Ronnie Rogers Interview, Part 2

July 17, 2012

The editors of SBCToday present a two-part interview with Ronnie W. Rogers – pastor, Southern Baptist statesman, and former Calvinist — whose 2012 book, “Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist,” recently caught our attention. SBCToday will also post selected excerpts from his books in the ensuing days.

Ronnie is senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Norman, Okla., a university city cited by the North American Mission Board in 2006 as the most unchurched in the state. Pastor Rogers’ expositional sermons draw large collegiate crowds during the school year as he preaches and teaches (and writes) from a biblical perspective that boldly challenges popular culture.


Read Part 1

What was the tipping point in your life that caused your trek away from Calvinism? Did you have a sense of breaking new ground, or that you were returning to teachings, sermons, etc., that you had known in your earliest Christian experience?

No, I did not return to earlier beliefs, it was brand new ground for me, scary, and very disconcerting. But I have, by God’s grace, always awakened every day wanting to know God more, both cognitively and experientially.

I am an expositor and I seek to read broadly. These two practices, over a period of time, caused me to continue to see problems and/or inconsistencies between Calvinism and the simple — not simplistic or non-systematic — study of the Scripture. I kept a record of questions, problems, anomalies that I kept seeing. So it was a long process. At first the anomalies were fewer than the answers provided by Calvinism, but through time they began to rival the number and substance of answers provided by Calvinism.
Can you describe what happened in your heart and mind at the apex of this decision?

There was no epiphanic moment wherein one moment I was a Calvinist and then the next moment I was not. Rather, I became less Calvinistic, but still donned the Calvinist label simply because I had no suitable alternative. Then I actually began to believe that Calvinism was wrong with regard to a growing number of things, e.g., the love of God for the lost, the nature of God, God desiring the vast majority of His creation to go to hell, Lamb’s book of Life, God’s complicity in the “good faith offer” and the inadequacy of overloading verses like John 6:37 (all that the father gives will come) with more than is there and concomitantly forgetting what is required, but is not there — Christ dying so not just a transaction. The simple reading of Scripture seemed to diverge from the tenets of Calvinism if I would let it do so. I knew I did not arrive at this recognition because of reading Arminians, but from Calvinist commentators who interpret verses inconsistent with their own Calvinism, e.g., tragedy people reject Christ, God’s love for the lost, etc., which to me was and is double-talk.

I committed to just the simple reading of Scripture. This left me with an inchoate soteriology, but I accepted that to walk the path of simple — not simplistic — exposition, which was very unsettling to me.

I learned the either/or fallacy, and saw that committed often.

I preached a series on this issue and wrote some blogs reflective of my new understanding of certain Scriptures and doctrines. I was convinced that Calvinism was wrong and that I had been wrong. I came to believe that there was a better way to interpret the Scripture, although my abandonment of Calvinism left me uncomfortably holding beliefs that still had significant unanswered questions.

Actually, the book began as a pamphlet for my church with about ten chapters. However, during the process of writing it is when I worked through many of my questions concerning my non-Arminian, non-Calvinist position. It is one thing to deconstruct someone else’s view, but it is quite another to offer a viable alternative, and that is what I tried to do — at first for me, and then my church.

Since coming to a rejection of Calvinism, would you say your devotional life and preaching ministry have become more powerful, or about the same?

This is one of the richest blessings. I was a happy devoted Calvinist. I was secure in the system. I loved God deeply and relished in learning more about Him every day. My pilgrimage out of Calvinism was lonely and disconcerting, and my discarded answers with no replacements left a disturbing cavernous vacuum in my thinking and explanatory power — I knew when answering questions that I was not satisfied with my answers. Now that I have answered the questions to my satisfaction far more congruently with Scripture, knowing that I have much still to learn, it is not only a blessing but it is liberating. My prayers, love for and worship of God, love for all people, preaching, conversing and witnessing are freer, clearer and I certainly believe more consistent with Scripture.

How have your Calvinistic friends reacted to you hence?

They seem to still love me as I do them, but for the most part, they rarely if ever engage me or comment to me regarding soteriology. Some have shared that they no longer claim to be Calvinists, or they have become a “minor Calvinist” after reading my book. Although I am sure it is coming, I have yet to receive a serious response to my book or my challenges from a Calvinist. We have Calvinists in our church who seem contented to remain a Calvinist, and some who are sharing their struggles and questioning their Calvinism.

What would you hope to see in terms of the discussions and outcome regarding the panel Dr. Frank Page will be appointing? Also, do you think the SBC can continue to exist in its current state? Do you think traditional Southern Baptists and Calvinistic Southern Baptists can co-exist in the same denomination?

The Panel: 1. Leaders who are committed to model disagreement without pejorative name calling, disrespectfully disregarding or summarily dismissing an alternative approach to the complexities of infinitude and time that are within the framework of inerrancy. 2. Possibly suggest and model some guidelines on what it means to defend a position without disparaging a brother or sister in Christ, which is both modeled and encouraged by them. 3. Seek to and encourage others to rightly understand the position of the one they disagree with so we don’t unnecessarily hurt one another or the heart of God with our bonfires fueled by straw men.

Coexist: I do think that we have and can coexist. I do not think that we will, in a Christ honoring way and gospel spreading way without toning down the unhelpful rhetoric. If we disagree rightly, with orthodox views, we can give more serious thought and time to respectfully and graciously probing beyond the pat refrains and double-talk. To wit, avoid the system defense and evaluate whether positions are biblically defensible, e.g., orthodox, and if so disagree with grace and love.
What would be your advice to anyone such as a pastor or a church member who is questioning the validity and veracity of Calvinistic soteriology?

  1. Please be humble and gracious about what we know within the confines of orthodoxy. God will teach us more, if we listen, and humility will permit our growth to be less tainted by the shame of past unnecessary prideful certitude.
  2. My book can help the serious biblicist who is considering becoming a Calvinist, or is questioning Calvinism by leading one to consider the realities of Calvinism.
    1. Read my book with an open heart and mind and consider it in light of Scripture, not in light of whether it agrees or disagrees with Calvinism. I understand how scary and maybe even embarrassing that can be. See if the alternative offered in the book is more reflective of Scripture and the way he/she teaches, talks or prays from the Scripture than Calvinism.
    2. See if one truly wants to accept the harsh realities of Calvinism.
    3. Realize that you do not have to be an Arminian or a Calvinist.
    4. Do not double-talk.
    5. Follow the clear appearance of Scripture; Jesus really wanted people to repent.

 

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Malcolm Yarnell

Inriguing interview. Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate your attempt to be true to Scripture, even when it leaves your system struggling. It is in that faith that God is sovereign, even when we do not entirely comprehend how He works, that we find Him even more accessible than yesterday.

Jeremy Crowder

I missed any follow up on where I was left hanging before on Unconditional election. I guess I’ll have to read the book to connect these dots. I grew up in the SBC from diapers and was well into adult hood after being in a dozen different SBC Churches before I heard that anyone in the SBC was Calvinist. That was as my friends went to Seminary and became Calvinists. I’ve tried hard to understand what Calvinists see in scripture but I’ve failed to see those things in scripture it may be because I was taught Traditionalist Southern Baptist yet so was my calvinist friends who went to the same Bible studies growing up.

Jeremy: I posted the comment below at 1.10 p.m. yesterday directly under your early a.m. post. Also, regarding Pastor Rogers’ statement that “it all comes down to ‘unconditional election,'” we are seeking permission to post chapter 16 of his book titled “The Lamb’s Book of Life: who’s in and who’s out.”

Jeremy, et al:
I have received an email from Pastor Rogers indicating he has checked on the blog post today. In that email he said he would be willing to write a subsequent post that would answer substantive and sincere (my words) inquiries and questions.
In the mean time, he has offered this explanation* regarding yours and others’ comments.
Thx for your interest. — Norm

*The following are Pastor Rogers’ words:
“Unconditional election is the eternal choice of God—who would be saved—whereas, “irresistible grace” is the process for accomplishing “unconditional election”, without which, irresistible grace is unnecessary.”

    Max

    Jeremy writes ” … as my friends went to Seminary and became Calvinists.”

    From my vantage point, this is the major issue which must be assessed and addressed by Dr. Page’s panel. Survey statistics indicate a significant percentage of SBC seminary graduates lean toward reformed theology. Beyond just comparative theological study by SBC’s seminarians in the context of religious history, certain of our seminaries appear to be intent on Calvinizing the Southern Baptist Convention through its educational institutions. But this is nothing new. If anyone doubts that strategy, they should take a journey back to the 1970s-80s and consider the “Boyce Project.” That ambitious effort was to republish “Abstract of Systematic Theology” by James P. Boyce, and put it in the hands of every student graduating from the six Southern Baptist seminaries. Led by Calvinist Ernest Reisinger, the “Project” republished and distributed over 12,000 copies of Boyce’s book to SBC seminarians, planting the seeds of reformed thinking that is now in many of our pulpits. You can read all about the Boyce Project in Reisinger’s book “A Quiet Revolution” at http://www.founders.org/library/quiet/quiet3.html

    Turn the clock forward and you will now find an exciting blend of reformed dogma and cultural relevance being served up by the New Calvinism movement and spread through SBC-affiliated colleges and seminaries via professor and student exchanges. Prominent non-SBC leaders of New Calvinism have even been invited to SBC speaking platforms. Is this all about influencing young minds? You bet!

    Finding their way back to a simplistic, rather than systematic, Biblical position may be a tougher row to hoe for the current generation than Pastor Roger’s journey. Yes, this should be at the top of the checklist for discussion by Dr. Page’s panel.

      T.R.

      Max:

      Why do you assume “certain of our seminaries appear to be intent on Calvinizing the Southern Baptist Convention through its educational institutions.”

      Isn’t it possible that many seminary graduates have become Calvinists merely because they studied the Bible more deeply? Are you unwilling to consider this possiblity?

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Perhaps. But some of us read the Bible “more deeply” and left Calvinism.

        We’re still having a chuckle of your overloading “us” as a defense to your 2 Peter 3:9 exegesis. People who are believers are in no need they won’t perish…sigh…

        How does that hermeneutic of yours fair with non-believers hearing the opening of Ephesians “He chose us in Him”…You clearly don’t know how to read in context.

        Okay then. And thanks for the White and Piper quotes, it is just as clear they have as just as fundamentally flawed of grasp of the atonement as you do since they construe the whole thing is a false dichotomy.

          T.R.

          Johnathan: You chuckle and that is the extent of your exegesis.

