Nettles recommends ‘universal’ Calvinism in the SBC

August 24, 2012

By Dr. Rick Patrick
Senior Pastor
Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
Hueytown, Alabama


On page 468 of the book By His Grace, For His Glory, Dr. Tom Nettles concludes: Calvinism should still occupy the place of universal adherence in Baptist life. To reject it is not theological progress, but decline, not theological wisdom, but folly; not theological erudition but fragmentation.

In the interest of fairness, I tried to include a Traditionalist quote implying that everyone should universally adhere to the Traditionalist position or else be guilty of theological decline, folly and fragmentation, but I was unable to find any such quote, primarily because there simply are not any to be found.

Given that my personal theological convictions as a Southern Baptist lie outside of this viewpoint which Dr. Nettles claims “should still occupy the place of universal adherence in Baptist life,” is it not fair to say that Dr. Nettles disapproves of my view? He calls it “theological decline.” He labels it “folly” and “fragmentation.”

I have a few questions for my Calvinist Friends:

  • How am I supposed to absorb such a condescending and elitist blow from a Southern Baptist professor?
  • Is this what unity is all about? Or is unity just asking Traditionalists to be quiet and stop making such a fuss while Calvinists like Nettles label our views as “theological decline” and “folly?”
  • How can Traditionalists really be expected to work alongside Calvinists who insult us with such condescending remarks?
  • Why do Calvinists want to work together for the gospel with such “fools” in “theological decline” who “should” adhere to a completely different position?
  • Since Calvinism clearly does not occupy a place of universal adherence in Southern Baptist life, is Dr. Nettles not looking down upon the theology of the majority of Southern Baptists today? Are these people not the very ones whose financial contributions support his scholarly work in writing books with conclusions that insult them?
  • Will you not join me in asking, “How dare he?”
  • If you are not willing to rebuke such a sentiment, am I to understand that you agree with Dr. Nettles?
  • Do you realize how ominous the term “universal adherence” sounds when Traditionalists consider the possible intentions of Southern Baptist Calvinists? Is “universal adherence” the goal here? Will Calvinists stop at nothing less, since this is the position which Dr. Nettles claims “should” prevail in Baptist life?

I take a fair bit of grief from certain Calvinists for alleged conspiracy theories, when in fact I am only addressing the crystal clear purpose statements of Calvinist organizations and writers with published agendas for all to see. I don’t read Dr. Nettles as science fiction. I don’t believe he is talking about Freemasons or the Illuminati. I believe he is a serious Calvinist who believes profoundly that all Southern Baptists should also be serious Calvinists.

If all Calvinists believe this same thing, then we have a problem. On the other hand, if all Calvinists do NOT agree with Dr. Nettles, then where is the outrage to match his truly outrageous statement insulting the majority of Southern Baptists? There should be more than crickets on this comment stream.

Calvinists, if you disagree with Nettles and his desire for universal adherence, put him in his place. If, on the other hand, you agree with him, put me in mine. But if you advocate for the universal adherence to your position, try on my moccasins for just a moment, and consider the question: “How am I truly supposed to have fellowship with brothers and sisters who view me as a second class theologian and a fool?”

 

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Adam Harwood

Thanks for your article, Dr. Patrick.

Elsewhere I have seen SBC Today called anti-Calvinist. Is it possible that these articles have been prompted as a reaction, not addressing any brand of Calvinism within the SBC but addressing this sort of aggressive Calvinism within the SBC?

This provocative quote from a long-time SBC seminary professor appears to be deliberate, aggressive, and anti-Traditionalist. Because Dr. Mohler opposes tribalism (see his famous article regarding the Traditionalist Statement posted on his site in early June), he should also oppose this statement by Dr. Nettles.

Disclosure: I am a Christian Studies professor at Truett-McConnell College and affirm the Traditionalist Statement. I also regard my more-Calvinist brothers to be wrong on particular theological issues but I continue to regard them as brothers in Christ and work joyfully with them as co-laborers in the work of the Gospel.

In Him,
Adam

    Norm Miller

    Thank you for your remarks, Dr. Harwood. Per usual, you’ve honed in on a salient point about SBCToday being characterized as anti-Calvinist. Some in the C camp have noted that Trads ought to be still and not complain since the Cs’ forebears have always been part of the SBC, and previously cooperated with all others for the sake of the Gospel. O, that we still lived in those by-gone days. For then, there were no Neo-Cs who sought dominance of the SBC ala Founders. But since the advent of the Neo-C/Founders’ agenda, Trads are waving the red flag and sounding the alarm bell while Neo-Cs tell us to sit still while they obey the call to universal C-ism in the SBC. I, for one, would be thrilled if we could go back to the days that Cs use to defend their new universal agenda. — Norm

Steve Martin

Personally, I would ask the good Dr., when was it that going against the clear Word of Scripture become so fashionable?

Double-predestination and limited atonement are clearly not biblical.

I would say that making things up to assuage one’s own reason is folly and theological decline.

I would ask him point blank if he would ever go up to a stranger and tell them, “You know, Christ may have died for you.”

    Zack Skrip

    I’m pretty sure Dr. Nettles would respond that when he witnesses he calls them to repent and believe like Jesus did in Mark 1. There is a universal call to repentance.

Tim Rogers

Brother Rick,

Well, it appears that we have jumped into the briar patch with ole Briar Rabbit. But, what we find is what we are told is a briar patch is merely honey suckles. No briars just a bunch of harmless weeds.

As you keep holding people to their words we are finding these words will have different meanings. If I were a betting man, I would bet that someone will come in this comment stream and tell you that you have misquoted or taken Dr. Nettles out of context.

Debbie Kaufman

If this is said in the context in which you claim, I will speak against it. We are a mixed bag and we always have been. I hope we always will be.

Debbie Kaufman

I want Christ and grace to be who we are known as, not one system over another.

    Lisa L

    Okay. But if Calvanism clearly teaches Christ’s grace for the selected, should you not speak against it! What good is it to be known for Christ and HIS grace if it’s not available for all?

      Debbie Kaufman

      Lisa: I wrote my comment, against my better judgment to ignore this post, because I believe what I wrote in that comment. Isn’t this tit for tat a little ridiculous. I didn’t expect a thank you, but I was hoping for some peace.?

      Did you think some of us would not come and say we don’t want a takeover but unity? Did I disappoint you? Well, Lisa, I think both should be included in the SBC life. I always have. I think you have a right to teach and preach what you believe. You should. I should. Both are under the umbrella, and both are SBC. Both however are not or should not be enemies.

      I love the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart, soul and mind. I long for the lost to come to Christ and not go to hell. The Bible says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. I believe that. Paul says in the Bible, how will they hear without a preacher? The Bible says it I believe it. That is where my heart is. I love missions and missionaries. I think all monies should be given to them to do their job. They risk their lives in many cases for the cause of Christ. I want my monies to go there. I don’t care if they are Calvinist or non-Calvinist. The message of the Gospel is the same. Christ is the only way to heaven. Faith in Christ and what He did on the cross, that he is who he said he was brings a new life. That is where I want discussions to go and my money to go. All else is just ridiculous fighting to be fighting.

reformedsteve

Universal adherence to the BFM2000 is all this SBC Calvinist wants. You might have a case if Nettles was pushing the 1689 Confession on every church. But he is not.

What will it take for us to forget about our party lines and do the work of the Kingdom? If it takes Calvinists leaving, I’ll back my bags right now. I rather decrease that He may increase.

    Norm Miller

    ReformedSteve:
    I applaud that you want universal adherence to the BFM2000. I’m not sure that’s what other all Calvinists want. Perhaps they all do.
    That Nettles is not pushing the 1689 Confession on every church does little to negate his call for universal Calvinism across all Baptist life. Dr. Nettles not only calls for that, but he insults and demeans those who would refuse it. And that, my brother, would include you, Steve.
    I think Dr. Patrick makes excellent points. Where are the Calvinists who would call Nettles into account and reject his call for universal Calvinism and his condemnation of those who disagree? I know that many will drop by and read this piece, but how many will do as Dr. Patrick suggests? Do they have the courage to challenge one of their own? (Odd isn’t it, by the way, that Nettles is advocating universal exclusivism?)
    I would add another point, humbly, to Dr. Patrick’s piece: How does Nettles’ call for universal Calvinism in the SBC promote unity when he knows the majority of SBs surveyed have problems with Calvinism?
    Don’t let the crickets chirp too long, my Calvinistic brothers. I know you’re out there. I can hear you breathing. — Norm

      Bill Mac

      Norm: What do you want from us? Hold him to account? How so? I disagree with the quoted material. There you have it. I disagree with Mohler on lots of things. I disagree with Calvin. Am I holding them to account? I disagree with Sproul, although I’ve been told on this very site that I can’t. That he is the pope of Calvinism.

        Dean

        BM, I can’t speak for Norm, he can do that very well. One thing I want is for Calvinist in the convention to quit telling the trads that there is not a group who want to “reform” the convention. Dr. Patrick has been spoken of like a fool by some of the Calvinist because of his “conspiracy theory.” He continues to point to what “some” Calvinist plainly state – they believe the SBC needs to be Calvinist in order to be Biblical.

          Bill Mac

          Founder’s goal is to reform local churches (including SBC), part of which is an adherence to the DoG. They’ve been active for decades. It is not a secret or conspiracy. I can’t find the latest numbers but I think they represent a few hundred churches out of 44000, and not all of them are SBC.

          How’s that? I acknowledge their existence and their purpose.

            Dean

            Thanks BM let me acknowledge you are a great brother in Christ. Blessings on you.

            Bill Mac

            Dean and I are paving the way! Only 15999998 more to go, assuming we ever find the 2/3 we are missing.

      R. Smith

      “Where are the Calvinists who would call Nettles into account and reject his call for universal Calvinism and his condemnation of those who disagree?”

      Condemnation? What did he do? Condemn you to hell? I think not. What do you mean? That he says you are wrong on something and he is right? What do you expect? Don’t you do the same thing from the other side? Both can’t be right. What does condemnation mean? You people have your feelings on your shoulders. I go to a church where hardly anyone agrees with what I believe because I’m a 5-pt Calvinist and a dispensationalist of which there are very few. Lots of what I hear preached I don’t agree with. I believe I’m right and they believe they are. What should I say? We’re both right because we’re both sincere? No! One of us is wrong – probably both in some respects. You defend what you believe. You gain knowledge by listening to and reading both sides. It either strengthens your belief or weakens it. Either way it should be good because you should be getting closer to the truth. If you are secure in your basic doctrine, opposing viewpoints that you are able to answer should make you more secure in them. I should say that where I attend everyone, at least theoretically, is 5 point, but being different in eschatology is quite a big thing. I’ve seen nothing posted on this blog which has come any where near changing my beliefs and I’ve read a lot of it.

        Norm Miller

        Perhaps condemnation was too strong of a word. However, one cannot help sense that he, himself, has been condemned when another who disagrees with him says the following about one’s position:
        “To reject [Calvinism] is not theological progress, but decline, not theological wisdom, but folly; not theological erudition but fragmentation.”
        So, maybe those who disagree with Nettles have not truly been condemned by him. However, Nettles, whose salary is paid by those whom he has offended — and who are his siblings in Christ — has characterized those who would disagree with him as having a regressive theology, as being fools, as being stupid, and as being divisive. If he shan’t be condemned for that, what would the appropriate reprisal be? Keep in mind, R. Smith, that Nettles lives on my tithe money. Shall he be allowed to bite the hand that feeds him? It was this sort of indifference to the people in the pews that fostered the Conservative Resurgence that rescued the SBC from the brink of ruin. — Norm

Bill Mac

There are people like this on both sides of the debate. Disagree and move on. Are you really hurt by this? What about “a move towards Calvinism is a move away from the Gospel”? How about the myriads of people who suggest Calvinists don’t preach the same Gospel, or that Calvinists can’t love the lost? Disagree and move on.

Even though I don’t drink I am a moderationist by conviction, and I’ve seen some terrible things said about those holding my position. I am not a young earther and have basically been told repeatedly in the SBC blogosphere that I don’t believe the bible.

If you don’t think Calvinism is true, then you should not want anyone to be a Calvinist. Embracing false doctrine is in some way foolish is it not?

I think it would be more profitable to write an article outlining why you think he’s wrong.

    Sam

    Bill: I was thinking same thing when Dr. Patrick wrote: “I tried to include a Traditionalist quote implying that everyone should universally adhere to the Traditionalist position or else be guilty of theological decline, folly and fragmentation, but I was unable to find any such quote, primarily because there simply are not any to be found.”

    I thought to myself, “Unable to find any such quote???” Just look back at several of the posts and comments at SBCToday. There has been such awful things said about Calvinists and Calvinism here. How the God of Calvinism doesn’t love people. How Calvinists can’t really love people. These all indicate that Traditionalism is superior to Calvinism. You could find enough hurtful quotes about Calvinims to write a book Dr. Patrick!

    But I want to go on the record and say that I disagree with what Dr. Nettles said in that quote, but I’m not going to do anything about it. For all I know, he actually believes that Christians would be better off if they held to the doctrines of grace. Maybe he thinks that not doing so brings some man-centered doctrines into the faith. So while I disagree with him, his motivation behind the statement may be very good.

Alan Cross

Rick, for one, Steve Martin (I love your movies and your banjo playing, by the way, Steve!) just articulated the view that you said doesn’t exist among Traditionalists. It is also a view that I have heard all my life from many of the rabid Anti-Calvinists I have known in the SBC. I have heard it said many times that Calvinists are unbiblical, determinists, fatalists, who diminish the love of God and worship a god who is not found in Scripture. I have seen things like that said here. So, I don’t get what you are saying about Traditionalists/Baptist Identity/Joshua Convergence/John 3:16/Fundamentalists/etc. saying things against Calvinists in very derogatory ways.

But, the other issue is much bigger. This “tit for tat” and pulling out quotes from years ago and asking some undiscernable group to come here and denounce it or you will declare them as part of the problem is a really bad approach. How many Calvinists who never said this have to come here and refute it to satisfy you? Or, will there be another quote tomorrow? And the next day? Do Calvinists have to come here every day and refute every quote or you will judge them to agree with it? What if they come here one day and are not able to make it the next? Will you then believe that they disagree with one statement and not the other?

No one is responsible for Dr. Nettles’ words except Dr. Nettles. It is appropriate to address him. But, even his words do not mean that there is a “Calvinist Conspiracy” in the SBC. They mean that he spoke those words – nothing more. This seems to be a problem with the Traditionalist group. It seems that you think that if people agree with someone on one point, then they give affirmation to everything they have ever said on anything. That is not how things work at all.

We all agree with all that we agree with and we should not be expected to know every quote that everyone has said over the past 30 years. A better approach would be to assume that Calvinists ONLY believe the things that they have actually said that they believe. Dr. Nettles is on record on this. It is appropriate to ask him about it. Since it was so long ago, I would submit that he might have changed his mind by now. But, I would not use his words from years ago and then put them upon all Calvinists as their own unless they come here and refute them. That makes no sense.

    Mary

    Steve Martin is Lutheran not SBC so uhh no he doesn’t represent even one SBC Tradtionalist not that there aren’t SBCers who don’t think like this.

    The Calvinists have plenty of people floating around the comment streams saying all sorts of things that not all Calvinists agree with but Tom Nettles isn’t just some faceless guy posting on the internet. So yeah he probably rises to the level of someone who should be held accountable for divisive statements especially considering his recent offensive comments equating the treament of Calvinists in the SBC to that of African Americans in Jim Crow South. He is also on the Board of Directors of Founders – an organization that has it’s clear purpose the reformation of the SBC.

      Steve Martin

      You are right, Mary.

      I’m a Lutheran, and I do not represent any Baptist views.

      But I do feel that I know what the Scriptures say, and I do feel that Calvinist doctrines are not biblical and rob people of the assurance that Christ so dearly wants them to have.

        Mary

        Steve, I’m not someone who thinks you have to present your SBC creditials to post on SBC blogs. I was merely pointing out the problems of trying to equate what a commentor on a blog says to what a Professor at a Seminary says.

        I think we need to be careful in how we present our beliefs. Calvinists are our brothers and sisters in Christ and I know that we’ll all be rejoicing throuh eternity together one day. Some think in heaven we’ll all get to find who was right and who was wrong. I think in heaven we really won’t care anymore. I think it’s part of our sinful nature to not be able to admit – I could be wrong. I think Calvinism is wrong and I reject it. But I do understand how others can believe the way they do. I could be wrong.

        So I think it’s very important in these discussions to be careful how we phrase things regarding Scripture and I’m talking to myself here as much as anyone else. When speaking of Scripture (with brothers and sisters)I think it’s important to use phrases such as “this is what I believe” rather than declarative statements such as “the Bible clearly states..”

          Steve Martin

          Thanks, Mary.

          Points well taken. I think you are correct that they are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

          And I agree that how we say something is often as important as what we are saying.

          It is very difficult when you have folks that are, in essence, teaching ‘another gospel’. That Christ did not die on that cross for everyone, is another gospel.

          St. Paul had a few choice things to say about such folks.

          But I do realize that none of us are St. Paul and taking into consideration the things you have mentioned is, I think, a good idea.

          Thank you, friend.

