SBC New Orleans: A Convention of Clarification

July 3, 2012


By Dr. Eric Hankins, Pastor of the
First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi


As I have processed the proceedings of our most recent Convention, I believe one of the most exciting and promising aspects of those days were some terrific opportunities to converse about and clarify our views on some crucial matters.

First, the historic election of Rev. Fred Luter gave our Convention the opportunity to bring ever-increasing clarity to the issue of racial prejudice, an issue for which the SBC has had both a shameful history and slowness to correct. Now, I want to state firmly that Rev. Luter’s election is not, to me, primarily about race. Rev. Luter is deserving of this position for reasons entirely unrelated to the fact that he is African-American. His life of commitment to the Gospel, to the lost and hurting in the great but challenging city of New Orleans, to his twice-built work at Franklin Avenue, and to his precious family are more than enough to qualify him for the office. With respect to the SBC, his election is as much about grace as it is about race. Rev. Luter loved the Convention even when it must have been very difficult to love. He saw the SBC not for what it was but for what it could be and that is the mark of visionary leadership. His grace and faithfulness, thankfully, has afforded us the opportunity, even at this late hour, to affirm that we are worthy of that vision. In Alan Paton’s classic, Cry, the Beloved Country, which is set in South Africa in the 1940s, Pastor Msimangu’s greatest fear is that “one day when they are turned to loving, they will find that we are turned to hating.” Rev. Luter kept on loving and wrought for the Convention the opportunity to say clearly to our culture that we are turning to loving as well.

Second, I was glad to see the Convention bring clarity to the issue of evangelism and the Sinner’s Prayer, although the length of the debate and level of opposition to the Resolution, even its final form, is quite sobering. Also, I was appreciative of Dr. David Platt’s willingness to clarify his views on the matter, ultimately affirming it in both in his Pastor’s Conference sermon and in a subsequent blog post. He has rightly communicated his understanding that, for a comparatively young man, he has been handed the tremendous responsibility of being heard as an authority by tens of thousands. A number of the challenges he has laid before us are helpful indeed. What he says, however, even in three-minute YouTube videos, has great influence, and many of the things he said in that video about the Sinner’s Prayer were quite problematic. Dr. Danny Akin wrote recently of his own appreciation for the Sinner’s Prayer and for Dr. Platt’s clarification. He does, however, take a little dig at a quote of mine as being “irresponsible.” I stated that I felt that the underlying criticism of the Sinner’s Prayer from New Calvinists is related to the fact that they do not believe that all people can pray that prayer because some people are hopelessly condemned, a criticism I stand by and will be glad to discuss. Indeed, Dr. Platt states, quoting me, “I definitively don’t believe that certain people ‘actually have no chance for life in Christ.’” I take Dr. Platt’s comment to mean that he believes that every sinner who hears the Gospel is the object of God’s love and the subject of the Spirit’s drawing and can respond in a prayer of repentance and faith. He goes on to state that “God loves all people in the world (John 3:16) and He desires all people’s salvation (2 Peter 3:9).” Because of the dynamics of this debate, I hope Dr. Platt will make clear that he does not mean that God has two kinds of love and two wills for “all people in the word.” When I say that God loves and wants to save all people, I mean, along with most Southern Baptists, that God’s love and will is the same for all people. It appears that Dr. Akin affirms this perspective. This is strikingly significant because, if both of these important leaders reject the idea that there are certain people who have no chance for life in Christ, then a decisive challenge to New Calvinism has indeed been raised.

Rather than behaving irresponsibly, it was my desire to take up my responsibility as a Southern Baptist pastor to raise legitimate concerns in the life of the Convention that were in need of clarification. I did not raise these matters lightly. I did not raise these matters because I thought it would be cool, popular, or fun (none of which it has been, I can promise you). I raised them precisely because I believed it was the right and responsible thing to do, and I will continue to do so.

Third, it seemed to me that, in general, there was a great deal of modulation of the rhetoric surrounding our present discussion of Calvinism in the SBC, raised by the Statement of Traditional Baptist Soteriology. At the Baptist21 lunch, Dr. Al Mohler made some very helpful (and customarily eloquent) comments about the usefulness of the Statement and the value of “arguing” without “fighting.” Those observations certainly brought a necessary texture and trajectory to comments he had made earlier about the Statement. Dr. Mohler’s observations were received quite positively by the other members of the panel including Platt, Akin, Luter, Paige Patterson, and J.D. Greear (the whole event celebrating the Conservative Resurgence was fabulous. Kudos to Jon Akin et al). When this whole conversation ramped up a month ago, the standard line seemed to be “we don’t need to talk about this because everything is fine and Calvinism is not an issue.” Well, 60 % of Southern Baptist pastors feel otherwise, and I am glad that key leaders are recognizing the need for the discussion. Moreover, the watchword now is “unity” between Calvinists and Traditionalists, and I think that’s a great thing, especially when it comes from Dr. Tom Ascol of the Founders Ministries, an organization whose stated purpose is “the recovery of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the reformation of local churches. . . .” believing that “. . . intrinsic to this recovery is the promotion of the Doctrines of Grace in their experiential application to the local church particularly in the areas of worship and witness.” That doesn’t sound much like “unity” with non-Calvinists to me. However, Dr. Ascol states in a recent post, “Our Baptist polity is such that those in the SBC should be able to work together with brothers and sisters who affirm the essence of the gospel as spelled out in our Baptist Faith and Message statement.” I agree completely, but I do wonder how this fits with the fact that “Founders Ministries takes as its theological framework the first recognized confession of faith that Southern Baptists produced, The Abstract of Principles. We desire to encourage the return to and promulgation of the biblical gospel that our Southern Baptist forefathers held dear.” Nevertheless, all Southern Baptists should be encouraged by this resurgence of unity in the essentials. I know I am.

Fourth, I think it should be noted here the clarifying significance of something that didn’t happen at the SBC. Despite all of the histrionics and hand-wringing, no attempt was made to alter the Baptist Faith and Message for the purpose of “ridding the Convention of Calvinists.” None. And I can testify with absolute integrity that there were never, ever any plans to do so. I am thankful for Dr. Frank Page’s leadership in forming a committee to study this issue. I think this is great way for the conversation to continue. While I could sense a lot of tension in the early days of the Meeting, it seemed to me that, by the end, most were satisfied that a productive conversation had ensued, that we all still love each other, and that we all are likely to benefit from dealing with each other in an open, honest, and gentle way, even when we disagree.

Finally, several helpful “hallway” conversations with younger guys who gracefully disagree with me gives me an opportunity to make something clear as well. Although I articulate in the Preamble of the Statement that Calvinism is a valuable part of our heritage and that the contents of the Statement are not intended to exclude anyone from the life of the SBC, I want to make clear here that my criticisms and concerns about New Calvinism are not to be understood as a repudiation of everything related to the movement or of those who have benefitted from it. There is no doubt that New Calvinists have promoted a revival of interest in all things theological. They are flat out prolific, and they have revealed a deep hunger for theology that for too long has been ignored. They are seriously committed to engaging and investing in the youngest generation of evangelical Christians in ways that the rest of us ought to be emulating. Piper’s work on passion for God and on biblical manhood and womanhood, Dever’s work on the church, Mohler’s work on everything, is part of a renewed emphasis on what one of my ministry brothers called a “big view of God, a high view of Scripture, a strong view of the church, and a sweeping view of the nations.” Those are crucial emphases, indeed, and I want to be committed not to being overcritical in my evaluations. At the same time, I want to encourage my exuberant (and often younger) brothers not be uncritical in their acceptance. The leaders of this movement are just men, after all. Not everything they say is right and some of what they espouse is deeply troubling to me and many others. A big view of God, Scripture, Church, and the Nations is quite possible without ascribing to the Five Points of Calvinism. Because of the unacceptable but inevitable conclusions of the system, I will continue to advocate for a better way, but I commit to doing so with a humble spirit.

I felt that the Convention clearly agreed that the four emphases mentioned above are central to our core values and the way we get there theologically can include some plurality, discussion, and debate. While we face what are certainly some of our most challenging days as a Convention, I believe that if we work diligently and honestly, we can face them together.

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Rick Patrick

Eric,

Thank you for this beautifully stated and crystal clear summary of the convention. I especially appreciate your pinpoint accuracy in identifying one critical issue, as evidenced in the following quote:

“I take Dr. Platt’s comment to mean that he believes that every sinner who hears the Gospel is the object of God’s love and the subject of the Spirit’s drawing and can respond in a prayer of repentance and faith… I hope Dr. Platt will make clear that he does not mean that God has two kinds of love and two wills for ‘all people in the world.’ When I say that God loves and wants to save all people, I mean, along with most Southern Baptists, that God’s love and will is the same for all people.”

The notion that God secretly wills some of His children to experience His wrath in order that He might receive glory from their eternal destruction deserves the kind of scrutiny this article gracefully invites. Thank you for this thought provoking contribution.

volfan007

Eric,

Really good analysis, Bro. I think you hit the nail on the head. Also, it was a joy to meet you in New Orleans.

David

Adam Embry

I appreciate your comments, Dr. Hankins, as I was unable to attend the convention. Also, outside of Rev. Luter’s presidency, I’ve just recently discovered that some of these issues were indeed issues in the SBC. Though I haven’t read anything by you, Dr. Platt, or anyone else on the sinner’s prayer, I am having a hard time seeing how those who disagree with it do so on the basis of soteriology. I read your statement – “I felt that the underlying criticism of the Sinner’s Prayer from New Calvinists is related to the fact that they do not believe that all people can pray that prayer because some people are hopelessly condemned” – and tried to think of who I know that would believe that. Though I can see that could be the case theologically, and I hope no one certainly would, I think the issue might be more related to ecclesiology. Again, I’ve not read Platt, not even Radical, and I can’t speak for anyone else on either side of this discussion, but no one I know would balk at the sinner’s prayer for that reason. I’d probably say that the underlying criticism I’ve heard is that it does not connect conversion to discipleship, that is, in practice, given the number of people who claim to be Christian and Southern Baptist (or any denomination, for that matter) that no longer attend church said a sinner’s prayer but now no longer live as if they’re following Christ (no fruit). The result is a high number of members in the SBC but a significantly lower number of members who show up on Sunday mornings. Now, it’s certainly not the case that the prayer does not have to lead to discipleship. I believe the prayer does lead to discipleship and hope all believe that! And it’s certainly not the case that all who claim to be Christians but no longer live like it or refuse to attend church have said the sinner’s prayer. I hope any statistical study would never find that to be true. From what I can logically make of the discussion, and this is just my opinion and no one else, it seems like ecclesiology, that is, connecting conversion to discipleship (and I’ve defined discipleship narrowly throughout my remarks as attending church and living godly, so I could be faulted, here, but that does seem to be a simple understanding of discipleship) would be the starting point for criticism against the practice of having sinners pray any sort of prayer, consider them saved, and then never have them discipled. Again, it’s never the case that this must be so, but I can see where a stronger criticism can be leveled from ecclesiology rather than soteriology. It seems like a possible danger of rooting the critique in ecclesiology could be a strenuous process imposed on believers to produce an arbitrary amount of spiritual fruit in order to be accepted into membership once they have confessed Jesus as Lord so as to guard against easy-believism. I hope this would not be the case in any church’s practice.

I just haven’t met anyone who would believe the description of the critique on soteriology you provided. Perhaps you know them, and if so, I can certainly see why you’d be troubled by their theology and practice. I’d be troubled, as well.

Blessings to you and your church, Adam.

    volfan007

    Adam,

    David Platt came across as associating the “sinners prayer” and “asking Jesus into your heart” with “easy believism.” David Platt clarified his position after being called out by Eric Hankins and Steve Gaines and the SBC. I think sometimes David Platt speaks so strongly and extreme on things sometimes that he says things in a way that sounds “radical.” But, he clarified his position. I know I know I’ve made statements I’ve regretted later….and wish I would’ve said in a different way. I guess we all do.

    That being said, the sinners prayer and asking Jesus into your heart has nothing to do with easy believism. Although, some people do abuse these things in their preaching of easy believism. I mean, saying a prayer doesnt save anyone. And, just telling people to pray a prayer, and ask Jesus into your heart…without stressing repentance and faith….would be easy believism. Telling people to just believe in God, and/or just believe(intellectually) that Jesus died on a cross for sins, would be easy believism.

    But, if you talk to people about repentance and faith, and help them pray to call on God, because they just dont know how to pray, nor where to even begin, or a sinners prayer, is not easy believism. When you stress repentance and faith, as you’re sharing the Gospel with a lost person, and you use the phrase, “Are you now ready to ask Jesus into your heart,” is not easy believism.

    In our preaching the Gospel, and in sharing our faith with people, we should always stress repentance and faith. Acts 20:20-21.

    David

      Randall Cofield

      David,

      David Platt came across as associating the “sinners prayer” and “asking Jesus into your heart” with “easy believism.”

      Brother, can you honestly say you’ve never seen the “sinner’s prayer” and “asking Jesus into your hear” abused in a SB Church.

      Further, can you honestly say that this is not a significant problem in SB Churches?

      As a pastor, do you not quite often encounter those, who, when presented the Gospel, appeal to their having prayed a sinner’s prayer? Even when they live like pure hell?

      If you don’t have any of these kinds of critters in TN, leave the light on, ’cause I’m sellin’ out and movin’ up there with you.

      I deal with it almost on a weekly basis.

      Grace and Peace

        volfan007

        Randall,

        It’s as if you dont even really read what someone has written. Maybe you need to read the second paragraph of my comment above, one more time.

        Yes, there’s abuses of the sinners prayer. Yes, there’s people proclaiming easy believism, out there. Yes, it’s not a good thing.

        But, a sinners prayer is not easy believism. I see absolutely nothing wrong with helping someone to pray, calling on the Lord to save them. Some people just dont even know where to begin…..I’ve had them tell me that.
        Besides, Randall, even if no one ever used a sinners prayer, ever….there would still be people, who made false professions of faith, in our churches. Just take another look at the parable of the sower and the soils, where Jesus taught us that people, who are not really saved, will make false professions of faith. JESUS said this would happen.

        And, we most certainly do have these critters in TN. I deal with them on a weekly basis….trying to get them to see that there’s a problem with someone, who claims to be saved, and yet they live like a lost man.

        David

          Randall Cofield

          David,

          Yes, there’s abuses of the sinners prayer. Yes, there’s people proclaiming easy believism, out there. Yes, it’s not a good thing.

          Then why are the T.S.ers faulting David Platt for “associating” the sinners prayer with easy-believeism?

          Either it is abused or it is not. You can’t have it both ways.

          And, we most certainly do have these critters in TN. I deal with them on a weekly basis….trying to get them to see that there’s a problem with someone, who claims to be saved, and yet they live like a lost man.

          Then why not acknowledge that it is a significant problem in the SBC and either avoid its promotion altogether or build in strong language and explicit warning to guard against its abuse?

          Why not do that, instead of defending the SP with a “remember the Alamo” mentality?

          I assure you, brother, neither you nor I have ever saved anyone by leading them in a sinner’s prayer. Conversely, by your own admission, a substantial number have been radically deceived by the use of the sinner’s prayer.

          Grace and Peace

          Darryl Hill

          Yes David, I know there are critters like that in TN because I used to be one, having prayed a prayer as a child and then realized later I had no clue what it even meant. But that was the practice back then. Talk to a group of kids about Jesus and the ones who desire to please the adults around them (which was me) will do whatever you ask. There’s no evil intent, to be sure, but the result may be either years of living in sin and unable to figure out what’s up or forever pointing to that one time I prayed a prayer and then standing before God and hearing “I never knew you.”

          And really, I think that is why this is so critical and I’m so passionate about it. I don’t want ANYONE I’ve ever met to be in that situation, and I certainly don’t want anyone I’ve ever counseled to be in that situation. I know that is likely impossible to avoid and I also know that false converts can’t be avoided. But should we not do all we can to avoid that? I say yes.

          And when someone tells me, after I’ve shared the Gospel, “I don’t even know where to begin” I ask them “What are you thinking and feeling about these things?” They may say, “I feel like I’m a sinful person and I need forgiveness.” I’ve often heard “law to the proud” and “grace to the humble.” That is, if they are broken over sin and it is clear (not broken over bad things that have happened to them, but broken over their own sinful ways), then give them grace. They just need to cry out for mercy. It is not complicated. But if they just want to get this over with or do whatever they have to do to get it taken care of and there is no brokenness over sin, they need to hear about the perfect justice of God and to be shown how serious their sin issue really is.

          But I know how I used to counsel people who were doubting… “Was there ever a time in your life when you asked Jesus into your heart?” If they said yes, I’d reply, “Were you sincere? Did you really mean it?” And if they said yes, then I didn’t have any further answer other than to tell them that they must be saved because “anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Sounds good, right?

          But Scripture also says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature… all things have become new.” So, there should be a radical change of life here. So, I ask about this change.

