Today’s Discussion Topic:
Article Seven: The Sovereignty of God
of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist
Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

June 21, 2012

A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of the Plan of Salvation,” authored by Eric Hankins and others, has drawn strong interest in many social media and news outlets. The statement and the discussion of it have been accessed over 50,000 times and over 100,000 pageviews in the last two weeks. The discussions in SBC Today have evoked thousands of comments, with over 700 persons signing the document (including some key leaders from every level of Southern Baptist life). You can sign it also by following these directions.

To structure the discussion, we are focusing the comments on the affirmation and denial statement of one article of the statement at a time. Today’s discussion will address the Southern Baptist doctrines of grace in Article 7: The Sovereignty of God. Keep in mind that each of the affirmations and denials in the articles complement each other, just as they do in the Together for the Gospel statement signed and/or affirmed by some Southern Baptist leaders who embrace Reformed views.

Please confine your comments to the article being discussed each day, not general comments about the statement. If you want to comment on other things, follow the links to other discussion threads:

Thank you for your comments on these theological issues!

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Discussion of Article Seven: The Sovereignty of God in “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

Note: As we discuss each article of the statement, today’s comments should focus on the affirmation and denial in Article 7. Please limit your comments here to Article 7.


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

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John

I wish all Traditionalist great success in your Church Plants in using your statement of salvation. It appears to be a great basis for Your Core Values & Beliefs Statement for your church plants. With the amount of page views and people signing on you should be able to bring new followers to Christ with a well theologically trained leadership group. Keep up the Evangelical spirit and I look forward to reading about your expansion of Gods kingdom by bring the word to the unreached.

Dr. Bruce McLaughlin

As the issue relates to human free will and salvation, Calvinists claim all reality is interlocked in a causal chain leading back to God as the first-cause of all things; but humans are “free,” even though they are pre-determined, because their choices are executed “willingly.” The Calvinist defines man as a second-cause agent incapable of choosing a path different from that which God would have him choose. Because man doesn’t know he is being manipulated, he believes himself to be a first-cause agent making free will decisions. This is the historic Calvinist concept of “free will.” It leads to the idea that absolute determinism by God is compatible with the exercise of free will by man; this concept is sometimes called compatibilism or soft determinism. Man may think he is acting freely but the non-elect are actually executing a sinister puppet dance, with God pulling the strings from behind His transcendence. However, each man is fully responsible for his second-cause sins since they are executed “willingly.”

Traditional Baptists agree much of reality is part of a causal chain but claim God does not determine the free will decisions of men or angels. The idea that men and angels are first-cause agents of choice, is a central concept. The Traditional Baptist believes “free will” makes you a first-cause agent of decisions. The compatibilist believes “free will” makes you a second-cause agent; you have simply been tricked into thinking of yourself as a first-cause agent. These two definitions of free will are mutually exclusive.

For most of us, it is moral and ethical character and not skilled intimidation that elicits praise. What is truly praiseworthy about God’s sovereignty is not that He exercises a power He obviously has, but that, because of His character, He does not exercise all the power He could. Perhaps the greatest testimony to God’s sovereignty is that God created beings who possess the power to say no to Him.

    rhutchin

    As a non-Calvinist, Dr. McLaughlin is unable to deal with the issue of God\’s sovereignty, so he diverts the readers attention to free will and salvation.

    By sovereignty, we mean that God rules over His creation and that rule is absolute. This is so because God is both omnipotent and omniscient. By omniscient, we mean that God knows the past, present, and the future and there is nothing kept secret from Him. By omnipotent, we mean that God can do all He desires and nothing can impede or prevent Him doing so. As God knows all things future, it is God who ordains all that happens. It falls to God to decide that a future event will run its natural course without interference from Him or to intervene to change that outcome which would occur naturally. Whatever the outcome, it is God who necessarily decides the outcome and thereby ordains that outcome. Thus, the sovereign God rules over every molecule in His creation.

    As sovereign, God must certainly be the direct cause of a person’s acceptance of Christ (for the natural man would always reject Christ) and be responsible for, but not the cause of, a person\’s rejection of faith in Christ. If the non-Calvinist thinks otherwise, then he should spend time explaining why and stop avoiding the issue.

