The Traditional Statement

June 9, 2015

A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation

Click HERE to sign!

Preamble
Every generation of Southern Baptists has the duty to articulate the truths of its faith with particular attention to the issues that are impacting contemporary mission and ministry. The precipitating issue for this statement is the rise of a movement called “New Calvinism” among Southern Baptists. This movement is committed to advancing in the churches an exclusively Calvinistic understanding of salvation, characterized by an aggressive insistence on the “Doctrines of Grace” (“TULIP”), and to the goal of making Calvinism the central Southern Baptist position on God’s plan of salvation.

While Calvinists have been present in Southern Baptist life from its earliest days and have made very important contributions to our history and theology, the majority of Southern Baptists do not embrace Calvinism. Even the minority of Southern Baptists who have identified themselves as Calvinists generally modify its teachings in order to mitigate certain unacceptable conclusions (e.g., anti-missionism, hyper-Calvinism, double predestination, limited atonement, etc.). The very fact that there is a plurality of views on Calvinism designed to deal with these weaknesses (variously described as “3-point,” “4-point,” “moderate,” etc.) would seem to call for circumspection and humility with respect to the system and to those who disagree with it.

For the most part, Southern Baptists have been glad to relegate disagreements over Calvinism to secondary status along with other important but “non-essential” theological matters. The Southern Baptist majority has fellowshipped happily with its Calvinist brethren while kindly resisting Calvinism itself. And, to their credit, most Southern Baptist Calvinists have not demanded the adoption of their view as the standard. We would be fine if this consensus continued, but some New Calvinists seem to be pushing for a radical alteration of this longstanding arrangement.

We propose that what most Southern Baptists believe about salvation can rightly be called “Traditional” Southern Baptist soteriology, which should be understood in distinction to “Calvinist” soteriology. Traditional Southern Baptist soteriology is articulated in a general way in the Baptist Faith and Message, “Article IV.” While some earlier Baptist confessions were shaped by Calvinism, the clear trajectory of the BF&M since 1925 is away from Calvinism. For almost a century, Southern Baptists have found that a sound, biblical soteriology can be taught, maintained, and defended without subscribing to Calvinism. Traditional Southern Baptist soteriology is grounded in the conviction that every person can and must be saved by a personal and free decision to respond to the Gospel by trusting in Christ Jesus alone as Savior and Lord. Without ascribing to Calvinism, Southern Baptists have reached around the world with the Gospel message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. Baptists have been well-served by a straightforward soteriology rooted in the fact that Christ is willing and able to save any and every sinner.

New Calvinism presents us with a duty and an opportunity to more carefully express what is generally believed by Southern Baptists about salvation. It is no longer helpful to identify ourselves by how many points of convergence we have with Calvinism. While we are not insisting that every Southern Baptist affirm the soteriological statement below in order to have a place in the Southern Baptist family, we are asserting that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are not Calvinists and that they do not want Calvinism to become the standard view in Southern Baptist life. We believe it is time to move beyond Calvinism as a reference point for Baptist soteriology.

Below is what we believe to be the essence of a “Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” We believe that most Southern Baptists, regardless of how they have described their personal understanding of the doctrine of salvation, will find the following statement consistent with what the Bible teaches and what Southern Baptists have generally believed about the nature of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Articles of Affirmation and Denial 

Article One: The Gospel
We affirm that the Gospel is the good news that God has made a way of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for any person. This is in keeping with God’s desire for every person to be saved.

We deny that only a select few are capable of responding to the Gospel while the rest are predestined to an eternity in hell.

Genesis 3:15; Psalm 2:1-12; Ezekiel 18:23, 32; Luke 19.10; Luke 24:45-49; John 1:1-18, 3:16; Romans 1:1-6, 5:8; 8:34; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 4:4-7; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-16; 2 Peter 3:9

Article Two: The Sinfulness of Man
We affirm that, because of the fall of Adam, every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin. Each person’s sin alone brings the wrath of a holy God, broken fellowship with Him, ever-worsening selfishness and destructiveness, death, and condemnation to an eternity in hell.

We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned. While no sinner is remotely capable of achieving salvation through his own effort, we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.

Genesis 3:15-24; 6:5; Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 6:5, 7:15-16;53:6;Jeremiah 17:5,9, 31:29-30; Ezekiel 18:19-20; Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-18, 5:12, 6:23; 7:9; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 6:9-10;15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 20:11-15

Article Three: The Atonement of Christ
We affirm that the penal substitution of Christ is the only available and effective sacrifice for the sins of every person.

We deny that this atonement results in salvation without a person’s free response of repentance and faith. We deny that God imposes or withholds this atonement without respect to an act of the person’s free will. We deny that Christ died only for the sins of those who will be saved.

Psalm 22:1-31; Isaiah 53:1-12; John 12:32, 14:6; Acts 10:39-43; Acts 16:30-32; Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:10-14; Philippians 2:5-11; Col. 1:13-20; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 9:12-15, 24-28; 10:1-18; I John 1:7; 2:2

Article Four: The Grace of God
We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative in providing atonement, in freely offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.

We deny that grace negates the necessity of a free response of faith or that it cannot be resisted. We deny that the response of faith is in any way a meritorious work that earns salvation.

Ezra 9:8; Proverbs 3:34; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 19:16-30, 23:37; Luke 10:1-12; Acts 15:11; 20:24; Romans 3:24, 27-28; 5:6, 8, 15-21; Galatians 1:6; 2:21; 5; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:2-9; Colossians 2:13-17; Hebrews 4:16; 9:28; 1 John 4:19

Article Five: The Regeneration of the Sinner
We affirm that any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is a new creation in Christ and enters, at the moment he believes, into eternal life.

We deny that any person is regenerated prior to or apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.

Luke 15:24; John 3:3; 7:37-39; 10:10; 16:7-14; Acts 2:37-39; Romans 6:4-11; 10:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20; 6:15; Colossians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:18

Article Six: The Election to Salvation
We affirm that, in reference to salvation, election speaks of God’s eternal, gracious, and certain plan in Christ to have a people who are His by repentance and faith.

We deny that election means that, from eternity, God predestined certain people for salvation and others for condemnation.

Genesis 1:26-28; 12:1-3; Exodus 19:6;Jeremiah 31:31-33; Matthew 24:31; 25:34; John 6:70; 15:16; Romans 8:29-30, 33;9:6-8; 11:7; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2:11-22; 3:1-11; 4:4-13; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 7:9-10

Article Seven: The Sovereignty of God
We affirm God’s eternal knowledge of and sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation.

We deny that God’s sovereignty and knowledge require Him to cause a person’s acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ.

Genesis 1:1; 6:5-8; 18:16-33; 22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; 1 Chronicles 29:10-20; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Joel 2:32; Psalm 23; 51:4; 139:1-6; Proverbs 15:3; John 6:44; Romans 11:3; Titus 3:3-7; James 1:13-15; Hebrews 11:6, 12:28; 1 Peter 1:17

Article Eight: The Free Will of Man
We affirm that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God’s gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.

We deny that the decision of faith is an act of God rather than a response of the person. We deny that there is an “effectual call” for certain people that is different from a “general call” to any person who hears and understands the Gospel.

Genesis 1:26-28; Numbers 21:8-9; Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 8:1-22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; Esther 3:12-14; Matthew 7:13-14; 11:20-24; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 9:23-24; 13:34; 15:17-20; Romans 10:9-10; Titus 2:12; Revelation 22:17

Article Nine: The Security of the Believer
We affirm that when a person responds in faith to the Gospel, God promises to complete the process of salvation in the believer into eternity. This process begins with justification, whereby the sinner is immediately acquitted of all sin and granted peace with God; continues in sanctification, whereby the saved are progressively conformed to the image of Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit; and concludes in glorification, whereby the saint enjoys life with Christ in heaven forever.

We deny that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken. We deny even the possibility of apostasy.

John 10:28-29; 14:1-4; 16:12-14; Philippians 1:6; Romans 3:21-26; 8:29,30; 35-39; 12:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 1:21-22; 1 John 2:19; 3:2; 5:13-15; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 13:5; James 1:12; Jude 24-25

Article Ten: The Great Commission
We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth. We affirm that the proclamation of the Gospel is God’s means of bringing any person to salvation.

We deny that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 51:13; Proverbs 11:30; Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; 4:12; 10:42-43; Romans 1:16, 10:13-15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-21; Ephesians 3:7-9; 6:19-20; Philippians 1:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-5

 

Would you like to sign the Traditional Statement?  Click HERE to sign!

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Franklin Eckenroad

Sorry y’all but we need something stronger than an act of our “free will” to save us. God chose some in eternity past because no one chooses Him. If all deserve hell God is not unjust to send all to hell. The fact that he chose some to make up a bride for His Son is pure grace. Real evangelism rests on God’s election not man’s “free will”.

    Kyle Gulledge

    Greetings Franklin,
    Thanks for engaging the article. I must ask where did you read in this article that “free will” saves us? This statement never says this directly or indirectly nor does it imply such a thing. In fact you will see in Article Four, and others, that salvation is provided by God–not our free will.

    Blessings.

    Jon

      andy

      Jonathan,

      An excellent reply…

      signed,
      a Calvinistic guy

    Park Nelson

    Amen, brother Franklin!!!

    Ron F. Hale

    Franklin,
    As one of the signers, I believe that Jesus shed His precious blood for the sins of all humanity. All sinners are savable because Christ’s death is sufficient for all. And, the atonement of Christ is applied at the moment the sinner exercises faith in Christ. I believe the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation and the Holy Spirit first convicts and draws the sinner. It sounds like you are saying that Christ’s death is only sufficient for some. Can you elaborate?

    Blessings!

    Lydia

    “The fact that he chose some to make up a bride for His Son is pure grace.”

    Actually, we are not the bride. Reading about that era’s Jewish wedding rituals is very interesting and makes those parables come even more alive. The New Jerusalem/Holy City in Rev is described as the Bride/Lambs wife when it is joined with God’s redeemed earth. We are guests invited to the marriage supper.

    Revelation 19:7-9
    Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

    Revelation 21:2
    And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

    Revelation 21:9-11
    Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

    In Jewish ritual weddings the groom would walk down the street on the way to the bride. Guests would come out of their homes and follow along. It was a time consuming ritual that culminated in a big long celebratory feast. There is another problem with your assertion. The guests CHOOSE to join the procession as all are invited. That is how a 1st Century Jew would have understood it.

    “.Real evangelism rests on God’s election not man’s “free will”.”

    How can you know if you are really saved or even know the real Jesus since you have no free will thinking to be able to discern that? :o)

Robert

Franklin’s post here has got to be one of the best examples of a Calvinist “drive by” that I have ever seen. He simply asserts his false Calvinistic claims with no support whatsoever and we are supposed to respond: “thanks for getting us to see the light, we just never could have known the truth without your post here!”

Let’s dissect his little propaganda piece a bit:

“Sorry y’all but we need something stronger than an act of our “free will” to save us. God chose some in eternity past because no one chooses Him. If all deserve hell God is not unjust to send all to hell. The fact that he chose some to make up a bride for His Son is pure grace. Real evangelism rests on God’s election not man’s “free will”.”

Where in the statement does it ever say that we are saved by “our free will”?

Last time I checked the Bible while it is true that we are saved through faith (and faith is always a freely made choice) it is God alone who forgives our sin, justifies us, gives us the Holy Spirit, keeps us saved and at the end glorifies us. I see no place in the statement where it says we do any of these things ourselves. If God does not do these things then they just won’t get done.

And where in the Bible (properly interpreted) does it say that God choose in eternity past who would be saved and who would be lost? It never says that. Now we know that Calvinists like Franklin like to proof text from Romans 9 but that is all that it is, prooftexting, and in fact their interpretation of the text of Romans is an abuse of the text because they read in their concept of unconditional election completely ignoring that the context of Romans 9-11 is a discussion of the unbelief of the Jewish people in the first century. The text is not about God choosing or not choosing people for salvation in eternity, it is about the fact the majority of Paul’s contemporaries were trusting in their own keeping of the law to save them and so stumbling over the stumbling stone Jesus. They were not trusting in Christ to save them but trusting in their own religious works, their keeping of the law to save them. Paul responds by giving a short history lesson of God’s election in the history of Israel (Romans 9) followed by a discussion that salvation is through faith in Christ alone (Romans 10) and how this all works out with both Gentiles and Jews (Romans 11).

Note that Franklin points out that God is not unjust to send all to hell, he is right about this: if we all got what we deserved, we would all go to hell. But that is just it, God does not give us all what we deserve, instead he gives the world what it does not deserve, he gives Jesus as an atonement for the whole world.

And lastly his line that **”real evangelism”** rests on God’s election not free will is completely false and off base. Fact is, if we do not freely choose to evangelize than others will never hear the good news of the gospel of Christ. God could have done it through angels alone, but instead he chose to do it through people (cf. the great commission where men not angels are told to evangelize the world). And those people have to freely choose to evangelize. Practically speaking we know this is true and that it is a freely made choice: because so many professing Christians choose not to evangelize that you end up with local church pastors ****both**** Calvinistic and non-Calvinistic lamenting this fact and pleading with their people to evangelize. If it was not their free choice to evangelize then why are these pastors, again ****both**** Calvinistic and non-Calvinistic urging their people to get off their behinds and start evangelizing those around them?

Robert

    Andrew Barker

    Robert: Fret not, apparently Calvinists agree with a … “straightforward soteriology rooted in the fact that Christ is willing and able to save any and every sinner.” I’m sure they will be queuing up in droves to sign the TS. Franklin must be an exception.

Les Prouty

“Traditional Southern Baptist soteriology is grounded in the conviction that every person can and must be saved by a personal and free decision to respond to the Gospel by trusting in Christ Jesus alone as Savior and Lord….Baptists have been well-served by a straightforward soteriology rooted in the fact that Christ is willing and able to save any and every sinner.”

I think Calvinists agree with this. All agree that salvation is of the Lord.

    Rick Patrick

    I am wondering how consistent Calvinists could possibly affirm the clause that states “that every person can” be saved? Do they not believe that *only* the elect can be saved? And that the reprobate, unchosen from the foundation of the world, “cannot” be saved, for Jesus did not even atone for their sins, but only for the sins of the elect?

    I do realize that Calvinists will say, “We do not know if someone is elect or not,” but that is really beside the point. Traditionalists truly believe when we witness to someone that “it could go either way.” (Yes, God foreknows which way it will go, but He does not irresistibly cause it.) Calvinists, on the other hand, believe “it will either definitely go one way or it will definitely go the other,” but whichever way it goes was fixed by God before the foundation of the world. Thus, it cannot “go either way,” but it can “only go one way,” namely, the way God has determined for it to go. Under Calvinism, for the one God has determined as reprobate, we cannot really say that he “can” be saved.

      rhutchin

      As Christ is the propitiation for sin (1 John 2), it is possible for any person to be saved (The Calvinist would say that God is thereby able to save whomever He wills). We all agree that God must enable a person to take advantage of that propitiation – by drawing the person to Christ, convicting them of sin, etc. – so at the very least, those who come to salvation are those God has brought to salvation.

      What about those who reject salvation? Did God bring those people to the doorstep of salvation only to see them reject it? Had God truly desired their salvation, could He not have done just a little bit more to ensure that they would accept salvation? The final conclusion is that the decision a person makes to accept or reject salvation depends on the manner in which God affects them to salvation – some being favored more than others.

        Lydia

        “What about those who reject salvation? Did God bring those people to the doorstep of salvation only to see them reject it? Had God truly desired their salvation, could He not have done just a little bit more to ensure that they would accept salvation? The final conclusion is that the decision a person makes to accept or reject salvation depends on the manner in which God affects them to salvation – some being favored more than others.”

        This is simply the false dichotomy of Universalism OR Determinism.

          rhutchin

          If it is a false dichotomy, then you should be able to offer alternatives. You refused to do that. Why not share with us the things you have discerned and advance the conversation. Why must you keep things to yourself?