          And then I began to study 1 John and the tests of genuine conversion he offers there.

          Are you sensitive to sin in your life? Are you brought to a point of repentance and is it ongoing?
          Is the pattern of your life one of walking in the light or the darkness?
          Do you actively love believers?
          Do you hate the things of the world?
          Is your life characterized by a selfless love?

          These are questions I might ask when helping someone examine themselves. And I would add that we’re not talking perfection, but we’re talking about a growing in holiness and a change of desires and allegiances.

          But the worst thing we can do is make salvation all about one prayer we pray one time and analyzing the event and the intentions we had at that time. The fact is, if that was a genuine work of God, our lives will be different today as well.

          Bob Hadley

          Randall and Daryll… (That might make a great name for a TV series… )

          This whole business of arguing easy believeism and its connection to the use of a sinner’s prayer is really not very productive. The very notion that you guys are propagating here is condescending as if God is unable to use this means to accomplish His end… the God I serve can use ANY means to bring someone to repentance…

          Now… who is to say that ANYONE who prays the sinner’s prayer is not converted? You and I do not know who is or is not saved but I am certainly grateful that God does… and I would also prefer to present the gospel to someone and extend my hand and ask them would they like to repent of their sins and trust Christ and Him alone to save them… and ask them to reach out and take my hand… does that save them… absolutely not… can God save them as they take my hand absolutely…

          Now let me ask ANYONE a question…

          Are there those who profess Christ in the Reformed churches that fail to follow the Scriptural dictates of sanctification and become victims of their own failure to grow to spiritual maturity?

          As I read your retort here there is this underlying superiority that you would not do such a thing… so why don’t you guys share your fool proof system that does not equally foster this “easy believeism” you so easily point fingers at…

          I would really love to understand that fool-proof system… really.

          ><>”

          Darryl Hill

          Hey Bro. Bob, I’m tempted to respond to your tone, but I’m planning to resist the urge. We’ll see momentarily if I was successful. :-)

          You said: “This whole business of arguing easy believeism and its connection to the use of a sinner’s prayer is really not very productive.”

          Ok, I think it’s very productive to discuss the dangers of easy believism, if for no other reason than that perhaps it might cause someone to think this through. I’m glad you’ve at least considered it Bob, even if you appear to have complete contempt for it.

          You said: “The very notion that you guys are propagating here is condescending as if God is unable to use this means to accomplish His end… the God I serve can use ANY means to bring someone to repentance…”

          My intent is certainly not to be condescending and I apologize if you took it that way. God brings about a desire for repentance through the preaching of the Gospel and the working of His Spirit, not through whatever method we employ. The problem with the sinner’s prayer does not occur in situations where God has genuinely brought someone to repentance. In those instances, we can’t mess it up. Having them repeat a prayer or take your hand or jump a pew wouldn’t matter. The problem happens when you’ve got someone who isn’t truly repentant but just wanting a clear conscience, a ticket to heaven, to join the church as a religious work of some kind because they don’t understand the Gospel, or a myriad of other motivations, and you inoculate them to hearing the Gospel. You are actually hardening their hearts when you have them repeat words that are not in their own hearts and then declare them saved forever.

          You said… “who is to say that ANYONE who prays the sinner’s prayer is not converted? You and I do not know who is or is not saved but I am certainly grateful that God does…”

          Scripture tells us whether or not they are truly saved over a period of time. Now, it’s true that I do not know the heart of these people, but I can look at what Scripture says about believers and come to some conclusions. If you’ve got a guy who hasn’t been to church in several years who claims Christ, there’s something wrong. Now, I do NOT tell that man “I know for a fact that you are lost.” I tell them “there is no Scriptural reason, no outward evidence, for me to assure you that you are a genuine believer.” I would tell them this because it is true. I would NOT ask if they ever prayed a sinner’s prayer and if they meant it.

          You said… “Are there those who profess Christ in the Reformed churches that fail to follow the Scriptural dictates of sanctification and become victims of their own failure to grow to spiritual maturity? ”

          Of course there are. As I wrote above… “And I would add that we’re not talking perfection, but we’re talking about a growing in holiness and a change of desires and allegiances.” Yes, this is not perfection. We’re talking about a person who stands up, tries to walk in obedience, falls down, gets back up, tries again, falls down again, and etc. They fail and they repent. They are GENUINELY struggling against sin. They see their sin for what it is, they confess, and God is faithful and just to forgive them. They are fighting it and they hate it. That is the life of a believer.

          There is no fool proof way to guarantee that every person I share the Gospel with or every person who appears to repent and believe the Gospel will prove to be that good soil which receives the seed of the word and produces fruit consistent with the life of God. BUT there are ways to keep from giving people a false sense of security and there are safeguards against having a church filled with people like this. This is why I won’t use the sinner’s prayer.

          volfan007

          Darryl and Randall,

          Dont forget the parable of the sower and the soils. And, this parable is true of Reformed Churches, too.

          David

      Alan Davis

      “But, if you talk to people about repentance and faith, and help them pray to call on God, because they just dont know how to pray, nor where to even begin, or a sinners prayer, is not easy believism. When you stress repentance and faith, as you’re sharing the Gospel with a lost person, and you use the phrase, “Are you now ready to ask Jesus into your heart,” is not easy believism.

      In our preaching the Gospel, and in sharing our faith with people, we should always stress repentance and faith. Acts 20:20-21.”

      Agreed David, though I would probably ask if the person was ready to confess and repent of thier sins and ask Jesus to save them. But point well taken. Thank you

      Alan Davis

Chris Roberts

“And I can testify with absolute integrity that there were never, ever any plans to do so.”

Thank you for sharing that, this is one of the things I was hoping to hear from someone. There certainly has been a concern that those behind the Statement seek to force the exclusion or reduction of Calvinism in SBC life. While changing the BF&M would not be the only way to accomplish this, it is nonetheless one of the more straightforward ways.

I am curious if others who sign the Statement would be able to affirm what Paige Patterson affirmed at the B21 panel: that Calvinists should not be restricted from positions of influence in the SBC. Patterson was asked if Calvinists should be allowed to be entity heads, and he clearly and emphatically said yes, they should. Do others who signed the Statement agree with Hadley? What about any other means of reducing the presence of Calvinism in the SBC?

    volfan007

    Chris,

    I believe that you and others have been told over and over and over again, that we dont wanna kick the Calvinists out. Yet, you seem to refuse to believe us…to take us at our word. Why not?

    Also, I believe it was Traditional Baptists types, who placed Mohler as head of the Southern Seminary, was it not? Same with Akin…Also, were any Calvinists turned down from being missionaries in the past by Traditional Baptist types? None that I know. I had some Calvinist friends, who went to foreign lands as SB missionaries. They were Calvinists. They went. So, Calvinists have been placed in leadership positions for years by Traditional Baptist types. Why do you think they wouldnt now?

    Also, I do have to agree with Bob Hadley about not wanting the SBC to become a Reformed entity. I really do not want the SS literature teaching Reformed doctrine. I do not want the SBC to start Acts 29 type Churches. I do not want our Seminaries turning out New Calvinist types, especially those who go into a church in a stealth manner…to try to convert it. So, if any leaders are gonna do these types of things in the SBC, then I’m not for them. If their desire is to see the SBC become Reformed, then I’m not for them leading anything.

    Southern is already getting a huge reputation, BTW, and its not a good one. I’m hearing that Churches are looking at resumes that have Southern on them with a very suspicious eye right now. Southern, of course, has influence in this part of TN where I live, because they offer extension classes at Union Universtiy in Jackson, TN. And, there’s been trouble with Reformed, Calvinist Pastors being indoctrinated into Calvinism there, and then going out to the Churches, which are not Reformed, and big trouble erupts. So, a lot of Churches in this part of the world are starting to look at resumes, and if Southern is on them, then they’re becoming alerted. This is sad, but true. I wish it werent so, and that it didnt have to be; but it is. And, Chris, dont tell me that this is not true, because I’ve seen it happen in many, many Churches in W. TN. I know of one right now, which I will not name. I’m friends with the Pastor. He’s a great guy. But, he got into that whole Acts 29 thing, and he tried to reform his church to be an Acts 29 type Church. I believe they were averaging 125 or so when he went there. I believe they’re averaging below 30 now. Many good families left and went to other Churches.

    David

    David

      Chris Roberts

      Paraphrase/translation: “I don’t mind Calvinists as long as they are a certain kind of Calvinist approved by me, and as long as we don’t let Calvinists get too uppity.”

        volfan007

        Chris,

        To be the fella that offered a resolution on unity, you sure dont promote unity.

        David

          Randall Cofield

          David, I thought exactly the same thing as Chris when I read your post. That attitude is very characteristic of many of the posts on these threads.

          volfan007

          I’d suggest to you, Randall, and to Chris…that you take off the anti Traditional glasses, and read my comment again.

          David

          Randall Cofield

          David,

          Sadly, one need not wear “anti-Trad” glasses to see the condescension in your post. It is writ large.

          Grace and Peace

        Mary

        Against my better judgement let me try for the zillionith time to explan this even though people like you and others really don’t want to listen.

        It’s fine for Calvinists to be Calvinists and have positions of authority. It is NOT FINE for Calvinists to use their positions of authority to promote only Calvinism and take SBC institutions such as Southern and make it THE CALVINIST Seminary. You will destroy the SBC if you continue thinking that it is ok to takeover whole institutions for Calvinism. The Institutions should be neutral. Southern should be serving the ENTIRE SBC not just the Calvinists. NONE of the Instituions shoud be allowed to discriminate against those in the SBC. For all the rallying around the BFM Calvinists don’t really want to rally round the BFM.

        You cannot split the institutions between Trad/Cal because then people would start designating their giving and since Cals only have 30% minoirty view right now that ain’t gonna help your Cal institutions.

        The Institutions belong to the SBC and should serve the entire SBC. Calvnists seem to think they should just be allowed to take over portions of the SBC or somehow they believe they’re being treated as heinously as blacks in Jim Crow south. You poor wittle Cals, that’s just what it’s like for you innt it – someone said something mean about Calvinism and now you know what it feels like to be black man in the Jim Crow era. It’s idiocy like this that shows why there will be no conversation. Yeah Trads are just like the racists commiting acts of horror in the South.

          Randall Cofield

          Mary,

          You poor wittle Cals, that’s just what it’s like for you innt it – someone said something mean about Calvinism and now you know what it feels like to be black man in the Jim Crow era. It’s idiocy like this that shows why there will be no conversation.

          Indeed it does, Mary. Indeed, it does…..

          Soli Deo Gloria

      Randall Cofield

      David,

      You said:

      I believe that you and others have been told over and over and over again, that we dont wanna kick the Calvinists out. Yet, you seem to refuse to believe us…to take us at our word. Why not?

      Largely because of the substantial rhetoric being both posited and fomented by those leading the T.S. charge. It is latent in virtually everything they are saying, and it is patent in numerous postings these threads. One could even make the case that it is latent, if not patent, in what you just posted.

      A patent sample of what I’m talking about may be viewed below at July 3, 2012 at 8:29 am.

      Grace and Peace

      Joe McGee

      David, you are right concerning some churches being cautious of the students who have attended Southern. I am an Associaitonal Missionary. Some of our churches have had bad expeiriences with young pastors coming out of that seminary. The students are guilty of never telling the search committee that they are 5 points Calvinist. I( now encourage the search committees to ask each prospective minister o0utright. The main problem is that of an atitude that the preacher is somehow above the congregation and some have gotten into trouble by making executive decisions that should have been decided by the church. When church officials try to talked to them about this they have an arragance attitude that the deacons or any other leader of the church has no right to question their “authority.” David this is not justy one case. I now have churches that have informed me that there is no reason to share a resume with them if the preacher attended Southern. It should be noted that since Dan Akin is so involved with Mohler in runnung the SBC they feel the same about Southeastern. We are having churches considering designating around Southern (some include Southeastern) in their cooperative program contributions.

    Lydia

    I am curious if others who sign the Statement would be able to affirm what “Paige Patterson affirmed at the B21 panel: that Calvinists should not be restricted from positions of influence in the SBC. Patterson was asked if Calvinists should be allowed to be entity heads, and he clearly and emphatically said yes, they should. Do others who signed the Statement agree with Hadley? What about any other means of reducing the presence of Calvinism in the SBC?

    But they have never been restricted. You have Mohler, Akin and Ezell at NAMB who is a fellow traveller and supporter of the Reformed only Acts 29 church plants.

    I do not understand your focus when Calvinists are already in very influential positions.

      Chris Roberts

      Because some, such as Hadley, seem to have a clear desire to see those men removed from their positions. I’m curious how widespread his view is. Do other signers also believe Calvinist entity heads should be removed? Or are most signers in agreement with Patterson that Calvinism is not an issue when leading an entity?

        Lydia

        Chris, Who does Mohler want “marginalized” . Would be he willing to state publicly he will seek to not marginalize any signers of the statement?

        This is how this sort of thing works, Chris. There is no trust on either side so there is no end to it. It is just that no one wants to admit it.

        Peace Peace when there is no peace. Fake unity is worse than divisiveness because bullies keep working during fake unity.

          Chris Roberts

          Lydia,

          I have no idea how that relates to what I said, other than to change the subject. The question is fairly straightforward: whose views on the treatment of Calvinists in the SBC best represents the signers, Patterson or Hadley?

          Lydia

          “I have no idea how that relates to what I said, other than to change the subject. The question is fairly straightforward: whose views on the treatment of Calvinists in the SBC best represents the signers, Patterson or Hadley?”

          It IS the subject.

          And there is your main problem. You do not understand us because we are free thinkers and not beholden to any man’s view. We might agree here and there with some and trot that out but we are not monolithic and follow after men like you all do. I am of Piper, I am of Mohler, etc, etc. That is one reason you cannot understand many of us at all. We really do, for the most part, believe in the priesthood .

          This is why we have always been a “cooperating” convention. But now we find that a group and their leader thinks we are leaning toward heresy and they think it is perfectly ok to state such things and demand we prove we aren’t. It is uncanny, really.

      Randall Cofield

      Lydia,

      Do you affirm Dr. Patterson’s statement?

      This is your opportunity, Sister.

      And remember: Silence here will speak more loudly than anything else you may post.

      Peace

        Lydia

        Randall, I don’t pay attention to Patterson. He does not speak for me, never did.

          Randall Cofield

          Lydia,

          And the silence is deafening….

          After all your caterwauling about Calvin’s “injustices” you would have these leaders lead away in chains….or worse….

          Wow.

          Lydia

          Randall, You are under citizens arrest. :o) I have the chains ready. Just one smiley face might communicate you are kidding but then I thought…maybe he isn’t. He really does think that way. scary.

          I might agree with Patterson’s words but have not taken the time to read them in full. All I know is that Patterson does not speak for me. He does not define my beliefs for me. I am a Baptist for crying out loud.

          I have no problem cooperating with those with whom I hold some differing points on some doctrines but I find it hard to cooperate with folks who think those finer points define heresy or means they are going to be led away in chains if I don’t answer questions the way they like. Sheesh. This is not sane.

          One of the tricks of the YRR is to constantly keep people on the defensive. I have seen it way too many times in churches and I am standing up for old Miss Mildred, casserole baker and giver of tithes to subsidize YRR education in arrogance.

      Randall Cofield

      Bob Hadley

      Brother, do you affirm Dr. Patterson’s statement?

      Peace

        Bob Hadley

        Randall,

        Contrary to your postulate here, Dr. Patterson does not speak for me nor do I purport to speak for him nor for you or anyone else for that matter. In fact, most would probably prefer that I do not attempt to do so; for the record, I would not blame them.

        I will answer your question as I comment on Chris Robert’s statement earlier… which is probably why you are echoing this question in the first place.

        Chris wrote, “Patterson was asked if Calvinists should be allowed to be entity heads, and he clearly and emphatically said yes, they should. Do others who signed the Statement agree with Hadley? What about any other means of reducing the presence of Calvinism in the SBC?”

        Here is my answer. I agree with Dr. Patterson that “Calvinists should be allowed to be entity heads.” I have been fully aware of the fact that Al Mohler is a card carrying, flag waving 5 pt calvinist of the nth degree. I am also aware of the fact that he is a very competent individual and have the utmost respect for his accomplishments; probably more respect than most calvinists do.

        Now… do I believe calvinists should be in the leadership positions of every entity of the SBC… that they are strategically positioned in most of the trustee appointments and committee appointments and are writing literature that is going to churches that are overwhelmingly NOT calvinist…etc… etc… etc

        My answer to THAT question is absolutely, positively NOT.

        ><>”

          Randall Cofield

          Bob,

          Thanks, brother. That seems to be a substantially more moderate position than you advocated earlier.

          As for the SS literature, no one is being forced to use it.

          Grace and Peace, brother.

          Bob Hadley

          Randall,

          My position has been consistently the same. My resolve has amplified itself but not my position.