            Mary

            No prob brother Lutheran! I know it’s hard in these discussions especially when people get emotional. I’m an emotional gal and I’ve got a hyperbolic snarky human that Norm has not come to appreciate yet :) But I try to be very careful in how I speak about Scripture with brothers and sisters – we’re treading on Holy Ground there and I think it behooves (love using that word) us to be very careful in how we use Scripture. Too many people use Scripture to attack people and try to silence them. Not good.

            Have a great weekend Steve.

    Rick Patrick

    Alan,

    What if I am not so much “Anti-Calvinist” as I am “Anti-Calvinist Insulting Me While Using My Cooperative Program Dollars To Reform My Denomination?”

    There has to be a difference. It’s not just holding a reformed view. It’s holding that view in a manner that is demeaning to my own view.

    I would argue that this comment by Dr. Nettles is actually quite similar in tone to the remarks made by Dr. Mohler that were quoted in your excellent article yesterday. If Dr. Mohler needs to repent, then doesn’t Dr. Nettles as well?

      Alan Cross

      Rick,

      Your challenge was for every Calvinist to either come here and refute Dr. Nettles’ words or you would assume that they agree with him. That is a big difference from addressing what Nettles has said directly and then asking if he needs to walk it back or discussing his statement on its own merits. The latter approach identifies and addresses a problem. The former approach just slings complaint all over on everyone with no possibility of resolution. There is a big difference.

      I am not of your camp. My attempt yesterday was to actually take part of your argument seriously and address the part I felt had merit in a way that might be helpful if it were resolved. It was not to pile on Dr. Mohler or every other Calvinist but simply to say that when a statement like this by an ENTITY HEAD is made, it should be walked back, in my opinion – or repented of (in the non “sin against God” meaning of the word). You are doing something different. You are taking the words of one man and are painting every Calvinist with the same brush and are challenging them to all come here and refute something they never said and you have no idea if they have ever believed it. Also, we have no idea how many have to come over here and bow before you before you will be satisfied. 100? 500? 900? Should you make a statement for them to sign? Do you see what I mean?

        Rick Patrick

        Alan,

        I don’t really need 900, no. I just want a few Calvinists to say, “No, Dr. Nettles, we don’t really want to push for universal adherence to Calvinism in the SBC, because that would make our non-Calvinist majority think we don’t want them in the denomination, when we do in fact value and respect them.”

        I’m not trying to be divisive. I’m trying to point out this kind of Calvinist quote makes us uncomfortable, as it appears to state that every Baptist “should” embrace Calvinism or be guilty of “folly” and “theological decline.”

        There are Calvinist voices out there claiming that no Calvinist individual or organization is seeking “universal adherence” to Calvinism in our denomination. They mock my opinions as those of an Area 51 conspiracy theorist.

        But how can it really be called a conspiracy when a Southern Baptist professor writes openly of “universal adherence?” The idea that some people wish to Calvinize the Southern Baptist Convention is not a fairy tale, and I am growing weary of those suggesting that it is.

          Alan Cross

          Rick,

          You have already gotten that! Every day, there are Calvinists who come here who say the same thing that you claim you want! Everyday. But, it is never enough. You guys need to figure out an end game here or a goal or a target that is definable and can actually be reached. What you are proposing here has been done over and over and over again – and it never satisfies you.

          We have Calvinists in the SBC. They believe what they believe. They will not stop.

          We have what you are calling Traditionalists. They believe what they believe. They will not stop.

          No one should be forced to change their beliefs or not articulate them. The issue is when we try and force our belief upon others. You have a quote from Dr. Nettles where he seems to be doing that. Fair enough. I would encourage you to question or address or call upon Dr. Nettles to address it or recant or whatever is appropriate. The problem, Rick, is when you use Dr. Nettles’ quote and attribute it to everyone who claims to be a Calvinist and then you challenge them to come and prove that they don’t affirm that – and if they don’t do what you have asked them to do, then that is proof of your conspiracy which then gives you permission to continue the witch hunt.

          You are in an untenable position on this, in my opinion.

          Articulate your view. Be proud of it. Write position papers. Have conferences. Train pastors. Lead your church. No one is stopping you or saying that you shouldn’t do it. But, why do we have to fight about it with others who disagree? What is the end game in that? Will we not just destroy ourselves? And, for what? What is gained?

            Mary

            Alan,

            It’s quotes like these that I belive Rick is speaking about. I found this at Voices so maybe you could go talk to this guy? I think his initials are AC but his name is not Anderson.

            “My real goal here is to try and identify the real problem. The Traditionalists have been asked to give evidence of the Calvinist Takeover. They cannot.”

            Alan Cross

            No, you cannot.

            This is not evidence of a Calvinist takeover, Mary. And honestly, up until now, there has been such little substance to your arguments that I am glad that we are actually talking about what people have said with quotations and such instead of just inferring that there is a Calvinist Takeover because there are Calvinists. Ascribing motive to someone just because they exist is what I am decrying.

            I will give Peter Lumpkins credit. I don’t agree with him, but he has at least attempted to have some substance to his arguments with actual quotes. I don’t always agree with how he ties it all together or the conclusions that he draws and there are many other areas where I disagree with him (yes, I had to get that in), but I respect the fact that he brings a real argument. He is one of the few who does this.

            I rarely see such attempts at precision here at SBC Today and I certainly did not see it in Dr. Caner’s article.

            So, yes, thank you for bringing some substance. How the words of Dr. Nettles on this issue constitute a Calvinist Takeover, however, escape me. I say that because I have no idea if those who affirm Dr. Nettles in the Calvinist camp are affirming the rest of his ministry or these statements in particular. Since we are not to judge motives and things unseen (I think this is what Jesus is getting at in Matthew 7), then how can we judge every Calvinist according to the words of Dr. Nettles?

            Guilt by association is a bad approach.

            Mary

            Alan, there will never be enough evidence to appease Calvinists. It’s clear you’re mind is already made up even though you’ve demonstrated you don’t have all the facts.

            The fact that a Seminary President took over a Seminary where Nettles is employed by the way – took over the Seminary and started openly discriminating against everyone who doesn’t agree with Calvinism should be enough for anyone to admit that there is an effort to Calvinize the SBC. Take over the education and you take over young minds. Southern isn’t some little state college with little to no influence over the SBC as a whole. The very fact that it has been Calvinized should be enough evidence, but that fact gets dismissed – even though it is openly admitted – the fact that that gets dismissed shows you that all the cries for unity are not genuine.

            And Alan, you also made a claim that nobody would answer your question about what’s the end game. I did and you never responded. That fact that you dismiss me as not substantive shows your bias against all those refusing to accept your declarations that you’ve determined we are all wrong so we now need to shut up.

            Mary

            And Alan quit moving the goal posts to try to justify that you are one of the ones dismissing people like Rick as conspircay nuts.

            No one has claimed ALL Calvinists are out to reform the SBC.

            Alan Cross

            “And Alan, you also made a claim that nobody would answer your question about what’s the end game. I did and you never responded. That fact that you dismiss me as not substantive shows your bias against all those refusing to accept your declarations that you’ve determined we are all wrong so we now need to shut up.”

            Mary, I am sorry that I missed your response. The format here is hard to follow and it is hard to find when a response has been given. I know that I checked several times for responses to things that I had written. I either missed your response or failed to respond to it to let you know that I saw it. Either way, I apologize for not recognizing a response that you might have provided to a direct question that I asked. I assure you that I was not trying to be dismissive of you. I ask you to forgive me for my oversight.

            Because I really am interested, if you wouldn’t mind reposting that here, I would be grateful. If you don’t have time or energy to do so, I understand. But, I will try to respond, if I can.

            Mary

            Alan, I tried to copy it and I’m having problems.

            I left click to block what I want to copy and then I right click and instread of getting the little box that offers me the option to copy I get some longer menu without a copy option. I do this all the time and it’s frustrating. If someone could explain to me what I’m doing wrong I’d sure appreciate it.

            Alan Cross

            Thanks, Mary. I will check back later. I will be away for awhile taking care of other things, so if you don’t see a response for awhile, I am not ignoring you! :)

            I don’t know how your computer works, but if it is like mine and you are using a mouse you right click and drag over the text to highlight it. Then, I think you right click again to get your menu to pop up and then left click on “copy.” Then, come over here, point your cursor, and right click and then left click on “paste.”

            I will check back later.

            Mary

            I’m on a notebook computer.

            Sometimes when I right click I get the smaller box with the copy option but sometimes I get the longer menu without the option. So I don’t know what I’m doing different to get different outcomes when I think I’m doing the same thing always but with different responses from my computer.

            If someone could help the ol girl out I’d appreciate it because I’ve got some other work I do on the computer that I need this copy thing to work better for me.

      Keith

      Rick,

      You said, “What if I am not so much “Anti-Calvinist” as I am “Anti-Calvinist Insulting Me While Using My Cooperative Program Dollars To Reform My Denomination?”

      If that is the case, why do you predominately post articles about Calvinism, which certainly serve to stir up strife? It seems that you are obsessed with this whole debate. If you don’t want to be Reformed, then don’ t be. There is not a crazy conspiracy to turn the SBC into a group of 5-Pointers. Let’s stop all the nonsense and stop splitting the convention. We have a job to do and this debate is holding us back.

        Rick Patrick

        Keith,

        Truly, the majority of my articles are not about Calvinism per se so much as they are about the definitive existence of a Calvinist Agenda in Southern Baptist life, with which most of our dear members are completely unfamiliar.

        You say I appear “obsessed” when in fact I am merely “fascinated” at the speed with which our convention is changing. My true obsessions, apart from my faith in Jesus and devotion for my family, happen to be the Dallas Cowboys, the Texas Longhorns, that man crush on Jack Bauer a few years ago, and a junior high thing for Meg Ryan, for which I have repented, and now do so publicly.

          Keith

          I guarantee our “fasination” with a make believe Calvinist Agenda is doing nothing to grow our churches, see the lost saved, or unite our convention. Southern Baptist as a whole should repent.

            Rick Patrick

            My whole point is that it is not “make believe.” At least one Calvinist Southern Baptist scholar desires “universal adherence.” There are others. You do realize that in this he is pushing for the complete annihilation in Baptist life of the view of salvation held by the majority.

            While I am primarily concerned about the salvation of the lost, I am at the moment less concerned about the UNITY of the convention than I the PROTECTION of the convention from Presbyterian, Evangelical or Ecumenical infiltration.

      Lydia

      “What if I am not so much “Anti-Calvinist” as I am “Anti-Calvinist Insulting Me While Using My Cooperative Program Dollars To Reform My Denomination?”

      Bingo. Nettles is a paid employee of one of our entities. Yes, he is entitled to his opinion. How he shares that opinion as a professor and book writer, is another matter that should be addressed concerning wisdom with his position. Why isn’t it just enough to say he disagrees and why with many who help pay his salary? Why must it be in this vain of pointed insult:

      Calvinism should still occupy the place of universal adherence in Baptist life. To reject it is not theological progress, but decline, not theological wisdom, but folly; not theological erudition but fragmentation.

      In fact, I could take history alone and make mincemeat out of that quote.

      The people who help fund his position are folly, not erudite and fragmented? I would think he would be ashamed to take their money for his salary.

      And why the method employed at the Founders Breakfast at the convention? How can he be a victim of Calvinist discrimination when he has been working for an SBC entity in some capacity for many years? Has he not benefited from Non Calvinists generosity?

      I just do not understand the logic employed by Calvinists in this discussion. Vines is not employed by the SBC now and was responding to the Calvinist resurgence, was he not? I am not even a big fan of Vines. Just trying to see the nuance here.

      We have employees who are paid by Non Calvinists going around saying such things as Calvinism is the true Gospel, only they want to see the nations rejoice for Christ. This attitude has been going on for years and has been overlooked for the large part by many who disagree. Some are no longer overlooking it. And that upsets Calvinists which is why they keep saying, move on. As if pointing out such things is the REAL sin but saying such things as Nettles/Mohler, etc have is not in that they want our money but then to insult us implying we are not the “real thing” so to speak. It is amazing how much they have gotten by with.

      . We have watched as they brought in Driscoll to partner with NAMB where Ezell, Mohler’s man is the President. And now CJ Mahaney. Do people realize how authoritarian and cultish both of those men’s churches are? SGM comes out of the shepherding movement! That is where we are heading. Control of people. And one tenent of control is to try and make people think discussing this is hateful, gossip or sin.

      Calvinists do not like Liberty unless it is theirs as “position” to influence others. I think this need to control people and dismissal of Liberty to speak goes back to their views on free will. More of a divine right of kings philosophy without even realizing it. That is straight from Plato. The incompetent masses must be lead by the enlightened ones.

      When we have young SBC men (some even pastors now!)actually saying that if pulpit committees do not ask the right questions to find out if the candidate is a Calvinist then they are ignorant and do not deserve to be told. I have actually seen that attitude written in a comment over at Voices by one of the contributers. Few even bothered to disagree with him. They take the love, respect and toleration of people and use it against them. Why would these pulpit committees even think they could not trust the candidates coming out of our seminaries or think that nice young man actually thinks they are ignorant and do not know the true Gospel? It probably never occured to them to think that way. But because of that attitude, it is quickly changing. That is the attitude coming out of this movement. I call it the spirit of Driscoll. And what is worse, many do not see a problem with it. I think that attitude fits well with Calvin and his attitude toward those “below” him in position and what they deem as intellect.

      And it cannot be fixed until there is a love for all people more than a love for Calvinist doctrine. Which means they should question whether ministry is the right thing for them. Do they love their knowledge of Reformed more than people? I think they do love their knowledge more than people and the reason they do not see it is because they really do think it is the same thing.

        Ben Simpson

        Lydia, I should know better than to engage you, but here goes…

        How many entity heads and denominational employes signed the Traditional Statement on Salvation? If I remember correctly, SBC Today was really excited to list those people and their positions.

          Mitch

          I don’t want to answer for Lydia but want to ask you, how many of these same entity heads are making statements on par with those made by Dr. Nettles and Dr. Mohler? I think that is the issue here, we have employees who desire to or think that the employers are fools ect.
          If I remember my SBC history, it seems that attitudes like this were a large part of the cause of the CR.

          Lydia

          “Lydia, I should know better than to engage you, but here goes…”

          Hi Ben, Good thing I am not running in a popularity contest! :o)

          “How many entity heads and denominational employes signed the Traditional Statement on Salvation? If I remember correctly, SBC Today was really excited to list those people and their positions.”

          I do not know the exact number. What I do know is that the Trad document was a
          RESPONSE to all the agressive Calvinism
          that has been going on in the SBC for a quite a few years. (Agressive Calvinism cannot be proven to a Calvinist, btw.)

          What is interesting is the response to the Trad document from the leader of the New Calvinist movement and SBC employee. His response, nestled in among reasonable platitudes was a real red hot zinger that went something like this: I know some of the people who signed that document and they did not know what they were signing.

          Hmmm.

          I am amazed more people do not find that arrogant and condescending. Is that the normal way to communicate concerning differing views in the NC community? I fear it is.

          So can we assume he might have been talking specifically about other entity heads, scholars and pastors? Since he did not name names we do not know who specifically was so deceived or ignorant. But he said he knows some of them and they did not know what they were signing. So they are ignorant, deceived or what? Too bad he did not elaborate for us.

          He also said the document leans toward SP which was basically saying his colleagues and those who pastor churches that pay his salary are basically heretics.

          After this, he made another statement basically implying some people need to be marginalized.

          I am wondering where he got the idea these are acceptable, unifying and edifying ways for one of our SBC entity employtees to communicate publicly? Where are our Trusted Trustees when you need them.

          And now this same person is on Frank Pages’ “unity” committee.

          I know not what to think. I am certain more Calvinists can explain it all away for us. But me thinks Mohler runs the show and can pretty much do what he wants, insult who he wants with no recourse. In fact, I bet the response would be to chide those who say anything about it as being sinful for pointing it out! That is how upside down we have become.

            Mary

            You know what struck me today Lydia?
            Remember over at Voices when there was post about some of Mohler’s comments and a certain PROVEIT!!!! blogger kept telling you that you didn’t understand what Mohler was saying? Well curiously when a man makes the same point that those are words he needs to be held accountable for – crickets. Funny that!

          Dean

          Ben you are a little off base with your point. The traditional statement falls well within the norom of SBC beliefs. Reform theology falls outside the norm. Uh no problem with agency heads agreeing with the convention that appointed them.

            Joel Hunt

            Umm… not quite.

Ron Hale

Rick,
The “open secret” in SBC life is that Dr. Nettles is on the board of Founders Ministries — an organization started in the early 80’s with a founding purpose for the recovery of the doctrines of Sovereign Grace in the SBC — church by church.

Dr. Nettles has an article on Founders website entitled: Why Your Next Pastor Needs To Be A Calvinist. A number of years ago, I heard about this and thought it was a joke and just a catchy title. However, he was as serious as a street corner preacher at rush hour in Chicago.

Sadly, anyone that knows these things and puts them in print is instantly labeled an “anti-Calvinist.”

On the other hand, I’ve heard many wonderful things about Dr. Nettles — his gregarious godliness in class as he leads in worship and scholarship. So, he has offered much through his long tenured ministry in the convention and has a wonderful opportunity during these days of deliberations to tone down the rhetoric as a distinguished professor at our Mother seminary.

