SBC and Calvinism: All in? All out? Somewhere in-between?

March 26, 2014

by Doug Sayers

Like many other Bible believers, I have had to wrestle with the longstanding debate between salvation by grace and salvation by irresistible grace (aka: Calvinism).

Again, like many today, I was a young believer when first introduced to the Calvinistic system. Sadly, the first book given to me at my first church (a non-Calvinistic one) was about the end times. You may have heard of it: “The Late Great Planet Earth.” That book was absolutely no match for J.I. Packer’s Knowing God, which I soon received through my college Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship group.

Soon, I was gobbling up the Bible and was mesmerized by the Reformed and Puritan writers who obviously knew so much about the Scriptures — and I knew so little. (There is a crucial lesson here for the SBC. I hope my non-Calvinistic brethren get the point before it’s too late.)

Let me speak briefly for those among us who are not seminary trained, but who care about the implications of this dispute. One problem we have, as lay people, is that we can find ourselves leaning toward whichever side of the debate we heard most recently.

Both sides say many things that make perfect sense to us and concur with our own Bible reading; but both sides may also say some things that don’t make much sense and aren’t as clear in Scripture.

It is evident that there must be real and meaningful differences between the two positions on biblical election. If there weren’t, we wouldn’t have to endure so much angst, friction, and downright animosity among Christians, who otherwise have so much in common.

Allow me to relate an account of how this issue came to a head in the life of my family. At some point, our biblical doctrine/theology has to be applied to our day-to-day lives or it becomes an impractical theory, which would be no more impactful than who wins the NCAA basketball tournament. (That being said, I trust we are all pulling for any team from Michigan.)

In 1987, our youngest of four children, Luke, had a near drowning accident when he was 3. I will spare you (and me) the details of the accident. I was, at the time, fairly young, somewhat restless, and Reformed. This was before it was cool to be so. I had been a deacon in a fledgling and struggling Baptist church in Orlando. (Ernie Reisinger, who many in SBC circles may have known was helping our church along.)

While we were in the pediatric intensive care unit at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, one of our Calvinistic friends came to visit. I was not in the room during his visit, but my wife, Julie, was. She later relayed to me the conversation that she had with our friend.

Julie told how she commented on her confidence that, if Luke died, then she believed he would go to heaven.

Our Calvinistic friend disagreed. He thought we should not assume that.

It is still not clear to me whether our friend was saying that Luke would definitely not go to heaven if he died, or if we simply could not know whether Luke was among the elect.

Calvinists (and some non-Calvinists) are divided among themselves on this question. Some Calvinists assume that all babies who die must be elect and therefore go to heaven. I am glad they teach that, but I am afraid their hearts and creeds are in clear conflict. It is a blatant case of wish projection for a Calvinist to assert this hope. (I believe some scholars call it “eisegesis.” Some would call it a “felicitous inconsistency.”)

They get it right in their hearts but wrong in their creeds.

I was more irritated than outraged by our friend’s remarks. I was not convinced that he was right, but I knew my Calvinism well enough to know that logic was on his side if indeed we are each born guilty of Adam’s transgression, as most Reformed creeds teach.

I remember telling Julie something like, “Oh, don’t worry about it, that’s just [our friend] taking his Calvinism too seriously. If Luke dies, he will go to heaven.” (Note: Julie did not need much explanation from me on this point. She’s been in a theological scrap or two and holds her own quite well.)

You may be sure that this episode got me to thinking about my so-called doctrines of “sovereign grace.” In defense of our friend, I think he was just one of the rare few who had the shameless courage to actually apply such Calvinistic doctrine to a real life situation.

I remember thinking that, if Luke were to perish in hell, then he would certainly deserve it; but I could not, for the life of me, figure out how that could be just or biblical. Thus, it was time for me to start reading more Bible and fewer books about the Bible.

So where did my subsequent Bible study take me? A brief summary will have to suffice. It is very important that we Bible thumpers recognize the nature and authority of the biblical revelation. We cannot impose our own presuppositions and experiences on the Bible.

