Why today’s Calvinism concerns me.

July 11, 2012

Tim Guthrie is Senior Pastor at Arlington Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn.


(Ed.’s note. This is a post from Tim Guthrie’s blog [see timguthrie.org] and is re-posted here in a slightly edited form. Tim is a frequent commentor at sbctoday.com.)

I have debated writing this post for some time. The reality that anything written can be misconstrued is enough by itself to cause hesitation. The last thing I want to do is leave the wrong impression with anyone. I love Calvinists and I love Traditionalists. I work with both and even some in other groups. So I write the following to voice concerns that I am seeing and hearing. I write to add clarification as to why I signed the Traditional Statement. I write to reveal why this issue is a growing problem. And since I write best by making lists, I will compile a list of my concerns while making it clear that NO priority is given other than the first one on the list.

The list will include specific and generic issues tied to people and promotion. Again, these are my concerns and are questions that I have yet to get consistent answers from (new) Calvinists. The older SBC Calvinists that I have known and respected were totally different.

My Concerns:

1. Ask 10 different Calvinists what they believe must occur for a person to be saved, and you will get at least 5 different answers.

2. Do Calvinists really believe that John 3:16 shows that only the elect are the ones God loves.

3. Do Calvinists believe that some people are born with NO hope of salvation?

4. At what point do Calvinists believe salvation occurs?

5. How can Calvinists call Traditionalists divisive when it is the Calvinists who have web sites and blogs that specifically state their desire to change the SBC and beyond?

Here is an example from the Founders’ blog (knowing their website clearly states their desire to change the SBC): “It is indisputable that we are in the midst of a reformation and recovery of the doctrines of grace, or what has historically been called, ‘Calvinism.’ Both statistical and anecdotal evidence of this fact continues to mount. I believe that this is a movement of God and that it is even more widespread than recent studies indicate. As is true with any of work of God, the devil always keeps pace and seeks to steal, kill and destroy. If he cannot keep us from truth, then he will do what he can to cause us to hold the truth in imbalanced and ungodly ways.”

6. Young pastors and staff members are speaking and writing articles claiming it is dangerous to lead a child to pray to accept Christ? If this is true, what, then, should a child do and how should a child be lead by their parents and other influences?

7.  Why is Lifeway sponsoring The Gospel Coalition conferences?

8. Why is Lifeway promoting more Calvinists and their material?

9. Why are Calvinists leaders NOT doing more to instill that pastors must be upfront with their soteriology? There are even manuals on how to transition a church from Traditional to Calvinist doctrine. If there is no move to change the SBC, why are there manuals by 9Marks and others?

10. Why the aggression from Calvinists because many in the SBC do NOT agree with them?

11. If the BF&M is enough, why do we have two seminaries requiring faculty to sign other statements that are Calvinist/Reformed documents?

12. Since when did Baptist and Reform go together? The day-to-day operations of the church do not even match!

13. If there is no takeover plan, why was there an SBC Professor giving the benefits of the takeover (even using a racial slur) at one of the meetings during the SBC?

14. Why did Lifeway do a survey that offered respondents no option other than saying they were, essentially, either Calvinists or Arminians?

15. With the exception of infant baptism, since when were Baptist and Presbyterians so much alike? Dr. James Kennedy was my kind of Presbyterian, but today’s new Calvinists are nothing close in belief and practice. Just think back to Evangelism Explosion materials (I was certified as a trainer in an SBC church). Today’s new Calvinists would reject Dr. Kennedy’s material. How and why?

These are the questions I have. They are simple and I think need to be answered. We are told that we need to cooperate. I am fine with that. I am concerned, though, that the answers to the above may highlight the difficult journey that cooperation will reveal. Some Traditionalists are even saying they will sit this discussion out. I wonder if they would maintain that position when the real truth of the answers are shown.

I find this issue extremely important simply by the answers to point number one. If we cannot agree on that one, then we have two different Gospels. Cooperation will not occur at that point.

And speaking of the Gospel, is it not odd that Calvinists/Reformed call their soteriology the true Gospel and thus label much of their work and conferences with the word Gospel in it?

These are my concerns.

 

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volfan007

Tim,

Very good questions.

David

Tim G

To me (and I know that is not saying much) these are the real questions that need to be discussed and determined in this debate or “discussion”. I have never liked the egg tossing of blogging. I would like to know some simple answers to the above. It would help me out greatly in trying to grasp the cooperative level that can be obtained with this new version of Calvinism.

Jonathan S. Jenkins

What manuals are you speaking of? I would like to find one so that I can evaluate it for myself.

Chris Roberts

“these are my concerns and are questions that I have yet to get consistent answers from (new) Calvinists. The older SBC Calvinists that I have known and respected were totally different.”

How many people and/or who in each category (older vs younger) did you actually speak with about these issues? What was the setting? (intentional conversations about the issues, random phone calls, comments on blog posts, etc)

    volfan007

    Chris,

    I believe that Tim is asking for people to answer his questions. He’s asking.

    David

      Chris Roberts

      David,

      Note the quoted portion – Tim at least implies there have been some discussions between both older and younger Calvinists, thus he knows the “new” ones answer one way while the “old” ones hold more satisfactory positions. I’m curious how he knows there these groups stand and who they are (more specifically on that: how does he identify who belongs to which category).

      My suspicion is that this is like much else raised against Calvinism: very little substance, a whole lot of rhetoric. Some of these items have already been clearly and repeatedly addressed in other sources.

        Bob Hadley

        Chris,

        You wrote, “My suspicion is that this is like much else raised against Calvinism: very little substance, a whole lot of rhetoric. ”

        Were you speaking about your own response?

        ><>”

        Tim Guthrie

        Chris,
        Allow me one more response to your statement. Often the idea that “this is rhetoric…” is floated. I find it odd that you would question the integrity of my statement without knowing me or having any idea of my ministry over the past 23 years. A little effort on your part would discover that I have preached all over the USA and in several countries. In this, I also lead a ministry that supports and strengthens Pastors of all types of churches.

        Still, what are the answers to the questions of the post? It is these answers that will move the discussion along and show where work will be needed and where cooperation can be obtained.

    Tim Guthrie

    Chris,
    My mentor who is now 78 was Calvinistic. Many of the preachers and Evangelists that were brought in for Revivals during my younger years were also. if you will read my post, I was trained and certified as an EE trainer – Dr, D James Kennedy’s material from Coral Ridge. I have preached in numerous churches all over the country that were led by Calvinists Pastors. I have been in ministry for 23 years and know more than I can count. But their take on Soteriology was different than what I am being told and seeing today.

    However, the questions above still remain to be answered by the Calvinists of today.

      Chris Roberts

      Tim,

      So you have discussed these specific issues with those of both the older and younger variety?

        Tim Guthrie

        Chris,
        I do believe that is what I said.

          Chris Roberts

          What you said is you have observed certain things, not that you have had specific conversations.

          Cb scott

          Chris Roberts,

          Please leave off the obstinate attitude today. Answer the questions if you will.

          I know Tim G. It is possible that he has already had more conversations with people all overt his country bout these issues already than you will have in your entire life unless you soon become involved in the same type of ministry he has had thus far.

          There are times to take some things and some people at face value. This is one of those times.

            trifecta

            Hypocrytical, do you know Chris or what his ministry is? Patronizing. You sound like a calvinist ;-).

    Tom Parker

    Chris:

    You asked Tim G:”How many people and/or who in each category (older vs younger) did you actually speak with about these issues? What was the setting? (intentional conversations about the issues, random phone calls, comments on blog posts, etc)”

    I would also be very interested in this aspect of his “research.”

    Seems to me like to broad strokes of the brush in Tim’s concerns.

Jeff T

Tim, Thanks for sharing. I think this is a great way to interact and discover how we can cooperate as baptists. Can you tell me how their soteriology was different?

Thanks

Jeff

    Tim Guthrie

    Jeff T,
    Great to converse! The basics is in the actual “how” a person is saved and when this occurs. Today however, few Calvinists give the same answer to that question.

      Chris Roberts

      And “how” are their answers different? Most of your questions are very nebulous. No two people give the same answer to just about anything, even if they mean basically the same thing. What are substantive differences between Southern Baptist Calvinist views regarding salvation and in what ways do the different answers concern you?

        Tim Guthrie

        Chris,
        I have been told that Calvinists do not believe that one must accept Jesus – they must need to realize that Jesus has saved them and do so in faith. I have been told that the elect are in the process of being saved from birth. I have been told that repentance only comes after salvation.

          Chris Roberts

          Who told you these things? In what context? In response to what question? How common have these answers come up? I don’t know a single Calvinist who would ever say the first, I think I know what a person might mean with the second, though I would disagree, and again, I think I know what is meant by the third, though that is likely someone who needs some fine tuning to their theology. As Jared says below, every Calvinist I know would affirm that salvation comes when we repent and believe.

Scott

I can answer a few quickly:
#4- People are justified before God the moment that they have faith in Jesus.
#9- Show me the manual that 9 marks has produced about leading a church towards Calvinistic soteriology.
#11- In 1858, the Southern Baptist Convention approved Southern Seminary’s use of the Abstract of Principles.
#13- Dr. Nettles used a civil rights era illustration. Calling it a racial slur is cheap.
#15- I know plenty of Southern Baptist reformed guys who have used Evangelism Explosion.
Those answers struck me immediately as I read through. Some of the others, to quote our Commander in Chief, are above my paygrade.

    Tim Guthrie

    I will respond in form to your response:

    #4 – And how is that faith seen or played out?
    #9 – I had a book from them several years ago that they promoted (manual)
    #11 – So why the cry from Calvinists that the BF&M is enough when the Traditional Statement came out?
    #15 – Why then are we seeing the attacks on the sinners prayer and leading children to “accept” Jesus?

      Chris Roberts

      #9, what is the book/manual? What is the name? Who wrote it? Etc.

      As for your comments on #11 and #15, I really don’t know what to make of that except to say you must not have read much of what has been said regarding these. The problem with the Statement is not that it presents a distinct soteriological position but that it badly misrepresents Calvinism, both in its theology and in its presence in the SBC. No one challenges that people can affirm things beyond the BF&M. On #15, a host of reasons have been raised for the concern. Surely you have read some of them?

        Tim Guthrie

        Chris,
        The statement or the preamble?

          Chris Roberts

          Yes

          Though I did leave out one additional criticism – that not only does the Statement misrepresents Calvinism, it presents Calvinism as an alien intrusion – you are either a true, traditional Southern Baptist, or you are a Calvinist. It does not simply clarify, “here is what I believe,” it seeks to intentionally push two camps apart, doing so in a way that identifies one as Southern Baptist and the other as, well, something else.

        Brad Reynolds

        Chris
        I don’t think the authors ever intended to represent Calvinism (nor misrepresent for that matter). I think the articles speak for themselves but if a Calvinist wants to say the denials of article one does not represent Calvinism’s affirmations then that’s great by me. I didn’t sign them thinking they did – I signed them as something I would deny.

          Chris Roberts

          Brad, the entire Statement makes it crystal clear that the Statement is written to distinguish “Traditional” views from Calvinist views. That being the case, it is at least implied (and I think more than implied) that when the Statement denies something, it is denying a Calvinist belief.

          Brad Reynolds

          Chris,
          I would kindly disagree. But that probably has more to do with the presuppositions we are both carrying into this conversation. I think you inferred something that was not implied.

          As one who signed it and affirms it I did not see the denials as denying Calvinists beliefs (that is not to say that SOME Calvinists may believe what we denied). Usually it is wise to take the authors/signers of a document at their word as to their intentions.

          Finally, the Preamble is not the Affirmations and Denials, that seems clear to me in the Preamble where it states at the end:

          “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.”

          While you may find Calvinism in the Preamble you cannot find that term in the Affirmations and Denials.

          Matt

          Brad,

          From the preamble:

          “The precipitating issue for this statement is the rise of a movement called “New Calvinism” among Southern Baptists.”

          “It is no longer helpful to identify ourselves by how many points of convergence we have with Calvinism.”

          So, if the precipitating issue for writing this statement is the rise of “new” Calvinism and it is not helpful to identify your beliefs by points of convergence with Calvinism, what could possibly be understood by the denials of this statement if not that they are points of disagreement with Calvinist?

          God bless

          Bob Hadley

          With respect to the discussion of the denials , they are denials and while those denials may have relevance in the Calvinist/non-Calvinist debate, they may or may not be written for that specific purpose but more specifically, written to clarify the position of the affirmation.

          The statement itself was presented as a response to the views of the New Calvinist’s brought about by the revival of this group. However, neither the affirmations or denials were exclusively prepared for that sole purpose. The affirmations and denials are first and foremost a series of statements that were constructed that may have particular relevance in the discussion of the differences but other affirmations can certainly be made not necessarily exclusively relevant to the Calvinist difference.

          ><>”

          Brad Reynolds

          Matt
          The Preamble is very clear of Dr. Hankins’ concerns about what he feels precipitated the need for this. However, I would argue based on what one signer told me that one could sign the statement without agreeing with some of the Preamble.

          Second I will repeat some of my comment to which you replied: our disagreement “probably has more to do with the presuppositions we are both carrying into this conversation. I think you inferred something that was not implied.”

          And

          “Usually it is wise to take the authors/signets of a document at their word as to their intentions.”

          Hope that helps

    Brad Reynolds

    Scott
    Good responses. Thanks for hitting the ball. But even you would probably say that Dr. Nettles words “see how these Calvinists…seek to drink from the same water fountain as traditionalists” were minimally unwise and certainly does not reflect the spirit of the Unity resolution at the very same convention.

    But I have a question for you. Would Calvinists state that saving faith is accompanied with repentance? If so, how does an infant repent?

    Thanks for participating

      Scott

      Faith is absolutely accompanied by repentance. They are inseparable in Scripture. I don’t know what this has to do with infants.

        Brad Reynolds

        If infants who die in the womb go to heaven then they must have faith and repentance. Hence the question how do infants repent in the womb?

Jared Moore

I’ll happily answer these questions.

1. Ask the so-called majority of Southern Baptist “Traditionalists” and you’ll get different answers as well. You act like this is a concern only within Calvinism. Furthermore, why is this even a concern? So, we don’t agree on the logical order of salvation, so what? The point is that God saves sinners through the finished work of Christ.