      Mary

      “By omniscient, we mean that God knows the past, present, and the future and there is nothing kept secret from Him. By omnipotent, we mean that God can do all He desires and nothing can impede or prevent Him doing so. As God knows all things future, it is God who ordains all that happens.”

      So God’s like a fortune teller who can see into the future. Not a very Sovereign God you’re describing.

      What if God so big that he’s omnipresent – He is in all places in time and space. He doesn’t look into the future and see it ahead. He’s in eternity future and eternity past and here at this present moment. And because He’s in all places in space and time He’s so Sovereign that He’s allowed man to have free will and still He’s able to bring His will to pass even though He allows man to have free will.

      Which God is more Sovereign? The God who can only be Sovereign if He controls every “molecule” or a God who allows a genuine free will and yet God’s purpose and plans still come to pass.

      If God can only be God when He controls evey molecule than we’re saying there’s a possibilty in which God could not be Sovereign – He’d somehow be weak if He allowed for a free will.

        Matt

        Mary,

        I know your response here was not to anything written by me, but please allow me to respond to a couple of objections you raised.

        First, you say, “So God’s like a fortune teller who can see into the future. Not a very Sovereign God you’re describing.” This isn’t the Calvinist view of God. The only way He could merely look into the future would be if He were somehow watching a world already in motion. He is not watching something happen that He didn’t cause to happen though. He knew everything from eternity and then brought it about when He created. He knew it all before creating, and if He had not created, nothing would exist or happen. This is a truely sovreign God, not a “fortune teller”.

        You also say, “What if God so big that he’s omnipresent – He is in all places in time and space. He doesn’t look into the future and see it ahead. He’s in eternity future and eternity past and here at this present moment.” I don’t think this is what is meant by omnipresent. Your trouble seems to come from a misunderstanding of the word “time”. There is no actual thing or place called time. Time is a word that we use to describe a sequence of events. We have universally understood measurements of time such as years, days, hours, minutes, etc. which are based on a certain sequence of events (the rotation and orbit of the earth); However time is not a thing or a place for God to be at. God knows the future as surely as the past, but He is not in the future, present, and past simultaneously because these are not places. God, bieng immutable, existed before time. There were no sequences before creation. God is omnicient so that he knows everything perfectly and simultaneously. This means that there is not even a thought process within God. He doesn’t arrive at some piece of knowledge based on a process of deduction based on other knowledge. He simply knows everything at once. This is how God existed in eternity. He existed before time since He initiated time when He caused the first event (creation).

        You go on to say, “And because He’s in all places in space and time He’s so Sovereign that He’s allowed man to have free will and still He’s able to bring His will to pass even though He allows man to have free will.”

        This is not being sovreign. This would mean that God has somehow chosen not to be sovreign but will pull off the ending that He intended to. This would mean that God has allowed terrible sins to be committed: the holocaust, child molestations, rapes, and so on; not because these terrible things somehow ultimately work toward His inteded purpose and help to achieve a greater good for God and those that love Him, but for no real reason at all other than the free will of man. You claim that, “He’s so Sovereign that He’s allowed man to have free will and still He’s able to bring His will to pass” This would mean that the only reason that God allows these awfull sins is His supposed reverence for the free will of man, a concept I have yet to find in the Bible. You must agree that God knows of all sins before they happen and that He has the power to stop them from happening. So, why does he allow them? Is it as Calvinists believe that “He works all things in accordance with the purpose of His will” Eph. 1:11 and that “all things work togather for the good of those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28? Or does God allow these awfull things to happen out of a reverence for mans free will?

        I recognize the Sovreign God of the Bible to be the awsome creator of all, who has decreed the motion of molecules as well as the salvation of men; not the so called “sovreign” who has sacrificed true sovreignty at the altar of human free will.

          Lydia

          Don’t get sucked into the vortex, Mary. It is a long dark one with no way out. Do you not see that Calvinism is not for the peasant who just loves Jesus? It is for the intellectual elite who have it all figured out and those who cannot see it because they are incompetent must be ruled by these intellectual elites. (That is the Plato part)

          Matt

          Lydia,

          I’m supposing the Plato reference is inspired by the ruling class that is drawn from the military class and makes decisions for the proletariat in Plato’s “Republic”. Am I right? And since Augusgtine had a heavy platonic influence before his conversion, it is obvious that all Calvinists are a bunch of elitest who want to rule over people like you.

