order to speak truthfully, honestly, and respectfully about these theological and doctrinal issues that concern us, threaten to divide us, and compel us into conversation. Such engagement is appropriate at every level of Southern Baptist life including local congregations, associations, state conventions, and the Southern Baptist Convention.”

So the Traditionalist conversations, as I see it, are good. Calvinists put forth their positions all the time. Traditionalists should as well. Both “wings” would do well for all to example and hope of the committee statement when it says,”We can talk like brothers and sisters in Christ, and we can work urgently and eagerly together.”

God bless brother.

    Rick Patrick

    Amen, Les. Thanks for the good word.

Max

Brother Patrick, you used the word “conflict” about a dozen times. If the enemy of the Cross wanted to distract the largest denomination in America from the Great Commission, he couldn’t have come up with a better strategy than to get them wrangling over the teachings and traditions of men. The rest of Christendom stands amazed that a once-great torch of evangelism is unraveling in message and mission. It matters not at this point whether future belief and practice will have Calvin’s or Rogers’ name hanging off of it. This is a spiritual problem – SBC leadership doesn’t fully recognize the true forces at work. It has little to do with competing factions of mere men under whatever label; it has much to do with an enemy who is devouring right now. I’m an old man who is been in and out of numerous spiritual “conflicts” – I can clearly see the dark side of this one. For those looking for a word from the Lord on the matter at hand, He has already given it … “Repent or else.”

    Rick Patrick

    Hi Max,

    Thanks for weighing in. The reason I used the word “conflict” so many times in the essay is because the SBC is already in the midst of one, and I am seeking to bring about a meaningful resolution that respects the views and opinions of people on both sides. Perhaps you believe that refraining from the use of a term will make it go away. If that were true, then no one should ever speak of sin, war or the New England Patriots.

    I believe Satan’s strategy is actually for the SBC to experience UNRESOLVED conflict. I am seeking to thwart such an evil scheme by bringing about peace and unity through the kind of meaningful dialogue and exchange that results in real solutions allowing us to move forward together.

    As for a general call that we all truly repent of our sins and serve the Lord faithfully, I say “Amen” to that. But I do not believe we need to “repent” of the existence of conflict when it arises. We merely need to admit its existence and seek a fair and Christ honoring resolution.

      Max

      Dr. Patrick, I am not disagreeing with the word “conflict” (it fits), nor naive enough to believe refraining from that descriptor will make it go away. I was hoping to point out the spiritual dimension of the conflict – the work of a destroyer which doesn’t align with the labels of men. Your effort to effect unity is a noble endeavor. I just wonder if genuine unity can truly be achieved when the the gulf in belief and practice is so wide between Calvinist and non-Calvinist. How would that manifest itself at the local church level in the theological instruction of future generations? Which way do they go on soteriology, for example?

        Bill Mac

        Max, non-Calvinists and Calvinists have co-existed peacefully in the same churches since the beginning of the SBC and continue to do so, my own church included. Don’t be fooled by the loud voices on both sides that say it can’t be done. It has, and it is.

          Scott Shaver

          Bill Mac:

          Respectfully….If what you say is true, why did the SBC collectively minimize the impact of 5 point Calvinism in it’s history shortly after inception.

          If what you say about coexisting “peacefully” is true, why now that there has been surge of neo-calvinism within the SBC, are so many currently resistant toward the efforts of Calvinization.

          “It has and it is” does not agree with the current empirical data whether voices on all sides are “loud” or not.

            Bill Mac

            I would like to see the empirical data.

              Scott Shaver

              Right at your fingertips Bill Mac….right at your fingertips.

                Bill Mac

                Sorry no, that’s not an answer. You claim to have empirical data that Calvinists and non-Calvinists are not coexisting peacefully in any SBC churches. Well, I’m calling you on it because I know for a fact that they are. Even Rick acknowledges the existence of what he calls hybrid churches. So I’m asking for you to produce the empirical data.

                  Scott Shaver

                  Bill Mac:

                  Respectfully but bluntly, if you think I’m going to take the time to collate data which is public domain because you’re too lazy to do your own homework, hold your breath….don’t care how much you infer that the data is not available or cannot be produced. ITS PUBLIC DOMAIN….if you’re really interested in looking at and letting it speak.

                  I don’t comment on these blogs specifically for the purpose of answering your questions or producing per your demand the background materials or sources which prompt my comments.

                  Let’s try this, you produce the empirical data to refute the evidence I’ve already suggested is PUBLIC DOMAIN.

                  If this is not an answer…..sorry, can’t help you.

                  You obviously like to debate but not big on personal research.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Additionally Bill Mac:

                    Don’t see you asking Rick Patrick for empirical data supporting his label of “hybrid” churches either.

        Rick Patrick

        Max,

        Thank you. I understand your position much better now. I hope and pray that genuine unity can be achieved in the denomination. As for the theology of local SBC churches, I believe churches will fall into one of three major categories, just as they already do today: (a) Calvinistic churches, (b) Traditionalist churches, and (c) Hybrid churches. For me, at least, the difficulty is found at the denominational level. How can we do justice to the convictions of each individual church when it comes to our mutual ministries—such as seminaries, mission boards and church planting? I believe there are solutions which can keep the SBC a big tent while at the same time respecting each theological stream. But I do not necessarily believe that a “one size fits all” approach to these matters is the best solution. You raise some very good points. These are matters which should be discussed as we seek conflict resolution.

          Bill Mac

          Rick: I don’t have data for this, but I honestly hope that churches of type a and b are far smaller than type c. I suppose it depends on what you mean by Calvinist and Traditionalist churches. I take that to mean that these churches have some sort of doctrinal requirement that members are required to adhere to. I suspect that a lot of churches fall into category c, not because they are purposfully “hybrid” but rather because they soteriology has never been a divisive issue in their church. That’s the story of my church. It has never occurred to us that we need to “take a stand” and declare which side we are on. Cals and non-cals are all welcome at our church at all levels. If there is a problem with a person, we deal with that person, we don’t deal with people groups. I suspect that is the majority position.

          If you are simply talking about majorities in a and b, then I agree.

            Rick Patrick

            Bill,

            Why would you hope for one type of autonomous church over another? They have a right to their theology, whether it falls in one camp, the other camp, or the middle position. None of these positions, in and of themselves, is any more conducive to unity, or more fair and balanced, than any other. Our Presbyterian friends are 100% Calvinist and that’s fine.

            And I don’t really believe most churches have taken a formal doctrinal stand in their bylaws or anything–although all Acts 29 churches are required to have Calvinist pastors. I do not think it has as much to do with the laypersons, frankly, as with the leadership. Do they attend TGC, Founders and 9 Marks? Does the Pastor invite nearly all Calvinist guest speakers? Do they use The Gospel Project? Do they encourage Southern Seminary above all others? Or are their affiliations more in line with the schools of thought at Southwestern and New Orleans? Might they have no concerns at all with the Sinner’s Prayer and altar calls? Might they be more inclined to attend a Franklin Graham event than a John Piper one?

            I realize your church accepts everyone and does not “make a big deal out of it.” But please don’t look down upon those churches who do “make a big deal out of it,” as if they are any less committed to church and denominational unity. A few years ago, the church where I currently serve had a Calvinistic leaning youth minister who had been buying Piper books for the teenagers, discipling them quite strongly in the doctrines of New Calvinism. Today, in their mid-twenties, they are all Presbyterians. We discipled them right out of the Southern Baptist Convention. Even though there is no official policy written down anywhere, we are quite committed to the idea that this will never happen again. We basically screen out Calvinistic leaders and literature. We do not screen church members, but if they require a steady diet of New Calvinism, they won’t stay here long, for that is not what I preach.

            I believe that people in all three categories—a, b and c—desire unity both in their churches and in the denomination as a whole.

              Bill Mac

              What I hope is for churches who do not suggest that Calvinists or non-Calvinists are not welcome. It would be unfortunate if I went to an SBC church that led me to believe that I, because I am a Calvinist (I’m not, but let’s pretend), am in the grip of Satan or need to be evangelized.

                Robert

                Bill Mac,

                “It would be unfortunate if I went to an SBC church that led me to believe that I, because I am a Calvinist (I’m not, but let’s pretend), am in the grip of Satan or need to be evangelized.”

                Hmm, for someone to say that as a calvinist (I know you are not, but if you were) that you are “in the grip of Satan or need to be evangelized” ASSUMES that as a Calvinist that you MUST BE AN UNSAVED PERSON. I don’t see anyone saying that in this thread anywhere.

                It is my belief and I hope others here acknowledge this to be true: that both Traditionalists and Calvinists are genuine believers, saved individuals. So neither Traditionalists nor Calvinists need to be EVANGELIZED. You only need to evangelize an unbeliever, not a believer. At the same time, someone is in error here and someone holds the truth here, and these mutually exclusive views cannot simultaneously be true/correct.

                That being said, Bill Mac if you are making indirect allusion to my comments on this thread, you are **misrepresenting my comments badly**. I never said that Calvinists were unsaved persons that need to be evangelized. What I did say is this:

                “While the errors of the non-Christian cults are not going to make much of an inroad in Christian circles: the false doctrines of Calvinism are. And notice what happens when this false Calvinistic system and its false doctrines are brought into the church. You end up having people who agree on the essentials such as the trinity, the deity of Christ, the inspiration and inerrancy of scripture, a final judgment, eternal destinies of heaven and hell: being divided on Calvinism and its errors!
                How subtle can this division be?
                It is not between people espousing obviously false ideas and rejections of the essentials like the trinity: it is between genuine believers on both sides, people who affirm the essentials but disagree on the Calvinistic system and doctrines.”

                And I will continue to maintain my claims here.

                Trying to divide the Christian church, genuine believers with the false beliefs of non-Christian cults is not going to work very well (as the believers will unite against the errors and unbiblical beliefs of the non-Christian cults). On the other hand the perfect way to divide the church is by means of **errors** that ***genuine believers***, people who believe the Bible might hold, might promote and defend and teach. In this way, you get believer against believer and you can cause all sorts of confusion, division and false ideas and practices. It must be recalled that the adversary comes in a subtle way as an angel of light not obviously as some little man in a red suit with a pitchfork.

                  Andy

                  1. Bill Mac is refering to Pam’s comments about calvinists being one of the groups we reach out to with the true gospel.

                  2. Rick said this refering to both calvinistic & traditionalists churches: “None of these positions, in and of themselves, is any more conducive to unity, or more fair and balanced, than any other.” Would you disagree?

                  Bill Mac

                  Robert,
                  No, my comments were not directed at you.

    Scott Shaver

    I agree Max:

    The die for calvinization of the SBC was WILLFULLY cast with the impact now becoming manifest.

    I applaud Rick and 3:16 for recognizing their differences with those who now carry majority weight in the new “SBC”.

    From a historical perspective, however, I think the deal (both paperwork and blueprint) for this “reform” transition was signed onto by both victorious “CR” parties (Fundamentalists/Calvinists) back in 2000 (i.e. BFM).