2. Yes, 5-point Calvinists really believe John 3:16. Jesus speaks of a special love He and His Father have for the elect. That’s undeniable. God loves the world, but has a special love for the elect.

3. Every Christian who is not an open theist believes that some humans are born with no hope of salvation. God creates some humans knowing full well that they will never trust in Christ. These humans have no hope of salvation either.

4. Calvinists believe salvation occurs at the moment a sinner repents and believes. Same as you, I assume.

5. Traditionalists have websites and blogs about keeping the SBC Traditional. How is this any different? So, you’re allowed to propagate your views, since you claim to be the majority, but Calvinists cannot propagate their views?

6. A child should understand the gospel, period. If a child knows what it means to repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation from sins, due to Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, to bring him in right relationship with God, then he understands the gospel (As far as we can tell.). What Calvinists and non-Calvinists are coming against is the easy-believism that exists in evangelicalism. Children must understand and respond to the gospel.

7. Ask Lifeway.

8. Calvinists are Southern Baptists. Do you have a problem with Lifeway promoting Traditionalists and their material?

9. This question is loaded. You don’t view Calvinists as Southern Baptists. Also, do you really believe that no Traditionalists have written anything on teaching a church what Traditionalists believe?

10. What aggression? I’m fine with disagreement. What I have an issue with is the constant misrepresentation. Have Calvinists formed a soteriological confession and encouraged and solicited SBC officials and pastors to sign it? No. Look in the mirror friend about being “aggressive.”

11. The Abstract is a founding document. That’s why. It’s not like these documents were introduced recently. It’s the founding document of both SBTS and SEBTS. Signing this document is in the charter of both seminaries. Blame the Southern Baptists who founded these seminaries.

12. This question and statement are a blatant denial of church history.

13. Racial slur? That’s slander. You should apologize to Dr. Nettles for this statement. Furthermore, what “benefits of a takeover” did Nettles list?

14. Read church history. That’s the two streams since the Reformation. Once again, ask Lifeway.

15. Um? This statement is unfounded. You’re assuming the worst.

    Tom Parker

    Jared:

    Calvinists are now truly the “liberals” of the CR. They were marginalized, ministries ruined, etc. Now it is the Calvinists turn to be treated this way.

    So many do not like me to keep pointing it out, but the CR set a horrible precedent as to how “others” are treated when they are on the wrong side of the majority.

      Cb scott

      Tom Parker,

      This current little set-to is noting like what happened during the CR. The liberal element needed to put on the bus out of town before they burned the whole SBC house down and sold all the property to the social gospel hustlers and the sodomites.

      Why do you continue to sing these blues? Go join the ELCA. They love your kind of music and you will once again be happy with life.

        Chief Katie

        CB,

        Gospel hustlers and sodomites!!! In the future could you provide a spew alert? My monitor can’t take much more. Too funny.

        God Bless Dear Christian Brother.

    Greg Alford

    Jared,

    EXCELLENT Reply!!!

    Grace for the Journey,

Tim Guthrie

Jared,
So if one does not accept your responses, how do you relate to them? Are they true Bible believers? Are they teaching correct theology? If someone disagrees on your version of John 3:16, how would you classify them?

    Jared Moore

    Tim, I believe exactly what John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son, that whoever believe in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”

    Concerning God’s special love for the elect (church), see the rest of Scripture. The evidence is overwhelming.

    John 14:21-23, for example, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. “‘

    God has a special love for the elect. Those who love Jesus (the elect) will be loved by His Father, and Jesus will love him and manifest Himself to him in a manner that is different from his love for the world.

    You cannot apply these verses to all of humanity, for you’ll have to argue that God the Father and God the Son will make their home with all of humanity. That’s why I believe Christ has a special love for the elect.

      Tim Guthrie

      Jared,
      Thank you for your response. However, you missed my last question: How would you relate to one who did not accept that which you presented? Are they true Bible believers? Is their theology good enough if it falls short of your answer?

        Jared Moore

        Tim, why wouldn’t their theology be good enough? My church has both Calvinists and non-Calvinists, and we have wonderful fellowship!

        I believe the BF&M 2K is enough.

          Tim Guthrie

          As do I with many Calvinists. So, from your perspective, what happens when a person enters into a relationship with Christ from the human side/response?

          Tim Guthrie

          And yet I will ask it this way: Are they teaching and preaching the same Gospel?

          Jared Moore

          Tim, a sinner must repent and believe the good news of Christ in order to be saved. If they repent and believe in the beginning, they’ll continue repenting and believing till the end.

          Do you have time to answer the questions I asked above in my original response to you?

          Chris Roberts

          Here is the gospel in a nutshell: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners from their sins and the wrath upon them because of their sins. Receive him by faith, repent of your sins, give your life to him, follow him, and you will be saved. Reject him, and you will be punished forever.

          That’s not all that can be said about biblical salvation, but anyone who proclaims that is preaching the gospel.

          Jared Moore

          Tim, every Calvinist in the SBC I know, including Tom Ascol and Al Mohler, believe non-Calvinist Southern Baptists preach the gospel.

          Now, these men do believe that Calvinism is the best framework for the gospel, and do the Traditionalists believe about their traditionalism.

          Tim Guthrie

          Jared,
          So what about Adams sin?

          Tim Guthrie

          my last comment should have been directed to Chris.

          Jared Moore

          Tim, what are you asking about Adam’s sin?

          Chris Roberts

          I’m with Jared – what about Adam’s sin?

          holdon

          The question is of course “can whosoever” believe?

          “Receive him by faith, repent of your sins, give your life to him, follow him, and you will be saved. Reject him, and you will be punished forever.”

          But can “whosoever” do that or must you somehow be “regenerated” to do that, prior to faith?

          Chris Roberts

          holdon,

          You are asking two different questions.

          To the first, yes, of course, ‘whosoever’ is quite welcome to respond. The invitation is given to all. And ‘whosoever will’ believe, will be saved.

        holdon

        Yes, 2 questions, but I got only 1 answered.

        I don’t want to be unnecessarily contentious, but Jn 3:16 has never been a problem for Calvinists. The only thing though is that the “believing” part is believed to something that fundamentally you can’t do anything about: God must impart faith to you; God must regenerate you; God must choose you; etc.. Sorry to say, the “devil” (not really him) is in the detail. Do you agree?

      holdon

      I agree. Jn 3:16 is about God’s love for the world. (all people).

      But there are other texts about Chris’t love for us (the redeemed, the church).

      Different things by their nature.

      Glad to see that all is not bad with our Calvinist brethren.

      Tim Guthrie

      Are we guilty for Adams sin?

        Chris Roberts

        Tim,

        That’s a different issue. Your question was, can Calvinists affirm that non-Calvinists believe and teach the gospel? Jared and I both answered that yes, we can easily, happily, and readily affirm that.

          Lydia

          Chris Roberts says:

          “That’s a different issue. Your question was, can Calvinists affirm that non-Calvinists believe and teach the gospel? Jared and I both answered that yes, we can easily, happily, and readily affirm that?”

          This sort of answer always confuses me. It does not line up with what Mohler said in the GC video about New Calvinism being the only place for those who want to see the nations rejoice for Christ.

          Do you all agree or disagree with Mohler’s statements on that video I know you have seen it many times.

      David R. Brumbelow

      Jared,
      You said above, “Yes, 5-point Calvinists really believe John 3:16.”

      But not all Calvinists believe God loves the world, or all humanity. Some believe this “world” of John 3:16 covers only the elect. I have personally read such comments on SBC blogs.

      When it comes to Calvinists believing that God loves the world – some do and some don’t.
      David R. Brumbelow

Ken

I couldn’t find a manual at 9 Marks for transitioning a church to a Calvinistic one. I googled 9marks.org manual transition calvinism.

Kyle Thomas

Perhaps the answer to #7 on why LifeWay is one of the sponsors of the Gospel Coalition conferences should be considered in context of other conferences they sponsor. They sponsored Exponential this year too, a bigger conference I think, which is certainly not Reformed. As long as they are not sponsoring only conferences of one theological persuasion, I don’t think it’s problematic to have a presence, booth, etc. at lots of conferences.

    Tim Guthrie

    Kyle,
    Thank you for the info. I think the idea of sponsorship is tricky at best. How Lifeway walks the middle is NOT going to be easy.

    Brad Reynolds

    Kyle,
    I guess some may be wondering: if Lifeway is truly neutral on this (and currently I have no reason to believe they would not be) then should Dr. Hankins expect a phone call soon for them to sponsor a TS conference.

      Chris Roberts

      What Calvinist conferences are being sponsored by Lifeway? To what degree and in what way are they sponsoring? How did they become involved in those conferences?

      But the first part is my main question: what Calvinist conferences are they sponsoring? Tim’s article is long on assertion yet short on facts. Lifeway may well be sponsoring these conferences, but I can’t find anything about it.

        Tim Guthrie

        Chris,
        “long on assertion…” Look it up and make the calls. Do I post it and do the work to satisfy your doubts? Come on man. You obviously do not know me. I don’t play games. Never have. If you doubt me – go prove it wrong!

          Chris Roberts

          Tim,

          You wrote a post raising a number of issues with Calvinism yet you fail to substantiate a single issue. Yet you want me to do your homework for you?

        Brad Reynolds

        Chris
        I don’t know but I think Tim answered your question below. Sadly I confess I don’t know who or what Lifeway sponsors – hence my comments “some may be wondering” and “I have no reason to think they are not neutral.” One thing you and I can both agree on though is if they do sponsor a Gospel Coalition Conference they should sponsor a TS Conference as well, right?

          Chris Roberts

          Brad,

          It depends on how they have sponsored it. Are they a “sponsor” in that they paid for the convention hall, or in that they purchased a booth where they will be selling Lifeway materials?

          Brad Reynolds

          Chris
          Once again I kindly disagree. I really don’t care how they sponsored it. They need to offer to do the same for the other group (be it a booth or renting a convention hall).

SAGordon

Tim G,

Hey! I’ll jump in–sorta…

Since you put primacy on Point #1, I’ll speak to that while incorporating Point #4. First, I raise the same questions others have raised: The answer you seek is not addressed by the statement. Place any group (Calvinists, Arminians, Biblicists…), adjust the numbers in any way (5:10, 7:18, 12:29), and the same point stands. Equally making the point that the new Calvinists of the Traditionalist Statement may exist (but we know not the numbers). Those in danger of Semi-Pelagian expression may exist (But we know not how many). It seems a distracted question/point.

For a personal response I would suggest: How would you, as a Calvinist, describe what is necessary for salvation? When does that take place? As for me, I would answer, that salvation takes place when someone comes to Christ by grace through faith, confessing and repenting of sin, placing their trust in Him, and committing themselves to follow Him. None of which is inconsistent with John 3:16 (or the entirety of Scripture) nor with a Calvinist soteriology.

SolaGratia!

    Tim Guthrie

    Scott,
    You and I have always agreed on this. Yet I keep hearing comments that go something like this: You guys think you needed to ask Jesus, while we just realized we were.

    Big difference!

      Chris Roberts

      Tim,

      I have never heard a comment like that. Ever.

        Tim Guthrie

        Chris,
        I heard it more than once in the convention hall. I have heard it from Pastors of late in several settings. One preached it from his pulpit a little over 2 months ago. I counseled two families as a result of their confusion.

          Joshua

          Tim,

          Can you post a link to that sermon?

          Chris Roberts

          Tim,

          As a Calvinist who knows a lot of Calvinists and has read a lot of Calvinists, that is not something I have ever heard a Calvinist say. As Joshua says, I would be interested in seeing/hearing for myself.

        Tim Guthrie

        Joshua,
        I can not. Why does that matter? Is the real issue that you question my integrity? Is that what you are implying? I sure hope not!

          Tim Guthrie

          Chris,
          See my comment to Joshua!

          Jared Moore

          Tim, asking for a link to the sermon is hardly questioning your integrity. My goodness. You’re not infallible, you could have misunderstood.

          Joshua

          Tim,

          I asked for a source. I’m not questioning your integrity.

          Who was the pastor? I will try to track it down myself.

        Tim Guthrie

        No way I could have misunderstood! Not on your life or mine!

          Tim Guthrie

          I cannot reveal that specific one for ministry reasons. However, you can call Centerpoint in Knoxville and ask them about the Calvinist takeover that led to a split – it all happened in less than two years!

          Joshua

          Tim,

          If the pastor said such damning statements, why can’t you reveal his name? Seriously? This man is leading people to hell according to you. What is his name?

          Tim Guthrie

          Joshua,
          As a student of the Bible you should know better than to ask for someone to called out in a public arena when they are not active in the discussion. You are better than this.

          Call the one I gave you!

          Joshua,
          Your request highlights a needed education and humility that will come either by you learning quick or taking the long road. I pray you get it quick. The long road is painful. Humility will lead you to assist and not make a spectacle. Calling someone out and taking it on yourself to do so will result in a hard lesson taught by God at an appointed time. Don’t go down that road!

          Joshua

          Tim,

          Once again, more unsubstantiated Calvinist bogeymen that are leading people to hell.

          It never ends here at SBC Today.

          Tim Guthrie

          Joshua,
          I pray one day you will see with eyes of ministry and love instead of debate and argumentative spirit.

          No bogeymen – just a love for Pastors and a commitment to help them not humiliate them. I pray your people when you Pastor, will have the same love and care for you as I do for Pastors everywhere.

          Joel Hunt

          Why all the accusations from traditionalists that suggest that calvinists have “misunderstood” the denials in the TS document? It seems perhaps misunderstanding “could/might” be a possibility? And how does it raise the question of one’s integrity to ask for a source? That’s a basic rule of any academia…

Rob Faircloth

Jared,
I was considering a response, then saw that yours took many of the words right out of my mouth.

Tim,
Your questions seem to paint Calvinists with quite a broad brush, and to presume that those wishing to engage in a sincere discussion with you will assume many of your assumptions without distinctions. That is one of the problems with engaging such a topic in the blog world.
Also, I can’t help but notice a bit of bait-and-switch. You assert “These are the questions I have. They are simple and I think need to be answered.” But when Scott and Jared attempted to answer, we find that the questions aren’t exactly so simple. Phrases such as “So why,” “why then,” “Are they true,” “correct theology,” and “how would you classify” in your responses indicate points of argument, not understanding.