            Lydia

            “If it is a false dichotomy, then you should be able to offer alternatives. You refused to do that. Why not share with us the things you have discerned and advance the conversation. Why must you keep things to yourself?”

            The alternative is that humans are involved. That humans have volition. They are ABLE to respond to the beauty and truth of Jesus Christ in and have faith, if they choose. Is there more to it? I think so. The thing is we cannot systematize the Holy Spirit which Cavinism attempts to do.

            Without human volition how can you really know you are saved or that God chose you? You would not have the ability to discern it. I think total inability is a good reason to dismiss listening to Calvinists. How could they really know?

            You talk as if you take humans OUT of it totally (except for free will to be wicked) and your only alternatives are Universalism or Determinism.

          Andrew Barker

          Lydia: Exactly, Calvinism is full of false dichotomies. They generally get put down as ‘mystery’. I know there is a place for mystery, but too often it’s the resort of the inconsistent Calvinist who won’t face up to the shortcomings of his system. I note Marc Sorenson’s declaration that “Here are the only two possibilities: 1) God draws ALL to Jesus and the individual makes the ‘decisive’ impulse. 2) God draws all HE chooses to Jesus (the elect) and they ALL (the chosen) come. The ‘decisive’ impulse is God’s drawing.”

          It’s about as subtle an approach as asking “when did you stop beating your wife?” to which I have a good reply, but I’m holding that in my pocket for now :)

            Lydia

            “Lydia: Exactly, Calvinism is full of false dichotomies. They generally get put down as ‘mystery’. I know there is a place for mystery, but too often it’s the resort of the inconsistent Calvinist who won’t face up to the shortcomings of his system. I note Marc Sorenson’s declaration that “Here are the only two possibilities: 1) God draws ALL to Jesus and the individual makes the ‘decisive’ impulse. 2) God draws all HE chooses to Jesus (the elect) and they ALL (the chosen) come. The ‘decisive’ impulse is God’s drawing.”

            The rhetoric has been very effective. I spent some time with a group from a church that is evolving right now into Neo Calvinism. There don’t even know about Calvinism, never studied it. Have absolutely no understanding of church history, etc.

            But their language was so typical of the movement. “I believe in grace” they said. “It is all grace that he chose me and I did not deserve it”. (See how it is set up so that people cannot respond without looking like they are dissing “grace”)

            They are parroting what they have been told that sounds so pious and God adoring. So, I ask what about the people NOT chosen. And they respond, “But we don’t deserve it either!” It is grace!” (I guess that means “never mind” and who cares about those condemned to hell just because God acts randomly before He even created humans)

            So I ask, would you randomly choose one of your children for special grace? Of course not, but we are not God.
            Ok, I get that but isn’t Jesus Christ the full representation of God? (they were not sure what that meant and I think that is because ESS has permeated more of this Neo Cal teaching than people realize.

            And there is the problem. Jesus Christ does not sound like, look like or act like the God of Calvinism. If people were already chosen there was no reason for Jesus to go through all that for redemption and reconciliation. That is common sense 101, isn’t it?

            We are teaching people to not think past their nose and only parrot what they are taught that sounds so God adoring and pious. They become broken records with proof texts. (The same ones over and over)

            It is a culture of death because it is a culture of perpetual brokenness never moving past milk to feast on the meat of living out the Kingdom now

        Norm

        Hutch: Mere rhetoric you offered to Lydia. Typical, too. Come with a reasonable rebuttal — not diversion from the point she makes that undoes your position.
        Also, your interpretation of 1 Jn 2.2 serves your errant soteriology, but does not do justice to the meaning of the text. The verse states that Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the “whole world.” The Greek is undeniable, here. You know this, but continue in your error.

          rhutchin

          Norm writes, “…1 Jn 2.2…states that Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the “whole world.”

          The verse says that Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. It does not say that Christ propitiates the sins of the whole world (as the Univeralists read it) – as if that matters here.

          That propitiation then allows for people to be saved – Calvinists say that God is able then to save whom He will, non-Calvinists say that God must then save those who avail themselves of that propitiation (per the statement art 3, “We deny that this atonement results in salvation without a person’s free response of repentance and faith. We deny that God imposes or withholds this atonement without respect to an act of the person’s free will.”

          The verse says nothing, nor implies anything, about those for whom Christ died – propitiation identifies with sin, not any particular person. A person might say that Christ is the propitiation for his sin; a person would not say that Christ was his propitiation without any reference to his sin.

          I did not understand your point or how you understand 1 John 2:2 differently than I.

      Ron Smith

      Also, those whom God “foreknows” will never trust Christ in the future, WILL never trust Christ.

      Thus it cannot “go either way,” but it can “only go one way,” namely, the way God has “foreknown” it would go. Under Traditionalism, for the one God has “foreknown” as reprobate, we cannot really say that he “can” be saved – because in both ways of looking at it, the outcome is certain. Otherwise, God is not omniscient (As Clark Pinnock finally came to.) For him, man’s “free will” trumped everything, even God’s omniscience.

      You’ve got the same problem, for if God knows the future, nothing can be changed in the future!

        volfan007

        Just because God foreknows what will happen, doesn’t mean that He is causing everything in the here and now in some fatalistic puppet show. Just because God knows everything that is going to happen, doesn’t mean that things can’t be chosen, decided, and changed, down here, in the here and now.

        The Bible does not teach fatalism. It does teach that God is sovereign, and He is carrying forth His plans and purposes on this Earth, and He foreknows everything, but it does not teach fatalism.

        David

Tom Fillinger

Please Note: Search the Scriptures. In most cases the MAJORITY were WRONG! They were most certainly wrong at Kadesh Barnea. What does the text say? Majority rule is the assimilation of a cultural premise. We do not interpret the text by majority rule.

    Andy

    You are confusing majority of people with majority of God’s church (or in this case a sbc subset of the church). When speaking of the beliefs of the church, it IS entirely valid to say “the majority of Christians throughout history have believed in the virgin birth” as ONE OF (not the only) the arguments for it.

Jon Estes

I just do not get it.

If Calvinists are so far off in their theology, why stop at uniting around a traditionalist creed? Why not just stand up and work to have all Southern Baptists who do not agree in total with Traditional Baptists be voted out of the convention- fired from SBC jobs – shunned from Traditionalists contact?

It is possible that someone will now say, that this not what this means. I beg to differ. It infers that if yo do not hold the soteriological beliefs we hold then relegate them to the back of the bus. They can ride but not near the front.

The SBC has changed many times from what it began as and most of those changes were beneficial. Traditionalist churches are dying all across America and no one is addressing their death but are arguing their doctrine. If traditionalist get their way, they may also get a bunch of empty churches.

If I am misreading this, then I missing the value of it unless there is a desire to have a club for the traditionalist to join.

Is this what those who think they only care about the SBC have come to?

    volfan007

    Jon,

    I’m just wondering if you’re this concerned and upset over “clubs” like the Gospel Coalition, Acts 29, The Founders, B21, and 9 Marks being in existence? Or, is it just the Traditionalist “club” that you have a problem with?

    David

      Jon Estes

      David,

      I know little to nothing about those clubs you mention, I am specifically responding to the post here. I know there is a leaning towards 9Marks here in Dubai from one church and I avoid them unless necessary due to their operational structure. I am not into the authoritarian power mold, leaving the members out of the decision loop.

      Can you tell me if those clubs are asking anyone to sign a statement stating that this is the way the SBC needs to be? If so, I will be lad to go there and speak my mind. I do not hang out there as I do not see them posting SBC in their name (great google search keeps you in the loop).

        volfan007

        Jon,

        The groups mentioned above are strongly Calvinist in belief, and they have many SB’s involved and leading them.

        David

          Jon Estes

          David –

          Can you tell me if those clubs are asking anyone to sign a statement stating that this is the way the SBC needs to be?

            volfan007

            Jon,

            Non-Calvinists are not wanted, nor are they welcomed, in these “clubs.” They are strictly for the Reformed.

              Jon

              Are these clubs wanting others to sign something that says the SBC needs to hold specific beliefs?

              The above statement asking for signatures directly stands in opposition to those of reform theology. It could be read, Calvinists are not welcome.

                Andy

                Jon,

                You are correct that the organizations you mentioned do not have an equivalent “sign-up” system. But i believe the concern is the opposite of what you point out…that non-calvinists will be excluded from decision-making positions, but not rejected from donating funds. This is unfortunate, because now both sides believe the other side is trying to do this. Volfan thinks calvinists want to marginalize traditionalists, and you think trads want to marginalize and exclude calvinists.

                I suspect that for the vast majority of those who would tend to agree with either side’s soteriology…it is not true.

                volfan007

                Jon,

                The TS is just a way of making a statement that we are in the SBC, and we’re the majority of the SBC. And, this is where we stand and believe on these issues. It’s a way of encouraging others in the SBC to know that they’re theology is okay. It’s not a heretical position. It’s not Semi Pelagian. It’s not an error to believe like Rogers/Hobbs and so many others thru out the history of the SBC. It’s not less intellectual, or less spiritual, to NOT be a Calvinist. So, we want to encourage others, out there, like us, who don’t try to make the Bible fit into an Augustinian, philosophical framework. We want them to know that they are not alone, just because the SBC leadership seems to be turning strongly Calvinistic.

                I can and do worship and serve with regular old Calvinists. I can and will continue to worship and serve with regular old Calvinists.
                David

    Lydia

    “Traditionalist churches are dying all across America and no one is addressing their death but are arguing their doctrine.”

    Can you elaborate?

    I do agree that there are many who prefer a life of rules, roles and formulas to live by given to them by . Freedom and the Priesthood of believer is scary stuff for many in this day and time. . Many prefer a religion of systematic theology all laid out for them on what to believe and how. Our entire country is leaning toward authoritarianism and that has been spilling over into the SBC for many years. Calvinism as determinism has a foundation of authoritarianism. It is not a good thing. The members rarely mature past their ruling…oops, elders who often are 30 years old in the SBC these days. And lets face it, these YRR churches are mostly young people. Give it some time. Perhaps the membership covenants people must sign to join will keep them from dying?

    Americans have a tendency to look at what is popular and growing without thinking it though.

      Jon Estes

      ““Traditionalist churches are dying all across America and no one is addressing their death but are arguing their doctrine.”

      Can you elaborate?”

      I think a quick scan of the SBC landscape in America will explain my comment. WHy are more than 80% or more of SBC churches running under 100 / in decline / baptizing no one?

      Why are churches running in the low teens with a pastor past his prime (and that’s the way the 12 older members want it) refusing to share their way to empty building with a hispanic church trying to start?

      Why is it when someone tries to help, the members say they do not want those people in their building?

      Why is it a seminary student is being interviewed by a church is told they have a vision of reaching 35 % of their community, only to find out that their community is 35% white and 65 % black?

      I do not think these things are indicative of all small churches in the SBC but there re to many with similar stories. The traditionalists in the pews are holding on and refusing to let the next generation in their club?

      “I do agree that there are many who prefer a life of rules, roles and formulas to live by given to them by . Freedom and the Priesthood of believer is scary stuff for many in this day and time. . Many prefer a religion of systematic theology all laid out for them on what to believe and how. Our entire country is leaning toward authoritarianism and that has been spilling over into the SBC for many years. Calvinism as determinism has a foundation of authoritarianism. It is not a good thing. The members rarely mature past their ruling…oops, elders who often are 30 years old in the SBC these days. And lets face it, these YRR churches are mostly young people. Give it some time. Perhaps the membership covenants people must sign to join will keep them from dying?”

      This really has nothing to do with my comments but thanks for sharing.

      “Americans have a tendency to look at what is popular and growing without thinking it though.”

      All generations are guilty of this in some fashion.

        volfan007

        Jon,

        You said, “I do not think these things are indicative of all small churches in the SBC but there re to many with similar stories. The traditionalists in the pews are holding on and refusing to let the next generation in their club?” If this is your understanding about the group calling themselves “Traditionalist,” then you’re missing what they are all about. Traditionalists are not holding on to old traditions in the Church. Traditionalist means that the theology of Adrian Rogers, Hobbs, and so many others of the past is what we, too, hold to, and believe….in matters of salvation and who can be saved. It means that we hold to Baptist Distinctives in our theology….what the Bible teaches.
        So, if you’re thinking that the Traditionalists on this sight are about styles of music, or not wanting to change and tweak things in the way we do Church, then you’re reading us all wrong.

        David

          Jon Estes

          David –

          Not at all. If there is a belief that Calvinists are going into churches without expressing their Calvinistic beliefs, then by default, the churches being affected are traditionalists. Their theology has a lot to do with the way they live their lives and make their choices (in salvation and the matters connected to it) as a church.

          I don’ t know if you see it or not but in many small churches in the SBC, there is a love for Rogers and an AMEN to his theology but a lack of interest in winning souls. I personally would rather have a Calvinist telling someone about Jesus than a Traditionalist not telling anyone (speaking of those in the pew, not those on this site).

            volfan007

            Jon,

            I’m sorry, but I’m not understanding your points, here, at all.

            David

        Andy

        Jon,

        It seems you are making a broad generalization that traditionalists (defined here ONLY as those who agree with a soteriology statement) are in general: Racist, non-evangelizing, isolationist, and stuck in the past…and that calvinists are, in general: Not racist, strong evangelists, willing to reach out to their communities and people not like them.

        Am I reading you correctly?

        What would your diagnosis have been in the 90’s when it was mostly non-calvinist “seeker-sensitive” types who were growing churches? How does that fit in?

          Jon Estes

          Andy –

          I guess I am having difficulty being clear. That can happen.

          My point is that the Roger type theologians (and I am a Rogers fan) who are sitting in the pews are not living out their beliefs of what it means to see people saved. Calvinism is not the issue, if those in the pew are traditionalists (as defined by those who post here most). Does it really matter if they are traditionalist or not who agree with the definition here if they do not seek to win souls? Could a Calvinist who is in opposition really be problematic in a traditionalist church if the church cares not about the lost?

          Broad brush? Maybe. Declining churches (who I assume most here would say are not Calvinistic since Calvinism really has no large base in SBC life)? Still in decline.

          Why would anyone want to sign a statement for being a traditionalist and let’s make sure the SBC remains that way when it (traditionalism as defined by this site) doesn’t seem to be working in the local church (who the traditionalists here think are made up of non-Calvinistic people)?

          As far as the 90’s… The seeker sensitive stuff never got my attention. I was to busy looking at the whole, not the few.

          Why can’t we work together and just reach the lost masses? So what if I think the number will be less than you think the number can be. The number is determined by God anyway, regardless which one of us is wrong.

            Andy

            “Why would anyone want to sign a statement for being a traditionalist and let’s make sure the SBC remains that way when it (traditionalism as defined by this site) doesn’t seem to be working in the local church (who the traditionalists here think are made up of non-Calvinistic people)?”

            To answer what I think is the main thrust of your question, consider this hypothetical scenario: The SBC is declining, fewer baptism and seemingly less evangelism. At the same time, a group of SBCers arises that teaches something similar to Wesleyanism: Salvation can be lost, and sinless perfection can be attained in this life. This new group is very motivated, very passionate about promoting their beliefs, and about planting new churches (which we all know new churches evangelize more). Also, they rightly point to some weaknesses in “traditional” sbc life, such as a low emphasis on personal holiness, perhaps.

            There would likely arise a group of “traditonal” SBCers who oppose this new group…not because they think their way is working perfectly…but simply because they don’t believe this new group has the answer, and in fact beleives the wesleyan/baptists are teaching something that is a serious error (though they still believe them to be christians). I think this is what we are seeing in the SBC right now, except with calvinism, not wesleyanism. It is not opposition to church planting, or evangelism, but it is opposition to certain beliefs and practices of those doing it.

            To take a more extreme example, the SBC should not invite mormons in to teach them how to evangelize, even though mormons are much better at it than we are. This is how SOME view sbc calvinnism…(Do I think the reaction has been over-board and detrimental? Yes. But some of the emphases, rhetoric, and practices of the new calvinists has also been unwise and unhelpful.)