          Arminians insist that in 2 Peter 3:9 the words “any” and “all” refer to all mankind without exception. But it is important first of all to see to whom those words were addressed. In the first verse of chapter 1, we find that the epistle is addressed not to mankind at large, but to Christians: “…to them that have obtained a like precious faith with us.” And in the preceding verse (3:1), Peter had addressed those to whom he was writing as “beloved.” And when we look at the verse as a whole, and not merely at the last half, we find that it is not primarily a salvation verse at all, but a second coming verse! It begins by saying that “The Lord is not slacking concerning his promise” [singular]. What promise? Verse 4 tells us: “the promise of his coming.” The reference is to His second coming, when He will come for judgement, and the wicked will perish in the lake of fire. The verse has reference to a limited group. It says that the Lord is “longsuffering to usward,” His elect, many of whom had not yet been regenerated, and who therefore had not yet come to repentance. Hence we may quite properly read verse 9 as follows: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some count slackness, but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any of us should perish, but that all of us should come to repentance.”

          T.R.

          R.C. Sproul on 2 Peter 3:9

          The first thing we notice is that the subject of the passage is not salvation but the second coming of Christ. Peter is explaining the reason for the delay in Christ’s second coming He is still coming, and will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night (v. 10).

          The second thing to notice is the clear identity of the people he is addressing. He speaks of the mockers as “them”, but everywhere else he speaks to his audience as “you” and the “beloved.” This is very important because the assumption that is usually made is that the “you” the “any” and the “all” of 2 Peter 3:9 refers to everyone on the planet.

          But surely “all” means “all,” right? Well usually, yes, but not always. This has to be determined by the context in which the words are found. For example, if a teacher asks his class of students, “Are all here?” he is not asking if everyone on the planet is present in the room, but rather he is referring to all the students enrolled in the class.

          So, the question in 2 Peter 3:9 is whether “all” refers to all human beings without distinction, or whether it refers to everyone within a certain group.

          The context indicates that Peter is writing to a specific group and not to all of mankind “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours” 2 Peter 1:1. The audience is confirmed when Peter writes, “This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved.” (2 Peter 3:1)

          Can we be even more specific? Yes, because if this is the second letter addressed to them, the first makes it clear who he is writing to. 1 Peter 1:1 – “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect” So Peter is writing to the elect in 2 Peter 3:8, 9, saying:

          “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

          If the “any” or “all” here refers to everyone in human history, the verse would prove universalism rather than Christianity. (Universalism is the false doctrine that teaches that everyone will in the end be saved, with no one going to hell). If God is not willing that any person perish, then what? No one would ever perish! Yet, in context, the “any” that God wills not to perish must be limited to the same group he is writing to, the elect, and the “all” that are to come to repentance is the very same group. Christ’s second coming has been delayed so that all the elect can be gathered in. God is not willing that any of the elect should perish, but that all of them come to repentance. Rather than denying election, the verse, understood in its biblical context, is one of the strongest verses in favor of it.

          holdon

          “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some account of delay, but is longsuffering towards you, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
          “and account the longsuffering of our Lord to be salvation”

          So, have you or Mr. R.C. Sproul not read that this is about “perish” and “salvation”? Or are we to think that the believers to who this is addressed can perish?

          Johnathan Pritchett

          T.R. Repeating your error with more verbiage and cherry-picked quotes does not make your interpretation less erroneous.

          T.R.

          Johnathan wrote: “But some of us read the Bible “more deeply” and left Calvinism.”

          I would LOVE to see the actual statistics on how many people left Calvinism to become an Arminian\Traditionalist versus how many former Arminian\Traditionalists left that to become Calvinists. I would bet 1000+ became Calvinists to every 1 that reverted back away from the doctrines of grace. God is in the business of helping His people understand grace more not less.

        Max

        Hi T.R.,

        You would be surprised at the multitudes of SBC non-Calvinist Biblicists who are serious students of the Scriptures with a deep, Holy Spirit-taught understanding of the Word!

        I have trouble tossing aside my “assumption” that there is a bit of Calvinizing occurring at certain SBC educational entities when I hear seminary presidents say things like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6lRMMvNCn8

      Michael Vaughan

      Just a point of contention: correlation does not equal causation.

      I, for one, will attend Southern because I am a Calvinist.

        Max

        Hi Michael,

        Sounds like you know what you’re doing. Good choice of schools for you.

      Jeremy Crowder

      Max you make good points about the Seminaries and the efforts on the part of some professors and others. I’ve heard this often and not sure what to make of it. I personaly would like alternatives to Calvinism to be on the table both Traditionalism and OSAS Arminian in the SBC Seminaries and Colleges but not sure how that would be able to be pushed. I know many much better informed people are working on these things and I’m grateful for the work being done.

    Jeremy Crowder

    Norm I understand that you posted a response under my reply the other day and I thank you for doing that and again giving an answer. I look forward to reading an excerpt etc. if published here that may be more helpful.

Tim Rogers

Ronnie Rogers wrote

The Panel: 1. Leaders who are committed to model disagreement without pejorative name calling, disrespectfully disregarding or summarily dismissing an alternative approach to the complexities of infinitude and time that are within the framework of inerrancy. 2. Possibly suggest and model some guidelines on what it means to defend a position without disparaging a brother or sister in Christ, which is both modeled and encouraged by them. 3. Seek to and encourage others to rightly understand the position of the one they disagree with so we don’t unnecessarily hurt one another or the heart of God with our bonfires fueled by straw men.

I would agree with these as admirable goals and standards for us to follow. Problem is when engaging most Calvinists we will always get the response;

This is again the problem with painting an entire group of very diverse people with a broad stroke concerning the applications of their theological viewpoints.

Thus, one is left in a precarious situation. How does one “rightly understand the position of the one they disagree with so we don’t unnecessarily hurt one another or the heart of God” ? Therefore, without taking the comment stream away from the direction of Brother Ronnie’s thesis, I would like to purpose one question to the author. Could you develop the basics that we would be able to argue from when referencing the Calvinists system? It seems each time there is a reference to one of the 5 points from the Synod of Dort we are told, “you do not understand Calvinism” then are presented with various other points that we have not taken into consideration. These points are not even agreed upon by those who affirm themselves to be Calvinists. It is like trying to nail jello on the wall. Every time you have a glob to nail there is another glob that falls off.

    D.R. Randle

    Tim,

    Since you quoted me without any context, I will respond to you. By the way, here’s the comment I responded to – bit.ly/M6ECAM – and here’s my full response back – bit.ly/PdeY0K .

    Yes, Calvinists are very diverse. So are non-Calvinists. So are all Baptists. But, Calvinism can be critiqued appropriately without resorting to over-generalizations that paint our beliefs in the worst possible light (as did the commenter I responded to with the above statement you quote). So often, what I and others have witnessed is something akin to the following:

    Calvinists believe A
    Believing in A leads to believing in B and C
    Believing in C leads to doing D, E, and F
    C is unBiblical
    D, E, and F are wrong things to do and unBiblical
    Therefore, what Calvinists believe is unBiblical

    That is not the best way to critique any system of belief. But that is exactly why Calvinists say so often that non-Calvinists don’t understand us – because they do exactly what I describe above – they jump to conclusions they feel are logical, but don’t naturally have to follow – and that Evangelical Calvinists don’t follow their own logic to. Yesterday’s comment that I responded to is a perfect example of this.

    The commenter said that Calvinists believe that all who are elected will come to faith, therefore they believe that no matter how much or how little the Gospel is shared, those who are elected will come to faith. And then implied there is no reason in the Calvinist’s theology for anyone to share the Gospel.

    That is so unbelievably not true about Evangelical, SBC Calvinists’ beliefs. I went on to explain how a Calvinist views Evangelism – through the reality that God uses means (Spurgeon had a lot to say about this). And the more God-centered means are employed, the more you can be sure that God is moving to save His elect. This was exactly how those who led the 1st Great Awakening functioned – men like George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, and Samuel Davies. This was the impetus for William Carey, without whom Baptists likely would not be as missions-minded as we are. And this was the view of even Calvin, himself, who unbeknownst to most, was actually a great Evangelist.

    So the reality is that when non-Calvinists actually take the time to not make assumptions but deal with the foundations of Calvinism from an exegetical standpoint and then our own practical applications, then no more will you hear that complaint. But unfortunately, such a practice is so widespread and happens so often, we end up sounding like a broken record. But I do hope one day non-Calvinists will recognize that they too sound like a broken record to us – telling us we have no reason to Evangelize, or that we believe God sends people to Hell before they are ever born, or that we believe people can be saved before they ever repent and believe in Jesus.

    I do hope in explaining this, you and others will see our perspective on this and consider how Calvinism can be critiqued without being caricatured.

      T.R.

      D.R. wrote: “Calvinists believe A
      Believing in A leads to believing in B and C
      Believing in C leads to doing D, E, and F”

      Actually, most Calvinists believe my “ABC’s of Predestination”:

      A: God
      B: The Elect
      C: The Reprobate

      A loves B but hates C.
      C hates A.
      B also hates A.
      A shows mercy to B and justice to C.
      Now B loves A because A first loved B.
      C still hates A, however.
      A gives D(amnation) to C and E(ternal Life) to B.
      Now you see?

        T.R.

        And I write this as a 5-point Calvinist who spent 6 years doing evangelism around my local church. After this I was sent for the past 15 years to Nepal to do evangelism among Nepali people and finally during a recent furlough I planted the first church among Nepalese\Bhutanese people in a certain US city.

        For years in Nepal I trained about 2000 Christians to do evangelism. And we saw exponential church growth. If you were to talk to my missionary peers, they will speak of me as an evangelism catalyst, so it is quite offensive when I hear the false accusations that Calvinism reduces evangelism efforts. Calvinism freed me to do evangelism because the weight mens’ salvation was lifted from my shoulders. I merely needed to proclaim the Gospel to a lost world and watch God work.

          Norm Miller

          TR: I couldn’t agree more with the content of your latter two sentences — at least in terms of the salvation of others is not my responsibility. I am a laborer in the field, and work for the Master of the harvest. We are successful in the proclamation of the Gospel.
          As for your tenure as an M both Stateside and in Nepal, blessings on you, Brother. I’m glad you served the Lord. — Norm

          T.R.

          Norm, I appreciate your positive approach toward fellow Christians. I could learn a lot from you.

          volfan007

          TR,

          You said, “I merely needed to proclaim the Gospel to a lost world and watch God work.” I believe this, and I’m not a Calvinist.

          God saves people. I dont. I just preach the Gospel, and trust God to work on thier hearts.

          David

          T.R.

          Amen David.

      Bob Hadley

      DR.

      I actually agree with most of what you said in this post about people’s criticism of calvinists not being evangelistic.