    Tim Guthrie

    Rob,
    I do believe asking and learning is included in discussion is it not? Fleshing it out helps clear the muddy water would you not agree.

Darryl Hill

Against my better judgment Tim, I’m going to attempt to answer your questions, but you should know, these are one man’s thoughts.

1. I don’t know about the 5 different answers regarding what must occur for a person to be saved. I suppose it would depend upon how deeply the person is answering the question. The short answer is repent and believe the Gospel. I think we all agree there. Ask 10 traditionalists the same question and you’ll likely get the same number of answers. I think your question is implying “Calvinism” must be the problem when in fact, you’re likely dealing with varying levels of maturity and understanding, which is something all believers deal with. If you asked me when I was 12, my answer would be different then than it is today. If you asked me 5 years ago, 4 years ago, 3 years ago, there would have been different nuances in my answer. It’s a slow growth and I also deal with misunderstandings and sin in my own life. I will confess that I do not understand the depths of Scripture and theology. I’m still learning. I could be wrong, in fact. If I am convinced of that, I have every intention of admitting and repenting of whatever sin led to that misunderstanding.

2. I think most Calvinists would agree that God loves every individual person. But it is also clear from Scripture, that when we’re dealing with salvation, God only loves some salvifically, His elect, His sheep.

3. Speaking for myself, all men are children of wrath. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I do not know who has hope and who does not. I always believe there is hope for every person. After all, God saved me, a wretch. It is not my business to sort people out and attempt to determine who God has chosen or who is not. I assume, if a person is responding to the Gospel, that they must be elect.

4. Salvation occurs when God justifies the sinner. I believe that God must quicken the person because they are dead in sin and that the person must respond respond in repentance and faith. If you want me to split that into nano-seconds, I can’t do it. God begins the process and finishes the process. His sheep hear His voice and He knows them, and they follow Him. He gives to them eternal life and no one can snatch them out of His hand. As for the moment of justification, I can’t know that it has happened until I see repentance and a demonstration or statement of faith.

5. That statement is argumentative from the get go. I haven’t called anyone anything. As for the Founders, I agree with the statement that this revival of reformed doctrine is a move of God. It shouldn’t surprise you that I believe that. I am a 1999 graduate of Southwestern and came out of that atheological for the most part. I didn’t see the need for it while doing youth ministry. A friend of mine graduated at the same time- he was very traditional as well. God changed both our hearts at nearly the same time about these things without our even communicating about it. I have also seen other believers having that same experience. I am not trying to reform my church. I know not everyone will agree and my goal is not to make them do so.

6. I do believe “the sinner’s prayer” can be dangerous, but I would strongly disagree that parents shouldn’t be leading their children to Christ- and I fear your phrasing here implies something that was likely not intended, but I could be wrong.

7. Because Lifeway serves the SBC and there are Calvinists who are also Southern Baptist.

8. Because more and more Baptists have come to agree with reformed teachings. They are simply serving the SBC and all of its members. In years past, you would have never seen this at all. You see this as a shakers and movers getting their way possibly- and maybe some of that is true, but I see it as Lifeway trying to be aware of its audience and offering them materials they want and will buy.

9. Until the Trad statement on soteriology came out, I didn’t even know this was an issue. I would like to see some kind of solid numbers on this. I am certain it has happened, but I do not know that it has happened with the frequency that some would have me to believe. There are pastors who are also empty headed and lead churches to become atheological and empty headed, not understanding what we believe or why and who turn a local church into a Six Flags Over Jesus. This is why some churches don’t recognize reformed teaching when they hear it. Pastors may well state, “I am reformed” but search committees may not know because they have sat under preaching that is empty of theological depth and has served as therapeutic for decades. But I will denounce intentional deception all day long. It has no place in any church.

10. I haven’t personally seen the aggression you’re speaking about. I suppose my answering your questions could be construed as “aggressive” but that is not my intent. By the way, just because something is a “majority” belief doesn’t mean it is right. Perhaps we could rewind history to the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s when the majority of Baptists were reformed in their beliefs regarding soteriology. I wonder, if we’re talking about a majority opinion, if we should listen to those who knew and were taught theology back then OR if we should listen to a majority of Baptists of today who are pretty much unconcerned about theology, glaze over when you speak about it, and have become children of their culture more than Scripture? Maybe those old Baptists knew something modern Baptists don’t.

11. I believe the Abstract of Principles was the original signed document for profs at Southern Seminary. I don’t know about Southeastern, to be honest. I actually don’t know the answer to this question as to why the BF&M is not enough.

12. Since when? Are you seriously asking that question? Since the inception of Baptists, they have been reformed in their soteriology. Now, if you’re dealing with ecclesiology and paedobaptism, that’s a different matter. But Baptists agreed with the reformed view of soteriology from the beginning.

13. I don’t think Tom Nettles was discussing the benefits of a takeover. I think he was poking fun and bristling at the idea that Calvinists have overstepped their bounds and were accepted before so long as they knew their place. He went too far in his analogy, but his comments have been blown way out of proportion and he has been made to say things he never said, such as this accusation that it was about a “takeover plan.”

14. I believe there was a response of “I don’t know” available as well- or something similar. Perhaps you think the results of 30% Calvinist and 30% Arminian are not accurate. Perhaps if the phrase “traditional” would have been on the list, some of the 30% Arminian would have chosen that option. Trouble is, traditional is usually associated with historical, and Baptists are historically reformed.

15. My first thought is that infant baptism is a very significant difference, both from the standpoint of soteriology and ecclesiology. Other than that, there are historically very few other differences between those 2 denominations.

I’m sure my words will be picked apart, so feel free.

    Tim Guthrie

    On much we agree. I do disagree that Baptist have been historically Reform. I do not believe that Baptist came out of the Catholic church. I see much evidence pre Reform for this statement.

      Joshua

      Tim,

      Are you a “trail of blood” believer?

        Tim Guthrie

        Joshua,
        I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who saved a sinner that I am via His death on the cross for my sins offered by Grace that I accepted and repented of my sins and acknowledged Him as Lord and Savior of my life.

        I do not believe that my history in my beliefs would come out of the catholic church.

        I also reject the method of lumping people into certain camps. People can make history say what they want it to say – look at America these days. Nice try but been down that road years ago in a “discussion”. I don’t play that game!

          volfan007

          So, Jared, you believe that Baptist came from the Reformation…solely? No other streams…like the Ana Baptist stream…you know, running down to make the river we call Southern Baptist?

          David

        Donald Holmes

        Joshua asked Tim “Are you a “trail of blood” believer?”

        I would not assume to answer for Tim, but I will say that the fold-out map in the back is awesome. I pasted a copy in the back of my Bible!

    volfan007

    Darryl,

    I disagree with much of what you said…but, 2 things: “Six Flags over Jesus” comment made me lol.

    Secondly; do you really think there are very many Arminians in the SBC? I mean, maybe there’s 4 or 5….maybe 6? Most people in the SBC would agree with the Traditionalists Statement, and we are not Semi Pelagians, nor are we Arminian. 30% of the peole are Calvinists? I doubt it. I would guess more like 20%, if that much. But, it is growing….no doubt.

    David

      Jared Moore

      David, if most people in the SBC agree with the Traditionalist statement, why have less than .01% of active Southern Baptists signed the statement?

        Brad Reynolds

        Jared
        We have almost 1/5 the signatures of the GCR so using your equation:
        Does it then follow that most Southern Baptists disagree with the GCR because less than .05% signed it?

          Jared Moore

          Brad, I’ve never claimed that most of the SBC agreed with the GCR. I think you’re comparing apples to oranges.

          My point is that, “Traditionalists represent what the majority of Southern Baptists believe,” is hanging in midair. Thousands upon thousands have viewed the document, and most of them have decided not to sign it. Quit saying you represent the majority until you have the majority of Southern Baptists agreeing to it; or, you at least have people vote on it at the convention.

          Besides, why does it matter if the majority agrees with you or not? We’re all equally Southern Baptists right . . . if we agree with the BF&M 2K?

          volfan007

          Jared,

          Yes, I believe that a majority would agree with the Traditionalist Statement. I dont think that a lot of people will sign a statement for many reasons. ONE BIG reason is that a lot of people are not familiar with blogs….I know that’s hard for some to understand…they think the whole world are reading blogs. But, the truth is, not many in the SBC are even reading these blogs. Yet, I will say…from my experience, and from all the people that I know, and the churches that I know, that the majority do believe as we have stated. But, sign the statement….I doubt that most people have never heard of it.

          But, you can believe whatever you want to believe. We will, too.

          DAvid

          Brad Reynolds

          Jared
          to say
          “.01% have signed that document and thus it does not represent the majority view”
          is a very close apple to saying
          “.05% have signed the document and thus it does not represent the majority view”

          Further, I can truly say without tongue in cheek that I appreciate your optimism in how many people have viewed the TS. I probably wouldn’t have assumed it has engendered that much attention and viewership but if you are correct I am grateful.

          But we do know the GCR has been viewed by thousands upon thousands and yet only .05% have affixed their names? Should NAMB, LIFEWAY, IMB, SBTS, etc stop saying it represents the majority view?

          Now it is true they actually have a convention vote on that. But surely you are not insisting we have a convention vote, would that not be divisive? I for one would oppose such for unity sake.

          And yet, we think we represent the majority views, what would cause us to assume such?

          1. The plumline of the GCR
          the TS has received almost 1/5 the signatures of the GCR in only 1/3 of the time even though it was not pushed from any seminary chapel, was not passed around seminary campuses, was not advertised by any of our entities websites, did not use the terms “Great Commission,” was not broad enough theologically to include all individuals in the SBC, was not pushed from the leadership of our convention (it truly was grassroots).

          2. Lifeway’s study confirmed that Calvinism and Arminism are both definite minority views in the SBC – most Baptists find themselves somewhere between (which is where we find ourselves).

          Hopefully that helps you understand why we would assume such.

          But as you rightly observe it really doesn’t matter if it is a majority view or not (so it really shouldn’t bother you if we claim it is) since we are all SB. Only I would add we are equally SB even if we don’t affirm the BFM2K – Many still affirm the ’63 instead and they are just as SB as you and I.

          Thanks for the interaction

          RobertSC

          Not a single professor from 3 of the 6 SB seminaries have signed this document. Almost every professor knows it exists. The document has been wildly unsuccessful. Of 180+ professors from these 3 institutions there isn’t even 1! That speaks volumes.

          Brad Reynolds

          RobertSC
          A minor point of clarification if you will. Are you saying that speaks volumes about what type of theology is promoted in these 3 seminaries?

        Donald Holmes

        \”why have less than .01% of active Southern Baptists signed the statement?\”

        Most folks either aren’t aware of this, don’t care, or just really don’t want to poke that Calvinist hornets’ nest. The one’s that do care expect their leadership to act on their behalf, and I am glad they finally did. If you doubt that the majority of SBCers believe this way, do some simple surveys at churches. Show folks this statement and ask ’em.

        Of course, you already know the answer you’ll get. I think that you are just using this as a rhetorical device.

      Darryl Hill

      Hey David, that Six Flags Over Jesus comment is not mine- I’ve heard a guy named Paul Washer say that many times in his messages. But I agree that it is funny. I figured many would disagree with what I’ve said, but I was just trying my best to be honest.

    Brad Reynolds

    Darryl
    Wow – thanks brother. That helps as we discuss things. It honestly helps. I know that took a lot of time but I for one appreciate your honesty and humility.

    However, you said you agree that reviving of reformed doctrine is a move of God. Let me ask you this, were I to say:

    “the T.S. is a grassroots movement which includes very godly individuals and has received great popularity across the convention (the TS has received almost 1/5 the signatures of the GCR in only 1/3 of the time even though it was not pushed from any seminary chapel, was not passed around seminary campuses, was not advertised by any of our entities websites, did not use the terms “Great Commission,” was not broad enough theologically to include all individuals in the SBC, was not pushed from the leadership of our convention, but was truly Baptistic in its grassroots) and is thus a move of God”

    would that not seem arrogant and perhaps dis-unifying? Our doctrinal beliefs are not Scripture, nor are the doctrines of grace. Moves of God usually have more to do with humility and repentance than the exaltation of man-made systems.

      Darryl Hill

      I can definitely see how that might come across as divisive or arrogant, but I’m sure you also know that I truly believe this. If I didn’t believe this recent return to reformed theology was a move of God, I’d be arguing the other side. It is not my intent to be divisive or arrogant and I apologize if that statement came across that way.

        Brad Reynolds

        Darryl
        Thanks brother. I see from whence you are coming. And can appreciate it.

        While I do believe that the TS reflects Scripture accurately and I further believe that from all outward appearances God is blessing it, I would still want to avoid attributing it to God simply because I might be wrong. Scripture cannot err but I can.

        Nevertheless, the wisdom of using that terminology in public (and I was referencing Dr. Ascol more than you) seems to go against the very unity resolution voted on at the convention.

        Thanks again for your kind spirit

          Tim Guthrie

          Darryl,
          I also echo an appreciation for your kind spirit. May your tribe increase!

      Lydia

      “Moves of God usually have more to do with humility and repentance than the exaltation of man-made systems.”

      Amen– this is so true.

      Alan Davis

      Brad,

      I may be wrong but I don’t believe the GCR stated it was the majority view of SB? This document has had time for wide circulation, hard copies at the convention, I have seen hard copies passed around here where I live and most pastors are web savvy. Given all of that and the continued fact that many in the TB camp claim the majority hold to the document i ask, where is the proof? At the rate it is being signed you will have a majority of SB in about 1200 years. Now I understand what you are saying about the GCR but it doesn’t make the claim of majority opinion. If you make the claim that the document is supported by the majority of SB there needs to be evidence of that. However that does not make the TB document any less important one way or the other. The supporters could still be right without the majority.

        Brad Reynolds

        Alan
        So are you saying that Lifeway, NAMB, IMB, SEBTS, SBTS and others don’t assume the GCR is the majority view?

        The point is: I think we both agree they are assuming such even though they have only 5 times more signatures than the TS.
        Hence, they are a good plumline to use, as is the data from Lifeway about the minority views of Calvinism and Arminianism compared to those of us who fall in the middle (the majority).

        Now the reason so few SB signed the GCR should not be speculated (ie – it would be wrong to assume so few signed it because they all disagree).