            I would agree we should be able to work together, as in fact we have in the past, and as in fact some still do.

            I personally know a pastor who noticed things like manipulation of young children for decisions, lack of willingness to change church ministry styles, and lack of a desire for deep theology among his sbc church and association…and so found himself siding with the calvinists in calling for some changes….even though on the Election issue, he thought they were dead wrong…He thought they were right about the other stuff.

            Hope this helps you understand what’s going on a bit better.
            -andy

            volfan007

            Jon,

            I think that most of us, whom you would label “Traditionalists,” do want to work together. We just don’t think the strong, aggressive Calvinists….when they have taken over the SBC….will want to work with us. They don’t believe that we’re preaching the true Gospel. They have been known to not include Non-Calvinists in their hiring of Profs, DOM’s, etc. Some of them even accuse us of being Semi Pelagian(heretics). We’re tired of them sneaking into Churches to try to change them into “true” Churches, and causing strife and splits in those Churches, which do not want to be Calvinist. So, a whole lot of us, “Traditionalists,” are very willing to work alongside Evangelistic, Mission minded, Spurgeon type Calvinists. BUT, we don’t think they’re willing to work alongside us….people like me won’t be included in their overall plan.

            David

            David

              Andy

              volfan,

              While the things you mention have no doubt happened on occasion, I can tell you that similar things (hiring only certain kinds of professors, regional appointments, refusal of an association to fund church plants, etc) have also happened the other way around. And so we are caught in a cycle of mistrust.

              As a side issue, I wonder, David, simply for you opinion, do you think it would be better to have some sbc seminaries that teach primarily calvinistic soteriology, and others that teach primarily non-calvinist soterology? …Or better to have all 6 seminaries where everyone knows that you will find both calvinists and non-calvinists as proffessors? I’m curious for you as one who disagrees with calvinism…if you had a young man in your church, or even a relative, or a son, who was going into ministry…would you rather have the option (as we do today) of sending him to a totally non-calvinisitc school, or know that all 6 seminaries had a mix of both views?

              Thanks,

              -Andy

              Jon Estes

              “I think that most of us, whom you would label “Traditionalists,” do want to work together. We just don’t think the strong, aggressive Calvinists….when they have taken over the SBC….will want to work with us.”

              Using your term… Do you think, strong, aggressive, Traditionalists want to work together with Calvinists? Did you read the post asking for signatures? It is not written to include Calvinists.

              “They don’t believe that we’re preaching the true Gospel.”

              Do you believe they are preaching the true gospel?

              “They have been known to not include Non-Calvinists in their hiring of Profs, DOM’s, etc. Some of them even accuse us of being Semi Pelagian(heretics).”

              How many Calvinists, as you describe them, are on the faculty at SWBTS?

              “We’re tired of them sneaking into Churches to try to change them into “true” Churches, and causing strife and splits in those Churches, which do not want to be Calvinist. ”

              Can you give examples of this? I hear this all the time but I know of no cases where this is true. ow, if you are tired of this, then it must be happening in large numbers, please give some data.

              “So, a whole lot of us, “Traditionalists,” are very willing to work alongside Evangelistic, Mission minded, Spurgeon type Calvinists. BUT, we don’t think they’re willing to work alongside us….people like me won’t be included in their overall plan.”

              I am not sure if what you think is fact. Gosh, there are churches which I can agree with on the subject of salvation… and they will not hire me. Life just goes that way sometime.

              Would you hire me, if I applied to a position to work with you?

                volfan007

                Jon,

                I’m beginning to think that you’re more involved in the Calvinist crowd that what you let on. You seem to be more invested in, and defending Calvinism, that what you first implied. You acted like you were away from everything, and had little idea about what’s going on in the SBC. But, the more you make your arguements, the more it sounds like you’re very strongly in the Calvinist camp, and are very aware of groups like the Founders, Acts 29, Gospel Coalition, etc. Am I right?

                Secondly, I can tell you about 20 Churches, or more, right now, in my area, where a Calvinist Pastor came into the Church….without telling them that he was a Calvinist…..and, it caused a lot of strife, and even Church splits. I can name them. You won’t know them. So, what’s the point of listing all of them. I can tell you that I KNOW people in these Churches, who will tell you how bad things got in those churches, when the Calvinist pastor starting trying to change them. You won’t know them, even if I tell you the names of the churches and the people involved. So, what would be the point? I KNOW it happened. Ron Hale lives near me, and he could back me up, on many of them, because he knows about them, too. I know of some others, that he doesn’t know about. But, I can guarantee you that I could name off, at least, 20 churches.

                David

                  Jon Estes

                  “I’m beginning to think that you’re more involved in the Calvinist crowd that what you let on. You seem to be more invested in, and defending Calvinism, that what you first implied. You acted like you were away from everything, and had little idea about what’s going on in the SBC. But, the more you make your arguements, the more it sounds like you’re very strongly in the Calvinist camp, and are very aware of groups like the Founders, Acts 29, Gospel Coalition, etc. Am I right?”

                  You are nor right? I know little about the groups you name, oh I have heard of them but I have nothing to do with them, in any fashion. I spend most of my time pastoring a people, not hanging out with or reading things about or from groups of any stripe.

                  20 churches out of what…? 40,000?

                  I have sat with many pastors, during my eight years of traveling for LifeWay teaching FAITH Sunday School Evangelism, who were hurting because their head was on the chopping block for being evangelistic. Calvinism and/or traditionalism was never in the discussion but the need to win a people to Jesus was. Being threatened to be fired for seeing growth in the church due to evangelism.

                  Pastors are being fired every week somewhere in the SBC and I think it would be safe to say many of those are of the traditionalist mindset. Can we use the number of traditionalist pastors who are fired to make a case that they are evil, underhanded…?

                    volfan007

                    Jon,

                    One Church being torn up and split would be one too many. But, the 20 I’m talking about are not out of 40,000. C’mon, Dude. It’s the 20 that I know of, right around me, in my small area of the world. I think you know that.And, I would imagine that people in Georgia, Alabama, N. and S. Carolina, Texas, and other places could share their stories, as well.

                    And yes, some Pastors are fired for good reasons….for being faithful to God. So, you think it’s a good thing for a Calvinist Pastor to sneak into a Non Calvinist Church, and then try to “convert” them? And then, when the Church is thrown into strife over this, that it’s okay? And, the Calvinist Pastor being fired for tearing up the Church trying to “convert” the Church is a bad thing? I just want to understand where you’re coming from.

                    David

                  Jon Estes

                  “And yes, some Pastors are fired for good reasons….for being faithful to God.”

                  So, there are the sneaky Calvinist pastors tearing up churches and the faithful to God pastors being fired for good reason. At least one question comes to mind… 1 – Are the churches firing pastors who are being faithful for good reason the same ones being infiltrated by those pesky sneaky Calvinists?

                  ” So, you think it’s a good thing for a Calvinist Pastor to sneak into a Non Calvinist Church, and then try to “convert” them?”

                  Again, I do not know of any Calvinist Pastor who has done this. You say there are, you may be right but I do not know of any. I still assert that most people in the pews have no idea what Calvinism is, or what traditionalism is.

                  “And then, when the Church is thrown into strife over this, that it’s okay?”

                  If a church needs to split to grow, then I am for that. If a church splits because of something being different is happening, I am not for that. If a church does not know what they in relation to Calvinism, and Traditionalism, then I will trust God to work it out.

                  “And, the Calvinist Pastor being fired for tearing up the Church trying to “convert” the Church is a bad thing?”

                  I would like to meet these monster Calvinists. They seem like an interesting bunch. I do not know anyone who fits your description. I know a Calvinist who have been asked to leave because they were to evangelistic… Because the church was growing and the old membership was becoming outnumbered by the new members. It had nothing to do with Calvinism but specifically with lost souls being won to Christ.

                  I guess everyone has their cause and effect but I do not know anyone as you describe. But I know several as I describe.

                  I just want to understand where you’re coming from.

                    volfan007

                    And here, we see the reason why so many of us are so concerned about aggressive, militant, extreme Calvinists, who think it’s okay and right to sneak into Churches to “convert” them.

                    David

                Don Johnson

                Jon,

                “Do you believe they are preaching the true Gospel?”

                Let’s say you were to state something that you believe to be true, but said it intentionally in such a way to lead the hearer to believe something different. Are you being truthful?

                  Jon Estes

                  “Let’s say you were to state something that you believe to be true, but said it intentionally in such a way to lead the hearer to believe something different. Are you being truthful?”

                  I am not sure what is being said in relation to the gospel, from those in the Calvinist camp, which is being said to make people believe something differently. Maybe you think what they say is deceptive but I am not sure that makes it so. What it does do is tell me people say things you don’t think they should be saying because you define their soteriology different than maybe they define it.

rhutchin

Under Article 1, we read, “We deny that only a select few are capable of responding to the Gospel while the rest are predestined to an eternity in hell.”

It is also true that only a few will respond to the Gospel (the Scriptures refer to them as God’s elect) and the rest will spend eternity in hell. In addition, God knew who would be saved and who would not at the time He created the world. Finally, God is instrumental in bringing people to salvation through the drawing of John 6, the convicting of sin by the Holy Spirit, and other graces.

So, does God make all people equally capable of responding to the gospel. If He did, all would be saved. Somehow, despite His efforts, some are eternally lost. As God knew this outcome when he created the world, we can say that God predestined these people to an eternity in hell.

The issue is whether God actually gave those predestined to hell the capability to respond to the gospel. The Calvinists conclude that God did not do so, else they would have exercised that capability to accept salvation just like the rest who were no more or less capable than they and who accepted salvation. Why do we see different decisions by people who are equally capable – their true capabilities must actually have been different in some manner.

    volfan007

    “So, does God make all people equally capable of responding to the gospel. If He did, all would be saved.” This is just not a true statement, at all. People can respond to the Gospel. Some do. Some don’t. Those who do are saved. Those who don’t are lost.

    Why do some people respond to the Gospel, and others don’t? Because, some people respond in humble faith, and others do not choose to do so.

    David

      rhutchin

      All agree to your statement. The issue is why two different people who are initially, equally sinners and then equally enabled by God to respond to salvation, are found to differ in terms of faith. As God is the source of a person’s faith, should we not conclude that the response of one person in faith while another exhibits no faith can be traced back to the faith given to each by God? You are able to identify a difference that we are all able to observe – what you are not able to do is explain how that difference comes about (but you just don’t like the explanation derived by the Calvinists).

        volfan007

        RHutchin said, “should we not conclude that the response of one person in faith while another exhibits no faith can be traced back to the faith given to each by God?”

        No

        David

          rhutchin

          OK. To what would you trace it?

            volfan007

            One person responded to the calling and convicting of the Holy Spirit, and chose to be saved. The other person does not choose to be saved, spends an eternity in Hell for resisting the Spirit and staying in their sins.

            David

            Andy

            If you MUST ascribe a reason for the choice of a human being, must we not also seek to ascribe a reason to God’s choice? Why stop where you have stopped. Why would God choose to give one person faith and not another? If we are satisfied to simply say “We don’t know, he just chose” Why can we not say about a human’s choice, “We don’t know, he just chose?”

              rhutchin

              Andy asks, “..must we not also seek to ascribe a reason to God’s choice?”

              God tells us. Through Abraham, We are asked the rhetorical question, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

              Then Paul tells us in Ephesians that God decides “…in conformity with the purpose of his will…”

              Read the Psalms to learn of God–

              “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”
              “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;”
              “How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”

              Why would you doubt God as if you have some right to challenge Him?? “…who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”

    Andy

    “Why do we see different decisions by people who are equally capable – their true capabilities must actually have been different in some manner.”

    You are using one of the weaker arguments for Calvinism.

    The argument goes something like this:
    Either (a) God created all with equal capability, all fell into sin, and now all are equally incapable unless irresistably drawn by Grace (classic calvinism) OR (b) there is something about the way I was created that was DIFFERENT than the person down the street who rejects Christ. I either had something internal to my make-up, or perhaps simply God “favoring” or “choosing” me by having me be brought up in a certain way, in a certain place, such that my environment shaped me into the type of person who would respond to the gospel. (this second option seems no more appealing than the first).

    For some calvinists, these are the ONLY 2 options available because they believe it impossible for God to create a being with true freedom of will. However this is a weak arguement because it introduces limits to God’s creative power. In their minds, God is ONLY capable of creating creatures that he determines every decision they make…either directly or though other means. The very idea of God creating a being and giving it the free choice to choose him or reject him seems impossible, or seems like doing so would somehow diminish God’s soverignty…however their argument ALSO limit’s God, in his ability to create a certain kind of being.

    There are better, more biblically based arguments for Calvinistc beliefs than simply saying “God can’t and couldn’t have created creatures with true freedom of choice.”

      rhutchin

      I don’t know where your argument comes from. The basic Calvinist position is that Adam sinned and in that sin all humanity was corrupted such that no one had true freedom of choice – none would seek God of their own volition – from that point. Calvinists then say that God regenerates a person instilling the person with true freedom of choice – the person then exercising the new-found freedom to choose to respond favorably to the gospel.

      The issue is not whether “God can’t and couldn’t have created creatures with true freedom of choice.” Calvinists agree that God can and does do such. The issue is whether a person with “true freedom of choice” would reject the gospel. If two people both have true freedom of choice, both should make the same decision – to accept salvation. If they do not, what explains the different decisions (other than that one does not have true freedom of choice as the Calvinists maintain)?

        volfan007

        RHutchin,

        It’s because one responded to the calling and convicting of the Holy Spirit, and the other one didn’t. One responded to the light they had, and the other chose not to. That’s the difference.

        David

          rhutchin

          Of course, one had more light than the other.

            volfan007

            Three brothers grow up in the same house. They all 3 have the same amount of light shed upon them. 2 of them get saved, and the other one does not. What’s the difference?

            2 of them chose to respond to the calling of God and get saved, and the other one chose to not get saved.

            That’s the difference.

            David

              rhutchin

              You say the same thing over and over again.
              “one responded to the calling and convicting of the Holy Spirit, and the other one didn’t.”
              “One responded to the light they had, and the other chose not to”
              “2 of them chose to respond to the calling of God and get saved, and the other one chose to not get saved.”

              You are evading the issue (I suspect that is because you have no answer.).

              We know that the outward, observable “difference” is that one chooses one way and another the opposite way.

              The “difference” that we now seek is that internal reasoning of the will to explain the rationale for one to choose one way and another the opposite. The Calvinist says that the people are equal in every respect regarding their desire for salvation and the only factor left to explain opposite choices is God’s favorable treatment of one person over the other. You don’t like that explanation even though you have no argument against it and you have no viable alternative. You then get angry at the Calvinists for offering an explanation that you don’t want to hear.

                volfan007

                I’m not evading the question. I have answered your question many times. You just don’t seem to want to hear the answer that I’m giving. And, I’m not angry. Are you?

                  rhutchin

                  OK. If you think it, so be it.

        Andy

        But IF, as you say, God can and does create creatures with true freedom of choice…Why does it follow that 2 people with true freedom of choice would accept salvation? Adam and Eve had no sinful nature, yet rejected God’s rule. If God’s regerating grace is merely restoring our inherently created freedom of choice, why does it guarantee (irresistable grace) a choice for God?

          rhutchin

          Andy asks, “If God’s regerating grace is merely restoring our inherently created freedom of choice, why does it guarantee (irresistable grace) a choice for God?”

          God is doing other things as well in the regenerative process. For example,
          – “…you were dead in your transgressions and sins,..God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…” (Ephesians 2)
          – “…God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son…” (Colossians 1)
          – “For we know God has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1)
          – “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1)

          All the actions of God ensure that a person will come to salvation. When God regenerates free will within the perosn, that person is then able to:

          1. Discern that he has a choice between eternal life and eternal death;
          2. Understand the great gain to eternal life and the tremendous loss to eternal death; and
          3. Make a choice that is free and follows consistently from (1) and (2).