      I do have a slight problem with the following comment: So the reality is that when non-Calvinists actually take the time to not make assumptions but deal with the foundations of Calvinism from an exegetical standpoint and then our own practical applications, then no more will you hear that complaint.

      As Time pointed out… it is very difficult for non-calvinists to deal with the foundations of calvinism because they are so carefully established that even most calvinists are unsure of what they are for sure… and even when we do manage to connect the correct dots it is so easy for you guys to cry foul… because we use the wrong adjective or adverb…

      I will also add… it is difficult for me personally to argue calvinism from an exegetical standpoint because I do not believe one exists.

      Soo0000… I am convinced that no matter what we do, we will continue to hear your complaints…

      Now… if you would take your own advice in your criticisms of the non-calvinist’s statements, we might have a chance to get somewhere… ya think?

      ><>”

volfan007

Ronnie,

Very interesting. I’m enjoying reading your testimony about this. Thanks for sharing.

David

Debbie Kaufman

The beauty of illustrations of God, Christ being active in scripture concerning salvation and not just salvation but every single area of activity in history is that he comes after us. He pursues us. The illustration of Christ as the good shepherd tells us this. And nowhere in scripture does it have Christ, God as the loser.

Another false story is that a shepherd breaks the leg bone of a sheep who has run away. This is not true and no where illustrated in scripture. I love the illustration of the Christ as the good shepherd. Christ is victorious now not later and to say that Calvinism teaches there a vast majority is in hell is false. I personally believe the opposite, that more are in heaven than in hell because God does not lose. Not now not ever. Satan does not have control, but God is in control.

    Dean

    I guess Christ the Good Shepherd was trifling with the rich young ruler when He called him to follow. Maybe this was done for Him and His disciples’ entertainment? Why Christ’s lament over those who would not come to Him in Matthew 23? These were tears of sorrow not a victorious shout! Paul seemingly did not understand that the Good Shepherd was finished winning all He wanted in I Corinthians 9 where he states vehemently I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might win some. Is that really necessary when all have already been won that are already going to be won? Lets just get on with the celebration!
    A person is free to believe more are in heaven than hell but this cannot be substantiated in Scripture. Wide and many go to destruction. Narrow and few find eternal life. The Bible teaches in its entirety that it is the world against the Children of God. If the majority of people around us are the elect God have mercy.
    Make no mistake God is victorious and if a person rejects God it makes that person the defeated not God.

      volfan007

      Dean,

      Amen!

      David

John Wylie

But Debbie you just quoted Matthew 7:13, 14 at another post which clearly states that the majority will be lost and few comparatively speaking will be saved. Btw I believe God is victorious regardless of how many believe.

    Debbie Kaufman

    Did I John? Is that what the passage when taken in context is saying? I don’t believe I gave the meaning of the passage when God intervenes did I?

      John Wylie

      Debbie,
      The meaning of the passage is rather obvious. It says that many will enter the broad way to destruction and few will enter the narrow way and find eternal life.

        John Wylie

        Debbie,
        I read a quote similar to yours by Spurgeon years ago. But the belief that more will be saved than will be lost is quite frankly bizarre. In fact that is not the pattern presented in the scriotures. How many were saved in Noah’s day? How many were saved at Sodom?

Debbie Kaufman

I think the question is what did Christ’s ministry on earth, death, burial and resurrection accomplish? Fully accomplish? When Christ said “It is finished” what exactly did those three powerful words mean?

Debbie: According to the Internet (which is never wrong, HA), the phrase you noted is understood this way: In the Greek, Christ’s cry from the cross, “It is finished!” is an accounting term, meaning that the debt had been paid in full. — Norm

carl peterson

“Then I actually began to believe that Calvinism was wrong with regard to a growing number of things, e.g., the love of God for the lost, the nature of God, God desiring the vast majority of His creation to go to hell, Lamb’s book of Life, God’s complicity in the “good faith offer” and the inadequacy of overloading verses like John 6:37 (all that the father gives will come) with more than is there and concomitantly forgetting what is required, but is not there — Christ dying so not just a transaction.”

One might think it is double talk as Pastor Rogers has said moe than once about other Calvinist claims. However, I do not know many if any Calvinists who would claim that God desires the vast majority to go to hell. They might say that it is part of his sovereign will but not that God desires people to go to hell. Again maybe Rogers believes this is the logical outcome of unconditional election and limited atonement but it is not been my experience what Calvinists teach. There might be some group who are Calvinists that teach this but when debating against Calvinism I think one needs to look at what most Calvinists teach and not some small minority group.

Hi Carl: Pastor Rogers isn’t debating. Rather, he is relating his sojourn out of Calvinism. If you will note above, under Jeremy’s comment, you’ll see that Pastor Rogers is considering writing a follow-up post to answer questions. Perhaps he will explicate his meaning in “the vast majority” comment. Thx much for your input. — Norm

    carl peterson

    Norm,

    Okay he was not debating but still he can’t make what appears to be an outlandish claim without being called out about it. I was giving him much charity in my post. I think I gave him more than he gave the Calvinist position. It is important to correct in how others view their own theology if the goal is at leat partly to have fellowship with the other party.

carl peterson

Given how the Part 1 ended, I thought we would hear more about his thoughts on Unconditional election. Maybe in a future post. I might (and probably will not) agree with him but I would like to hear his thoughts.

See above, under Jeremy’s post, plz. — Norm

Eric Lockhart

“Then I actually began to believe that Calvinism was wrong with regard to a growing number of things, e.g., the love of God for the lost, the nature of God, God desiring the vast majority of His creation to go to hell, Lamb’s book of Life, God’s complicity in the “good faith offer” and the inadequacy of overloading verses like John 6:37 (all that the father gives will come) with more than is there and concomitantly forgetting what is required, but is not there — Christ dying so not just a transaction.”

I found this most interesting. I would disagree with all these. assertions. I would guess he would call all of my responses “double-talk” from what I read in the articles. But saying God has a love for all even though he does not elect all seems to me to be no more of “double-talk” than saying salvation is completely of God, but hinges upon our choice.

The question about the quiet time was a bit odd. I’m a Calvinist. I don’t think that makes my devotional life less powerful. In fact, I know it’s more powerful than some Calvinist and some non-Calvinist that I know simply because I am actually having one. I serve on staff with 2 guys who are not, or agree on varying points of Calvinism – they’re like most Southern Baptists I know and would affirm strongly 2-3 points and hesitant of the rest. We all preach. And I would say all our preaching is powerful – because none of us are intent on spreading a system, not even the Calvinist of the group. We just want to be faithful to the text. Weird question. Not sure what the point of the question was supposed to be, but comes off as a passive aggressive shot at Calvinist and their devotional life and preaching.

Hi Eric: Passive/aggression not intended. The question was sincere as I have had some Cs in my life tell me how aspects of their spiritual lives deepened after embracing C’ism. Even yesterday there was commentary from one who asserted that those who had fully embraced C’ism had been given more grace from God to do so. So, Eric, no offense intended; hope none was taken. — Norm

    Eric Lockhart

    thanks for the explanation for the question. Given that background, I understand the point of your question more clearly. I don’t know who told you that yesterday, but I disagree. The idea of more grace being applied to become a Calvinist is obviously not Scriptural and comes dangerously close to, if not crosses into, gnosticism – as if some special enlightenment is needed. I don’t agree with that at all.

    Chris Roberts

    Norm,

    “Even yesterday there was commentary from one who asserted that those who had fully embraced C’ism had been given more grace from God to do so. ”

    I believe the person saying that was not being serious. That person was not a Calvinist, he was criticizing what he thought was a Calvinist argument. It was a gross misrepresentation.

      Norm Miller

      Chris:
      The commenter had provided (undocumented) citation(s) from Spurgeon and another Reformed writer he did not identify. I think there were actually two commenters who posited that God gave more grace and that led to accepting C’ism. I’ll take your comments at face value, however, and I thank you for them. — Norm

        Chris Roberts

        I confess I didn’t even read the Spurgeon quotes, but I was quite annoyed with someone speaking as though he were a Calvinist, saying things in a way that would cast Calvinism in a very bad light. It struck me as deceptive at best. At no point did he come back to clarify (at least, not that I saw) that he was not a Calvinist but was simply saying what he thought some Calvinists believe. This is not the way to have a good discussion.

          Norm Miller

          Later last night, I think, wingfooted1 stated he is not a Calvinist. Points taken, Chris. Thx. — Norm

      Eric Lockhart

      “That person was not a Calvinist, he was criticizing what he thought was a Calvinist argument. It was a gross misrepresentation.”

      Seems to be occurring frequently here lately.

        wingedfooted1

        Blessings Chris/Eric.

        I apologize for any confusion. However, there was no “deception” on my part. Anyone who has followed my comments would know that I am not a calvinist so I didn’t feel the need to post a disclaimer.

        Still, my “claims” that calvinists believe they have been given more grace is substantiated.

        “Speaking of Arminians, Whitfield said, ‘We are all born Arminians.’ It is grace that turns us into Calvinists, grace that makes Christians of us, grace that makes us free, and makes us know our standing in Christ Jesus.” – Spurgeon; sermon 69; The Allegories of Sarah and Hagar.

        Another calvinist, who has visited this very blog, has written (on another blog)…

        “…those who embrace Reformed theology do so by His grace and those who do not embrace it have not yet been ‘turned by grace’.”

        Does this not imply that non-calvinists have been denied an extra measure of grace?

        I’ve even heard James White on his “Dividing Line” podcasts tell a caller that the understanding of any scriptural truth is a result of divine grace. Obviously, James White believes he has a firm understanding of scriptural truth, which would imply he has been the recipient of more divine grace.

        Now does this mean that all calvinists believe they have been given more grace than their non-calvinist brothers and sisters in Christ? No. But it does appear this mindset is alive and well in the calvinistic community. And, for the record, I have never heard a non-calvinist even hint that what makes them differ from their calvinist brothers and sisters is divine grace.

        Peace.

          Eric Lockhart

          It seems to me that all that is meant by that comment is that it is God’s grace that helps us to see God’s sovereignty and not seek our own. Maybe I am just not reading it deep enough, or maybe it just doesn’t offend me because I am a Calvinist, but that’s really all I understand that to mean.

          Much like Luther who wrote: “‘If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.”

          Or as Spurgeon also said: “A man is not saved against his will, but he is made willing by the operation of the Holy Ghost. A mighty grace which he does not wish to resist enters into the man, disarms him, makes a new creature of him, and he is saved.”

          wingedfooted1

          Hi Eric.

          You said “it is God’s grace that helps us to see God’s sovereignty and not seek our own.”