        Again I hope that is helpful

          Alan Davis

          Brad,

          You have given me some info I had not heard or read about Namb etc. Thank you.

          I read brifly the study by Ed Stezer if that is what you are talking about also. I would think that the majority would say (given the three responses) they were in the middle. You are correct I think on that.

          My contention is that the TB document supporters (not all but most that are vocal) have contended the document represents the view of that middle portion. I say maybe and maybe not. I for one think they would have a bunch more signers if the premble wasn’t seemingly atognistic towards Calvinism and a couple of points had been worked out a little clearer, and the denials had been worded so as not to appear (to those who hold some DoG views) to frame the beliefs of the “other side” (though I don’t beieve it is the other side)

          Once again I would state that the TB folks do not have to have a majority to be right nor to assert the document. They have every right. And I could say alot of the body of the document I agree with in the affirmations except a few points. The denials could be perceived to be an attack in some way at certain points. I view all these guys as brothers however and believe most SB pastors (assumption here) are preaching a Christ centered gospel.

          Alan

          Brad Reynolds

          Alan
          Good Word

Chris Roberts

I am curious – what Gospel Coalition conferences have been sponsored by Lifeway, and to what degree?

    Tim Guthrie

    They are scheduled to sponsor the 2013 according to a website page that was being developed and left open for public viewing several weeks ago. I saw it one night in New Orleans while researching some info for a discussion I was to have the next day with a Pastor.

      Chris Roberts

      Has Lifeway confirmed that they are sponsoring it? To what degree and in what way are they sponsoring it?

Jared Moore

Tim, I think the big question is why you’re offended if Lifeway sponsors a Calvinist conference, but you make no mention if they sponsor a non-Calvinist conference. Why the double-standard?

    Tim Guthrie

    Jared,
    That was not my question. I was looking for a willingness for equal etc..

      Jared Moore

      Tim, do you really want Lifeway to equally support Calvinist and non-Calvinist materials and conferences? I’d vote for this!

      Once again, red flags go off in your head if Lifeway promotes any Calvinist or Calvinist conference, but you don’t say a thing when a non-Calvinist is promoted or non-Calvinist conference is sponsored.

        Tim Guthrie

        Jared,
        I would say sponsor in proportion to the stats they put out.

          Jared Moore

          Tim, why single out Calvinism and non-Calvinism? What about eschatology, complimentarianism, etc.? Just because Calvinism is an issue with you doesn’t mean that Lifeway has to reflect your beliefs. The BF&M2K should be enough, since it’s the voted upon confession of the SBC.

Chris Gail

Tim,

That is the exact opposite of what the Lifeway study did.

They asked two questions, not one. Did you read their study or report?

You owe Lifeway an apology and some clarification.

Chris

    Tim Guthrie

    Chris G,
    There were only two possible positions in the survey. No apology needed – I read it and only two possible were given. I am neither of the two.

John

If God led Tim Guthrie to be a Christian and his soritology is Traditional::
and
If God led David Platt to be a Christian and his soritology is Calvinist:
Could it be that God is testing us to see if we get sidetracked over soritology rather than doing what he commanded us to do and go out and make disciples?

Is soritology the SBC’s new Great Commission due to making all the disciples God has commanded us to teach his word to?

John

I think it depends on how God chooses to sanctify. Thanks for sharing your view Tim.

Chris Roberts

A final comment before I bow out.

Tim, your post raises a number of concerns touching on a number of issues. In the discussion you have made reference to various conversations and things you have heard. You expect us to trust your testimony despite our own experiences that are different from your own. Not even Scripture elevates any one individual’s testimony to this degree. We are not wrong to ask for specific instances. You have raised issues; substantiate those issues.

What book or manual did 9Marks release that tells how to bring about a Calvinist takeover in churches?

What Gospel Coalition conference has or will Lifeway sponsor? Can you point to anything more than a no longer existant website someone once showed you?

What Calvinists have said some of the terrible things you say they have said? Going again to the biblical standard for accusation, no testimony stands on the weight of one witness. I have never heard the things you claim to have heard. I do not doubt there are people out there claiming to be Calvinists yet saying ridiculous things, such people exist in every camp, but such positions are the minority – demonstrably so, if you cannot point to a single source and no one else can find a single source of such things being said in the SBC!

I do not doubt your commitment to the work of the gospel, but I very highly doubt your willingness to treat Calvinism fairly. This post presents, at best, a very misguided approach to discussions over Calvinism. At worst, several aspects amount to little more than nebulous slander.

With that, I am, annoyed and bowing out.

    Joshua

    If Southern Baptist pastors are going to make allegations of Calvinist pastors teaching damnable doctrine, it needs to be sourced and substantiated. I’m honestly tired of the testimonies of “I heard” and “that one guy.” If you accuse someone of teaching false doctrine, then provide the source for others to discern. The furthering of fear and hysteria is only creating division.

      Tim Guthrie

      Joshua,
      Call the church I gave you. Once again, you deny what was given and stand by your arrogance. Precisely why this is a major issue. Learn some respect from guys who have been in the ministry for years. When cautioned to be careful, heed the warning. Casting false witness does not help your case.

      volfan007

      Tim,

      I’m gettting tired of being called a liar when I share things that I know first hand, and I know that you are tired of it, too. I find it unbelievable that you share things you’ve seen and heard from personal experience, and you are practically called a liar. I feel your pain, Tim. I’ve been there, too.

      And, Joshua, no….I will not name names on a public blog. I will not call out people in a public blog. And, I cant believe you’d ask Tim, or anyone else to do this. I know that you are very young, so maybe this is something you dont yet understand. When I was a sophomore in college, I know I had a hard time understanding some things. But, you just dont do that.

      David

    Tim Guthrie

    Chris,
    Call the church I gave you. Once again, you deny what was given and stand by your arrogance. Precisely why this is a major issue. Learn some respect from guys who have been in the ministry for years. When cautioned to be careful, heed the warning. Casting false witness does not help your case. I pray for the day you guys will discuss and cease your debating to win approach. Sad indeed.

      Ryan Abernathy

      Tim,

      I appreciate your questions and I think most of my responses would be the same as Jared’s and others above.

      I have always been impressed with your ability to remain largely above the fray in comment discussions. You generally post with a level head and without getting too personal in your discussions.

      I think that’s why I’m surprised and disappointed by your reactions to questions you have received in this post about the validity of some of your examples of “Calvinists” run amok in the SBC. You’ve made some VERY strong accusations and not given any concrete evidence other than your own word. As people ask more questions, instead of being more forthcoming, you resort to calling for “respect” and being “offended.”

      Well Tim, I’m not young, I’m middle aged and I’ve been in full time ministry for almost 19 years. I have my SBC bonafides in an undergrad degree from OBU and an MDiv from SWBTS (hardly a Calvinist stronghold). So, now that we’ve established that I’m not some disrespectful young inexperienced whipper snapper, let me ask the questions all these other guys are asking. Where are all these aggressive, takeover minded Calvinists? Who is leading the conspiracy at Lifeway? Where are the “master plan” documents for the revolution? And by the way are the Founders leading it or is it 9Marks or is it Mohler or someone else who has yet to be revealed?

      You’re going to have to produce some real evidence to convince me that these things are happening on a broad scope, and yes that means naming names not just giving out random churches for people to call.

      Right now your comments in this stream sound like one of Les Puryear’s conspiracy theories. (and that’s not a compliment) You are better than this and truthfully you have expected better than this from others in previous years.

      I think the divisiveness comes primarily from those who call themselves Traditionalists who are frightened (and rightfully so) by the strawmen that they have been raised to believe Calvinists really are. When truthfully, Calvinists are nothing of the sort. I was hoping your questions could be a source of dialogue today on that subject, but I’ve been sorely disappointed. I hope one day someone asks these questions and is ready to hear and believe the answers that are honestly given. Alas, that must be another day…

        Tim Guthrie

        Ryan,
        Call the one I gave and you will learn much. Is one not enough? I do not fear easily. I do observe and I do see and listen to that which I observe.

        I do believe if you read the entire stream of comments, you will find I have agreed with some. But I guess your pre-judgement rules these time lacking.

        Sorry to disappoint.

      volfan007

      Ryan,

      I could give you illustration after illustration of Churches in the Mid South and the Heartland, which have had major troubles, strife, and even split…all due to Calvinism. I could tell you of Churches that have had a Calvinist Pastor come into a Church,which was not Reformed, and causing major, major troubles and problems in those churches. I know the Churches. I have friends and family, who were in some of these Churches. I know some people, who attended these churches. I even know some of the Calvinist Pastors.

      But, I guess you’re gonna have to question my integrity, along with Tim’s, because I’m not gonna name the names of these Pastors or Churches. But, I do know them.

      David

        Ryan Abernathy

        …sighhh…

        and David I could give you example after example of Calvinists who are pastoring churches which are growing, reaching people, and more unified than they have ever been.

        The problem is you and Tim and others keep identifying these heinous acts by “Calvinist” pastors but NEVER with any evidence to back it up. Where are the news articles about these instances- in either the religious or secular press? Where are the members of these aggrieved churches coming out in droves in support of this blog and others who claim all these evil things about Calvinist pastors with a takeover mindset? They simply are not there.

        That’s why you now have people like me asking for PROOF not just vague stores void of names and dates.

        Here’s the deal David, my email address is ryan@westmetro.org. If you don’t want to out this behavior in an open forum then email me the details. I WILL NOT post the info publicly but I will research the info you send me and if I’m wrong I will recant my statements above and join you and Tim in fighting the battle against these “takeover minded” Calvinists who should not be pastoring churches.

        Fair enough? Ball’s in your court.

          Tim Guthrie

          Ryan,
          A hard reality – not many in the SBC are into blogging. Notice the comments on most blogs – same people, same story, same stuff. Many Pastors are not reading either position because they do not computer like some of us.

          Tis true indeed. Blogging is NOT that big a deal when one looks at the whole of Pastors in the SBC.

          Tim G

          Call the one I gave!

          volfan007

          So, again, I guess you’re calling Tim and I a liar. I tell you that I could tell you of Churches in Shelby Co., Fayette Co., Madison Co., Weakley Co., and of other Churches in TN….where a Calvinist Pastor came into the Church….and tried to turn them into a Reformed Church. I could tell you of one, where it’s going on right now. Where the Pastor is doing one of those Acts 29 Church restarts, or whatever you call it. One of the first things he did was to get rid of the Deacon body, and is trying to get them to have an Elder Board. The Church lost many, many, many members, who left the Church due to this “transition.” In fact, they’ve lost so many members that I wonder how they’re still paying bills.

          I am not, and will not, give you the names of the Pastors, or the Churches. I do not want to get in the middle of anything. I do not want to get anyone upset with me for getting in the middle of anything. So, I’ll just leave it at this….

          David

          PS. What if I looked at the comments that you and others are making about knowing of NO situations like this; and I called yall a liar. I told yall that you’re lying….that you most certainly do know of Churches where this is true, and you’re just lying to prove your point of view? How would that set with you?

        Alan Davis

        I have never heard of one and I have been pastoring in SBC churches for 18 years. Now that is not to say there is not one. But I do not know of one that actually split because the pastor was calvinistic

          Tim G

          Callmthe one I gave and you will hear more than you ever dreamed!

          Alan Davis

          Gotta correct myself here. I have heard of one. The pastor went in and helped caused a split because he was a seemingly hyper Calvinist. I say helped split because a former member started circulating letters which had some truth and some falsehoods in it but it sttired up the people and some key leaders. The former pastor was calvinistic in his beliefs but worked with all and won many people to the Lord. The church loved him and grew. The new pastor came on with a dictator mentality (not unlike many non-calvinists) and they finally made the point of contention to be his hyper calvinistic beliefs and being dogmatic, though there was many others points that stirred the people against him.

          It ALMOST split the church. several left. But thank God, they are back on track. So I have heard of one, I got corrected by a phonecall last evening for I had preached a Bible Conference there and someone called me on it! oops!

          So I stand corrected

          Alan

          Carolyn

          Alan said “I have never heard of one”

          Click my name. Call that church and the association DOM and you won’t be able to say that tomorrow.

    Tim Guthrie

    Chris,
    I will make a deal with you – you cease your attacks of fabrication and I will cease correcting you!

Dan

I’ll do my best to answer your questions as if I were “today’s Calvinist” (which I guess I am, depending on who you ask), and as if you had asked me the questions in person:

1. A person must repent and believe the gospel to be saved.

2. No. Jesus told us to love our enemies. I believe that he is not a hypocrite, so he loves everyone.

3. This is a tough question in any orthodox theological system because there will always be people who never hear the gospel. If the primary concern in our theology is palatability, then we have to become either universalists or inclusivists. If the concern is biblical truth, then we have to take some unpopular stances on who will and will not be saved. My stance is probably less popular than yours, but I trust that both of us are more concerned with biblical truth than palitability or popularity.

4. Salvation occurs at the point when people put their faith in Christ.

5. Some Calvinists are divisive, and so are some Traditionalists. Some on both sides aren’t.

6. I can’t answer that question because I don’t agree with the people you are talking about.

7. I didn’t know they did that. Are they also sponsoring other non-SBC conferences? If so, are they all Calvinistic conferences?

8. I don’t know, but I suspect that it’s because our convention as a whole is moving away from the pragmatics that we celebrated in the 20th century and toward a more theological framework. In general right now, Calvinists seem to be more prolific in theological publication, so it might just be a default necessity in response to the demands of churches. If Traditionalists can begin to match this level of theological output, I suspect they will be just as sought after by Lifeway as Calvinists. Men like Malcolm Yarnell and David Allen come to mind, both of whose writings I love.

9. I’m not sure what more they could do. Every Calvinist leader I’ve heard speak to this subject has clearly emphasized that Calvinists should be up-front with churches about their beliefs. This is an issue that gets addressed so much that I have started to daydream whenever I hear a Calvinist leader talking about it. Any Calvinist in the SBC who hasn’t caught on to this yet has some serious problems.

10. I don’t know, but usually those who are angrier about any issue are the ones who are louder.

11. Southern Seminary has required professors to sign the Abstract of Principles from the day it opened in 1859, with full approval from the SBC, and I don’t see any reason why that should change. What’s troubling is that so many professors signed it in the 20th century who did not agree with its stances on the authority of the Bible. I’m not familiar with the other seminary you’re talking about.