    Why would “Traditionalists” expect anything less than the modus operandai for “conservative reform” within the SBC to be used against them by their former allies? Calvinists have never made any secret about being more loyal to the agenda of “sovereign grace” than the historical (pre 1979) unity, identity, theology and cooperation of “Southern Baptists”. This lack of attachment to historical southern baptist identity or objectives from the “other wing” is evident in comments on virtually every “baptist” blog you read.

    As far as continuing sbc “tribalism” is concerned, One might think that Rogers as a name brand would carry more weight with Calvinists than that of Hobbs. I don’t think strict Calvinists have ever particularly cared much for Hobbs. Perhaps a “Rogers-Mohler” label instead?

    Robert

    Max,

    Your statement that: “If the enemy of the Cross wanted to distract the largest denomination in America from the Great Commission, he couldn’t have come up with a better strategy than to get them wrangling over the teachings and traditions of men. The rest of Christendom stands amazed that a once-great torch of evangelism is unraveling in message and mission.. . . . It has little to do with competing factions of mere men under whatever label; it has much to do with an enemy who is devouring right now. I’m an old man who is been in and out of numerous spiritual “conflicts” – I can clearly see the dark side of this one.”

    Is both true and chilling.

    In the past I worked in counter cult ministry and we knew who the “enemies” were (i.e. non-Christian cultists who were rejecting essential Christian doctrines such as the trinity and the deity of Christ). We didn’t have to worry about these groups causing division among Christians because all genuine Christians would know they were teaching error, know it needed to be refuted and confronted, and stand as a united front against these false doctrines.

    But I remember thinking, if I were the adversary, these non-Christian cults and their denials of essential Christian doctrine are not going to bring division within the church, so what would be the perfect way to bring confusion and disunity into the church?

    It wouldn’t be through obvious errors such as denying the trinity, as all Christians would see through that and they would not divide over the doctrine of the trinity.

    It would have to be something much more subtle; errors that Christians could believe, errors that once believed if promoted within Christian circles would lead to confusion, division and false teachings, and ultimately divide Bible believing and genuine Christians from each other.

    From observing what is in fact happening in the Southern Baptist denomination: this is exactly what appears to be happening.

    While the errors of the non-Christian cults are not going to make much of an inroad in Christian circles: the false doctrines of Calvinism are. And notice what happens when this false Calvinistic system and its false doctrines are brought into the church. You end up having people who agree on the essentials such as the trinity, the deity of Christ, the inspiration and inerrancy of scripture, a final judgment, eternal destinies of heaven and hell: being divided on Calvinism and its errors!

    How subtle can this division be?

    It is not between people espousing obviously false ideas and rejections of the essentials like the trinity: it is between genuine believers on both sides, people who affirm the essentials but disagree on the Calvinistic system and doctrines.

    And note, assuming the adversary is using these false doctrines to bring division, confusion and false beliefs into the church: if you speak the truth and oppose these false ideas you are sometimes attacked as a “divisive” person by the very people promoting and espousing the errors!
    The other major problem with Calvinism is that it is an error that ensnares very intelligent people. It is the intelligent man’s version of error in the Christian church today. So it leads to division, confusion, frustration, false beliefs, not just with people who hardly know their bibles but with really sharp and knowledgeable believers.

    What a subtle plan and how effective it is working in the SBC denomination. Max you are right about this; I thought about this possibility years ago, sadly I never imagined I would see it actually being realized.

      Max

      Robert, it’s a crying shame that we are losing our best minds to the reformed movement. But, it’s never really been about intellect – it’s by my Spirit saith the Lord! Education doesn’t produce one ounce of revelation. We just need to pray that young folks under the indoctrination of any teaching of man contrary to the Truth wake up in the inner man … not in their intellect, but in their knower. What I know, I can’t un-know … what I see, I can’t un-see. A spiritual battle has been waged against Southern Baptists and the multitude don’t have a clue. We must have been doing something right for the enemy to take note … at one time. We didn’t really lose the Gospel that needs to be restored by theological shift, contrary to what certain SBC and non-SBC influencers are saying. We just grew apathetic and prayerless.

        Robert

        Max,

        “Robert, it’s a crying shame that we are losing our best minds to the reformed movement.”

        Didn’t I say that one of the snares of Calvinism is that it will capture some of the sharpest people? Again, that shows how subtle this whole thing is.

        “A spiritual battle has been waged against Southern Baptists and the multitude don’t have a clue. We must have been doing something right for the enemy to take note … at one time.”

        I agree that the Southern Baptists were doing something right: that thing is called evangelism.

        Allow me to share a very interesting and relevant story with you. I was once present at an interview of two former Satanists (not the Hollywood kind that try to get attention and want to be known by everyone, the real version, those who are highly secretive who have held to it for generations).

        One of the questions asked of the couple was: how did you get saved? They answered that this happened due to their “assignment”. Their “assignment” was to infiltrate a Christian church in order to bring division and confusion into it. In the process of attempting to infiltrate this church they both became born again believers.

        As fascinating and interesting as this is, what I want you to really think about was their answer to a follow up question. After sharing their testimony of how they came to the Lord, they were also asked: “OK, so your assignment was to infiltrate this church, how did you Satanists decide which church to try to infiltrate?” Their answer: wherever we knew that God was working.

        Well apply that to the SBC. The SBC was doing great work particularly in the area of evangelism. So if you were the adversary and you wanted to promote confusion and division and false beliefs and ideas and practices: where would you go? Where would you attack? Considering how subtle the errors of Calvinism are and how effective it is in bringing confusion, division and false ideas and beliefs: it was a very smart plan, a very appropriate place to go to sow division.

          Andy

          Except that looking back on the 90s, and early 2000’s, before I knew of any such divisions, and had hardly heard of Calvinism, I realize now that the Christians I knew had a wide range of beliefs on this issue, and yet there was not division over it…only disagreement…in my home church, and through the college years, and the church after college, these things were discussed, but we’re not divisive. I’m still concinced it is character issues…not Calvinism

            Scott Shaver

            I believe Andy and Max both to be correct, Max about Calvinism, Andy per character.

            The documents, institutions, dogmas and collective effort of SBCers showed more “soteriological” continuity and ecclesiastical “moderation” (classical sense) prior to 90’s than since that time. BFM 2000 was the blueprint and dogma for “calvinization” of the SBC. A “Rogers-Mohler” rather than Hobbs-Rogers label might serve more aptly than “traditionalist” as far as “SBC” lingo is concerned.

            “Calvinists” never were big fans of Hobbs and Rogers worked more closely with Mohler than Hobbs.

            If as Bill Mac says: “Calvinists have coexisted peacefully in the SBC since the beginning”…Why was the early and collective movement of the SBC away from rather than toward 5 point Calvinism?

            If neo-calvinists or reformed calvinists have coexisted peacefully in the SBC since it’s beginning, why is there such an issue now and so many in the ranks still resistant?

              Andy

              What do you mean by the BFM2000 being the blueprint for “reform”? Most of the big changes to the soteriology section came in 1963. The 1925 BFM had some very specific and clear non-calvinist, free-will language…it was removed in 1963, and other language more accomodating to include both calvinism and non-calvinism was added. Also, interestingly, the actual paragraph on “God’s purpose of grace” is essentially the same in all 3.

                Max

                “What do you mean by the BFM2000 being the blueprint for “reform”?”

                Russell Dilday provided prophetic insight in this regard in his “Analysis of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.” The section on “Troubling Factors in the 2000 Revision” provides a good perspective on “the trend toward Calvinism” and “the trend shifting Baptist identity from its Anabaptist, free church tradition to a reformed evangelical identity.”

                http://assets.baptiststandard.com/archived/2001/5_14/pages/dilday.html

                  Andy

                  For those who don’t want to do the digging, here is a summary of Dilday’s opposition to the BFM 2000, with regard to calvinism (he has other sections with other oppositions):

                  1. Al Mohler is a Calvinist.

                  2. General shift away from personal experience: DILDAY Writes: “i.e. the removal of Jesus as the criterion of interpretation, diminishing of soul competency and priesthood of the believer, greater emphasis on creedalism and weakening of local autonomy,” (these are dilday’s words, and I am not convinced that he makes his case for ALL fo them, though some are valid observations…the point is that none of these are specifically related to calvinism).

                  3. The addition of a phrase on foreknowlege, that probably even most traditionalists would have no problem with: “”God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures.” (Dilday specifically laments that that dialogue with Open Theism was shut down by this inclusion…Apparently God knowing everything is Calvinism now)

                  That’s it…All the other relevant changes regarding soteriology were made in 1963, when stronger regeneration language was added, and when these 2 statements were removed:

                  “The blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the duty of all to accept them by penitent and
                  obedient faith. Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept
                  Jesus Christ as teacher, Saviour, and Lord.” –BFM1925

                  “It is a work of God’s free grace conditioned upon faith…” —BFM1925

                    Max

                    “The blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the duty of all to accept them by penitent and obedient faith. Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Jesus Christ as teacher, Saviour, and Lord.”

                    Thanks Andy! Those words, in essence, frame the Southern Baptist identity I have known for over 60 years … even after though they were removed from the BFM nearly 100 years ago! That underlying belief led O.C.S. Wallace to write “What Baptists Believe.” Published by the SBC Sunday School Board in 1934, this book was used in the Training Course for Sunday School Workers for several years. In it, he writes:

                    “It is by the truth that men are made free and alive. But the truth does not effect the spiritual change working alone … in order that truth may become effective for the transformation of sinful man, it is necessary for the living Spirit of God to use it upon the man; but, on the other hand, it is necessary for the man to know truth. Regeneration takes place only when the soul of the man yields to these ideas. His yielding does not regenerate, though his resistance may hinder regeneration. It is when his soul assents to the truth which has been lodged in his mind, and consents to the domination of these truths in the realm of will and purpose, that he is regenerated … Salvation comes to the soul that comes to salvation. Forgiving Saviour and penitent sinner meet.”

                    Out of print now, I found a tattered copy of that old book at a yard sale recently. Best quarter I’ve ever spent!

                    Scott Shaver

                    Andy: You caught my attention with this.

                    “(Dilday specifically laments that dialogue with Open Theism was shut down by this inclusion … Aparently God knowing everything is Calvinism now)”.

                    Question: How long ago did Dilday write this and why was it necessary in his thinking (considering the SBC academic climate at that time) for the addition on foreknowledge to be included?

                    Observation: God knowing everything (i.e. “Calvinism” per your words) is/was an attribute of God long before Calvin was a gleam in his mother’s eyes.

                    “God knowing everything” is not necessarily the same in substance or meaning as what Calvin’s system portrays “God’s knowing everything” to be.

                    Dilday was smart enough to understand at the time that inclusion of the addition on foreknowledge was a push toward acceptability and admitted orthodoxy (for lack of better term) of a more strict and strident brand of Calvinism within the SBC as payoff for the alliance of 5-point calvinists during the CR.

                    What you perceive as Dildays “complaint” about shutting down dialogue with theological fads/templates in vogue at the time (i.e. “Open Theism”) for me is a red herring. The complaint simply accentuates Dilday’s identity/vocation as an educator/theologian/seminary president.

                    There is a historical context to his statements.

                  Andy

                  “…even after though they were removed from the BFM nearly 100 years ago! ”

                  Sorry if I was unclear…those words were INCLUDED in 1925…and were removed when the 1963 revision came out.