          A person with true, or genuine, free will always choose eternal life.

          You need to start reading the Calvinist authors for yourself and stop relying on the misinformation you are getting from others.

            Andy

            So are you then saying Adam did not have free will?

              rhutchin

              Adam had free will – true or genuine, as people are prone to call it. The question now is whether the freedom of will Adam enjoyed was compromised and how. Do you know?

                volfan007

                Well, let’s see….after the fall of Adam and Eve…..in their dead, lost, fallen, sinful condition…. they could still hear God speak….talked to God….felt God’s presence….felt guilty and ashamed in His presence….soooo, yep….they still were able to respond to God….even in their fallen, dead, lost, sinful condition.

                David

                Andy

                “A person with true, or genuine, free will always choose eternal life.”
                “Adam had free will – true or genuine, as people are prone to call it.”

                How do you reconcile these two statements of yours, since we know Adam DID NOT choose eternal life (I am speaking of the initial sin…it seems that he and eve were reconciled to God after their sin.)?

                I know my answer: God created Adam & Eve with freedom of choice, knowing they would sin, but not causing it. This freedom of a will un-encumbered by a sin nature is something that no other person in history has had the privilege of experiencing…therefore we are all in bondage to sin. This is where I see Unconditional Election coming into play. I believe it makes the most sense of the biblical evidence, over and above foreseen faith & Corporate-only election. I see this regeneration, purchased by Christ and applied by the holy spirit moving believers to a state that is BETTER than our original state in the garden: Garden = Able to sin or not sin…Saved sinner = able to sin, but not able to forsake Christ…Full sanctification in new creation = not able to sin.

                BTW, I am MORE sure of the eternal security & sinless heavenly state part of this than I am of the Unconditional election part. I could well be wrong on that, but have not been convinced that I am.

                ***Also, btw, I’ve read plenty of calvinist authors. And I’ve read and heard many of them make the argument for total determinism based solely on the idea that if God created a being that he did not totally control, that it would somehow diminish his sovereignty. Your initial comment that I replied to SOUNDED like that argument…I apologize if I mis-read you.***

                  Andrew Barker

                  Andy: Are you linking foreseen faith and corporate-only election?

                  The phrase corporate-only election is also a bit odd. It sounds as though people are not saved individually.

                    Andy

                    1. I was not linking them in the context of my statement. I was stating the 3 major views on election (conditional, based on Foreseen faith…Corporate…and individual pretemporal unconditional). However, It is true that the first two have more in common with the last, as they would reject calvinistic beliefs, while the last embraces them. The traditional statement implies corporate election, but does not mention foreseen faith either way.

                    2. I used the phrase “corporate-only” merely to mean that those who hold to unconditional individual election to salvation DO NOT DENY corporate election. We simply think corporate election on its own (Elect being christ, and any who choose to be in Him) does not adequately explain the biblical record. simply showing scriptures that point to a corporate nature to election will have little effect on most calvinistic people. They/we will agree with you.

                    -andy

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: I think I get your drift. It was the hyphen which confused me! :) My own point of view is that election is by definition corporate so this talk of ‘corporate election’ is really stating the same thing twice.

                    If, as I believe you are saying, you think that individuals are chosen a

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: I think I get your drift. It was the hyphen which confused me! :) My own point of view is that election is by definition corporate so this talk of ‘corporate election’ is really stating the same thing twice.

                    If, as I believe you are saying, you think that individuals are chosen as ‘individuals’ beforehand this means that they are elect and then by definition they join the ‘elect’? But this requires that you find scripture to support this view i.e. that people are elect/chosen and then placed into Christ. But no such scriptures exist. All references speak of individuals being in-Him not placed into Him. There is no such thing as an elect person out of Christ. That’s my point. I cannot see how you can argue for people to be in-Him any other way.

                  rhutchin

                  “A person with true, or genuine, free will always choose eternal life.”
                  “Adam had free will – true or genuine, as people are prone to call it.”

                  Andy asks, “How do you reconcile these two statements of yours, since we know Adam DID NOT choose eternal life…”

                  This distinguishes between two types of “free” will. There is that “true or genuine” free will that allows a person to make choices based on truth. Then there is that free will in which truth is mixed with error. People will say that God enables “true or genuine” free will through the preaching of the gospel – the truth will set you free. That person set free by the gospel whereby true or genuine free will is enabled always chooses eternal life.

                  As Adam was deceived, his “true or genuine” free will was compromised yet he still had free will – he was deceived but not coerced to eat the fruit. Calvinists claim that people have free will but that God must regenerate a person to enable true or genuine free will. Non-Calvinists want people to be enabled to have free will solely through the preaching of the gospel, but then everyone who hears the gospel should choose eternal life – yet they don’t indicating that the preaching of the gospel alone is necessary to a true or genuine free choice but not sufficient to it.

                    Jim P

                    “As Adam was deceived, his “true or genuine” free will was compromised yet he still had free will – he was deceived but not coerced to eat the fruit”

                    Scripture is clear, 1 Tim. 2:14 And Adam was NOT deceived…

                    Adam knew exactly what he was ‘choosing’ to do when he ate the fruit. I don’t know how anyone can get around that ‘tree.’

                    rhutchin

                    Of course, you are right.

                    Calvin explains, “By these words Paul does not mean that Adam was not entangled by the same deceitfulness of the devil, but that the cause or source of the transgression proceeded from Eve.”

                    John Gill is more generous, “He took and ate out of love to his wife, from a fond affection to her, to bear her company, and that she might not die alone; he knew what he did, and he knew what would be the consequence of it, the death of them both; and inasmuch as he sinned wilfully, and against light and knowledge, without any deception, his sin was the greater: and hereby death came in, and passed on all men, who sinned in him:”

                    I guess the question here is whether Adam had the choice of life vs death or eternal life vs eternal death. Following Gill, Adam choose death as before he ate the fruit, he would not have been subject to eternal death. So, now, I am left wondering what exactly was going through Adam’s mind that he choose to eat the fruit.

                    Jim P

                    Scripture clearly present Adam as the one person through whom sin entered the world and that he was NOT deceived. Putting these together along with other truths paints a clearer picture today of man’s attitude toward the Living God.

                    Christ said that His coming has now taken away man’s excuse for sin. Adam, more than any other man before Christ was without excuse, John 15:22. After Adam’s sin man is portrayed as being ‘in Adam,’ no other person. Today, there are only two categories a person can be found, i.e., the ‘first Adam’ or the ‘second Adam’. Christ’s coming has taken away the guess work of who a person is in and their attitude toward the living God.

                    By the way, Christ, Himself gave the clearest definition of ‘eternal life.’ “This is eternal life that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ who You have sent.” John 17:3

                    Adam plainly turned his back on knowing the true God as people today who turn their back on knowing Jesus.

                  rhutchin

                  Andy writes, “…if God created a being that he did not totally control, that it would somehow diminish his sovereignty.”

                  If God created a being that was outside His control – the person was autonomous – then necessarily, God would not be sovereign over that being. Obviously, God would be less sovereign under those conditions but more important, God would be reduced to a god within the constraints of his sovereignty and the being who was autonomous would also be a god within the constraints of his autonomy.

                    Andrew Barker

                    rhutchin: Your concept of the sovereignty of God is,…. your concept of the sovereignty of God. :)

                    rhutchin

                    Sovereignty that reflects God and not man.

    norm

    Again, mere rhetoric, Hutch. Bring some verses, accurately interpreted, please.

      Lydia

      “Sovereignty that reflects God and not man.”

      How do you have the “ability” to know? :o,)

        Andrew Barker

        Lydia: On reflection, I would say rhutchin can’t spot a circular argument :)

        rhutchin

        The grace of God.

          Lydia

          rhutchin, I would argue that you cannot “know”. According to your religion, you do not have the “ability” to know. The “knowing” has to come from outside of you, and be forced upon you, according to your religion. Therefore, it could well be the evil one deceiving you into believing that God damns some to hell randomly but you were randomly “chosen”. You have no way of really discerning that as a human because you have no real volition except to be evil.

          That is basically the sum game of your religion if you are brave enough to admit it and call it “grace”

            rhutchin

            Not really. Jesus said, ““If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

            “Knowing” does come from outside. First is the grace of God to enable one to “know.” Then, comes the hearing of the gospel by which one comes to know truth. Absent God’s grace, no one has any real volition except to be evil – Paul was emphatic; “By grace you are saved.”

              Andrew Barker

              rhutchin: “First is the grace of God to enable one to ‘know’.” Again, you are unable to substantiate this false claim.

                rhutchin

                Peter writes, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;”

                Paul wrote, “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

                Be ignorant no more on this issue.

          Andrew Barker

          rhutchin: Ah, this would be the grace of God which according to Titus 2:11 has appeared bringing salvation to all men. But you don’t believe salvation is available to all men, do you?

            Mark Sorenson

            Someone asked if all men are savable. This is a naïve question. There are only three alternatives. 1) God’s elect (correct), 2) God knows thru ‘simple’ foreknowledge who will believe and not believe (Arminian 101, incorrect), 3) God doesn’t know the future because it doesn’t exist (Open Theism (incorrect)).

            That is why Open Theist say that Arminians are really Open Theist because they make a distinction without a difference. Their argument is ‘simple’ foreknowledge’ is useless because God not only doesn’t know the future but even if He does as Arminians claim, He is impotent to do anything about it. That would be ‘cosmic rape’ as your spokesman Norman Geisler puts it.

              rhutchin

              The Arminian appeals to “simple foreknowledge” and then says that we can’t really know how God knows the future. The Calvinist says that we can know how God knows the future – He can ordain that future. Technically, the Arminian is correct – God does know the future – the Arminian just doesn’t want to consider how God can know the future (they cannot think of another way for God to know the future other than by ordaining that future – if anyone can help the Arminian by suggesting another way for God to know the future, they would be eternally grateful – the Open Theists gave up and just declared that God cannot know the future (at least with regard to who is saved)).

                Mark Sorenson

                What are you filtering? Acts 4:27-28 needs a filter? Filter, smilter … It’s the English language.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Mark Sorneson: And there was me thinking it was all Greek? :)

                    Lydia

                    And of course, Marks point is proven because Pilate, Herod and the Religious leaders of Israel were all acting totally out of character. (wink)

                  rhutchin

                  It’s just the way things are. Only the Calvinists take Acts 4 seriously. The Arminians will say that God is omniscient but will never address “how” God is omniscient. If the Arminina could devise a way for God to be omniscient without having God ordain the future, they would have done so and even Andrew Barker would be citing it. Arminian efforts to deal with omniscience can be tortuous.

                    Lydia

                    “It’s just the way things are. Only the Calvinists take Acts 4 seriously”

                    It is not a question of taking Acts 4 seriously. It is a question of reading ALL scripture through a deterministic lens or not.

                    “The Arminians will say that God is omniscient but will never address “how” God is omniscient. If the Arminina could devise a way for God to be omniscient without having God ordain the future, they would have done so and even Andrew Barker would be citing it. Arminian efforts to deal with omniscience can be tortuous.”

                    In a nutshell here is what you are really saying, “God is not Sovereign over His own Sovereignty”

                Andy

                “The Arminian just doesn’t want to consider how God can know the future (they cannot think of another way for God to know the future other than by ordaining that future.”

                What? This is the exact opposite of what arminians believe. They exactly DO believe God can know the future without ordaining it.

                  rhutchin

                  Andy, that is absolutely fantastic. Can you cite a source to explain this (a source you have actually, personally read) and then give us a 25 word or so explanation of your understanding of the Arminian explanation?

                    Andy

                    I’m simply referring to the normal, everyday church-going non-Calvinist, non open theist…if you asked most of them, they would say, yes God knows what will happen, but no God doesn’t cause people to sin.

                    It is by definition what separates them from open theists….you seem to be saying all arminians are open theists.

                  rhutchin

                  Andy writes, “…most of them, they would say, yes God knows what will happen, but no God doesn’t cause people to sin.”

                  Well, of course, but that is the Calvinist position. The Arminian wants to distinguish himself from the Calvinist, but cannot do so with regard to omniscience – the Arminian has accepted the Calvinist position – and why not since the Calvinists got it right..

                  One of the weaknesses of Arminian theology is omniscience (once one accepts the Calvinist position on omniscience, it becomes pretty much impossible to deny logically other Calvinism claims about salvation). The Open Theists are Arminians who understand that omniscience is a problem for Arminian theology but cannot counter Calvinism’s accurate understanding of omniscience, so they took the only available position – denying that God can know the future with respect to a person’s decision on Christ and salvation.

                    Andrew Barker

                    rhutchin: You are wrong on all fronts.
                    1. Arminians do not deny God knows the future.
                    2. God’s knowledge of the future does not mean that he determines it
                    3. Just because Calvinists and Arminians agree on a point of doctrine does not imply that Calvinism is correct per se. It just means everyone agrees on that specific point. :)

                    rhutchin

                    To Andrews comments:
                    1. “Arminians do not deny God knows the future.” I said that Arminians accept the Calvinist view that God is omniscient and knows the future.

                    2. “God’s knowledge of the future does not mean that he determines it.” Now tells us how God knows the future without determining that future. My claim is that the Arminians can’t explain how God knows the future while the Calvinists have offered an explanation for God’s knowledge of the future.

                    3. “Just because Calvinists and Arminians agree on a point of doctrine does not imply that Calvinism is correct per se. It just means everyone agrees on that specific point.” The Arminiaans agree with the Calvinists on certain points and we can look to the Calvinist explanations on those points. The Arminians disagree with the Calvinists on other points but are unable to explain why (other than that they don’t like the Calvinist view).

                    Andy

                    “once one accepts the Calvinist position on omniscience, it becomes pretty much impossible to deny logically other Calvinism claims about salvation.”

                    Well, then how do you explain all the SBCers who believe in omnicience, yet deny calvinism’s determinism regarding salvation? It seems you have a high opinion of arminians, because according to you, they are doing the impossible!

                    rhutchin

                    Andy asks, “then how do you explain all the SBCers who believe in omnicience, yet deny calvinism’s determinism regarding salvation?”

                    People do not always think rationally and some people believe what they are told to believe.

                Robert

                Normally I just ignore rhutchin as he just keep making the same erroneous points over and over and over again. But I could not resist this one as it is such low hanging fruit: “– the Arminian just doesn’t want to consider how God can know the future (they cannot think of another way for God to know the future other than by ordaining that future – if anyone can help the Arminian by suggesting another way for God to know the future, they would be eternally grateful – the Open Theists gave up and just declared that God cannot know the future (at least with regard to who is saved)).”
                Apparently rhutchin has not read much (or anything??) on this issue among non-Calvinists including Arminians. There are various proposals regarding how God knows the future from a non-Calvinist perspective including: the Thomist/Boethian approach (i.e. God as creator of time and space is beyond time and space and hence his beliefs are not in time just like ours are); the Ockhamist approach of people like Alvin Plantinga, etc. (with the “hard” versus “soft fact” distinction); the Molinist approach and appeal to middle knowledge of people like William Lane Craig and Thomas Flint; the Augustinian approach of people like David Hunt, etc. etc. I will not develop these any further I will leave that for rhutchin to research himself. Fact is there is plenty of both discussion and material on this subject from a non-Calvinist perspective. Open theists may have “given up” but a whole lot of other non-Calvinists have not.

                  rhutchin

                  Let’s see you explain any one of them to actually explain how God knows the future. Forget Dave Hunt; I read his book and he is clueless. Doug Sayers (you don’t mention him but he comments here and presumably did some homework on the issue for his book) explanation was tortuous but maybe he can present it here. Molinism assumes God knows the future but never gets around to explaining how – I’ve looked on Craig’s website and he never explains it (if you have found something that does, how about a citation). I don’t recall Plantinga really explaining the “how” of God knowing the future – he is, after all, a philosopher. Maybe you can explain his view. Feel free to say something substantive to move the discussion along.