12. I honestly don’t understand the question. Sorry about that.

13. I don’t know of the person or event you’re talking about, but I would like to find out. I also haven’t heard of a takeover plan, but I would certainly want to know if one existed.

14. If you’re talking about the survey from several years ago, I also wish that it had given some more nuanced options.

15. Like you, I am trained in EE and have used it often, so I am not sure why you would say that I reject it. Lay leaders at our church conduct EE training twice each year. I think it’s one of the best evangelism methods out there.

    Tim Guthrie

    Dan,
    Thank you for posting and thank you for your kind approach. You sound like the kind of Calvinist I am use to interacting with. I can cooperate you any day! You are welcome at my camp fire all the time!

      Dan

      Thanks Tim! I’ll bring the s’mores.

        Tim Guthrie

        I will have the dogs and chili with NO beans! too much hot air in the world! :)

Tom Parker

Joshua:

You said:”Tim,

Once again, more unsubstantiated Calvinist bogeymen that are leading people to hell.

It never ends here at SBC Today.”

Let’s see one post today about Deacons–2 comments another post on Calvinism-almost 100 posts.

It seems pretty clear to me the focus of SBC Today.

    Joshua

    Everyone knows the focus of SBC Today. It is not a place of “Traditionalists” to merely state their beliefs and have honest doctrinal dialogue with the “other side.” This site exists to promote fear of Calvinism in the SBC, and malign good and faithful Southern Baptist Calvinists.

    I’m done interacting with this type of discussion. It is always fruitless and never edifying. I will refrain from commenting here in the future.

      holdon

      “It is not a place of “Traditionalists” to merely state their beliefs and have honest doctrinal dialogue with the “other side.”

      “Tim,

      I asked for a source. I’m not questioning your integrity.”

      It looks like you’re statements are in contradiction. Sad.

        Tim Guthrie

        holdon,
        I am not understanding your question. Are you attributing one of those statements to me? I did not type either one.

          holdon

          Oh no, Tim. Sorry about that.

          This was addressed to Joshua. I just didn’t get the impression he reacted on good faith and I think he proved it.

      Tim Guthrie

      Joshua,
      Please don’t leave mad because I refused to play your game. Keep studying and keep asking God to give you a heart for people.

        abclay

        Based on what people had said about you, this comment was beneath my expectations.

          Tim G

          Joshua knows the spirit it was stated. He tweets similiar.

          Tim G

          Nothing mean spirited intended. I am not that type of guy. I do apologize for the impression.

      Brad Reynolds

      Joshua,
      I personally know those managing this blog. Do you? I can confirm from visiting with them that you are not only “out there” with your statement but it is blatantly false. Which I think gets to the point of holdon’s comment.

      Donald Holmes

      :-)

Greg Alford

Here is my reply to this article…

http://gritsgrace.blogspot.com/2012/07/why-sbc-todays-anabaptist-concerns-me.html

Grace for the Journey,

    Tim Guthrie

    I was wondering how long it would take someone to do just that. Nice touch! And if I may ask, do you agree with and promote the Founders idea of transforming the SBC?

      Tim Guthrie

      Greg,
      Will you state publicly if you agree or disagree with Founders and their goal of transforming the SBC? I would love to hear your honest position on that!

        Greg Alford

        Tim, I will answer that question when you state for the record if you you want to purge all Calvinist from the SBC, or is it enough for if they are just made to ride in the back of the bus?

          Tim G

          Greg,
          I have never said nor implied such as you suggest. Nor do I now.

          And you?

          Greg Alford

          Tim,

          I have never said nor implied such…

          Furthermore, are you saying that the goals of the founders are different than those of the Anabaptist?

          Tim G

          Greg,
          I answered, will you or will you keep dancing? Simple question, do agree or disagree with Founders goals of transforming the SBC? Or maybe do you deny they have a goal?

          As for as I know, Traditionalists have no goals that I am aware of.

          Greg Alford

          Tim,

          I am not dancing at all… As far as I know the founders is quite open about it’s Purpose… I just spent some time reviewing their web sight, and guess what? I did not see “transforming” or “taking over” the SBC anywhere stated as their purpose.

          Are you saying that (1) there is no Anabaptist/Traditionalist group in the SBC, and (2) that there are no efforts being made by this group to advance their beliefs in the SBC?

          holdon

          “It is indisputable that we are in the midst of a reformation and recovery of the doctrines of grace, or what has historically been called, “Calvinism.” Both statistical and anecdotal evidence of this fact continues to mount. I believe that this is a movement of God and that it is even more widespread than recent studies indicate.”
          Cited today from: “http://blog.founders.org/”

          It’s not called a “takeover” but a “recovery of Calvinism” and it is more widespread than recent studies indicate.

          Tim G

          Greg, you said “Tim, I will answer that question when you state for the record if you you want to purge all Calvinist from the SBC, or is it enough for if they are just made to ride in the back of the bus?”

          I have! You have yet to answer. And yourbanswer is?

          Tim G

          Greg,
          I am wondering if you really meant what you stated you would do. Hmmmm?

          Greg Alford

          Tim,

          I support the founder purpose as “Clearly Defined on Their Web Site”.

          Now will answer the following, or are you just going to keep dancing?

          Are you saying that (1) there is no Anabaptist/Traditionalist group in the SBC, and (2) that there are no efforts being made by this group to advance their beliefs in the SBC?

          Tim Guthrie

          Greg,
          So by the definition you apply, you support Founders desires to transform the SBC and thus their churches?

          Your answer was very carefully worded as usual. Please do define what the Founders goals mean?

          Greg Alford

          Sorry Tim you are trying to put words in my mouth that I did not say….

          I find it amusing that you askew the Founders desires to promote their understanding of what the Scriptures teach to the SBC and thus their churches… Yet, you cannot admit that you “New Anabaptist” are doing the exact same thing.

          How ironic… How typical… How sad…

          Now where is my seat on this Bus… Never mind, I see it, it’s waaaay in the back.

          Tim Guthrie

          Greg,
          First, there is NO organization – none – like the Founders or 9marks on the Traditional perspective. None! Period. Zero!

          Second, I totally deplore the use of racial slurs such as “back of the bus” being used to discuss Theology. Blacks endured reprehensible treatment that did involve the “back of the bus” scenario. You have NO right to use that term in a debate that in NO way compares nor are the day to day experiences anything close to similar. You sir owe an apology and need to find a new way of describing your concocted ideas.

          Greg Alford

          Tim,

          Cheese burger, snickers, Mt.Dew…

          No organization? So that Traditional Statement and all the effort to have key leaders sign it before it was released to the public was not organized by someone? Now how did that happen?

          Tim, I think we have come to an impasse. If all you want to do is put on an act of being offended and call for an apology, instead of engaging in a discussion, then clearly you need a break.

          No hard feelings I hope…

          Grace for the Journey,

          Tim Guthrie

          Greg,
          No impass other than your denial that use of a racial term was not appropriate!

          As for my response, there is NO organized group or groups. Why do find this difficult to accept. It was literally grassroots Baptist.

          No organizations etc. None Zero. Are you running and hiding?

          Tim Guthrie

          Greg,
          One more thing before you run. Since you have fully agreed with the Founders desires to transform the Convention, thus churches, you are now stating that when people see signs of this they are correct and accurate and NOT made up out of fear? Correct?

          Greg Alford

          Tim,

          Whatever you say Dude… :-)

          Tim Guthrie

          Greg,
          Do I take that as a “yes that is correct” or a “no, I do not agree”, or maybe even a “no, I do not mean that”?

          If you fully agree with Founders, and you fully agree with the goal of Founders then you are agreeing that transformation of churches and the SBC is real and that stories reporting on this are not made up out of fear by people who see it. You have finally agreed with that which has been seen, experienced, but denied.

          Thank you! That is progress!

    holdon

    I read this somewhere today:

    “We who claim to understand much of God’s grace ought then to be the most gracious of all people. A proud, belligerent, unloving, thoughtless Calvinist is a spiritual freak who denies by his actions and attitudes what he professes in his creed. None of us is immune to such sins, but by the grace of God we need not be satisfied to let them live, unmolested, in our lives.”

      Tim Guthrie

      holdon,
      Indeed those words are wise and needed! If only we lived them as we wrote them!

    Tim Guthrie

    John,
    If you can prove my post is indeed what you claim it, I will admit it. But since I know you cannot, I will await your gracious apology. Sure is strange that some say they want dialogue and cooperation and yet all we see is this type of preschool argument stuff. Sad!

Bill Mac

I’ll have a go.

1. I suspect this is true for both Calvinists and non-Calvinists.
2. Perhaps some do. I don’t.
3. From a human perspective, no. We have no idea who will be saved and who will not. Give the gospel to all.
4. Repent, believe, confess. Not saved until then.
5. Everyone who writes about problems in the SBC wants to change the SBC by correcting the problems that they identify. This is not unique to Calvinists.
6. Children are subjects of evangelism, just like everyone else. I have concerns about some types of sinner’s prayers, but not with the practice in general.
7. Dunno.
8. Dunno. More than what? More than they have before? More than non-Calvinists?
9. We don’t know what Calvinist leaders are doing or not doing about this problem.
10. I don’t know what to do with this question. I have seen plenty of aggressive non-Calvinists. It is a natural (yet sinful) human response for some to become aggressive when opposed.
11. Dunno.
12. I don’t understand this question. Reformed Baptist usually means Baptists who are also Calvinists.
13. I don’t know that absolutely no Calvinists want to takeover the SBC. I only know that I don’t, and I don’t want them to. He did not use a racial slur.
14. Don’t know.
15. I don’t know what to do with this. Alike in what way? I wouldn’t worry too much about Calvinists not using EE until I saw how many non-Calvinists are using EE. Is it really a problem if groups of people approach evangelism differently?

    Tim G

    On much we can agree. Thank you for your kind answers.

    Dale Pugh

    Bill Mac:
    I still believe our BBQ conversation is the answer. Alas, it seems none will heed the call……sigh.

      Tim G

      Do tell more-I’m in!!!!

        Dale Pugh

        Bill Mac’s idea. Mine was dueling pistols at 20 paces. His is a BBQ cookoff.
        Each of us had our preferences–his influenced by his Northern roots, mine by my Texas roots. But we discovered that each of us was actually flexible on the specifics. And the end result is everyone has a great meal!
        My only observation is that, instead of bullets being the terminal decision maker, gluttony and cholesterol would do the trick.

Cb scott

Tim G.,

I agree with Vol. You have asked some good questions. They are questions of great importance, especially in the SBC in this present time. Yet, as I read these questions, it might be possible to write a book in response to each question.

Nonetheless, I would like to take up some of your time (and that of others) with question #8:

“8. Why is Lifeway promoting more Calvinists and their material?”

Tim G., my degrees, with the exception of one theology degree, are in Christian Education. I have read tons of SS and Discipleship Training material published by the BSSB, now LifeWay. I have read more “Convention Press Study Course books” than can be hauled in a tractor-trailer and taught about that same number also.

I know that Calvinists have always written material for LifeWay.
(I also know that liberals and nuts have written for LifeWay in the past also. We fought them hip and thigh to get them out during the CR. It was a hard fight, but that is another story.)

Tim G., I don’t believe that Calvinists (5 pt. Calvinists) are taking over LifeWay’s writing of material in any area, including SS. Frankly, I do not believe the Gospel Project is exclusively a 5 pt. Calvinist project.

Also, I know the Discipleship Training material for adults in 2010-2012 was not written or edited by a 5 pt. Calvinist toward a 5 pt Calvinist position. The Summer 2012 edition of Baptist Adults is not in any way a Calvinist work. Actually, some folks might argue that the Summer 2012 Baptist Adults is of Arminian origin. I don’t actually believe that but a Baylorite might try to make that argument.

Tim G., I for one, welcome the Gospel Project as something that has been a long time coming. I stood up in a trustee meeting in 1987 and challenged the administration of the BSSB-LifeWay as to the pitiful and innocuous content of SS material in every age division and publication. Our SS material back before the CR smelled like an “old dead skunk in the middle of the road stinkin’ to high heaven” to borrow an illustration from a 60’s theologian.

My heart’s desire is to see the Gospel Project fill a void that has been a harsh and stark reality for far too many years. If I am proven wrong, I will just be a sad man I reckon. But I pray I am right. I pray the Gospel Project brings out the gospel message from Genesis to the Revelation in bright fashion.

Tim G., I just don’t believe the writers for and editors of our material at LifeWay are dominated by 5 pt. Calvinists. Nor do I believe the plan is to make such a reality.

Again, if I am wrong, then so be it and I will admit my failure in judgment of the men I know there. But, I just do not believe Lifeway is “promoting more Calvinists and their material” at this time.

    Darryl Hill

    I appreciate this CB. I don’t have any inside info on Lifeway, so I like what you’ve said. Of course, I wouldn’t mind seeing a more reformed lean to the material, but I’m not holding my breath on that.

    But I do like what I’ve seen of the Gospel project. In my opinion, it has more a feel of a ministry from out in Idaho called Real Life Ministries that it does any Calvinistic point of view, but I do like it because it ties everything in Scripture back to the Gospel, which I believe is the entire point.

    I also appreciate the fact that you just offered a view in this blog that wasn’t in opposition to the comment of a Reformed person. But that is neither here nor there. :-)

Tim Guthrie

CB,
I agree with you on some of it. My point was to start a discussion of whether Calvinists would accept Lifeway sponsoring traditional conference. There are some issues developing and only time will tell, but I am curious is this is an acceptable idea.

I am not as supportive of the Gospel Project as you are. I have seen some things and even my staff have voiced concerns as to where it is leading. Again, time will tell.

Chris Twilley

Tim, On your comments about ‘leading children to Christ’ A really helpful book for me was ‘Your child’s profession of faith’ by Dennis Gundersen. A child is not to ‘do’ anything, but repent and trust Christ. Our job is not to lead a child to pray but to share the Gospel to children. The Holy Spirit can (and does) handle conversion all by himself. We don’t have to help God out (when it comes to conversion). We are to preach the Gospel (in all of it’s glory- the person and work of Christ, define repentance and saving faith) and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit. When we start saying ‘Would you like to pray now, I’ll lead you” We have crossed over juristictional lines. This is the heart of the conflict going on right now in the SBC. This is what David Platt was getting at in his comments and in his helpful sermon on John 3 at the SBC Pastor’s conference. I had to repent of “leading people to Christ” and leave that to the Holy Spirit. I can joyfully say that it has been wonderful to watch Him work, baptize the ones that He has saved and disciple those sheep (John 10) who have had a genuine heart change. I have learned the hard way that you cannot lead goats anywhere but sheep of the Great Shepherd are easy to disciple. Wonderful discussion (I think Kentucky Baptists and their upcoming conference is what we need more of).