                    Max

                    OK …thanks Andy. Yes, I thought you were referring to a clause that was considered but not adopted in 1925. So Southern Baptists from 1925-1963 believed that salvation was “a work of God’s free grace conditioned upon faith” and have been moving slowly and quietly away from that center for the last 50 (rather than 100) years depending upon local church belief and practice (the 3 categories of SBC churches Rick mentioned). I see the “big tent’ more clearly now, but still wonder if the tent pegs should have been moved … oh well, that’s why Southern Baptists have fun fussing with each other all the time.

                Scott Shaver

                Andy:

                The 2000 BFM removed “Christ” as the ultimate “criterion of interpretation”, thereby removing documented recognition of the role of the Holy Spirit in sticky matters of biblical interpretation. Prevailing theo-political dogma becomes chief at that point.

                Game still ongoing as changing complexion of SBC makes evident.

                  Max

                  “The 2000 BFM removed “Christ” as the ultimate “criterion of interpretation” …”

                  Scott, why would anyone in their right (spiritual) mind remove the following Christocentric language from BFM63: “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ” ?! This is perhaps the greatest deviation from Baptist identity that launched the journey which SBC is currently on.

                  Reporting on various BFM2000 revisions at the time, Christianity Today put it this way “”BFM2000 is poorer without the rich Christocentric language of the earlier statement. Jesus Christ is surely the center of Scripture as well as its Lord. One can affirm this while also welcoming the clear affirmation of the Bible as God’s infallible, revealed word”
                  (Christianity Today, August 7, 2000, p. 36).

                    william

                    It was removed because moderates relied on it as a theological wild card. Any prof or employee could square their beliefs with the BFM by playing it. The Christ criterion rendered the BFM meaningless.

                    lydia

                    “Scott, why would anyone in their right (spiritual) mind remove the following Christocentric language from BFM63: “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ” ?! ”

                    And over time the word “Gospel” is almost always substituted for “Jesus Christ”, it is easier to control the narrative and define.

                    Max

                    “The Christ criterion rendered the BFM meaningless.”

                    William – As a Christian, I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around any statement of faith which doesn’t have Christ as its center! But I guess that’s essentially what the BFM revision team opted for in 2000 … no wonder we’ve lost our way in the ensuing years! I understand the inerrancy battles to rout those liberals and moderates, but we conservatives routed ourselves in the process by diminishing long-held Baptist doctrines of soul competency and priesthood of the believer, with Christ at the center of it all! Before you know it, Southern Baptists will frown upon altar calls, sinner’s prayers, testimonies of personal experiences in Christ … (oh wait a minute …)

                    Lydia

                    “It was removed because moderates relied on it as a theological wild card. Any prof or employee could square their beliefs with the BFM by playing it. The Christ criterion rendered the BFM meaningless.”

                    Jesus Christ always renders man made creeds and confessions meaningless when you get right down to it because they are usually political and about conformity not unity.. And He is a wild card as the Holy Spirit! We have to ask ourselves how far we go with thought control.

                    And William we have an employee right now who has declared that New Calvinism is the only place to go if you want to see the nations rejoice for Christ. He squared that declaration with the current BFM. That seems to be ok with a lot of people.

                  Scott Shaver

                  This is what I mean by game ongoing.

                  Below in the thread you will read from William:
                  “It’s because moderates relied on it as “a theological wild card”. Like a POTUS we know, “it’s all the other guy’s fault”. It was a precautionary measure because it was (in our infinite understanding) being misapplied”.

                  Horse feathers.

                  Perhaps the true reason calvinists and fundamentalists wanted it out was FEAR of the Holy Spirit actually performing the role to which the statement alluded………Hmmmmmm? After all, if we’re gonna be thelogically correct we can’t be allowing the Holy Spirit to run counter to a baptist religio-political movement which seeks to deify The Bible can we?

              Andy

              I think I know the answer…It is because for whatever reason, over the last 20 years or so, that SOME Calvinists have come to believe that their Calvinism was the central tenant of their faith, and so have sought to spread Calvinism more aggressively than in the past. This misguided fervour of some Calvinists led to an equally mis-guided reaction against calvinism by some who likely were ambivalent about it before, thinking such topics to simply be what college students debated late at night, along with how many angels can fit on the head of a pin…

              Think about some of the highly-regarded “calvinistic” men of the late 20th century: W.A Criswell, Francis Schaffer, J.I. Packer, Charles Ryrie, and even in the first 20-25 years of his ministry: John MacArthur. All of these men would have agreed to some extent with unconditional election, and yet it was not their primary focus. How many traditionalist Baptists bought a MacArthur Study bible? or a Ryrie Study Bible? Or read “Knowing God”? There was a time when we were more willing to learn from those with whom we did not agree 100%. When even the most Free-will committed Baptist Pastor would not be loath to read John Piper book on missions.

              This goes both ways…Any Reformed person reading this who wants a good book on the Homosexual issue should go lookup the Arminian author “Dr. Michael Brown.”

                Andrew Barker

                Andy: I hear what you are saying regarding reading people like Piper on missions and maybe there is a grain of truth in what he says, somewhere! But when it comes down to it, Piper believes in mission because some (the elect) will be saved which is fundamentally different from (as I see it) the Biblical position which is to do ‘mission’ because all can be saved.

                Whether the two different views can ever work together is not so much a matter of theology, but more to do with the personalities of those concerned. If you have a controlling mind set, you are not going to find it easy to work with others who have differing viewpoints. It’s a simple as that. There has to be give and take. If it’s all one sided it cannot last however forgiving the other side is. I was in a Reformed fellowship for a year or so and I have firsthand experience of how this works, or should I say doesn’t work. The management said they were open to discuss different views, but ‘they’ always had the last word and nobody got to speak at the front unless they were 100% solid Reformed. Thankfully, that fellowship no longer exists.

                It also matters who is saying what. I can comment on this blog (by kind permission) but I’m aware that I’m not SBC so I don’t expect anybody in authority to take notice of what I say, particularly. It’s more useful for me as a way of airing my views and seeing what others think. But that’s not the same for somebody like Al Mohler for example. So if I say on this blog that I think Calvinists and Reformed Presbyterians are missing the plot and are Biblically incorrect (that is my stated position by the way) nobody much is going to worry. But when Al Mohler says that the thinking Christian has in the end to come to some Reformed position, that does become offensive to probably 80% of the SBC root and branch members who are not Calvinistic or Reformed in their theology (excuse my % if they are way off the mark). To add insult to injury, the majority of SBC non-Calvinists have seen their tithes and offerings being used to pay for this Calvinisation.

                As I see it, many Calvinists are caught on the horns of their own dilemma. They love to quote “Calvinism is the gospel” but don’t like it when people criticise them for not preaching Calvinism but preaching ‘The Gospel’ and then bringing in the Calvinism afterwards. When I hear Calvinist preachers saying “for God so loved his elect that when they believe in Jesus they will be saved” then I will know that at least they’re preaching what they believe. I will disagree with their stance, but at least it’s been made clear from the outset. What I believe is wrong is the open invitation to ‘all’ followed by the in-house teaching that, well you only responded because you were elect!

                It is for these very reasons, that I am immediately suspicious of anybody who promotes John Piper’s books, simply because Piper’s premise is wrong from the start this pervades all of his writings. It really is a case of picking out the good from the bad and that’s time consuming. Far better to go to a more trusted source. Again, just my opinion for what it’s worth!

                  Andy

                  “Whether the two different views can ever work together is not so much a matter of theology, but more to do with the personalities of those concerned. If you have a controlling mind set, you are not going to find it easy to work with others who have differing viewpoints. It’s a simple as that. There has to be give and take.”

                  >>>THANK YOU! I’m glad we agree!

                  RE: Mohler and Spurgeon (and all the people who repeat that quote of spurgeon):

                  >>>Sometimes smart people say dumb things without thinking them through.

                  RE: Piper:

                  >>>Actually, if I were to recommend anything from Piper, it would be his sermon series (or subsequent book) on Marriage. It is very good. (unless you reject complimentarianism, then you’ll hate it). Election only comes up once, I believe.

                    Max

                    “Sometimes smart people say dumb things …”

                    Boy, ain’t that the truth! Unfortunately, those same folks often “have a controlling mind set” … the controllers seem to always float to the top in SBC life (long before the current rift). I think we need to ask some of the big boys to sit down and give Andy a chance! ;^)

                    I wonder if Dr. Mohler has ever wished he could take back:

                    “Where else are they going to go? If you’re a theological minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the gospel and want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see gospel built and structured committed churches, your theology is just going to end up basically being Reformed, basically something like this new Calvinism, or you’re going to have to invent some label for what is basically going to be the same thing, there just are not options out there …”

                    Good Lord, non-Calvinists also want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, too! There are options out there! Just because you are intelligent doesn’t mean you are smart.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Mohler says “where else can they go?”

                    I say to Hell rather than going with him if those are our choices.

            Max

            ” … these things were discussed, but were not divisive. I’m still convinced it is character issues …”

            Andy, that is certainly an element in today’s SBC rift (we’ve had several various flavors of character problems in my 60 year experience with this bunch). But, I’ve never seen so much arrogance in a religious movement! From the young reformed pastor that recently lied his way into a traditional church in my community and then proceeded to split it with a move from congregational to elder polity … to Dr. Mohler’s now famous charge “Where else are they going to go? … there just are not options out there” … we definitely have some character issues. That’s not to say that we don’t also have a wealth of non-Calvinist knuckleheads in the mix. The SBC is flooded with characters that don’t look much like Christ these days and God never gives big assignments to little characters. Tying a bunch of cats by the tail doesn’t effect unity … try it sometime.

            Robert

            Andy,
            Now I know you are a music director, so theology and church history may not be your thing. But you really need to study church history and particularly whenever and whevere theological determinism has been strongly promoted by some group. The pattern is **always** the same, what follows is division, confusion, false teachings, various problems. As this pattern repeats itself over and over, we really need to learn from the past, from this history. You appear to be completely unaware and oblivious to this point. You speak of going back to the 90’s and early 2000’s. You need to go back much further than that to gain true perspective on this pattern. I referenced earlier my thought about how the church could be divided, I had this thought back in the 80’s, which also predates your reference to the 90’s. Study the pattern in church history then come back and tell us that Calvinists and non-Calvinists are in this harmony that you describe. The actual reality is very different from what you try to portray from the single case of your local church.

              Andy

              1. STALKER!!! :-) Just kidding.

              2. Please read my comment 2 bubbles above yours. It is not surprising to hear that when such a theology is “strongly promoted” that it creates problems. I believe that is the case anytime secondary issues become primary. In fact, whenever ANY new or different teaching arises, it causes division, whether or not the “new” teaching is right (Protestant reformation), or wrong (cambelism). Some people make a certain eschatology view central, and that can cause division. I have no desire to defend every action or comment by SBC Calvinists in their rise to prominence…that would be folly. I believe some have mistakenly made Calvinism central to their Christianity, being unwilling to accept that wise and godly people can come to different conclusion without betraying something central to Christianity.