          ><>”

Dr. Bruce McLaughlin

My input to this debate is elsewhere but I can’t suppress some questions after reading many of the blogs over the past few weeks:

Are critical issues really illuminated by asking readers to observe the same dozen members of the New Calvinist Hit Squad play “Whac a Mole” with each hapless pastor who dares to write an article contrary to Calvinist principles. This Hit Squad uses the same lame logic and tired talking points over and over as they assert their intellectual, theological, spiritual and academic superiority over their opponents.

Why have the signatures stalled at 825? Could pastors fear retribution by people who influence their careers? Could the long term SBC policy of suppressing this issue in local churches be working; are congregations too ignorant to know what they believe?

Is God wringing His hands backstage, observing the great battle for the soul of the SBC and hoping unity will be achieved allowing us to march forward to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission? Or might God be quietly implementing another plan even now? Has God ever been dependent on man’s efforts?

    Darryl Hill

    Dr. Bruce, I’m sure you’re a nice guy in person and that we could likely get along face to face. But I sincerely hope your point of view is not even considered among Southern Baptists because it has become clear from the beginning (of my time posting here- which has been almost a month now) that your desire is division. The vast majority of reformed thinkers who have posted here are only interested in sharing their point of view on these issues which have great importance to us. Most have posted with grace. Yes, there have been some tense moments here, but that has come from both sides. I believe most want what I want in this forum- simply to be understood and to have our beliefs articulated correctly and without bias. And I also believe most want what I want in the convention- which is continued cooperation. From the content of your posts, I’d venture to say you want neither. It seems to me that your solution would be to split the SBC into 2 different conventions. I think that would be a monumental mistake.

      Tom Parker

      Darryl:

      There has already been one major split of the SBC. IMO, we are headed for another split. If the fighting spirit that exists in the blogs ever gets into our SBC churches we are going to have even more splits IMO. The madness never seems to end.

      How ironic my key word was toast.

        Randall Cofield

        Tom,

        “If the fighting spirit that exists in the blogs ever gets into our SBC churches we are going to have even more splits IMO.”

        Brother, I’m afraid that spirit is already in many of our churches. I’m seeing too many posts on here similar to David’s above to believe otherwise.

        Whether it was the intention of the T.S. and its defenders or not, it is happening.

        Grace and Peace

          Tom Parker

          Randall:

          All of this fighting is such a great distraction. Someone(s) better get a handle on this quickly because if it does not it will be unfixable.

          Randall Cofield

          Tom,

          Agreed. See my appeal to Dr. Hankins, et al, below.

          Tom Parker

          Randall:

          All that work and effort to get the 2000 BF&M passed and yet people still have to fear losing their jobs because it is not a sufficient enough of a (Creed).

          Randall Cofield

          Tom,

          Yeah. Ironic, isn’t it? I think some of the discussion of the T.S. as it relates to the BF&M reveals that the Trads don’t think the 2000 revision watered it down enough.

          I’m referring especially to the issue of regeneration preceding faith.

          Peace, brother

        Lydia

        Tom, I thought you were in the CBF or leaning toward CBF because you had such a problem with the CR? Do I have the wrong guy?

        Darryl Hill

        Tom, do you believe it is God’s will that there are now nearly 20,000 (some say 30,000) different Protestant Denominations?

        Further, do you think we can more effectively accomplish the great commission working together or separately?

        Further, how many years do you think would transpire during the split and the fall-out from it? How many years of less than a full focus on completing the Kingdom of God is acceptable to you?

        What effect would this have on our training of missionaries? What effect would this have on our seminaries? What effect would this have on our local churches?

        These are rhetorical questions, of course. I do not think it would honor God in any way to divide the SBC, its God-given resources (monetary, training, man-power, and etc.) And further, I believe our diversity is a strength.

        Consider: if a weakness of Calvinism (esp. hyper) is that it tends toward not focusing on evangelism, we need brothers who will come along and keep us on that task. AND: if a weakness of the Traditional Baptist model has been to become a-theological and not concerned about doctrine and what we believe (not all, but the masses for sure), we need brothers to remind us of our roots and the need to know what we believe and to stand up for truth, which is under immense attack in this world.

        Wouldn’t you agree that these differences can be a strength if we can co-exist without killing one another? I say yes.

        Imagine, every time a denomination has disagreed about these things, division has happened. What would happen if the world saw a group disagree but remain united? They will know us by our love, brothers. That’s where my heart is friends.

    Shawn

    I would like to say a hearty “Amen” to Darryl Hill’s Post. Dr. Bruce, I too have observed how vitriolic you are in your posts. We may disagree on these matters (we have proved that over and over again), but that does not negate the command we have been given by our Lord to love one another fervently from the heart. Please, brother, try to demonstrate some Christian decorum.

    On another note, could it be that signatures have stalled at 825 because no one else wants to continue the divisiveness? Or maybe with all the additional posts, people are recognizing that some elements of the T.S. were not written well and appear to contradict the BF&M. Or maybe those who penned the T.S. were presuming too much when they said they represented the vast majority of Southern Baptists. These are legitimate alternatives. . .

    Randall Cofield

    Dr. Bruce,

    Or might God be quietly implementing another plan even now? Has God ever been dependent on man’s efforts?

    Apparently, according to your defense of the T.S., He is.

    Soli Deo Gloria

Joshua

Eric,

You stated:

“…no attempt was made to alter the Baptist Faith and Message for the purpose of “ridding the Convention of Calvinists.”None. And I can testify with absolute integrity that there were never, ever any plans to do so. ”

Will you honestly answer, here in a public forum, whether your father, David Hankins, is planning to push this document to be a “hiring” document in Louisiana for Louisiana College? I desperately want to avoid any “histrionics and hand-wringing” regarding your father’s role in purging Calvinists from Louisiana College.

    volfan007

    Joshua,

    Would you be for Traditional Baptists teaching theology at Louisiana College? In light of you thinking that we’re Semi Pelagian?

    David

      Joshua

      David,

      The hiring document at Louisiana College is the BF&M2000. If they can sign that, then I see no reason for them not to be eligible to teach.

      Also, please quote where I have said the signers were semi-Pelagian. You will not be able to do so, as I have said, as Mohler, Olson, and numerous other respected theologians, Southern Baptist pastors, etc., the document is semi-Pelagian.

      I look forward to Eric’s response.

        Adam Harwood

        Joshua,
        Isn’t that a question for David Hankins? Should his son be expected to speak for him?
        In Him,
        Adam

          Joshua

          Adam,

          Since Eric has been the chosen leader of this self-described movement and continues to clarify how the Trads Document will be used and with what intent, I believe he can comment truthfully regarding his father’s intentions of using his own document.

        volfan007

        Johua,

        Please. Dude. When you say that the document is Semi Pelagian…and our names are affixed to this document…then, you are calling us Semi Pelagians, which are heretics.

        Thus, I’m guessing from your response to my question, that you wish Traditional Baptists would not teach theology at Louisiana College. I mean, you surely wouldnt want heretics to be teaching doctrine; do you?But, you wanna ask Dr. Hankins if he’s against Calvinists teaching there……..

        What about you? Do you want Traditional Baptists teaching theology at Louisiana College?

        David

          Lydia

          “Since Eric has been the chosen leader of this self-described movement and continues to clarify how the Trads Document will be used and with what intent, I believe he can comment truthfully regarding his father’s intentions of using his own document.”

          Joshua, Can you tell us who Mohler thinks needs to be “marginalized” from the discussion? Would you or Dave Miller know this since you are so well connected to the New Calvinist wing?

          Chris Roberts

          David,

          Why are you trying to force us to call heretics people we do not think are heretics?

        Donald Holmes

        Joshua,
        Please explain the difference between calling someone semipelagian and declaring their beliefs to be semipelagian.

          Chris Roberts

          Donald,

          I think he was making a distinction between the Statement being semi-Pelagian and the views of the men themselves. There has been a hope that the signers of the Statement would clarify their beliefs in ways that make it clear they are not semi-Pelagian, even though the Statement itself takes a semi-Pelagian position.

          Lydia

          “There has been a hope that the signers of the Statement would clarify their beliefs in ways that make it clear they are not semi-Pelagian, even though the Statement itself takes a semi-Pelagian position.”

          See? You just cannot help yourself. You said nothing in that statement that implies they are not leaning toward heresy? You cannot see it?

          And “you” can only pronounce them “clean” if they explain the way you all accept.

          Amazing. The arrogance out of the YRR has been astounding. And this after the long historical arguements and resources checked, etc.

          Mohler is going to “marginalize” people?

          Chris, I know you don’t think you are arrogant so don’t bother trying to explain you aren’t. It is called narcissism. I live at ground zero. I cannot swing a dead cat without hitting an arrogant, in your face, smug YRR guy who is smarter than everyone else.

          Which is one reason I am glad of the statement Dr. Hankins wrote. We needed this debate so more people would see the smug arrogance in real time.

          Chris Roberts

          Lydia,

          There is absolutely no arrogance in hearing someone articulate his views and realizing those views have been presented before under a different name. There is nothing arrogant in pointing out the similarity. There is nothing arrogant in disagreeing with those who object. There is nothing arrogant about conviction and belief. There is, I think, something foolish in passing off another person’s views as nothing more than arrogance.

          Let me repeat myself yet again on one point: I do not believe the signers are heretics. Even if they are semi-Pelagian, they are not heretics. I believe semi-Pelagianism to be a serious error (and I know many consider Calvinism a serious error) but it is not heresy.

          The problem in the SP debate is so few are willing to actually interact with semi-Pelagianism to show clear ways the Statement, and their views, are not semi-Pelagian. Instead, most of the responses are like yours: outrage that anyone would make the comparison. But if the shoe fits, it fits whether we like it or not.

          Randall Cofield

          Lydia,

          I cannot swing a dead cat without hitting an arrogant, in your face, smug YRR guy who is smarter than everyone else.

          Perhaps your dead-cat-swinging is producing a defensive posture in your apparently sworn enemies that you are interpreting as arrogant?

          :-)

          I’m beginning to become seriously concerned for you. You seem to be in the clutches of the gall of bitterness.

          Peeeeace….

          Lydia

          “There is absolutely no arrogance in hearing someone articulate his views and realizing those views have been presented before under a different name.”

          That is not what you are doing, Chris. You are not accepting that some have an overall different hermeneutic. It has been discussed to death not only here but several have shown from history the sources the YRR used to declare such a possible heresy is the same source that thinks the Augustinian Determinist God hermeneutic is heresy. Peter also blogged about another scholarly source that disagrees with the YRR position.

          Some are thrilled you are throwing an “error” bone now instead of the “leaning toward heresy”. Personally, I am not understanding why people are so upset about the heresy charge. I think it has defined what is the YRR movement, perfectly.

          The bottomline, since no explanation is good enough for you after hundreds of comments in all the threads,is this: Can you cooperate with people you think are in error? If not, then why stick around? Perhaps your autonmous church would consider the Presbyterians? If yes, then why beat a dead horse?

          In my neck of the woods, it has become obvious the horse is beaten over and over to display what they think is an educational superiority over the peasants but once engaged sounds more like indoctrination.

          The days of believing you guys just want a friendly chat about doctrine are pretty much over. I hope more will wake up to it.

          Guess what, Chris. No one owes you or Mohler an explanation.

    Donald Holmes

    Joshua,
    Has anyone, anywhere, at any time said that this statement should be a watershed document for the hiring of personnel at any SBC entity or at any entity associated with State or Local associations?

      Joshua

      Donald,

      Most of the men who signed the document believe far more than the document states, as evidenced in their thousand word responses to the SP charge. Thus, the document is deficient but their own theology is not.

        Lydia

        Joshua, The same could be said about the tons of comments from the SBC NC wing of which many are not even SBC.

        Donald Holmes

        Joshua,
        The totality of ones faith will always be more than any statement. Do any of these men agree with you that the document they signed is semipelagian, but that they signed it anyway?

          Lydia

          Joshua,

          will you also declare that SBTS should only use the BFM? Of course not. You will trot out historical reasons, etc.

          It is obvious SBTS has used the Abstract now for a long time without any Trad heretics trying to make war of it.

          Yet you are here making accusations of something you have NO proof of in the works. If you have proof bring it out. You guys love proof and are always demanding it of others.

          But now you are concerned that the Trad document “might” be used at a college the way the Abstract is used at SBTS.

          Do you not see it? How one sided you guys are when you already have your way? You claim you want to cooperate but only on your terms.

    Mary

    If it’s acceptable for Mohler and Akin to force staff to sign the Abstracts why would it wrong for any institutions to force conformity to the Trad doc? Isn’t this where the Trustees get to make the decisions for those institutions?

    See how this whole thing works there Joshy? How can you be upset if Trads are doing that which the Calvinists have been doing for years.

    Now me myself I think those institutions controlled by States are going to follow however the States go, but for the National SBC Institutions – should those be allowed to go beyond the BFM?

    All of sudden those 800 signatures may start looking like more than just a little thing.

      Randall Cofield

      Hi Mary,

      If it’s acceptable for Mohler and Akin to force staff to sign the Abstracts why would it wrong for any institutions to force conformity to the Trad doc? Isn’t this where the Trustees get to make the decisions for those institutions?

      If the Traditional Statement was the founding statement of faith for the institution, yes.

      If not, no.

      See how that works? :-)

      Peace

        Lydia

        Randall, The Abstract statement was also developed by guys who thought slavery was a good thing. Decreed by a Determinist God.

        That is until they started losing battles. :o) Then people started moving away from the Determinist God. Some even started to believe that slavery was a blot on society and not of God at all.

        People trot out historical arguments when it is convenient. But this historical focus has been the Founders focus all along on “roots” so lets talk about ALL of it.

          Randall Cofield

          Lydia,

          No “historical” argument here. Adherence to the constitutional documents of an entity is a rather common practice.

          ‘Course, if you want to start throwing out documents on the basis of their framers being slave owners….there is this little thing called the Constitution….

          I could say “people trot out historical arguments when it is convenient,” but that would be sarcasm, and I’m a Calvinist in enemy territory.

          ……….oh!…….almost forgot……….. :-)

          Soli Deo Gloria

        Mary

        First off Mohler and Akinsdo not enforce the entire abstract – look at what it says about keeping the Sabbath and other points.

        Secondly, I just want everyone to be very clear that Calvinists today think it perfectly reasonable to discriminate against a large portion of the SBC and claim that they HAVE to discriminate today because of what the old dead dudes decided even though those dead dudes don’t pay the light bill?

        Well according to that reasoning we need to quit all this nonsense against the name Southern Baptist Convention. The old dead dudes decided what our name was going to be and since what the old dead (slave holding) dead dudes decided is to be enforced forever and always there is no reason to go about an official/unofficial name change. Dead dudges decided. Doesn’t matter what anyone today thinks!

        And of course the Founders Ministry whole purpose is to take the entire SBC back to it’s Founding faith – DOG. Now who is it being pushed out of the SBC and who is it who thinks they own the SBC?

        The seminaries should be Calvinist because of the Founders! The SBC should be Calvinist because of the Founders! Tom Ascol is so proud!

          Randall Cofield

          Mary!

          Try breathing into a paper bag. This is not Armageddon.

          :-)

          In the words of the recently deceased philosopher Rodney King: “Can’t we all just get along?!”

          Peeeeace

          Not The Original Les

          Randall,

          This Mary over here ain’t nothing. You should see her comments aver at SBC Tomorrow. If you go over, be careful though. Sound thinking and theology by you will get a slap down.

          Lydia

          “This Mary over here ain’t nothing. You should see her comments aver at SBC Tomorrow. If you go over, be careful though. Sound thinking and theology by you will get a slap down.”

          Les, Is that a good example of a “ruling” elder? Insulting Mary?

          Not The Original Les

          Lydia,

          “Les, Is that a good example of a “ruling” elder? Insulting Mary?”

          Why I have no idea what you are talking about. I don’t believe I insulted Mary. I was just pointing our brother Randall to another place where Mary makes comments.

    volfan007

    Joshua,

    This is just a strawman, unless you can prove that David Hankins is gonna use the Trad Statement as the Abstract of LA College from now on. Where is the proof?

    DAvid

      Lydia

      “Why I have no idea what you are talking about. I don’t believe I insulted Mary. I was just pointing our brother Randall to another place where Mary makes comments.”

      Must be the total depravity. I guess “ruling” elders remain that in Calvinism? Here is the insult:

      “Sound thinking and theology by you will get a slap down.”

      Is this not an implication Mary has no sound thinking or theology? Perhaps the Calvinist defintion is different when something like this is said about another.

    alsbc623

    Josh,
    Dude, you really need to relax, put down the light saber, and chill on your crusade to crush the evil Hankins empire. (tongue FIRMLY planted in cheek here) My encouragement to you, if you haven’t already, is to man up, call David Hankins’ secretary, set up an appointment with him, and talk to him in person. While you’re at it, why don’t you do the same and road trip over to Oxford, MS and set up an appointment to talk to Eric.