    Charles

    Ron,

    Nettles, Mohler, Ascol, etc., we hear good “wonderful things” about them all the time. But what about this: the Lord hates (His word, not mine) those who “soweth discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:19). I ask you, Ron, do you know of any other group who has sown more discord among our churches than the “Founders” and their friends? I’m not talking about converting liberal Baptist churches which deny the Bible. I’m talking about their attempt to “reform” Bible-believing Southern Baptist churches. Is there any other group who has caused more trouble and church splits than The Founders?

    Remember, The Founders was started by Ernest Reisinger, a man who was so Presbyterian that “he even served as a nationwide promoter for the Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and ‘had an influence on the shaping of Westminster Seminary in California.'”

    There is a reason the General and Particular Baptists largely stayed separate. We are different. How can we get along with a group who believes that our gospel invitations and sinner’s prayers are heresy and calls them “decisional regeneration?”

    This article by Rick is spot on.

    Charles

Dan Calkins

Sbctoday.com tirelessly working to force Calvinists on the defensive in hopes to establish “unity” in the SBC. Talk about scraping the sludge from the bottom of the barrel. Of course you couldn’t find a Traditionalist counterpart to this statement. Calvinism is centuries old; Traditional Southern Baptists (as a term) is months old. They should at least be given a few days to make this claim! Don’t go on the defensive for this low blow, Reformers.

Mary

Also for someone who knows how to search, this book was reprinted and brought out again by Founders just within the last two years I would say – an anniversary addition with new chapters – it was still touted as every word true today. So no this is not some dead little obscure pamphlet to be easily dismissed. I think Nathan Finn and others got together and wrote some book praising Nettles at the time of the anniversary of For His Grace.

    Sam

    Mary, did you check if perhaps that quote was taken out of the reprint? Just curious.

      Mary

      Sam, I don’t have the book, but if you read down thread you’ll see where Adam Harwood states that Nettles made the same claims at the annual Founders Breakfast so I don’t imagine it would have been removed in the reprint. These types of statements are also all over the Founders Website – basically they believe that the move away from DOG was responsible for the liberalism in the SBC so you see where they don’t think the CR was enough, get rid of the liberals and then get rid of everybody who is DOG.

      Rick is your copy of For His Grace the reprinting?

        Mary

        That should say get rid of everybody who doesn’t adhere to the DOG.

Mary

Also to think about for people still proclaiming there is no agenda. The Abstract Of Principles had been in use at Southern and Southeastern before Al Mohler. Both Trads and Calvinists were able to sign it – Trads look at not as author’s intent but as how they could agree with it. Paige Patterson signed it and used it at Southeastern. Al Mohler changed that. Al Mohler uses the Abstract to exclude anyone who disagrees with DOG and so the people claiming that nothing has been done to push Calvinism are simply wrong. Al Mohler took Southern from a place of allowing Trads on staff to excluding them. And yes I can go pull the quote off the Founders website where he claims very unapolegetically that this is how he uses the Abstract.

    Alan Cross

    Mary,

    Now this is a tangible issue that can be addressed! Thank you for bringing substance to the discussion! Now, the question is, HOW can this be addressed without constantly waging war and spending all day complaining about Calvinism or the Calvinist conspiracy and claiming that everyone who went to Southern or believes 2-4 points of Calvinism is trying to take over the SBC? In my opinion, a misuse of the Abstract according to historical appropriateness in SBC (if that is what is happening – I believe you, but reserve full agreement until I can see for myself) is a real issue that perhaps Frank Page’s committee could address. THAT is the kind of thing that you guys should be pushing for, not accusing The Gospel Project of being Calvinist just because a few of the writers are 5 pointers while absolutely nothing is said about TULIP, Dort, or any other overt Calvinist doctrine.

    Guilt by association is a bad way to go, I think.

      Mary

      Alan, we’ve been talking about substance for years but get dismissed as conspiracy nuts.

      And Alan, the fact somehow you think I’ve raised something new that hasn’t been said ad infinitum, I’m sorry but it shows maybe you need to stop and reserve some of your judgements and do a little more research into what the problems actually are.

      You’ve come blazing in attacking people about the Gospel Project declaring that nothing has been presented and you are obviously not in position of the full picture.

        Alan Cross

        Mary,

        I have been blogging on Baptist issues since January 2006 and am fully aware of these arguments. I have not come “blazing in.” Just because I have not been part of the echo chamber here or on Peter Lumpkin’s blog does not mean that I am unfamiliar with the crux of the argument.

        You are right. I have not read every post or comment or have seen every shred of evidence that you or others have presented. It would be impossible to do so unless I spent all of my time writing hundreds of comments day after day after day involved in the same argument. I have primarily begun to pay specific attention to the reaction The Gospel Project and have seen the conclusions drawn against Founders and Dr. Mohler and Southern based on the evidence that you have and have seen that applied to The Gospel Project and all other Calvinists in a “guilt by association” maneuver that is not supportable with facts.

        It seems that the argument has shifted to the real source of your ire today and you have reintroduced facts. I applaud you. I do not think that what you are saying constitutes a conspiracy that is broad across the SBC, but I agree with you that those comments are problematic. That is why I wrote the post I wrote yesterday. So, on a point, you have won me over because of how you argued it. But, unless I join you in taking the evidence that you can prove and the applying it to absolutely everyone and everything that might be related to Calvinism, you see my reasoning as not being up to par. THAT is what I am addressing.

        You have some fact related to some statements. I agree that those things are a problem and should be addressed appropriately if they are still being adhered to. But, I reject painting everything with that brush without proof. That is a bridge too far.

        Why am I wrong? Tim Rogers said I was naive the other day. Perhaps I am. But, I do pay attention to all of this, and if you cannot convince me, a non-Calvinist who is sympathetic to the facts of your argument, how can you convince others of the conspiracy in a way that relies on facts and not circumstantial evidence?

          Mary

          “But, unless I join you in taking the evidence that you can prove and the applying it to absolutely everyone and everything that might be related to Calvinism, ”

          Nobody anywhere is asking you to take the evidence presented and apply it to everything related to Calvinism.

          The point is that there are Calvinists in positions of authority who are using that authority to Calvinize the Convention. It may well be only a minority of Calvinists who have this agenda – the problem is with the one’s like Mohler and Nettles who have authority to actually do something about that agenda.

          A quote like the Nettles quote gets dismissed as one quote from 25 years ago – but it’s part of the bigger mosaic that when looked at all together give us the bigger picture – not just in words but we can trace those words to actual actions.

          How many pieces do you have to have to get a the puzzle complete? Everybody keeps throwing out the individual pieces without attempting to see what kind of picture we actually have.

            Alan Cross

            Mary,

            What has spurred my interest is the way that what Mohler/Nettles have said is being used against The Gospel Project. THAT is what I am talking about. TGP has been attacked here as another example of the Calvinist Conspiracy. Yet, the evidence supplied is that it has those with Calvinistic sympathies or who are Calvinists on the writing team. So, when I say that we cannot apply the goals of Mohler/Nettles to all those who are Calvinists in a guilt by association move, you ask me who is doing that? My answer is that that is what has happened here with TGP.

            Now, if you want to localize your critique to Mohler and his leadership at Southern based on what he has said and done, you have an argument. There is something tangible there worth addressing. You can go according to the lines of The Garner Motion passed at the SBC in San Antonio n 1997 which states that SBC entities should not establish doctrinal parameters that exceed the BFM2000 as a basis for cooperation. I was one of proponents of The Garner Motion and actual submitted a resolution that year that contained the same language. The motion passed, but Dr. Mohler – the next day – came before the Convention and told them that they did not really mean what they passed. If they did, then Southern and SEBTS could not work off the Abstracts.

            I have no problem with the Abstracts, but when they are being used the way that they are, that is wrong. The Garner Motion passed. It is binding. But, per the leadership of Drs. Mohler and Patterson, it was ignored. I assume (and here I am judging) that the argument was that Southern Baptists in San Antonio were too stupid to know what they were doing until our entity heads told us how we were supposed to think.

            Interestingly, many of the architects behind SBC Today were against The Garner Motion because we were supposed to trust our trustees. But, our trustees at Southern and also at SWBTS have been puppets, in my opinion.

            Now, let’s take the situation at Southern. The trustees at Southern should have stepped in long ago and said that, while it is fine for Dr. Mohler to be a Calvinist and to hire Calvinist professors and to affirm Calvinism, Southern WILL NOT use the Abstracts in a way that eliminates the hiring of any but 4 or 5 point Calvinists. And, it will not be the base for any attempt to “Calvinize” the SBC. Calvinism? Yes. Protection for Calvinism to exist and thrive? Why not? But, a militant Calvinism that tries to supersede other expressions? IF that is happening, that is not appropriate.

            Mary, why not take this argument to the trustees of Southern? Why not go right into what you would see as the “belly of the beast,” (massive hyperbole there, but you get what I am saying) and take the argument to them on the basis of the BFM2000 and what is needed for cooperation? Why not appeal to The Garner Motion – which is binding upon our entities – and address what you see as the real issues? Why not bring a motion at the next SBC along these lines or a resolution? Why not address the ENTITY HEAD that has said things that are problematic in specific ways?

            Firing at everything that you might think is a part of a vast Calvinist conspiracy is where we have a lot of collateral damage and it helps no one. I am NOT telling you to be quiet! If you see a problem, then speak up! I AM expressing that some of the targets of your ire are illegitimate targets, in my opinion. Why not address the real issue with a real concern and a real proposal for what can be done about it that will allay your concerns?

            Mary

            Alan, people have been saying for years that the trustees are not doing their jobs. Many see that people like Mohler are telling the trustees what is going to be what. And what are we doing on this blog if not sending the message to those elite in the SBC that we are not happy, but as you can see the fact that SBC Today exists and is a place for Trads like me to come and not be attacked by the swarm of Calvinists that exists at say Voices is just driving people like those at Voices to insanity.

            You know what would be a step toward unity? Stop with the name calling. Why is it that everyone who voices a concern against Calvinism is called an antiCalvinist? Please show me where are all the people who are calling for the Calvinists to be kicked out? You can find that here and there, but not to the extent that the antiCalvinist name calling is going on.

            This blog is called antiCalvinst. Why? Where have any of the blog administrators here advocated for the removal of Calvinists. Calvinists blogs have been saying all kinds of things about Trads in all manner of ways but now you have a blog presenting the Trad side and it’s attacked as antiCalvinist and it’s being attacked by those proclaiming they want unity. You can’t name call day after day and then declare that you really want unity. And no I don’t agree that Calvinists declaring that Calvinism is being misrepresented is enough of reason to name call. The Trad view has been misrepresented all over the place for years but that is always acceptable.

            As far as the Gospel Project you easily dismiss the evidence that others find troubling. The fact that it’s been shown to list as additional resources that are reformed in an overwhelming ratio I think is something to not be so easily dismissed. Even putting quotes that are all from one side of the fence could lead people to read more Calvinism. It’s not that you can’t read from a host of different traditions – it’s the fact that it’s not a host of different thoughts being linked to – only Calvinism.

            Alan Cross

            Before SBC Today was a “Trad”site, it was a Baptist Identity site. Then, it was Joshua Convergence and John 3:16 with Jerry Vines. Two of the founders of SBC Today were actually Calvinists! I was engaging over here before it was taken by NOTBS and before Truett-McConnell took it over. The “Trad” label has only been in use since May or so.

            Mary, my involvement in these debates predates any of this current controversy and there is a HUGE backstory here that would probably suprise you. I agree. Not all is as it seems, but that goes in many different directions – not just the Calvinist direction.

            Mary, the whole SBC changed in Greensboro, NC in 2006. This current iteration of the ongoing battle was set in motion back then, in my opinion. It won’t be resolved until about 8 or so people sit down in a room together and resolve their differences and hammer out a way forward. Everything else is just a proxy war, of which you and I are mere pawns if we don’t keep our eyes open.

            Gotta go.

Ben Simpson

Rick, you got those Calvinists this time! You painted them in the corner: renounce Nettle’s statement to promote unity or affirm Nettle’s statement to promote divisiveness. Perhaps we could move past your false dilemma and see that one could affirm Nettle’s statement while still promoting unity. Clearly, Dr Nettles is using strong language because he believes that the Doctrines of Grace are the best understanding of scriptural revelation and would be best for the denomination. Given that, why wouldn’t he want it to be universal? Don’t you guys wish that everybody was “Traditional”? If not, why hold that position if it’s not worth universal adherence? By the way, wasn’t Nettles’ book from

You fellas here at SBC Today certainly see the Doctrines of Grace as decline, folly, and fragmentation. Otherwise, Dr Jerry Vines wouldn’t have said in his SBC Today interview from January 24, 2012 that “should the SBC move toward five-point Calvinism it will be a move away from, not toward, the gospel.” Otherwise, Dr Eric Hankins wouldn’t have said in an April 8 (6:00pm) comment on his own April 5, 2012 article “Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism” that “I, for one, believe the logical conclusions of Calvinism are clear and they are dangerous, and I will be encouraging other Southern Baptists not to subscribe to it.” (By the way, that’s a push for universal adherence from the negative.) Otherwise, Dr Bill Harrell wouldn’t have said in his SBC Today article “Things that Bear Watching” that “I believe that the fragmentation of the SBC is already taking place and it will proceed in that direction until we are no longer the monolithic spiritual body that has influence in the nation and world,” which was referencing the problem of growing Calvinism. In that same article, Dr Harrell said that Calvinists and NonCalvinists preach different gospels: “Even now, when those who hold to Reformed doctrine refer to preaching the ‘gospel,’ they are meaning that one is preaching Calvinism. When one of the Calvinists says ‘preach the gospel brother,’ he is really saying ‘preach that Reformed doctrine brother.’ NonCalvinists are saying ‘preach the whosoever will gospel brother.’ There is a vast difference.”

Rick, do these statements cause outrage to grow in you to the point that it matches these truly outrageous statement insulting a constituency of Southern Baptists? Will you renounce those statements by the Traditionalists? Or, will you fall back on Dr Harwood’s reasoning in his comment above which is basically “Calvinists drew first blood and deserve retaliation,”? It is certainly true that Nettle’s published By His Grace, For His Glory a long time ago back in 1986 (maybe you were quoting from the 20th anniversary addition from 2007) while these Traditionalist comments are from this year. What say you, Rick?

    Rick Patrick

    Ben,

    It’s clear that each side disagrees with the other. It’s less clear to me that each side is characterizing the other with quite the same degree of contempt. But assume you are right and each side desires this universal adherence. How can we really move on with ministry as usual when the two camps are each seeking the universal adherence of their view in Southern Baptist life?

    Perhaps Dr. Harrell is right and we are, in fact, preaching two different gospels, or at least two different theologies that explain the same gospel, similar to the different theologies that divide one denomination from another. That is the only way I can reconcile these godly men offering such rebukes to those who hold the opposing view. If we are so far apart that our greatest scholars refer to the other view in such terms, then this idea of “silence to promote unity” is more than problematic. Our differences are evidently not minor, but profound.

      Mitch Bryant

      I will probably regret getting into this conversation, but I wanted to point out one main point that Rick mentioned in his article and in the comment stream. The statements by Dr. Nettles and those mentioned on Alan Crosses blog were made by men who receive their pay check from Cooperative Program dollars. This means that the other side is basically financing statements like this. Now as far as I know the three people Ben mentioned receive no cooperative program dollars. This is the part of this discussion that really bothers me. Someone wants to insult my beliefs, intelligence level, theological understanding and have me pay them for the privilege. I find this part very hard to understand.

        Ben Simpson

        Mitch, you make a very good and valid point. For instance, I took issue with and wrote one denominational employee who signed the Traditional Statement on Salvation. I didn’t think that his doing so was representative of all of his constituents. I was very glad to see that our Executive Director here in TN didn’t sign the document since he represents all TN Baptists.

        Nevertheless, while I voiced my concern to this denominational employ for his signature, it didn’t for a moment make me upset that “my” CP dollars were paying his salary. The mission of the CP is bigger than this petty intramural disagreement over nuances of soteriology. Continue to give, brother, and engage in the conversation!

        We have to be careful pointing to the CP every time a denominational employee says something we disagree with. You probably are not intending this, but if we play out the logic that you’re using, you are either spelling the end of cooperation between Calvinists and NonCalvinists (eg., only those who agree with me should be in the SBC) or the end of the Cooperative Program (eg., I’m going to support financially only those persons and entities that I agree with = societal giving, which is basically what Abilene BC in GA has in refusing to allow their CP dollars go to SBTS & SEBTS).

          Mitch

          Ben
          You probably are not intending this, but if we play out the logic that you’re using, you are either spelling the end of cooperation between Calvinists and NonCalvinists (eg., only those who agree with me should be in the SBC) or the end of the Cooperative Program (eg., I’m going to support financially only those persons and entities that I agree with = societal giving, which is basically what Abilene BC in GA has in refusing to allow their CP dollars go to SBTS & SEBTS).