          You’ve got us figured out Lydia. I plan on trying my best to rule over you today; that is right after I drink a gallon of whiskey for breakfast, beat my wife, and kick my dog (the daily routine of every Calvinist).

          Mary

          Matt, God created time and space. The trouble we have is we cannot comprehend what that means. God steps into time as “the time had come for the child to be born..” but He is not bound by time. You made my point about time when you state God doesn’t “arrive” at a point in time. God doesn’t know the future because He looks down into it. He knows it because from our side He is in these created paradigms we call space and time. If we say God is with me at this moment and He’s with you at this moment we just accept that, but it’s the same thing as time. He will be with us in what is future for us because He’s there at this moment also. You declare there is no such thing as time and then explain how God isn’t bound by it’s constraints. We exist in time. We have a beginning in time, but we will have no end. Of course time exists because we are in it. We don’t know what tomorrow brings because we are bound by it.

          As far your holocaust reference, I know this always comes as shock for you Calvinists but I believe the Word of God too and that yes even the horrors – God works all things for good. I could easily throw back that you have God on the hook for every sin since your view of sovereignty means not only did He allow it to happen He caused it to happen.

          I think the original point is that God is so Sovereign that He could meticulous control all things but He didn’t and even though He didn’t He still accomplish His will.

        rhutchin

        Mary writes, “So God’s like a fortune teller who can see into the future. Not a very Sovereign God you’re describing.” – a false conclusion. If God were like a fortune teller, then God would be looking into the future to gather information. A fortune teller God could not be omniscient as He does not know the future and has to look into the future to discover what happens. Some non-Calvinists picture God this way. They have God looking into the future to see who would accept Christ, so they conclude that God could not be omniscient (although, perhaps, God can become omniscient by looking into all the future to see all that happens).

        There is no conflict between God’s omniscience and man’s free will as God’s knowledge of that which a person will do in the future is not the cause of a person choosing as God knows he will. God knows what a person chooses and the events leading up to that choice. Normally, God would not be involved in that process. In the case of salvation, we know that God must extend grace to a person to enable the person to accept Christ. Without such grace, no person would accept Christ; this is a basic Southern Baptist understanding.

        Mary does not explain what God’s omniscience has to do with with a person’s free will. She almost seems to be arguing against God being omniscient. So, I am not sure what point she is trying to make.

      selahV-hariette

      rhutchin: go back and read Dr. McLaughlin again. I am a simple preacher’s wife without any fancy education and I’m tracking him. Dr. McLaughlin is not “diverting readers’ attention.” He is describing the absolute incomprehensible, unfathomable, all-sufficient sovereign God who loves us beyond the deepest suffering we incur and the highest joy we can experience. This is powerful, profound stuff. You must read it again. This time, try not to read through the Calvinist lens. Just read with your heart and let God show you what Dr. McLaughlin is saying. selahV

        rhutchin

        I re-read it and I don’t really know where he was heading with the comment or the point he sought to make. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me. From my previous readings of non-Calvinists, they seem to have a hard time with God being omniscient and the implications of omniscience to God’s sovereignty. That difficulty seems alive here.

        He says, “Man may think he is acting freely but the non-elect are actually executing a sinister puppet dance, with God pulling the strings from behind His transcendence.” Yet everyone I talk to agrees that it is Satan who is pulling the strings of the non-elect and this only because God decided that Satan should be allowed to do so. Akin to the story of Job where it seems that Satan can do nothing without asking for, and receiving, God’s permission.

    Matt

    Dr. McLaughlin,

    You are correct in saying that the ideas of compatible and libertarian wills are mutually exclusive; however, you seem oblivious to the fact that the idea of an omnicient omnipotent Creator and the idea that His creatures have libertarian or autonomous wills are also mutually exclusive.

    Our ominicient omnipotent Creator knew in eternity all the results of His act of creation before He created. He knew each individual human who would ever live and every choice throughout thier life. He knew that if He created in a way other than what He did, the results of His creation would be different; He created the way He did though based on perfect knowledge and any other way would have been against perfect knowledge. He knew of the fall of angels and the fall of men. He knew of every sin that would ever be committed and, knowing these things, created the world in the way that made all these things inevitible. He is omnipotent so what He intended to bring about is brought about perfectly since His power can never fall short of effectuating His purpose.