    It’s cool to disagree, and to have diverging viewpoints, but this vendetta you have displayed over the past several weeks is whacked out…

    You’re out of control, man..

      Drew Wales

      could you state your name please? i think its a little unfair to call someone out and recommend a face to face meeting to settle the score, yet you are hiding behind a screen name calling people “whacked out.” also, could you provide evidence of a crusade? Thanks.

        Lydia

        Ooo. A YRR call out. So typical. We hear this all the time in my neck of the woods. Thanks for being “in role”, Drew. You sound so “authoritative”. You might want to pull a Doug Wilson and demand the name of his pastor and church, too, so you can have him “disciplined”. At least that was the MO on Blog and Mablog for years.

        alsbc623

        Drew,
        Thanks for the chuckle this morning…

        You and I will have to disagree as to what is fair and unfair, and you will have to be satisfied with the amount of information I choose or choose not to provide, both about “who” I am, and the amount of supporting “evidence” I choose to give.

        BTW, I called Joshua’s obsessive actions whacked out, not Joshua.; an important distinction to make…

        I am curious as to your reasoning for using the term “settling a score”; I said nothing of a score to settle…

        If one has questions, why not go to that person personally to ask them, particularly if they are in the same town, rather than going through a third party to get answers?

        This may or may not apply to you and Joshua, but this situation and others like it regarding the younger generation acting and feeling like they are entitled to say, do, and ask for “whatever they what when they want it” remind me of a quote:

        “Parce que vous êtes un grand seigneur, vous vous croyez un grand génie! … vous vous êtes donné la peine de naître, et rien de plus. Du reste homme assez ordinaire!”
        -Beaumarchais.

        If one is fortunate, one learns sooner than later that God will break down the pride of those He calls to serve Him. This one I know from experience…

        In all seriousness, I want to commend you on trying to catch the back of your friend, co-blogger, and classmate.

        Enjoy the 4th with your wife and son, bro…

          Drew Wales

          Glad I could be of assistance in providing you with a chuckle this morning. I am satisfied with the amount of information you provide about who you aren’t suggesting others have face to face interactions to settle disagreements and failing to provide even a name for yourself.

          As far as my use of “settle the score,” I used it in relation to your use of “vendetta.” A vendetta is defined by dictionary.com as follows:

          “a private feud in which the members of the family of a murdered person seek to avenge the murder by killing the slayer or one of the slayer’s relatives, especially such vengeance as once practiced in Corsica and parts of Italy.”

          That sounds like you accused Josh of trying to “settle a score” with a light sabre to me :)

          Drew

          alsbc623

          Drew,
          I am sure it was a simple cut and paste omission on your part, so I thought I would help out by providing the 2nd definition on dictionary.com for vendetta that you left out, which is certainly more apropos in this case:

          2. any prolonged and bitter feud, rivalry, contention, or the like: a political vendetta…

          Even better, the Oxford dictionary provides the following: a prolonged bitter quarrel with, or campaign against someone

          What I like about that last definition is that the “campaign against” is against “someone”, not something….

          I am relieved that you are satisfied that we got the name thing settled. One thing though; I don’t know what you mean by me failing to “provide even a name for myself”. I provided a name. The name I provided is ALSBC623. Staying with the Star Wars theme, it is a name no different than C3PO or R2D2. And yes, I am a robot; aren’t we all? (couldn’t resist…)

          Drew Wales

          Either way, there is a score to be settled in a vendetta.

          As for the name… I’m ignorant of Star Wars. I’ve never seen a single episode and I stand by my first comment. Whether I agree or disagree with your proposal that Joshua meet with Hankins personally is irrelevant, I’m arguing you cant possibly expect him to take advice from a robot. Perhaps a person, definitely not a robot :)

Randall Cofield

Dr. Hankins, (Part 1 of 4)

I am thankful for the significant moderation of tone toward Calvinists in this post, a clear departure from the tenor of the T.S., its preamble, and your original response to Dr. Mohler. It is my prayer that many on these threads here at SBC Today will follow suit, for much of what is being said here is neither God-honoring nor worthy of the Gospel.

You said:

I was glad to see the Convention bring clarity to the issue of evangelism and the Sinner’s Prayer, although the length of the debate and level of opposition to the Resolution, even its final form, is quite sobering.

I personally opposed the Sinner’s Prayer Resolution, and I did so on grounds which I believe are both soteriologically and ecclesiologically sound. I pastor in an area where virtually everyone I witness to is a member of a local church, though many of them are living so hellishly one can almost detect the scent of smoke on them already. When confronted with the life-altering truths of the Gospel, an astounding number of them default to their “Sinner’s Prayer” and resultant “church membership,” though they have not darkened the doors of the church in years. This is a significant problem for most pastors, and this concern was voiced from the floor of the Convention.

Let’s be honest. We have all personally witnessed the abuse of the Sinner’s Prayer. It is rampant in the Southern Baptist Convention. Our membership roles have swollen to 16 million, yet on any given Sunday morning 10 million of our members cannot be found anywhere near the house of worship. This is a problem of catastrophic proportions in Southern Baptist Churches, it brings unspeakable shame on the name of Christ and His Gospel message, and it radially weakens the strength of our witness.

    Randall Cofield

    Dr. Hankins, (Part 2 of 4)

    The appeal to weak discipleship programs fails to acknowledge the root of the problem. While I strongly support and practice effective discipleship, genuinely converted individuals do not avoid worship as if it were a form of the plague. Sinners who love their sin, despite having repeated a Sinner’s Prayer, do practice such avoidance. And every pastor on this blog is well aware of this.

    The language of the Resolution, even in its final form, was woefully inadequate for guarding against its abuse. I am convinced that the Sinner’s Prayer Resolution–coupled with the libertarian free will implications of the Traditional Statement–has set a tone which will significantly add to the already-woeful problem of unregenerate church membership in the Southern Baptist Convention. This raises a second point of concern.

    Historically, Baptist Statements of Faith have been formulated with great care and precision. Typically, groups of men who were seasoned theologians and pastors spent untold hours in prayer, study of God’s Word, and intense debate in undertaking the sober task of clearly articulating essential points of the Baptist faith. Additionally, it has been a common practice that these panels include men of differing theological persuasions, as was the case in the 2000 revision of the BF&M. All of this was done in a good-faith effort to produce a balanced, theologically sound, unifying Statement.

    Brother, I ask the following questions, not to attack or in any way demean you. You are my brother in Christ, and a fellow laborer in His vineyard. But these are pertinent questions for all involved, whether we be Traditionalists or Calvinists.

    Randall Cofield

    Dr. Hankins, (Part 3 of 4)
    First, was the above mentioned historical precedent for formulating Baptist Statements of Faith considered in the framing of the T.S.? We have all seen conflicting reports on who actually framed this Statement. Did you write it alone, or were other men involved? If other men were involved, did any of them hold soteriological convictions that differ from your own? Are these not relevant questions, given that you are calling upon Southern Baptists to give signatory affirmation of the Statement? Does not a public offering of this nature beg full public disclosure?

    Suppose that names of the panelists who framed the 2000 revision of the BF&M had been withheld. Would the Convention have been able to reasonably call upon Southern Baptists to unify around the revision? Or, to posit it differently, suppose Dr. Mohler had been the sole framer of the revisions. Could we reasonably expect unity within the convention if that were the case?

    Secondly, let’s suppose that you are the lone framer of the T.S. (as has been insinuated on this forum). When the Statement became public, immediate concerns were raised. Men of significant theological acumen pointed out that the language of the T.S. lacked precision at several points. Some suggested that this offering left the door open for semi-Pelagianism (and at least one of these men is no friend of Calvinism). Others expressed concerns that it failed to guard against some serious soteriological errors of Arminianism. Still others pointed out that it gave the impression of a step in the direction of Open Theism.

    All of these concerns seem to have been summarily dismissed–with prejudice–by both yourself and those defending the T.S. My brother(s), do these concerns not trouble you at all? Do they not, at the very least, cause you to consider the possibility that the language of your Statement may not be as precise as it should be? The unrelenting defense of the T.S. is, at the very least, leaving the impression that you regard it as being without error. Brother(s), is it even remotely possible that one man, possibly without the assistance of other men with reasonably diverse soteriological persuasions, has written an air-tight soteriological statement?

    Randall Cofield

    Dr. Hankins, (Part 4 of 4)

    Thirdly, Dr. Hankins, I do not believe that you (or any who may have aided you) have intentionally written a Statement that allows for semi-Pelagianism, extreme Arminianism, or Open Theism. But the fact remains that the T.S., even though unintentionally, has opened a door that will allow these liberal persuasions to plant a foot squarely in the midst of our Convention. If this is allowed to stand we will be fighting the battles of the ’70’s and ’80’s all over again in the ’20’s and ’30’s. Do these warnings, raised by godly and knowledgeable men, concern you enough to convince you to allow that the T.S. may need to be revisited?

    Finally, the T.S. and its accompanying promotion has sown the seeds of deep division within the Convention. Calvinism is being caricatured with appalling frequency both in print and interview. Leading supporters of this document, including yourself, continue to attribute monstrously vile beliefs to Calvinists, most of which no Calvinist would even dream of believing. This has influenced many Traditionalists on these threads to adopt an aggressively antagonistic attitude toward all Calvinists, and many are “seeing” your monstrously vile attributions and “raising” them. In short, the methods that are being used to promote the T.S. are fomenting deep disdain, despite your assertion that your only intent was to open a dialogue within the Convention. Does this concern you?

    It is my prayer that the moderation and wisdom that has held us together for 150 years will return and ultimately rule among God’s people in the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Respectfully submitted

    R. Cofield

      LesPro

      Randall,

      I’ve been out of the loop today. These are great questions. I hope you get an answer.

      Not the Original Les

Jay Adkins

I cannot (and do not intend to) speak for the whole board, but as Trustee at LC I will ?speak very, VERY STRONGLY against using this text as a guiding or “hiring” document for ?Louisiana College. As far as I’m concerned, and as I wrote in an earlier thread, the ?BF&M is sufficient.?

    Jay Adkins

    sorry about all the ?’s Not sure why my wp is doing that.

    Joshua

    Jay,

    May this be the spirit of the entire Board of Trustees at Louisiana College. The BF&M2000 is sufficient.

      Jay Adkins

      I believe it to be and I will articulate and defend that position if necessary.

      Jay Adkins

      I would also like to say that I would hope that Dr. Hankins would not try to push such an agenda. I would find that to be inappropriate and be exerting undue influence on the board.

        Mary

        So you would go on record that it’s wrong for Mohler and Akin to use the Abstract as a purity test at SBC Seminaries? And please spare me that it’s in the Founding document. According to the Founders that’s exactly why the SBC needs to be reformed because the old dead guys should still control everything in the SBC. The Abstract is not the tablet of Moroni – we could decide that since using it is discrimanting against a large portion of the SBC that it should not be used at our institutions any more.

          Jay Adkins

          No ma’am, it is a chronology thing for me. And by that I mean Conventional authority. The Abstract pre-dates the first BF&M by almost 70 years. Were the Abstract to have come after the 1925 BF&M I would have had trouble with the signing requirement.

          From here, I bid you each adieu. Please forgive my absence from this thread. I am heading to the UK for a PhD seminar and will be gone for a few weeks. Blessings to all.

        Lydia

        I wish the Trustees at SBTS felt the same way about Mohler.

          Jay Adkins

          Ms. Lydia,
          I’m sorry to have caused such a reaction, please forgive me. First, I wasn’t “coming here” to do anything but read the article. In fact, I rarely come to this sight at all. For reasons evident by the reaction to my note, I generally stay away from the quagmire that is theo-blogs. In this case I followed the link from a professor’s facebook post. Second, I “alluded” to no such thing. I simply responded regarding my opinion about someone else’s allegation. Third, from your post, it appears that I am not allowed to have a opinion about the article. Surly that is not what you are saying, is it. And finally, I can assure you that no SBC money is paying for my trip to the UK.

          Lydia

          Sorry Mr. Jay.

          I am having trouble as to what prompted you as a Trustee to come back and add this:

          “I would also like to say that I would hope that Dr. Hankins would not try to push such an agenda. I would find that to be inappropriate and be exerting undue influence on the board.”

          Perhaps it best to ask a trustee in this way: Do you have any reason to believe David Hankins would seek to make the Trad Doc a guiding or hiring doc? If not, I see no reason for your emphatic response other than to send a message?

        volfan007

        Joshua and Jay,

        Do yall have any proof whatsoever that David Hankins is gonna make the Trad Statement the criteria for teaching at LA College? If not, why are yall even bringing this up? Strawman.

        David

          Lydia

          And why is a Trustee coming here to even allude that David Hankins “might” push an agenda at the institution AND to make his view of the article so obvious?

          Very unprofessional.

          Please tell me no SBC money is paying his way to England.

Darryl Hill

Dr Hankins, you said…

“I felt that the underlying criticism of the Sinner’s Prayer from New Calvinists is related to the fact that they do not believe that all people can pray that prayer because some people are hopelessly condemned, a criticism I stand by and will be glad to discuss.”

I agree that this statement is irresponsible because it is an assumption of motives on your part. Actually, if we’re assuming that the person praying the sinner’s prayer is doing so in a genuine-faith response to the Gospel, there is no danger whatsoever that the person can’t be saved. The fact that the person is responding is clear evidence that God is at work within them. No “Calvinist,” new, old, or middle-aged (ha!) would say that they dislike the sinner’s prayer because they don’t think all people can be saved. That is your assumption.

On the contrary, I think Dr. Platt’s reasoning for disliking the practice is similar to mine and it has nothing to do with election. Let me quote Dr. Platt from his response…

“Some even suggested that as “one of the SBC’s Calvinist stars,” I am “against the sinner’s prayer” because I “don’t want the hopelessly condemned thinking they are saved or joining churches when they actually have no chance for life in Christ.” In addition to how nauseous such a label makes me, words really can’t describe how much a comment like this pierces my heart, for nothing (I hope and pray) could be further from the truth. Any cautions I have expressed with a “sinner’s prayer” have absolutely nothing directly to do with the doctrine of election, and I definitively don’t believe that certain people “actually have no chance for life in Christ.” Instead, my comments about the “sinner’s prayer” have been deeply motivated by a concern for authentic conversion and regenerate church membership—doctrines which many Calvinists and non-Calvinists, as well as a variety of Christians in between, would rightly value.”

Authentic conversion is the motivation Dr. Hankins. That’s it. Later in this statement, David also mentions “easy believism” as a troubling factor. I think the trouble reformed folks have with this is with Gospel presentations that are incomplete and that leave a person looking at this thing as some kind of “microwave oven” kind of deal. Then we tell them “repeat after me,” we pronounce them saved, and then often throw in Once Saved, Always Saved to boot. Actually, pronouncing people saved is a dangerous practice as well. Can we know that with certainty? No. But I’ve heard multiple pastors and evangelists do this. They need to know that genuine conversion results in a changed life. If there is no changed life, there is no assurance of salvation. We don’t need to make salvation seem like a vaccination. This is not a one-time prayer nor is repentance just a one-time thing. Yes, justification is instantaneous, but sanctification is ongoing and ALWAYS follows. Jesus said that we must count the cost of being His disciple. Making disciples is our commission. This is why I think many are uncomfortable with the sinner’s prayer.

Imagine, someone comes to church and decides to join it with the mentality of it being like a “Christian club” or to try to ease their conscience in some way by doing something spiritual. Maybe they’re just trying things to see if they’ll work. People do this, by the way. They listen for how to join. They repeat a prayer. They come forward. They get baptized. Many are never heard from again. People do this because of their sinful nature, so it shouldn’t be surprising. Some come looking for a quick fix and we give them what they want with the sinner’s prayer.

I appreciate the phrase in that resolution about it “not being an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation and should never be manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel” but it is the unfortunate nature of people to view it in that way, which is why it was necessary to put that whereas in the document. This is why I won’t do it.

I do encourage people to pray regarding salvation. I do encourage them to cry out for mercy in salvation. But I do not put words in their mouths. In my opinion, that is manipulation. Let them pray what is in their own hearts to pray. Instruct them regarding the need to repent. Instruct them on the need to ask to be forgiven. Instruct them on the need to trust Christ- to put their faith in Him. But let the prayer come from within them and from them. And then let them figure out what God has done, if indeed He has begun a work within them.

    volfan007

    Darryl,

    I’ve had more than a few people tell me that they wouldnt even know where to start….or how to talk to God. It is so foreign to them that they wouldnt even feel like they could….and when I asked them if they’d like for me to help them pray; asking God to save them…they’ve said yes, and said it with a look of relief on their faces. And then, afterwards, I try to always ask them to pray and thank God for what He’s done for them, in saving them….just in their own words, now, just talk to God and thank Him…I’ve heard some of the sweetest, most precious prayers I’ve ever heard…after I had helped them pray to recieve Christ, because they just couldnt even pray. But after being saved, then the prayer flowed. So, helping a lost man call on God is just like helping someone learn how to do things on a computer…sometimes you just have to walk them thru it. They need help. They dont even know where to start, and feel intimadated….too intimadated to even do it.