God talks; we listen.

Family before God is a common form of idolatry. Some of the most freeing things that Jesus ever said make this point very clear and are a great comfort at the funeral services of loved ones.

Several texts have served to free me from Calvin’s irresistible grip. One reason that Calvinism is difficult to gainsay is because good people and brilliant theologians have believed it. Also, it is a logical system, which uses Scripture, but it is built on a false premise, or two.

The first premise is that we are each born dead in sin, i.e., guilty of Adam’s sin in the Garden. Calvinists don’t teach that we merely suffer the consequences of Adam’s sin, but they assume we are culpable for it by the time we are born. This is included in their definition of the terms “Original Sin” and “Federal Headship of Adam.” (BIBLE STUDENTS BEWARE: He who defines the terms, wins!)

The Reformed teaching assumes that we are all guilty of sin as soon as we are born, even conceived. Every newborn baby deserves to perish in hell according to true and historical Calvinism.

One can’t interpret Romans 9 the way Calvinists do until one first interprets Romans 5 the way they do.

Matthew Henry and George Whitefield were gifts to the Christian church in spite of their Calvinism. In his commentary on Romans 5, Matthew Henry said that those people born with handicaps and diseases must be guilty of sin; otherwise, God would not be just in ordaining them to be born with their infirmity. (I know, I was a little stunned the first time I read it too!)

George Whitefield, in his sermon entitled, “The Method of Grace,” said that God would be just in damning sinners to hell even if they never actually sinned once in their entire lifetime.

I think God does not appreciate preachers telling people that He would send them to hell even if they never actually sinned; it doesn’t reflect very well on His holy character, but at least Whitefield had the courage to admit that this is what he believed.

Just like some Calvinists, I, too, didn’t have that much nerve. I would dance around such issues or omit entirely the most objectionable implications of Calvinism. Thus, the first watershed moment for me in terms of our debate over Calvinism was found in an omission: The Bible never says that the guilt of Adam’s sin is imputed to his posterity. Not once. In fact, the word for impute is not used in Romans 5. If indeed the Calvinists are wrong about the imputation of Adam’s guilt, then their whole system hits the iceberg and sinks.

Another eye-opener for me is found in two texts that I had blown past for years, all the while assuming that I understood everything they were teaching. We know that sin is not imputed where there is no law, and where there is no law there is no transgression, Romans 5:13; 4:15. For years, I missed this simple point that contradicts the Calvinistic assumption that God imputes Adam’s sin to his posterity. God imputes the guilt of our sin when we break a known commandment in spite of the ability to obey, like He did with Adam. Adam became dead in sin the moment God imputed the guilt of his sin to him. Sin is not imputed by arbitrary decree.

Thus, here’s another question for our Calvinistic brethren: “By what law would Adam’s sin have been imputed to any newborn baby?” Or, what law did Esau personally break in order for God to ordain him to eternal misery before he was born? If you understand the implications of these texts, and others like them, then I think you have uncovered the beginning of the end of the historical Calvinistic soteriology.

In short, it is biblically impossible for the guilt of Adam’s sin to be imputed to his posterity. If, as a Southern Baptist, you support any language that imputes the guilt of Adam’s sin to his posterity, then you should not logically or biblically teach that dying infants and small children will go to heaven. Not only does this Calvinistic teaching impugn the justice of God, but it is also absurd. I hope you will remember the serious implications of the Calvinistic system if you ever have to attend the funeral service a child.

Read more on this topic, HERE.
To purchace Dr. Harwood’s book,
“The Spiritual Condition of Infants: A Biblical-Historical Survey and Systematic Proposal”
click HERE.
To purchase “What is Calvinism?”
click HERE.

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Clay Gilbreath

Brother! What a great article by a “layman.” I don’t much like that term… I am one of you (not seminary trained) but I am also a pastor of an SBC church. It is going to take men and women from all areas of SBC life to give thoughtful study and response to the encroach of Calvinism. Keep writing!!!!