                  Lydia

                  Great example of the difference between education and indoctrination.

                    Robert

                    Lydia,

                    Good observation. I know a bit about this topic and as I said before, rhutchin apparently knows little or nothing about this topic. Though his response to me contains multiple errors and misstatements I will mention only one.

                    I made reference to David Hunt who holds a simple knowledge view of foreknowledge that is also Augustinian in that he believes Augustine provided the solution on this issue.

                    Rhutchin replies by saying: “Forget Dave Hunt: I read his book and he is clueless.”

                    Hmm who is really “clueless” here?

                    rhutchin is so clueless that he refers to the WRONG David Hunt!!! He says that he read his book. The David Hunt I referred to has not written any book on this subject, and he is still alive and producing articles that deal with the compatibility of foreknowledge and free will. rhutchin is refering to the Dave Hunt who wrote books on calvinism and debated James White on the issue, and that Dave Hunt is no longer alive. So when rhutchin is saying Dave Hunt is clueless rhutchin is isn’t even talking about the right person! So how in the world is he going to talk intelligently about the David Hunt that I referred to? It is rhutchin who is clueless here. I am wondering why some of you spend so much time interacting with him when he keeps making the same already refuted arguments and showing over and over that he does not know what he is talking about?

                    rhutchin

                    OK. Wrong Dave Hunt. But, maybe, next time you could be more helpful by providing a citation.

                  Lydia

                  “2. God’s knowledge of the future does not mean that he determines it”

                  Andrew, This is where the real creepy Calvinism culture of death fun begins. There are some interesting explanations for this that are not only circular but torturous in trying to explain how their deterministic god is not responsible for determining future evil. Everything else, yes as in controlling every molecule 24/7…… But not evil. (sigh)

                    rhutchin

                    God can determine and control the future without causing the future.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Lydia: As a science graduate, I always smile when people trot out the line that God controls every molecule! I don’t believe they really have any true conception of what they’re saying. It’s as if they imagine God sitting down and observing each atom/molecule to make sure that is doesn’t do something it ought not to do! And then I think, wait a minute, I know God has all the time in the world, but surely he’s got better things to do!? I think that some people find this type of ‘control’ comforting, but for me anyway, it has another side to it. I don’t know if you’ve seen the Louei’s Giglio presentation Indescribable? I’ve had the misfortune to have to sit through it, once. You start off thinking, this is quite good but gradually it dawns on you that something else is going on as well. It ends up painting a picture of God ‘so’ in control of ‘everything’, that in fact there’s no room for anything else to interact with him, because He would be moving all their molecules wouldn’t he. By over emphasising Gods control, we end up seeing not the true motion picture but a static view of what is in effect OUR comprehension of who, what and how powerful God is. We really do end up framing God in a ‘still’. Perhaps we’re comfortable with him that way, because ‘we’ can understand it?!

                    For me, God made all matter and he determined it’s characteristics and that’s all he needed to do. Nothing happens which is outside of what he enabled could happen but I don’t think God feels the need to be in control of how every molecule ‘vibrates’ because he made it in the first place and it will vibrate in just the way he enabled it to vibrate. Period. We may be made of molecules but God doesn’t treat us as if we were just molecules. So while inanimate objects can only be what God meant them to be, we have been given the ability to choose and that’s what makes the big difference. To argue that all our actions are determined by God, is rather akin to Darwinianism. It puts us back in the realm of cause and effect and sees us as no more than involuntary objects which dance to God’s tune.

                    The long and the short of it is this. Equating God’s sovereignty with the determination of all things, actually reduces his standing. A God who allows or permits his created beings a free choice to follow him or not, is the God who in my opinion is showing greater sovereignty! He is demonstrating that he is in control even though we go our own way. God knows the beginning and end. That’s why in between, we can and do exercise our free will.

                    rhutchin

                    “…God made all matter and he determined it’s characteristics and that’s all he needed to do. Nothing happens which is outside of what he enabled could happen but I don’t think God feels the need to be in control of how every molecule ‘vibrates’ because he made it in the first place and it will vibrate in just the way he enabled it to vibrate. Period. ”

                    I am pretty sure that you didn’t get this from the Bible. Perhaps, from imagination.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Lydia: God has apparently also given me a very vivid imagination! He’s good like that! :)

              Andrew Barker

              Mark Sorenson: “Someone asked if all men are savable. This is a naïve question.”

              Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
              LOL. Suggesting that there are ‘only’ three alternatives! That’s not naïve, that’s just plain ?????? :)

                Lydia

                “God can determine and control the future without causing the future”

                cognitive dissonance 101

                  rhutchin

                  Examples of things God caused: destruction of Sodom/Gomorrah; impregnation of Mary; conversion of Saul/Paul.

                  Examples of things God did not cause: the sin of Adam/Eve; David’s numbering of Israel; stoning of Stephen.

                  Why do you label this as “cognitive dissonance.”

            rhutchin

            The grace of God has many parts-

            – …we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
            – …all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace…
            – …at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.
            – Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
            – …see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
            – God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
            – God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
            – it is by grace you have been saved.
            = But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

            You cite one particular grace – that of salvation: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (both the Jew and the gentile)

            I believe it as we see God saving not just Jews but also gentiles.

              Andrew Barker

              rhutchin: Can you explain who is included in the word gentiles?

                rhutchin

                “…you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,…This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

                “…[the gospel] is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

                Gentiles are heirs with Israel. So, gentiles would include those other than Israel; other than the Jew

                  Andrew Barker

                  rhutchin: Is this all gentiles without exception or perhaps all types or all kinds of gentiles?

                    rhutchin

                    We have gentile used in contrast to Jew and together they designate the entire human race. I don’t see that Paul had in mind any purpose other than to tell us that the gospel is, in general, for everyone. The gospel has appeared to both Jews and gentiles as the two classes of people who make up the human race but it has not necessarily appeared to each individual Jew or gentile.

                    Andrew Barker

                    rhutchin: So according to your bible the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to some Jews and some Gentiles or as you also put it “I don’t see that Paul had in mind any purpose other than to tell us that the gospel is, in general, for everyone”.

                    Just so. The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men!

                    rhutchin

                    “The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men!” Where we understand “all men” to be both Jews and gentiles without reference to any or all individuals.

          Les Prouty

          “The “knowing” has to come from outside of you, and be forced upon you, according to your religion. Therefore, it could well be the evil one deceiving you into believing that God damns some to hell randomly but you were randomly “chosen”. You have no way of really discerning that as a human because you have no real volition except to be evil.”

          “Forced,” Random,” No real volition.”

          You display your complete ignorance of Reformed theology with statements like this. And your response will likely be that we always say you and other non Reformed just don’t understand. Well, if this caricature is your thinking, then you don’t.

            Lydia

            I know Les. I am just jealous because I can’t be a ruling elder.

            Andrew Barker

            Les: Good to see you back on fighting form again Les. Not only do non-calvinists not understand Reformed theology, we are not allowed to respond against that because if we do, we will be guilty of caricaturing you!

            My observation is that it is the Calvinists who post on this site who are least fully aware of the flaws in Reformed theology and who struggle to put a coherent argument together.

            Forced: Can you cite one person who was approached by God’s ‘irresistible grace’ who politely declined and who made their own decision not to accept? I’ll answer for you. NO! Now I appreciate God’s very nice about it and it’s in our own best interests, but I still see that as being forced. I guess you don’t?

            Random: Maybe not the best word to use, because we don’t like to call God’s choice ‘random’ as such. It makes the Almighty sound as though he’s not quite in control of the situation and we can’t have that. But since we don’t know who God will choose and we don’t have any say in the matter, it appears to us to be ‘random’ none-the-less.

            No real volition: This is the problem with total depravity. Every inclination of the human mind is evil and we have no option but to do evil all the time. So our choice is to be evil, or really really evil or just bad? But of course you argue we choose to be ……. really really bad so it’s our fault after all. Shucks! And all the stuff in the Bible about God asking us to “choose this day whom you will serve” …. well, he was just having a laugh. wasn’t he. lol

            You’ll have to excuse the caricature because of course we really don’t understand.

              Lydia

              Andrew, It works when you add in cognitive dissonance using contrived theological sounding words and concepts to explain the cognitive dissonance. :o)

              Les Prouty

              Andrew,

              “Les: Good to see you back on fighting form again Les.” Fighting form? I certainly don’t intend to come across as “fighting.”

              “You’ll have to excuse the caricature because of course we really don’t understand.” You’re excused brother.

Mark Sorenson

There are ground rules that need to be applied to prevent a misunderstanding of what Calvinist mean when they speak of their understanding of Scripture. Even after centuries of debate, assertions are made that are hard to believe and inexcusable in the area of laziness in attempting to understand both sides of the debate.

Here are the only two possibilities:

1) God draws ALL to Jesus and the individual makes the ‘decisive’ impulse.
2) God draws all HE chooses to Jesus (the elect) and they ALL (the chosen) come. The ‘decisive’ impulse is God’s drawing.

‘Decisive’ is the key word.

Most make the mistake that #2 contradicts #1. You, individually, still have to say ‘yes’, but the reason you say ‘yes’ is God, not you. We come freely without coercion. No constraint or force involved. So the question is “Does God draw all people the same WAY?” This ‘way’ of thinking is the only way one can understand verses like the one below.

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
(Romans 11:25 ESV)

If this way of thinking needs to be outlawed, then verses like Romans 11:25 (and there are a ton of them) have to be erased from the Bible.

    volfan007

    Mike,

    I pick #1.

    #2 means that God only wants to save an elite class of people, and all the other poor bums have no hope of Heaven, whatsoever. #2 means that God does not desire to save those people, who didn’t win the Heaven lottery. They are bound for Hell, forever, even though God commands them to repent and believe. In other words, God was telling them to do something that they had no chance, at all, of doing. That would be like me telling my child, when he was 5 years old, to jump the Mississippi River. And, if he failed to do so, then I would give him a bad spanking; give away all of his toys; and then, send him off to El Salvador to live in an orphanage. I don’t think God would be that way….not from what I read in the Bible.

    DAvid

      Don Johnson

      David,

      Additionally, if #2 were true, it would make God a respecter of persons. Which is something He clearly states He is not.

        rhutchin

        God is clearly a respecter of persons. The Scriptures say everywhere that God blesses those who obey Him and curses those who disobey. Maybe context has gotten the best of you in this case.

          Paul N

          God responds to obedience. I don’t see how that makes Him a respecter of persons. He will bless anyone who obeys, across the board, no one is left out. This is the epitome of not being a respecter of persons.

          What was Peter saying in Acts 10:34.

            rhutchin

            On the contrary, God has respect for those who obey Him and no respect for those who disobey.

            As Peter says in Acts 10, “…God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”

            Notice the context – all who do what is right. In the broader context, Peter has come to realize that God intends to save both Jews and gentiles. Before this, Peter had a Jewish perspective that said that God only favors the Jew. So, whether Jew or gentile, God will accept the one who does right.

              Paul N

              So you are saying that Peter is saying that God is impartial in order to show that God is partial? I cannot agree there. Furthermore, if we read the prior comments they are all dealing with salvation so there was no need for context to be questioned.

              Don Johnson

              rhutchin,

              Yes, God has respect for those who do right. Those who do right are His people. You state “God does not show favoritism” and you are correct. Which goes to show there is no such thing as “unconditional election.” If UE was true, it would cause God to show favoritism or respect for those who are not yet saved. Peter like Calvinists believed only God’s “chosen” could be saved. Peter believed God had respect for the Jews and therefore believed God would save them. Peter came to realize “that God is no respecter of persons.” He came to realize anyone could be saved which is why he preached an unlimited atonement.

                rhutchin

                Don Johnson writes, ‘If UE was true, it would cause God to show favoritism or respect for those who are not yet saved.”

                Unconditional election says that God’s choice of whom to save is not determined by any quality or action of the person – it says nothing about God’s reasoning as to whom He will save. Conditional election seems to have God respecting those who freely choose salvation and will not allow God to save any person who does not freely choose salvation (probably because that is what the Calvinists say).

          Don Johnson

          rhutchin,

          No. God is not a respecter of persons. It is true He becomes a respecter of one when he becomes one of His own. But not until that time.

            rhutchin

            OK. Why didn’t you tell us the context for that – the soul that sins shall die. Unless you had in mind a different context. If you did, please share.

          Andrew Barker

          rhutchin: To say as you have that ….. “God is clearly a respecter of persons. The Scriptures say everywhere that God blesses those who obey Him and curses those who disobey. Maybe context has gotten the best of you in this case.” …. is simply arrant nonsense, plain and simple. There are scriptures which state precisely the opposite. Acts 10:34 and Rom 2:11; Eph 6:9; Col 3:25;

          I am also at a loss as to why you came out with this statement since it contradicts one of the central tenets of Calvinism aka ‘unconditional election’ which you claim to uphold! So, not that I agree with unconditional election, but you’ve rather stabbed yourself in the foot there!

          Your comment regarding God blessing people is also rather shallow isn’t it? Doesn’t God bless everyone, the good and the bad alike. The sun shines on them both does it not? And yes, there is scripture to back this up, strange though that may seem. Context …… indeed.

            rhutchin

            Andrew writes, “…it contradicts one of the central tenets of Calvinism aka ‘unconditional election’…”

            I kinda thought that you did not have a sound understanding of Calvinism. What is your definition of “unconditional election”? Give me your definition, and I will then give you a good Calvinistic definition.

              Andrew Barker

              rhutchin: No, my understanding of Calvinism is quite good enough thank you. In fact. I find that it’s Calvinists who frequently don’t understand what they say they believe. I can’t second guess which precise definition you’ll use of course, but I know for a certainty that it will be based on on of the ‘confessions’ and not on scripture! So cut to the chase, provide your definition of ‘unconditional election’ and you’ll see that God is totally impartial when it comes to matters of salvation. Your quote on blessings and curses was totally out of context.

                rhutchin

                OK. You don’t really know what unconditional election is all about – you can’t provide your definition. That was my suspicion.

                  Andrew Barker

                  rhutchin: Nice try but it won’t wash. You’ve been caught out using the phrase “God is clearly a respecter of persons” which you cannot substantiate and even have to totally ignore scriptures which state clearly that he is not a respecter of persons. Your ‘argument’ based on God blessing those who obey and cursing those who disobey is a complete nonsense. It would only make God a respecter of persons if he blessed some of those who obeyed him and not others, or if he disregarded the sin of some and not others who disobeyed in the same fashion.

                  Clearly you do not understand your own comments, so your claim that I don’t understand the basis of ‘unconditional election’ leaves me somewhat underwhelmed. The fact is, that not all Calvinists hold the same belief regarding ‘unconditional election’ so not matter what definition anyone comes up with, you could point to a definition which would contradict it. What is clear though is that in all forms of ‘unconditional election’ God does not have respect to the person, so you are wrong, twice over. If the only light you have is darkness, then the darkness is doubly dark!

          Scott Shaver

          Why then does Scripture expressly state verbatim that HE is “no respecter of persons”?

          Unless like Luther, you feel the book of James to be “a right strawy epistle”

    Lydia

    2) God draws all HE chooses to Jesus (the elect) and they ALL (the chosen) come. The ‘decisive’ impulse is God’s drawing.

    ‘Decisive’ is the key word.

    Most make the mistake that #2 contradicts #1. You, individually, still have to say ‘yes’, but the reason you say ‘yes’ is God, not you. We come freely without coercion. No constraint or force involved. So the question is “Does God draw all people the same WAY?” This ‘way’ of thinking is the only way one can understand verses like the one below.”

    Okay, so He draws everyone without coercion (?) but then forces some to say yes. This is just another way of saying the same thing over and over. It sounds nicer and fools some people but in the end it is just determinism with a capital D. All the proof texting in the world from Psalms, Eph and Romans won’t change that.