          No one is questioning the sovereignty of God. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He alone sits on the throne and all mankind will have to give an account to Him.

          But back to my original assessment….

          You believe calvinism is the most clear and concise expression of the gospel of Christ.
          I reject fully the notion that calvinism is the gospel, even remotely.

          Both of us are born again children of God who truly wish to know and understand our heavenly Father better.

          We both share the exact same word of God. What makes us differ? Is it grace? Or is it something else?

          Grace

          Lydia

          “Much like Luther who wrote: “‘If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.”

          Eric, this is a serious question. How would Luther know this concerning “grace” considering he was involved with a state church where attendance and sacraments were mandatory? Do you not see the cognative dissonance in his words since his “practice” made such musing concerning “grace”, futile?

          Johnathan Pritchett

          As with many things, it appears Luther does not understand grace, going by that quotation, and is operating on a concept and function of grace completely foreign to the 1st Century social setting of Scripture.

          Spurgeon fairs only slightly better by giving the word “grace” actual, concrete content. I.e. The “operation of the Holy Spirit”. Yet there are still problems here:

          1. There is an unfounded assumption nowhere taught in Scripture that the Holy Spirit operates at different levels of “mighty” with different people. I.e. Regenerating some while passing over others so that the “some” can believe. I am happy to discuss exegetical errors often made about John 3:8 if you wish to marshal that in defense.

          2. The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible, and Acts 7:51 flatly contradicts Spurgeon’s assumption that when the Holy Spirit operates, it is in a compulsory, coercive, manipulative, or overwhelming manner outside the will of the people to receive Christ or to reject the message. If it is the Holy Spirit’s decision to teach us that His work can be resisted by unbelievers (and even by believers too per 1 Thessalonians 5:19, Ephesians 4:30), who are we to answer back to God that it must be different than what He reveals?

          Chris Roberts

          wingedfooted1,

          I don’t often remember who has said what, so when I read your comment I assumed you were a Calvinist saying something ridiculous. You presented your comment in that way. Only later did you give hints that maybe you weren’t.

          Even in the statements you quote, there is a great deal of difference between what you have quoted and what you originally stated. What you said in that original comment did not in any way resemble what you have quoted from some Calvinists.

Chris Roberts

One question I’d be curious to see him answer: given his former history with Calvinism, and what was I assume a period of time spent as a Calvinist pastor, what does he think about the common charge that Calvinism divides churches and is dangerous for churches?

    Cb scott

    Chris Roberts,

    Excellent question. For it seems, that as a Calvinist, Ronnie Rogers served a church that did flourish and, by all indications, sought with vigor, to fulfill the Great Commission.

    So, the answer to your question would be very interesting.

John Wylie

It was really cool to get read these articles about Pastor Rogers. I have a deacon in my church whose daughter and son-in-law attend Trinity in Norman. My deacon attended church up there one Sunday while visiting his daughter and he was very impressed with Pastor Rogers. The words he used were “he’s pretty sharp.”

Chris Roberts

Completely different subject.

Norm, would you be willing to post your responses as comments rather than modifying the person’s original comment? It’s a little jolting to see text appended to the end of a comment, and makes it a little harder to keep up when looking for new comments rather than looking for where comments have been edited.

T.R.

Ronnie writes: “I have yet to receive a serious response to my book or my challenges from a Calvinist.”

Well, this surely makes me want to read his book because I have yet to read a compelling case against Calvinism. And it is not that I haven’t tried to find one. Not two weeks ago in fact I read “Getting the Gospel Right: A Balanced View of Salvation Truth”. 90% of the book was an attack on Calvinism, but it still fell short in my thinking. We’ll have to see if Ronnie’s book is better.

    Ron Hale

    t.r.,
    Have you read Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism?

      T.R.

      I haven’t read it.

      Not The Original Les

      Ron,

      I’m planning on reading that one, as well as the upcoming “Whomever He WIlls: A Surprising Display Of Sovereign Mercy”
      Edited by Matthew Barrett
      And Tom Nettles

T.R.

Ronnie’s last statement: “Follow the clear appearance of Scripture; Jesus really wanted people to repent.”

Just because we are commanded to repent and believe the Gospel does not mean we have the power to do so. We are also commanded to obey God’s law yet all (except for Jesus Christ alone) have failed to obey His law. Just because God commands us to do something doesn’t mean we have the ability to do it.

    John Wylie

    TR,

    Go back and read Ronnie’s quote, you pulled the old bait and switch. Ronnie said nothing about a command but rather the desire of Jesus.

    Lydia

    “Just because God commands us to do something doesn’t mean we have the ability to do it”

    I am just thinking what it would be like to have parents like that growing up. They “command” you to do things they know you do not have the ability to do.

      volfan007

      Lydia,

      Remarkable, aint it. Taking your thought a little farther, what if your Dad told you to drive the car down to the Dairy Queen and get him and you a Blizzard…when you were 3 yrs old? I mean, he’d be telling you to do something, that he knew you absolutely could not ever do….ever. And then, giving you a spanking and grounding you to your room for the next 10 years for not doing it.

      That sounds mighty cruel to me.

      David

        Chris Roberts

        But what if your Father created you fully capable of obeying his commands, created you with the knowledge of his commands, created you with the freedom to follow or disobey his commands, and you choose to disobey, then in your disobedience you brought corruption on yourself and all your descendants? Is your Father then obligated to change his commands even though you are the reason for your inability?

        This is the part of the equation all too often overlooked. God created us capable of obedience, we caused our inability. Even now, God does not (ordinarily, as far sa we know) stop us from choosing what we want to do (though he is free to do so and in fact does do so at times, ie, when he causes people to be born again). We are free in that he gives us freedom to choose. He also gives the obligation he has always given: that we live holy and righteous. Since we have failed, he has also given us an offer of salvation in Christ. But we turn that down, too. Not because there is something wrong with the way he made us, nor because he makes sure we choose to reject, but because we have corrupted ourselves. We caused our inability. God is just to continue commanding what he created us able to do, even if we have taken that capacity from ourselves.

        This is not double speak, this is rational, logical, and more important, biblical theology.

          Lydia

          “But what if your Father created you fully capable of obeying his commands, created you with the knowledge of his commands, created you with the freedom to follow or disobey his commands, and you choose to disobey, then in your disobedience you brought corruption on yourself and all your descendants? Is your Father then obligated to change his commands even though you are the reason for your inability?”

          Chris, this is why the imputed guilt dog won’t hunt. You are saying God is holding me responsible for Adam’s specific sin. Using the earthly father metaphor, that just makes God cruel and arbitrary.

          I am saying there are consequences to Adam’s sin that affect me in every way as a human being. I now live in a corrupted earth in a corrupted body.

          It would be the same reasoning if my earthly father had been a drunkard or worse. I would have to live the with consequences of his behavior. But his specific sin would not be my specific sin unless I personally committed them. To think otherwise is cruel.

          holdon

          “This is the part of the equation all too often overlooked. God created us capable of obedience, we caused our inability.”

          I think you meant to say: “we caused our depravity”, which I would agree with. “Inability” is theology. Yes, I know all the texts (I think) like being “dead in trespasses and sins”, but such passages don’t say anything about “inability”, but about moral condition: separated from God. And I know it’s not “inability” because a few verses later in that epistle Paul says summons the dead to “wake up”: it’s theirs to do.

          I fully agree that God and the Holy Spirit and the Son are all doing the drawing and influencing. Yet, it’s about man to repent and believe, to accept Jesus.

          In Luke’s parable we find this:
          “And coming to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have abundance of bread, and I perish here by famine.” Luke 15:17

          What is this “coming to himself”? He was able to come to himself.

          Chris Roberts

          “You are saying God is holding me responsible for Adam’s specific sin.”

          Actually no, my comment has absolutely nothing to do with imputed guilt.

          Chris Roberts

          Holdon,

          When the Bible says that no one will ever do good, that no one will ever seek God, that every intention of the human heart is only evil continually, here is the conclusion I draw: I will never do anything good, I will never seek God, I will only do that which is evil in God’s sight. That being the case, present me with Christ and I will reject him every time unless God first changes me.

          Lydia

          “Actually no, my comment has absolutely nothing to do with imputed guilt.”

          Chris, This is what you said that led me to believe that is what you were referring to:

          “Is your Father then obligated to change his commands even though you are the reason for your inability?”

          How would “I” be the “reason” for my “inability”? That is why I thought you were referring to imputed guilt. What else could it be?

          Did I choose to be born in a corrupted body and a corrupted world? I am a born sinner because of Adam’s “choice” but you are still maintaining that God is commanding me to do things I am unable to do. And as you said yesterday, we have a “choice” to rebel but we “cannot” make the “choice” NOT to rebel because of our inability. Which really ends up not being a “choice” at all.

          This is why many find Calvinism irrational, illogical, dark and chaotic. As if we need some sort of special knowledge or insight to get it. When it is really circular reasoning which ends up being no reasoning at all. This is what I refer to as the “Plato” part of Calvinism.

          Chris Roberts

          Lydia,

          Imputed guilt refers to my standing before God as a guilty sinner. But what I was talking about is the effect of original sin on my person. I believe (hope) that everyone here agrees that we have been corrupted in some way because of Adam’s sin. We all agree that Adam’s sin has impacted all of his descendants. I believe that corruption is complete, I think Scripture is unequivocally clear about this. I realize there are those who love the Bible and yet disagree with me, that’s fine, they are free to disagree, yet I think the Bible is emphatic in its message that human beings are consumed with sin, completely corrupt due to the fall.

          This corruption originates with Adam, not with me, though when it comes to me, I am the one who is corrupt, I am the one whose nature chooses to sin. This corruption taints all of my thoughts, intentions, and actions. This corruption is what leads me to always choose rebellion and sin. God did not cause this corruption, God created us without this corruption, but we, through Adam, have brought this corruption on ourselves. What’s more, we love it. We are so thoroughly corrupt that we love our sin, we love our rebellion, and while we don’t always love the consequences of sin, we still prefer sin to God. So left to ourselves, we will quite cheerfully chase our sin into oblivion. This is what the Bible teaches about the consequence of the fall on all of humanity. The only answer is the sovereign saving grace of God. If Calvinism is not true, then we are all damned, for none of us will ever choose God. But the good news is the Bible is clear that despite our depravity, God will cause some to be born again, to be given faith, to be granted repentance, to be drawn to the Father, to be secured by the Holy Spirit, etc, etc. It ought to astound us that any would consider this theology “irrational, illogical, dark and chaotic” when it is only by this grace that any of us are saved.

          holdon

          “That being the case, present me with Christ and I will reject him every time unless God first changes me.”