Rick Patrick

Doug,
Extremely well done. Your arguments here are truly flawless. Two books by Adam Harwood also expose the position of Imputed Guilt in favor of Inherited Sinful Nature. For the layperson—Born Guilty? And for the Pastor or Theologian—The Spiritual Condition of Infants. Both are available at either Amazon, Free Press or through a simple google search.

    Norm Miller

    Thx, Rick. Since you commented, I have added links to those books as may be seen above. The latter link leads to “Free Press,” where the informative booklet “What is Calvinism?” may be purchased. Every Trad should own a copy. — Norm

Max

Thank you Brother Sayers for sharing your journey from Calvinism and the Truth you have learned along the way. Praise God for that old Baptist doctrine of “Priesthood of THE Believer”! A layman can speak with Biblical authority, too! By the Spirit of Truth, all believers (including laymen!) can know the Truth which sets them free (even from the teachings and traditions of mere men)! Unfortunately, the BFM2000 revision diminished the doctrines of soul competency and priesthood of the believer (that through Christ each believer is a priest – both pulpit and pew). With the proliferation of New Calvinism within SBC ranks, I have found a growing mistrust of individual, personal experience as New Calvinists submit themselves to reformed leaders and a belief system contrary to that held by the non-Calvinist/non-Reformed majority of Southern Baptists.

(P.S. Go Michigan State!!)

Max

“(BIBLE STUDENTS BEWARE: He who defines the terms, wins!)”

So true, Brother Sayers! I would add a similar remark to your collection of such items “If someone’s weakness overcomes your strength, they own you!” Southern Baptists have had a long history (at least in my 65 year lifetime) of carrying a strong denominational gifting of evangelism. I see that slipping away as New Calvinist pastors enter SBC pulpits to redefine evangelism from a reformed perspective … an overcoming of an SBC strength which has identified us as a people of God on home and foreign mission fields.

Jake Rock

Good read. However, I must admit that every time I come across an article regarding some doctrinal issue of the SBC (even one as well written as this) I immediately thank God that He has called me to pastor a church in a community so far away from these arguments that I need not be troubled by them. I am in the middle of inner city Minneapolis where people seem to have greater concerns and in my 10 years serving the church I have never- not once- had to explain my position on Calvinism, election, the Second Coming, my millennial stance, or any other “hot button” topic outside of a research paper for school. So here is the good news; there is at least one SBC pastor out there who does not need to worry about picking a side and can instead dedicate himself to the ministry of preaching and prayer. I write this to encourage all of you to stand strong and hang in there and as a result there will be more and more of us doing what God called us to do in the first place.

    Norm Miller

    We truly are grateful, Jake, that God is blessing his ministry through you, and that you have not yet faced the doctrinal issues that others are facing. That you are not facing these matters today does not mean you never will. Bethlehem Baptist Church in your city is the home church of one of Calvinism’s leading proponents, John Piper, whose influence has traversed this country. You can rest assured that at some point, you will face the philosophical issues of Calvinism that many churches elsewhere do — and with varying degrees of success and failure.
    While we surely celebrate your calling, those of us who enjoin these matters you have blessedly avoided have just as great a sense of call as anyone else, anywhere else. When there are those whose theology logically makes God the author of evil, and avers that not all people are savable, then others must take a stand against such an unbiblical onslaught in an effort to “defend the faith once delivered to the saints.”
    Inasmuch as you are able to concentrate on the ministries you noted, we believe that others who do face what results from Calvinism take encouragement and education from our ministry to them as the consistent growth of this web site confirms. Last week, e.g., this blog got 6500 hits, and this week is shaping up to be even more than that. That said, we are happy to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you as our respective ministries represent various aspects of the Body of Christ engaging in a variety of ministries for the sake of those who do not yet know Jesus, and also in obedience to the Great Commission’s exhortation to make disciples.