Tim Guthrie

I will return, must go teach the last chapter of Daniel! Be back soon!

Alan Davis

Let me be clear, the TB document folks have every right to draw up any document. This blog has every right to espouse what they want. So I guess I am speaking as an interloper since I certainly would fall somewhere in a “Spurgeonist”/Calvinist camp and not in the TB camp. Many of the signers that are well known I have respect for, others I do not know.

the author of this article has many questions concerning “Calvinism”. The only problem is he can get many differing answers in that camp since there are many different positions taken there. the problem I want to address in the article is with the continued premise that those who hold any DoG view that is positive is suspect at best and bears watching. I love the way many say, “I have friends who are Calvinists”. Like they have stepped out of their comfort zone and are doing a favor of those Calvinist by befriending them or something. The tone of many articles on this blog is just that and I know some here will be asking who and which one…well actually the majority. You can probably name almost any of them. And to the folks who are going to say, “yea well you Calvinsits do the same”; because someone does something wrong never excuses us when also doing something wrong.

Once again another post about how BAAAAAAD these Calvinist pastors are and how they are dangerous….of course it is always the Calvinists pastors, never any other kind. Lets just be honest, to many in the so-called traditionalist camp anyone with any positive few of the doctrines of grace are lumped together as “Calvinists” and then those lumping them proceed to tell how dangerous all of them are.

The truth is some in the TB want anyone with any view that is positive on the DoG to take a back seat and shut-up or just leave the convention. These same folks would have anyone with any Calvinistic bent to carry a label much like a pack of smokes “warning CALVINIST and he could be dangerous to your church” and put a bell on each one of us so all the good people will see us coming. Once again this is not all in the TB camp but some who are vocal.

The question ‘were you honest with the search committee and tell them you are a Calvinists” question is as such. My question to some in the TB crowd is, were you honest with your search committee and tell them you are a Free Will Baptist? Here in the mountains of WNC that would shut the door real quick. However I wouldn’t expect you to do that and think it would be equally absurd for someone who may have Calvinistic views (as the endurance of the saints view is Calvinistic). Now to be plain and upfront on basic views of basic doctrine such as salvation and also to affirm the BFM would be good practice and should be done. Believe this or not some of us who hold to election and the sovereignty of God in all things actually did not get their doctrine from Calvin but the Bible.

And once again to proclaim the TB document as accepted by the majority is proclaim a falsehood with just 800 signers after over 60,000 people have been directly exposed to it. Like I have said before if the TB document continues to attract signers at the rate since inception you will have a majority of SB signed up in 1200 years or so.

    Brad Reynolds

    Alan
    You started out great my friend and much that you state (with the exceptions of the implications you make of the author of this article) I would affirm!!! until the fourth paragraph wherein you began doing exactly what you were decrying only with less evidence (namely drawing conclusions with little or in your case no evidence (Tim at least gave some real life examples)). If you can point me in the direction of someone in our camp who wants Calvinists “to take a back seat and shut-up or just leave the convention” that participates on this blog I will gladly privately voice my concern to that person.

    Further, having pastored three churches I was very upfront when they hired me concerning my beliefs that might differ from either the leadership or the majority of the church members. It turned out they didn’t differ but even the ones I thought might (women deacons, divorced deacons, non-calvinist, and many many more) I voiced both for integrity purposes and my desire for the unity of the Bride of Christ

    Finally, WOW – we have had that many viewers. This really has caught the attention of the convention. That is awesome. But as I told Jared above just because we only have 1/5 of the numbers of signers as the GCR in 1/3 of the amount of time does not make this a minority view anymore than the GCR is a minority (which had far far and away more viewers than we have had and had the entire resources of the SBC thrown its way).

      Tim Guthrie

      Alan,
      You comment hit on what frustrates me more and more each day. I gave honest history of a lifetime. No stepping out as you say. It was and is my life history. Why accuse me?

      I aksed the questions to help the dialogue. Not much dialogue. A few want to argue with their drive by approach and debate tactics. The Calvinists I know are nothing like some on here in attitude and practice. Thus – New Calvinists!

        Cb scott

        “The Calvinists I know are nothing like some on here in attitude and practice.”

        And that is the problem.

        Tim G.,

        I know Calvinists who now do not want to admit it publicly anymore due to this new breed.

        I will not say that all “New Calvinists” are the Elephant in the Room, but there are some who are “hard cats to clean after.”

        And there are many Calvinists who would not be part of the Founders Ministries if you held a gun to their heads.

          Tim G

          CB,
          There you go bringing up the UN and gun stuff! Do you have to tie these two discussions together? :)

      Alan Davis

      Actually Brad I got the numbers of viewers off of this site and adding the numbers at the convention. And as to “some of the TB folks” who want anyone with any positive view of Dog to take a back seat i can post some of their quotes an if it isn’t a back seat mentality then i don’t know what is.

      I can start off real quick by just referring you to Peter Lumpkins who wrote a whole article giving a bad critique of the gospel project just because the contributors are Calvinistic. Even though he hasn’t read the material (not most of it) and he also took exception with me saying he ‘did not remotely deal with the material of the gospel project in the article” Which that is exactly what he did for about half of the article and called it into question and even called it devastating to individual churches because the contributors were Calvinstic. Mind you he did this without ever giving any real critique of the material but because the contributors were Calvinistic. seems he wants anyone with a Calvinistic bent to take a back seat or at least be suspect in people eyes.

      Now there are more out there and some blog right here. For some to call for limiting influence of individual persons purely on the basis they hold to the DoG in some way is wanting us to take a back seat. there have been plenty here and I am sure they will return again and again.

      Alan

        Brad Reynolds

        Alan
        I have known Peter for over six years now and in all that time I haven’t known him to get his facts wrong. Further, his Calvinist journey may shock you. But if you believe he wants Calvinists to take a back seat or get out of the convention then just ask him. If he says he wants Calvinist out of the convention etc then I will disagree with him (but I don’t think you will get that answer).

        Concerning your accusations of those who posts here I have watched this site pretty closely and have never seen anyone say they want the Calvinist to take a back seat in the convention nor they want them all to leave the convention. I know both sides can say things they regret in the heat of the moment.

        I think the limited influence to which you reference is not a desire to quench the influence of Calvinist unfairly but it is a desire to increase the influence of those who do not hold Calvinistic views proportionately to the numbers in the convention (use Lifeways latest data).

          peter lumpkins

          Dr. Reynolds,

          My apologies for the long comment. I will not make it a habit, I assure. I felt it necessary since Alan jumped from Tim’s blog after being corrected for very similar mistakes about my piece to here suggesting virtually the same.

          Grace brother.

          With that, I am…
          Peter

          Brad Reynolds

          Peter
          No need to apologize. I was glad to read both Dr. Mohler’s and Dr. Vines’s blogs welcoming the discussion of Calvinism and Traditionalism. But if we are truly going to have that discussion (and I hope this blog is one place it can happen) then we need to lay all the facts on the table. Thanks for doing so.

        volfan007

        Alan,

        Maybe you dont know, but Peter Lumpkins used to be a Calvinist.

        Also, I want Calvinists and Traditionalists to be able to worship and serve the Lord together….like it’s been for years. A lot of us feel that New Calvinists are pushing the envelope, and trying to make the SBC become Reformed.

        David

          Cb scott

          Peter Lumpkins is a good man……for a long-haired Hippie.

          Alan Davis

          Actually David, I did know that but thanks for telling me. I want that too and do that here. I would not really even call myself reformed but hold a spurgeonist view.

          Alan

        peter lumpkins

        Alan,

        I corrected your misreading of my piece on Tim Rogers’ blog post only to come here to find you at it again. It’s one thing to speak out of mistaken notions and quite another to deliberately perpetuate the same mistaken notions after correction to the wrongly conceived notions has been delivered. However, since you insist on bringing my name back up and yet once again butchering my piece, I’ll gladly offer the same correction here.

        First, Dr. Reynolds queried you above, “If you can point me in the direction of someone in our camp who wants Calvinists “to take a back seat and shut-up or just leave the convention” that participates on this blog I will gladly privately voice my concern to that person.” To his challenge, you wrote: “I can start off real quick by just referring you to Peter Lumpkins.” So because I wrote a piece critical of Lifeway’s decision to develop a curriculum the contributors of which are almost all Reformed people, I quickly qualify for wanting all Calvinists to shut up or leave? Could you please explain to us all how the conclusion follows from the premise, Alan? We’re all ears. Truth be told, it sounds more like you want someone like me to sit down and shut up if I happen to question why approximately 21 contributors were assigned to The Gospel Project and approximately 21 of them were Reformed. Yes, I can see how you might have a point there, alright…

        Second, Alan, you  assert I “wrote a whole article giving a bad critique of the gospel project just because the contributors are Calvinistic.” I’m not sure what you mean by “bad critique,” Alan. Would it have been a “good critique” had I said, “Way to go, Lifeway!”?  I don’t know what you mean. Perhaps it’s a “bad critique” because you don’t like the conclusion. Or, is it a “bad critique” because I got my facts all messed up?  If I got my facts messed up, care to share which ones? You’ll have to tease this whole “bad review” out for us.

        Third, you complain, “Even though he hasn’t read the material (not most of it) and he also took exception with me saying he ‘did not remotely deal with the material of the gospel project in the article” Which that is exactly what he did for about half of the article…” First, I never once hinted, implied nor indicated I’d read anything—(though I had read the sample lesson downloadable from The Gospel Project website. And, I even gave a link to the material!). So what this ““Even though he hasn’t read the material (not most of it)” means I haven’t a clue. Why would I need to read the material when the material was not the subject of my post, Alan?  The subject of my post was the team of contributors and their respective theological perspectives (here’s a link to the post for those who may want it).

        Fourth, you go on to say I “called it [presumably the material] into question and even called it devastating to individual churches because the contributors were Calvinstic [sic]” Nope. You are not reading the words on the page, Alan. You’re imposing your meaning on my words, the same thing you did at Tim’s blog. First, I said while some Calvinistic churches may welcome this material, the clear majority of Southern Baptist churches which are thoroughly non-Calvinistic may be thoroughly disappointed to know their adults and even children may be indoctrinated with the doctrines of grace and not even know it. Second, you simply fabricated me calling The Gospel Project “devastating to individual churches.” I’m sorry but that’s just about the only way to describe the way you’ve botched my words. I definitively did not suggest The Gospel Project would be “devastating to individual churches”. What I actually wrote that might be “devastating” had to do with a possible scenario of an unscrupulous staffer ordering the material without being upfront about it. There’s simply no excuse, Alan, for this type of misreading. Even more twisted, you suggest I implied it would be “devastating” for the sole reason it was Calvinistic. This is just plain, sheer poppycock. Either produce the words which state such or drop the point. If you want to critique my writings, then please do. But do not put words in my mouth that are neither implied nor stated. It’s this kind of skewed “critique” that gives all bloggers a bad name.

        Fifth, you repeat again your self-imposed purpose of my piece as if you’ve not been informed with a single, corrective syllable: “Mind you he [Peter Lumpkins] did this without ever giving any real critique of the material but because the contributors were Calvinistic.” I find it interesting that you earlier correctly quoted me as informing you that I “‘did not remotely deal with the material of the gospel project in the article” to which you to which you retorted: “Which that is exactly what he did for about half of the article.” Now, however, you claim that I never gave “any real critique of the material .” Are you dizzy yet? I am. Did I or did I not critique the Gospel Project material for “about half of the article”? Well, I can answer that in one word—no. And, I’ll give you a shiny new nickel for every line in the article where you can demonstrate I critiqued the material.

        Let me say this once again and say it clearly: my piece was not about The Gospel Project material. I had only read a couple of samples. There was not and still is not enough material to make any type of reasonable critique of the material. What I did in that post was threefold:

        1) I introduced The Gospel Project material using the words of The Gospel Project promotions including Wax and Stetzer. Using their own words, I concluded that “The Gospel Project is designed as a “theologically driven project” which makes the “profound truths of Scripture” accessible to all peoples of all ages, a worthy goal one must admit.”

        2) I transitioned to examining the contributors to the project, using the names Lifeway issued because, I said, “to fully grasp the provision Lifeway now offers Southern Baptists as a theologically driven study the goal of which is to point people to Jesus and make the profound truths of Scripture accessible to everyone, we will do ourselves a favor if we peek at the literary team behind The Gospel Project. Who are they, and what theology drives their understanding of Scripture? Hence, this become the “heart” of the post. It’s going to be the springboard to the final section

        3) I then offered two broad criticisms I deduced from what? The Gospel Project material?  No, that’s what you, Alan, continue to wrongly suggest. Rather I deduced the criticisms from: a) Lifeway’s curious, inexplicable decision to unilaterally catapult an exclusively “Reformed” platform of highly visible Calvinists to be the sole contributors to their new Gospel Project material; a decision of which was made already in a contentious atmosphere between Calvinists and non-Calvinists; a decision which to this day they continue to defend with a “so what” type of response. b) the undeniable theological perspective which most definitely would come through the material.

        Oh, sure you or another can say “what difference is it going to make?” However, so far as I am concerned, such thinking is little more than surface slush. We all know that when Romans 5, and Romans 8, and Romans 9-11, and Ephesians 1, and Ephesians 2, and any number of other texts are involved, a curriculum written entirely by strong, convictional Calvinists is going to possess a theological perspective far different from a team of authors slated exclusively from the administrators of this blog or the supporters of the Traditional Statement. You know this; I know this; Lifeway knows this. In fact, from recent days, a curriculum written by a slate of advocates from this sector would readily be labeled “heresy” by some of our Calvinist brothers who appear obsessed in making TS advocates out to be “Semi-Pelagians.” Well, wouldn’t that supposed “Semi-Pelagianism” come out in Romans 5 if authors here wrote the Bible study lesson for Romans 5? 