          But if the “change” is done, what else is there to do?
          And: why would God not then change everyone as He desires that all should come?

          Chris Roberts

          holdon,

          “But if the “change” is done, what else is there to do? And: why would God not then change everyone as He desires that all should come?”

          For the first part, I don’t quite follow. Do you mean, if God has already caused me to be born again, why does anything else need to take place? Because the offer still requires a response. The fullness of my salvation is not complete when I have been born again. I still must embrace Christ by faith, I still must be sanctified in my life, I still must be glorified when I go to be with Christ.

          Your question is not entirely unlike the person who says, “I am a Christian, a Christian cannot lose his salvation, so why should I bother with God any more in my life? Why not live it up and chase after the world?” The answer has multiple parts, but at least part of the answer is to note that salvation includes the ongoing work of God in the life of the believer.

          Regarding the second part of your comment, see John Piper’s Are There Two Wills In God. That was the last great question I had before jumping into the Calvinist camp and Piper thoroughly convinced me with his paper that shows Scripture after Scripture giving a solid answer to the question. One comment about this is that the question exists for both Calvinists and non-Calvinists. Most non-Calvinists agree that God *could* save everyone, but he chooses not to. Why, when God says he wants all to be saved, does he choose not to save everyone? The non-Calvinist says, basically, it is because of God’s respect for free human choice. Piper gives a different answer. http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/are-there-two-wills-in-god

            holdon

            “Most non-Calvinists agree that God *could* save everyone, but he chooses not to. ”

            Well, I am not one of those. God does not violate His creatures. Therefore, I don’t have to say: “He chooses not to”, which is not found in Scripture at all.

            And if Piper teaches you that God has 2 wills (a schizophrenic God) then he is pretty sick.

            To say that God does not want (“chooses not to”) save all is cruel and not grace, especially if He “could”, but doesn’t do it. I’m deeply sorry for your conversion to Calvinism and can’t imagine someone having to live with such thoughts.

            Chris Roberts

            holdon,

            At least consider what the Bible says on the subject.

    Don Johnson

    T.R.,

    God knew we couldn’t obey the law. That’s why He gave us the Gospel, because everyone can obey it.

      T.R.

      I am sure you must be right, Don Johnson. Blind, deaf, spiritually dead people whose every intent of their hearts are only evil continually–surely all fallen people like this can respond positively to the Gospel.

      It seems utterly ludicrous to me to believe such a thing, but hey, that’s what neo-traditionalists believe, so I guess I should leave it alone.

        Don Johnson

        T.R.,

        How do the people become blind?

          T.R.

          “the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: “God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.” (Rom. 11:7-8)

Ron Hale

Pastor Ronnie,
Your closing words of wisdom were very gracious and kind. I hope only God’s best for you and your continued ministry. While some will see your journey as one of desertion and others as one of delight, it seems the overarching story here is to stay in the Word through week to week exposition — always allowing God’s Spirit to speak through His Holy Word. Blessings!

Darryl Hill

Well, I guess all the Calvinists need to repent in dust and ashes, eh?

But I tell you this- I’m not the one who continually insists on calling anyone who agrees with the necessity of God’s working and power as being necessary to salvation a “Calvinist.” That’s the “dirty word” everyone wants to use. I couldn’t care less, to be honest. I do not follow Calvin. I do not pick up the Institutes every morning to figure out what I should believe. I read Scripture, first and foremost. When I teach, I teach what the text says. I do not check it against the Institutes. I do not make it my goal to make everyone a “Calvinist.” Sunday I was given the opportunity to preach and the text the Lord led me to was Matthew 28:18-20 of all places. I preached on 4 words- YOU Go Make Disciples. That was it. In the process of that sermon, I also had the opportunity to share the Gospel.

I think this entire conversation is futile at times. Do we all desire the glory of God? I could like a guy like Wesley- he was all about the glory of God. Are we all about preaching the Gospel? Let’s preach the Gospel. Are we all about making disciples and teaching them to observe all Christ commanded? Let’s make disciples. I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with the kids who came to our VBS last week, gasp! I didn’t lead them in a sinner’s prayer (that might offend some of you) but I did encourage them to call out to God and ask Him to have mercy on them because all are sinners. 6 children, after interviewing them individually, seemed to have a grasp of what happened. So, we praise the Lord.

So, I believe the doctrines of grace. Shoot me. I suppose that’s what it’s coming to. It won’t be long, after we’ve made every Baptist suspicious about this evil of “Calvinism” that any person who denies that salvation is all more about a free will choice than about the grace of God is going to be branded with a scarlet letter of some kind. Well, hey, brand me. When my church kicks me out for not being traditionalist, I can at least depend on the fact that God provides, eh?

I guess this whole “former Calvinist” repenting of such a grievous evil thing strikes me as unnecessary. I get it, though. I thought people who believed this a few years back were flat out wrong and I told them so. I guess I’ve repented of what I should have continued in. But hey, I’ll say this. In my opinion, the Church in America over the last 100 years has become so man centered. I think this move of God may be His moving us back to the center. I will say one final thing- if this entire discussion can get people back to studying Scripture, praying, and both living and sharing the Gospel, and becoming and making disciples of Jesus Christ, then let’s go.

    Lydia

    Darryl,

    This conversation is necessary for many reasons. A big one for me is because a very influential SBC entity employee said this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6lRMMvNCn8

    Those are serious words. I was stunned when I first saw this video from the primary source. I was stunned he had the nerve as an SBC employee to say this on a video. His words have been parsed and dismissed by many YRR. In fact, some have said we are wrong for taking any offense to his words. I do not understand that thinking. It is myopic. In bred thinking. But it made sense for what I was seeing coming out of SBTS.

    This convo is opening it up. It is long overdue.

    “So, I believe the doctrines of grace. Shoot me. I suppose that’s what it’s coming to”

    No Darryl. That comes from the Reformed tradition, remember?

      Darryl Hill

      Right Lydia, belittle my thoughts. I’m just sharing straight from my heart, but feel free to stomp on it.

      By the way, I’m not even trying to argue a point here. I’m just writing what I felt after reading that. That’s all.

      Whatever.

        Lydia

        Darryl, we all believe in “doctrines of grace”. We just do not define them the same way. What I read from you was a somewhat angry sounding or frustrated rant that this OP was posted at all. I thought your response was a bit over the top and not really fair or balanced. Why would you even suggest that any Trad or fellow travellors would want to shoot anyone for being a Calvinist? Where does such thinking come from simply because some disagree or share their story? Is it because that is from your tradition and you are projecting? Was this hyperbole or do you really think this way?

        But what I do not understand is why you don’t think this whole convo is Divinely “decreed”? Shouldn’t that give you some comfort? God is in control, right?

          Darryl Hill

          Lydia, you have ONE mode, I do believe- and it’s “attack!” I hope you feel better. By the way, if you are leading the charge, there will never be peace in this discussion.

          All I was doing was writing what I felt. Honestly, the original post was very disturbing to me, and upsetting, not that you care. I was writing from emotion.

          Lydia

          “Lydia, you have ONE mode, I do believe- and it’s “attack!” I hope you feel better. By the way, if you are leading the charge, there will never be peace in this discussion.”

          Darryl, I don’t want to upset you more but this is part of the problem with interaction. Did you not see your original comment was somewhat of an “attack” and very insulting?

          Reformed does not have the answer to “man centered”, Darryl. They gave that up when they promoted Driscoll and Mahaney. In fact, it might be worse as so many are following man and obeying “elders” instead of abiding in Christ.

          “All I was doing was writing what I felt. Honestly, the original post was very disturbing to me, and upsetting, not that you care. I was writing from emotion.”

          I think I can understand that as I “thought” the same way about Mohler’s words on the video and apologize for making it worse. I hope you feel better for letting it out.

    Brad Reynolds

    Darryl
    I think everyone who believes salvation is more about God’s grace than man’s will is already branded as a Christian

      Darryl Hill

      Good Brad, then I think we’re done. I’ve considered bowing out here anyway and I think the reformed Calvinist has helped me out the door.

        Norm Miller

        At least come back and read, Darryl. We will post tomorrow part 1 of Pastor Rogers’ chapter 16, “The Lamb’s Book of Life: Who’s in and Who’s Out.” — Norm

          Darryl Hill

          I don’t know Norm, I write something from my heart here and all I get is an attack. I wrote 4 paragraphs explaining several personal things and feelings and the reaction I get is basically an attack.

          The point I was poorly and emotionally attempting to make is that we’re all on the same team here. I don’t check the Institutes to see if Scripture is correct before I preach it or teach it. I get no reaction to my words of unity there, but I get a video link and another attack on someone who is considered “reformed.” Do I call Al Mohler to check if Scripture is correct? Perhaps I whip out Augustine’s City of God or Luther’s Bondage of the Will. Geez! No, I just read the Scripture, teach to the best of my ability what it says, and try to live the Gospel and make disciples, and I fail in that often as well. We’re all just stumbling along here man, by God’s grace, trying to do the best we can and walk with the Lord. It’s a miracle I can even formulate a complete sentence, but now I’m supposed to engage in an ego fight with someone who won’t even engage the text?

          I don’t think I can take much more of it. It’s not doing me any good nor any of you.

JohnS

Being an anticalvinist makes you a “Baptist Statesman”? You learn something new everyday.

    volfan007

    John S.,

    Who is an anti Calvinist?

    David

Eric Lockhart

I cannot seem to find the “reply” under your comments, so I will try to answer here.

wingedfooted1, I am going to start with what may seem like a moot point and just arguing semantics, but I know how things are lost or mistranslated when over internet, so I want to be as clear as possible. I don’t believe Calvinism is the most clear and concise expression of the Gospel. I believe the cross and the empty tomb are the only expressions of the Gospel. I believe Calvinism is the most clear and concise explanation of why I need the Gospel and why/how I was saved – and, where we disagree, is the reason I believe that is because I think it fits most closely with Scripture.

In these articles and in the discussions that follow there is a lot of talk about “double-talk”. I do not wish to be mean or come across harsh, but, in the same way that much of what we say apparently seems to be double speak to you, when we hear a non-Calvinist talk about the complete sovereignty of God and then know that he believes salvation ultimately hinges on the decision of a person, it seems double speak to us. It seems that most, and again I realize that I am painting with broad strokes here, non-Calvinist believe God is sovereign as long as His sovereignty doesn’t infringe upon their will.

I fully agree with your second to last paragraph. I assume it is something else. What might that be? I don’t know. I assume it ranges from tradition to comfort and a bunch of brings in between. Could grace play a roll in it? I would say if so, only in the extent that the Holy Spirit guides our understanding of Scripture. We obviously cannot both be right – at least, by our finite understanding.