    May God continue to bless you,

    Norm Miller, editor/moderator

    Max

    Stand like a rock, Brother Rock, and keep doing what God has called you to do! While you are at it, be vigilant for signs of the encroachment of New Calvinism into your work. Particularly, be on the lookout for congregants who are infatuated with Piper books (there must be a bunch of them at yard sales in your community!). Also beware of young folks in your flock who carry the English Standard Version of the Bible, particularly the ESV Study Bible (it’s the New Calvinist sword of choice). The latter shouldn’t be a problem, however … I suspect most New Calvinists in your area will be hanging out over at Bethlehem Baptist or one of SBC’s new church plants in your vicinity – those where I live appear to be attracting a preponderance of young, restless and reformed pastors.

      Jake Rock

      Thank you for the kind words Max and Norm. To be perfectly honest, I have lived in Minneapolis my entire life (42 years) and grew up in the SBC through Southtown Baptist and later New Hope Baptist when I came back to the Lord in August of 2000. Right now the SBC is still a minor blip on the radar screen as our town is dominated by Lutheran and Catholic Churches (not to mention we have the largest number of witches covens in the nation- no connection intended to the other denoms),. I assure you that I could go out on the streets of South Minneapolis and ask the first 1000 people I met if they knew what Calivinism is, and I would probably get around 1 or two people that would know or even care. A much more dangerous situation, and perhaps akin to feverous dogma, is the revival of churches with “cult-like” tendencies in Minneapolis. This may prove to be fertile ground for extremism… We will see.

        Norm Miller

        Seems as if you have plenty of other -isms to be wary of. Glad God is using you. Holler if we can ever assist you in any way.

        Max

        “… ask the first 1000 people I met if they knew what Calivinism is, and I would probably get around 1 or two people that would know or even care.”

        The really sad thing about that statement, Brother Rock, is that you would get the same response from the majority of folks in SBC pews across the country! To date, it appears that the confrontation of SBC Calvinization is waged primarily on this and other blogs, along with a small grassroots movement of concerned “traditional” Southern Baptists who are attempting to educate others within the sound of their voice. Millions of mainstream SBC members are simply not engaged – they are either uninformed, misinformed, or willingly ignorant when it comes to the Calvinist agenda (both SBC and non-SBC reformed influencers know this and use it to their advantage). Church leaders across the convention dodge the subject like a plague and most State Baptist papers won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole. Reformed theology currently enjoys a blessing under the BFM2000 in SBC’s big tent, allowing wiggle room for it to grow and prosper. I just had a conversation with a long-time member of a traditional SBC work in my area who didn’t have a clue about the theological leaning of their new pastor until the young rebel successfully replaced congregational governance with elder rule, recruited like-minded members from area reformed works, and split the church. The 45,000+ SBC churches need to have this “family talk” soon to educate the masses, but I doubt that will happen. As Brother Sayers notes in the above piece “There is a crucial lesson here for the SBC. I hope my non-Calvinistic brethren get the point before it’s too late.”

Alan House

Thank you Brother Doug for your timely article. For several years now, I have been amused and amazed by the various “dances” calvinists do around the issue of the salvation of infants.

Calvin, himself, held to the “children of the elect are elect” as you can see in these quotes:

On the other hand, he declares that “Our children, before they are born, God declares that he adopts for his own [without baptism]….In this promise their salvation is included….How much evil has been caused by the dogma…that baptism is necessary to salvation…” (xv, 20);

“children of believers are not baptised, in order that…they may…for the first time, become children of God, but rather are received into the Church by a formal sign, because, in virtue of the promise, they previously [i.e., from birth] belonged to the body of Christ” (xv, 22);

“…God is so good and liberal to his people, that he is pleased…to extend their privileges to the children born to them” (xvi, 15);

“whereas children, deriving their origin from Christians, as they are immediately on their birth received by God as heirs of the covenant, are also to be admitted to baptism” (xvi, 24);

“it is no slight stimulus to us to bring them [children] up in the fear of God, and the observance of his law, when we reflect, that from their birth they have been considered and acknowledged by him as his children” (xvi, 32).