        And, to those who deny such an inherent theological perspective would inevitably be branded on the material, I simply ask, “What the heck is all the fuss about then?” Why are we arguing if theological perspective makes not a gnat’s behind worth of difference? If our theological perspective of the gospel doesn’t matter? But if it doesn’t matter, why do Dr. Mohler and Dr. Nettles among others act and make decisions (like hire only “Reformed” people, for example) which presupposes it does matter?

        The fact is, Lifeway made a stupid, asinine decision to stack the Gospel Project exclusively with Reformed people when they could have just as easily balanced it out so that theological perspective could have been more even, the stronger versions on both ends being toned down by the softer versions along the continuum (so yes, we would not be talking about this today if Lifeway had a reasonable bone in its body so far as this decision is concerned). Nor does it remotely help when they “play dumb” suggesting buffoonish type responses like, “I never asked anyone about his or her Calvinism”. What a West Georgia Double Hoot! 

        Nor does it help, Alan, when commenters like yourself completely botch another man’s work and even after being informed about the mistakes, continue nonetheless to repeat the same mistakes as if correction had not taken place. There’s no excuse for your posting your misleading interpretation here after we engaged at Tim’s. And, it’s shenanigans like these which further breaks down communication between the two sides.

        With that, I am…

        Peter

          Alan Davis

          Peter Lumpkins said: “Let me say this one final time: the piece I wrote did not remotely deal with the Gospel Project material. If you think it did, I challenge you to post the assertions here if you can find them.”

          Ok Brother Peter here goes;

          1. “From a quick look at the names Lifeway publicized who are associated with the curriculum, one may be sure that the theological trajectory behind The Gospel Project, published by Lifeway and described as a new theologically driven study exploring the profound truths of Scripture, will be nothing short of a strong, robust Calvinism.”

          Here you are commenting on the content of the material of the Gospel project.

          2. “Think also of a staff member who would have few scruples in ordering the material for particular groups but not informing the church of the theological underpinnings of Calvinism the materials possess. A scenario like this could be devastating for individual churches”

          Here once again you are commenting on the material of the Gospel project and that it would be devastating to individual churches. Also you said I completly fabricated this statement. This stement above was taken directly from your article.

          3. “Perhaps a solution would be for Lifeway’s public relations department to revise Trevin Wax and Ed Stetzer’s misleading profile for The Gospel Project as simply a new theologically driven study exploring the profound truths of Scripture by adding “from a decidedly Calvinist perspective.”

          Again, you commented on the content of the Gospel Project by renaming it on what you perceive/read of it.

          4. “Perhaps Lifeway’s emboldened promotion of Calvinism through Sunday school curriculum for Southern Baptist churches may very well wake up the sleeping giant among us who will say, “Enough already with Calvinizing the Southern Baptist Convention!”

          Here you comment again on the material and that it is an emboldened promotion of Calvinism.

          If these examples are not dealing with the gospel project material what are these comments referencing when you speak of material or curriculam? You have written that due to the theological perspective of the contribitors, the gospel project will be robust Calvinism, devastating to individual churches, needs renamimg, and an embolden promotion of Calvinism. Sounds like you more than remotly dealt with the material.

          I think due to your complaint of the contribitors an answer to the question I posed would be good. Do you think the work on the Gospel Project is suspect because the contributors are Calvinistic?

          Alan

          Darryl Hill

          We had a Lifeway representative come to our church and talk to us about the coming new curriculum options for our church and the Gospel Project was one of the things he emphasized to me as we were talking.

          If my understanding, the idea behind the Gospel project is to use a story-telling method, covering Scripture from beginning to end, and relating all of it back to Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

          This is what I would suggest for those offering a critique based on the writers and contributors being “reformed” in their views. I would suggest that we actually wait and see what the material is before we begin offering such harsh warnings as unsuspecting churches might be indoctrinated to Calvinism without even realizing it, or whatever the quote was.

          In my opinion, it’s a dangerous, suspicious, and unduly harsh criticism. The entire Scripture does not address these issues. I can tell you now that if I set out to write a curriculum of this nature, I could definitely write it without an intent of “indoctrinating” anyone. Do we not agree on the vast majority of things? Yes, I would say we do. Can we tell the story of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, the tower of Babel, and so on without trying to insert fine points of doctrine that we do not agree about into the mix?

          This is just my opinion friends, but I think having that suspicion and making that accusation without actually having seen anything more than a few samples of the material, is not fostering a spirit of cooperation in the convention. Why not assume that these people have integrity and that they are not trying to turn everyone into Calvinists?

          By the way, our church has been using Lifeway curriculum for years and most often it has been written by people you might call “traditionalists.” The regular curriculum is still available for anyone who wants to use it. This new curriculum costs more, by the way, but let me just say from what I’ve seen, the quality of it is much higher than anything I’ve ever seen from Lifeway, and that is just based on the sample lessons I’ve viewed. It looks really good. Forget Calvinism, Arminianism, or the like, this curriculum gets people to think about what they believe and why they believe it.

          Ryan Abernathy

          Peter,

          Has it ever occurred to you that the people chosen for the Gospel Project team were chosen not for their Calvinist leanings but for their theological perspective of the Gospel being intertwined throughout the entirety of Scripture. That these people may have been chosen because their teaching/preaching/focus is on the exact continuum that the Gospel Project was intended to be?

          peter lumpkins

          Alan,

          I’ll be glad to respond when I can get back to my office…

          With that, I am…
          Peter

          peter lumpkins

          Hi Ryan,

          Interesting. So, the only ones who could have that type of theological perspective Lifeway presumed is Reformed? Well, thanks for making my point even stronger, Ryan!

          If The Gospel Project chose only those people who possessed a theological perspective which matched The Gospel Project theological perspective and the theological perspective of the ones chosen was decidedly Reformed would it not follow that the theological perspective of The Gospel Project was decidedly Reformed? Seems like it would to me.

          With that, I am…
          Peter

    Tom Parker

    Alan:

    I do not expect there to be even 1 positive post about Calvinism here at SBCtoday.

    Time will tell.

    But I’ve seen this movie before.

    I think if these pastors here were honest they would be up front with the future of the Calvinist in the SBC and it does not appear to be a positive one.

      Cb scott

      Tom Parker,

      As your oldest and dearest friend in the Baptist Blog World, I am telling you no one wants to remove Calvinistic Baptist from the SBC. That is a fact.

      It is also a fact that we did want liberals to get out of all of our boards, agencies, and institutions. Obviously you are still confused about some things.

      Liberals and Calvinists are rarely living in the same skins.

      Liberals never make good Southern Baptists. They do better at being other things.

      Calvinists can be and have been very good Southern Baptists.

      Let me explain it like Papa George Bush would:

      Liberals —Baaad.
      Calvinists—-Goood.

      I hope that helps. BTW, have you given any thought to that idea of maybe joining up with the ELCA we discussed earlier? I just know you will be happy there.

      Brad Reynolds

      Tom,
      I have been nothing but honest. But I have never been asked about the future of Calvinists in the SBC. If someone were to ask me I would have to say

      “I really don’t know. Jesus may return tomorrow. But should He choose to tarry I pray the Hand of God will remain on the SBC and the Traditionalist and Calvinist could visit to encourage their unity in the SBC despite their diversity on soteriological concepts. Further, I hope if there is a Traditionalist that desires to remove the Calvinists from the convention (be it a contributor here or anyone else) that the Traditionalists would address that individual. And further if there is a Calvinist who desires the Calvinists to take over the convention and her institutions (be it Founders or anyone else) that the Calvinists would address that individual.”

      Would you agree with me on this? If so maybe we have some unity moving forward

Chris Gail

Tim,

But that is not what you originally said in your post.

You wrote, “14. Why did Lifeway do a survey that offered respondents no option other than saying they were, essentially, either Calvinists or Arminians?”

Clearly, on the survey you could say you were “neither,” not only “either” (your original term).

In the news story that is the point Stetzer made. He said, “Historically, many Baptists have considered themselves neither Calvinist nor Arminian, but holding a unique theological approach not framed well by either category.”

You are saying the exact opposite of what the survey and Stetzer said. Most said they were neither– and that is the point he made. I am not usually a fan of such research– these kinds of polls don’t help because you have to ask short questions– but I thought this one actually made some sense in the way it was worded.

You may not like the question, but at least present your objection to what it actually said, not the opposite. It was not a scale where you score from one end to the other as you implied.

Chris

    Tim Guthrie

    Chris,
    You quote Stetzer as saying “In the news story that is the point Stetzer made. He said, “Historically, many Baptists have considered themselves neither Calvinist nor Arminian, but holding a unique theological approach not framed well by either category.”

    It is the “not framed well…” statement that highlights my point. Thank you for catching it, even if you did so without realizing it. :)

John

The preschool stuff started with your line of questions. Don’t play innocent school yard bully victim. This is not my first encounter with bullies and as your interaction with comments has shown clearly you did not want an honest discussion of Calvinism.

You do not want clarification of main stream Calvinism. I know for a fact I will answer to God for my comment. I also know for a fact you will also be answering to God. We will both be responsible today and tomorrow for what we do in edifying God. Did you even attempt to win converts over to Traditional soritology. Why did you Snark back at Calvinist that attempted a dialogue. No Tim you had an agenda from the start and it was in no way to advance a soritology dialogue of sharing views. It certainly did not develop and edifying conversation of God.

Yes your first reaction will be to blame it on the Calvinist. You took the roll as teacher when you penned the article and you continued in the roll as teacher as you interacted as cheerleader to Traditionalist and Snark commenter to Calvinist. As you say it is “Sad” especially when people in your position edify God in the way that you have today. It is sad when a faith based soritologist goes after other faith based soritologist within the same organization. Some appear they want Tier 3 issues to divide the SBC pie so everyone ends up with a smaller pie, yes you are right that is sad. And on judgement day if God tells me to apologize to you I will on my knees. Until then I expect You and I will both be enrolled in Corrective Theology 101 at our first moment of arrival in his Glorious Kingdom. And as we are in class the Lord will be able to pull up this article and comments and demonstrate to both of us just how wrong we are. Look forward to seeing you in class Tim my brother.

    Tim Guthrie

    John,
    I won’t have time for class – I will be busy at the Throne worshiping!

      John

      Tim,
      Nice to know you skip judgement. You are the first Traditionalist I know to admit they are already Glorified.

      Tim Guthrie

      John,
      OK, so you miss my humor. I did not realize you were wanting a sequential process at the return of Christ to identified. Geez, I should have known that. Come on man, are you serious to think that I think, I will skip judgement. I am praying I get enough crowns worthy to worship God with!

Scott hill

Almost every SBC pastor I spend significant amounts of time with at Calvinist. Of the 11 Pastors I’m referring too, all of them have growing thriving churches that are planting churches, sponsoring missionaries, teaching their people how to evangelize and baptizing way above the average number of converts compared to the average SBC chruch. This includes my own church in California.

Do I live in a bubble because I’ve yet to meet anyone of these proselytizing Calvinist with an agenda? I’ve met some arrogant college students who are the typical Calvinist/Arminian know it alls but they are not a representative sample.

I’ll will answer 12 and 14.

12: you apparently do not have an understanding of what reformed means to those who claim to be so or you wouldn’t have asked this question. While I’m sure you could go back further tp around the 1630’s,I believe the 1689 London Baptist Confession would be a good place start getting a proper history and understanding of Reformed Baptist. It’s also based on this history and SBC history that this anti Calvinist group hijacked the term traditionalist and try and act as if the last 50 years is the entirety of SBC theology.

14. The Lifeway poll was accurate in my opinion, though they could have used better terminology. Theologically there are only two camps; Calvinism i.e. Monergism or Arminian i.e Synergism. Those that try and say they are neither of theses are just confused at best. Any brief study of the history of this discussion would reveal that this is not a new conversation. One is either Monergistic, Synergistic or a Universalist. Personally I wish the “traditionalist” document would have been Arminian because it would have at least been orthodox.

    Tim Guthrie

    Scott,
    I think we have a disagreement that you will not concede nor will I. I do not believe there are only two camps and I think it is disingenuous to insist that there are only two.

      Cb scott

      Tim G.,

      You are being gracious with Scott Hall. The idea that to say there are just “two camps” in the SBC is not just “disingenuous.” it actually reveals a shallowness in thinking.

        Tim G

        CB,
        At least you noticed! I do experience some grace in writing every once in a while.

        Scott hill

        CB Scott, if there are theologically other camps then please named for me another camp other than Monergism or Synergism?
        .

    Brad Reynolds

    Scott,
    “Calvinists are heretics.”

    Not nice to hear is it? Thus, I would never say it for that reason AND because I have no evidence they are. It is as untrue as your implication that the TS is unorthodox.

    Thus, we don’t make such unChristlike statements. We would appreciate the same courtesy from you.

    Thanks

John

Tim,
It is the problem Traditionalist have when they treat Calvinist with Snark replies. Many have missed Traditionalist humor. Many have come hear to find out more about Traditionalist only to be meet with Snark replies. You talk about hallway conversations you should here the jokes about the Traditionalist walking the hallways of are churches thinking they have the brightest white robes man has ever seen. But the congregation sees a naked person 40 years old. It is not a pretty joke. Many have missed Traditionalist humor and seen it as self serving pride. The Glorified walking the halls of SBC Today. You can say the same about Calvinist and group us up as new Calvinist if we don’t worship at Traditionalist feet. And you know Calvinist will admit their are some prideful Calvinist but not in a serious number that Traditionalist have to be concerned with. A book is coming out soon rebuking prideful Calvinist written by a Calvinist called. Killing Calvinism by Greg Dutcher. When is the book coming out Killing Traditionalist written by Tim Guthrie.

Yea Tim I missed your humor both in you article and in your replies. But I did hear some humor in scripture “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Now that guy can tell a joke.

I look forward to hearing some more of his jokes, with you Tim.

    Tim Guthrie

    John,
    Your response reveals much. Thank you. Praying God grows and uses you greatly!

      John

      Tim,
      Your replies reveal much. Thank you. Praying God grows and uses you greatly also.

        Tim G

        John,
        Laughter is great medicine! Try it!

          John

          Tim,
          I thought we left things off on a positive note of love and laughter, guess they are right when they say blogs embrace oppositional conversationalist . Ok hear goes an extra special prayer for Tim.