    In this way God is the primary cause of all things. He intended from eternity which pair of socks you picked out of your drawer this morning as much as He intended The election to salvation of certain individuals. He intervenes within the course of His creation at times, and at other times, He simply allows things to proceed on the course that he set in motion when He sovreignly created the world.

    This is not some unfounded Calvinist assertion; this is logically necessary. This is what MUST BE if we truely have an omnicient omnipotent creator. Knowing this, can thier be any creature within the universe with a libertarian free will? No, because there is no way to go outside of God’s intent from eternity. If God is truely omnicient and omnipotent, then He intended through His act of creation to bring about a world in which Judas betrayed Jesus, Pharoah persecuted the Jews, and an electron circling the nucleus of an atom in my toenail will follow a specific path.

    We Calvinists don’t just arrive at this conclusion about the sovreignty of God based on logical necessity; we find it clearly taught in the Bible. We are told in Eph.1:11 “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him WHO WORKS ALL THINGS ACCORDING TO THE COUNCIL OF HIS WILL.” We also clearly find the teaching that God and people both intend the same things for different reasons as is stated in the doctrine of primary and secondary causes. One example is found in Gen. 50:20 where Joseph speaks to his brothers about how they sold him into slavery saying, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Another example is found in Acts 4:27-28 where the evil actions of those responsible for the execution of Jesus are attributed to God’s determination. “For truely against Your holy Servent Jesus, who you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered togather to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.” This does not mean that God intended evil by intending these evil actions, He intended them to accomplish good. The reason for the guilt of the people who actually committed these sins is found in the fact that they did these things with evil intentions. No sinner will ever be able to stand before God and claim that thier sins were intended to further God’s purposes, although ultimately all sin does just that.

    You say, “Perhaps the greatest testamony to God’s sovreignty is that God crated beings who possess the power to say no to Him.” Do you really believe that they have any power or can exercise it in any way that God did not intend from eternity? If they could say “no” to God when He did not intend for them to say no to Him, then God must have either not known the results of His creation fully or correctly, or He must not have had enough power to effectuate what He intended. Either option is disasterous to Christianity.

    Like I said before, an omnicient omnipotent God and a creature with libertarian free will are two mutually exclusive concepts. One of the two, the Creator or the creature, must have thier power lessened to exist in reality togather. I choose a God centered theology where the free will of man is compatible, not libertarian, and the atributes of God are full and perfect. What type of theology do you choose?

      holdon

      “No sinner will ever be able to stand before God and claim that thier sins were intended to further God’s purposes, although ultimately all sin does just that.”

      Ah, the God who purposes all sin. How in the world can any regenerated Christian believe that?

      It’s amazing what theology can lead to.

      Of course the examples you cite (and all Calvinists cite over and over again), re. the brothers of Joseph and Herod and Pilate, are so completely distorted, because neither the brothers of Joseph nor Herod or Pilate were instructed, compelled or “decreed” by God to do their acts. There is no trace of such travesty in Scripture at all! These sinners made a choice of their own. God did not make Herod sin; Herod did. There is no trace in the bible that Herod “just had to do it” as being somehow compelled by God. It could have been anybody else. God determined beforehand the death of Jesus: woe to him who would do it.

Mary

Dr. McLaughlin,

I apologize because I began reading you’re post and my eyes started to glaze over, but I’m glad I stuck with it to the end because this is one of the best statement I’ve ever seen on these blogs in regards to the Sovereignty of God.

“For most of us, it is moral and ethical character and not skilled intimidation that elicits praise. What is truly praiseworthy about God’s sovereignty is not that He exercises a power He obviously has, but that, because of His character, He does not exercise all the power He could. Perhaps the greatest testimony to God’s sovereignty is that God created beings who possess the power to say no to Him.”

Thank You!

    selahV-hariette

    Mary, Isn’t that the most marvelous comment? I just had my husband turn on his Kindle Fire to read this thread. We’re having a blast discussing this. I am going to steal this whole comment and post it at SBC Enc. It is sooo clear. No gobbley-gook. selahV

      Mary

      Hello dear sister, hope you’ve got some good AC down there in Okie.