Boettner allows, “The Scriptures seem to teach plainly enough that the children of believers are saved.” Oh REALLY?

Warfield says, ” Concerning those who die in infancy, their destiny is determined irrespective of their choice, by an unconditional decree of God, suspended for its execution on no act
of their own; and their salvation is wrought by an unconditional application of the grace of Christ to their souls, through the immediate and irresistible operation of the Holy Spirit prior to and apart from any action of their own proper wills . . . And if death in infancy does depend on God’s providence, it is assuredly God in His providence who selects this vast multitude to be made participants of His unconditional salvation . . . This is but to say that they are unconditionally predestinated to salvation from the foundation of the world. If only a single infant dying in irresponsible infancy be saved, the whole Arminian principle is traversed. If all infants dying such are saved, not only the majority of the saved, but doubtless the majority of the human race hitherto, have entered into life by a non-Arminian pathway.” This is an example of industrial-grade calvinist mumbo-jumbo!

Spurgeon, Moeller, Akin, Hodge, and MacArthur all hold that all infants are elect of God and are therefore saved. This is nothing other than election conditioned by infancy. Unconditional election is out the window! Justification by infancy in in!

The “Desiring God” blog states, “It is important to emphasize that, in our view, God is not saving infants because they are innocent. They are not innocent, but guilty. He is saving them because, although they are sinful, in his mercy he desires that compassion be exercised upon those who are sinful and yet lack the capacity to grasp the truth revealed about Him in nature and to the human heart.” This is seriously contradictory to the calvinist doctrine of election which expressly teaches that ALL the reprobate “lack the capacity to grasp the truth revealed about Him in nature and to the human heart.” According to Calvinism, the new birth, alone, brings the capacity to grasp the truth!

Finally, in a discordant note, that darling of all Calvinists, Jonathan Edwards, says, ““Reprobate infants are vipers of vengeance, which Jehovah will hold over hell, in the tongs of his wrath, till they turn and spit venom in his face!” Now, THERE is a consistent calvinist! Either people (and babies) are elect or they are NOT elect.

If you hold to UNCONDITIONAL election, it is a cognitive dissonance to prescribe conditions that modify election.

Thanks,

Al House

    wingedfooted1

    “Most Calvinistic theologians have held that those who die in infancy are saved. The Scriptures seem to teach plainly enough that the children of believers are saved; but they are silent or practically so in regard to those of the heathens. The Westminster Confession does not pass judgment on the children of heathens who die before coming to years of accountability.” – excerpted from The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, by Loraine Boettner: Unconditional Election: Infant Salvation

    The scriptures seem to teach plainly enough that the children of believers are saved? If this is true then you have universalism.

    A calvinist would insist that Noah and his wife were elect (believers). And since Noah and his wife were believers then that would mean that Shem, Ham, and Japheth were believers as well. And if Shem, Ham, and Japheth were believers, then their children must also be believers. And since all of mankind can trace their roots to Noah, and since the children of believers are themselves believers, as calvinism claims, then all of mankind is saved.

    Also, it is safe to say that Adam and Eve were believers. If calvinism is true, wouldn’t that make both Cain and Abel believers as well??

    Once, again, calvinism suffers from the scrutiny of scripture.

    God bless.

      Max

      “A calvinist would insist that Noah and his wife were elect (believers). And since Noah and his wife were believers then that would mean that Shem, Ham, and Japheth were believers as well. And if Shem, Ham, and Japheth were believers, then their children must also be believers. And since all of mankind can trace their roots to Noah, and since the children of believers are themselves believers, as calvinism claims, then all of mankind is saved.”

      Wingedfooted – I do believe that you’ve got both your wing and your foot in the right place on this one! Actually, your illogical logic fits into taking text out of context which the reformed brethren have mastered. I’ll have to ponder your assessment when I get around to it – in the meantime, I’ll file it with my other Noah trivia (e.g., Noah took 14 of each species of clean animals on the ark, rather than 2 … another thing they lied to us about in Sunday School!)