              I have done my fair share of historical study, and what I see is that at some times, Calvinists & Non calvinists have co-labored side by side (SBC History, Beginning and end of Whitefield & Wesley’s minstries, etc.) …and at other times they have fought (early reformers vs anabaptists, Wesley & whitefield’s middle years, etc.)

              But What I CAN say is not just based on my current church, but on EVERY church, and every para-church organization I have ever been involved with: These issues come up, they are discussed honestly…then we move on. That is my experience in my current SBC church, Campus Crusade, Non-denominational churches, Other baptist churches, & Christian college, and even at SBTS (yep, there are some non-calvinists there! :), and even knowing a married couple in which one is a Calvinistic Baptist, and the other is committed to Nazarene Arminianism (I’m sure it has caused issues, but 15 years later, they are still married and in love and committed to each other, respecting one another’s views).

              There is simply no way for me to discount all of that first-hand experience based on some words I read on a few SBC blogs.

              Les Prouty

              Andy,

              “I believe some have mistakenly made Calvinism central to their Christianity, being unwilling to accept that wise and godly people can come to different conclusion without betraying something central to Christianity.”

              And I think it fair to rewrite this sentence this way…

              I believe some have mistakenly made non-Calvinism central to their Christianity, being unwilling to accept that wise and godly people can come to different conclusion without betraying something central to Christianity.”

              Also, I don’t know how old you are (you appear younger than I at 57), but remember the words of Paul to Timothy and be encouraged:

              “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

              Would that we all, whatever our age, heed the Spirit’s words to Timothy via Paul.

              God bless.

                Andy

                Um, yeah, you’re old enough to be my dad! I am 34, in the thick of pre-schoolers and such!

                Yes, of course, you could put anything you want in that space of that sentance.

                  Robert

                  Andy,
                  You really don’t know church history as is evident from your comments. Let’s get you started in seeing the pattern that occurs repeatedly in church history whenever theological determinism is being pushed. Here is a softball level question, and easy one to get you started: tell us what happened to the non-Calvinists after the Calvinist controlled council of Dordt? What happened to non-Calvinist pastors as a direct result of what one of my friends calls a Calvinist Kangaroo court?

                    Andy

                    1. IF you have read my last few comments, you should have noticed that I am not disagreeing with your historical proposition. I have stated at least TWICE that whenever proponents of calvinism aggressively push their system, division and conflict arises. Naming numerous times in which calvinist majorities have mistreated non-calvinist minorities does not disagree with me.

                    BUT…I have also simply stated that there are also times in which Cals and Non-cals have coexisted, and even partnered in various endeavors…these are likely times when those who held certain views on election DID NOT see those issues as hills to die on. You have not addressed that point of my argument.

                    2. I feel like we are getting side-tracked from my original point of comment: (a) That in EVERY circumstance in which I have personally found myself (churches and para-church groups from Boston to Ohio to Kentucky to Indiana) I have seen people who disagree about predestination get along, coexist in churches, partner in ministry, partner in marriage, and even partner as church pastoral staff that disagree on this issue. AND, (b) I have pointed to the fact that over the last 50 years of evangelical life, there have been calvinistic men who were widely respected by non-calvinists, and non-calvinist men who have been widely respected by calvinists.

                    In other words, to put it in historical context, Just because something has historically been a source of strong debate, division, expulsion & exile, imprisonment, and even executions…does NOT mean that it has to be that way, or that it was or is necessarily ALWAYS that way. And I am not saying this out of some hole-in-the-sand idealism…I am saying it because in EVERY circumstance of my (admittedly young) life, I have SEEN IT. Bill Mac has seen it too. It is my hope that this can be the future of the SBC, but it will require a change in mindset and in rhetoric that might be difficult to attain any time soon.

                    An example of this is when Mohler was appointed president of SBTS, by people, many of whom didn’t agree with his calvinism, he was not seen as “one of THEM” (calvinists), but rather as “one of US” (conservatives). Likewise when mohler partnered with Paige Patterson, Mohler treated him not as “one of THEM” (anti-calvinists), but as “one of US” (conservatives). SBCers will have to decide whether they can view someone with a different view of election as “one of us” or “one of them”. Some will decide the later, and that is their prerogotive, but some have, and will, choose the former.

                    It is my hope that it will be the majority, and whenever I encounter someone who automatically is suspicious of a pastor when they see a John Piper book on their shelf…OR a man who seems to have a personal grudge against John Wesley for his spread of arminianism…I ATTEMPT to temper them.

                    Thanks for reading such a long comment… :-)

                    Lydia

                    “BUT…I have also simply stated that there are also times in which Cals and Non-cals have coexisted, and even partnered in various endeavors…these are likely times when those who held certain views on election DID NOT see those issues as hills to die on. You have not addressed that point of my argument. ”

                    When and where did they co exist peaceably excluding America after the Revolution? Even the Puritans were torturing and banishing Quakers.

                    Lydia

                    “An example of this is when Mohler was appointed president of SBTS, by people, many of whom didn’t agree with his calvinism, he was not seen as “one of THEM” (calvinists), but rather as “one of US” (conservatives). Likewise when mohler partnered with Paige Patterson, Mohler treated him not as “one of THEM” (anti-calvinists), but as “one of US” (conservatives). SBCers will have to decide whether they can view someone with a different view of election as “one of us” or “one of them”. Some will decide the later, and that is their prerogotive, but some have, and will, choose the former. z”

                    The culture war has always been a big sell in the SBC and still is. Mohler is still culture warrning on local radio here. That masked a lot of problems for a long time for a long time.

                    It is not just a different view of election. It is a totally different view of God’s character.

                  Andy

                  Lydia,

                  I already mentioned Wesley and Whitfield, who had their differences at some points, but at other points worked together, and Whitefield called Wesley his “dear friend”, and had Wesley preach his funeral. However my larger point was that we should not seek to perpetuate the divisions of the past, and that more recent co-existing is evidence that it is possible. There is no reason to base our actions or expectations on the way religious people treated each other from 1500-1800, or even later.

                    Lydia

                    “I already mentioned Wesley and Whitfield, who had their differences at some points, but at other points worked together, and Whitefield called Wesley his “dear friend”, and had Wesley preach his funeral.r”

                    Not a great example since there was no unity for quite a while and they did not work together either except very early on in England.. I am talking about coexisting within a denomination or even a state church. You won’t see it until American Indepedence and the push Westward. Think about why Philly was founded. Why Providence was founded…and so on. The “freedom of conscience” Christians literally had to leave places because of the authoritarianism and legalism of Calvinistic Puritanism. It is funny but John Adams has some choice words on the matter.

                    I realize history is very nuanced and not black and while and I do speak in generalities. But this is one area I have looked into deeply. And what happened to the Puritan descendents for the most part? They drifted into Unitarianism.

Pam knight

Rick thanks for continuing to address this very important issue. Thanks from all the heartbroken mommas and daddies out there that have very Godly children who have been sidetracked and caught up in this current error of scripture. My husband and I know first hand the unintended division that these errors in doctrine can cause. Our prayer is that the Traditionalist side of our Convention will begin to make it a priority to pray for our brothers and sisters in the Lord who have been sidetracked by the enemy. We need to love them and reach out to them just like we would anyone else who is erring in scripture. We need to see them as a mission field also.
Although my husband and I know our son is a born again believer. Our fun times of sitting around discussing the Word of God has almost vanished Because of the different view of scripture. My husband and I long for those old days of sweet fellowship in the Word. Even tho our Son is saved and even a Pastor of a church. We continue to pray for him and our 5 wonderful grandkids who are being brought up under this error of doctrine. We can’t even share the Good News of the Gospel with them because our son doesn’t want us to undermine what he is teaching them about salvation.
How our heart breaks as we watch our precious grandkids grow up not knowing for sure if God loves them or has chosen them or if maybe God created them to be vessels of dishonor. How sad.
Listen our Calvinist brothers and sisters and their lovely children should be one of the “people groups” we are reaching out to with the real Truth of the Good News of the Gospel.
In Christ
Pam knight

    Rick Patrick

    Hi Pam,

    It’s so good to hear from you. I believe that all across our convention, there are Traditionalist Moms and Dads, like you and your husband, whose kids have been converted to Calvinistic doctrines, creating more than a little tension within the family. As we start VBS in our church this week, it is clear that Calvinists and Traditionalists envision two entirely different ways of approaching child evangelism, and this must be very painful and confusing as you sort everything out with regard to the rights of your children in raising your grandchildren. While Connect 316 is primarily a “minister’s” fellowship, I believe there are many laypersons with testimonies just like yours who could benefit from associating with others in the same boat. You deserve to receive the kind of support and encouragement that such a layperson’s group could provide. May God bless you with His peace. I pray that all of your grandchildren come to know the Lord.

      Max

      “While Connect 316 is primarily a “minister’s” fellowship …”

      Whose work is the ministry? “Each believer is a priest, both before God for oneself and by caring for fellow believers and for persons in the world for whom Christ died.”
      From We Baptists, James Leo Garrett Jr. (editor-in-chief)

      Pam you are not only a Traditionalist Mom, you are a priest. Your work is to minister for Jesus and through Jesus as you are led by the Holy Spirit. Be encouraged – you are in the ministry! Pray for your children and grandchildren – and minister to them as God leads.

    Bill Mac

    This is what I’m talking about.

      Rick Patrick

      Bill,

      I do not read Pam’s comments as being divisive or making trouble in the least. Yes, she believes Calvinism is error, just as Mohler has described our view as “deficient” in his conversation with Eric Hankins. We’re not asking people to say that “both sides are right.” We just want to press forward in the convention and address some of the real problems that exist. It seems to me that the existence of young adult children who have turned to Calvinism, breaking the hearts of their Traditionalist parents, is a real problem. I can certainly sympathize with Pam in her concerns. She grieves their rejection of the “Whosoever Will” doctrine in which they were raised. I don’t think Pam wants to eradicate Calvinism in the SBC, although I may be wrong. I just don’t think she wants her children and grandchildren to believe that way. I’m pretty sure John Piper and Tim Keller want their kids to be Calvinists. I read Pam’s tone not as divisive, but as disheartened.

        Pam knight

        You have understood me correctly Rick. My son was not brought up under these doctrines. And it is so heartbreaking to watch my grandkids growing up in fear not knowing if they are one of the elect or were they created to be vessels of dishonor.
        Our son is so committed to these “Doctrines of Grace” that there is no way my husband and I could go out with our son and together share the Good News of the Gospel with a lost person. He would be interrupting and correcting us on the heresy were sharing.
        There are thousands of people sitting in pews in small local churches all across America and beyond that have no clue that people who claim to be Southern Baptist could believe in and preach such different doctrines. They simply don’t know what is happening within their denomination.
        We love our son and believe he loves the Lord with all his heart. And without knowing them personally we believe the same about other Calvinist also. But we love the Lord more and know that He wants everyone to know the Truth and as He works in and through us He will be sharing that Truth…even with our Calvinist brothers and sisters in the Lord….
        In Christ
        Pam Knight

        Bill Mac

        Rick,
        I don’t have a problem with either side saying the other side is wrong about doctrine, or arguing for their point of view. But this:

        Listen our Calvinist brothers and sisters and their lovely children should be one of the “people groups” we are reaching out to with the real Truth of the Good News of the Gospel.