      That quote I pulled was I thought one of the best I’ve seen describing my view of Sovereignty. I need to copy and save for future reference. I hope the good Doctor (he’s worse than a THd – he’s an engineering/science guy which just hurts my mind to think about) comes back to the sand box to play.

        selahV-hariette

        Mary, the quote you pulled is the same one I pulled and pasted at my site. I loved it. I’ve said this again and again and again. But he says it with flow. I get a bit verbose. throwback to elementary school–teachers always wrote on my report cards: “She talks too much”.

        ha ha. so funny when I think about it now.

        I usually explain God’s sovereignty as God is God and I am not.

        When I learned that truth, my will worked a whole lot better when it was in the center of His will. And life is smoother. Calmer. Even in the midst of storms, He is with me, in me, around me, and before me. Each time I go wiggling out on my own, the Holy Spirit nudges and nudges till I get back on track. It’s a beautiful way to live. Resting in Him. I know the minute I am not. Because I begin to fret and see the waves of circumstance rather than the promise of His care.

        I hope he comes back to play, too. selahV

          Lydia

          “For most of us, it is moral and ethical character and not skilled intimidation that elicits praise. What is truly praiseworthy about God’s sovereignty is not that He exercises a power He obviously has, but that, because of His character, He does not exercise all the power He could. Perhaps the greatest testimony to God’s sovereignty is that God created beings who possess the power to say no to Him.”

          Amen!!! He is patient and long suffering. Merciful, Just, Love, Wrath….

          I think Calvinism can be very limiting in seeing ALL God’s attributes and because of that it it attempts to change His character into a determinist God.

Randall Cofield

The influence of Enlightenment philosophy upon this document and its defenders is palpable….

Adam Harwood

Randall,
You made an unsupported assertion, brother. In exactly what way does this Statement reflect Enlightenment philosophy rather than the teachings of Scripture? Thank you.

    Randall Cofield

    Dr. Harwood,

    You asked: “In exactly what way does this Statement reflect Enlightenment philosophy rather than the teachings of Scripture?”

    The philosophical insistence that mankind is perfectly autonomous and utterly free lay at the very heart the Enlightenment…as it does the T.S. In short, they attempted to subjugate the Sovereignty of God to the free will of man. This Enlightenment rejection of the absolute Sovereign authority of God in all matters led directly to the rise of Deism, and, ultimately, to the French Revolution. In short, they supposed they could shrug off both the authority of God and the authority of man, and the consequences of such thinking still reverberate today.

    The T.S. is clearly asserting the autonomy and free will of man over against the absolute Sovereignty of God. One cannot read this document without coming away with the impression that God’s choice of whom He saves is subjugated to the supposed sovereignty of man’s free will.

    The scent of blood is in the water of the SBC. Unless we (on both sides of this issue) humble ourselves and submit to the absolute authority of Sovereign God in all matters, including salvation, we may well suffer our own French Revolution.

    Jud 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes (the epitome of human free will).

      Lydia

      “This Enlightenment rejection of the absolute Sovereign authority of God in all matters led directly to the rise of Deism, and, ultimately, to the French Revolution”

      So you are suggesting the king of France really was divinely appointed? :o)

      So the Enlightenment lead to all sorts of violence and revolution, how do you explain your doctrine that resulted in heretic hunting, torture, imprisonment, burning witches, banishing people, state church, etc,

      Seems your doctrine has some ‘splainin’ to do, too, considering what it “led to”.

        selahV-hariette

        Randall…hello, don’t think we’ve chatted before.

        I can’t agree with you on the “Enlightenment” thing. However, I do know that I “once was darkness” and now I “am light”. Jesus took care of that. It has nothing to do with mystical philosophy or A.D. teachings of some bygone era. It has to do with Jesus and His Spirit which lives within me and guides me and teaches me and edifies me through the study of His Word and the preaching of the same.

        “The epitome of human free will”? “Jud 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

        May I ask, do you only do what is right in God’s eyes? We do what is right in our own eyes until we “hear” the Truth, and “by faith believe it to be so”, then our free will yields to His will because we recognize we are sinners and need a savior. But more than that, we know that God is God and we are not and we want Him to be the Lord of our lives and the master of our ways. At least that is how I understand what Jesus said when He said, “those who love me will keep my commands.” We are sanctified and continually being sanctified. As one virtue builds upon the other. Our desire is to live in His will because He lives in us, He abides in me and I in Him.