          My way of thinking is that ABC’s actions were in direct response to the statements and actions by employees of these institutions that left ABC feeling that their churches belief was being minimized. Again I could be wrong on this. I know this is my first entry into this discussion on blogs but I have been following this discussion for a long time. I have to say that I really find much agreement with Alan Cross’s blog this week.

          Now I want to give everyone a for instance. Let’s say that as SBC president Johnny Hunt had made statements indicating that he believed that his view of soteriology was not only superior but was the only correct way to interpret scripture and that the Calvinistic view was foolish and leaning toward error. How would that have gone over.

          I do think that the actions of ABC were ill advised and on par with the church member who doesn’t like the pastor so he designates his tithe to the cemetery fund, but in both cases this action did not happen in a vacuum.

            Lydia

            Ben, there are more and more of us every day who refuse to fund Acts 29 or former Acts 29ish OR SGM type of church plants or partnerships. I am sad some of our seminaries are promoting or have promoted these men. It is a matter of right and wrong. It is that simple. Our leaders have not been wise in whom they have partnered with and promoted in book blurbs, speaking gigs, funding, etc.

          Mary

          “For instance, I took issue with and wrote one denominational employee who signed the Traditional Statement on Salvation..”

          I wondered when the list of signatores was removed if it was because too many Calvinists were sending emails and making phone calls to churches and complaing and perhaps even excusing the signees of “heresy.”

            Mary

            Oh my typos! Reading too much Trotsky messes with one’s head.

            accuses not excuses

      Sam

      Dr. Patrick,

      Can you now admit that you were mistaken and that you did not search nearly widely enough (not even searching SBCToday itself) for a quote from Traditionalism. You said “no such quote exists”. But Ben Simpson has proven that MANY such quotes exist which you could have included in your article above.

        Rick Patrick

        And which of those quotes called for universal adherence or declared the other view theological decline, while the author was drawing a salary paid for by the people whose position he called foolish?

        I readily admit there are people who disagree with Nettles who have made statements. However, those statements are not remotely condescending in the manner of Dr. Nettles’ words.

    Ben Simpson

    Rick, did you answer my question? Do these statements by Vines, Hankins, and Harrell cause outrage to grow in you to the point that it matches these truly outrageous statement insulting a constituency of Southern Baptists?

      Rick Patrick

      No. I do not put them in the same category as the remarks of Dr. Nettles. First, on the face of it, while they express a strong viewpoint, they neither condescend to the label of folly, nor push for universal SBC adherence. Second, the remarks were not made by an employee of the SBC, who should be accountable to those he labels as fools. And third, the remarks by Dr. Nettles were historically uttered first. I may strike someone while defending my wife from attack, but that doesn’t mean I’m the troublemaker. Let’s put things in their proper order and admit that this little imbroglio was NOT started by the Traditionalist side.

Mary

I love how on one hand there’s this blanket denial that Calvinists want to reform the SBC but then on the other hand there’s a defense of Calvinists wanting to reformm the SBC.

Darryl Hill

Honestly Rick, nothing posted here is going to accomplish peace among us because the agenda here is now we’ll established. Pot meet kettle. It’s going to take someone who has shown genuine love for brothers on both sides. I posted my opinion regarding the rhetoric being used from both sides yesterday on Alan Cross’s blog if anyone cares to read it. I want peace and cooperation for the sake of the Gospel. I don’t know what folks here want.

carl peterson

I like Debbie will speak against this quote if it is shown in context. I have said before that one of the stregnths of the SBC is that it is not Calvinists or Arminianist. or Traditionalist. That is a stregnth. It is also a weakness. Because no matter how hard Paige Patterson and others want to try Baptists won’t have a confession to support except a statement that is so broad that it loses much force or one that those who sign really do not understand. I am not for the SBC turning into the Calvinistic denomination as the Founders seem to want.

Jared Moore

Rick, did you or any other Traditionalist rebuke Jerry Vines for saying, “I have stated before, so it’s not new news, that should the SBC move toward five-point Calvinism it will be a move away from, not toward, the gospel.” (SBC Today actually conducted and posted this interview: http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/2012/01/24/an-interview-with-jerry-vines/)

This quote doesn’t offend me. I love Dr. Vines. Nevertheless, if you’re to be consistent, shouldn’t you and/or other traditionalists rebuke Dr. Vines for this statement? It’s no less “offensive” than Dr. Nettles’ statement.

    Rick Patrick

    Jared,

    I admit the statement by Dr. Vines is similar in tone to the part of statement by Dr. Nettles concerning “theological decline.”

    What I find present in the words of Dr. Nettles while absent in the words of Dr. Vines are the ideas of “folly” for those with a different view and the express notion of the ideal situation of “universal adherence.”

    Nonetheless, I think the quotes by both of these Southern Baptist scholars point out that our differences are indeed substantial. In other words, this is not some minor skirmish that we should just ignore and move on quietly about our business. Nettles and Vines can both be wrong, but they cannot both be right.

    My primary concern, however, was not merely to denounce Dr. Nettles for his viewpoint. It was to argue, against the claim of those who view such a notion as the ramblings of a conspiracy theorist, that there are indeed some Calvinists in our convention who do indeed desire “universal adherence” to their view. They are not part of a Calvinist Conspiracy, but a demonstrable Calvinist Agenda.

      Sam

      Dr. Patrick,

      What I find astonishing is that many have “taken you to task”, simply asking you to do with Jerry Vines and others (who have said reprehensible things about Calvinism) what you demand of Calvinists. You wrote:

      * Will you not join me in asking, “How dare he?”

      * If you are not willing to rebuke such a sentiment, am I to understand that you agree with Dr. Nettles?

      I would think that any fair-minded person will turn the question back to you and ask you Dr. Patrick, will you join me in asking Dr Jerry Vines, Dr Eric Hankins and Dr Bill Harrell, “How dare you?”

      Moreover, Dr. Patrick, if you are not willing to rebuke such sentiments, am I to understand that you agree with the things Dr Jerry Vines, Dr Eric Hankins and Dr Bill Harrell said about Calvinism?

      Honestly, brother, how can you expect anyone to take you seriously or do what you demand of Calvinists if you are not willing to do it yourself?? Many have already raised this with you, and yet so far you have refused to say “How dare they” nor “rebuke” what they say. Therefore, I am baffled that you would expect anyone to do what you demand of them in this post if you can’t or won’t do it yourself.

        Rick Patrick

        I gave them two options. Agree with Nettles, thus proving Calvinists want to take over, or rebuke Nettles, showing they do not.

        I am more than happy to state my position agreeing with Dr. Vines that Calvinism is a move away from the gospel and agreeing with Dr. Hankins that it is dangerous and agreeing with Dr. Harrell as well.

        However, I disaffirm that any of their remarks, though certainly strong statements, were anywhere near the level of superiority reflected in the words of Dr. Nettles.

          carl peterson

          Dr. Patrick,

          With all due respect would not saying something is “folly” be a much less derogatory statement than that one would be moving away from the gospel. The latter statement is close (not quite but much closer at teh very least) to calling someone a heretic than the first. To state it is theological decline is nothing compared to stating that someone is moving away from the gospel. Do you disagree? why?

            Rick Patrick

            I think that aspect of the argument is basically two people saying they disagree with the theology of the other one.

            The larger issue is the universal adherence statement. I did not hear that from Dr. Vines.

            My primary point is not a Vines-Nettles comparison anyway. It is that, contrary to what many Calvinists have said, there are indeed Calvinists who have gone on record as desiring the “universal adherence” to Calvinism of the entire SBC.

          Sam

          Dr. Patrick,

          Thanks for your honest. You admit that you agree with Dr. Vines that Calvinism is a move away from the Gospel. That being established about your beliefs, doesn’t it follow logically then, that you would like a universal departure from Calvinism within the SBC? How could you not want this if you truly believe Calvinism is a move away from the Gospel? Therefore, don’t you and Dr. Nettles want the very same thing? He wants universal adherence to Calvinism in the SBC and you want universal rejection of Calvinism in the SBC?

          Am I correct in assuming this is what you want, Dr. Patrick?

            Rick Patrick

            No. I respect their right to remain in the SBC even though I may disagree with their position. I believe each man’s conscience before God “should” freely direct him in this, and that “universal adherence” to my own view is not something for me to embrace or wish upon others.

            Sam

            Okay. Thanks for explaining.

            Sam

            I can believe that about you Dr. Patrick. But I don’t understand why you can’t give the same grace to Dr. Nettles. Perhaps he too believes that Traditionalists have ever right to be in the SBC. Perhaps he believes they would be better off if they held to Calvinistic beliefs (just as you probably believe Calvinists would be better off if they forsook 5-point Calvinism). You and Dr. Nettles seem very similar to me and I mean that as a compliment, not an insult.

    Mitch Bryant

    Again I am gonna wish I had stayed out of this but, does Dr. Vines represent one of our seminaries? Does he receive CP dollars to run an organization that would not hire the very people who fund the organization based not on their qualifications but rather on their theological position, despite the fact that their position is well within the parameters of the BFM2000? This is a big part of the issue here. The members of SBC churches pay a lot of money to support a lot of people who seem to look down on them. I find this hard to reconcile with the idea of servant leadership. If someone on either side wishes to reform the SBC so be it, but it just seems a little off to expect the other side to pay you for that undertaking.

      Jared Moore

      Mitch, that’s exactly what’s happening at SBC Today. You can’t have it both ways. TMC is supported with Cooperative dollars by both Calvinist and Non-Calvinist Southern Baptists. Yet, they obviously represent one side here, and rebuke others.

      If you’re going to rebuke Calvinists in SBC entities, you need to rebuke TMC as well.

      Frankly, I don’t have a problem with either because I support Southern Baptists, both those who agree with me and those who don’t. The BF&M2K is enough for me.

        Lydia

        “Mitch, that’s exactly what’s happening at SBC Today. You can’t have it both ways. TMC is supported with Cooperative dollars by both Calvinist and Non-Calvinist Southern Baptists. Yet, they obviously represent one side here, and rebuke others.”

        Jared, This is a RESPONSE to many years of Calvinists like Mohler, etc, telling people only NC has the “true Gospel. In fact, I say it is about time. Mohler is not a pope. Are you suggesting that Truett McConnell has the impact and influence SBTS has nationally? Mohler’s articles are in the WSJ. He is on radio, Larry King and tons of both Reformed and non Reformed stages all over the place. And I was of the understanding that TMC only receives CP funds from Georgia whereas SBTS receives them from all the SBC. Not sure we are comparing apples to oranges. But I can understand why you tried.

        The fact that Mohler, who is NOT a pastor whose church GIVES to the SBC, but an employee of an SBC entity who TAKES from SBC churches and one of the most visual and promoted NC out there saying only NC is the true Gospel, is on the committee for “unity” says this is business as usual and nothing will change. How could the person mostly responsible for division in both word and deed be a unifier? It is hypocrisy.

          Mitch

          Lydia,
          “The fact that Mohler, who is NOT a pastor whose church GIVES to the SBC, but an employee of an SBC entity who TAKES from SBC churches and one of the most visual and promoted NC out there saying only NC is the true Gospel, is on the committee for “unity” says this is business as usual and nothing will change. How could the person mostly responsible for division in both word and deed be a unifier? It is hypocrisy.”
          Thank You, that was the point I was trying to make.

        Mitch Bryant

        Jared,
        I might be wrong about this but when I studied the CP categories (twice in two different classes) there was no designation for TMC or any other baptist college for that matter. If I am not mistaken any money that TMC might receive would be from state convention of Georgia. Now I guess technically this would be considered CP money also. But again I am not sure that they even receive money from the state convention. But lets just suppose for a minute that they do. can you point me to a statement by TMC or a staff memeber there that is on par with the statements by Dr. Nettles or Dr. Mohler? Or maybe demonstrate where TMC has dismissed or will not hire someone based on a soteriological position that conforms to the BFM2000? I am not saying this doesn’t exist, I am asking because I do not know of such statements or actions. What I am aware of is that TMC recently became the first or one of the first baptist college to require staff to affirm agreement with the BFM2000.

        I am a student at NOBTS, I am fully aware of the position of Dr. Kelley but I note that the staff here represent many different views and positions that all fall under the BFM2000 and have yet to meet any staff member who makes public statements indicating a desire to have the rest of the convention conform to their personal convictions. Now perhaps I just need to listen better or maybe I need to read other sources, but this has been my experience so far.

        Ben Simpson

        Really good point, Jared!!

      Debbie Kaufman

      Mitch: Vines was funded and paid by CP monies. He is a former SBC President among other things in the SBC that was funded. He has never been shy about his anti-Calvinist beliefs. He was funded by both Calvinists and non-Calvinists with no complaint from either about giving monies. I have been in a SB church for 20 years. I did not complain when my monies went to the CP to fund either Calvinists or non-Calvinists.

      There has always been material in Sunday Schools written by non-Calvinists. No complaint from Calvinists have been registered as to my knowledge. We can learn from both.

      Tom Ascol, if you will look on his blog for the past six years and older, called for civility and respect toward those who would disagree with Calvinism. He has partnered with those such as Johnny Hunt, who is a non-Calvinist. He has said in recent posts that there is no conspiracy or take over. He has said it not once, but multiple times.

      6 years ago, this same group who now call themselves Trads were in a group called Joshua Convergence. It was short lived. They had one conference of which you may still be able to find videos. They threatened then to pull their monies if their agenda was not served.

      Why don’t you just give monies to yourselves. Mail it in the mail to each other. Then there will be no problem.

      It’s hard for me to believe you want peace when I and several other Calvinists have come over here and refuted the statement you have posted, if it was given in context and if it was said in the vein you say it is. That is not enough. Instead, harsh words are thrown again. I’m tired. Fight on. Fight yourselves into a bloody pulp. Next time, fight again and again and again. But all it’s going to do is keep making you angry and bitter toward other Christians, then comes death.

      I also don’t see Christ being exalted in any of your reasons. I see no mention of Christ or the benefit to other people or the Gospel. I see political reasons and that you got your feelings hurt. Nothing about exalting God or Christ. I’m done.

        Mary

        The operative words are “Vines” and “fomerly” and “was”

        And Ascol has disbanded Founders who’s stated purpose is to reform the SBC? He’s denounced their former agenda to reform the SBC one church at a time? Can you link to that? Funny thing I heard they just had their annual Founders Conference at the SBC where their rhetoric was still all about how the SBC has to be reformed. I think Ascol’s opinion is he’ll cooperate in the SBC until the reformation is complete because really what other choice does he have? But he admits frequently that he really truly believes that the SBC would be better off if it were reformed.

          Debbie Kaufman

          Tom Ascol wrote this in a Founders article :

          “I strongly disagree with Dr. Estep’s fear that talking about biblical salvation as understood by Calvinism will be divisive and deadly to our denomination. It is very healthy that Southern Baptists are having such doctrinal discussions again. With the rise of pragmatism in the middle part of this century, theological discourse was relegated almost exclusively to the arena of the academy. But, being clear on what we believe is critical to the life and health of the church. Therefore talking about our beliefs and being challenged biblically to reexamine what we believe should not be seen as divisive, but essential. A cursory glance through denominational newspapers and associational minutes from the last century will show that Southern Baptists formerly had just such an attitude. It is wonderful to see truth becoming important to us once again as we move toward the third millennium.”

          http://www.founders.org/journal/fj29/editorial.html

            Daniel Wilcox

            Debbie,

            Truth like this ? John Calvin wrote, “That men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on any thing but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by his secret direction”. – John Calvin – Institutes – book 1, chapter 18, section 1

            Spare us from Calvinism….

            Daniel

              Debbie Kaufman

              Daniel: Yes. I agree with that statement by Calvin. The scripture he gives to back up this statement is clear.

                Daniel Wilcox

                Debbie,

                Calvinism is so despicable.

                Please tell these of words of Calvin (that you agree with) to the Israelis where I used to live, some of whose families were gassed by Calvin’s God, by the “secret instigation of God.” :_((((((((( At least 10 million humans in the concentration camps…
                all for Calvin’s God’s “glory and pleasure” of course.

                Please tell these words of Calvin to the students who I taught for many years, the ones who tragically suffered as children because of the “secret instigation of God.”

                And to the emotionally disturbed children where I worked as a care giver.

                Truly, Calvinism is the most morally “sick” religion, even worse than
                the ones I experienced living in the Middle East.

                Daniel

                  Sam

                  Daniel writes: “Calvinism is so despicable.”

                  I find it hard to believe that saying such “despicable” things about Traditionalism would be tolerated at this blog. This is simply offensive Daniel Wilcox. You should not be permitted to write such rude things. There are rules for posting comments here you know. Rules that everyone should abide by. You should try reading the rules and then having some respect for your brothers in Christ and follow “The Golden Rule.”

                    Daniel Wilcox

                    Sam,

                    You say, “Daniel writes: “Calvinism is so despicable.”
                    This is simply offensive Daniel Wilcox. You should not be permitted to write such rude things. There are rules for posting comments here you know. Rules that everyone should abide by. You should try reading the rules and then having some respect for your brothers in Christ and follow “The Golden Rule.”

                    But I said what I said in response to what was a horrid statement by John Calvin! Please re-read the Calvin’s statement again: John Calvin wrote, “That men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on any thing but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by his secret direction”. – John Calvin – Institutes – book 1, chapter 18, section 1

                    How could I possibly not find such a statement abhorrent when I trust God so loved the world that he gave Jesus to die for everyone?