        Seriously? Unity is not possible with people who think you don’t have the Gospel.

          Rick Patrick

          Well, I hope unity is indeed possible with people who think you don’t have the Gospel. Every Sunday I support financially the ministry of a man who said this about the Reformed theology that I disaffirm: “Where else are they going to go? If you’re a theological minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the gospel and want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see gospel built and structured committed churches, your theology is just going to end up basically being Reformed, basically something like this new Calvinism, or you’re going to have to invent some label for what is basically going to be the same thing, there just are not options out there, and that’s something that frustrates some people, but when I’m asked about the New Calvinism—where else are they going to go, who else is going to answer the questions, where else are they going to find the resources they are going to need and where else are they going to connect?”

          Well, Al Mohler, I hope they can connect at Connect 316. We are also theological minded, deeply convictional evangelicals committed to the gospel. So there really is somewhere else for people to go. We have the gospel, too. But I am willing to work with you, in spite of statements like the one quoted above.

            Bill Mac

            Rick: We all say things sometimes less elegant or nuanced than we should. I don’t know if Mohler’s quote fits that description, but I think his track record belies the idea that he thinks non-Calvinists don’t have the Gospel. Especially given his dialog with Hankins. But if that is what he really thinks, then no, unity isn’t possible with him. I’m not a Mohler apologist. He’s too much of the culture warrior for me.

            Pam’s quote suggests that Calvinists (at least some of them) aren’t saved (proven by the fact that they are Calvinists). That they need to be reached as a people group are given the TRUE GOSPEL.

            As I said, I don’t have a problem with doctrinal differences, saying others are wrong, and trying to persuade them they are wrong. Unity is no problem there. But unity isn’t possible with people who think, because you have a different soteriology, that you are in the grip of Satan and need to be evangelized. There are far too many on the Calvinist side of the camp who think that of non-cals, but it’s clear you have them too.

          Pam knight

          Bill…I’m really sorry that I have offended you. I truly do not want to do that. In one of my responses to Rick I said we believed our Son was saved and loved the Lord with all his heart and we believed the same about other Calvinist…but let me say that both my husband and I believe that people can be truly saved and yet be in error in what they believe the Bible teaches.
          As Christians we need to each one be ready and available for the Lord to practically apply 2Tim 3:16 thru 4:4 in and thru our lives and to practically be worked out in situations and circumstances like we are dealing with here in these conversations. People can be saved and very sincere in what they are saying and doing… it’s not that they aren’t sincere… but they can be sincerely wrong and if we love them and want God to work out what these scriptures are teaching us to do..then we will speak up and do it in love and kindness and with a thankfulness in remembering all the patience and instructions that other people have given us….Please know that is my hearts desire in sharing on this post and about this subject in particular….again forgive me for any offense I caused..
          In Christ
          Pam Knight

            Bill Mac

            Pam, I am not offended at all. I am very difficult to offend.

            but let me say that both my husband and I believe that people can be truly saved and yet be in error in what they believe the Bible teaches.

            As do I. For any divergent viewpoints, clearly both cannot be right, although they might both be wrong. I just think your words were a little hyperbolic. Thanks.

      Les Prouty

      Rick,

      I see where Bill Mac is coming from. It is obvious that Pam is hurting. That is real and cannot be ignored. And it is not wrong for her to classify us Calvinists as in error. It is a loaded word and I tend not to use it, but I understand it.

      But it’s these kinds of comments that deepen the chasm and are not helpful for either side to use them:

      “…our brothers and sisters in the Lord who have been sidetracked by the enemy.”

      “Listen our Calvinist brothers and sisters and their lovely children should be one of the “people groups” we are reaching out to with the **real Truth of the Good News** of the Gospel.”

      If you read TRUTH, TRUST, and TESTIMONY in a TIME of TENSION, there is a recognition by Drs. Hankins and Mohler that both groups are committed to the same gospel…good news.” There is no hint by the affirmations Dr. Hankins signed on to of Calvinists needing the “real Truth of the Good News.”

      I think it behooves everyone to try as best as possible to refrain from language that really can only deepen the divide, not bring closer unity.

        Pam knight

        Let me say I’m sorry if I have offended you. I don’t mean to do that. Please forgive me if I have. But I know there cannot be 2 Truths about God’s plan and purpose in Redemption and Salvation. And I don’t think God wants us to compromise His Truth just for the sake of unity.
        In Christ
        Pam Knight

        Les Prouty

        Pam,

        You seem like a dear person. You did not offend me. But thank you for your sweet response. I do really think I understand your feelings. They seem to be very strong and heartfelt. But I think, at least from my perspective and most Calvinists I know, the disagreement is not over two different gospels or two different ways of salvation. Both sides for the most part (there are always a few extremes on each side) agree that it is God saves and that man does not save himself by works or do anything meritorious toward his salvation. Both sides agree that the gospel can and should be proclaimed to all without discrimination. So both sides are in agreement on the essentials of the gospel and are orthodox.

        Last, you said, “And I don’t think God wants us to compromise His Truth just for the sake of unity.” Here also I think both sides agree. In fact, Drs. Hankins and Mohler surely expressed that in the statement they crafted (the one I have referred to). They believe and have stated that there can be unity by both sides w/o compromising His Truth on the essentials of the gospel.

        God bless you and your family Pam.

          Robert

          Les Prouty writes:

          “But I think, at least from my perspective and most Calvinists I know, the disagreement is not over two different gospels or two different ways of salvation. Both sides for the most part (there are always a few extremes on each side) agree that it is God saves and that man does not save himself by works or do anything meritorious toward his salvation. Both sides agree that the gospel can and should be proclaimed to all without discrimination. So both sides are in agreement on the essentials of the gospel and are orthodox.”

          Let’s start with the good part of what is said here: Prouty is correct that both sides “are orthodox” in terms of believing essentials of the Christian faith including the trinity, the deity of Christ, the incarnation, that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God, final judgment with two eternal destinies heaven and hell, etc.

          The more subtle error is found in the line “the disagreement is not over two different gospels or two different ways of salvation.”

          Actually it **is** two different ways of salvation.

          In the Traditionalist view God loves the world and so desires for all to be saved, provides an atonement for all/the whole world, makes an effort to save all, and only those who repeatedly and freely choose to reject God end up in hell.

          In the Calvinist view God does not love the world (he loves the elect but hates the non-elect) and so He preselects before they even exist, both who will be saved and who will be lost, He does not desire the salvation of all, he provides the atonement only for the elect not for the all/whole world, does not make an effort to save all (if he did then all would be saved as in the Calvinistic view only those given irresistible grace will be saved and all given this type of grace are saved, but God intentionally gives this grace only to the preselected elect). This means in Calvinism those who end up in hell were chosen for this destiny and never had a chance to be saved.

          If we put these two ways of salvation on the table we see that they **are mutually exclusive** options, **both cannot be true**, if one is true then the other is false.

          So Prouty’s claim that the disagreement is not over “two different ways of salvation” is false.

          And again note how subtle this all is: genuine believers can agree on so much, and yet when Calvinism enters the door there is intense disagreement, division, confusion, and someone is promoting and defending error and someone else is promoting and defending truth, and both of the two sides cannot be correct, someone is most definitely in error here concerning the different ways of salvation.

          Les Prouty

          Robert,

          “In the Traditionalist view…In the Calvinist view…”

          I think you may be overstating this brother. Our different views are not the “way of salvation.” The way of salvation is, man is saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Our view of limited atonement, for example, is not the way of salvation. Whether you’re right or I’m right about the extent of the atonement will neither save nor condemn any person. If I hold to LA and tell someone that but I happen to be wrong, my wrongness will not prevent that person from being saved by God…whom we all agree “alone saves.”

        Robert

        Les Prouty writes:

        “It is obvious that Pam is hurting. That is real and cannot be ignored. And it is not wrong for her to classify us Calvinists as in error. It is a loaded word and I tend not to use it, but I understand it.”

        This reminds me of Bill Clinton asking what do we mean by the word “is”?

        The word error is not a “loaded word” it is quite simple it means someone is in mistaken or wrong about something.

        Christians are supposed to promote and defend truth while challenging and refuting error.

        The line from Prouty that does not make sense however, that is irrational is this:

        “And it is not wrong for her to classify us Calvinists as in error.”

        What?

        Either Traditionalists or Calvinists are right and the other group is conversely wrong or in ERROR.

        Les Prouty is a Calvinist and a Presbyterian who has renounced Baptist beliefs in order to hold to mistaken or erroneous Presbyterian beliefs (again, either Presbyterians are correct on certain things and Baptists are in error on those things or vice versa): his purpose for being here is to defend and promote Calvinism. Prouty believes Calvinism is true and Traditionalist beliefs are error. That being the case it makes no sense for him to say to Pam that “it is not wrong for her to classify us Calvinists as in error.” If Prouty’s Calvinism is true, then it is wrong/error for Pam to classify it as wrong when in fact it is the truth.

        I understand the desire for unity among believers and this is a commendable desire. But when you hold beliefs that you honestly believe to be true but then tell others it is OK for them to declare your true beliefs to be error: that is just nonsense. That is not true at all, that is compounding error upon error.

        I fully realize and grant that if Calvinists are right on certain things then I am wrong/in error about those things. For example – if they are right about limited atonement that Jesus only died for the elect, then my belief that he died for the whole world is error, it is wrong.

        Either Prouty’s Calvinist beliefs are true and the beliefs of Traditionalists is wrong, or vice versa. The only other possibility is that both views are wrong and something else is the truth. But let’s not play a game where we claim we have the truth and yet it is Ok for others to claim our beliefs are false.

        By the way, as I have been saying throughout this thread, the adversary could not get genuine believers to divide over essentials like the trinity or the deity of Christ: again the much more subtle and effective way to divide believers is to get genuine believers who agree on things like the trinity or the deity of Christ, to disagree over something else, something where genuine believers are in error.

        Les Prouty

        Robert,

        “The word error is not a “loaded word” it is quite simple it means someone is in mistaken or wrong about something.

        Christians are supposed to promote and defend truth while challenging and refuting error.

        The line from Prouty that does not make sense however, that is irrational is this:

        “And it is not wrong for her to classify us Calvinists as in error.””

        Brother, all I was trying to do is show a little grace to someone who holds a different view on some things. When I say the word “error” is loaded, all I mean is that in conversations among brothers it tends to come across a bit more harsh. It’s like the word “false” when used to describe a brother’s views. From your standpoint, we Calvinists are in error and hold to a false theology. As I said, I understand the technical use of the words. From your standpoint that’s a true statement and a true use of the words. But the use of those words, while technically true from your standpoint, come across as harsh to brothers and less gracious than other words or phrases.

        I try to not use those kinds of words when discussing with brothers.

        May I ask you a question Robert? Would you like to see Calvinists leave the SBC? Or asked another way, what would you like to see happen regarding the tensions that exist in the SBC over the Calvinist/Traditionalist differences?