    David

      Darryl Hill

      You know, David, I think when you’re talking with someone one on one, you can look them in the eye and at least have some idea about what is going on. I don’t have a huge problem leading or helping people in that situation, but the mass sinner’s prayers are the the greatest trouble to me.

      Randall Cofield

      David,

      I’ve had more than a few people tell me that they wouldnt even know where to start….or how to talk to God. It is so foreign to them that they wouldnt even feel like they could….

      I’ve seen you (and others) offer this objection to our concerns several times.

      Brother, please don’t take what say here as an offense.

      Your stated methodology (pray like this…now thank God for saving you…) presumes salvation has occurred before there is any evidence that it actually has occurred!. Oh, brothers! That is patently dangerous!! We have no right nor scriptural grounds to render such a profound verdict without ample evidence!!

      Do not both wisdom and love for souls compel us to proceed with optimistic caution? Examine the individual. Ask questions to ascertain their attitude toward sin. Query them to see if they understand at least something of Christ’s wondrous cross-work! Ask them of their love for Jesus! Examine them with love, tenderness, and condor to see if they be in the faith!

      Only when there is reasonable evidence of these things in their heard dare we lead them to rejoice and thank God for salvation. We shall give an account to Almighty God for the manner in which we handle those who profess faith in Jesus.

      Our presentation of the Gospel is woefully deficient if it does not include clear exhortation in the area of both the need to call upon God for mercy, and the means of such a cry!!

      This objection that is being offered reveals exactly the problem that concerns us!

      Soli Deo Gloria

        Bob Hadley

        The Randall and Daryll Show…

        Daryll… you wrote the following “Authentic conversion is the motivation Dr. Hankins.” Question… do you or do you not believe that authentic conversion is the direct result of effectual calling on God and God alone’s part?

        If this is true, why on earth would you be railing against a sinner’s prayer… that makes no sense… if God does it on His timetable on His terms then who cares whether someone prays a sinner’s prayer or not… and who are you or me for that matter to say God cannot save someone WHEN they pray it?

        Now to brother number 2… you wrote the following:

        Brother, please don’t take what say here as an offense.

        Your stated methodology (pray like this…now thank God for saving you…) presumes salvation has occurred before there is any evidence that it actually has occurred!. Oh, brothers! That is patently dangerous!! We have no right nor scriptural grounds to render such a profound verdict without ample evidence!!

        Pray tell… why don’t you enlighten us as all to how we are to Scripturally acknowledge someone’s conversion experience. It is not that anyone stands in front of a service and asks everyone who wants to go to heaven raise your hands… congratulations the angels in heaven are rejoicing because your names are written down in heaven… and you can go back to what you were doing because your mansion has been reserved for you in glory! Live it up for tomorrow you shall surely die and go to heaven.

        Talk about strawmen… that one is as good a one as there is out there guys. We all know there is a responsibility to walk with anyone who comes to the Lord or to our church as they will allow us to do… there are people who come to you today and are gone next week… we all should be working with those who come to help them mature… hey for that matter we all mature together but there has to be that effort on their part to participate in that process.. and I am sure we all agree on that.

        Now… I will go a step farther to say… just because someone falls of the wagon so to speak does not necessarily mean that person was not saved… that as you all understand is God’s call to make… not ours.

        ><>”

          Darryl Hill

          I like that Randall and Darryl show idea Bro. Bob. I fear it wouldn’t do too well in our culture, though. Hey, sit and listen to 2 dudes talk theology and spin yarns about sinner’s prayers and critters in Tennessee. Nielsen ratings would be a negative number.

          But I digress… you said: Question… do you or do you not believe that authentic conversion is the direct result of effectual calling on God and God alone’s part?” and then… “If this is true, why on earth would you be railing against a sinner’s prayer…”

          I’m not a determinist Bro. Bob. I’m a Calvinist. :-) Actually, I don’t even like that label. Regardless, as such, I believe that God not only ordains the ends (a person’s justification, sanctification, and glorification) but He also ordains the means to that end. That is, He ordains that in real time people would be sent with the Gospel, that they would share the Gospel with the nations, that they would hear, that He would draw them to Himself, and that they would repent of their sins and believe.

          So, what I do matters Bro. Bob. I could look at it from a deterministic point of view and say, “Ah, if it’s God’s will to save them, He will save them” but that is not what Scripture teaches me. I am taught that I should become all things to all men that by all possible means I might save some. That is what I want to do. So, that is why I believe our methods matter. Blessings to you brother.

          Randall Cofield

          Bob,

          Pray tell… why don’t you enlighten us as all to how we are to Scripturally acknowledge someone’s conversion experience.

          Assuming you meant “examine” instead of “acknowledge,” I could repeat myself but I don’t think it would help.

          It is not that anyone stands in front of a service and asks everyone who wants to go to heaven raise your hands… congratulations the angels in heaven are rejoicing because your names are written down in heaven…

          I’ve seen this done in SB Churches more times than I care to remember. I’ve even shared my concern with some who practice this. They pretty much responded just as you are responding, Bob.

          This repeated incredulity over something that every pastor on this forum knows takes place with alarming regularity truly strains the bounds of credibility.

          And as for your “well, ya’ll think God’ll save ’em anyway if they’re the elect” shtick: Don’t you find it just a little odd that it is the Calvinists on these threads who are contending for integrity in dealing with men’s souls?

          Perhaps you don’t have us quite as neatly pigeon-holed as you think?

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Bob Hadley

          Randall..

          What seems obvious to me is the ability for you to pick the statements you want to respond to and ignore the rest. NP.

          Darryl,

          I appreciate your answer to not answer my question… “do you or do you not believe that authentic conversion is the direct result of effectual calling on God and God alone’s part?”

          While I am doing the best that I can NOT to put words in your mouth because I do not know you nor do I want to presume what you may or may not believe, I asked you what I really thought was a simple question.

          Calvinists maintain that effectual calling is what brings about conversion. Given that position, I maintain the means are absolutely secondary to God’s initiative in His calling. So, given that FACT, my point is it does indeed seem odd that you guys of all people would be making such an issue over something that has no issue on conversion where calvinism is concerned.

          ><>”

          Randall Cofield

          Bob,

          Calvinists maintain that effectual calling is what brings about conversion. Given that position, I maintain the means are absolutely secondary to God’s initiative in His calling. So, given that FACT, my point is it does indeed seem odd that you guys of all people would be making such an issue over something that has no issue on conversion where calvinism is concerned.

          And as for your “well, ya’ll think God’ll save ‘em anyway if they’re the elect” shtick: Don’t you find it just a little odd that it is the Calvinists,and not the Trads on these threads who are contending for integrity in dealing with men’s souls?

          Perhaps you don’t have us quite as neatly pigeon-holed as you think?

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Darryl Hill

          Hey Bob, I thought I tried to answer that question Bob, but let me try again… ( I assure you I’m not trying to avoid tough questions)

          I DO believe in God’s effectual call, but there are many parts to that calling. That is what I was trying to say in my post. I don’t believe God coerces a person or forces a person to believe. Instead, I believe He works in every aspect of our lives, from the moment of our birth, to bring us to the point of believing.

          So, long story short, I believe that the methods we employ are a part of that effectual call. In fact, I would say that nothing is wasted. But how do I know that my use of what I consider to be an unscriptural method isn’t the very thing that keeps someone out of the Kingdom? As I say, I’m not a determinist, I’m a Calvinist. Folks here like to equate those 2 things, but there is a significant difference. A determinist would be tempted to just stay in the bed every day, thinking “what does it matter? Everything is determined and my actions do not matter. But that is not what Scripture teaches. God is completely sovereign in every way and yet my choices and actions matter in every way.

          With all of this in view, as far as it depends on me, I will do all I can not to be part of the reason a person falsely believes himself a Christian. Now, I know I can’t accomplish that to perfection, but I’m going to try my best.

          Of course Bob, I have a feeling it may not matter what I say at this point. Now, I may be wrong, but it “seems” you may not actually care why I believe what I believe on this issue. Nevertheless, there it is.

          Bob Hadley

          Darryl,

          A couple things. Thanks for answering my question and for the record I do care about WHAT you say… if I didn’t I would not bother with this exercise. I want to learn and have my own position challenged. Believe it or not, my position has actually evolved because of things others have said or even in the process of vocalizing my own position, it evolved as well.

          I do consider everything others say… I may dismiss much of it but I do read it and consider it on its own merit.

          Now to your statement. do you consider effectual calling to be something that is punctiliar or continual? In your answer you indicate that effectual call is continual in that God uses the totality of events to bring about His desired will. I am not sure that I have ever read that take on effectual calling. It would seem to me as I understand the calvinist mindset, effectual calling is punctiliar in that when God calls, the unregenerate cannot or will not resist… so it is as if that call takes place at a specific place and time and the individual passes from death unto life, just as we are born physically. When Jesus called Lazarus to come forth… it was at a specific place and time… You may be correct; I simply have not considered that approach but that would seem to me to be a difficult thing to rationalize… because if you are correct, then man is resisting up to some point or else God’s effectual call would be effectual at the first point of contact… that could make one dizzy real fast.

          You also wrote… “With all of this in view, as far as it depends on me, I will do all I can not to be part of the reason a person falsely believes himself a Christian.” While that is obviously the goal of any responsible person sharing Christ with or discipling someone, we will all do what you have alluded too.

          Now here is a question I do not really understand. Why is it essential for you or anyone to “make sure that you are not part of the reason anyone falsely believes he is a Christian?” I see the mandate to make sure people do come to Christ but I do not believe I have ever seen the mandate in the Bible to make sure someone does not have false hope.

          Given that comment, how on earth can an unregenerate person who is dead in his sin and incapable of even coming to Christ apart from this effectual calling we have already addressed, how can a false hope make someone who is dead any deader? What difference does it really make if someone falsely professes Christ and he is not saved. He is simply not saved. He is no different before he prayed that silly prayer nor is he any different than had he not prayed it. If he is dead he is dead.

          If it is God’s effectual call that saves, whether it is punctiliar and God calls out Joe be saved or it is continual as you suggest, then who is to say or not say that the sinners prayer is any less a means to bring about someone’s conversion or not… it is God who is ordaining the means and not us… so why all the fuss? that is what really does not make any sense to me. I can see why I would object and urge caution in using the sinners prayer but as a calvinist I would not care. It is all God so nothing I do is going to hinder it and nothing I do is not going to be effectual if it is so ordained by God and since it is the effectual call that makes the difference I am going to be all things to all people so God can ordain what He wants to ordain to touch those He wants to touch…

          Thanks for your input… hope I did not get too wordy here…

          ><>”

          Darryl Hill

          I never have understood irresistible grace as God forcing someone to submit. Rather, it is often the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. Perhaps I am not normal Bob. :-) I think it is very clear that we often resist God’s grace for years. But I prefer “triumphant grace” because we may resist for years but God’s grace eventually has its effect.

          I have a similar view of effectual call. It seems to me that God’s effectual call is not always an instantaneous thing. Certainly that final moment is instantaneous but it may simply be the final step in a very long journey.

          Believing these things, I am thoroughly convinced that our methods matter and could even serve as a very real hindrance to a person’s salvation. I’m not a determinist- not even close.

Max

“There is no doubt that New Calvinists have promoted a revival of interest in all things theological. They are flat out prolific, and they have revealed a deep hunger for theology that for too long has been ignored. They are seriously committed to engaging and investing in the youngest generation of evangelical Christians in ways that the rest of us ought to be emulating.”

Thank you Dr. Hankins for the humble and responsible way you have addressed this matter. There is no doubt that the New Calvinism movement, led by SBC and non-SBC influencers, is resulting in a return of 20s-30s to church. Some are attracted to theology … some to church model … others to “culturally relevant” message and practice. It is my prayer that a leadership representative of non-Calvinist Southern Baptist rank and file (both national and local) will rise to the occasion with focus and passion to respond to this new hunger in our youth to know God. We need to take a serious look at how mainline churches are ministering to high school through young adult age groups. If not, we will continue to see a migration to the New Calvinism movement and concurrent generational shift in soteriology contrary to the traditional Southern Baptist understanding of God’s plan of salvation which you have so clearly articulated.

“Whoever has ears, let them hear. To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others.” (Matthew 11:15-16)

Matt

Eric,

You say, “I stated that I felt that the underlying criticism of the Sinner’s Prayer from New Calvinists is related to the fact that they do not believe that all people can pray that prayer because some people are hopelessly condemned, a criticism I stand by and will be glad to discuss.”

The last time I saw the article on this website that contained your original resolution on the sinner’s prayer there were well over 200 comments on it. Most of these comments were from people like myself opposing the resolution because of concerns about the abuse of these “repeat after me” prayers. Not once in all of the comments did I see anyone oppose the resolution because they felt that people who are “hopelessly condemned” should not say one of these prayers.

Where is the evidence to back up your claim about the motives of those who opposed your resolution? Thier actual arguments say something totally different than what you have accused them of.

I see that you had to quote some of the prominant Calvinists in the SBC to try to show how they have been decisive in the past. However, statements about spreading thier theological convictions is not really devisive, neither is affirming a statement like the Abstract of Principles. What is truely devisive, and has not been done by any SBC Calvinists, is writing a statement that claims to be the “traditional Southern Baptist” view that names another group of Southern Baptist brothers and sisters, claims that the purpose of the statement is to reject thier beliefs, and then grossly misrepresents thier beliefs.

Shawn

Dear Dr. Eric,

I want to thank you for the conciliatory tone of this post. Considering the firestorm that followed the publication of the T.S., your words here are refreshing. I too am hopeful that honest theological discussion will ensue in the SBC and that we will be more faithful proclaimers of the Gospel because of it.

I would, however, like to take issue with something you stated in your post. You said, “Because of the dynamics of this debate, I hope Dr. Platt will make clear that he does not mean that God has two kinds of love and two wills for “all people in the word.” When I say that God loves and wants to save all people, I mean, along with most Southern Baptists, that God’s love and will is the same for all people.” I assume here that you are addressing the Calvinist contention that there are two wills in God — His revealed will and His secret will (also referred to as His will of desire and His will of decree). What you seem to fail to acknowledge is that you believe there are two wills in God as well. Allow me to elaborate.

We all know that 1 Tim 2:4 says that God our Savior “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (NAS) As a Calvinist, I believe this verse as much as you. The question that distinguishes our two interpretations is this: “If our God is an all-powerful God (we all agree He is), and we know He desires the salvation of all men (which 1 Tim 2:4 says He does), then why are all men not saved? You will no doubt reply, “Because many men choose not to accept His free gift of salvation.” You are effectively saying that our sovereign God will have unmet desires because His will is limited by men’s will. Or to put it in your wording, God is still sovereign, but He voluntarily limits His own will so as not to force Himself on His free moral creatures. In other words, He truly desires that all men be saved and He has the power to accomplish all He desires (Psa 115:3). He knows that many men will reject the gospel which will result in their eternal torment. He has the sovereign ability to override their choices and save them from eternal torment, but He does not do so out of deference to their free will.

Thus, in your interpretation, you effectively hold that God has two wills; you say the same thing as the Calvinist in this regard — God desires that all men be saved, but there is something else He desires more. According to you, He wants all men to be saved, BUT He wills to defer to the free choices of men more than He wills for them to be saved. The Calvinist agrees that God’s desire is that all men be saved, but we say that what God desires more is the glory He receives in the merciful salvation of some as well as the just punishment of others.

I point this out in the hopes that you will be more clear and forthright in future discussions. But before I close, I have an additional question I would ask you. Those who side with the T.S. always seem to imply that the Calvinist’s view of God electing some to salvation makes God an unloving monster. But really, how is God more “loving” if he wants to save all His children, is able to save all His children, and yet lets men die in their sins out of deference to their choice? If I had the power to save my child from death and yet deferred to what my child chose in the moment, even though it would result in their death, I would rightly lose my parental rights and be imprisoned.

Thank you for your time.

    holdon

    “He has the sovereign ability to override their choices and save them from eternal torment”

    No, He doesn’t have that ability. Because if He did and if 1 Tim 2:4 is true, He would also save everyone in the Calvinist scheme.

    If you say that God (being Sovereign and all) has the power or ability to make man’s choices, you make Him effectively the author of all sin and evil in this world. God did not make us robots doing whatever we are told (or programmed) by Him. Why would God makes us sin and then want to save us? It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever and the Scriptures never speak like that. We were created in His image and likeness. That is all the difference in the world between a robot and a Man.

    I think you have answered your own question here:

    “but really, how is God more “loving” if he wants to save all His children, is able to save all His children, and yet lets men die in their sins out of deference to their choice? If I had the power to save my child from death and yet deferred to what my child chose in the moment, even though it would result in their death, I would rightly lose my parental rights and be imprisoned.”