Lydia, fair question. I certainly hope not. If so, then plenty of us are in trouble, as I suspect all of us are guilty of knowing more about grace than our actions would at times indicate. I also think you and Luther may be discussing two different categories of grace.

John, what makes you say that in the first paragraph? Just cause he disagrees with your understanding of free will? I assume your second point is meant as a rebuttal of irresistible grace, but if so, I would say it is misinterpreting what is meant by irresistible – no one is saying that it can never be resisted, just that any resistance will be overcome. I would say more, but first will wait for your response, if you choose to, because you honestly seem a little ready to “pounce” and defensive. Perhaps, I just read it with the wrong tone.

    wingedfooted1

    Eric,

    First, I greatly appreciate your friendly tone.

    I asked you based on our different views of scripture… “What makes us differ? Is it grace? Or is it something else?”

    Your honest response was….. “I assume it is something else. What might that be? I don’t know.”

    I agree completely (however, there are those within your camp who will not take kindly to your answer). We both share the exact same word of God. God hasn’t given either one of us more grace than the other. Grace has been given to us both, but what we do with that grace is up to us. We are both asked to “diligently search the scriptures to see if it is so.” So our theologies don’t differ due to grace, because we have both been given grace, but due to our own willingness to believe and, perhaps, our own due diligence. In other words, we believe what we want to believe.

    Which, ironically, answers the calvinistic question…

    “Why does one sinner believe the gospel and not another?”

    Peace

      Eric Lockhart

      mmm…no. The Calvinistic answer would be because God, by his grace, chose one. The Arminian answer would more side with because they choose to believe what they want to believe.

      As a Calvinist, I would never say I believe what I want to believe. Half of what I believe, I’d rather not believe. Honestly, I like your belief better. I just cannot reconcile it with Scripture. And I in no way mean that to be demeaning to you. Just trying to be honest. Just as I am sure you would say you cannot reconcile what I believe with Scripture either.

      Eric Lockhart

      I thought it would be best if I call myself out before someone else does:

      if ever there has been an example of double speak, I have utilized it. I have said both that it is the grace of God that causes me to believe and trust and his absolute authority and have said that it is not a lack of grace that has kept others from that.

      Why the double speak? Because I am honestly not sure why I read Scripture as I do and you do not, nor do I read as you do, when we both claim to be led by the same Holy Spirit. I know that it seems unlikely that either of us are right, but it does not exclude that we may both be wrong. I really don’t understand it. So, I am honestly, a bit scared and hesitant to speak forcefully to it.

        wingedfooted1

        Eric,

        Just for clarification regarding “double talk”….

        So you are a believer of the gospel due to God’s grace (in election). However, you are a calvinist due to your own wisdom or decision making? In other words, God chose you to be a Christian, but you chose to be a Calvinist? Grace irresistibly makes you to be a Christian, but grace plays no part in providing, how you put it, “the most clear and concise explanation of why I need the Gospel and why/how I was saved”?

        Grace

          Eric Lockhart

          the doctrine of Calvinism applies primarily to salvation. Even if I would state what you said, I would feel more comfortable because God would have freed my will to follow him. Whereas, non-Calvinist state that we’re all sinners and depraved, but some of us are not so depraved we cannot choose God; however, once we choose God, we apparently cannot unchoose Him because our salvation is secure. So your will is free before God but then your not free to unchoose.

            wingedfooted1

            Eric,

            As a non-calvinist, I reject calvinism’s total depravity. For the record, I do not believe people are born depraved (however, we are born with a sin nature). Read Romans 1:18-32 carefully regarding the depravity of man. Notice they are not born that way, but become that way over time. Also notice that there is no mention of depravity in regards to Adam after the fall. He still, in a fallen state, had a relationship with God the Father.

            So, do you credit your belief in calvinism (the most clear and concise explanation of why I need the Gospel and why/how I was saved) to your own wisdom and decision making? If grace plays no part in it, then can’t the Lost come to understand calvinism (the most clear and concise explanation of why I need the Gospel and why/how I was saved)?

            wingedfooted1

            Eric,

            Just for clarification, you said “the doctrine of Calvinism applies primarily to salvation.”

            So I need grace to accept the gospel and be saved, but I don’t need grace to understand “the most clear and concise explanation of why I need the Gospel and why/how I was saved”.

            Does not “the most clear and concise explanation of why I need the Gospel and why/how I was saved” pertain to salvation itself? Can someone accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and yet not know or understand why they need the gospel?

            Also, you said “Even if I would state what you said, I would feel more comfortable because God would have freed my will to follow him.”

            Are you suggesting that those who hold to the doctrines of grace follow Him and those who don’t…..don’t? Are those who embrace the doctrines of grace more intellectual? More spiritual? More righteous?

        wingedfooted1

        Eric,

        I want to gently remind you of something you posted earlier….

        “The idea of more grace being applied to become a Calvinist is obviously not Scriptural and comes dangerously close to, if not crosses into, gnosticism – as if some special enlightenment is needed. I don’t agree with that at all.”

        You are correct and I agree completely.

        Also, you said….

        “As a Calvinist, I would never say I believe what I want to believe. Half of what I believe, I’d rather not believe. Honestly, I like your belief better.”

        Is there something within your theology that casts an ugly shadow on our Lord and Saviour?

        Peace

          Eric Lockhart

          not at all, there is something in my theology that cast an ugly shadow on me. My savior is beautiful and gracious and holy.

            wingedfooted1

            Eric,

            You said “there is something in my theology that cast an ugly shadow on me”.

            What would that be?

            You said “My savior is beautiful and gracious and holy.”

            I agree. He most certainly is. But if calvinism is true (the Lost were created for the sole purpose of burning for all eternity simply due to His good pleasure), is he “beautiful and gracious and holy” to the Lost? Or do these divine qualities only apply to a select few?

            1 John 4:19 says “We love Him because He first loved us.”

            If calvinism is true, wouldn’t the Lost be perfectly just in saying…

            “We hate God, because He first hated us”?

m. b. woodside

Greetings all,

A friend linked this blog on fb or I would have no idea this fun-filled exchange of ideas existed. Just a few observations of today’s fun.

1. I don’t get some of the exchages and barbs. I love good natured ribbing among our friends and among those we disagree with. But, it appears to me that there is some rancor and ill will here. Maybe I am wrong. Personal feelings have obscured good judgment and make it where you can’t prefer the other in love. Honestly there is more grace shown over at the Rivals College Football message board . . okay not really, I’m joking, but I’m kinda not.

2. Charles Spurgeon was a Calvinist. Drummond’s bio on Spurgeon is excellent if you have not read it. Spurgeon was also a “soul winner” thus the title of his work on evangelism and why sometimes the things he says or wrote don’t seem very Calvinistic. But he was a 5 pointer and a self professed to be one. So the C’s get Spurgeon but the non-Calvinists and the Trads get D.L. Moody. So there, each team gets a star player.

2. Lydia, thanks for linking that youtube clip of Mohler. I was reminded of Kevin DeYoung, the interviewer in the clip, and the admirable work he does at his congregation in East Lansing. He recently preached a series of messages on the authority of Scripture that anyone who holds to high view of Scripture would appreciate. He has received a significant amount of criticism from the textural critic crowd over at his blog. So, it is nice to see a brother stand w conviction on the sufficiency of Scripture.

3. I have seen disparaging remarks about Mohler, Sproul and Piper throughout these comments over the last month. Okay. Fair enough, some can’t stand them or their thelogy, but that’s not how you will ultimately effect the YRR crowd. Find your points of agreement and focus on that. Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life” should resonate with Christians of any stripe to get off their duff and get busy living for Jesus.

4. Poor Joe McKever and B.H. Carroll. Only a handful of comments. But the Calvinism stuff brings in people like me from out of nowhere. Oh well, this discussion keeps the conversation and traffic flowing. It’s like a train wreck, you just can’t look away. And I am as guilty as any.

5. Hopefully this post was taken with the levity and grain of salt it was intended. If I offended anyone, forgive me, but I do think there is a need for a timeout on this discussion even though it’s important.

Okay, boys and girls, back to Rivals for some grace-filled discussion of college football.
Remember Romans 12:18, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men.”

m.b.

    Lydia

    Woodside, Glad you enjoyed the clip of Mohler saying NC is the only place for those who want to see the nations rejoice for Christ. Wonder what that says about those who are not Calvinists?

    “Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life” should resonate with Christians of any stripe to get off their duff and get busy living for Jesus. ”

    Piper is affirming the fringe Doug Wilson now. It was Driscoll not long ago. He is not exactly a credible discerning source for me. But thanks anyway.

    If I remember correctly, you are not SBC, are you?

      Darryl Hill

      Wow Lydia, what a retort. This guy offers a gracious and (intentionally) light-hearted comment, and you come out swinging. If your goal is to rid this place of any reasonable Calvinists, you’re doing great.

    Norm Miller

    Woooooo-Woooooo. All Abooooaaard! — Norm

David R. Brumbelow

Ronnie Rogers,
Thanks for the interview, enjoyed it.
I’ve ordered your book and look forward to reading it.
David R. Brumbelow

m. b. woodside

Mia culpa. Not BH Carroll, but GW Truett in my above post.

m. b. woodside

Lydia,

I am SBC, but I work in the larger evangelical community as a counselor and chaplain. So I work with all stripes of believers. It’s good to see what my bros an sisters in the SBC are up to at this blog.

m.b.

m. b. woodside

Lydia,

As to Doug Wilson. I can’t argue with you that he is out there. But I do think that it is worth a watch of his interaction at Indiana University when he spoke there on homosexuality. It’s at his website or at cannonpress, as well on youtube.

Guilt by association is an issue with Piper to Driscoll and a year or so ago with Warren. From my perspective, Piper has tried to help mentor Driscoll and smooth off some of those rough edges, but there are others in the Reformed camp that have offered public rebuke of Driscoll, namely MacArthur. While I can’t speak for all in the Reformed camp, Driscoll’s use of coarse langauge and some of his approaches to ministry concern me. I never have been a fan or a big proponent even though I recognize that the Lord has used him in Seattle to reach a tough mission field.

Let me say this. I only know these people from a distance. I don’t know them day in and day out and can only observe them from their writings or their sermons. So, I try by God’s grace to learn from them what I can, and recognize their faults as well, knowing that I have so far to go and much to learn.

I hope this helps.

God’s best to you.

m.b.

    Lydia

    “et me say this. I only know these people from a distance. I don’t know them day in and day out and can only observe them from their writings or their sermons. So, I try by God’s grace to learn from them what I can, and recognize their faults as well, knowing that I have so far to go and much to learn.”