                    As I said previsiously, the first famous Calvinist I heard lecture told us God “plans every rape and murder”!!
                    Secondly, Calvinists have told me that God even planned the Jewish Holocaust for his “own pleasure and glory.”

                    One famous Baptist pastor, only a few days after the tragic storms in the Midwest this year, claimed all the people killed were by God, because Jesus rules those winds.

                    How do you think those suffering families took such a horrible sermon?

                    How do you think Jewish people where I used to live in the Middle East feel when Calvinists (and John Calvin wrote) claim that God foreordains everything including the Jewish Holocaust for the **mere pleasure of the divine will**?

                    My descriptive term was about a theology which posits such horror.

                    Daniel

                    Sam

                    Daniel,

                    So, then, following your example, if I can simply find a few Traditionalist statements that I find to be despicable it will be okay then for me to label all of traditionalism despicable? That is what you did, Daniel, so, then, it is okay for me to do the same thing to traditionalism, right??

                    Better would be when you find a statement by John Calvin that you dislike, point out how you strongly you disagree with that statement, rather than tell every Calvinist Christian in the world how despicable their beliefs are. See the problem with your approach yet, Daniel? It is rude.

                    Daniel Wilcox

                    Sam,

                    You say, “if I can simply find a few Traditionalist statements that I find to be despicable it will be okay then for me to label all of traditionalism despicable?”

                    But these horrific statements listed in the last few days weren’t a few comments by minor individuals, unknown Calvinists. These statements were by John Calvin himself and one of the most famous of all Baptist preachers!

                    Each of the statements is a complete denial and horrific opposite of the Good News that God loves every single human being and wills for everyone of us to be saved.

                    These statements describe not God who is holy and just and truthful and righteous
                    BUT
                    a god who is sadistic, cruel, tyrannical, a moral monster–just like Calvin was who along with the Reformed leaders tortured, burned at the stake, and drowned other Christians.

                    Read a few biographies on Calvin and the other Reformed leaders. They often behaved horrifically like the false image of God they had. (I can give you a list of scholarly biographies if you wish. I can also supply you with many other background studies. One of the best professors I ever had earned his PhD. in Calvinism.

                    Thank God, he was later saved at a Billy Graham rally. Praise the Lord!

                    One of the main reasons these Reformed slaughtered other Christians was because they opposed infant baptism!

                    You say, “Better would be when you find a statement by John Calvin that you dislike, point out how you strongly you disagree with that statement, rather than tell every Calvinist Christian in the world how despicable their beliefs are.”

                    Actually, I’ve done that extensively on SBCToday, several very long posts several days ago, (and for almost 50 years! shown Calvinism to be horrific)
                    Rather than me take up a lot of space here, first go back and read the comments here of the last couple of weeks.

                    But here’s a short answer: John Calvin wrote, “That men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on any thing but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by his secret direction”. – John Calvin – Institutes – book 1, chapter 18, section 1
                    I admit that by the will of God all the sons of Adam fell into that state of wretchedness in which they are now involved; and this is just what I said at the first, that we must always return to the **mere pleasure of the divine will**, the cause of which is hidden in himself.” Chapter 23, 4 Institutes of C. R. John Calvin

                    Millions of children who are abused are abused because God foreordained this!?
                    Humankind rebelled against God because God willed this?
                    The Jewish Holocaust happened because God willed this?
                    And all because of the “MERE PLEASURE OF THE DIVINE WILL” of Calvin’s God?

                    How could you possibly believe in such a system?

                    Daniel

          Lydia

          When was Vines SBC President? And has his income come from CP dollars in the last years or so? And what was the date he made the statement about Calvinism?

          Debbie, me thinks you are stretching things a bit. Mohler has been a paid employee at SBTS since about 93, right? How many years is an SBC president a president?

            Dean

            It seems like I remember that Dr Vines may have been a music director when he was young. Other than that all he has ever been is a local pastor. He received no pay for being SBC president. He has never been an employee of the SBC. As a local pastor, even one of great stature, he is free to share his convictions. However SBC Agent heads and employees need to be careful what they say and how they say it.

            Mary

            Dean, that’s gonna be a point that you’ll try to get across and you will bang your head into the wall because it’s one of those things that won’t get through.

            Now if you really want to have a conversation with Calvinists. Mention Paige Patterson burying the dog in the backyard somewhere and the fact that his wife wears hats. That was some important issues regarding accountabilty a while back.

Dean

I have read these blogs and debates for months. I will state that I am not a Calvinist. I reject each and ever tenant of tulip as I see them presented in Calvinism. Both sides of this debate have blasted each other for months. I am sure that every bullet that can be fired has been. I will point one thing out before drawing my conclusion, its is one thing for a person on a blog to make a comment about the issue. It is completely different when a professor or a seminary president makes a comment. If I say throw the bums out who cares? I’m no person of influence. If an SBC employee or agency head makes that comment then that is completely different.

Now what is an obvious to me is that when the overwhelming majority of the SBC are not Calvinist (I state again, if pastors would honestly tell search committees that God didn’t love everyone or that Christ did not die for the whole world this debate would be over because they would have only a handful of pulpits in the SBC) the minority can not be the ones crying the loudest for peace and compromise. Calvinist are in the minority, they are the ones who are outside the norm of SBC thinking, they are the ones who are wanting to change the existing theological slant of the SBC. Yet they are the ones crying loudest hey can’t we all get along with each other while they try to make these changes. If our literature is so poor, if our seminaries teach a theology that is declining, if we trads are so mean, if our convention is dying and numbers dwindling, if reform churches are the rage in church growth the obvious question is why are reforms still here?

Scott

Here is a quote from a letter to the editor in your own state Baptist paper:
“My conclusion is the Baptist Calvinists are in the wrong denomination. This group needs to take its questionable beliefs such as infant baptism, etc., and affiliate with a like-minded group, thus avoiding future division and dissension with the Southern Baptist Convention.”

    Rick Patrick

    Scott,

    I read that same letter to the editor. It seems a few of our laypeople are beginning to find out about the Calvinist Agenda and they don’t like it at all.

    The man who wrote that letter is calling for Calvinists to leave. My fourteen year old son said the same thing at the convention. Dr. Nettles and Dr. Vines seem to have a profoundly different view of our theology concerning the gospel. Perhaps our views are indeed so far apart that we should part company. Why stay together if we’re only going to disagree and quibble? This seems to be the question Dean is asking in the comment just above yours. I believe, however, that given the proper move toward reconciliation, we can all stay in the same convention. Yesterday, Alan called for Dr. Mohler to repent, although in his notion of repentance, he did not suggest sin, but merely the need to begin moving in this more conciliatory fashion. I’m with him on that. Others believe the only way to move forward is to resolve the conflict just as Abraham did with Lot. Time will tell.

      carl peterson

      Dr. Patrick,

      This post says more than most others here. It is not about unity. It is about seperation. And BTW I do not know how much stock I would put into an objection to reformed BAPTISTS that states that they belive infant baptism. It seems this person knows little about refromed baptist beliefs and thus should not really post his opinion. Or maybe it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

        Mary

        We should probably just stop having letters to the editor and these blog things with people allowed to comment is a problem. You know we should just have one central blog that tells us what we need to know – we could call it PRAVDA.

Mary

“Both sides of this debate have blasted each other for months…”

It’s been going on for years and I think sometimes there’s a problem with people walking into the middle of the conversation and start hacking away for their side when they don’t really understand the whole history. It always amazing the people who speak so authoritatively about “anti” Calvinists are befuddled about things like the Founders Movement and the Quiet Revolution but then they just easily dismiss the evidence as not important. The coversation usually goes – “you conspiracy nut, ” “Ok here’s some evidence,” “that’s not evidence because I never heard of it before now” “do we need a dictionary defition of the word “Quiet” as in “Quiet Revolution?” “You anti-Calvinist wolf!”

“…. its is one thing for a person on a blog to make a comment about the issue. It is completely different when a professor or a seminary president makes a comment.”

And this is a problem that Calvinists have in these debates. Someone like Jerry Vines is not employed anywhere in the SBC. If he has an agenda than the only thing he can do is say this or that. Someone like Al Mohler has a lot of power to push his agenda which he has done by changing the way the Abstract is used – he openly excludes Trads from being on staff at Southern Seminary when the Abstract had not been used this way prior to his appointment. There are rumblings that is started to be used this way more and more at Southeastern.

But we’re not supposed to talk about that or make any of those points because you must be an antiCalvinist for pointing out that Calvinists when placed in positions of authority are being exclusive. We’re somehow to believe that it was just a complete accident that the only people available to work on the Gospel Project just happened to be all 4 and 5 pointers.

Alan Davis

Dear Brother Rick,

First, There have been somewhat similar statements as already seen by Jerry Vines. I for one do not want Dr. Vines or Dr. Nettles to apologize or back off unless they personally feel led to (nor anyone else, traditionalist or calvinist). They say what they mean and mean what they say. I believe that most who see this as an issue (not all) would rather others come around to their viewpoint and that the convention would as a whole be either traditionalists or calvinistic. One problem with that would be it would not be Tradtionalist enough for some or not Calvinistic enough for others. (This good be a matter for another article)

Second, You said:
“But assume you are right and each side desires this universal adherence. How can we really move on with ministry as usual when the two camps are each seeking the universal adherence of their view in Southern Baptist life?”

I think sentence one may be correct to a certain extent and for certain leaders and pastors. This makes sentence two very meaningful and a really good question. I have no problem working with those I know that hold a similar view of traditionalists or those who are not as Calvinistic as I am. Some of each are in the Church I pastor. However the problem doesn’t seem to be at the local level as much as the convention level. This would seem to be a control problem/issue with those who want control of the convention and it’s entities.

If this is where we are as a convention then how would you or maybe the leaders of the traditionalist propose we move forward? Should we split into two conventions? Should we agree to disagree and keep moving on as one? Should we what….?

Brother Rick I am not being sarcastic here, just facing the fact that what you said above is at least partly true and may be at a much larger extent than most think. If that is so, just talking isn’t going to solve anything. What is the proposal from the traditionalist camp or maybe I should say the SBC Today camp for moving forward?

Thank You,
Alan Davis

    Rick Patrick

    Alan,

    I don’t think the Traditionalist Camp or the SBC Today Camp has proposed any kind of solution. I have, however, heard Dr. Steve Lemke use the significant term “proportionality.” Although I do not know all that he might mean by that term, to me it seems that the measure of influence by Southern Baptist Calvinists must be proportional to the measure of their population in Southern Baptist life generally.

    I do not believe a denomination that celebrates the kind of democratic processes found in congregational polity will tolerate for very long a situation in which the minority, through skillful political maneuvering, appears to be telling the majority what to do.

    In addition to working out this kind of leadership “proportionality,” the other word I would mention is the word “transparency.” Pastors and parents need to know in advance if a youth camp is going to teach their children the gospel as understood by Nettles or as understood by Vines. We need to know the same thing about our seminaries. Will both sides be present at all seminaries? If one is going to teach one thing while another teaches the other, the notion of transparency says, “Let’s be crystal clear about the theological framework out of which we are operating here.”

    I hope the Page Committee will give much attention to the ideas of “proportionality” and “transparency.” If both sides can work out a solution, I believe we are best off remaining together. Along with Dr. Patterson, I believe this is a “tricky track” and that we are better off together, just as the General and Particular Baptists of England would have been better off staying together.

      Alan Davis

      Thank you Rick for your response. It is appreciated and i hear you and we have more in agreement than opposing on this brother.

      Alan D.

Mary

“However the problem doesn’t seem to be at the local level as much as the convention level. This would seem to be a control problem/issue with those who want control of the convention and it’s entities”

Ding Ding Ding we have a winner!

The entities need to be serving the ENTIRE SBC not just this group or that group. There is a serious issue when it is well established that we have Calvinists Seminaries. We need neutrality and transpency. I think it would destroy the CP if we start divvying up the institutions “ok we’ll let Southern and Southeastern be for the Calvinists and Southwestern and New Orleans be for the Trads.”

We also need open books on exactly what kind of church plants the NAMB is planting – not just have our questions dismissed with “all we care about is the BFM” if they have nothing to hide as in the church plants are a majority of Acts29 Knockoffs than they don’t need to be so dismissive when asked what’s going on. The BFM is being used as tool now to silence dissent and hide what’s actually going on.

    Alan Davis

    Mary,

    I think that should be part of the question of how do we continue as the SBC.’ How are each of the entities not serving or serving the entire SBC and how can the entities that are not, serve the entire SBC. Is it still possible to do so with a consensus?

    As to the churches that are being planted (I am an approved NAMB church planter) I would think that would be guided by the plant pastor more than anything as long as the pastor and the church could stand by the BFM. each church, especially church plants take on the flavor of the pastor most times. So if one has a church plant pastor that leans to the Traditional camp the church will be traditional in some ways. If the church plant pastor leans to the Calvinistic camp then the church will probably take on a more Calvinistic flavor. Except for excluding church planters that have Calvinistic leanings there really isn’t much of a way to control this. Unless of course Traditional churches start planting more churches and sending out more church planters than Calvinistic. I am not sure how this could be limited unless NAMB just says no more Calvinistic churches or church planters will be approved.

    Now if there is a problem with transparency then that should be addressed. But I guess then we would have to come up with some sort of grading scale to see how Calvinistic the church planter is, weather he is going to lead his church to be totally reformed or moderately or at all.

    This would seem like a bit much and end up somewhat of a witch hunt in the long run (just my thoughts). But how do we fix what traditionalists see as a problem with this?

    Thank You,
    Alan Davis

      Mary

      Alan, thanks for your irenic spirit.

      I don’t think we should exclude anybody. The problem is that I think Trads are being excluded. I’m afraid there is too much a committment to bringing in the Acts29 trained church planters. There is a serious problem with the way these churches are set up. Is it fair for a chuch to take money from the CP but have as membership requirements that only Calvinists will be allowed as members? Also these churches heavily influenced by Acts 29 are giving minimally to the CP while giving heavily to churches “like them” so we’re bringing in with people with our CP funds who will be exclusive with their resources. This is true of a lot of the Calvinists churches in the SBC it seems. Some are more up on the numbers but just look at Al Mohler’s church and their history of giving. Matt Chandler’s is another church. We see Calvinists giving very little to the CP but bragging about their committment to church planting and missions. Which I think when you examine the giving records – and how many churches are refusing to make that information known now – but when you get the information you see where Trad churches are still funding the CP, but Calvinists churches are giving a pittance to the CP while designating their giving to ministries like them.

      But back to the NAMB, I guess I don’t understand how it would be a big deal for NAMB to keep statistics of what kind of churches they are planting. As it is now when Ezell has been asked about the influence of Acts 29 he has been dismissive and claimed he only cares about the BFM. The dismissiveness is unacceptable and I’m afraid the BFM is being used as a tool to silence dissent. If NAMB church plants are not dispropotionately going in one direction why not provide that information? The only reason I can think that you wouldn’t provide that information is because you know the information will not be received well. And that is a signal of elitism that must be addressed.

Adam Harwood

I am thankful for and encouraged by the gracious spirit and gentle tone exemplified by the comments today. Perhaps this is a sign that the nature of this important discussion is improving within our convention.

It seems that Founders is acknowledged by most of us as having a goal of reforming SBC churches to “Doctrines of Grace.” There seems to be general agreement on that point.

Founders is free to pursue such an agenda. On that I agree.

The weight of their influence within the SBC may be overestimated by the Traditionalists but underestimated by the more-Calvinistic brothers. I won’t attempt to address that question.

The concern in this article, though, is not that the claims of a particular agenda can be established by pointing only to Founders. Rather, Dr. Patrick has made the claim that such an agenda can be discerned from the recent comments by Dr. Nettles. As others have noted in this comment stream, his position as a SBTS professor provides weight and significance which distinguish them from comparable remarks from SBC pastors such as Dr. Vines or Dr. Ascol. When seminary professors advocate for our-view-is-biblical-and-your-appears-historically-unbiblical against other Southern Baptists, then this sounds like the tribalism which Dr. Mohler argues against.

Does Nettles still recommend “universal” Calvinism within the SBC ? Good question. If so, then does Nettles conceal these views when teaching his Baptist history classes? Perhaps. But why would he? If he thinks that the SBC was originally comprised of Calvinists (he seems to hold this view) and that other views are sub-biblical and threaten fidelity to the Gospel (which he argued in his presentation at the Founders breakfast in June 2012), then he is probably teaching this viewpoint in Baptist history classes full of tomorrow’s pastors. And while teaching that both views (General and Particular) have been present within the Baptist tradition (a claim which has recently been made by Drs. Mohler and Dockery and a claim with which I agree), he may have also been teaching students for decades that the SBC was originally comprised of and would now be in the best condition if it were only comprised of Calvinists (which is the precise point of my disagreement with my his view).

This type of view (which was articulated 30 years ago but repeated as recently as 2 months ago) is a major reason that some “Traditionalists” drafted and/or affirmed the doctrinal statement which articulates a differing theological viewpoint. The goal was/is not to be anti-Calvinists or to push any brothers out of the SBC. We’re simply defending our “General” view of the atonement as permissible under both the Bible and the BFM 2000.