        Then the King rules. And we persevere and grow in grace. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6.

        Blessings…brother. well, I assume you are a brother, maybe you’re a sister? selahV

          Randall Cofield

          Hi SelahV,

          Thanks for the civil dialogue. I agree with much of what you said, especially the last 2/3 of paragraph 3 and paragraph 4.

          Soli Deo Gloria

Les

“We affirm God’s eternal knowledge of and sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation.”

As a fully Reformed person, I agree with the affirmation.

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

This denial, though, must assume that there is a body of believers who confess that agreement with the affirmation must mean that they also believe that God “cause[s] a person’s acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ.”

As I indicated above, I am fully Reformed for 25 years on now and neither I nor any other Reformed Christians I know or have heard of believes that “God “cause[s] a person’s acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ.”

To be more precise, yes God ultimately causes the salvation of His elect, using second causes such as preaching, bible study, etc. But the non-elect? He does not have to “cause” them to reject Christ. All are born enemies of Christ and only by grace will His elect come to faith in Him.

    Steve Martin

    “All are born enemies of Christ and only by grace will His elect come to faith in Him.”

    That is it.

    When it comes to choosing the things of God, are wills are ‘bound’, not free.

    When it comes to choosing our spouse, our car, our job, our socks…we have a free-will.

Lydia

“In short, they supposed they could shrug off both the authority of God and the authority of man, and the consequences of such thinking still reverberate today.

The T.S. is clearly asserting the autonomy and free will of man over against the absolute Sovereignty of God”

And I suppose YOU and a few other “chosen” special ones are just the people to rule over us and have the “authority” you so love to focus on. You know, perhaps you are in sin by being American. We defied a king (authority of man) and violated Romans, you know. Perhaps we are not a legit nation in God’s eyes.

Lydia

Randall, Your comments remind me of some of my young family members who went to study with Piper after leaving Wheaton. They came back during summer break and told us we were in sin for celebrating the 4th of July.

    Les

    Lydia,

    Does John Piper teach that it’s a sin to celebrate the 4th of July?

      Lydia

      You tell me. Does his verbose, loaded with flowery adjectives, teaching lead a young mushy mind to think such a thing?

        Les

        You tell me? You are the one who implied the connection? Can you just point to where Piper teaches such? Or, is it possible your young family members came up with that sans Piper? And you are the one trying to connect the dots.

        I don’t know. Maybe he does teach that. That’s why I’m asking. Just a link to it will do.

          Lydia

          Oh, they came back from studying there, thinking all sorts of strange things. Like none of us were really saved because we were not Reformed. Gee, maybe it was not Piper or his people who influenced them but Joe the plumber next door? Sheesh! You guys are too funny.

          Of course their dad was none to happy since he paid in full for Wheaton including more expenses to live up there and study/work with Piper people, to be told he does not really believe correctly.

          Les

          I know I’m funny. Been told that many times. :)

          What I find amusing, well sort of amusing, is the extrapolation you and others make based on your prior assumptions. With no proof. Assert. Done. Therefore true. And in the process you cast a preacher in a negative light. Again, showing no proof.

          And by the way, if I happen to see these kinds of dubious assertions and connections made by people with whom I generally agree against and about people with whom I generally don’t agree, I will question them too.

          Mary

          Hey Les, what happened to your BFF Johnny Carpenter? You sure took a stand against his vitriol! I’m sure you were happy when he got banned – it must have been tiring for you the way you were standing up against him those couple of days.

          Les

          Mary, Mary quite…

          I’m not remembering who you’re talking about.

          Mary

          Oh convenient. Here you were so gung ho on how you were going to call out one of your own, but when the opportunity presented itself…..

          Les

          Mary, Mary quite…

          “Here you were so gung ho on how you were going to call out one of your own, but when the opportunity presented itself…..”

          I don’t know what you’re talking about. But whatever I’ve done wrong or whatever inconsistency I have shown, I’m sure you’ll track it down for me.

          Man, that west georgia ranch has turned into quite a circus sideshow. Surprised to see you over here.

          Mary

          Well you are getting old gramps, I can see how you could blame senility on conveniently forgetting such a nasty person.