          Robert

          Prouty brings up some interesting issues here. Let’s consider what John Piper who is a better and more informed person on Calvinism than Les Prouty writes about this:

          [[“But how should we regard these errors [Wesleyanism and Arminianism] in relationship to the teaching office of the church and other institutions?
          The answer I gave was not precise enough. Here is what I said:
          Here’s my rule of thumb: the more responsible a person is to shape the thoughts of others about God, the less Arminianism should be tolerated. Therefore church members should not be excommunicated for this view but elders and pastors and seminary and college teachers should be expected to hold the more fully biblical view of grace.
          What is not precise here is the implication of the word “should.” “The less Arminianism should be tolerated.” By way of clarification, I would say: In an Arminian institution, Arminians should be allowed to teach. But in institutions that regard Arminianism as a defective view of God’s grace, they should not be allowed to teach. Or, more broadly, in an institution that thinks the truth is better served by having advocates of Arminianism and Calvinism, both should be allowed to teach.
          Then the question shifts to whether churches and Christian educational institutions should be devoted to a mix of Arminianism and Calvinism. No, I don’t think they should be. I think the truth, the church, and the world are better served by confessional institutions—that is, institutions which settle on the great things about God that they believe, and then build their teaching and research upon them. “] (source = “Calvinism, Arminianism, & Education” March 4, 2008)

          Just substitute “Traditionalism” for “Arminianism” to get what Piper is advocating here.

          “The more responsible a person is to shape the thoughts of others about God [that would be pastors, elders, bible teachers, other leaders in the local church and denomination], the less Traditionalism should be tolerated. Therefore church members should not be excommunicated for this view but elders and pastors and seminary and college teachers should be expected to hold the more fully biblical view of grace.”

          “But in institutions that regard Traditionalism as a defective view of God’s grace, they should not be allowed to teach.”
          “Then the question shifts to whether [SBC] churches and {SBC] Christian educational institutions should be devoted to a mix of Traditionalism and Calvinism. No, I don’t think they should be.”

          Do you think other Calvinist leaders like Mohler agree with Piper’s thinking here?
          I doubt they will admit it though that at times they unintentionally slip up (anyone recall those Mohler statements???).

          From what I have seen I would say Yes. By the way, what Piper says here provides a good blue print for taking over the SBC denomination. Get the leaders to be Calvinists (that is happening in the seminaries) and that includes future pastors and present pastors. Get the published curriculums to be calvinistic.

          Anybody see ANY parallels?

          As Bob Dylan once wrote: “When you gonna wake up? Strengthen the things that remain.”

            Bill Mac

            I’m pretty sure Rick has taken this view in his own church regarding Calvinism. It doesn’t seem unreasonable.

            Bill Mac

            Prouty brings up some interesting issues here. Let’s consider what John Piper who is a better and more informed person on Calvinism than Les Prouty

            This is an interesting assertion, especially for a non-Calvinist to make.

          Les Prouty

          Robert,

          So your answer to this:

          “Would you like to see Calvinists leave the SBC? Or asked another way, what would you like to see happen regarding the tensions that exist in the SBC over the Calvinist/Traditionalist differences?”

          is….??

            Robert

            Les Prouty asked some questions earlier, I responded by bringing up John Piper a fair and knowledgeable and influential spokesperson (perhaps even THE spokesperson) for the Calvinist resurgence movement. I wanted that out in the open for all to see.

            Prouty asks his questions again.

            “So your answer to this:
            “Would you like to see Calvinists leave the SBC? Or asked another way, what would you like to see happen regarding the tensions that exist in the SBC over the Calvinist/Traditionalist differences?”
            is….??”

            The problem with these questions is that I don’t believe they have the kind of simple answers that Prouty is demanding. They are of the “have you stopped beating your wife” sort of question. We should desire to answer our questions in line with scriptural teaching. So it seems to me that the first question that needs to be asked is whether or not indeed these Calvinistic teachings ARE false, ARE errors? In my thinking the answer is Yes (and likewise I expect the Calvinist to say that is the Traditionalists who are teaching and promoting and defending false ideas, making errors). Once that is established then the next question would be what does the New Testament say about dealing with errors? Seems the NT affirms that people are first spoken to regarding their errors. What happens after that depends upon their response to this testing and challenge of their unbiblical errors.

            The problem is what to do when various leaders are holding these errors?

            If seminary presidents and faculty hold these errors, what happens then?

            This brings up one of my concerns which I can express but have seen little done concerning it. At times some seminary professor advocates some error or false doctrine: what can the local church do about this kind of thing? Practically speaking nothing. It seems to fall to the seminary to deal with this error. And yet the New Testament admonitions all presume a local church context: correction and discipline occurs within the context of the local church and its leadership and members. But seminary professors can teach some error and how does the local church challenge such error?

            Now practically speaking when it comes to “tensions” among those who disagree, it seems the NT admonitions about how to treat other believers applies. For example one can disagree with another believer without claiming they are unbelievers or heretics. One can focus upon what is held in common. Unfortunately, most people will try to have unity without truth (“Your OK, I’m Ok, let’s just ignore our differences for the sake of “unity”). But that’s not the unity talked about in the NT: in the NT truth is never sacrificed for the sake of unity. This is why Paul could confront Peter another apostle. In the NT the unity aimed for is based upon sharing the same truth.

            And that again takes us to the problem of Calvinism. Assuming it is error, it is serious error as it involves the nature of salvation and the plan of salvation. Are there easy answers as to how people should handle these errors? I don’t think so. Again that is why I shared Piper’s views as a contrast, for him there are easy answers and his easy answers include excluding non-Calvinists from teaching and leadership positions, to tolerate them by not excommunicating them from the local church and yet making sure they exercise no leadership function and have no positions of influence. If people want a false unity based on mutual tolerance and ignoring error, that is easily reached. But if people want unity based upon shared truth, that kind of unity will be much more difficult to achieve.

              lydia

              Robert, why is it up to any of us to answer such questions for Les. We cannot answer for all SB in churches.

              Why not make this a focus in individual churches to study and explore? It is a great way to focus on the character of Jesus and why He came at all. If we were already chosen before Adam sinned and before we were even born, what is the point of it all? People need to discuss these things.

              Everyone seems afraid of this deep convo in churches because the pew sitters are ignorant. But that thinking is part of the problem.

              the more we talk about a false unity the worse it’s going to get.

              I realize the leaders would be against this for money reasons.

                Robert

                Lydia,

                It is not up to us to answer Prouty’s questions because these are not easy questions to answer with a simple Yes or No.

                That is why I likened it to the question: have you stopped beating your wife? That commits the fallacy of complex question, it is actually two questions masquerading as one.

                Similarly, Les expects these simplistic answers such as Yes we should get rid of all of them right now, instantly or No.

                I was thinking about this further, part of it has to do with how serious you believe the errors of Calvinism are. If they are not serious in your view, then why would you ask them to leave, why would you even ask them to change their beliefs?

                If it is like eschatology where one person is an amill, and another is a premill and another is a postmill, people do not take these beliefs too seriously so they can all relate together easily and well.

                But what if the false belief is annihilationism (the claim that the nonbelievers do not go to an eternal hell, that they are judged and then destroyed)? We would view that as false but is it worse than being mistaken on millennial beliefs? And assume that it is, do we then disallow any annihilationist from teaching or being a pastor or other leadership positions and functions?

                Seems to me that Calvinism is serious error because it relates to salvation, to the nature of salvation, to the plan of salvation which also goes to God’s character. Do we confront errant Calvinists and then if they repent they stay and if not, they have to go? THAT type of question is much harder to answer. I will admit I don’t have easy answers to this. I am firmly convinced that Calvinism is error and serious error, but as to the practical dealings with it, that involves a whole host of not easy to answer questions. Lydia do you understand what I am saying?

                  Lydia

                  “I will admit I don’t have easy answers to this. I am firmly convinced that Calvinism is error and serious error, but as to the practical dealings with it, that involves a whole host of not easy to answer questions. Lydia do you understand what I am saying?’

                  Absolutely. It speaks to the most personal belief of all in a believers life AND application of that belief.. And I agree it is serious error and I believe it is man made. I would hope more churches present both and discuss it in depth in an open manner with the pewsitters. But I do not see that happening. I cannot imagine an Acts 29 Driscoll DNA membership covenant church actually doing this in any fair and neutral manner because their entire focus is on authoritarianism of the elders/leaders interpreting scripture for you. Same for SGM and most of TGC and T4G.

                  Lydia

                  Robert,
                  I would also have to ask, “What sort of Calvinists”? The kind who are upfront about their agenda and beliefs and trustworthy or the kind that try to amass lots of power and work covertly?

              Les Prouty

              Lydia,

              Of course you don’t have to answer. But FYI my question wasn’t about what all SB churches should do. My question was,

              “Would you like to see Calvinists leave the SBC?” Note “you.” It was for Robert.

                lydia

                Everyone is well aware why you and other Cals ask this. it is like the abuser who cries when his wife stands up for better treatment and finally leaves him, ‘ you never really loved me’ !

                  Andy

                  Wow…

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: and Les thinks that isn’t being candid? LOL

                    Les Prouty

                    Andrew,

                    Well her reply is a candid response. But hardly a candid answer to the question asked. And it contains a lot is assuming of motive which I don’t think she’s privy to.

                Les Prouty

                No Lydia it’s not like that at all. It’s just a simple question that is related to the post (about unity), and especially now in light of Robert’s comments above. But at this point I don’t expect a candid answer.

                  Jim P

                  You know Les, in all the dialogs with you and other on this site, (if it can be called dialog) is that you refer to those you try to dialog with by their first names while those who ‘dialog’ with you is by Prouty or…

                  That says a lot about you. Theology or not, you’ve got a decency that every believer should respect.

                  The Lord Bless

                    Les Prouty

                    Jim P,

                    I hope this gets posted. Off topic.

                    I got your email about assisting tha Haitian pastor. But when I replied I ended up in EarthLink approval purgatory. If you can please approve my email Les at haitiorphanproject dot org or text me at 314 578 4822.

                    Thanks Jim and thanks to the moderator.

                  lydia

                  Of course not, Les. Everyone here knows I am covert agressive in my communications and always use cheesy platitudes to show how godly and nice I am. People tend to like that these days.

                    Max

                    Lydia – you are one of the most godly men I know ;^)

                    Max

                    Lydia – be encouraged! You’ve come into the Kingdom for such a time as this! ;^)

                  Les Prouty

                  Lydia,

                  For what it’s worth, I don’t think you are “covert aggressive” in your communications nor do I think you “always use cheesy platitudes to show how godly and nice” you are.

                  God bless.

            Les Prouty

            Thanks Robert. It seems that for you, as you said, there are no easy answers in the SBC. So if I read you correctly, since the answers are not so easy for the SBC, you really decline to say what should happen to Calvinists in the SBC,

            FYI i the denomination where I am an ordained elder, a non-Calvinist would not be able to be a pastor, assoc. pastor, elder, seminary prof., etc. However, any non Cal Christian is welcome to be a member (adherence to the WCF is not required for membership) and many, many are. And some serve in other ways besides pastor, elder etc.

            But my discussions here are about the SBC where the denomination is open to Cals and non-Cals as pastors, teachers, etc.