Blessings, brothers.

In Him,

Adam

    Norm Miller

    Precisely, Dr. Harwood.
    SBTS was once a bastion of moderate/liberal theology. As such, it was home to one of the issues facing the SBC in the resurgence years. The folks in the pew, when informed, revolted and said it was unconscionable that their tithes would pay the salaries of those who taught contrary to the beliefs of those who were footing the bill. It was a matter of accountability, integrity and stewardship. Given SBTS’s sitz im laben, it would seem history is attempting to repeat itself. — Norm

      Adam Harwood

      Thanks, Norm. Perhaps there are some historical similarities. But I woul be quick to distinguish between the issues debated in the CR and at present. If professors were denying first tier doctrinal positions, such as the literal and bodily resurrection of Christ, during the CR then a parting of ways was necessary. It is not necessary, in my view, to part ways over the present differences within the SBC.

        Max

        Brother Harwood,

        In regard to “first tier doctrinal positions” …

        I agree that the SBC division which occurred during the CR was a result of a first tier issue which could not be resolved. It was, indeed, necessary to halt the liberal trajectory to secure an unambiguous affirmation of Biblical inerrancy within our ranks.

        As I’ve looked across the Protestant landscape at other denominational splits and re-splits, it appears that such actions were taken due to one of the following reasons: theological differences, church organization, or major moral issues. While I’m not a proponent of a split within SBC over the current theological controversy, I must admit I consider differences in soteriology to be an upper tier issue. To counter increasing New Calvinism belief and practice within the SBC, “Traditionalists” (I wish for a better word) found it necessary to produce a clear statement of majority Southern Baptist stand on God’s plan of salvation – elevating this, perhaps, to a first tier for consideration. If we can’t be sufficiently agreed on God’s plan of salvation, how can we be expected to hold together? It’s clear from blog comments on this and other sites, that we do not think alike, nor feel alike, on the critical subject of reaching the world for Christ – particularly in the extent of the atonement. Unless we can be brought to such a change of views and feelings as will unite us, we will only be a hindrance to each other and to the work of God going forward.

        I know that Dr. Page’s committee is focused on that which will yield unity within our ranks and I pray for wisdom as they deliberate these matters. In a recent Baptist Press article, Dr. Page stated “that he envisions unity in the convention in spite of differences concerning soteriology.” Is that really possible? I realize that one answer to that question is that Southern Baptists have always co-existed with soteriological difference, so we should just continue to agree to disagree on this. As a 50-year member of SBC work, I can honestly say that this has never been an issue in the churches I have served in … until now. Unfortunately, the words and actions by certain of our leaders have tacked this on the door for such a time as this. God help us with the direction we take.

          Adam Harwood

          Max,

          Thanks for your note and an opportunity to clarify my view on the issue of ranking this discussion in theological tiers. I agree that the doctrine of salvation can be a first-tier issue (according to Dr. Mohler’s now-famous three-tier structure of theological triage). But I would suggest that differences on the doctrine of salvation can also be second-tier and even third-tier.

          Here are some examples of what I mean:

          A first-tier disagreement within the doctrine of salvation:
          1. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ.
          2. Salvation is by works.

          The second position cannot be regarded as a Christian viewpoint. There can be no cooperation in Gospel ministry between people who hold these views.

          A second-tier disagreement within the doctrine of salvation (assuming both views affirm salvation by grace through faith in Christ):
          1. God selects individuals for salvation; there is no “choice” involved by the unregenerate to receive Christ. (aka Moderate to Five-Point Calvinism as found within the SBC)
          2. Any person who hears the Gospel can repent; by God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit, some individuals “choose” to repent but others “resist” God’s grace. (This is the non-Arminian, non-Calvinist, Southern Baptist view; “Traditionalist”)

          These two views may not choose to plant a church together but both views are orthodox, acceptable Christian viewpoints. These groups are both found within the SBC and should be able to continue to cooperate as brothers in Christ in the work of the Gospel.

          A third-tier disagreement within the doctrine of salvation:
          1. All who die as infants are saved because God passively regenerates them due to Christ’s work on the Cross.
          2. All who die as infants are probably saved but the Bible does not provide clear guidance on this issue; therefore, we trust God will act in ways consistent with His character, which is holy, merciful, and just.

          These believers ought to be able to plant a church together, serve together, and fellowship without this particular difference on the doctrine of salvation dividing them.

          In this way, it is possible that different questions can be addressed within the same doctrine and each of those questions hold a different status within the hierarchy of theological triage.

          Blessings, brother.

          In Him,

          Adam

            Max

            Brother Harwood,

            Thank you for your perspective and examples re: theological tiers. I suppose this issue of the co-existence of two distinct differences in soteriology within a single denomination is a matter of hitting the right balance. However, through this whole debate I’ve been reminded that there were two trees in the garden: the tree of knowledge and the tree of life. As Southern Baptists go forward, my prayer is that we will choose to eat from the right tree.

            Max

            Brother Harwood,

            The more I think about this, I have determined to retreat to Biblical truth in this regard. Scripture says there will be no “tiers” in heaven. ;^)

Tom Hicks

Dr. Patrick, I’m a Calvinist, and would urge you to consider four things.

1. Neither side should be playing the victim card. We need to get past feeling offended that people think they are right and we are wrong or that their views are more orthodox (right teaching) than ours. This is selfish and manipulative. It’s selfish because it’s focused on my offense, my being marginalized, people thinking they are better than me. This is not the other-centered ethic of our Lord Jesus. It’s manipulative because it tries to garner people’s sympathies when what we ought to be doing is speaking the truth in love. The world of politics loves to play victim. We should not be imitating them.

2. The way forward is to grant that both Contemporary Traditional Baptists and Historic Calvinistic Baptist who agree on the gospel are within the bounds of orthodox belief. Why not live and let live? We can cooperate with each other for the sake of the kingdom without getting sidetracked over debates that are within the bounds of orthodox belief. Let the other side think they are right. Let them think they are more orthodox than you (and me). What matters isn’t what they think, but what Christ says in His Word. Right?

3. Instead of using convention politics, power plays, and media to silence, marginalize, accuse or exclude those who disagree with us, why don’t we just love them as our brothers with the truth? If you, a Traditionalist are wrong, then isn’t it loving of me, a Calvinist, to graciously humbly and lovingly try to persuade you of my view? That’s how I read Dr. Nettles’ comments. He believes Calvinism is true and important. If so, then why would we expect him to want anything less for his beloved brothers for whom Christ died than that they would understand the truth? Similarly, if I, a Calvinist, am wrong, I recognize that it is most loving for you, a Traditionalist, to persuade me of my error. I don’t think you are being elitist or arrogant, if you approach me with humility and a heart of gracious service, not shrinking back one bit from truth, while laboring to show me my error. I recognize that I don’t have all truth. I could be wrong. If I am wrong, then my error on doctrines as significant as divine sovereignty, providence, the atonement, and salvation is a serious matter that is causing me harm, hindering my understanding of Christ and my sanctification. You are my brother and I need your help. So, why can’t we all lovingly advocate our views, believing we are right, but being willing to be shown wrong? Our righteousness and personal identity is not bound up in our theological rightness, but in the righteousness of Christ alone received by faith alone. Therefore, have nothing to fear from being corrected with the Word of God. I want to listen to your arguments and engage with love and grace. And, let the side that is most biblically persuasive win the convention.

4. Please let’s don’t destroy the convention over this issue and let’s not alienate brothers who are covered in Christ’s blood who we will spend eternity together with in heaven. The world around is is lost and dying. Let’s preach the gospel. Let’s love one another in word and deed. But our tone needs to be one of sincerity, charity, and mercy. The only thing that can keep us in the midst of this theological dispute is genuine holiness. Something I certainly need to grow in. But this is a great time for all of us to grow. The problem is not our disagreement (if we all acknowledge that these disputed issues are within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy). The problem is our love for one another.

Peace in Christ.

    Ben Simpson

    Where is the “like” button?!!! Very well said, Tom!

    Donald

    Tom,

    I wish it was so. There has been a lot of talk about how SBCToday is causing division. However, Rick’s post is just one more bit of evidence that it was Those People who started it. What you have before you now is a long overdue, and somewhat reluctant, response.

    Consider: “The precipitating issue…is the rise of a movement called “New Calvinism” among Southern Baptists. This movement is committed to advancing in the churches an exclusively Calvinistic understanding of salvation, characterized by an aggressive insistence on the “Doctrines of Grace” (“TULIP”), and to the goal of making Calvinism the central Southern Baptist position on God’s plan of salvation.”

    It is this issue that has caused the current division. It is this issue that many of us are eye-witness to. We have seen the damage done to local churches. Calvinism, in and of itself, has never been the issue.

    The part of this which drives me today is the tendency of some to hide their beliefs and agenda from a church when they are being interviewed and then move forward with an agenda to reform the church. What makes this more than just a few bad apples (I know of three churches locally) is that this is encouraged.

    Consider: On founders.org there is recommended a guide on how a Pastor can reform a non-Calvinist church. I have cut and pasted a few practical suggestions given. Please read these with the proper scenario in mind, a Pastor is taking a position at a non-Calvinist church with the intention of making the church Calvinist. How in the world can this could be done without hiding his current theological position and without hiding his intentions to “reform” the church.

    From REFORMING A LOCAL CHURCH by Ernest C. Reisinger
    ———————————————–
    Don’t try any reformation until you have earned some spiritual credibility with the church.

    The first suggestion is study the Biblical principle of accommodation.

    When should they be implemented? Don’t try to do too much too soon.

    The principle of restraint. Don’t tackle the whole church at one time. Choose a few men who are sincere, teachable, and spiritually minded, and spend time with them in study and prayer. They will help you to reform.

    Exercise common sense.

    Don’t use theological language that is not in the Bible, in the pulpit, such as, Calvinism, reformed, doctrines of grace, particular redemption etc. Most people will not know what you are talking about.

    Often you will find, particularly, in older churches, a statement expressing the doctrines which you desire to establish. Hide behind these articles of faith. Hide behind our Baptist fathers, such as Bunyan, Spurgeon, Fuller, Boyce, Dagg, Broadus, Manly, W.B. Johnson, R.B.C. Howell and B.H. Carroll.

    Use sound literature, not indiscriminately, but wisely. Little things at first, that is, pamphlets and books with some doctrinal and experimental substance.

    The principle of priorities must be applied. You can’t change everything at once—first things first.

    The principle of two churches must be before us at all times.

      Tom Hicks

      Donald, thanks for your response. I don’t see where the Founders article you cite encourages any deception at all. It says to use biblical language, not theological language that is not found in the Bible. I’ve been told explicitly by the Founders men to be forthright about my beliefs and never to be deceptive. Those who are going into churches and deceiving people about what they believe are not doing so at the recommendation of Founders.

      When I pastored a small country church, I read them Ephesians 1 and forthrightly told the search committee that I believe in predestination, explaining what that means. I also read them Romans 9 and told them I believe that God “has mercy on whomever He wills and hardens whomever He wills.” I also explained that I believe in human responsibility, evangelism and global missions. I explained that William Carey, the father of modern missions who believed like I do, is one of my heroes. I asked them if this would be a barrier to my pastoring them, and they said, “No, we just want you to teach us the Bible.” The fact that I didn’t use the term “Calvinism” in no way hid my theological beliefs. When they had additional questions, I answered them plainly. There was no guile or subterfuge, and this is exactly what Founders taught me to do both in Ernie’s article, which you reference, and in personal conversations with Founders men.

      I don’t doubt that some men have been deceptive. But I submit that it is dishonest to claim they have been the least bit encouraged to be deceptive by Founders Ministries.

        Donald

        Tom said “It says to use biblical language, not theological language that is not found in the Bible.”

        Just looking more closely at this one point, would you also avoid using theological language like “Trinity” that is not found in the Bible, or just language that would reveal to all that you are a Calvinist? Just so!

          Tom Hicks

          The point is to avoid new theological terms, which can cause confusion, not biblical theological content. I’m not sure whether I avoided the word “Trinity” since it is a generally recognized (if not clearly understood) theological word. I did, however, avoid “eternal generation,” “spiration,” and “perichoresis” in my discussion of the persons of the Trinity, though I would have not hesitated to teach their biblical meaning.

          After teaching the biblical terminology first, I do believe it is wise for Calvinistic pastors to use the term “Calvinism” to help the people understand the historical issues involved.

            Donald

            It is what it is, Tom.

            There is no aspect of my theology that I would hide from a search committee nor would I avoid any accurate term. I would go the extra step and declare loud and clear anything that might ever be an issue about what I believe.

            We use theological terms all the time, the Guide is specifically talking about hiding terms that reveal that you are a Calvinist, not just any term that folks might not know. Simply read the examples given, and it is especially obvious when in the context of reforming a traditional church to a Calvinist church.

            Speaking of “hide”, what is your spin on the part that tells you to hide behind old articles and dead Baptists?

          Mary

          Here’s a quote from Tom Ascol which from my personal experience with a Founder Friendly Pastor seems to be don’t get too deep with people who don’t know what you’re talking about.

          “But the reality is that most churches–including their search committees–are not very equipped to have that kind of conversation. Should the details of Calvinism–or pre-tribulational rapturism–be spelled out anyway, even though there is no understanding of the language, categories or constructs? Or would it be wiser to stick with biblical categories, language and constructs? When a man does the latter for the purpose of communicating as clearly as he can I find it disheartening to hear Southern Baptist leaders criticize him as being dishonest.”

            Tom Hicks

            Mary, do you see a problem with what Tom Ascol is saying? If I came to your church with you on the search committee, opened the Bible to Ephesians 1 and explained what I believe this text is teaching that God chooses some people, not all, for salvation, and passes over the rest, am I being dishonest if I don’t use the word Calvinism?

            Frankly, the historic definition of Calvinism is badly misunderstood. Even now, there is no agreed upon popular usage. For some, it means believing most of what Calvin believed (including infant baptism, union of church and state, sacramentalism, etc.). For others, it means believing any one of the 5 points of the Canons of Dort. For others, it means holding to the confessions of the Reformed Tradition, either the Westminster Standards or the Second London Baptist Confession. For others, it simply means believing in unconditional election. For others, it means you believe God forces people into heaven and forces others into hell.

            I can assure you that I disagree with many of those “definitions” of Calvinism.

            So, to keep the 9th commandment not to bear false witness, I submit that it is more faithful to explain our doctrinal beliefs clearly so that people understand the content of our belief, not to use terminology like Calvinism that means different things to different people, even different things to different theologians and historians.

            Mary

            Yeah I do see a problem with his statement. What’s happened is alot of men took it to mean – and this is the way Ascol pretty much still to this day speaks on this issue – but men took it to mean “keep it simple for the simpletons” and they did as I described to you “well we all believe in the Sovereignty of God don’t we? That’s all Calvinism is!” and it caused a lot of church splits and damages. It’s an attitude that’s still prevalent today – keep it simple because they don’t know what you mean anyway. Too many people across the country experienced the same types of situations and a lot of damage was caused because somewhere men were being told “keep it simple they don’t know anything anyway.” And the attitude is on display all through Founder’s Blog in the comments section. I would encourage anyone who has the time to read those comment sections at the Founder’s Blog to get a good feel for what a lot of witnessed first hand.

            Tom Hicks

            Mary, I believe you are misrepresenting Tom Ascol. He never said “keep it simple for the simpletons.” He’s urging as much clarity possible.

            Mary

            I didn’t say Ascol said it I stated that men took it to mean “keep it simple for the simpletons.”

          Mary

          Tom Ascol also give the advice to hide behind statements of faith. What if a church had moved away from a statement of faith and it was clear in the interview that they were now Trad – should the candidate just say “I accept you Statement of Faith”, knowing that the church had moved away from it?

          What I get at the Founders is that it seems to be ok to “hide” behind original articles/Statement even if the church has moved away from them.

            R. Smith

            “What if a church had moved away from a statement of faith and it was clear in the interview that they were now Trad ”

            My question is, How did that happen? Did some pastor slip in to the church in the past hiding the fact that he didn’t believe the church’s statement of faith. Just how did they come to deny their own statement of faith? Did what you accuse Calvinists of doing happen from the other side. Apparently doctrine wasn’t taught much in those type churches.

            Something very similar happened for all those years at SBTS where all those professors had to say that they agreed with the statement of faith of the seminary (Abstract). They just said they agreed and lied about it and nothing was done by the President of the seminary and others in authority to stop it. One particular guy I know of was Dale Moody who taught there for many years while teaching semi-Pelagian, Church of Christ doctrine – even denying the doctrine of security. That was REAL honest.

            So, a church has a doctrinal statement, doesn’t know what it teaches, doesn’t know that their previous pastors have been teaching against it and a new guy that says “I believe and teach your own doctrinal statement” is the one being dishonest? It’s probably true that in most SBC churches the people don’t know much more about their historic doctrine than “once saved, always saved no matter what you do. That goes to show how little Bible doctrine is actually being taught in most SBC churches, else the liberals could not have had control of the seminaries for so long.

            That being said, nobody should hide what they believe when a candidate for pastor.