          He reminded me of you actually. He declared I had issues regarding sex because I think sodomy is a sin. It’s amazing the things you Cals can discern through the internet.

Randall Cofield

Heb 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

    Lydia

    Randall,

    Do you think your Calvin missed that one when he burned Servetus?

      Les

      Lydia, OCD.

        Mary

        OH Les, what a hoot! My sides are hurting. Joking that a women has a mental condition. Stop! I can’t take the laughing any more!

          Les

          Mary, Mary, quite…

          No, no mention of a current classified mental illness. OCD, I’m surprised you don’t know, represents Obsessive Calvin Disorder.

          And to think. I have been giving you too much credit as a master ridiculer. I may have to rethink that, excellent as you are.

          Mary

          Oh cute Les,

          Obsessiveness is not something mental.

          And yeah, how dare that Lydia keep bringing up Calvin amont Calvinists. I don’t get the connection either.

          Les

          Mary, Mary quite…

          Yeah,

          Mary

          That’s all you got??? I’m going have to go back to the ranch if you’re can’t do better.

Lydia

“What I find amusing, well sort of amusing, is the extrapolation you and others make based on your prior assumptions. With no proof. Assert. Done. Therefore true. And in the process you cast a preacher in a negative light. Again, showing no proof. ”

Les, I do wonder what a 20 year old mind might do with Randall’s assertions concerning the Enlightenment. Especially if he is a celebrity Reformed icon they hang on every word as truth?

“In short, they supposed they could shrug off both the authority of God and the authority of man, and the consequences of such thinking still reverberate today.”

Hmm. What conclusions might they come to with this assertion? Ideas have consequences. Randall makes a blanket statement about the Enlightenment concerning the authority of God and authority of man and the whole time I am reading I am thinking, wait. The Jews begged for a king and God was angry because HE was their King. But if I am a Calvinist I would have to believe that God decreed they would beg for a king. Or is it when they sin, God gives up control of every molecule? I cannot remember. But then why was God angry if he decreed them to beg for a king? Also, Randall’s assertion implies that earthly kings are a good thing but Enlightenment is bad because the idea of all men having individual liberty is a bad concept because it elevates man over God. Why wouldn’t they come to that conclusion and even think America is in sin for existing? But, as always, the French are worse. :o)

Now, to be honest, I don’t think Randall really believes what I concluded. If he does, our problems are even bigger than I thought!

Les, that is how it happens. Rightly or wrongly. The Influence of celebrity pastors in Christendom is huge on young minds.

Randall Cofield

“While Martin Luther was the Reformation’s preacher-theologian, John Calvin was the towering figure of Reformation thought through his Institutes and through his commentaries, a monumental biblical interpreter. Calvin’s contribution, like that of Luther and a myriad of others, are subjects for which Baptists should be eternally grateful.”–Paige Patterson

    Les

    Dangit Randall. You’re messing up their consolidated narrative. How’d they let PP wander off the reservation and go and say something like that?

      Randall Cofield

      …….. :-) ……..

      Lydia

      Les, I am not a follower of PP either. No way. I follow Christ. period.

        Randall Cofield

        Mt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
        Ro 14:19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

        selahV-hariette

        Lydia, Unfortunately, Randall is parsing quotes like some folks I’ve come across who edit speeches for political campaigns. I’m beginning to think I have learned a great deal from Ms. Kaufman when she calls for “links please.” selahV

    selahV-hariette

    Randall: While the above quote you gave by Dr. Patterson is factual, it is out of context and standing alone is a misrepresentation of his article: Happy Southern Baptists and The Tricky Track Theological Matters. In fact, following your quote is this paragraph:

    “This should not be interpreted to mean however that we agree with John Calvin on all points and still less with some of his followers, who may have tumbled past him off the edge of the cliff. For example, Baptists have disagreed with the Reformed tradition of John Calvin and others at the following substantive points.” Paige Patterson For the rest of Dr. Patterson’s commentary from which this quote was drawn, go HERE.

    .