      Mark Sorenson

      Lydia, you feel like coercion is the ‘boogy man’ of the Calvinist equation. Could the apostle Paul have said ‘no’ to Jesus when knocked off his horse? I’ll give you all the coercion and free will you want but I doubt Paul would have said to Jesus, ‘no thank you’. Same idea with Lazarus.

        Lydia

        “Lydia, you feel like coercion is the ‘boogy man’ of the Calvinist equation. Could the apostle Paul have said ‘no’ to Jesus when knocked off his horse? I’ll give you all the coercion and free will you want but I doubt Paul would have said to Jesus, ‘no thank you’. Same idea with Lazarus.”

        Not as big of a boogyman as free will seems to be to Calvinists. Yes, I do think Paul could have said no. But why would he with such a dramatic sign. How come we all don’t get that dramatic of a sign, then? You think Lazarus might have said, Gee Thanks, Jesus, but I would rather go back to being dead? Those are strange examples.

        How about the Rich young Ruler? Was that a free will refusal? Or did Jesus look at him and “love” him then consign him to damnation because he had not been chosen before Adam sinned?

          Mark Sorenson

          Lydia, Just an aside, it might help to know that the Lazarus story is fundamental to understanding Calvinism and is used by almost all of us as an example of fallen humanity in Adam being ‘called’ to everlasting life. (Romans 5:12, 1st Corinthians 15:22.)

          Anyway, to answer your question. I don’t know, did Jesus look at Judas, Herod, Pilate, etc… with “love” from eternity?????? Let’s not ‘guess’ then ok? What do Peter and John say in Acts 4? This might rattle your free wiliness….

          for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

          (Acts 4:27-28 ESV)

          “for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”

          (Acts 4:27-28 ESV)

            Andrew Barker

            Marc Sorenson: Most non Calvinists on this blog are well aware that the story of Lazarus is used (out of context) by Calvinists. You have however, absolutely no supporting exegetical evidence to support your assumption do you? Worse still, Lazarus still died didn’t he! What are the exegetical ramifications of that I wonder?!

              Lydia

              “Most non Calvinists on this blog are well aware that the story of Lazarus is used (out of context) by Calvinists”

              Yep.

              Mark Sorenson

              Andrew – There was no attempt to exegete the verse on my part concerning Lazarus so context is not germane. My point is simply to emphasize that according to the argument Paul makes in Romans 5 and 1st Corinthians 15 about how mankind is fallen in Adam, we are all ‘dead’ (like a corpse) until the sovereign act of regeneration.

              Additionally, and this is much more disturbing, is that you are not the first person that has been unaware of this analogy. The most politically correct thing I can say therefore is that there is a pattern of exhibiting a fundamental ignorance of even a surface level knowledge of what is known as ‘federal headship’. Even if one does not adopt the concept of federal headship, the display of ignorance about its centrality to Pauline theology is inexcusable.

                Andrew Barker

                Mark: You cannot find a single verse from scripture which describes the human condition as being dead like a corpse. That is one of Reformed theology’s biggest lies. That’s eisegesis par excellence!

                  Andy

                  Andrew, I are you not splitting hairs here…is there another kind of dead? “Dead like a living breathing man?” That doesn’t make any sense. It would be like berating someone for saying “Jesus was a man, like a human being.”. Unnecessary elaboration, yes…but isegesis and a lie, hardly…scripture says we were dead in sin…Dead like something dead…a corpse is dead. Hardly a big conspiracy there.

                    Lydia

                    Andy, Cals mean dead as in NO human volition. NO ABILITY. And yes, it is wrong to interpret it that way. There are plenty of rhetorical devices and other metaphors we could mention.

                    I have an idea. Why not raise your kids as if they have NO volition and NO ability as it is part of the belief system and taught to kids and teens all the time by the YRR. See how that works for ya at home..

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: You have answered your own question in a way, although I’m not sure if you’ve seen it or whether you’re just playing devil’s advocate here a bit? Of course you’ve not actually quoted a verse to support your comments so I’ll not second guess you, even though it does seem obvious.

                    So if you want to go along with Mark’s reasoning …. “mankind is fallen in Adam, we are all ‘dead’ (like a corpse) until the sovereign act of regeneration.” be my guest. But I’m not discussing things like that in a vacumn

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: (sorry, laptop keeps suddenly sending comments before I’m ready). As I was saying I’m happy to discuss, but you need to provide chapter and verse so I know exactly where you’re coming from. I think this is quite central to the error(s) in Reformed theology actually. Regeneration before faith and an incorrect understanding of what being ‘dead’ means. Yes, I’d say that was quite important.

                  Andy

                  I’m simply saying your argument is not addressing what you want it to. Arguing against regeneration before faith is one thing. However arguing against us being dead in sin is quite another…

                  Scripture (Eph. 2) says you were dead in trespasses and sin. Obviously it is speaking spiritually, but it has to mean something. My simple question is, if it is somehow completely wrong to say were were “dead like a corpse”…what would you substitute?

                  Biblically, “we were dead like a ______________?”

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: Thanks. I had assumed you were referring to Eph 2 when you mentioned dead as in not breathing, but I didn’t want to jump to conclusions. You have in effect answered your own question, without fully realising it. If you carry on reading the next part of the verse, it gives the context. It uses a figure of speech in exactly the way you are suggesting “doesn’t make any sense” but that’s how the writer explains this truth.

                    Eph 2 doesn’t say we were dead, end of story. Or dead like a corpse or dead as in not breathing. It uses a specific phrase which is we were ‘dead in trespasses and sin’. It then proceeds to elaborate that in this state we were ‘walking according to the course of this world’. Paul is using the term ‘dead’ to show separation or alienation from God. It’s a common enough picture used throughout scripture, from Genesis onwards in fact. If Paul had wanted to specify ‘corpse’ he could easily have done so using the word nekros as found in Mark 9:26. But the phrase dead in transgressions is used several more times in his epistles and not once is it translated as the word corpse.

                    So you are faced with a choice, as ever. You can accept that being dead in sin is like being a dead corpse, which means you’ then have to address the question why are these corpses so active in walking and following the course of this world? But hang on, you have already answered that haven’t you! You’ve already said that **** “dead like a living breathing man? That doesn’t make any sense” ****. So follow your own logic! If dead like a breathing man doesn’t make sense, why does dead in trespasses and sin and walking make sense? Surely it can’t!

                    Your other option is to accept that being ‘dead in sin’ is a figure of speech which means we are separated or alienated from God and this separation was evidenced by the pattern of life we used to follow. I would suggest to you that the latter explanation is what Paul had in mind.

                    I expect you also are well aware that Reformed theology incorrectly tries to establish that God works in the lives of people before they are saved to regenerate them. Regeneration before faith is a common theme of Reformed theologians and they would dearly love to misuse Eph 2 to support their claims. Central to their argument is the false assumption that we are ‘lifeless corpses’ who cannot respond to the call of the Holy Spirit unless we are first regenerated. So this may not be a “big conspiracy” but it’s certainly not quite as trivial as you might like to imply. These comments are also clearly addressed in the traditional statement under sections 2 and 5 I believe, so someone somewhere thinks they important enough to note.

                    Don Johnson

                    It is true that a dead body is incapable of doing anything. However, a dead person can talk, taste, hear, see and feel.

            Lydia

            Mark, It is a shame that all who were chosen before God even created humans or the earth, given dramatic signs so they would be assured they were chosen. As it is within determinism, the human has no real volition so cannot really discern it.

            The Jews were “chosen” so does that mean all inherited eternal life? Or did God randomly “choose” some within the “chosen” Jewish nation for eternal life? :o)

            Mark, the thing is we read scripture with different filters. You with the determinist God and me, with free will as in human volition and responsibility to God. We could go around and around all day and not convince the other.

              Mark Sorenson

              Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, states that JEdwards had a greater mental capacity than Einstein. Here is a quote from Edwards on God’s sovereignty.

              Edwards on Sovereign Grace

              “From my childhood up, my mind had been full of objections to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, in choosing whom He would to eternal life; and rejecting whom He pleased. . . . But I have often, since that first conviction, had quite another kind of sense of God’s sovereignty than I had then. I have often since had not only a conviction, but a delightful conviction. The doctrine has very often appeared exceedingly bright and sweet. Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God. . . .

              So if you have a problem with Calvin, embrace Arminius, or have it all figured out on your own, the list of profoundly Calvinist teachers is very, very long and impressive.

                Lydia

                “So if you have a problem with Calvin, embrace Arminius, or have it all figured out on your own, the list of profoundly Calvinist teachers is very, very long and impressive.”

                I highly recommend Jesus. He is even more impressive. :o)

                I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. 1 John 2

                Andrew Barker

                Mark Sorenson: You seem to be taking your cue from those who think that by quoting the ‘great and the good’ that your argument will succeed. It doesn’t. Not that I have anything particular against Rick Warren, but he’s hardly worth quoting on this issue is he? The quote came from a rather tortuous interview with Piper who spent most of his time coaching Rick to try and say the ‘right thing’ and keep on message.

                If as you appear to argue, we have to listen most to the greatest intellect, then maybe if Rick Warren had got it wrong, Einstein might actually have had a greater intellect than Edwards and where would we be then? So I trust this doesn’t disturb your comfort zone too much but I have news for you regarding Edwards’ abilities. In particular one of his ‘infamous’ sermons, none other than “sinners in the hands of an angry god.” (I use a small ‘g’ on purpose since I don’t recognise Edwards’ god as God). Edwards misreads Deut 32 and hence his whole sermon is based on a false premise. Quite why this has gone unnoticed for years, I cannot really understand, but it has and I guess it will continue to be overlooked. I’m not expecting anyone to sit up and take notice because I’ve raised the point here. But that’s it. Plain and simple. The so called intellectual giant has dropped a clanger and, since I love mixed metaphors, the emperor is standing naked and everybody is …. well applauding him! :) Or maybe they have just grown used to accepting what they are told rather than thinking for themselves?

                  Mark Sorenson

                  First, I reject the premise that you personally know Piper’s ‘nefarious’ intentions and Warren’s inability to resist being sucked in to saying things he didn’t mean.

                  Secondly, the point of my observations is that the SBC has decided to go the way of Open Theism (eventually), which is heresy, and also to simply ignore the fact that there is not a single source of refutation for the doctrines countless theological giants have embraced since the days of the reformation.

                    Andy

                    MARK: “Secondly, the point of my observations is that the SBC has decided to go the way of Open Theism (eventually), which is heresy…”

                    –Actually, I don’t think you’ve mentioned Open Theism until now. Also, countless people and churches have embraced arminian and non-calvinist theology without embracing Open Theism (or universalism, for that matter). You wouldn’t like it if someone told you that your calvinism will lead you to embrace protesting soldier’s funerals, or endorsing state-sponsored conversions, would you? No, because neither are fair representations.

                    MARK: “…and also to simply ignore the fact that there is not a single source of refutation for the doctrines countless theological giants have embraced since the days of the reformation.

                    –I’m not sure what planet you are living on, but there are whole books, articles, speeches, Scholarly and popular works, blogs, and websites that make strong arguments against calvinism…arguments that have existed almost since the reformation. There are also countless of the same refuting arminianism and free will. Just because one side doesn’t accept the arguments of the other doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Mark Sorenson: Well I wouldn’t have brought Rick Warren into the discussion full stop. You did. I simply pointed out that I didn’t think he was a quotable authority on Edwards. I may be wrong there. Is he? My impression was that the interview was rather ‘staged’ but again that’s just a personal observation.

                    You may think that the SBC is going down the road of Open Theism, but that would not be my observation. Your comment regarding doctrinal sources is immensely telling though. You write as though nothing happened before the days of the reformation! I look forward to comments from others on that one. As for these so called ‘giants’, I’ve pointed out that Edwards makes a mistake in his celebrated sermon. If he can make mistakes, so can the rest of them. There are plenty of able scholars who do not take a reformed view of scripture. You are just simply wide, wide of the mark there in your comments.

                    volfan007

                    Mark,

                    So, are you saying, then, that Non-Calvinists are preaching “open Theism?” Are you saying that a person has to either believe an Augustinian philosophical approach to the Bible, or else they are not preaching the true Gospel?

                    DAvid

                    Mark Sorenson

                    Keeping in mind that the SBC has decided that Calvinism is on the way out as far as they are concerned (generally speaking), here is a paragraph I copied and pasted from a 2014 TGC article: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/is-open-theism-still-a-factor-10-years-after-ets-vote

                    Many evangelical Arminians reject open theism out of hand. Yet open theism emerged among Arminians as a possible solution to the “problem” of God’s exhaustive foreknowledge as it relates to his providence and man’s free will. For many Arminians, the price paid by open theists to preserve the absolute free will of man is simply too high—it recasts God into a deity who is different than the sovereign, all-knowing God of Scripture. However, the theological conundrum persists, so it is not surprising that open theism remains as a perceived “viable option” in some corners of the church world.

                    So I don’t know … According to the SBC, the desire to keep a ‘man centered’ perspective treasured by Arminians seems to be losing its main competitive foe (equals Calvinism).

                    Lydia

                    “You write as though nothing happened before the days of the reformation”

                    Andrew, New Testament scholar and historian NT Wright said the exact same thing about this Neo Cal movement.

                    It seems to go like this: No one understood Christianity until the Reformation. Or until Calvin told people what to think in his mandatory state church.

                    I think Mark might be a Doug Wilsonian or near abouts. The Dominionists, Reconstructionists and Theonomists love “Federal Headship”. Wilson even wrote a book about “Federal Husbands”.

                    From what I know, the concept of Federal Headship came from Augustine and was part of the systemic approach from the Reformation.

                    Lydia

                    “…arguments that have existed almost since the reformation.”

                    Uh, Andrew, those arguements were drowned in the Limmet and all writings destroyed. No one was allowed to disagree. (wink)

                    Lydia

                    “So, are you saying, then, that Non-Calvinists are preaching “open Theism?” Are you saying that a person has to either believe an Augustinian philosophical approach to the Bible, or else they are not preaching the true Gospel?”

                    David, this is how it works in my neck of the woods. If you believe man has volition and the ability to respond to God then you are “man centered” which means you are an Open Theist.

                    Don’t you remember when we were all Pelagians? Or perhaps, semi? Well that did not work for long so now it is Open Theism. Don’t even bother defending yourself. It is insult du jour.

                  volfan007

                  Man centered?

                  Oh, Brother. Good grief.

                  David

                    Mark Sorenson

                    Just a little taste of how ridiculous an Arminian/OpenTheist looks,sounds, and reasons when trying to exegete Romans 9 can be seen in the Flowers/White debate. (See link below).

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbEnNiIlujw

                    I have seen almost all of the 150 debates of James White and this would be the first in which he is at a loss for words because his opponent hasn’t made an attempt to exegete the subject of the debate.

                    Lydia

                    “Just a little taste of how ridiculous an Arminian/OpenTheist looks,sounds, and reasons when trying to exegete Romans 9 can be seen in the Flowers/White debate. (See link below). ”

                    Mark, My goodness. How long is your cage stage going to last? I hope not as long as James White’s.
                    Maybe they would not look so ridiculous to you if you were not reading Romans with a determinist filter.

                    volfan007

                    Mark,

                    Leighton Flowers is NOT an Open Theist, nor an Arminian. And, for you to call him one is just a lot of the problem that a lot of us have with aggressive, militant, extreme Calvinists.

                    BTW, Mark, I’m not a Calvinist. I’m not an Open Theist. I’m not an Arminian. I’m not a Pelagian, Semi or otherwise. How do you handle those apples?

                    David

                    Andy

                    Mark, how about doing some real debating HERE, if you feel that is what is needed, and actually reply to the points raised in ANY of the responses you have recieved?

                    Mark Sorenson

                    I thought I was debating here. Open Theist embrace a huge chunk of Arminian ‘rhetoric’. All I am pointing out with Flowers is that his head is glistening with a nervous, beaded sweat the entire debate and it is 100 percent clear that the reason is that he hasn’t a clue about what he is talking about.