    Robert

    Hello Al,

    I am no Calvinist so I ask this question not to argue against anything that you have shared here. Rather, I just want to look at the reference for myself in the original text.

    You stated:

    “Finally, in a discordant note, that darling of all Calvinists, Jonathan Edwards, says, ““Reprobate infants are vipers of vengeance, which Jehovah will hold over hell, in the tongs of his wrath, till they turn and spit venom in his face!”

    *Where* is that statement found in the writings of Jonathan Edwards?

    Could you be so kind as to provide the place in his writings where this statement can be found?

    Thanks.

    Robert

        Robert

        Hello again Al,

        Thanks for providing the source of the quote.. I looked at the source that you gave and one of the people cited that quote and others corrected him pointing out that Edwards never said it. They all said it was supposedly attributed to him in his message “The Eternity of Hell’s Torments”. I did not find it there so I believe this quote is an “urban myth” type thing. People quote it, but Edwards apparently never actually said it.

        On the other hand this does not alleviate the reality that Edwards was extremely harsh on this topic of nonbelievers going to hell. In his most famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of and Angry God” he says this:

        “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some detestable insect, over the fire, detests you, and is dreadfully provoked: His wrath towards you burns like fire; He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be thrown into the fire; He eyes are too pure than to bear to have you in His sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in His eyes, than the most hateful venomous snake is in ours. You have offended Him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince: and yet, it is nothing but His hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell last night; that you were allowed to awake up again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose this morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in this church, provoking His pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending His solemn worship. Yes, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.”

        These words are absolutely ridiculous and misleading because Edwards as a consistent Calvinist believed and taught that God predetermines everything (i.e. he predecided both who would be saved and who would be lost, he then ensures that his decrees are carried out in history). This belief that God predetermines every detail of history has some revolting implications.

        If that is true, then he predetermines the non-believers unbelief as well as every sin they commit!

        So God according to Edwards detests and hates these nonbelievers whom God himself made to be unbelievers!

        God himself made them into unbelievers and predestined their every thought and action. To have such hatred and hostility to them, when he made them so, indicates a person with a complete lack of character and as hateful as you can be. That is what results from consistent Calvinism: A representation of God as this hateful person who hates the “reprobates” who are only doing what He predestined they would do! They cannot help being nonbelievers because God predestined them to be nonbelievers and controls every circumstance to ensure that they are the nonbelievers He predestined them to be. It is not surprising or shocking that non-Calvinists when they realize this implication of consistent Calvinism find it to be an extremely reprehensible theology. If God hates people that way, and most of the human race are nonbelievers. Then God hates a lot of human persons whom He himself made to be the very nonbelievers that He would hate like this and hate like this and punish for eternity.

        If you take this concept and make it personal and realize that God would be doing that to all your own nonbelieving family, friends, and acquaintances, it becomes a very disgusting and revolting idea! It also becomes sad and disturbing that some professing Christians actually teach and promote this concept!

        Robert

          Alan House

          Hi Robert, sorry about the misquote. Never the less, I believe that Edwards was much more forthcoming about the implications of unconditional election than most other calvinist leaders. I honestly do not think that the masses of reformed folks have actually confronted the disturbing realities of unconditional election and meticulous providence. Just as I believe that the masses of Southern Baptists have no good answer for the six dozen or so scriptures that make perfect sense when viewed thru the lens of conditional security and make no sense at all when viewed thru the lens of unconditional security. They, nearly universally, fall back on the “True Scotsman” logical fallacy. Instead of confronting the long list of scriptures head-on. Thanks, Alan

          Max

          Robert,

          You can read Johnathan Edwards’ perspective on the “Damnation of Infants” in his writings at: http://edwards.yale.edu/archive?path=aHR0cDovL2Vkd2FyZHMueWFsZS5lZHUvY2dpLWJpbi9uZXdwaGlsby9nZXRvYmplY3QucGw/Yy4xMjo0OjEud2plby41NjQ4NTI=

          In that text, Edwards states “Who shall determine just now much sin is sufficient to make damnation agreeable to the divine perfections? And how can they determine that infants have not so much sin? For we know they have enough to make their damnation very just.”