    If you are going to quote Dr. Patterson, especially on matters which he most certainly would challenge an application of the context in which he wrote them, then it behooves you to represent him fairly with the link to his entire article, don’t you think? selahV

Randall Cofield

“Third, there needs to be recognition on both sides of the argument — that in England, Particular Baptists and General Baptists experienced a great divorce, which was healthy for neither. As Timothy George has pointed out, the General Baptists lost their doctrinal emphasis and tended to become Universalists, and even in some cases Unitarian, whereas the Particular Baptists had a strong tendency toward becoming anti-missionary and anti-evangelistic. They needed each other, and Southern Baptists so far have been able to understand that the two sides needed each other, and hence we have thus far not made the British Baptist mistake. May God help us to maintain that heading.”–Paige Patterson

Lydia

OCD. Too funny, Les

I guess I find it incredible that tyrants are your all’s hero’s of the faith.

Dr. Bruce McLaughlin

The Calvinist argues that not one speck of space, time, matter or energy can be outside the continual control of God or we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will be fulfilled; it is beyond the wisdom and power of God to create something that He does not meticulously control. The Traditional Baptist responds it is difficult to conceive of a less majestic God than One who is self limited to a deterministic mode of relating to His creation. It is hard to conceive of a weaker God than one who would be threatened by events occurring outside of His exhaustive control. What is praiseworthy about controlling events simply because you possess the innate power to do so? In fact, the denial that God can limit Himself if He so chooses constitutes a denial of divine sovereignty.

    Mary

    Hey Hariette! He did it again! Thank you Dr. McLaughlin,

    “The Traditional Baptist responds it is difficult to conceive of a less majestic God than One who is self limited to a deterministic mode of relating to His creation. It is hard to conceive of a weaker God than one who would be threatened by events occurring outside of His exhaustive control. What is praiseworthy about controlling events simply because you possess the innate power to do so? ”

    “In fact, the denial that God can limit Himself if He so chooses constitutes a denial of divine sovereignty.”

    Randall Cofield

    “It is hard to conceive of a weaker God than one who would be threatened by events occurring outside of His exhaustive control. What is praiseworthy about controlling events simply because you possess the innate power to do so?”–B. McLaughlin

    Ac 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

    Randall Cofield

    “In fact, the denial that God can limit Himself if He so chooses constitutes a denial of divine sovereignty.”–B. McLaughlin

    Da 4:35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

    Scripture nowhere communicates that God “chooses” to “limit” himself.

      holdon

      “Scripture nowhere communicates that God “chooses” to “limit” himself.”

      Scripture puts Man at the head of creation from the beginning. Adam had no need to ask the Sovereign whether or what he should eat. It was all put under him, but Sovereign “decree”. Gen. 1 and 2.

      The Sovereign certainly would have a right to exterminate all sinners right this moment, but yet He doesn’t.

      Unless you make God complicit in Evil (which sadly Calvinism leads to), the very fact that and Evil and the Sovereign exist at the same time means that “the Sovereign limits Himself” for the time being.

        Randall Cofield

        “….the very fact that and Evil and the Sovereign exist at the same time means that “the Sovereign limits Himself” for the time being.”

        Da 4:35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

        Eph 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

          holdon

          “him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,”

          So you say that God works all sin, evil and iniquity in this world? Because that it sure looks like you’re saying that.

          Randall Cofield

          holdon: “So you say that God works all sin, evil and iniquity in this world? Because that it sure looks like you’re saying that.”

          Brother (or Sister?), I am saying exactly and only what the scripture says.

          Soli Deo Gloria

          holdon

          “So you say that God works all sin, evil and iniquity in this world? Because that it sure looks like you’re saying that.”

          Brother (or Sister?), I am saying exactly and only what the scripture says.

          Although he doesn’t want to repeat it literally, let it be crystal clear and for the record: Randall Cofield says that God works all sin, evil and iniquity in this world.

          Also, Randall Cofield distorts the Scripture disregarding the context and attributing an evil will to God.

          I am done with this one.

          Randall Cofield

          Hold On,

          “Although he doesn’t want to repeat it literally, let it be crystal clear and for the record: Randall Cofield says that God works all sin, evil and iniquity in this world. Also, Randall Cofield distorts the Scripture disregarding the context and attributing an evil will to God.”

          Brother, I only answered your questions with the plain Word of God, offering the inscripturated Word alone. I am genuinely sorrowful that you find that offensive.

          Soli Deo Gloria

Mike Davis

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

There, fixed it. Now let’s move on to Article Eight.

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