            PS There’s an interesting article at Wikipedia “Christian heresy in the modern era” that gives an overview of heresy in different denominations. I was surprised at how many SBC incidents there were. Actually, there should have been a lots more. I remember Vance Havner saying something like: “In the SBC we have room for the most strict fundamentalist to the worst Bible denying modernist. Brother, that’s too much room.”

        Mary

        Maybe you didn’t do this in your interview and you explained yourself more thoroughly but what you just did right there is how Calvinist are deceving search committees.

        I believe in predestination. I believe in Romans 9 and missions and yada yada. I reject all five points of Calvinism.

        I saw this happen with my own eyes where a pastoral candidate was asked if he was a Calvinist and he said Calvinism just means you beleive in the Sovereignty of God – we all believe in the Sovereignty of God dont we so what’s the problem. Candidates take advantage of search committees who are not as up on doctrine as they should be so just pulling verses out of the Bible and stating “I believe in predestination” when clearly it’s in the Bible is not enough because clearly for those who know more know you can talk about predestination for hours. But for those who don’t? They may not have a clear understanding of what you mean – and that’s exactly where all the problems come in. “Well I thought he meant this. I didn’t know he meant something else.”

          Tom Hicks

          Mary, I distinguished my view from the more common view. I explained that I believe God chooses some people who will be saved and passes over others who will not. They understood that I had a different view, but when I explained that I believe in human responsibility, evangelism, and missions, they didn’t seem to have a problem.

            Mary

            That’s good to know. Unfortunately, I witnessed what I described to you and after that experience we found out about three other churches in the area who had the same experiences. It was kinda creepy when we compared notes and found the same words and tactics were being used.

            Did you go on in your church to try to teach your view from the pulpit? If so did that become an issue?

            The experience we had is there a very detailed plan to move the church to Calvinism within several years – I believe it was from 9 Marks but you see the principles in the Quiet Revolution – find the Calvinists already in the church, make sure your SS teachers are on board with you – all quietly.

            Tom Hicks

            Mary, my agenda is to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified, to make disciples, and to engage in kingdom labor for the advancement of the gospel among all nations.

            My goal was never to Calvinize a church, but to preach the whole counsel of God for His glory and the good of His people. I am a Calvinist and will certainly preach texts as I understand them, but the fact that someone embraces or does not embrace Calvinism is not the all-important indicator of spiritual health. A person’s trust in and love for Christ is the core issue.

            Mary

            I was just wondering how the church you were describing took your preaching/teaching. Did you run into trouble at some point because what you believed was different?

            Tom Hicks

            Mary, I did not run into any trouble.

            Donald

            Tom said “My goal was never to Calvinize a church”

            Then you have inserted yourself into a discussion that isn’t about you. The guide I quoted from is exactly about Calvinizing a church, and clearly advises against being upfront about what you believe and what you intend to do.

            What exactly was your point about using yourself as an example? The problem is not with Calvinist preaching, it is about Calvinist who hide who they are and fully intend to “reform” the traditional church to Calvinism.

        Donald

        “The fact that I didn’t use the term “Calvinism” in no way hid my theological beliefs”

        BTW, why didn’t you use the term Calvinism?

          Tom Hicks

          The definition of Calvinism is badly misunderstood. Even now, there is no agreed upon popular usage. For some, it means believing most of what Calvin believed (including infant baptism, union of church and state, sacramentalism, etc.). For others, it means believing any one of the 5 points of the Canons of Dort. For others, it means holding to the confessions of the Reformed Tradition, either the Westminster Standards, the Three Forms of Unity, the Savoy Declaration, or the Second London Baptist Confession. For others, it simply means believing in unconditional election. For others, it means you believe God forces people into heaven and forces others into hell.

          I disagree with many of those “definitions” of Calvinism. And because of the confusion over the meaning of the term “Calvinism,” I believe it is more honest simply to state the content of my beliefs.

        Lydia

        “I don’t see where the Founders article you cite encourages any deception at all.”

        And there is the crux of the entire problem in a nutshell. A candidate does not tell the church his long term plans and that is not considered deception from the get go. They really do believe this folks. And the reason is because they have been taught that we are ignorant and know nothing so they have to enlighten us to the true Gospel. Therefore it is not deception because they have “good intentions”.

        It is PURE deception to have a process in mind to reform a church without telling them upfront what your plans are. And the process Donald has posted does not exactly scream open and transparent. Choose a few men to help you reform?

        This is what happened at a church of a woman I met last week. She said they finally figured out there was much planning for change going on in secret and a few influential people were chosen who were thrilled to be in on the big secret. By the time more pew sitters caught on it was ingrained and they were told to leave their long time church if they did not like it.

        It is deception, Tom. You have just been taught that it isn’t.

          Tom Hicks

          Lydia, I told them what I believed and that I would teach it plainly. I had no program or process in mind beyond teaching the whole Bible, including what I believe about God’s choosing some, not all, people for salvation, which is what I told them I would do in the first place. The church did not split, nor was there any contention. I taught issues related to Calvinism when they were in the text. My goal was never to Calvinize anyone, but to see God’s people cherish the promises of Christ, trust Him, love Him, and keep His commandments, including the command to preach the gospel to all the nations. If I am to be faulted for that, then please fault me.

            Donald

            Tom, see my comments above. By what you just said, this discussion is not about you as the guide is exactly about trying to “reform” a church to Calvinism. If you did not have that intention then that guide is not for you and my comments are not about you.

            Tom Hicks

            Donald, I think you misunderstand the word “reform.” It simply means to “form again” the gospel, theological, and ecclesiological integrity of a church. Often this means “forming again” a church’s understanding of the gospel. At the church where I pastored, many didn’t have basic understanding of the need for conversion, the subsitutionary nature of the atonement and the connection of the atonement with the curse of the law. Justification by faith alone was not taught; instead people merely thought salvation was about praying a sinners prayer and having an experience in their hearts. The pamphlet you mention is fundamentally about reforming churches by recovering a clear understanding of the basic gospel, which all Baptists, Calvinists and non-Calvinists, ought to affirm.

            Reformation also often means giving attention to church membership, teaching about the vital importance of church discipline, and biblical church polity. All of these things are simply classical Baptist emphases, and many if not most of our churches need reformation in those areas.

            People did become Calvinists under my ministry as I taught the Word of God and had honest discussions with members. I was glad that happened, but it wasn’t the focus of my ministry.

            So, I did go into this local church as a reformer, but not as a Calvinizer.

            Donald

            Tom,
            I fully understand how the word is used in the work I quoted. By “reform” they mean to Calvinize.

            Lydia

            Tom, The problem is about the definitions. Everything you have said “sounds” good. But it is still deception if your defintions are different than theirs and you did not explain that in depth. When we get deep into this, it is easy to see how the problems become monumental 3-4 years down the road and you now have 2 groups. One is ingrained and the other felt like they got sucker punched.

            And it is not just about theology. I know of a very large SBC church where the process for going elder led was very back room and being done in such a long term way that no one is wiser until it is in place and ingrained. It is total deception. It is a lie and not from Christ.

            A lot of this also has to do with how Calvinists/REformed see their authority over others in the Body.

            I understand why you guys do not want to use the word “Calvin”. But if you are reformed, why not stand on that principle over getting a paycheck or having a flock to lead. It is a matter of trust.

            Lydia

            “I fully understand how the word is used in the work I quoted. By “reform” they mean to Calvinize.”

            They play a lot of games with definitions and it is just simply not honest. And one has to think mighty lowly of people, too. There are people who are very simple in their faith that might know Jesus more intitmately than the educated ones with all the fancy terms. We could all use some humilty when it comes to this.

    Rick Patrick

    Tom,

    “If you, a Traditionalist are wrong, then isn’t it loving of me, a Calvinist, to graciously humbly and lovingly try to persuade you of my view? That’s how I read Dr. Nettles’ comments.”

    Thank you for graciously, humbly and lovingly pointing this out to me. I went back and read the comments by Dr. Nettles once again. The part where he called for “universal adherence” helped me understand that since he believes he is right and I am wrong, it is only loving and kind and decent of him to want to change me and all the other Southern Baptists in the convention to his way of thinking. When he called my position “folly” or “theological decline” it was merely the gentle rebuke of a father toward his son when the boy gets too close to the edge of a river bank and the current is moving rapidly and dangerously.

    Truly, the words used by Dr. Nettles in that passage were like the feather that flew in the air in the movie “Forrest Gump.” One never knows where it will land, for life is like a box of chocolates. In a way, that’s what Dr. Nettles was really saying. He was offering me a box of chocolates. And I love chocolate.

    You’re absolutely right, Tom. No more victims. No more controversy. Who cares if Al and Tom use Traditionalist money to promote Calvinist ideas that most Southern Baptists disagree with? They’re only doing it out of love, and they sincerely believe that what they are doing is right. Even now, I am having an epiphany. I see Calvinist and Traditionalist children on the playground. The Calvinist is kicking the Traditionalist in the face and stealing his lunch, while the Traditionalist is thanking him for showing this very special kind of love.

    In the same way, let our tones be charity and mercy and love for one another. Tom, you are so right and I am so wrong. Our disagreements have no basis in substantial issues to be worked out, but only require a sweet, sweet spirit.

    I love you, Tom.

      Tom Hicks

      “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother and offer your gift” (Matt 5:23).

      If you think Dr. Nettles is kicking you in the face (and thus obviously has something against you, not loving you, but trying to hurt you), then the Bible says you need to go to him. Have you spoken with Dr. Nettles to seek reconciliation?

        Rick Patrick

        Tom,

        Actually, I think his offense is more precisely against the entire Southern Baptist Convention. It’s not a personal offense. He said the entire group of people who believe like I do are in “theological decline” and guilty of “folly.”
        Thus, I think the entire group needs to keep him accountable, and a committee has been formed to address this and other conflicts over Calvinism’s promotion.

        Incidentally, the verse you mention, as I understand it, references some kind of personal injury, not really a public or group type of sin. For example, when Bill Clinton, who claimed to be a Christian and a Southern Baptist, let me down through immorality when he was in the White House, I did not schedule an appointment with him simply because his actions disrespected those he served. He let many more people down than just me.

        Thus, both Bill Clinton and Tom Nettles offended me by their public actions and words. However, I have not spoken to either one of them about either matter.

          Tom Hicks

          Rick, I agree that public sins should be dealt with publicly. I also agree that the text I mentioned addresses personal sin, not public sin.

          Though I don’t agree with you that Dr. Nettles’ categorization of non-Calvinist theology as “decline” and “folly” is a “sin” or “offense,” (since that’s how I would expect Patterson, Yarnell, etc. to use convention funds to categorize my own position; it’s part of being in a convention, I think), that’s not why I invited you to speak with Dr. Nettles personally.

          I invited you to speak with Dr. Nettles personally because your response’s sarcasm suggested you don’t believe Nettles’ motive is loving (please correct me if I misread the intent of your sarcastic post). That seems to me to be your personal judgment, not a convention-level judgement, and it was a judgment of his heart, which means that Matthew 5 applies to you. The Bible says that love believes the best. It refuses to impute sinful motives, when righteous motives might be imputed. I know Dr. Nettles personally, and can attest to his Christian character.

          But if your point was that while you’re willing to grant that Dr. Nettles’ motive might indeed be loving, there are still substantial issues to address, then I have no problem at all with your comments.

          Certainly we need to address and resolve the substantial issues. But we need to address them as brothers who labor to hear and assume the best of one another. Let’s have clear and open discussion, but let us speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). And, “love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful” (1 Cor 13:4-5).

          This doesn’t have to divide us. And we can and should argue for our convictions. But we can do that with Christlike love and humility (recognizing that we might be the ones who are wrong), for the good of the church, the good of our opponent, and the advancement of the kingdom.

            Rick Patrick

            Tom,

            Please forgive the sarcasm. When you suggested that for Dr. Nettles to advocate for a universal adherence to his position against mine was an act of love, it was just a little hard to swallow. That we can look at the very same words and you see “love” while I see “insult” was a stretch for me.

            I agree that this doesn’t have to divide us. My my critics always read my words as charitably as you have interpreted those of Dr. Nettles. Have a blessed night.

            Rick

        Lydia

        “If you think Dr. Nettles is kicking you in the face (and thus obviously has something against you, not loving you, but trying to hurt you), then the Bible says you need to go to him. Have you spoken with Dr. Nettles to seek reconciliation?”

        Tom, Stop being silly. Seriously, you are a pastor? His words are in a BOOK, for crying out loud. More words are in a public video. It is PUBLIC domain. It is NOT a personal offense.

        My goodness. What ARE they teaching you guys?

          Donald

          “My goodness. What ARE they teaching you guys?”

          +1

      Rick Patrick

      For over twenty years, Mark. Isn’t God amazing that He can use a broken vessel like me? I apologize for my use of sarcasm. I simply found the notion of using the word “love” to describe the manner in which Dr. Nettles called the position of most Southern Baptists “folly” and “theological decline” and the way he pressed for the “universal adherence” of his view to be described in such terms, well…I had no words to express how unbelievable that was, and so I launched into a bit of sarcasm.

      Please forgive me, and have a blessed evening.

      Rick

      Rick Patrick

      Carl,

      Perhaps you are right. Have a blessed evening.

      Rick

      Lydia

      So were mine but this ridiculous misuse of Matt 18 is out of control with pastors. We are not obliged to approach people who put their words out there in the public domain. We can analyze and discuss them. I am assuming Nettles wants people to buy his books and watch him on video or he would not make himself available.

      Pastors please stop misuing Matt 18.

        Keith Miller

        I think you’re misusing. I agree with the before mentioned usage.

          Lydia

          Well Keith, there has to be a practical application for it. So let me see, if I think Rick Warren’s PDL is false teaching, I am to try to get an appointment with him before I analyze it on a blog post? So, lets say we go through the process of Matt 18 and I can actually get an appt. After that if no progress then I take witnesses….then whose church do we go before? Saddleback?

          None of that is going to happen so according to the faulty Matt 18 interpretation I cannot blog about my disagreement with PDL because I did not go to Warren first.

          See, the whole thing just gets silly the way it is misused to try and protect public domain teaching from being analyzed. It is mainly used because people do not like it when their hero’s public teaching is analyzed in public. So they try to call that a sin by using Matt 18.

          Matt 18 is misused to shut people up in discussing words pastors and other celebs put out in the public domain. It is just another form of censorship and thought reform using guilt tactics and misusing scripture. And it is used this way all the time by pastors who should know better but sometimes don’t because they were taught this faulty interpretation in seminary, of all places.

          Matt 18 is for personal offenses not public teaching.

            Tom Hicks

            Hi Lydia, the text I cited was Matthew 5:23-24, not Matthew 18.

            Also, it wasn’t for Rick’s critical analysis of Dr. Nettles published works that I cited the verse. That is wholly appropriate and certainly does not warrant a personal conversation. Rather, I cited Matthew 5:23-24 for Rick’s sarcastic personal judgments about Dr. Nettles’ personal motives, which were not explicit or necessarily implicit in his published words.

            But Rick has rightly apologized for his sarcastic remarks, which implied that Dr. Nettles’ had an unloving motive. In light of Rick’s apology, I do not think he needs to approach Dr. Nettles personally.

              Lydia

              Tom, Let us be clear. Motives and intentions do not matter. We can only judge words and actions. Nettles words are clear enough as to what he thinks of those who are not Calvinists. So please do not go down that silly road. HE would not have written them if he did not think that way. And he would not have made the comments at the Founders breakfast if he did not think taht way, either even though a long time employee of a convention that has paid him with Non Calvinist dollars, too. Even his defenders have flirted and defended his possible motives. The only difference? You are rebuking the sarcasm used not the parsing of possible motives. I am just glad that Rick did not write that he wished he would emasculate himself. That would be a real sin. :o) Oh wait! Paul did write that about some people. Nevermind

            Keith Miller

            You can tweet at Rick Warren and he’ll respond to you. I also suggest purchasing a commentary on Matthew. Thx.

        Mary

        It’s the same kind of thing with telling people they’re gossiping and sinning if they try to share personal experiences. It’s just another to silence dissent.

    Lydia

    Tom, Great ideas. Now if only you can get the SBC NC leader to cooperate, not strategize behind closed doors, not publicly accuse Trads of not knowing what they signed and he is going to “marginalize” people. Where is the “love” saying he is going to marginalize people? Where is the love in saying they do not know what they signed? None of your ideas will work as long as your “leader” is in the mix. Too much baggage and not a lot of trust anymore.

    And while you are at it, talk to the other leaders about opening the closed box and their assigning task forces that go against what messengers have already voted against. It is about trust, Tom. All cooperation demands trust.

    The SBC has turned into a business that makes celebs out of a few and a jobs program for many.

Robert

Steve Martin said that he would like to ask Nettles a point blank question:

“I would ask him point blank if he would ever go up to a stranger and tell them, “You know, Christ may have died for you.””

That reminds me of a joke a friend shared with me recently.

Apparently he got it from Jerry Walls.

But here it is:

“How can you spot a Calvinist at a football game?

He’s the one holding the sign that reads John 3:16 may not apply to you.”

Robert

    Sam

    Robert writes: “How can you spot a Calvinist at a football game?
    He’s the one holding the sign that reads John 3:16 may not apply to you.”