            Doug Sayers

            Guys, It is also worth noting that Edwards addressed children and small children in “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Remember too, that this is not merely an emotional appeal. It is an appeal to natural and biblical justice. Sin is not imputed where there is no law. Therefore sin is not imputed by inheritance/natural generation. We also know that Esau had not done any evil before he was born. I doubt we really needed the Bible to tell us that but I’m glad it does. (Rom 5,9)

Steve Davis

Re your quote of Matthew Henry. A friend of mine sent me the following:

Matthew Henry, Romans 5:6-21

Further, to clear this, he shows that sin did not commence with the law of Moses, but was in the world until, or before, that law therefore that law of Moses is not the only rule of life, for there was a rule, and that rule was transgressed, before the law was given. It likewise intimates that we cannot be justified by our obedience to the law of Moses, any more than we were condemned by and for our disobedience to it. Sin was in the world before the law witness Cain’s murder, the apostasy of the old world, the wickedness of Sodom. His inference hence is, Therefore there was a law for sin is not imputed where there is no law.Original sin is a want of conformity to, and actual sin is a transgression of, the law of God: therefore all were under some law. His proof of it is, Death reigned from Adam to Moses, Romans 5:14. It is certain that death could not have reigned if sin had not set up the throne for him. This proves that sin was in the world before the law, and original sin, for death reigned over those that had not sinned any actual sin, thathad not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, never sinned in their own persons as Adam did–which is to be understood of infants, that were never guilty of actual sin, and yet died, because Adam’s sin was imputed to them. This reign of death seems especially to refer to those violent and extraordinary judgments which were long before Moses, as the deluge and the destruction of Sodom, which involved infants. It is a great proof of original sin that little children, who were never guilty of any actual transgression, are yet liable to very terrible diseases, casualties, and deaths, which could by no means be reconciled with the justice and righteousness of God if they were not chargeable with guilt.

Norm Miller

Pastor Hines:

You said:
“What the world needs is a theology that is based upon sound biblical exegesis and not the musings of laymen who are not even members of a local church and have no pastoral or shepherding oversight of any kind whatsoever.”

Note that SBCToday called Layman Sayers directly, and he assured us on the phone that he is attending church regularly and is under the weekly teaching of a Bible study in that church. Layman Sayers, however, having left Calvinism, is searching for a suitable church to attend on Sundays — one which he will join, eventually.

Per your advice, Rev Hines, that the world needs “a theology that is based upon sound biblical exegesis,” this blog has numerous such articles that actually use the Bible as well as the writings of Calvinists themselves to show the system’s flaws. Of particular note among those flaws is compatibilism.

Allow me to illustrate this flaw, please:
If God would allow Adam, in a state of perfection, to make a ‘contrary (sinful) choice’ (i.e. contrary to his Adam’s perfect, unsullied will), then God surely allows the inverse, too. Humans, in an imperfect state, can make what Ronnie Rogers calls “otherwise choice.” If not, then Calvin’s claim that humans will always, and, in fact, can do no other than choose according to personal desires is faulty. The question is, then: In a state of perfection, why did Adam desire to sin and choose contrary to his perfect nature?

‘Twould seem that compatibilism is the flightless albatross that cannot be untied from around Calvin’s neck.

Note that Traditionalists do not deny an inherited fallen nature as did Pelagius. So, your specious charge of Pelagianism is completely out of line. This is not the first time, however, Traditionalists have suffered from a patently false accusation.

If you are interested in the Traditionalists’ biblical understanding of soteriology, then click the url and download the free theological journal. http://www.baptistcenter.net/

We do appreciate your interest. — Norm

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