    This is the conundrum for Calvinists. They make God guilty for the lost.

      Shawn

      Holdon,

      As to the first part of your post, you quoted me, (“He has the sovereign ability to override their choices and save them from eternal torment”) and then you said, “No, He doesn’t have that ability. Because if He did and if 1 Tim 2:4 is true, He would also save everyone in the Calvinist scheme.” That is simply incorrect. Here is an explanation I provided to a similar post:

      I’m sure you would agree with me that we are all sinners deserving of death and hell. We are all condemned to hell by God because we have all continually fallen short of His glory (Rom 3:23) and the wages of our sin and lawlessness is death (Rom 6:23). If God allowed all men to suffer the His just wrath for all eternity in hell, He would be no less loving, no less merciful, no less righteous, no less God. These things are intrinsic to His character.

      I have found in the past that those of you who come from the “Traditionalist” position tend to wrongly summarize Calvinism as follows: mankind somehow existed in a state of neutrality, then God came along and chose some men out of that neutral state to go to heaven and some men out of that neutral state to go to hell. Understand now that this is classic double-predestination and it is unbiblical heresy. (Some men will say they espouse a double-predestination, but examine carefully how they define their terms before immediately assuming they mean this classic position).

      What the Bible teaches is that all men are under God’s wrath and condemnation due to sin (Rom 3). God has condemned all men to hell on the basis that we have all violated His law and offended His infinite glory. There is no position of neutrality. We are all children of wrath (Eph 2:3), and we have absolutely no desire or inclination to seek God in and of ourselves (Rom 3). But God, to display and express His mercy and love and grace in His created order, chose to rescue some men out of condemnation through the sacrifice of His Son. He made this choice from the foundation of the world, having known that man would choose to sin against Him. That is why the names of His chosen people were written in the lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:8, 17:8, 21:27) God is no less loving, no less merciful, and no less just because He chose to leave some to suffer His wrath just as He chose to save some from His wrath. Those who are not chosen receive what we all should have received for breaking God’s law; there is no injustice on God’s part by not choosing them. Those who are chosen to receive life believe in Him purely as a matter of His grace. So, those who choose in their sins to reject Christ will go to hell, and they are 100% responsible for their choice. Those who choose to repent and believe in Christ do so as a result of God’s choice (Eph 2:8-9), and He gets 100% of the credit.

      On your charge that Calvinism makes God the author of evil, let’s go to Scripture instead instead of merely reciting anti-Calvinist dogma. The most evil act in all of human history was the crucifixion of the innocent Son of God at the hands of wicked men. But He was delivered up according to the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23). Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, gathered themselves together against Jesus to do whatever God’s hand and God’s plan had predestined to take place (Acts 4:27-28). Yet, God is not the author of evil, and every man is fully culpable for the exercise of his own will. God is completely sovereign, even over the free choices of His moral creatures (Prov 16:33), yet God is not the author of evil, and we are not puppets – we have real wills and we make real choices with real consequences. Can I explain it perfectly? No, but Scripture teaches each of these things is true. You, on the other hand, deny God’s total sovereignty because you believe it is incompatible with man’s will. You say that God being completely sovereign over men’s choices makes us robots, but Scripture says differently — it holds both truths in tandem. You set Scripture against Scripture. You are like the clay arguing with the potter in Romans 9:19.

      On the final part of your post, it is you who must answer the question. Calvinists have clearly explained how God is loving and yet still allows some men to go to hell — they go to hell because of their sin, just as we all would apart from God’s electing grace. In your scheme, God is the monster. He is supposedly all-powerful, but He willingly ties His hands and sits back, waiting to see whether or not men will choose Him.

        holdon

        It’s a little hard to follow when you say on the one hand:
        “Yet, God is not the author of evil, and every man is fully culpable for the exercise of his own will.”
        and this:
        “God is completely sovereign, even over the free choices of His moral creatures”.
        And you deny that this means that God is the author of evil.

        No matter how you slice it: if man does evil and God is “completely sovereign even over the free choices of His moral creatures”, then God is culpable of not preventing man to sin: that makes Him indeed the author (the guy behind the scenes) of evil.

        This your monstrous scheme: God knowingly and overpoweringly making all men sin and only rescuing some.

        This has nothing to do with the clay answering to the Potter. I have found that Calvinists in general don’t understand that metaphor in Romans 9. To better understand it you have to go back to Jer. 18 and 19. There you will see that the Potter throws away clay because it has hardened itself and makes the sovereign choice to take other clay to fulfill His purposes. This strengthens Paul’s argument in Rom 9 that elect Israel was about to be cast away as a hardening had come over them and new clay was taken from the Gentiles and Israel as well: those who are on the principle of faith.

        As to “that is why the names of His chosen people were written in the lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:8, 17:8, 21:27)” I think you are mistaken too. The bookkeeping of God is in a certain sense a double bookkeeping. There is a book of all the living: all those ever born. From this book persons can be deleted. There is also the book for those who inherit eternal life: from this book persons are not deleted, but added when they believe.

          Mike Davis

          holdon,

          I think the Traditionalists assume you are on their side. Why don’t you just tell everyone up front that you hold to Open Theism and deny that God is omnipotent and omniscient? Is it because you don’t want to have to debate the Traditionalists too? You have already denied that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer.

          Shawn

          Holdon,

          My dear brother, you are headed off the reservation in theological terms. You are on the verge of going beyond the bounds of orthodoxy, far beyond what the traditionalists and calvinists are discussing here. You have shared opinion, and not Scripture, and your opinion undermines God’s providence and sovereignty.

          Consider Joseph, whose story is told in the last chapters of Genesis. He was despised by his brothers, beaten, and sold into slavery. He prospered in Potiphor’s house, but then was falsely accused by Potiphor’s wife, placed in prison, and later forgotten by the king’s men. But then, because of His God-given ability to interpret dreams, he was made second only to Pharaoh in all of Egypt, and he saved his family from the famine. After his father died, his brothers thought he might seek revenge against them, and Joseph said (Gen 50:19-20),“Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” In other words, men were still culpable for the evil they had done, yet God was completely sovereign in and over their sinful choices to bring about His good purpose.

          Consider Job. God released Satan to kill all of Job’s children and destroy all of Job’s wealth. When Job found out about his loss, he said in Job 1:20-22 “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Notice, he attributed his losses to God’s hand, but this was not sin for him to say so, nor was God guilty of wrongdoing.

          Add to that what I already said about God ordaining the most evil act in all of human history — the death of Christ (Acts 2:23, 4:27-28) — and you have a clear exegetical picture. God is not the author of evil, but He is sovereign over evil and even ordains it to accomplish His purpose. God does not “knowingly and overpoweringly” make all men sin — we do that on our own. But the fact that we are culpable (completely responsible) for our sin does not mean in any way that God is not sovereign over it, in it, and through it. That is the true argument of Romans 9.

          You have obviously read/listened to one of the recent interpretations of Romans 9 that tries to generalize the chapter by interpreting in terms of nations and not persons, but this is a relatively new interpretive framework, unfounded in 1900 years of scriptural interpretation throughout church history, brought to the forefront by men seeking to find their way around the clear exegetical meaning of Romans 9 — That God will do as He wills among men and none can charge Him with evil. May I suggest a book to you entitled “Exegetical Fallacies” — its a great book on hermeneutics — its not a Calvinist book, it even shoots down some Calvinist arguments, but it addresses fallacies like reading Jeremiah 18 and 19 back into Romans 9 just because Paul happens to use the same “Potter” metaphor as the prophet Jeremiah.

          On a final note, you give absolutely NO exegetical foundation to your spurious idea that the Lamb’s book of life is a book of all the living. This is honestly the first time I have ever heard someone set forth such a farce. It is called the “Lamb’s” book of life precisely because it contains the names of those He has redeemed with His blood sacrifice. Rev 21:27 specifically says the ones whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life are the ones who enter the Holy City — Heaven. AND THEIR NAMES WERE WRITTEN IN THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD (Rev 13:8, 17:8).

          Holdon, your approach to Scripture and theology is dangerous and haphazard. Thinking like yours is how men end up down the road to process theology and open theism. Please, brother, go to the text and engage with it. Make an exegetical argument. There are many good brothers here who are coming from the Traditionalist perspective who could help give you direction and keep you on the course of biblical orthodoxy. If my Calvinist perspective is too objectionable to you, at least get some help from them.

          I pray you have a good night!

          Mike Davis

          Also, holdon, could you do us Calvinists a favor and explain to the Traditionalists how believing that God is omniscient and omnipotent makes them vulnerable to the same kinds of charges they make against Calvinism? For example, explain to them how believing that God is omniscient and omnipotent makes them de facto believers in double-predestination. I have been telling them the open theists could take their arguments against Calvinism and use those arguments against the Traditionalists, but I don’t think they have been reading your comments closely enough to see that you are arguing against their views also.

          holdon

          “God ordaining the most evil act in all of human history — the death of Christ (Acts 2:23, 4:27-28) — and you have a clear exegetical picture. God is not the author of evil, but He is sovereign over evil and even ordains it to accomplish His purpose.”

          So, Calvinists can say things like: “God is not the author of evil” and in the same sentence “God ordains evil”.

          Well drop the semantics of “author” part and you still have God making evil happen. If He did not ordain evil, it wouldn’t happen right?

          There is your monster.

          Please tell me straight up without your contortions: on the basis of Acts 4:26 – 28 did Herod just have to do it driven by God, or did he have a choice?

          holdon

          Mike Davis,

          “For example, explain to them how believing that God is omniscient and omnipotent makes them de facto believers in double-predestination.”

          Sorry, I really don’t know how you can make that conclusion. Please explain how God knowing all things all the time and being omnipotent leads to double predestination. (I presume in your thoughts predestination is about salvation only).

          Mike Davis

          holdon,

          Rather than explain it again, just read through the comments of the July 1 post by Ron Hale where several commenters explained the point. But I have a few questions for you. You made the following comment:

          “He has the sovereign ability to override their choices and save them from eternal torment”

          No, He doesn’t have that ability. Because if He did and if 1 Tim 2:4 is true, He would also save everyone in the Calvinist scheme.

          Now, I think you meant that exactly the way it was written. But a Traditionalist would have said God doeshave the ability to override human choice in the matter of salvation but sovereignly chooses not to exercise the power He has in this case, and has left it up to human will, though He already knows from eternity past what the outcome will be.
          So I have a few questions for you. Yes or no answers will be fine. I already know you deny the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer . So tell me:

          1. Do you believe God is omnipotent and omniscient? Do you believe He knows everything that will happen–not just hypotheticals, but what actually will happen?

          2. Do you believe in substitutionary atonement? I’m not talking about limited vs general atonement–I’m asking if you believe Jesus suffered the very penalty, wrath and anger of God against sinners as their Substitute, and paid their actual sin-debt in full for them?

          3. Do you affirm every part of the Traditional Statement in its entirety?

          4. What denomination are you a member of?

          I think you already know my answers but they are 1. Yes 2. Yes 3. No 4. SBC

          Shawn

          Holdon, you interject opinion and completely ignore interacting with the text. I welcome you to give your interpretation of the texts I have mentioned, or have you already clipped those from your Bible?

          Shawn

          Oh, I forgot to answer your question Holdon. Regarding Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the others mentioned in Acts 4, they each acted according to their own sinful wills, and each one is completely culpable for their choices, AND God ordained exactly what they did according to His will of decree to serve His sovereign purpose of redemption.

          holdon

          “Regarding Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the others mentioned in Acts 4, they each acted according to their own sinful wills, and each one is completely culpable for their choices, AND God ordained exactly what they did according to His will of decree to serve His sovereign purpose of redemption.”

          See, Calvinism cannot answer a simple questions with a straight answer. The question whether Herod could have chosen differently instead of to have Jesus killed. Look how our Calvinists evade the question with this answer: “Each one is culpable of their choices”. But they don’t see what Herod’s choices were. Of course in their theology and as they say here again it is God who ordained Herod to do what he did. So, God is the ultimate driving force for Herod’s sinful action. That means: God is the author of sin per the Calvinist doctrine. It’s clear as water, despite all the muddying they’re trying to do.

          Now the question is why they don’t want to answer the question forthrightly. Is it because they feel (as any christian should) that there is something wrong with this picture of making God the author of Herod’s sin?

          Shawn

          Holdon,

          As I noted earlier, you make summary judgements against how Calvinists explain the Scriptures, but you make no effort to offer ANY exegesis or interpretation of Scripture. If my explanation of these Scriptures is wrong, please offer your interpretation.

          It comes down to this — either God is sovereign over evil or He is not. He can either intervene and stop evil, or He cannot. If you believe He is sovereign over it and capable of intervening to stop it, then you have to explain how He avoids being complicit in it. Please give us your explanation, Holdon. If you believe He is not sovereign over it and not able to stop it, then you reveal what I have feared to be true all along — you believe in the god of process theology or open theism. Go on, Holdon, stop casting stones and explain to us Scripturally what you believe.

          holdon

          “It comes down to this — either God is sovereign over evil or He is not. He can either intervene and stop evil, or He cannot. If you believe He is sovereign over it and capable of intervening to stop it, then you have to explain how He avoids being complicit in it.”

          Well, first let the record show that you admit that God is “complicit in evil”. I appreciate that. Few Calvinists have the guts to admit that.

          Now, I fully hold that God is Sovereign. He could indeed stop it (evil) and wipe out His creation at any moment. But “sovereignty” doesn’t mean that God needs to control every move and act or that it is even His intent to do so.
          A. We have sufficient evidence from Scripture that God has conferred some “sovereignty” to Man himself. This does not mean that God has relinquished His position and rights, but it is clear from the first chapter of the Scriptures and onward that God put Man in a position of authority over God’s creation. It is much like any “Sovereign” king would do in our days: they appoint prime-ministers and such to practically rule over his country. We know of course that after Gen 3, Man has recognized Satan as the “prince of this world” effectively defecting God. This is why creation groans: Man the head of creation has gone wrong.
          So, we see from the first chapters of the bible that God gave Man authority to name animals, to fill the earth, to guard and keep creation, to eat freely, etc.. God does not tell Man what to name an animal, what to eat, how to fill the earth, etc… God is not micro managing. Man has his own freedoms. But he used it badly. What this means is that Man makes his own choices and is perfectly “free” to do so in an absolute sense, having been given this position by God. Of course, he is not morally free to go against God’s will: he will then be guilty of not depending on God. But the very fact that he can, proves that God’s Sovereignty does not control him.
          Therefore when Man sins, God is not making him do it. He has that “freedom” and capacity on his own.
          B. Man was created in God’s image and likeness. Man has been created as a moral being: that is a being capable of choosing. The features of “thinking, reasoning, believing, choosing, loving” are built-in to this creature and entirely as God intended. This means that Man could choose “the apple” and choose to disobey God. God cannot make him do that.
          C. God cannot make Man love (for instance then the commandment to love God was not needed). The impossibility that a thing like love can even be coerced is proof that God’s Sovereignty does not control Man’s heart.
          D. So, God does not control Man’s heart, nor can He, or He would have to rebuild him as a robot. The way Man was created is incompatible with coercion by God. He can punish; He can forgive; but He cannot coerce. If He could coerce Man’s heart, then He is guilty of not doing it the way He wants it. It is fundamentally inconsistent with Man being created in His image and likeness. Now, why does God not “do anything” about evil? My answer is that He has been busy working on that from Gen 3, while respecting His creation (that is: not by rebuilding them as robots, if that were even possible). The Lamb of God will take away the sin of the world. Satan will be cast forever in the lake of fire.

          Shawn

          Holdon, You once again shared opinion without exegeting a single text. Quite simply, your doctrine of sovereignty is unscriptural. If you will not deal wih the text, I will no longer deal with you.

        Mike Davis

        holdon,

        See, Calvinism cannot answer a simple questions with a straight answer

        My four questions were pretty simple and you still haven’t answered them. Well, actually, you indirectly answered one. You don’t believe God is omnipotent. I also note that you don’t appear anxious to deny holding to Open Theism.

          holdon

          “Well, actually, you indirectly answered one. You don’t believe God is omnipotent.”

          Sorry to see that you cannot read.

Don Johnson

Shawn,

The text doesn’t say He desires to save all His children. He desires to save all men. A person does not become God’s child until he repents and believes. At which he is born of God and becomes His child. Before a man comes to faith he is child of the devil (John 8:44).

    Shawn

    I’m not sure what bearing your comment has on the discussion, Don. If God desires the salvation of all men in the way Traditionalist say He does, and if He is an all powerful God capable of accomplishing all His holy will, then why are all men not saved? That’s the question we are discussing.

      volfan007

      Shawn,

      Because man has choice and responsiblity.