            Blessings brother.

              Max

              “… a non-Calvinist would not be able to be a pastor, assoc. pastor, elder, seminary prof., etc”

              Presbyterian leadership requirements seem so much more straightforward than the big tent approach of Southern Baptists. It’s clean, clear-cut, no wiggle room. A known theological position of pastors/elders and other leaders in Presbyterian life allows current and prospective members to know exactly where leadership stands in belief and practice … unlike today’s Southern Baptist churches, where the membership might experience the 3 categories Rick noted above (Cal, non-Cal, or hybrid). Life is so much easier if you know who folks are. The Presbyterians have done the right thing in this regard.

              Les Prouty

              Well thank you Max. That’s about the first nice thing I’ve seen said about Presbyterians around these parts.

                Max

                You’re welcome Les. Les, as I understand it, you left SBC life at a time when reformed theology wasn’t as acceptable … or perhaps you left during the liberal/conservative war … or exited out of a general disgust with Southern Baptists fighting all the time about something. Whatever the reason, you obviously found a place where you can hold and express your faith without weeping and gnashing of teeth by those contrary to it … your ministry with Haitian orphans is a good work. The “clean, clear-cut, no wiggle room” single system of belief and practice in the Presbyterian ranks certainly has its benefits (whether I agree with it or not) … as opposed to the current turmoil within SBC to rebrand itself as it struggles to find a way for two distinctly different systems to peacefully co-exist with each other. Some say that they always have – “old” Calvinism with non-Calvinism … but this “new” Calvinism has a different look and feel to it. Thus, we have blog clashes as Calvinization of the largest non-Calvinist denomination in America advances. As an old man, I have become a reluctant participant in this cyberspace debate. I am really not anti-Calvinist, just anti-Calvinization of the denomination I have spent a lifetime in. Call it traditional or whatever, non-Calvinist belief and practice has been the default in Southern Baptist life – the only identity I have known in over 60 years. I guess Presbyterians have always been Presbyterians.

      Scott Shaver

      Bill Mac:

      Are you complaining about the substance of what commentators on this thread have said or are you complaining to Rick and 3:16 about what they allow to be posted?

    Pam knight

    Thank you Rick for understanding and for continuing to raise awareness about this…..my husband and I will never give up on the hope of our son one day coming home to the Truth.Thanks again.
    In Christ
    Pam Knight

Robin Foster

Thanks Rick. Your best article yet!

Justin

Rick,
In your post you talk about the organization of the Calvinist camp to include fellowships, conferences, but also authors, etc. I am wondering (out of being naive to the answer), how are the Traditionalist with having their own authors? I was able to attend Connect316’s breakfast last year in Baltimore at the convention, and of course walked away with some books which I have enjoyed. One thing in particular that I am thinking of is along the lines of Bible study material/SS quarterlies (for those churches who still use it). The reason I am asking is the church I pastor is a Traditionalist congregation. However, a lot of the literature published by Lifeway has at best as you call it a hybrid stance to at worse, strong leanings towards Calvinism. I have been reviewing currently Lifeway’s, The Gospel Project. I do not want to dive into my feelings on it, especially since I have only just started reviewing it. But I am curious, is the Traditionalist wing of the SBC looking at producing something like The Gospel Project with a more Traditionalist understanding? I love the overall idea and design behind The Gospel Project, but would like to see it more in a Traditionalist friendly form so to speak.
One more thing, you are exactly correct about the organization and promotion of the Calvinist wing of the SBC. You can go to their websites, they review books, promote authors, etc. There is also a heavy social media presence. Like it or not, social media is a tremendous opportunity to reach our culture. As a 35 year old man, who has only been pastoring 10 years, I think one of the reasons younger people see Connect316 as the “trouble making” or “divisive group” in the SBC is we as Traditionalist appear to be the newcomers on the block, even though we know that we aren’t. As it has been said “perception is reality.” Having a stronger presence, promoting Traditionalist authors, having studies, etc. could help.

These are just my thoughts and my questions, because I would love to be able to have a solid curriculum that keeps with core values of Southern Baptist with a soteriological basis that is similar to mine as well as the church I am blessed to pastor. Thanks for all your hard work, and if I am missing something please point me in the right direction.

Serving Him,

Justin

    Andy

    I am curious as to what exactly in the Gospel Project you object to? I have seen several reviews of those looking for Calvinism within the curriculum, but haven’t seen anyone having found it.

    Rick Patrick

    Justin,

    You might explore this page of authors on the Connect 316 website: http://connect316.net/AmazonBookstore. In addition to these, I know of books being written by David Allen, Malcolm Yarnell and Adam Harwood, among others. The Calvinists are prolific authors and have well financed conferences and organizations. The only reason we do not have the “stronger presence” you mentioned is that we are only two years old–compared with Founders at age 32–and we have not yet developed organizationally and financially as they have.

    Regarding Sunday School curriculum, I share your concerns about the Gospel Project. The primary problem with it is that its leaders, writers and creative team are disproportionately reformed. The bias is not so much in the lessons themselves as in the resources promoted for further study and the authors and speakers highlighted. As an alternative, I recommend the Explore the Bible series by Lifeway, which has no trace of Calvinism, or Vines By the Book by Jerry Vines Ministries. I hope these are helpful to you.

      Justin

      Andy, Rick,
      Thank you both. As far as your question Andy, I have not found anything overtly Calvinistic in the lessons. I have just started working through them though I am looking for soundness of biblical teaching, good meat of Scripture, and application for our Sunday school classes to use. I’m not really personally on a Calvinist teaching witchhunt, I am just curious to see if it is there. As Rick mentioned, the lessons thus far are actually quite good. The advisory board and writers definitely have a Reformed leaning, but as of yet they have not put it into their lessons. I also picked up a small group study book by the Gospel Project group entitled saved. The one lesson I have been able to get through right now, I must say is well written and balanced. They were going through Ephesians 1, which we all know can be a chapter fought over by Reformed and Traditionalist with words such as predestined and election. However, the writers presented all views (unconditional election, conditional election, corporate election) and said some people believe. . . However, they did not slant it or say “I believe. . .” They presented the full range of views and moved on. In my opinion that left it up to the individual to study the Word of God, pray for the Spirit’s guidance, and thus come to their own conviction.

      This is the reason I decided to write my comment and ask the questions I did. Rick, I do get the infancy of Connect316 and look forward to over the next several years it getting stronger and hopefully more engaged. I completely agree with the idea of two healthy wings of the SBC can be very good for the SBC overall. Andy, the reason I actually picked up the Gospel Project was because I kept hearing how bad it was, it was Reformed in theology, but I noticed some of my family members who go to a Traditionalist, conservative SB church. I asked what they thought of it and they said they liked it. So I decided to check it out for myself. I read hundreds of reviews online and they were all saying the same thing,Reformed writers teaching heresy, etc. I began to notice though that no one actually wrote of a Calvinist teaching in the material, it was all attacks on the advisory board and the writers. So I decided to get one of their quarterlies and one of their small group studies to examine it myself. I believe this is what Rick was talking about, the fringe demonizing the other side and how that is not good, not godly, and not productive. And I agree that it happens on both sides, but that is precisely the problem-it is happening on both sides. I would love to see the Gospel Project Advisory Board and writers become a little better mixed between Reformed and Traditionalist SBC. But I think this issue is highlighting what Rick was talking about in his original post.

      Thank you both and I look forward to seeing what comes out of Connect316 over the next several years.

    Jim P

    Justin, You’re post, I think touches on a main conundrum that ‘traditionalists’ are facing in their frustration with calvinism or say reformed. Though I’m still trying to get my head around all this I’d like to try to articulate this conundrum.

    Baptists have allegiance to the phrase ‘no creed but Christ.’ How will they be loyal to that creed and then labor to undo other creeds in the reformed tradition?. Southern Baptists will need to develop a coherent systematic theology that is superior to calvinism to have a voice. That is the hard work and seems to go against the grain of their ‘traditions’. Maybe its easier not to try.

      Andy

      Jim, I believe the traditionalist statement was an attempt at this. Unfortunately, It is my evaluation that they narrowed their focus too far with their statement on Adam’s sin, thereby excluding many SB’s who would oppose Calvinism, and yet agree that man’s will was affected by the fall. So some, who might have supported the statement otherwise, now will not. So while the statement might be a step towards a goal, I believe it will need revision to gain wider acceptance.

      (but that’s just one person’s opinion).

      Scott Shaver

      Easy answer, church by church, honor “no creed but Christ” with the Bible and Holy Spirit as guides.

      It’s kinda like cutting off the food supply……without creeds you will not long have hyper-calvinists.

        Jim P

        Easy to say but…
        Like the quote at the top of the publication ‘Sword of the Lord,’ “Opposing Modernism, Worldliness and Formalism”
        They formalize their opposition to formalism.

          Scott Shaver

          Who is “They”?

            Jim P

            Scott,
            “They” are the publishers of the newsletter, ‘Sword of the Lord.” Whether that is characteristic of Baptist or not is does seem like a stand Baptist’s would embrace, like ‘no creed by Christ.’ Yes, No?

            My point is, that if ‘traditionalists’ are going to compete with other ‘theologies’ like calvinism or for that matter other positions, it is much to expect without formalizing what they distinctly Believe, i.e., a coherent theology. Simply being critical begins to become the only character of it all.

            As I said earlier it may be easier not to even try.

Jon Estes

We have always had rabid groups within the SBC. I am wondering why we are giving them the time of day. Yeah, some are in leadership positions but not all leaders in the SBC are reformed in their thinking. How many of our 6 seminaries have a reformed thinker at the helm?

I would be considered a Calvinist but have never run into anyone who would correct a traditionalist for sharing the gospel wrong while they are sharing. Pam says she has one in the family and I have no reason to doubt such but I have never seen one of those critters.

It seems like there is a belief that Calvinists approach sharing the gospel in trying to find out if the target is elect or not. I have not found these critters but would love to meet one. I have met some who will not evangelize because they believe the elect will make it anyway (stupid approach, IMO). I have also met traditionalists who do not witness also. I have come to the conclusion, they just do not want to evangelize.

For years I have used the FAITH method when evangelizing and as a Calvinist (not hyper) have no problem with it.

My take on the SS literature, especially the negative leanings toward the Gospel Project. If we approach it as we should, it is a resource we use… not teach. We still teach the Bible. Some of the Traditionalist SS literature needs not be taught either. Use the Bible.

I approach everyone as if they were the elect and by God’s design I am to be obedient to tell them about Jesus, not about election. If they refuse my offer, there is still hope. If they die rejecting the gospel, then their destiny is determined.

    Rick Patrick

    “How many of our 6 seminaries have a reformed thinker at the helm?” At least 50%, I believe, for Mohler is a 5 pointer, while Akin and Allen are at least 4 pointers. (The key determinant, IMO, is Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace.) Patterson and Kelley have both signed the Traditional Statement. I do not know about Iorg.
    To summarize, in a convention filled with church members that are AT MOST 20% Calvinist, we have 50% of our seminary leaders either embracing Calvinism outright, or at least employing teaching faculties very favorable toward the embrace of Calvinism. I believe our seminaries are considerably more Calvinistic than our churches. In fact, this is the very situation that has created quite a bit of conflict when seminary graduates arrive at their first church.