    Isn’t that kind of petty? Would you find it funny if a Calvinist were to make a similar joke (one just popped into my head this moment):

    “How can you spot a Traditionalist in a Bible study? He’s the one that knows no other verse in the Bible except John 3:16.”

    Isn’t that hilarious Robert? haha. Now we are all having a good laugh at each others expense. Wasn’t that the purpose and the result of your joke?

Dean

When the minority has an air of superiority about them peace can come only from the majority.

    Sam

    As someone trying to maintain the middle, there is a clear “air of superiority” coming from both sides.

Leslie Puryear

Rick,

Great article. Reflects the elitism of Nettles which dovetails with Mohler’s. Glad not all Calvinists are this exclusive. Unfortunate their SBC leaders are.

Ryan Abernathy

Rick,

I apologize if this questions has been asked in the comments, but I really did not want to read 100+ comments of the same old rhetoric.

I am honestly asking for some clarification. How does a quote in a 10 year old out of print book (at least according to Amazon) indicate that this is the position of all Calvinists in the SBC OR that there is a conspiracy afoot among Calvinists in the SBC to “take over?”

I fail to make the connection between the 2. Can you help me please?

Ryan

    Rick Patrick

    Ryan,

    I would be glad to clarify. First, you need to know is that “conspiracy” is not my word. It is the word others have used to misrepresent me. Second, the term “takeover” is also inaccurate. Third, I am not claiming that this “thing” is among ALL Calvinists at all. Fourth, my term is “agenda” which just means people want a certain thing. And fifth, when I say it is a “secret” agenda, I’m not envisioning some diabolical plan. I simply mean that it is hidden from the majority of Southern Baptist laypeople who have no idea that the convention has people in it who view their theology as “folly” and “in decline.”

    Mary

    Ryan, it’s a 25 year old book that was reprinted in 2007 I think – you can purhcase it through Founder’s Press.

Keith Miller

Rick seems to be upset that we’re paying Mr. Nettles with Southern Baptist dollars. I think this is a dangerous ground to tread for numerous reasons.

1) If you say we shouldn’t pay Southern Baptist dollars to people who hold or teach from a Reformed view, then you’re essentially trying to kick these people out of the convention. That has a trickle down effect; therefore, we should not allow pastors or members who hold these views. The new screening process for church membership is no longer regeneration, but anti-calvinism. We almost must not partner with any church, denomination, or ministry that holds to Reformed Theology. I don’t think I even have to comment as to why this is dumb, or better yet, sinful.

2) We’re making a secondary issue a primary issue. There is not a single person on this blog that will perfectly line up in terms of secondary views. Stop majoring on the minors. Love Jesus and spread His fame.

3) Nettles believes Reformed Theology is biblically accurate. Rick Patrick believes he is biblically accurate. We won’t fully understand until we die. It seems a bit hypocritical for the Trads to punish a Reformer for holding a belief they deeply believe to be accurate when it is not a primary issue and Nettles is obviously not a heretic or a wolf to the church. The reason this is hypocritical is because you claim the dirty Calvinists are pushing an agenda, but that is exactly what you are doing. Pushing your agenda.

4) If we refuse to pay Nettles because he is Reformed, then we will start adding other garbage to the list of reasons you can’t work for the SBC. Next we’ll forbid anyone who speaks in tongues or has a personal prayer language from being in the SBC. Then you’ll have to sign a statement saying you fully support the Left Behind series as the appropriate understanding of Revelation. We all know the rapture is make believe :)

5) If we start removing people who are Reformed from the SBC, we’ll lose many great men who are on the front line of our faith. The SBC needs godly men who are committed to overcoming the problems our denomination faces. I’m not sure if you’re noticed, but the SBC’s future does not look bright unless we change direction. Our congregations are old and getting older. Numbers are dwindling because we care more about silly controversies than sharing the gospel and loving people. Do you want to know why so many young guys are jumping ship? Because they’re tired of all this nonsense and they feel like the convention will be dead in 20 years.

6) We’re arrogant if we feel that we have it all figured out. The leaders of the SBC, from both sides of this debate, must repent of our pride.

    Rick Patrick

    Keith,

    I never said “essentially to kick out” the Calvinists. I don’t believe it and I never said it. That’s taking my position too far. I believe they should be held accountable. I believe their influence in Southern Baptist life should be proportional to their number. But that’s not the same as kicking people out.

    I also did not say, “Refuse to pay him.” Rather, I would support an approach that says, “Apologize for all the people whose heartfelt biblical positions you just insulted. Admit there is room for both and disavow your grand desire for universal adherence.” Only if he refuses to follow such orders from his supervisor should he be terminated. But hear this clearly, he would not be terminated for holding the Calvinist position, but for insubordination and disrespect toward other brothers who do not hold the Calvinist position.

    We’re not talking about removing Reformed people from the convention. We’re talking about holding them accountable for their disrespectful tones and statements concerning other Southern Baptists.

      Sam

      Dr. Patrick,

      Again, if you are going to expect Dr. Nettles to “Apologize for all the people whose heartfelt biblical positions you just insulted.” Then you should also expect Dr Jerry Vines, Dr Eric Hankins and Dr Bill Harrell (and indeed yourself since you agree with them!) to “apologize for all the people whose heartfelt biblical positions you and they have insulted.”

      If you can’t do that, then nothing you have asked for should be done.

      +1

JohnS

From the comments on this post, it is clear to me that nothing short of splitting the Convention is going to satisfy some people.

    Keith Miller

    unfortunately

Tom Hicks

Hi Lydia, the text I cited was Matthew 5:23-24, not Matthew 18.

Also, it wasn’t for Rick’s critical analysis of Dr. Nettles published works that I cited the verse. That is wholly appropriate and certainly does not warrant a personal conversation. Rather, I cited Matthew 5:23-24 for Rick’s sarcastic personal judgments about Dr. Nettles’ personal motives, which were not explicit or necessarily implicit in his published words.

But Rick has rightly apologized for his sarcastic remarks, which implied that Dr. Nettles’ had an unloving motive. In light of Rick’s apology, I do not think he needs to approach Dr. Nettles personally.

Jeff

I am a member of an SBC church and have been for over 30 years. I do it because my family appreciates it the most. However, I am over this kind of stuff and would love to leave and most likely will some day. The SBC has become irrelavant because of it’s infighting.

Keith Miller

Daniel,

I think you greatly misunderstand the teachings of John Calvin and Reformed teaching as a whole. We know that God does not delight in the death of any man. I encourage you to actually read the teachings of Calvin and other prominent Reformed theologians before you make such rash comments.

    Daniel Wilcox

    Keith,

    You say, “I think you greatly misunderstand the teachings of John Calvin and Reformed teaching as a whole.”

    On the contrary! I understand the actual teachings of Calvin and Calvinists only too well. Tragically, in trying to defend the Good News of Jesus Christ, I’ve had to read most of the major Calvinist tomes of the last century from Boettner to Sproul to White, and some of the 19th century including Spurgeon and R.L. Dabney, etc.

    You say, “We know that God does not delight in the death of any man.”

    Please re-read all of the major Calvinists who totally disagree with this statement, starting with Calvin. And then talk to the Calvinists who’ve lectured me on how God even planned the slaughter of 6 million Jews and 4 million others, the God of Calvinism who “plans every rape and murder” (those aren’t my words, but the words of a famous Calvinist who lectured on at a Bible study:-(

    Start with these words from Calvin himself: “I admit that by the will of God all the sons of Adam fell into that state of wretchedness in which they are now involved; and this is just what I said at the first, that we must always return to the **mere pleasure of the divine will**, the cause of which is hidden in himself.” Chapter 23, 4 Institutes of C. R. John Calvin
    AND
    John Calvin wrote, “That men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on any thing but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by his secret direction”. – John Calvin – Institutes – book 1, chapter 18, section 1
    AND
    One famous Baptist Calvinist even claims this: “Another says, ‘I want to know about the rest of the people. May I go out and tell them—Jesus Christ died for every one of you? May I say—there is righteousness for every one of you, there is life for every one of you?’
    No; you may not.”

    Then go and read about 50,000 pages of this over and over again in Calvinist literature, about how much God has foreordained most humans to eternal damnation.

    And do an intensive study on TULIP, then read the Westminster Confession, and read about how it came about, and read the Canons of Dort….

    All so tragically horrible news.

    Instead, turn to God who through Jesus wills for every single human to be saved. Read the good news of Billy Graham’s famous sermon reprinted in the July 2012 issue of Decision Magazine–“He sent His only Son to the cross to suffer and die so that your soul may be saved. And if you were the only person in the whole universe, Christ would have died for you.”

    Now that is the Good News which saved me:-)
    Which led me to be a Baptist youth pastor, teacher, etc.

    May God be glorified in his infinite love,

    Daniel

      Keith Miller

      I’ve never met any man, let alone this mythical Calvinist that you speak of, that said God delighted in and some how had a part in slaughtering 6 million Jews. Your statements reveal that you’ve created a monster in your own mind. Hope you can grow to love these people that you think differ so much from you.

      Keith Miller

      Riddle me this……I’m Reformed and I have the spiritual gift of evangelism. How about that? Did your mind just explode? Probably.

Sam

Don’t knock Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. It is the most accessable theology I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I bought copies for several of my closest friends.

    Keith Miller

    Sam,

    I was being sarcastic! I love Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Read Chapters 7-10 today.

      Sam

      Amen Keith.

        Robert

        I posted this twice and both times it ended up in the wrong place, perhaps, three times is the charm! :-)

        Sam wrote:

        “Better would be when you find a statement by John Calvin that you dislike, point out how you strongly you disagree with that statement, rather than tell every Calvinist Christian in the world how despicable their beliefs are.”

        Actually from what I read, Daniel did exactly that, he quoted from Calvin where he says as clearly as can be said, that everything is predestined by God. God according to Calvin has predestined every event that ever occurs . The Westminster Confession section 3 said it as well: “He ordaineth whatsoever comes to pass.”

        Sam also wrote:

        “See the problem with your approach yet, Daniel? It is rude.”

        I have read Daniel’s posts in this thread and others of late and he has clearly articulated and presented a major, major, major problem that non-calvinists of all stripes (including “Traditionalists”) have with consistent Calvinism. Consistent calvinism as espoused by Calvin himself and others, is the simple but far reaching claim/idea/belief/assumption, that God predestines everything.

        If that is the case, then that includes all sin and all evil. And that is horrible to those who reject the claim that God ordains/predestines/preplans/desires for each and every sin to occur in exactly the manner that it does. The non-calvinist sees Jesus’ statement/prayer that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven to be a clear indication that God’s will is perfectly done and obeyed in heaven. But on the earth it is a very different story. Men and angels are in rebellion and the whole world is sinning and violating God’s commands and standards. There is real evil and sin and it is not prescripted and it is not predestined by God.

        Anyone familiar with history, and Daniel has shown that he is quite familiar with history can present incredible examples of sin and evil, which according to consistent calvinism must have been predestined by God. God wanted them all to occur and to occur exactly as they occur. Non-calvinists find this to be reprehensible and gruesome. Non-calvinists find this claim to be inconsistent with what God has revealed about Himself in scripture and a direct attack on God’s character.

        Sam says that it is “rude” to present these things.

        Sam you say it is rude to bring up these things and point them out. If the non-calvinist is correct, then calvinism is false and the claim that God predestines every evil and sin is false as well. There is sometimes a place for **righteous anger** so Sam how are non-calvinists, who have a righteous anger about this false calvinistic claim that everything is predestined by God, supposed to talk about these things without being rude according to you?

        Robert

Robert

Sam wrote:

“Better would be when you find a statement by John Calvin that you dislike, point out how you strongly you disagree with that statement, rather than tell every Calvinist Christian in the world how despicable their beliefs are.”

Actually from what I read, Daniel did exactly that, he quoted from Calvin where he says as clearly as can be said, that everything is predestined by God. God according to Calvin has predestined every event that ever occurs . The Westminster Confession section 3 said it as well: “He ordaineth whatsoever comes to pass.”

Sam also wrote:

“See the problem with your approach yet, Daniel? It is rude.”

I have read Daniel’s posts in this thread and others of late and he has clearly articulated and presented a major, major, major problem that non-calvinists of all stripes (including “Traditionalists”) have with consistent Calvinism. Consistent calvinism as espoused by Calvin himself and others, is the simple but far reaching claim/idea/belief/assumption, that God predestines everything.
If that is the case, then that includes all sin and all evil. And that is horrible to those who reject the claim that God ordains/predestines/preplans/desires for each and every sin to occur in exactly the manner that it does. The non-calvinist sees Jesus’ statement/prayer that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven to be a clear indication that God’s will is perfectly done and obeyed in heaven. But on the earth it is a very different story. Men and angels are in rebellion and the whole world is sinning and violating God’s commands and standards. There is real evil and sin and it is not prescripted and it is not predestined by God.

Anyone familiar with history, and Daniel has shown that he is quite familiar with history can present incredible examples of sin and evil, which according to consistent calvinism must have been predestined by God. God wanted them all to occur and to occur exactly as they occur. Non-calvinists find this to be reprehensible and gruesome. Non-calvinists find this claim to be inconsistent with what God has revealed about Himself in scripture and a direct attack on God’s character.

Sam says that it is “rude” to present these things.

Sam you say it is rude to bring up these things and point them out. If the non-calvinist is correct, then calvinism is false and the claim that God predestines every evil and sin is false as well. There is sometimes a place for **righteous anger** so Sam how are non-calvinists, who have a righteous anger about this false calvinistic claim that everything is predestined by God, supposed to talk about these things without being rude according to you?

Robert

Robert

Sam wrote:

“Better would be when you find a statement by John Calvin that you dislike, point out how you strongly you disagree with that statement, rather than tell every Calvinist Christian in the world how despicable their beliefs are.”

Actually from what I read, Daniel did exactly that, he quoted from Calvin where he says as clearly as can be said, that everything is predestined by God. God according to Calvin has predestined every event that ever occurs . The Westminster Confession section 3 said it as well: “He ordaineth whatsoever comes to pass.”

Sam also wrote:

“See the problem with your approach yet, Daniel? It is rude.”

I have read Daniel’s posts in this thread and others of late and he has clearly articulated and presented a major, major, major problem that non-calvinists of all stripes (including “Traditionalists”) have with consistent Calvinism. Consistent calvinism as espoused by Calvin himself and others, is the simple but far reaching claim/idea/belief/assumption, that God predestines everything.

If that is the case, then that includes all sin and all evil. And that is horrible to those who reject the claim that God ordains/predestines/preplans/desires for each and every sin to occur in exactly the manner that it does. The non-calvinist sees Jesus’ statement/prayer that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven to be a clear indication that God’s will is perfectly done and obeyed in heaven. But on the earth it is a very different story. Men and angels are in rebellion and the whole world is sinning and violating God’s commands and standards. There is real evil and sin and it is not prescripted and it is not predestined by God.

Anyone familiar with history, and Daniel has shown that he is quite familiar with history can present incredible examples of sin and evil, which according to consistent calvinism must have been predestined by God. God wanted them all to occur and to occur exactly as they occur. Non-calvinists find this to be reprehensible and gruesome. Non-calvinists find this claim to be inconsistent with what God has revealed about Himself in scripture and a direct attack on God’s character.

Sam says that it is “rude” to present these things.

Sam you say it is rude to bring up these things and point them out. If the non-calvinist is correct, then calvinism is false and the claim that God predestines every evil and sin is false as well. There is sometimes a place for **righteous anger** so Sam how are non-calvinists, who have a righteous anger about this false calvinistic claim that everything is predestined by God, supposed to talk about these things without being rude according to you?

Robert

Steven R. Owensby

Dr. Patrick,

While I appreciate the desire for some form of civility and compassion in this ongoing debate, a key issue in this debate seems to consistently be neglected. Does soteriology stand as a defining mark of unity? If so, a genuine and passionate adherant to any soteriology presents himself disingenuously if he advocates a position of compromise on the issue. Such compromise allows the importance of his position to be relegated to the status of preference rather than substance.

In whatever arrangement the SBC drafts or comes to, the first issue that must be decided relates to where soteriology falls as far as a mark of unity. As we in the blogosphere have this debate we too should help the conversation by answering this question instead of bickering about crabby Calvinists or testy Traditionalists. For those who believe a denomination should share the same soteriology, leaving or reforming the SBC comes as a logical necessity.

In general I personally believe that the further you get from the local church level the less you must be in agreement on any doctrinal issue for workable unity to exist. The type of unifying stance the BF&M 2000 navigates provides cooperative unity on many issues, especially soteriology. This unity has already been achieved. To call for another denominational standard on any doctrinal issue, as the Traditionalist statement this summer did, threatens that unity at least as much as comments by men like Dr. Nettles.

That being said, it also makes sense that local congregations and those with whom they closely associate should seek for more stringent agreement, even a universal adherence of those participating, to those doctrines they confess. While it is at this level that I believe strict adherence to a Calvinist or Traditionalist approach would be helpful, within the local church unity on these issues seems like a necessity.

I pray that these comments and ones like them help to clarify the issues in this debate as well as provide greater unity in our convention.

Letting the Shepherd Lead,
Steven R. Owensby

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