      David

        Shawn

        David, Yes, men have choice and responsibility. But at the same time, God is still sovereign over and through men’s choices. It is not either/or, it is both/and. Gen 50:19-20 is one of numerous texts that support this fact – what men meant for evil (their choices that they are fully responsible for) God meant for good (according to His sovereign purpose in bringing all things about for His greatest glory).

      Don Johnson

      Shawn,

      If God first regenerated an unbeliever and the gave him faith to believe, then I believe all would be saved. Unfortunately man must believe first before regeneration occurs.

        Shawn

        I understand that’s what you think, Don, but that is not what Scripture teaches. This discussion has been repeated many times in these threads. Instead of repeating the same old long line of argumentation, let’s cut to the chase. Please give me your interpretation of who “the elect” are in the New Testament.

          Don Johnson

          Shawn,

          I understand what you think, and that is not what Scripture teaches.

          If you want to look at what Scripture teaches with regard to regeneration and faith, I’ll be more than happy to oblige.

          The elect in the OT were Jews. They are also to a limited degree the elect in the NT. However, the bulk of the elect in the NT are the saved. In otherwords, a person becomes elect, loved, sheep, people, saint, part of the church when they get saved.

          Shawn

          Thank you for your kind response, Don. The elect are those whom God predestines to salvation, He then calls them to Himself, justifies them, and eventually glorifies them. That’s the plain reading Romans 8:28-30, and it also bears negatively on your view that regeneration follows faith. I see from your response that you believe the “elect” to be a group that individuals either “opt” into by faith or remain outside of due to unbelief. But when Scripture speaks of those who are chosen, there is the definite sense of individuals who are chosen to respond in faith. Take for example John 10:14-16. Jesus speaks very definitively of knowing who His sheep are and of how they will listen to His voice. Consider also John 10:26. The reason men do not believe is BECAUSE (antecedent cause) they are not part of His flock. They are not part of that certain number of people given to Christ by the Father to accomplish their salvation (John 17:1-3) Indeed, those who will not believe and who will persist in rebellion against God are those who names were not written in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8, 17:8). Thus, God elects, and those who are elect follow with faith. We do not express faith, and thereby include ourselves among the elect.

          As we continue this discussion, you could answer a question for me that no Traditionalist has given a scriptural reply to. If you agree with Romans 3 that no man in his sinfulness can or will seek for God, then you agree that it takes a movement of God to bring him to salvation. You obviously deny that regeneration precedes faith in an individual sense, so I assume that you believe that there is some work of God that overcomes total depravity in a way that makes men “savable” without actually saving anyone. What is the scriptural basis for a grace of Christ that makes men savable without actually accomplishing their salvation?

          Don Johnson

          Shawn,

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe your question was, who are the elect. There is no mention in Rom. 8:28-30 of the elect.

          You did not ask if God foreknew who the elect would be. He did foreknow who would become elect, as 1 Peter 1:2 makes clear.

          How pray tell does Rom. 8 teach regeneration precedes faith?

          Where in Rom. 8 does it state one is predestined to salvation?

          According to Jesus in John 10:26-27, if a person hears Christ and does not follow Him, is he one of Christ’s sheep?

          Do people become Christ’s sheep at some point, or are they always His sheep?

          Shawn

          Don,

          “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe your question was, who are the elect. There is no mention in Rom. 8:28-30 of the elect.”

          –The Predestined are the Elect. The Elect are the Predestined. These words are not exact synonyms, but in this context, they refer to the same individuals. That is why Paul, in the same context, refers to the elect just a few verses later (8:33).

          “You did not ask if God foreknew who the elect would be. He did foreknow who would become elect, as 1 Peter 1:2 makes clear.”

          This takes us back to the issue of the exegetical definition of “foreknowledge.” You are interpreting it to mean that God simply “knew” who would choose to believe in Him beforehand, and it was those He predestined. However, there is not a single verse in the Bible, especially not here in Romans 8 or even Ephesians 1, that gives any indication that God based His choice of people on the fact that He foresaw their faith. Your interpretation would be true if Romans 8 said, “Those whose faith He foreknew. . .” but it doesn’t. We are predestined according to the purpose of His will. (Eph 1:5-6) He “has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace” (2 Tim 1:9) Those whom He “foreknew” means to know beforehand in a relational sense; not merely knowing facts about someone’s actions before they happen. Those whom God foreknew denotes those whom God thought of beforehand in a saving relationship to Himself. Finally, your interpretation leads to the same determinism that Traditionalists abhor. If God did foreknow and predestine people the way you interpret, you still end up with the fact that not one more or one less person will be saved than those that God foreknew. You undercut all your own other arguments — particularly the one that says that anyone and everyone can respond to the gospel. Your interpretation still leads to the same conclusion as the Calvinist — only those predestined can and will respond to the gospel.

          “How pray tell does Rom. 8 teach regeneration precedes faith?”

          –Divine calling is the initiation of regeneration.

          “Where in Rom. 8 does it state one is predestined to salvation?”

          –Foreknew – Predestined – Called – Justified – Glorified. This is the Order of SALVATION. Even your fellow Traditionalists believe this!?!?!? You can also cross reference Eph 1.

          “According to Jesus in John 10:26-27, if a person hears Christ and does not follow Him, is he one of Christ’s sheep?”

          –If you read closely, Jesus already gave you this answer: (vs 26) “You do not believe because you are not of My sheep.”

          “Do people become Christ’s sheep at some point, or are they always His sheep?”

          –Jesus said in John 10:16 “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd.” So it is obvious that He considers them His sheep before they hear His voice and join His flock.

          I have now answered every one of your questions, Don, and you have yet to answer the question I left for you at the end of my last post. If you are going to respond, please start there. Have a great day, brother!

          Don Johnson

          Shawn,

          No, the foreknown are not the elect. Which is why Paul said foreknow. If he meant elect he would have said elect.

          In Rom. 8:33 he mentions the elect because they are now saved and as such become the elect. There are no unsaved elect people, unless they are a Jew.

          Interesting you seem to know what I think “foreknow” means. Particularly, when I didn’t even mention what I thought it meant.

          No, I don’t believe foreknow means God saw who would have faith.

          Now I know a Calvinist won’t like this, but foreknow means foreknow. In other words God being God had knowledge beforehand of whom He would one day know. Hence the term foreknow.

          Those who are foreknown are not predestined to salvation. God already knew they would become His child. Again, which why they were foreknown. God predestines those who will become the elect to glorification not salvation. Which is to be conformed to the image of Christ (1 Cor 15:49, 1 John 3:2, Phil. 3:21,22).

          Eph. 1:5 is the same predestination “the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto Himself.” When is that? John 14:3 and Rom. 8:23 give the answer.

          2 Tim. 1:9 are you sure you want to use that verse. If you do, and you think it has to do with election, could you tell me how a person is first saved and then called? The text doesn’t say “elect-called-saved.” It states “saved-called.”

          No, you didn’t answer my question “Do people become Christ’s sheep at some point, or are they always His sheep”? Yes or no’s please.

          As for your question I’ll answer briefly. Which hopefully we can continue with. Yes, I believe the Bible clearly teaches faith precedes regeneration. Yes, I believe anyone who has never heard the Gospel does not understand the Gospel and therefore cannot seek God. However, once hearing the Gospel, anyone can then believe the Gospel. I’m sure your smiling with that statement.

          Shawn

          Don,

          “No, the foreknown are not the elect. Which is why Paul said foreknow. If he meant elect he would have said elect.”

          –I actually said those whom He predestined are the elect, or the chosen if you like.

          “In Rom. 8:33 he mentions the elect because they are now saved and as such become the elect. There are no unsaved elect people, unless they are a Jew.”

          –They are referred to as the elect because God is the one who made them the elect. Rom 8:28-33 stresses throughout what God does — there is absolutely no mention of man doing anything to make himself part of anything in between verse 28 and verse 33. You are once again inserting your ideology into the text. At this point, I won’t even pursue your comment about Jews that are elect but unsaved. It would lead us to another trail that would distract from this one.

          “Interesting you seem to know what I think “foreknow” means. Particularly, when I didn’t even mention what I thought it meant.”
          “No, I don’t believe foreknow means God saw who would have faith.”
          “Now I know a Calvinist won’t like this, but foreknow means foreknow. In other words God being God had knowledge beforehand of whom He would one day know. Hence the term foreknow.”

          –How did He know them? How did He know they would know Him? What did He know about them? If it is because He knew they would one day believe in Him, then my summary of what you believe was correct and you have merely devolved into semantics. If there is another explanation, I would appreciate you providing it.

          “Those who are foreknown are not predestined to salvation. God already knew they would become His child. Again, which why they were foreknown. God predestines those who will become the elect to glorification not salvation. Which is to be conformed to the image of Christ (1 Cor 15:49, 1 John 3:2, Phil. 3:21,22).”

          –1 Cor 15:49, 1 John 3:2, and Phil 3:21-22 all say we will be glorified, not that we are predestined unto glorification. (Although i agree that glorification is the end result of predestination) As you note below, Eph 1:5 says we are predestined unto adoption as sons. Adoption is what takes place in conversion, the moment we receive the Spirit of God (Rom 8:14-16) And every term associated with this process in the Greek is in the passive sense — it is something that happens to us, not something that we choose to include ourselves in. That is why we are called “the elect” not “those who elected themselves,” and the “chosen,” not “those who chose to believe.” We are not predestined to glorification, we are predestined to salvation in Christ. This is our inheritance (Eph 1:11).

          “Eph. 1:5 is the same predestination “the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto Himself.” When is that? John 14:3 and Rom. 8:23 give the answer.”

          –Romans 8:23 does connote adoption with glorification, but at the same time, Romans 8:15 stresses that adoption is something that has already taken place for the believer, not something that will happen at glorification. Context gives us the meaning. Adoption, God making us His Sons, is what happens in salvation and is what is described in most contexts of sonship. This is true in Gal 4:5-7 as well.

          “2 Tim. 1:9 are you sure you want to use that verse. If you do, and you think it has to do with election, could you tell me how a person is first saved and then called? The text doesn’t say “elect-called-saved.” It states “saved-called.”

          –Yes, I want to use that text, because it stresses that God is the one who initiates and secures our salvation. He saved us. He called us. And He did so according to His own purpose of grace which was granted us (given to us). This verse is not giving us an order of salvation — “saved-called” — but stressing two wonderful realities of what God has done to save us. Do you think we are saved and then called?

          No, you didn’t answer my question “Do people become Christ’s sheep at some point, or are they always His sheep”? Yes or no’s please.

          –Yes, I very clearly answered your questions. Those who do not believe do so because they are not Christ’s sheep. Christ’s sheep will believe, and He refers to them as His sheep even before they have heard His voice and become part of His flock (John 10:16). So YES, they are His sheep from the moment they are predestined to salvation.

          “As for your question I’ll answer briefly. Which hopefully we can continue with. Yes, I believe the Bible clearly teaches faith precedes regeneration. Yes, I believe anyone who has never heard the Gospel does not understand the Gospel and therefore cannot seek God. However, once hearing the Gospel, anyone can then believe the Gospel. I’m sure your smiling with that statement.”

          –Please delineate further — what is it in the preaching of the gospel that makes anyone who hears it able to overcome the sinfulness of their heart and able to seek God? 1 Cor 2:14 says, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”

          Don Johnson

          Shawn,

          I don’t want repeat everything so my answers will be brief.

          No, the predestined are the foreknown, not the elect. You are the one adding to the text not me. Paul said foreknow because he meant foreknow. And foreknow doesn’t mean elect.

          I agree God made the people of 33 the elect, I never said we make ourselves elect. He did it when they got saved. I repeat, there are no unsaved elect.

          How did He know they would know Him? It amazes me you would ask such a question. It’s because He is God. Why is the God of Calvinism such a weak God? No, He doesn’t have to degree things so He will know they will happen. He knows they will happen because He is the all knowing God. Just because man cannot know the future in and of himself doesn’t mean God can’t. His thoughts and ways are much higher than man’s. Please don’t put man’s limitations on God.

          Please go back and read 1 Cor. 15:49, 1 John 3:2, Phil. 3:21,22. Paul said we were predestinated to be conformed to “IMAGE” of Christ. Again, Paul said image because he meant image. No one is conformed to “IMAGE” of Christ when they get saved. It happens when the body is redeemed. In Phil 3:21 the word fashioned is the same word as conformed in Rom 8:29. If you have verse or two that says we’ll be conformed to His image at salvation, I’d be happy to hear them.

          No, we receive the Spirit of adoption at salvation. The actual adoption occurs when Jesus receives us unto Himself. Rom. 8:23, John 14:3. Again, I never said we elect ourselves.

          2 Tim. 1:9 It must be nice to be able to pick and choose as to when words are in order or not. I’ll admit it makes it a little bit difficult to debate, when get to correct what Paul wrote. I wonder what you would be saying if I changed the words. At any rate Paul said saved and called, because he mean saved and called. This calling was not for salvation, but service. In vs. 11 Paul mentions what his call was – preacher-apostle-teacher.

          No, Christ does not have any unsaved sheep or elect. This is getting longer than what I wanted, I’ll give more complete answer next time.

          1 Cor. 2:14 Are you inferring one must have the Holy Spirit before he can understand any spiritual truth?

          Shawn

          Hey Don, this is getting a little long, and a bit tedious to continue in this medium. I leave for a mission trip tomorrow and don’t return until the 16th. I am appreciative of your willingness to continue the dialogue, and would like to do the same. Would you like to swap e-mail addresses and continue in that medium?

          Shawn

          Hey Don,
          Well, you did not seem to want to leave your e-mail, and you may not even be checking this thread anymore, but I will leave a response, if for nothing more than posterity’s sake.

          YOU SAID, “No, the predestined are the foreknown, not the elect. You are the one adding to the text not me. Paul said foreknow because he meant foreknow. And foreknow doesn’t mean elect.”

          I SAY, Predestined and elect are the same thing. I did not say “foreknow” meant elect. God elected, or predestined, those He foreknew.

          YOU SAID, “I agree God made the people of 33 the elect, I never said we make ourselves elect. He did it when they got saved. I repeat, there are no unsaved elect.”

          I SAY, you are contradicting Romans 8:30 which clearly lists justification as happening AFTER predestination and calling. You saying of election that “He did it when they got saved.” is a reversal of the Scriptural order.

          YOU SAY, “How did He know they would know Him? It amazes me you would ask such a question. It’s because He is God. Why is the God of Calvinism such a weak God? No, He doesn’t have to degree things so He will know they will happen. He knows they will happen because He is the all knowing God. Just because man cannot know the future in and of himself doesn’t mean God can’t. His thoughts and ways are much higher than man’s. Please don’t put man’s limitations on God.”

          I SAY, you are not answering my question. It was you who seemed to limit the idea of God’s foreknowledge in our previous post, and now you are taking the Calvinist’s position and implying that I am refuting it. I simply asked you to give a clearer definition of how God “knows” someone. Furthermore, you have completely ignored the fact that the position of God’s knowledge that you elucidate here still supports the determinism that you reject. Please answer the question I raised in my last post.

          YOU SAY, “Please go back and read 1 Cor. 15:49, 1 John 3:2, Phil. 3:21,22. Paul said we were predestinated to be conformed to “IMAGE” of Christ. Again, Paul said image because he meant image. No one is conformed to “IMAGE” of Christ when they get saved. It happens when the body is redeemed. In Phil 3:21 the word fashioned is the same word as conformed in Rom 8:29. If you have verse or two that says we’ll be conformed to His image at salvation, I’d be happy to hear them.

          I SAY, that Roman’s 8:30 clearly says we are predestined to be called, justified, then glorified. Eph 1 clearly says we are predestined to adoption. And adoption takes place at salvation, not at glorification. You keep citing 1 Cor. 15:49, 1 John 3:2, Phil. 3:21,22, but these texts say nothing of election or predestination.

          YOU SAID, “No, we receive the Spirit of adoption at salvation. The actual adoption occurs when Jesus receives us unto Himself. Rom. 8:23, John 14:3. Again, I never said we elect ourselves.”

          I AGREE.

          YOU SAID, “2 Tim. 1:9 It must be nice to be able to pick and choose as to when words are in order or not. I’ll admit it makes it a little bit difficult to debate, when get to correct what Paul wrote. I wonder what you would be saying if I changed the words. At any rate Paul said saved and called, because he mean saved and called. This calling was not for salvation, but service. In vs. 11 Paul mentions what his call was – preacher-apostle-teacher.”

          I SAY, You are the one who likes to pick and choose texts and then insert your own meaning. If you would like to interpret “CALL” in this verse as a calling to service or ministry, then I can agree with the rest of your interpretation of it. It was you who was trying to make it say something other than what it says.

          YOU SAID, “No, Christ does not have any unsaved sheep or elect. This is getting longer than what I wanted, I’ll give more complete answer next time.”