                    Lydia

                    “All I am pointing out with Flowers is that his head is glistening with a nervous, beaded sweat the entire debate and it is 100 percent clear that the reason is that he hasn’t a clue about what he is talking about.”

                    How do you know his sweat was “nervous”? I would love to know how one knows if sweat is “nervous” or “heat”

                    Well Mark, sociopaths often pass the lie detector test, look you straight in the eye when they lie and have total command or their hands and fingers while doing so, too. What you wrote above is below the belt and means nothing.. Maybe he was not even feeling well but you go straight for jugglar. In fact, he owes you NO explanation nor a defense because your accusation is so ridiculous. It is reminiscent of Nixon/Kennedy debate and the popular “wisdom” that Nixon lost because his beard grows in faster and all the shallow people were put off by that on black/white TV. Nevermind the content.

                    So if James White does not sweat during a debate then that means what? He wins? He is a sociopath? He has truth?

                    You know, I did training for large groups for years and I was always the hottest person in the room. When my adrenelin gets going, I get hot. Family trait because my dad kept the house at meat locker temp growing up and cold was my normal! :o)

                    If anyone wonders why the YRR are ripping our churches apart, Mark is exhibit A.
                    Please please please tell me you are not a pastor. We have enough of your types in the SBC.

                    Mark Sorenson

                    The only significant difference between an Arminian and an Open Theist is ‘simple’ foreknowledge which most Open Theist state serves no function. That is why Calvinist scholars are pointing out that the only ‘consistent’ Arminian is an Open Theist. So the comparison is not unfair or untrue. Because Arminians limit God’s meddling in the sovereign free will acts of man for the sake of fairness, the Pandora’s Box syndrome this leads to will necessarily be subjective by definition and completely arbitrary in nature to whoever has the most current epiphany on what line God is or is not allowed to cross.

                    Andy

                    Mark, so you are saying that Bruce Ware, in the article YOU LINKED TO, is wrong when he says Arminianism IS a viable, biblical option for evangelical believers….?

                Andrew Barker

                Mark Sorenson: Your recent posts do nothing to convince me that you have a good grip on theology in general. We are all have things to learn of course, but your attempts to tar everyone with the same brush do nothing to promote your argument.

                Here’s a quote from a well known scholar (deceased) “I am not conscious to myself, of having taught or entertained any other sentiments concerning the justification of man before God, than those which are held unanimously by the Reformed and Protestant Churches, and which are in complete agreement with their expressed opinions.” He went by the name of Arminius!

                Trying to play Calvin off against Arminius is an old game and it never works. Unfortunately Pelagius’ writing were largely destroyed otherwise we would have more first hand information. But recent discoveries have suggested that he is much maligned too. What does this mean? That we are all closet Arminians, Pelagians or Open Theists if we’re not Calvinists? Hardly. More likely it just demonstrates there was just as much disagreement then as there is now. The only way we can learn is to openly discuss different points of view and judge them according to what we find in scripture. Trying to tag someone with a particular label so you can then marginalise them as a heretic or similar only works when the blog is tightly controlled. You’ve been allowed to openly ‘slag off’ Leighton and your comments have been allowed to stand. But this only serves to your discredit, not his! :) People will judge you on the evidence of your words. As yet, you have been found rather wanting!

        Scott Shaver

        “Coercion” is not the real “boogy man” of the Calvinist equation. “Coercion is something often employed by calvinist and non-calvinist alike although neo-calvinists have made it an art form IMO.

        The real “boogey man” of the Calvinist equation is accepting the idea that Calvin’s finite system for collectively and specifically explaining the eternal attributes of God is more important and binding upon Christian “orthodoxy” than the spiritual, personal and individual disclosure of those attributes to believers by the ONLY ONE who embodies the attributes.

        Mohler asks “Where else can they go to rejoice with the nations in Christ?”. I say to Christ himself.

          Lydia

          “Mohler asks “Where else can they go to rejoice with the nations in Christ?”. I say to Christ himself.”

          Amen. Christianity 101

        Scott Shaver

        Trouble here is equating Calvinism with the Incarnate Christ Mark. Surely you see that?

        Jim P

        The story of raising Lazarus from the dead had one objective, that was to show Christ had the power over the greatest enemy of man, i.e. death, the consequence of sin in the world. When Christ did that, His enemies wanted both him and Lazarus dead. Why? Christ was displaying He was God’s anointed One. The Leaders of the Jews did not want to share the attention given both Christ and His work through Lazarus. A little context might help the discussion.

        The Apostle Paul, said he was acting in unbelief. God had mercy on him because he was not acting out of rebellion to God but simply did not believe the truth that Christ was God’s anointed One. He truly believed Christ was a false Messiah. When He was confronted with Christ, Himself, Paul realized his error and was put on the right track, the track he only desired in his life.
        Q.E.D.

rhutchin

Article two reads, “We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will…”

Did Adam’s sin affect a change in the freedom of the person’s will?

“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin…if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word.” (John 8)

If the person is slave to sin and must be set free by Christ, doesn’t that suggest that something has happened to the person’s will such that people, “…have no room for [Christ’s] word.”

Paul writes, “…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Romans 8) Paul does not say that the sinful mind is able to submit to God’s law and chooses not to do so – he says that it cannot do so. Are the Calvinists wrong to conclude that Paul describes a “freedom” issue by describing a lack of freedom in the unsaved – those enslaved to sin?

    Jim P

    rhutchin,

    A closer look at Romans 8 shows Paul in not addressing ‘unsaved’ or unbelievers, he is addressing ‘brethren’, see Romans 8:12 & 13.
    Sin is much more than simply a ‘corrupting influence. Sin is a ruling power (cf. Gen. 4:7) in direct competition with the honor and allegiance due only to God, the Lord. It is a ruling power that only believers can overcome yet can also be overcome by and return to being slaves to sin, again see Romans 8. The letter is about what the work of God calls believers to be involved in and how to be involved. Emphasis of the letter is, what is salvation all about, not how to be saved.

    Jim

      rhutchin

      All right. So, what point were you seeking to make about the relationship between sin and free will. You were saying good things, but then you stopped short of your punch line, “Thus, with regard to free will….” Did you forget what you wanted to say? I do it all the time.

        Jim P

        Hello rhutchin,

        No I didn’t get to the punch line. It is open ended because it is not a cut and dry ending about ‘free will.’ Christ commented His coming has left the world without excuse, (John 15:22). His coming has given men a clear choice of the excellency of God’s ruling power over the ruling power of sin. If not excuse then they are not paralyzed about the choice. Their choice is the ruling power of sin of the ruling power of Christ. Before Christ they did not have that choice and seems to have had an excuse.

          rhutchin

          I don’t understand what you are trying to say. My suspicion is that you are caught in a hard place where the answer is obvious – slaves to sin have no free will – and have chosen to obfuscate rather than deal with it. Time to move on.

            Jim P

            If men ‘have chosen to obfuscated rather than deal with it,’ the they ‘will’ to chose ‘sin’ over allegiance to the Lord, as did Adam, as does the world.

            volfan007

            Even a slave can respond to a Liberator, who asks him if he wants to be free.

            David

Allen M Rea

I am thankful for this statement, and honored to have signed it. I am, however, often confused by the fact we Trads are accused of division while Reformed groups are applauded for clarifying truth. We divide and they clarify? Perhaps, it falls into one of those “mystery” categories I hear theologians retreat into so often.

Lydia

” Are the Calvinists wrong to conclude that Paul describes a “freedom” issue by describing a lack of freedom in the unsaved – those enslaved to sin?”

Are you defining sin as imputed guilt. That you are born sinning and your very existence is sin?

    rhutchin

    I define sin as a corrupting action that destroys a person’s free will. Adam sinned and corrupted his will – losing the freedom of will he had previously enjoyed. His children inherited that same corruption and were born sinners not having a truly free will as Adam had once enjoyed.

      Lydia

      “I define sin as a corrupting action that destroys a person’s free will. Adam sinned and corrupted his will – losing the freedom of will he had previously enjoyed. His children inherited that same corruption and were born sinners not having a truly free will as Adam had once enjoyed.”

      Do you ever wonder about the Holy One being entombed in a wicked and depraved vessel for 9 months?

        rhutchin

        No. Never actually wondered about that.

        Michael Labate

        Lydia, do you think Mary was sinless? Her sinlessness was not required for her to be the mother of Jesus; Luke 1:47 (the Magnificat) make clear that Mary needed a Savior which means she was a sinner. She was a wicked and depraved vessel, we all are, that’s why Jesus was necessary.

          Greg Roberts

          Michael just a question : was Mary ever described in scripture as ” was a wicked and depraved vessel” in scripture ? I would agree she was a sinner. How bout Cornelius in Acts chapter 10 or even Lydia in chapter 13. just wondering

            Andy Williams

            Before we get in a word chase? what’s you point? There are numerous biblical words to descibe sinful people wicked is one.

            Michael Labate

            Yes she was, we all were in Romans 3 by Paul when he says we are all under sin and describes what that means. If that description (v. 9 – 18) isn’t wicked and depraved then I don’t know what is.

          Jim P

          “Wicked and Depraved vessel.” Now I can put that label on some people in history and today but Mary is not one of those. The meaning of words needs to find its context correctly.

          Fact is, the word sinner used in the NT is not someone described as ‘wicked and depraved.’ The leaders of the Jews labeled Jesus, a sinner, John 9:24, because He didn’t keep the Sabbath (‘wicked and depraved,’ come on) It was easy then as it is today to wrongly label someone, with a word, that has implications that really need explaining.

            Michael Labate

            Well considering that by John 9, they had tried to kill the “sinner” twice (Luke 4 & John 8); I think they thought He was pretty evil. Evil enough to deserve death. And they did in fact kill Him. Not to mention we are described as evil: Genesis 6, Genesis 8 (post-Flood), Isaiah 64, Jeremiah 17, Psalm 14.

          lydia

          “Lydia, do you think Mary was sinless? Her sinlessness was not required for her to be the mother of Jesus; Luke 1:47 (the Magnificat) make clear that Mary needed a Savior which means she was a sinner. She was a wicked and depraved vessel, we all are, that’s why Jesus was necessary.”

          I doubt very seriously I define sin the same way you do. Basically your view of sin does nothing but focus on sin leveling all sorts of evil. Your view of sin would have the old lady yelling at her dog the same depraved wicked sinner as the pedophile. It does nothing but desensitize people to what is really wicked and depraved. It has Mother Theresa the same as Pol Pot. Billy Graham the same as Stalin.

          And it is going to be the death of Christendom because there is NO COMMON SENSE.

            Les

            “I doubt very seriously I define sin the same way you do. Basically your view of sin does nothing but focus on sin leveling all sorts of evil. Your view of sin would have the old lady yelling at her dog the same depraved wicked sinner as the pedophile. It does nothing but desensitize people to what is really wicked and depraved. It has Mother Theresa the same as Pol Pot. Billy Graham the same as Stalin.”

            Wow! Is this the common non Calvi it’s Southern Baptist view?

              Lydia

              “Wow! Is this the common non Calvi it’s Southern Baptist view?”

              I see Les is back to his usual game. I have made it clear on this blog to you before, Les. I speak only for myself. I will give you a P for perserverence, though, with the same silly tactics over and over.

              Andrew Barker

              Les: It’s more common than your assertion that Calvinists believe ” the fact that Christ is willing and able to save any and every sinner.” I mean that’s real 3 pointer territory isn’t it? Well I guess they exist. What are you at present? 5 edging hyper?

              And for the record, I’m quite happy to accept degrees of sin. Not all sin is the same, although the effect of all sin leads to death. :)

              Les Prouty

              “I speak only for myself.”

              Whew! Had me worried about the SBC there for a moment. I thought for a minute that SBCers (if you are any indication) were heading down the road to saying that some sins didn’t deserve the wrath of God. Thought for a minute that SBCers (if you are any indication) were saying that before God some people are more deserving of hell than others. Ya know, like Stalin is more deserving of punishment for sin than Billy Graham because Stalin committed some worse sins than Graham. Again, whew! that it’s only you and not SBCers in general.

                Lydia

                Les, I thought you had already established that I am a Pelagian heretic. So let’s just leave it there since I am not really interested in the Les merry go round today. :o)

              Les Prouty

              Andrew,

              ” It’s more common than your assertion that Calvinists believe ” the fact that Christ is willing and able to save any and every sinner.” I mean that’s real 3 pointer territory isn’t it? Well I guess they exist. What are you at present? 5 edging hyper?”

              It’s more common than I think that some SBCers think that Stalin (for instance) is more deserving than Billy Graham of hell? I doubt it really. Maybe Lydia and a few others who have a different definition of sin. But I doubt (and hope not) many.

              FTR I define sin the way scripture defines it: “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” I’m fully aware of how most of us interpret the “practice of sinning” phrase. One who practices sin shows themselves not to be a true believer. That is part of John’s point. But the definition of sin is according to scripture is lawlessness. Living as unto a law of their own, not according to God’s law. On that most of us would agree (I hope).

              “And for the record, I’m quite happy to accept degrees of sin. Not all sin is the same, although the effect of all sin leads to death. :)”

              I agree and that’s my point and surprise to Lydia’s statement. Any two people in the world, Hitler or Billy Graham, is a sinner. While one actually murders millions literally and the other never literally murders anyone, apart from Christ both deserve death as you rightly state. We agree I think. Both deserve and will get damnation apart from the saving grace of Christ. I think we agree brother, do we not? Not sure Lydia agrees though.

              BTW, yes I’m a so called 5 pointer and no I am nowhere near a hyper Calvinist. I do actively share the gospel, though never enough as I should.

              God bless brother.

                Jim P

                A little correction:

                “And for the record, I’m quite happy to accept degrees of sin. Not all sin is the same, although the effect of all sin leads to death.” and “I agree”

                1John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Jim P: Thanks. An interesting verse, which I shall go away and think about! Thanks for that.

                    Andy

                    BARNES, ON THIS VERSE:

                    “Everything, he says, which is unrighteous – ???????? adikia – everything which does not conform to the holy law of God, and which is not right in the view of that law, is to be regarded as sin; but we are not to suppose that all sin of that kind is of such a character that it cannot possibly be forgiven.”

                    I believe barnes is correct here. Fitting in with the verse prior, and with Jesus’s statements about the unforgivable sin, it seems there was some sin that Jesus & John referred to that was so serious it would not be forgiven. Now, I am immediately skeptical of anyone who claims to know exactly what this is, or to pronounce it on someone…BUT John’s point seems to be that MOST sins can be forgiven.

                    I DON’T think it is teaching that there are sins that don’t deserve punishment, or sins that don’t require Jesus’ sacrifice, or that don’t require repentance.

                  JIm P

                  Hello Andy,

                  When you quote like you did (Barnes) then support it with ‘ is correct,’ There are so many presuppositions, it is much to try to dialog with. This is not a correction just an observations. I’d like to try to address those presuppositions.

                  The whole idea of ‘sin’ needs to be re-evaluated. In Genesis with Adam and Eve eating of the apple there was nothing of terms like ‘sin’ or ‘holy law of God.’ It was only until the time of Moses where ‘law’ kicked in and ‘sin’ became a recognized act in relation to ‘law.’

                  I suggest that in the Garden, Adam and Eve, had a choice who’s sovereignty they would choose to cooperate with in creation. There were only two choices for them, either be in cooperation with the sovereignty of their creator or the only other competitor around, ‘sin’.

                  Reducing our understanding of ‘sin’ to simply a judicial violation that simply needs punishment looses the bigger picture I believe Genesis wants us to see.

                  When the Lord warned Cain the danger he was in in Genesis 4:7 He was not just warning Cain not DO a ‘sin,’ but warning him not to be ‘ruled’ by the power and ‘sovereignty’ of sin.