    I understand where you are coming from but porn divinations, obsession with sex and firing elders to form a coup (then bragging about it) are not “faults” but rotten fruit that is obvious.

    At what point do we ignore “associations”? Doug Wilson has quite a CV if one cares to investigate. Piper is not only affirming him but promoting him. Where is the public concern from his Reformed fellow travellors? Perhaps they are not familiar with Wilson’s history and practice in Moscow.

      Darryl Hill

      Lydia, you seem to be on a personal quest to discredit as many men who teach doctrines of grace as possible. Why is it not enough to simply argue your point from Scripture? Why does it have to be a personal attack against individuals? It’s the same approach you have taken all along, complimented by many, where rather than engaging in dialogue regarding particular teachings of Calvin, Luther, or Augustine, you instead personally attack these men.

      Is that your quest, by the way? Is your quest to prove that ALL who believe in the Doctrines of Grace (Calvinism) are not genuine believers and under some kind of demonic influence? It seems that is your goal. First it was Luther, Calvin, and Augustine, now it’s Mohler, Piper and Driscoll. Who’s next? Me? You’ve also attacked m.b. woodside above, saying he’s not even Baptist and shouldn’t be engaged in the discussion.

      Are we all unregenerate and under demonic influence?

        Lydia

        “Why is it not enough to simply argue your point from Scripture?”

        It is a waste of time. It really is. I do not read Romans the same way you do. I do not even view God the same way you guys do and believe me, I tried. I believe He is Sovereign over His own Sovereignty. For example, I believe God was really angry when the Jews begged for a king. He was their king. I don’t think He feigned anger. I think they had a choice. That is just one example of why exegeting passages is a waste of time. Our foundations are too different.

        ” Why does it have to be a personal attack against individuals?”

        How is truth a “personal attack”? Negative truths are not sinful, my friend. They are truth. We should all love truth. Even the truth we don’t like.

        ” It’s the same approach you have taken all along, complimented by many, where rather than engaging in dialogue regarding particular teachings of Calvin, Luther, or Augustine, you instead personally attack these men.”

        You mean, I tell truths about them you don’t want to hear and don’t think are relevant to their interpretation of scripture. I disagree. I think what they believed might have driven their behavior and practices. And I think that is worth considering in these conversations. When the big guy, Norm, tells me not to, I won’t bring it up again that Calvin even regulated the amount of courses Genevans could have at meals. :o)

          Darryl Hill

          If this is the approach you will continue to take, you will never accomplish any goal of cooperation. I note you didn’t answer the question regarding thinking these men must all be influenced demonically. Actually, if I take all of your comments as a whole, that is clearly what you believe. You even just now said, “I do not even view God the same way you guys do and believe me, I tried. ” You’ve also often used the phrase “the Calvinist god” in describing various beliefs.

          It’s clear to me that you are arguing, whether overtly or inadvertently, that the God I serve is a different god altogether. Hence, a demonic influence must be the answer.

          It seems clear that your desire isn’t cooperation but extermination. Every person who offers an opinion who happens to not be a Southern Baptist OR whom you even think MIGHT not be a Southern Baptist, you immediately marginalize their opinion. It seems your desire is to rid the SBC of us. If I had about 10 hours free, I’d make a compilation of all your posts since the beginning of May when the attack on Calvinism began. You have dug up something negative on every possible person someone might mention. You’ve admitted above, you don’t even try to interact with us on Scripture, so you’ve resigned yourself to simply attempting to ruin the reputation of all Calvinists as a way to discredit them.

          If a Calvinist were on this site using the exact same approach, attacking and personally discrediting every person who has made truth claims in opposition to Calvinism, he/she would have already been banned. That’s my guess, anyway. As a matter of fact, there was a guy who took a similar slant back in early June who was banned for making those kinds of comments.

          As I said above, if you are out front leading the charge, there will never be any agreement nor will their be any cooperation between reformed Southern Baptists and Traditional Southern Baptists, and that thought breaks my heart as a lifelong Southern Baptist.

          But hey Lydia, I’m sure I have some skeletons in my closet. You should go digging and you’ll certainly find them. That way, you can discredit me as well.

            Lydia

            “If this is the approach you will continue to take, you will never accomplish any goal of cooperation.”

            Darryl, Was your first comment meant to help toward cooperation? We want to shoot you? Get rid of you? I am getting a bit weary of the double standard.

            Darryl Hill

            You only read what you wanted to read from that first post up there Lydia. You assumed an attack and that’s what you saw. Yes, I was frustrated. But hey, when you’re suspicious and think I serve a made up god, it’s no wonder you assume I’m always attempting to attack. I suppose you’ll assume I’m burning people in my back yard or having people killed for disagreeing with me in my own local Geneva next.

            Or perhaps you’ll accuse me of saluting the Pope or recommending evil men to positions of authority so that I might control people and force everyone to submit to the hand of Calvinism and its oppressive god.

            Yes, all these approaches and more are being projected upon me and every other person who dares speak for Calvinism or gasp! quotes a Scripture and attempts in some evil way to get you to engage it. I hear that Bill Gates once considered Calvinism, and that nullifies everything entered onto the world wide web using any of his equipment. Aye, tis true! The whole of the conversation is null and void. All those crazy Calvinists!

            Lydia

            “You only read what you wanted to read from that first post up there Lydia. You assumed an attack and that’s what you saw.”

            Ok. It is my fault. Your comment was really irenic but hidden within lots of ranting, accusations, projections and hyperbole. It was foolish of me to take it at face value.

            Darryl Hill

            Lydia I should send you a link to the sermon I preached Sunday morning. I think you’d be shocked at how little you disagree with. Yeah I was upset when I read the post above. I’ll admit it. I said some dumb things I would like to delete. I wish we could edit comments or just delete them. But anyway I wish you could have heard the gospel presentation to our VBS also. I think it might upset you how little you could find to he upset about. I’m not out to take anything from anyone here. I just want to not be made out to be something I’m not by association. I’m sinful enough on my own.

        Debbie Kaufman

        Daryl: In this Lydia is right. There is a lot of corruption and wrong things in our churches. Even in Reformed churches and circles. I believe God is purging and cleaning it out by exposing it through people like Lydia.

        If you will look what Lydia is saying is true. It’s wrong. It needs to be talked about and exposed for what it is. Horrible, tasteless, Godless corruption. I am Calvinist. I believe strongly in TULIP aka the Doctrines of Grace, but those who are high on a pedestal in the Reformed world are just as corrupt as those who are not Reformed and have been exposed. I agree with Lydia that we do have to see the truth and what she is exposing is not sin. We are in sin if we refuse to see what is glaringly full of facts.

          Darryl Hill

          I agree Debbie. Regardless of one’s theological understanding, that person is not exempt from corruption. Right or wrong, we are all fallen and failing. I do not disagree. I have not exempted anyone from responsibility nor have I attempted to defend anyone’s actions. But their failings or successes do not validate (nor do they invalidate) the truth claims they have made regarding soteriology. That is one of the points I have been attempting to make to sister Lydia. So yes I agree with you but I do not see the relevance of every man’s personal sin to the discussion.

            Debbie Kaufman

            Because Darryl, if what we believe is true. If what we believe is real, and I believe it is, it will show in our lives. If not it’s not worth anything. We live out what we believe do we not, or at least we are supposed to.

            People are watching and what Lydia is bringing out is what people see. They are looking at our lives as well as our words. Theology is nothing if it doesn’t bring about a beautiful life.

            What Lydia has brought out is anything but God honoring or beautiful. That is a big problem in my opinion. If we really believe what we say, we should stand against it even among Calvinists.

            Debbie Kaufman

            It’s the right thing to do.

            Darryl Hill

            I agree with you Debbie. For my life, the understanding of the truths regarding sovereign grace have had a profound impact. I can’t speak for others. But I can say this- I’m a sinner too.

            I guess that’s my point. If any person’s personal struggles with sin disqualifies them from making any truth claims, then to whom should we listen other than Christ Himself? Surely we can ascertain the veracity of a claim on the basis of the evidence which supports that claim from Scripture without having to dig around and through every person’s life whose claims we’d rather not address directly. That is my trouble with Lydia’s approach.

            It’s not that I do not see these things as important. It’s not that I’m giving anyone a free pass. I certainly do not condone in any way the sinful actions of any person. But taken to the logical conclusion, this approach of disqualifying every person with sin would mean we just all need to shut up and stop discussing anything. Who here can I trust? Who here has not been hypocritical at some point? Who here has no private sin?

            As I say, surely we can evaluate the truth claims of these men, considering their failings, based upon the evidence that we have from Scripture. If we can’t do that, I think none of us should even speak to one another. We need to tell our pastors to stop preaching and our teachers to stop teaching in the church. We need to just shut the whole thing down because all have sinned and continue to sin throughout their lives, repenting all along the way. Maybe I’m the only one who is in need of repentance on an ongoing basis.

m. b. woodside

Lydia,

“At what point do we ignore associations?”

That’s a good question and hard to answer. MacArthur’s critique of some of YRR has been that they have embraced the soteriology but rejected the ecclesiology and opted for a Seeker driven style. MacArthur and the Shepherds conference guys and the Pyromanics have spoken out about Driscoll and the porn divination. You and I agree on that, that is more than just a fault.

I am aware of Wilson’s issues at Moscow, from his influence on classical Christian education, federal vision and so forth. As for the public concern from Wilson’s fellow travelers . . from my pespective the PCA just ignores him as fringe and out there. The larger evangelical community sees him as the boisterous guy who debated Hitchens.

Your points are well taken and there will always be that tension of how far is too far in associating with other evangelicals and to what level or degree we can endorse them.

Thanks for the interaction.

m.b.

    Not The Original Les

    M.b.

    I’m mostly just reading along these days, sensing the number of Calvinists engaging here to be dwindling. But I digress.

    Thanks for your comments above. One point to be clear. Doug Wilson is not PCA.

    Carry on my brother.

    Les

    Lydia

    No, MB, Thank YOU. A reasonable Calvinist! One who gets it. I could partner with you but I am a gal and can’t. :o)

    Les is right, Wilson is CREC. He is the one that welcomed Sproul Jr to CREC after he was defrocked for tax fraud from the RPCGA.

m. b. woodside

“Woooooo-Woooooo. All Abooooaaard! — Norm ”

Thanks for being the conductor. I can hear my son when he was little watching Thomas the Tank Engine saying “Mr. Conductor! Mr. Conductor!

m.b.