          I SAY, look at John 10:16 again. Jesus calls them His sheep before they hear His voice and follow Him, and those that do not believe, do not believe BECAUSE they are not of His sheep (John 10:26). The sheep being referred to here are clearly those who are elect who have yet to be saved. As it says in Acts 13:48, as many as were appointed unto eternal life believed. Also, you have the references in Revelation of people’s names being written in the lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world. You also have Jesus referring to those that the Father had given Him to save in John 17:1-2. You haven’t even made any effort to properly interpret to these texts!

          YOU SAID, “1 Cor. 2:14 Are you inferring one must have the Holy Spirit before he can understand any spiritual truth?”

          I SAY that 1 Cor 2:14, along with Romans 3:11-12 clearly means that there must be some prior work of the Holy Spirit in the person’s heart to enable them to be responsive to the truth of God. “Having” the Holy Spirit happens fully in conversion.

          Shawn

          To Clarify, when I said I AGREE above, it was in reference to your understanding of Romans 8:23, that our full adoption from this sinful creation comes at glorification. We are still spiritually adopted as sons and daughters of God and co-heirs of Christ at the moment we are saved.

David R. Brumbelow

Dr. Hankins,
Some very good and interesting thoughts. Thanks for your leadership.
David R. Brumbelow

Donald Holmes

Chris Roberts says “The problem in the SP debate is so few are willing to actually interact with semi-Pelagianism to show clear ways the Statement, and their views, are not semi-Pelagian.”

This has been done many times by many people. One huge problem is how you have chosen to define semipelagianism. The defining characteristic of semipelagian thougth is that man initiates salvation and God responds. “Clearly” that is not what this statement says.

    David R. Brumbelow

    It would also help if those making the charge of semi-Pelagianism would instead just explain how the Traditional Statement on Salvation contradicts Scripture. I’ve seen little to none of that.
    If the Traditional Statement is in error, show it from Scripture rather than just calling it a bad name.
    David R. Brumbelow

    Bob Hadley

    Donald, now that is not fair for you attempt to define their own objections…

    David, since Scripture does not mention pelagianism… that is an unfair task you have put on these well-minded individuals whose intention is unity in conformity.

    Let’s all play fair now!

    ><>”

Daniel Wilcox e

How tragic this direction toward calvinism!
My dad came to Christ through SBC chaplain..etc
Billy Graham also gave sermon in which he stated “if you were the only
Person in the whole universe, Christ would have died for you.”

But now recently a pastor of one of the largest SBC churches told me personally tjis isn’t true. And he claimed TULIP is instead true.
,
How tragic!

rhutchin

The Sinner’s Prayer, much like the dedication of infants (the Baptist version of infant baptism), is a Baptist tradition – walk the aisle, say the Sinner’s Prayer, and get baptized. The problem occurs when a person is told by some well-meaning deacon, prayer warrior, missionary, etc., that he or she is saved by following this routine. Maybe yes and maybe no, as all realize. Matt 28 says to go out making disciples and then baptizing them. Baptists have substituted the Sinner’s prayer for discipleship and baptized before discipling. That allows for manipulation of children, peer-pressure induced confessions, and walking the aisle to please a family member (or just to shut them up). It is the wrong action on which the non-Calvinist members of the SBC should seek to emphasize – even they know it tells us nothing about the salvation of a person. Non-Calvinists should focus on a clear enunciation of the differences between the Calvinist and non-Calvinist interpretation of the Bible and to emphasize the consideration of ALL the verses in the Bible that speakto an issue and not those few verses that support one’s pet interpretation.

    holdon

    “Matt 28 says to go out making disciples and then baptizing them.”

    No, that is not what Matt 28 says. There it is: make disciples of all the nations by baptizing them. The teaching part comes after that.

      rhutchin

      My guess here is that “baptism” has a double meaning. It can mean immerse in the Holy Spirit (i.e., in the gospel) which makes sense to me. That would be an immediate application. So, then how does water baptism fit in? My thinking is that it would reflect direct evidence that God has moved the person to dsicipleship and that human emotion is not the cause. Given the example of the Ethiopian enuch, this is demostrated by his active interest in the Scriptures and his being the initiator of the questioning about the Scriptures. I am not sure that the timing of “water” baptism is clear from the Scriptures and unusual conditions usually precede events where water baptism is immediate – conditions not normally found in churches today where immediate water baptism is practiced.

        holdon

        Matt 28 is about water baptism, without a doubt. Because the 11 disciples were to baptize. It is never said that people like the disciples could baptize with the Holy Spirit. That is the prerogative of Christ alone.

        Water baptism is the starting point of the christian life on earth. It follows immediately upon repentance and acceptance of the gospel as can be seen in several places in the bible. Very usual indeed.

    volfan007

    Romans 10 teaches that we should CALL on the name of the Lord for salvation. We should CONFESS with our MOUTHES the Lord Jesus, and believe in our HEARTS. And, when we do, we can be fully assured that the Lord has saved us….Whosoever shall CALL on the name of the Lord SHALL be saved….not maybe….not could be…not “let’s see if you hold out til the end”…but SHALL BE SAVED.

    It just doesnt get much clearer than that. That’s plain.

    I wholeheartedly lead people to pray prayers of thanks to God for saving them, right after they pray…calling on the Lord for salvation. It’s the Biblical thing to do, and it’s one of the first things to discipleship-being sure of your salvation.

    David

      rhutchin

      So, do you get the impression that this isan accurate indicator of those who continue in a lifelong relationship with Christ?

        volfan007

        rhutchins,

        It’s the Bible. I just try to do what the Bible teaches. And, this is what the Bible clearly teaches.

        In Philippians 1, God tells us that He will finish what He’s started in us. He will finish it. No doubt about it.

        I am absolutely sure that I’m saved, and that I’ll stay saved. And, if someone truly repents and calls on the Lord, then they can be sure of thier salvation….absolutely sure. Because the Bible teaches that it’s so.

        David

          Cb scott

          Vol,

          No man who has experienced the grace of God and has biblical assurance of the presence of God in his life could possibly argue with the substance of your comment as to the eternal assurance of salvation for those men, women, boys, and girls who have repented of sin and faithfully embraced the biblical gospel.

          volfan007

          CB,

          You would think. Yet, there seems to be some people in here, who do. It’s mystifying.

          God bless, Bro.

          David

John Wylie

Holden,
Matthew 28 does not say or even imply that we make disciples “by” baptizing them. Every single translation that I’ve looked up puts a comma after “make disciples” or “teach all nations” and then subsequent to that to baptize those disciples.

    holdon

    John,

    The commission is to disciple all nations. How were they to do that? By baptizing them (an initiating outward act) and by teaching them.

    A disciple is a follower of the leader. There is no such thing as “making disciples” that is “followers” without baptism. Baptism is the starting point of the path to follow. As Moses was the leader in the OT, Israel followed him: baptized to Moses (1 Cor 10). Christ is our leader.

      Randall Cofield

      Perhaps a posting of the actual verse would be helpful:

      Mt 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;…”

      “Make disciples” is matheteuo (verb: Aorist/Active/Imperative), meaning literally to make one a disciple through teaching and instruction. Then baptize. Then teach, didasko (Present/Active/Participle) all things.

      Soli Deo Gloria

Randall Cofield

Lydia, SelahV, David, et al,

You’ll be happy to know that a leading Trad voice has a lead article over at SBC Voices….you know….that place you want me to go that never posts Trad articles….the same way SBC Today never posts Calvinist articles….

…..oh!…… :-) ….. (for you, Lydia)

Peeeace

    selahV

    Randall, no one said Voices didn’t have Trad voices at their site. Tony has always been open to all views to be expressed over there. Most are Calvinist. One is a Trad. Another is a Wovenist. Then there is me…AWOL for months.

    My reason for sending you over there and to Between the Times and Founders is because you were whining and crying for posts that give an alternative, opposing view. I was just trying to be helpful. Voices posts lots of articles for Calvinists and many of the responders and the authors of the posts have their own blogs which give the views you seem to crave. I’ve read them for years, though not so much anymore. I highly recommend Founders to you. They seem to think just like you write. selahV

      Cb scott

      And also over at Voices, there is, of course, me; cb,

      Randall Cofield

      SelahV

      My reason for sending you over there and to Between the Times and Founders is because you were whining and crying for posts that give an alternative, opposing view. I was just trying to be helpful.

      My, my, the revisionism. :-) I simply pointed out the obvious “resolved” that the name SBC Today be changed to “The MSNBC of the SBC Today” and 4 or 5 of you came unhinged.

      Seriously. You guys don’t find it juuuuuust a little weak that no LEAD ARTICLES from opposing voices are allowed here?

      Peace.

        volfan007

        Randall,

        No, I dont. Because, we’ve got commentors like you coming in here writing often, and writing long responses, which everyone skips over.

        :)

        David

          Randall Cofield

          David,

          You do have an uncanny ability to make my point for me….

          Peace, brother.

        selahV

        randall, you ask: “don’t you guys find it juuuuuust a little weak that no LEAD ARTICLES from opposing voices are allowed here?”

        Nope. Not even a teensey, weensey, itty, bitty bit weak.

          Lydia

          Randall, what are you complaining about? You OWN the comment threads at Today. How about being grateful for such a platform for yourself instead of chiding your hosts?

Randall Cofield

Rick Patrick,

Please call me a TRADITIONALIST—-“Call Me Maybe–Something Nice”
http://sbcvoices.com/call-me-maybe-something-nice/#comment-101018

Old-Traditionalist! I insist that the Neo-Traditionalists drop the pejorative term “Calvinist” and call me an Old-Traditionalist in the Daggian/Boycian tradition….

:-)

Peace, brother

Matt

For all those people who think that those of us who have expressed concerns over the abuse of “sinner’s prayers” are on a witch hunt, I would invite you to do a search on youtube of sinners prayers and altar calls. There you will find videos of people leading large groups in open church and in concerts telling them to raise thier hands and “repeat after me”. You will even find videos of cartoon characters leading children to “pray this prayer with me” and “just say what I say” almost like Dora the Explorer telling kids to say this spanish word or tell the thieving racoon Swiper, “Swiper, no swiping!”

Those of us who have expressed concerns about these prayers have not opposed praying with people to express the new faith and repentance in thier hearts. We just want these potential dangers that lead to a false assurance of salvation to be recognized and guarded against by accompanying any of these “sinners prayers” with a clear explanation that saying a prayer is not what saves anyone and that true faith and repentance of sins is what is required for salvation. My wife prayed with a little girl in her VBS class a couple of weeks ago, and I was very happy to hear that she did because I know that she was very careful in explaning exactly what was going on to the girl. Eric Hankins’ accuasation, attributing motives that just have not been expressed by anyone that I have heard opposing his resolution, is totally unfounded and seems to be another in a long line of attacks on Calvinists.

    Randall Cofield

    Well posted.

    The adamant denial that this is a problem lacks integrity.

    Grace and Peace

    Lydia

    Matt, Give the links here and mark which ones are SBC and we can start a huge campaign to take over their autonomous churches and set them right.

    Hey, Did you read the Veggie Tale inventor went bankrupt and has repented on teaching “morality” as Christianity? A lot of damage done, sadly, by that shallow teaching.

      Matt

      Lydia,

      I posted five of them last night, and my post was “awaiting moderation”. I have no idea what happened, but I don’t see them here now. Maybe they will show up later.

Jeremy Crowder

As always Dr. Hankins speaks clearly for many people me included that are concerned about Calvinism and the tone some Calvinists have in regards to things we value like the Sinners Prayer.

    Randall Cofield

    Hi Jeremy,

    I don’t know about “tone,” but I have clearly articulated on this thread what every pastor knows to be serious and church-debilitating problems with abuse of the sinner’s prayer.

    Does this not concern you at all?

    Grace and Peace

      Jeremy Crowder

      My comment is not directed at you Randal Cofield. I have no concerns at all about the sinners prayer. It played a crucial role in my life coming to Christ and in the lives of both of my younger brothers as well as many others. God uses the Sinners Prayer all the time and has long used it as a way for a person to confess sin and exercise free will. People trumpet up false concerns after they had people doubt salvation. It’s a tradgedy that people are manipulated to doubt there salvation which is exactly what I speculate happens in Platt’s Church and Churches like that. That being said even if a few cases exist (which I believe are as rare a unicorn sighting to borrow a phrase I’ve heard used) that doesn’t discount the many ministries that use it properly.

Clint Pressley

Eric
Thanks for your tone and humility. I always knew you had the niceness to match that giant brain of yours.

Clint

t.r.

Author of the “traditional statement”, Eric Hankins, denies even the need for prevenient grace, making him the new Pelagius:

“Nothing in Scripture indicates that humans have been rendered “totally depraved” through Adam’s sin. Genesis 3 gives an extensive account of the consequences of Adam’s sin, but nowhere is there the idea that Adam or his progeny lost the ability to respond to God in faith, a condition which then required some sort of restoration by regeneration or prevenient grace.”
-Eric Hankins in part 4 of his series “Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism” found here on the SBCToday archives in April.

    Shawn

    Good Comment T. R. And from the Traditionalists we hear . . . . . . . . . crickets chirping.

      alsbc623

      what you are actually hearing is the deafening silence of Proverbs 26:4 in action…

        t.r.

        Oh, so in other words, I’m a fool? How so? For pointing out the clear Pelagius error of your leader? The Bible tells us that every intent of the thoughts of the human heart is only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). Yet your leader Eric Hankins, from his own mouth, tells us that no work of grace is necessary for a person to come to faith. That is your former leader Pelagius taught. But the Scripture teaches quiet differently than Pelagius and the neo-Pelagius Eric Hankins. You–everyone of you are fools if you think no act of grace is necessary to bring someone to Christ. And that is exactly what your fool leader has taught!

          alsbc623

          I am glad to see that they have given you access to a keyboard; it would be very difficult for you to write all of this in crayon, as I am sure all sharp objects have been taken away from you.

          BTW, it’s time for your lithium…

        Shawn

        Alsbc623, you resort to insults because you have no suitable reply. Remember the command to love the brethren in 1 John 4 next time.

          alsbc623

          Shawn,
          You are incorrect; I have plenty of “suitable replies”, but I spend most of my time continually fighting back the gag reflex as I read t.r. and the like. I resorted to insults as I am BEYOND weary of the Pelagius grenade-fest going on.

          You have every right to call me out for insults (truth is, you are right); HOWEVER, I find it hypocritical, pious, and nauseating that you would deign to call me out without FIRST calling someone like t.r. for hurling the insults he has. You see, there are some people that say “love your brother”, but as to how they play the game themselves, it is translated “love your brother (unless I feel like they aren’t as spiritual or as enlightened as I, then it’s OK to insult their intelligence, faith, education, etc all the while hiding behind the banner of Truth)”

          In summary: don’t play the “love your brother” card unless you are willing to use it on everyone (i.e. t.r.), not just on people that don’t pass the muster of your selective hearing and theological sensitivities.

t.r.

alsbc623: Simple question: Do you believe people need God’s grace to come to Christ? That is what I have been blasting about your leader. If the charge is false, show me otherwise about his teachings. If the charge is true, then heretic is the only proper word. It is heresy to deny people need God’s grace to come to Christ. Period.

    alsbc623

    1. To be clear: Regarding matters of my faith, neither Eric Hankins nor any other human is my leader. I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

    2. I absolutely believe salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9) 100% from God. 0% works

    3. I know that Eric Hankins believes the same thing.

    #3- herein lies the rub. Unless I am mistaken, this is the fundamental difference between you and I. I know Eric Hankins. I have had occasion to discuss this personally with Eric Hankins and have heard his heart. I am going to assume you have not. Please correct me if I am wrong…

    4. You may say, “well why hasn’t he come on here and cleared things up?” Let me help you out with that. Try 1 week mission trip to Peru, followed by sickness, convention, and then trying to carve out some time for his family by taking some much needed down time with them (believe it or not, pastors need that…) and pastoring a church in the midst of all the above.

    5. I want you to think for just ONE SECOND how his children would feel if they were to get on these sites and see all this character assassination going on. Think about that the next time you (or anyone else) goes on one of your rants to anyone else (yes, I need to heed my own words…)

    6. Let’s get something else straight; I am not one of Dr. Hankins’ hired guns, and he does not even know that I am writing on these blogs. In terms of time spent, I have spent far more time in the presence of reformed thinkers than not. I am not a Traditionalist, Calvinist, or any other -ist. I am a follower of Jesus Christ who knows there are MANY things far above my paygrade as a human that I won’t know about until I see Him face to face.

    Grace and Peace to you

t.r.

Well, I look forward to Eric Hankins responding. Everyone gets in a huff about name calling, yet his statement denies that we need grace to come to Christ. That is heresy. Now perhaps you are completely right and he will retract that statement, explain how we have misunderstood him or whatever. Great! But until now, all I have heard is \”how dare you…\” But I dare because grace is necessary. His statement reads as heresy. I look forward to Hankins explaining it himself. And then, hopefully, it could all be let to rest.

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