                  The rest of Cain’s behavior and even the NT witness (1 John 3:12, a warning to believers, interestingly) is that Cain cared nothing for God’s sovereignty.

                  Hope some thoughts in the discussion.

                  Jim P

        Debbie Kaufman

        “Mary did you know, that your baby boy would one day save you???” Mark Lowery and 1 John 1:8 Lydia.

Lydia

“Mary did you know, that your baby boy would one day save you???” Mark Lowery and 1 John 1:8 Lydia.”

What makes you think I claim to be without sin? did you finish the book of 1 John instead of proof texting? Here are a few more of the texts from that same book tend to illuminate those opening words:

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Sounds to me like John is suggesting we can choose to NOT sin. Are you suggesting John is teaching that because of Jesus Christ we can sin our way into eternal life because we cannot help being wicked?

How about this?
“4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

Oh dear. That sort of puts 1 John 8 into perspective. How we “live” in Him sounds like a responsibility and synergistic to me. So if we continue to sin all we want while claiming to live in Him, that means what? It says: We do not know Him. I guess the question for us is: What is sin. Is sin our existence? Or, are sins actions or non actions. Actual things we do or don’t do that harm others and/or displease God? Or are we sin because we exist as your tradition believes?

This sort of seals it:

“The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”

So the question for us is: Is God forcing to do what is right? Or, do we have responsibility for what we do or don’t do as believers? The Holy Spirit is to be our guide. But the Holy Spirit does not obey God for us.

    Scott Shaver

    Excellent points Lydia. Insightful. Thanks.

    Michael Labate

    “Sounds to me like John is suggesting we can choose to NOT sin. Are you suggesting John is teaching that because of Jesus Christ we can sin our way into eternal life because we cannot help being wicked?”
    – No one is suggesting that, as Christians we are a new creation. Plus, if we take the totality of Scripture and don’t read John in a bubble, then we know we cannot be perfect (Pelagius taught that). Therefore we know that sin is real and in us, and that even though we have been forgiven, washed, and will stand before God blameless because of Christ; we still sin. If that isn’t a testimony to the depravity of man and our wickedness then I don’t know what is.

    “So the question for us is: Is God forcing to do what is right? Or, do we have responsibility for what we do or don’t do as believers? The Holy Spirit is to be our guide. But the Holy Spirit does not obey God for us.”
    – No, the question is: what are you at the core. You are sinful and wicked, and if not for the guiding of the Holy Spirit, you would do wickedness like Satan. It is the gracious salvation of God and His placing of the Spirit in us that keeps us from ourselves. We are responsible for what we do and what WE do is evil. This was Paul’s argument in Romans 7, that there is nothing good about us, but only about Him.

Lydia

“Plus, if we take the totality of Scripture and don’t read John in a bubble, then we know we cannot be perfect (Pelagius taught that). ”

Lets have some fun proof texting: 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

So Jesus was doing a bait and switch? Telling them to be completed and mature in moral character when He knows cannot be?

“Therefore we know that sin is real and in us, and that even though we have been forgiven, washed, and will stand before God blameless because of Christ; we still sin. If that isn’t a testimony to the depravity of man and our wickedness then I don’t know what is.”

If you are sinning all the time, you need to stop it. :o)

” – No, the question is: what are you at the core.”

Redeemed. Striving to be like my Savior. Aren’t you?

” You are sinful and wicked, and if not for the guiding of the Holy Spirit, you would do wickedness like Satan. ”

I would be killing and destroying people? I know athiests that don’t kill, steal or destroy. This brings me to babies. Are they like Satan, too, since they are wicked and depraved at the core?

“It is the gracious salvation of God and His placing of the Spirit in us that keeps us from ourselves.”

So, we cannot know ourselves? We don’t have the “ability” to know ourselves? This is the core of Calvinism which is dualism. A Greek Pagan philosophy. I am so glad our justice system does not buy into this stuff. “The devil made me do it” is not an accepted defense as our system holds people responsible for our actions.

” We are responsible for what we do and what WE do is evil. This was Paul’s argument in Romans 7, that there is nothing good about us, but only about Him.”

Right. I get it. All good is really evil. Ooookaaaay.

    Michael Labate

    You do kill people, you read Matthew 5. I’m not talking dualism, you are; you are evil, God is good. Yes, all your good is evil read Isaiah 64, Psalm 14. Human beings left to their own devices are not good. Are you as evil as you can be, no; even Hitler didn’t kill his own mother, but you are not good. As Christians we are redeemed and by the power of the Holy Spirit are striving to honor God in all we do. If you have succeeded in doing that all the time, congrats, you are sinless; the 1st one since Jesus to accomplish this.

    Question, who was the worst sinner in the New Testament? Answer, Paul said he was (in the present tense) in 1 Timothy 1:15. Paul never claimed perfection, but worked toward it. You sound like you are already there by saying you are good.

Lydia

MIcheal, Thanks for letting me know you are evil, kill people (shouldn’t you be in prison?) and can do no good. I will avoid you like the plague and keep my children from you, too, which means out of most SBC churches in my neck of the woods cos they teach this stuff, too.

Basically the choices in your world seem to boil down to killing people or sinless perfecfion. I like John’s metaphor of “walking in the light” vs “walking in darkness”. You can have the darkness.

Andy

MARK: “Keeping in mind that the SBC has decided that Calvinism is on the way out as far as they are concerned (generally speaking), here is a paragraph I copied and pasted from a 2014 TGC article: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/is-open-theism-still-a-factor-10-years-after-ets-vote.”

1. This article is not about the SBC.
2. In case you missed it, Calvinism has been on the rise in the SBC for at least 10 years.
3. The article you cite actually hurts your case. it says: “Ware, who labored on the front lines of the ETS battle, says he warned evangelicals against open theism when it began to gain traction because openness theology, unlike classical Arminianism, should not be considered a viable, biblical option for evangelical Christians.
–> SO…One of the main opponents of open theism says Arminianism IS a viable, biblical option for evangelical christians. So your proposition that armininanism necessarily leads to open theism is unsupported.

MARK: “So I don’t know … According to the SBC, the desire to keep a ‘man centered’ perspective treasured by Arminians seems to be losing its main competitive foe (equals Calvinism).”

***Again, what offical sbc source have you found that says Arminians are losing their main foe? If anything calvinism is still on the upswing (although it may have about reached its peak right now, if I had to guess).

volfan007

Mark Sorenson,

Are you a Southern Baptist Pastor? I sure hope not.

David

    Mark Sorenson

    I am not a SBC pastor.

      volfan007

      whew, that’s a relief.

      David

Colin Carpenter

Well, I guess this is detrimental to the Traditionalists’ historical reconstruction of Baptist History.
http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/calvinism-is-not-new-to-baptists

    Mark Sorenson

    I saw this same article Colin yesterday. SBC is acting as the bridge to Open Theism until they can find another point of disagreement with them other than ‘simple’ foreknowledge. Other than this one point, they are hand in glove.

    volfan007

    Colin,

    I think the fella is wrong, and has missed a lot. It does absolutely nothing to REAL history.

    David

      Colin Carpenter

      David,

      It is appalling that you declare “the fella is wrong” given his impeccable credentials. He is yet another “scholar” (see British scholar David Bebbington’s “Baptists through the Centuries: A History of a Global People” or Mark Noll’s copious works) to explain and document the Calvinistic roots and its historical acceptance among Baptists.

      Your argument is literally childish. Dad: What color is the stop sign? Child: It is green. Dad: No son, the sign is red. Child: No it isn’t, it is green. Dad: Well child, one day you will understand the sign is red because everyone in the world knows it is. Child: The sign is green. Maybe one day, David, like the metaphor of the child, you will accept scholarship about our identity. And for the record, I am not a Calvinist (I deny limited atonement, irresistible grace, and possibly total depravity), but I recognize the historical veracity of our Calvinistic heritage. This does not offend me, but what it does is make me an honest Baptist willing to accept our theological past.

      Sadly, you believe in a “REAL history” with no documented past or scholarly support. David, you shouldn’t feel proud of your “REAL history” because it is Rhetorically based, Extremely exaggerated, Asinine, and, more importantly, Laughable. Please try to practice intellectual honesty.

      Colin

        volfan007

        Colin,

        lol

        David

    Lydia

    “Well, I guess this is detrimental to the Traditionalists’ historical reconstruction of Baptist History.
    http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/calvinism-is-not-new-to-baptists

    Historical reconstruction? Not at all. Evolved from? Yes.

    Do you really want to take a walk down Calvin and his “ism” historical road? It is an evil bloody mess of cruelty and caste system state church thinking faux Christianity. You need to read outside your indoctrination bubble.

      Colin

      Lydia,

      I think you are missing the point. Some Traditionalists are reconstructing history. Like you, I believe we have evolved; however, some Traditionalists (many of which have commented in this thread) maintain the origin of Baptists was not indebted to Calvinism. This means we did not evolve–hence David’s “the fella is wrong” comment. Such a comment is evidence of historical reconstruction presupposition. Additionally, I have no idea what you are trying to imply with your comment about Calvinism’s historical road/faux Christianity. I am not a Calvinist, and I am anti-systematic theology. Thus, your comment is a red herring and a sad attempt to change the discussion. As for your trite comment about stepping outside my “indoctrination bubble,” you should read my post more closely because you and I actually are in the same theological camp. Furthermore, I read vastly across all theological platforms–liberal, moderate, evangelical, and fundamentalist.

      With that, I am out . . . Colin

        Scott Shaver

        “Some traditionalists” aren’t the only ones adept at “reconstructing history”.

        The entire discussion about the role of Calvinism in “the history of the SBC” as opposed to discussions about the influence of high Calvinism in that particular nuance of history and identification is blown completely off its historical axis by these neo-reformers who suggest that “Southern Baptists” owe debts of recognition, inclusion and homogenous theological conformity to their image is the greatest “historical revision” of all.

        And the days of Boyce at Southern (in its infancy) notwithstanding, do you really want to go back to that particular line of thinking and corresponding world view?

        May not bode well in ongoing attempts at race relations……hmmm?

Jason Sampler

David,

In what respect do you think Kidd is wrong? And can you give three examples of the “a lot of things he got wrong”? I’m curious to see how your scholarship in early American religion stacks up to a PhD in History from one of the top PhD programs in the country, especially since his concentration is in 19th century evangelicalism, which his essay falls entirely within.

And for the sake of clarification, could you define what “REAL history” is? I’d be grateful. I have a PhD minor in Baptist History so I want to make sure we’re on the same page.

Thanks,
Jason

    volfan007

    Jason,

    I have neither the time nor the energy for all of this….this history debate. I am extremely busy preaching and teaching, visiting the sick and lonely, trying to win people to Jesus, and doing all the family things that I need to do. So, excuse me, but I’ll pass on all of this history lesson. I will just say that there’s always been Calvinists and Non-Calvinists in the SBC. I have read many people, who are lots smarter than me, who have shown that Non-Calvinists were very active in SB beginnings. And so, when Dr. Kidd said “some Arminian Baptists insisted that free will and general atonement were the “traditional” Baptist positions on those issues,” that is entirely disingenuous. First of all, Traditionalists are NOT Arminians. Secondly, we’ve claimed no such thing. Everywhere, what we’ve insisted upon is that amongst Baptists in the South, both Calvinists and Non-Calvinists have existed, with eventually the lion’s share of Calvinists being absorbed into an increasingly Non-Calvinistic SBC. Hence since at least the last quarter of the 19th century, non-Calvinistic theology increasingly became the “traditional” theology of most SBCers.

    David

      Jason Sampler

      David,

      It come across as self-serving to have enough time to lob a worthless criticism against a respected Baptist historian only to claim to be too busy preaching/teaching/telling people about Jesus whenever that same criticism is challenged. If you don’t have the time and energy to defend your (inaccurate) claims, then what is the point of making them in the first place?

      Please note Kidd did not deny the existence of non-Reformed Baptists in colonial and post-colonial American history. He did rightly note that the VAST majority of Baptist congregations during the 18th century were Reformed. Whether you like that or not, that is (to use your phrase) REAL history.

      Additionally, your myopic view of Baptists appear to stretch back only to 1845. I regret to inform you that Baptists were quite plentiful and thriving before the SBC was created or even before Baptists moved South due to northern persecution. Your affection towards Baptists of the South, to the near exclusion of all others, only proves that your criticism of Kidd is baseless.

      Might I suggest that unless you intend on having a serious discussion concerning Baptist history containing factual, historical events with quantifiable evidence instead of trite criticisms that have neither truth nor value, in the words of our mutual friend CB Scott, you should stand down.

      Blessings,
      Jason Sampler

      Scott Shaver

      “Too busy” to look at the history while at the same time interpreting that history?

      Are preachers really any more “busy” than the rest of us working stiffs?

      I doubt it.

    Lydia

    g”? I’m curious to see how your scholarship in early American religion stacks up to a PhD in History from one of the top PhD programs in the country, especially since his concentration is in 19th century evangelicalism, which his essay falls entirely within.”

    I had a PhD college history prof who extolled the virtues of Mao, his specialty. I am a big believer in many sources and reading around the subject matter to get a wider picture.

Andy

Just heard a great sermon at my church on Sunday! Our calvinistic pastor went on vacation…the non Calvinist layman (a former minister) that was asked to speak quoted both Augustine and Tim Keller…imagine that!

    Andrew Barker

    Andy: I think the important thing is what was said, not who said it either from the platform or who was quoted. This point came up today in another conversation. We use the term “out of the mouths of babes” rather loosely. It’s often wrongly assumed that it means these ‘babe’s know something us older folk don’t. That may or may not be the case, but it’s certainly not what is meant by the term. It simply is a way of stating that the truth is the truth, no matter who says it! God can and I believe does, use non-Christians to speak His word into our lives on occasions. God is not limited in his ways of working. That’s just our human perspective getting in the way.

    I don’t agree, in general, with Augustine or Tim Keller’s theology, what a surprise! But when they speak the truth, you can’t argue with that can you? :)

      Andy

      I agree. All truth is God’s truth.

      My main point is that our calvinisitic senior pastor respected this non-calvinist layman enough to ask him to preach, AND this man respected those of a different soteriology enough to quote them (on non-soteriology issues) in his sermon. That mutual respect seems to be a trait to admire and imitate.

        Lydia

        “That mutual respect seems to be a trait to admire and imitate.”

        some of us are longing for churches deeper than that. why not discuss the differences in a scholarly irenic fashion? Get people thinking about what they believe and why. Because that is dangerous?

          Andy

          Hi Lydia,

          You are making an incorrect assumption. We have had several sunday school and other bible studies with open discussion about all aspects of soteriology, including election, irresistable grace, and eternal security. People had different views, we discussed them and the merits and biblical evidence for all views. I know the Pastor and this Layman have had lots of conversations about the differences in their beliefs.

          -Andy

Lydia

“Just heard a great sermon at my church on Sunday! Our calvinistic pastor went on vacation…the non Calvinist layman (a former minister) that was asked to speak quoted both Augustine and Tim Keller…imagine that!”

Not hard to imagine at all. Rick Warren was quoting Calvinists years back. Many pastors quote Augustine because lots of the Western Protestant Christianity maps back to him. Happens all the time. Not real clear on what you think it proves? I have several non Calvinist acquaintances who read John Piper and have no clue about Calvinism.

We are a guru nation now.

    Mark Sorenson

    And you Lydia would fall into that category. Piper quotes Acts 4:27-28 all the time to you Open Theist which you still haven’t responded to yet.

Lydia

“And you Lydia would fall into that category. Piper quotes Acts 4:27-28 all the time to you Open Theist which you still haven’t responded to yet.”

Oh no!!! Piper has put me into a category!!! How can I go on as he is the end all be all of interpretation.

Maybe that is a clue. I have already told you our filters are different. There is no point. I don’t think the throwing around of heresy accusations from your movement types is insulting. Two years ago I was a Pelagian heretic. Before that, a Jezebel. I was hoping for something more exotic like Jael. :o)

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