    Norm Miller

    The train wreck comment, and the inability to look away even though I can turn my own head. Struck me funny. — Norm

Alan Davis

Ronnie Rogers,

You may already have addressed this but I searched and couldn’t find it. How did you square things with the church you pastor when “leaving” Calvinism and becoming “traditionalist”? (I assume the church knew you were a Calvinists and accepted Calvinism in part if not whole) By square things with them I mean did you offer to leave since your theology changed drastically and you didn’t seem to have things figured out? Did the church use congregational polity to decide to keep you as pastor? Did you tell the whole church or just the leaders? Did your change cause any division in the church? How do you handle those who still embrace Calvinism? Do you keep them from holding leadership or teaching freely?

Sorry so many questions but this scenero begs these. Thank you.

Alan Davis

    Norm Miller

    Alan: I’m sure Pastor Rogers is checking the blog now and again, but I’ll be sure he sees your comment. — Norm

m. b. woodside

Les,

Yes I am aware that Wilson is not PCA . . .I looked back at the way I worded my comment and it was not clear. Everytime I see him speak, I wonder what woodland creatures are hibernating in his beard.

Lydia,

Thanks for the interchange. Good night.

m.b.

    Lydia

    “Everytime I see him speak, I wonder what woodland creatures are hibernating in his beard”

    Hee Hee. It is very patriarchal, though.

Not The Original Les

M.B.,

I figured you would have known that about Wilson. God bless you.

Les

Mike Davis

4. Do not double-talk.

This seems to be a recurring phrase in Pastor Rogers’ responses. If it is meant as an argument against compatibilism, I would just point out again, as was stated during the discussions on libertarian free will and eternal security, that each system has its points of tension and paradox, and these do not necessarily constitute “double talk”. For example, Traditionalists hold to libertarian free will but also claim apostasy is impossible for the true believer. Whether one is Calvinistic, Arminian, or Traditionalist, they will accept some paradoxical realities because eliminating all the antinomy results in an extreme hyper version of the system one adopts or in open theism. In fact, anyone, Calvinistic or not, who ponders the implications of God’s omniscience and omnipotence will encounter a level of mystery and paradox that will ultimately reach a point a point in which human perception has to confess the limit to its understanding. But this is not “double-talk.”

    Mike Davis

    Although technically saying “a point a point” is. Sorry for the typo.

    T.R.

    Well said Mike. I would have phrased it much more bluntly: While blasting Calvinists for double-talk, Rogers and traditionalists are just as guilty of double-talk, which makes them guilty of hypocrisy as well.

    Similar to Lydia, I enjoy pointing out the truth, whether the truth is palatable or not.

Eric Lockhart

wingedfoot1,

Adam continued in his relationship with God after the fall because God sought him – he hid. It was God who slaughtered the animals and made them clothing. And that relationship looked a lot different than what it had. In our fallen state, we do not seek after the Lord and are enemies of the Lord. (Romans 3:9-13, Ephesians 2:1-3). That’s the ugly shadow I see about myself. There was nothing good in me. No ability of my own to “find God”, course he didn’t need to be found – I did. And I was found when Christ ransomed me; he secured my salvation, not just made it available, he actually accomplished it.

Can a lost person understand Calvinism, you asked. Yes, of course they can. Or at least the logic of it – which would be true of Arminianism and/or “Traditionalism”, too. However, it means nothing except a head knowledge. Would understanding those doctrines teach you the Gospel? If not, something is wrong with them.

I think you are making some wild implications with what I wrote about my will being freed. Partly because you’re ignoring, or at least not re-posting, a significant part of what I wrote before that quote and all of what followed. So, I am not suggesting anything other than what I wrote.

Honestly, you seem bound and determined to get me to say that I am a Calvinist because of grace and you are not because you don’t have grace. I am not sure why this is. I have tried numerous times, and have even directly come out and said, I don’t why we both believe in Christ, are led by the Holy Spirit, and see Scritpure so differently. I’ve said I wrestle with that. You thank me for my honesty, and then a few posts later go back to asking about if I am a Calvinist because of grace. I am not sure how many times we have to go in that circle to satisfy, but I think I am done.

It is not as if non-Calvinist don’t believe in the wrath/justness of God, though I admit it seems more and more to be a topic not addressed in sermons. There is a sense in which God loves everyone; does that love lead him to elect all? No. How does that work? I don’t know. But Scripture states both, rather clearly. Scripture that says that God hates the sinner are not just Scritpures that Calvinist have to wrestle with, unless we just ignore those Scritpures we don’t like.

Leslie Puryear

There will be no peace between traditional Southern Baptists and Calvinists until Calvinists stop trying to reform traditional churches to Calvinism. When Calvinists stop trying to change us, there can be peace.

    Max

    And everybody said AMEN! (well, at least most of us)

    Eric Lockhart

    Ha! I keep forgetting Calvinst are the ones who started this whole thing. Good thing you’re there to remind me. I subscribe to a bunch of “Calvinist” blogs and they are actually rarely to never talking about the Armin…”Traditionalist”, unless in response to posts like these, so I forget sometimes that we’re actually the ones who keep this going.

      Eric Lockhart

      I didn’t write this either, as evidenced by the fact that I don’t think in any other post on here I have accused a Traditionalist as being an Arminian.

      That said, I actually agree with this post. And I believe I have said it.

Drew Mery

Interesting, I came to see Calvinism as biblical as I stopped believing the caricatures and started reading what Calvinists actually taught and believed and started accepting Scripture for what it so clearly teaches. Once I became convinced of Calvinism, the Scriptures opened up so wide in a way that it was never opened to me before. What once was inconsistent to me or muddled, became crystal clear as I started to accept the absolute sovereignty of God and the glory of His being. What is more, one of the things that attracted me to Calvinism was the preaching and God glorifying teachings coming out of Calvinistic circles. I was absolutely amazed at the depth and clarity and Scriptural commitment in the preaching of the cross of Christ from these Calvinist men (like R. C. Sproul, John Piper, Paul Washer, John MacArthur, A. N. Martin, etc.).

“Although I am sure it is coming, I have yet to receive a serious response to my book or my challenges from a Calvinist.” Yes, it is coming! You can start here with an audio response by James R. White (http://www.aomin.org/podcasts/20120717.mp3).

As a side note, I find it really interesting that as Christians attempt to distance themselves from Calvinists, theologically, what ends up happening is they head toward more of a man-centered theology, if not an outright heretical theology. Such was the case in the recent articles of the Traditional Southern Baptist View of God’s Plan of Salvation, in which just about every article exalted man, misused Scripture, and one article actually denied original sin. Take heed brethren. Grace and peace.

Tobie

Someone by the name of T.R. wrote: “I would LOVE to see the actual statistics on how many people left Calvinism to become an Arminian\Traditionalist versus how many former Arminian\Traditionalists left that to become Calvinists. I would bet 1000+ became Calvinists to every 1 that reverted back away from the doctrines of grace.”

Ever heard of the “Problem of the Benevolent Dolphin”? Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson describe it as follows in their book “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)”:

“Every so often a heartwarming story tells of a ship wrecked sailor who was on the verge of drowning until a friendly dolphin nudged him to shore. But was it intending to be helpful? To answer that question we would need to know how many shipwrecked sailors have been gently nudged further out to sea by dolphins, there to drown and never be heard from again. We don’t know about those cases because the swimmers don’t live to tell us about their evil-dolphin experiences. Perhaps dolphins are neither benevolent nor evil, they are just being playful.”

As you may know, history is written by conquerers just as friendly dolphin stories are related by survivors, and so neither should be trusted. I studied South African history under an Apartheid regime, so I have been a victim of this fallacy, and have experienced it first-hand.

Why is this important? For a number of reasons, but I will only mention one. People who turn away from Calvinism oftentimes do so not because they have been won over during a debate, or as a result of having read a book such as Ronnie Rogers’, but because they have seen something of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom that has made them lose interest in divisive, intellectual debates such as this one. As a result they disappear off the radar, and, like the dolphin survivors, are no longer around to be enlisted, quoted or counted. The only reason they may show up on blogs like this one is to remind others that their invisibility does not mean that they have ceased to exist, simply that they exist in a different world, that is, a world where Arminius and Calvin are just as important as they were in the first-century Jerusalem church.

Imagine that. Christianity without this debate! It existed… And yes, IT STILL EXISTS! Profoundly, I may add.

I say this not as someone who is uninformed. From where I sit I have a view of one section of my library. A quick glance reveals 18 volumes by John MacArthur, 30 by Spurgeon, every single one ever written by Francis Scaeffer, 16 by Pink and many more by Piper, Sproul, Packer, Horton, Lloyd Jones and others. And, of course, I see the towering presence of Luther’s Bondage of the Will.

But I hardly touch them nowadays. I am too busy making up for the time that I lost during the years that they were my most prized possessions. I am rediscovering the simplicity of the gospel, the beauty of Christian fellowship, the sufficiency of Scripture (I actually mean it when I use the sacred term nowadays) and the incredible glow that was so characteristic of my early Christian experience, before seminary and the intellectualisation of my faith.

And so, T.R., you will never know how many of us there are. When the above happens to a person you become theologically anonymous, like those 12 who first walked with the Lord. And it doesn’t bother you, because the honor that comes from the Lord becomes more important than the honor that comes from men. You then seek a place of service where your opinion is of little value, and where your love matters most. And so you devote your life to developing that which matters, and you wonder how you ever, ever got involved in anything different.

apart from the beaches of y have ceased to exist.

Thequate non-existence. should not be interpreted as their there is a rich life compelled them to repent from debates such as this one. The Christ of Scripture, in their mind, would not have spend his time writing scholarly articles to refute intellectual approach absolutely nothing to do with have compelled them to turn from turning away from CalvinismOne of the reasons why people turn from Calvinism is not because

Tobie

Apologies – ignore last 2 paragraphs above

Ryan Moody

I would encourage anyone to read the articles by Tim Warner against Calvinism at:
http://www.pfrs.org/calvinism/index.html
Particularly read the ones under “Proof Texts” at the bottom left side. There is a short debate with James White about John 6 which I believe Warner prevails. My two favorite writings are the ones on Romans 8:28-30 and the Eph. 1 – Exegesis. In the Romans passage he shows that this foreknowledge is simply God foreknowing the patriarchs and saints in past history while the Ephesians 1 passage is about Israel as His elect which is demonstrated by the shift in personal pronouns.

What I appreciate so much about Warner is that he takes the context, grammar, historical setting, and views of the earliest Christians into consideration when understanding any passage. I really believe he is presenting the correct understanding of these Calvinistic proof texts. As a former Calvinist myself, he was instrumental in changing my mind.

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