    I certainly applaud your evangelistic efforts. I may be in the minority here, but my concerns with Calvinistic evangelism do not center upon the actions of the Calvinist minister, but upon the reception of such doctrines when they are invariably shared with the hearer. The concept that “God decided before the foundation of the world that I was either in or out, and from that point forward, I was irresistibly drawn in one direction or the other, with God not only KNOWING what I would choose, but DETERMINING that I would choose it,” presents a conception of God that is not always particularly well received by a lost person or a new convert. If Calvinism is the solution for our evangelistic woes, then we should expect our Presbyterian churches to be busting at the seams–which we do not see. Basically, I may lean toward the position that Calvinism is not great for evangelism, but I do not root that belief in some kind of unwillingness to witness by the Calvinist minister, but rather in a rejection of the conception of God’s character as perceived by the one being evangelized, or by a convert in that system, once they are eventually indoctrinated in the underlying determinism.

      Jon Estes

      Rick –

      Your first paragraph may be correct, I do not think we really know the true numbers. The 20% number you give may be skewed because I think most in church membership do not know Calvinism from traditionalism. Unless the traditionalism is based on the argument “We have never done it that way before”. The church members I have been blessed to Pastor think because Calvinists believe in election, they are anti-evangelism. So from my personal experience the 20% number is false because of no data built of fact (as far as I can tell) and traditionalism is based on who is in control.

      In your second paragraph, I do not see Calvinist witnessing to people with the message you may or may not have been chosen. Maybe there are some but I do not know of any. The ones I know share God’s gift of grace for the unbeliever and if received and repentance is genuine, then one can be saved (short version of a longer presentation). Come visit me in Dubai and I will be glad to go witnessing with you, creatively and successful (not so much in numbers but in opportunity) I will even help some with a repeat after me prayer.

        Rick Patrick

        Thanks for the invite. My brother-in-law recently visited Dubai. Looks like a beautiful place. I’m sure we could reach out together and share our faith. I’m glad to hear of your openness to a Sinner’s Prayer.

    Justin

    Jon,
    I absolutely agree with you–teach the Bible. The Gospel Project is simply a tool to help do that as is any other curriculum out there. My main concern as a pastor is that there are some within SS that read their quarterly and they latch on to it; while there are others who just read it and never question what they are reading. In either scenario, the chance for any false teaching to be accepted and believed is high, and that is certainly a problem. I constantly tell our people, take notes, write down the passages I use in worship or Wednesday night, go back study them in context for yourselves, hold me accountable. We have a lot of newer Christians that absolutely do that, they will pepper me with questions after the service or via e-mail, which I absolutely love. However, some of our older, more seasoned saints are not so. I have seen a class in which the curriculum writer favored a post-tribulational rapture view, and no one ever raised an eyebrow. Even though they as believers will tell you that they believe in a pre-mill view. That is the only reason that I look at SS curriculum and try to vet it.

      Max

      Justin, in a nutshell you have a identified a primary driver behind the trend toward Calvinism in the SBC. The young folks challenge; the old folks rest. The new stuff supersedes the old stuff. Youth and energy are outrunning age and wisdom. However, being old, doesn’t always equal wisdom or mean that you have been seasoned in the Word. I’m old … and I can tell you from 60+ years of observation in SBC life, that the “people of the Word” don’t read it much. They accept sermons and Sunday School lessons as “truth” without searching the Scripture to see if what the messenger is saying is true. Easy pickins’ for any theological shift.

      Jon Estes

      Justin,

      Your last few sentences go to my comments to Rick. Many people in the pew do not know what they believe. They know the language but not how to interpret the words being used. Thank God for the younger generation who are asking questions. Let the scripture speak. Don’t indoctrinate – rather help them fall in love with God’s word.

        Justin

        Jon and Rick,
        There are certainly issues within the age demographic. I am in the younger guard so to speak (or as least I think I am being in my mid 30’s), and I can tell you the struggle of the young outrunning and pushing the old guard out is a very real struggle. In my opinion, this is a tragedy. I think we have much that we could learn from one another, and ways that we could help each other for the betterment of our own spiritual life, our churches, and our convention. I know that Connect316 is young and right now TGC and TFG are better organized, but one thing I would like to suggest to the Connect316 Advisory Board/Committee is looking for ways to unite older and younger Traditionalist together. Putting a conference(s) where we have discussions, not just lectures. That is one thing that TGC, 9Marks, and Baptist 21 does really well. They create dialogue in the setting of a conference, but also have audience participation. Baptist21 is already advertising for their get together at the Convention in a couple of weeks. They are having you tweet in questions for their panel, and the panel is diverse. Finding ways that Traditionalist from all walks of life, young-old, small church-big church, urban church-rural church, etc. can get together, and learn from one another I feel would be tremendously helpful, at least for me because I have only been pastoring for 10 years and I am willing to admit, I probably know just enough to be dangerous. Another quick suggestion would be to have a diversity of writers and a diversity of subjects written about here on SBC Today. I hope that doesn’t offend any other the writers who presently write, I come by almost every day to the site and read the articles. However, there is a good bet that on any given day, one of about 4-5 writers are going to appear, and there is a better than average chance that you will read about Calvinism in the article. I understand that dangers Calvinism presents to the SBC, I understand that a good amount of key leadership positions with the leadership are biased towards Calvinism, etc. As a pastor who is a Traditionalist, it would be nice to come to a site and see ways that I as a pastor can serve my congregation, grow spiritually as a leader, minister without losing my family, etc. Maybe I am off base, and certainly if I offended anyone, I humbly ask for your forgiveness because that is not my intent, I just wanted to give my opinion as someone who does read the articles often, but hasn’t commented in the past, which I see is the fringe group of the Traditionalist that we are trying to reach in order to grow our wing of the SBC and become more organized.

        Thanks for listening to the ramblings.

        Justin

          Jon Estes

          Justin –

          Not offended but then again, you probably were not thinking of me. ;-)

          FWIW – I am not sure if a well written Calvinist would be received. I hope I am wrong.

Max

Unity? Rick, I will repeat something I said to you earlier – I applaud your efforts to promote unity. Thank you brother. But I wonder if genuine unity is indeed possible … harmony maybe, but unity? Given the content and tone of the debate at hand, it’s getting to be a tougher row to hoe. My legs are too old to stand in the cotton much longer; I’m growing weary with the noise. I now exit this comment stream with the words of another that have been on my mind of late. Thanks again brother for your heart to chart a course to avoid division. I wish you the best in the days ahead.

I’m reluctant to drag Charles Finney into this mess (knowing that I immediately lose the attention of the reformed brethren at the drop of his name), but I find his following counsel appropriate at this juncture in SBC life:

“It is evident that many more churches need to be divided. How many there are that hold together, and yet do no good, for the simple reason that they are not sufficiently agreed. They do not think alike, nor feel alike … and while this is so, they never can work together. Unless they can be brought to such a change of views and feelings as will unite them, they are only a hindrance to each other and to the work of God. In many cases they see and feel that this is so, and yet they keep together, conscientiously, for fear that a division should dishonor religion, when in fact the division that now exists may be making religion a by-word and a reproach. Far better would it be if they would agree to divide amicably, like Abraham and Lot. ‘If thou will take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, I will go to the left.’ Let them separate, and each party work in its own way; and they may both enjoy the blessing.” (Charles G. Finney, Revivals of Religion, Lecture XVI: The Necessity and Effect of Union)

Andy

(Reply to Scott from above): I’m having trouble understanding a few of your comments, ie, which statements you are making as things you agree with, and which you don’t, but I’ll do my best.

“Question: How long ago did Dilday write this and why was it necessary in his thinking (considering the SBC academic climate at that time) for the addition on foreknowledge to be included?”

ANDY: 2001…I assume he was worried about calvinist creep, since that’s what he states.

“Observation: God knowing everything (i.e. “Calvinism” per your words) is/was an attribute of God long before Calvin was a gleam in his mother’s eyes.”
“God knowing everything” is not necessarily the same in substance or meaning as what Calvin’s system portrays “God’s knowing everything” to be. Dilday was smart enough to understand at the time that inclusion of the addition on foreknowledge was a push toward acceptability and admitted orthodoxy (for lack of better term) of a more strict and strident brand of Calvinism within the SBC as payoff for the alliance of 5-point calvinists during the CR.”

ANDY: (a) I was writing sarcastically “apparently God knowing everything is calvinism now”…my point being that most Christians believe God knows everything (which is your point, I think). The fact that for Calvin, that might mean something different doesn’t make the statement itself somehow calvinistic. (b) My main point over several comments was to point out that for anyone worried about acceptance of calvinism in SBC life, the changes made in 1963 were more significant. The “calvinization” that occured in 2000 only consisted of 2 things: 1) mentioning God’s foreknowledge, which non-calvinists agree with anyway, and 2) removal of Christ as the “criterion” for interpretation. (though I’m convinced if some of its critics had never seen or heard of the earlier BFM’s, they would have no problem with the existing language. )

“What you perceive as Dildays “complaint” about shutting down dialogue with theological fads/templates in vogue at the time (i.e. “Open Theism”) for me is a red herring. The complaint simply accentuates Dilday’s identity/vocation as an educator/theologian/seminary president.”

ANDY: I’m not sure how mentioning Dilday’s complaint is a red herring (something meant to destract or decieve). It is relevant because of the chain of dialogue that was going on above:
-You said the 2000 BFM was the blueprint for calvinistic “reform”
-I replied that the 1963 changes did much more to open the way for calvinism (actually, I think this is elsewhere in this comment stream)
-Max pointed to Dilday’s critique as one that supposedly describes the calvinization of the 2000BFM
-I read it, and found that the statement on foreknowledge was the only actual textual change Dilday pointed to as something that was supposedly Calvinistic in doctrine. However, I pointed out that nearly all SBCers believe in divine foreknowledge, even strong opponents of calvinism. Further, the REASON Dilday views it as a step towards calvinism is because he laments that the statement shut down dialogue with open theism. (Dilday brings this up specifically). So, while obviously, on the spectrum, Open Theism IS very much opposite of calvinism….Most SBCers reject it. And so affirming divine foreknowledge does not in any real sense, at least in of the modern SBC debate, move one closer to Calvinism. If it does, things like Eternal Security are at least as “Calvinistic.”

-Andy

Scott Shaver

Respectfully Andy:

Your entire perspective (historically speaking) overlooks one fact.

In 1963, nobody within the Southern Baptist Convention knew anything about a fundamentalist driven theo-political debacle within the Southern Baptist Convention for control of its agencies and institutions under the “we believe the bible harder than you do” banner. Strict five-point calvinism was, at best, on the outer fringes of SBC profile. Nobody in the SBC in 1963 had heard of Paige Patterson, Paul Pressler, Al Mohler and their political agendas.

Adrian Rogers, Grey Allison and the start-up of Mid-America in Memphis were reactions to perceived liberalism in SBC seminaries.

History, from baptist confession to baptist confession to hybrid reform/baptist confession, doesn’t flow as straight and even as you suggest.

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