          “May the members of Tim’s congregation be as free with their money as they are with their advice, and may their minds be open as their mouths and keyboards”. Amen

      Tim G

      John,
      Now that is some kind of prayer. Never heard one like that. Wonder how they would respond if Inprayed that Sunday at offering time? Hmmmm :)

        John

        You might want to ask your elders for input before you throw that prayer out to the congregation. But with your style of preaching and with the right delivery you may just have the congregation rolling in the isles. Best to you my brother in Christ.

Greg Mills

Very well said.

Mike Davis

14. Why did Lifeway do a survey that offered respondents no option other than saying they were, essentially, either Calvinists or Arminians?

Obviously I can’t speak for LifeWay but with the TS being posted 5/30/2012 and the survey results published 6/19/2012 it does not appear that the survey would have been conducted at a time when people responding could be expected to recognize the designation of “Traditionalist”. Some seem to be suggesting that the survey demonstrates Traditionalists are in the majority, but I’m not sure how this could be unless Arminians and Traditionalists consider themselves in the same camp. My own view (though I can’t support this; it is just speculation) is that there are probably about four or five major categories: Traditionalists, Calvinists, Arminians, Calminians, and Don’t -knows/don’t-want-to -be-labeled. I don’t think any group holds the majority. I do think a majority of Southern Baptists believe in Total Depravity/Total Inability and also hold to some form of drawing grace (either irresistible or prevenient) to overcome it. I don’t think most would agree with Article Two of the TS.

Jeremy Crowder

It is painful to read some of the responses to these legitmate questions. One of those questions deals with not leading a young child to Christ. I’m the parent of a six year old and please any of you that think you can reach him go for it I want him saved and God will sort out the proper method and proper age. It’s just unbelieveable it’s a fact that people are highly critical and in the worst most academicaly scornful way about how ministry is done across the body of Christ. I don’t get why Calvinists don’t understand that many of us have found great value in “Sinners prayer”, “Altar Calls’, Deacons making Church decisions, and a whole host of things we are being called unBiblical and actually heretics for supporting though sophisticated terms like “serious error or Semi-Peligian are used.” Instead of acknowleding the serious pain many of us feel about these issues we are told it’s without substance and imagined. Hello!!!

    Greg Alford

    Jeremy,

    I feel your pain… As a Calvinist I have felt the sting of sharp criticism from the New Anabaptist/New Traditionalist camp for; having Elders, not having business meetings, preaching on Election (even though I used the BFM2K for an outline), not singing from the Baptist Hymnal… And the list just goes on, and on, and on…

    I even had one pastor in my local association tell me that I was “not a Baptist at all”… Why? Because I lead my congregation to end some long standing traditions in “my” church… I guess local church autonomy is no longer a “Cherished Baptist/Anabaptist Principle”?

    Anyway, I think we would see a “much improved” relationship between all Southern Baptist if we would learn to trust the leadership that God has called to oversee the work of our local churches (Pastors, Elders, and Deacons) and stop trying to impose our own convictions upon other congregations that God has not called us to lead!

    Grace for the Journey,

      Jeremy Crowder

      I agree Greg and I do think Tradionalists and Arminians in the SBC should be careful about how we talk about Calvinists. I’ve been guilty as has many of not appreciating the fact that Baptists have differences which shouldn’t divide. I have never belonged to a Baptist Church that didn’t have business meetings even though some didn’t go my way. I’ve seen business meetings get way out of hand. So I can see why someone would not have them. The worship wars is really to me close to legalism as to hymms etc. I appreciate you brining up these examples because we that aren’t Calvinist likely don’t give them much thought I know I haven’t.

Ron Phillips, Sr.

Tim G.

As one who formerly leaned towards a soteriological Calvinism when I was younger, I think you ask valid questions of today’s “New Calvinists”. I would like to take a stab at a few of these from what I have observed.

1. Agree. I think there clearly is a divide within the various Calvinist camps on this.

2. Again, it appears to me that Calvinists are divided here. I know some who accept that a well meant offer is to all (not just the elect) and do not define world as only the elect. But I also know some who deny the well meant offer of Salvation and deny God loves the “non-elect” world.

5/10. The real bogeyman is the wailing and gnashing of teeth of the absolutely false assertion that there is ANY effort to exclude Calvinists from the SBC. From my perspective, the divisiveness and desire to exclude (i.e. recover the Gospel, Reform the SBC, etc.) is not coming from what Lifeway research clearly shows to be the majority of Southern Baptists. I think New Calvinists are a minority within Baptist Calvinists, but are very vocal and very organized.

Preemptive note : For whoever is going to ask, I want no Calvinist purged from the SBC or made to feel unwelcome. I’ll call out and rebuke anyone who does. Please do the same for us.

12/15. Reformed Baptist is an oxymoron just like a conservative liberal. There “ain’t no such animal”. But one has been created. There are obvious soteriological areas of agreement between Reformed doctrine and Calvinistic Baptists that have resulted in them wanting to take the Reformed name and adopt “SOME” Reformed practices. Nothing wrong with that. But as I understand it, High Calvinists don’t believe Baptist Calvinists are really Reformed nor Calvinists because they do not accept the whole of Reformed/Calvinist doctrine (Paedo Baptism, ecclesiology, etc.). It boils down on who gets to define the terms. I can actually sympathize with them trying to find a name that fits as I still want a different name than Traditional.

Blessings,

Ron P.

    Tom Parker

    Ron P:

    You said:”Preemptive note : For whoever is going to ask, I want no Calvinist purged from the SBC or made to feel unwelcome. I’ll call out and rebuke anyone who does. Please do the same for us.”

    Who would even consider removing the non-calvinist–they are the majority?

    I am very afraid you will get the opportunity to rebuke those folks that wil try and purge the SBC or make the Calvinist feel unwelcome as I am sure many of them feel very unwelcome at the moment.

    dr. james willingham

    I am a believer in Sovereign Grace, as were my ancestors who also happen to be predecessors among Southern Baptists. Research clearly establishes that the Baptists in Virginia, for example, were composed of two groups. One was a few General Baptists, and the other were Regular and Separate Baptists. The two latter groups were calvinists/sovereign grace from the gitgo. Only, circa 1770s-80s did some of the Separate Baptists develop a very small group that came to believe that Christ “tasted death for every man.”(Heb.2:9). A few of these were involved in the sufferings that were imposed by the State Church (Anglican), and they suffered along with the larger group of Particular Baptists (both Separate and Regulars). When a controversy arose and the matter of union came up, the agreement was that the preaching that Christ tasted death for every man should be no bar to communion in the union of separate and regular baptists in 1787. One of the reasons was heart break over anger with folks who had once been called brethren. The aim is still to maintain the idea that the power is in the blood – not in the will of man, for the theology of the First and, later, the Second Great Awakenings and the launching of the Great Century of Missions is that of Sovereign Grace or calvinism as some mistakenly call it (they called it Augustinianism before Calvin). The theology is coming back, because it is the theology which will awaken the whole earth for a 1000 generations (that’s anywhere from 20,000-100,000 years) as well as, perhaps, millions of planets (thanks to the thinking of one accused of starting the doctrine of limited atonement??? Dr. John Owen in his Death of Death in the Death of Christ.). This is not universalism. There are souls already in Hell….and more going every day. In any case, the most invitational, inviting, alluring, appealing, attractive, compelling, winsome, magnetic, drawing, interesting, marvelous, wonderful teachings are the doctrines of grace, Predestination, Total Depravity/Inability, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement/Particular Redemption, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance/Preservation of the Saints, and Reprobation. Jesus certainly made it clear that these truths were invitations or so many interpreted them in his day, like the woman of Canaan..Mt.15:21-28. The Articles of Faith of Mt. Pisgah, the church that sent out the first SBC missionary to China, Matthew T. Yates, stated that Christ died for the church – no mention of the world. Mt. Pisgah was organized in 1814, was present at the adoption of the Sandy Creek Confession in 1816, and were enlisted along with the other churches of the Assn. in the launching of the Great Century of Missions by Luther Rice who chaired the committee to draw up the association’s Confession and who in his memoirs said these doctrines of grace are in the scripture and preachers had better preach them…. Amazing! Folks don’t realize that some folks wanted that theology of the Awakenings blunted, sidetracked, and defeated….so they sent in some folks on both sides of the coin to polarize and split…Baptists…It took them the better part of a century to get it done…and still it is not done….And now the theology is coming back, because prayer is being made for A THIRD GREAT AWAKENING, and, in order to have an awakening, one must have the theology that God blesses to produce it….And history leaves no doubt about the fact that Sovereign Grace did it…

Johnnie Harrison

Tim I think you could find the answers to most of these questions from the mouth of prominent Calvinists in the SBC and those outside. Consider James White, John Piper, RC Sproul, etc. All SBC outsiders who have answered many of these questions. I’ll answer the questions I can.

“1. Ask 10 different Calvinists what they believe must occur for a person to be saved, and you will get at least 5 different answers.”

-This could be because the people you ask are not 5 point Calvinists. Many hold to 2, 3, or even 4 points, however, Calvinists affirm all 5 points. The 5 points stand together and cannot be picked and chosen from without rendering them inconsistent. Also, just as non-calvinists have many different views so do calvinists. It is for the same reason. Most try to exegete the scriptures correctly but we fall short due to our creaturely minds. Simply put, we don’t have the mind of God.

“2. Do Calvinists really believe that John 3:16 shows that only the elect are the ones God loves.”

The most consistent interpretation of this passage I have found is the one that harmonizes this passage with Revelation 5:9. “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” In salvific passages in the scripture when the word world or all are used we see it as men from every tribe tongue and people. In other words not just Jews but every other tribe, tongue, people, and nation also. Although John 3:16 doesn’t say anything about the elect, the idea is that their are plenty of passages in the bible that do and this is how we harmonize the scriptures. We all believe that only the elect will be saved. We just disagree on how people are elect. One says God saw our response to his gospel in eternity past and then chose us knowing what our response would be. The other says their was nothing God would see in eternity past except our deadness in sin and so from eternity past He elected some to eternal life to be trophies of grace and He left some in their sin to be pots for dishonorable use.

“3. Do Calvinists believe that some people are born with NO hope of salvation?”

This is answered in the 1689 London Baptist Confession of faith. “Although God knows everything which may or can come to pass under all imaginable conditions, yet He has not decreed anything because He foresaw it in the future, or because it would come to pass under certain conditions.
By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of His glorious grace. Others are left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice.” This is where we would disagree. By signing the traditional statement you have said that you agree people are born not guilty with a bent towards sin. Calvinists believe that every person is born guilty. We believe that God would be just if he killed every human the minute they inhaled their first breath due to their guilt. However, we also believe that God does not do this because He is long suffering and merciful. He has common grace towards all and He has salvific grace towards His children. Also, it is not as if people are crying out to God for Him to save them and He is turning them away because they aren’t His. Instead, those who are not His will never call out in true repentance and faith. They hate Him and do not want to have anything to do with the one true God.

“4. At what point do Calvinists believe salvation occurs?”

We believe that regeneration precedes faith and that faith and repentance are gifts from God just like regeneration is. As a result of God making us alive(regeneration), we respond gladly and willingly with repentance and faith(both gifts God gives us). This is why we say salvation from beginning to end is a gift from God and we have nothing to contribute. We do excercise our own faith and repentance, it is not God doing it for us. In other words we choose to follow God, but He has chosen us first. This belief come from passages like John 1:12-13, John 3:3-8, and 1 John 4:7.

“5. How can Calvinists call Traditionalists divisive when it is the Calvinists who have web sites and blogs that specifically state their desire to change the SBC and beyond?”

Only divisive if the traditionalists would want to change the Baptist Faith and Message to reflect the views of the traditional southern baptist statement. If this happened Calvinists would be forced to break off or leave the SBC. Most Calvinists I have heard are fine with the BF&M as it stands now. If there are calvinists who desire to change the BF&M to reflect something like the 1689 Londond Baptist Confession then they would be the divisive ones forcing a split. As for the statement from the founders blog they of course want people to embrace their view of a salvation just like anyone would. However, they are not talking about a forced takeover. They are leaving the changing of hearts up to God through their teachings.

“6. Young pastors and staff members are speaking and writing articles claiming it is dangerous to lead a child to pray to accept Christ? If this is true, what, then, should a child do and how should a child be lead by their parents and other influences?”

Specifically I think they are addressing the sinners prayer. Telling someone to repeat after you or say something like this is easily confused as the way you are saved and abused in its usage. I had a pastor tell me one time that if you prayed the sinners prayer that your salvation was sealed. If that is the case then why are the majority of these people either leaving the church or not active in it? Like the bible says we should plead with people to repent and believe to be saved. However, that does not mean that Christians need to remember the day the hour etc. of when they repented and believed. Some can’t remember. The way you know if someone is in Christ is not by a single event in their life that they can look back to. Instead it is the demonstration of repentance in faith in their life every day since they first repented and believed. Also, it has not been practiced in churches for very long. It is a very new practice in the 2000 plus year old Christian church.

“7. Why is Lifeway sponsoring The Gospel Coalition conferences?”

Ask Lifeway.

“8. Why is Lifeway promoting more Calvinists and their material?”

I imagine you are talking about the gospel project curriculum? What about this curriculum offends you other than that it is put together by calvisinsts? In my experience the men who put it together do a great job of preaching the gospel in every sermon they preach, not just at the time of decision at the end of their sermons. Their messages give hope to both Christians and those that God is drawing to Himself.

“9. Why are Calvinists leaders NOT doing more to instill that pastors must be upfront with their soteriology? There are even manuals on how to transition a church from Traditional to Calvinist doctrine. If there is no move to change the SBC, why are there manuals by 9Marks and others?”

First off your question assumes that most SBC churches know the difference between traditional and calvinistic doctrine. This is simply not the case. Most are ignorant of doctrine altogether. That would be like someone getting up and saying I want you to know that I agree with the traditional understanding of SBC soteriology, creation, and end times. The majority of the congregation wouldn’t have a clue what you were talking about. However, if the question arrises the pastor should be up front with the congregation. I have not seen these manuals. I searched online for them.

“10. Why the aggression from Calvinists because many in the SBC do NOT agree with them?”

If by agression you mean meaningful debate then there is nothing wrong with that. If they are angry and spitting out hatred then they are not living according to their beliefs. Calvinists doctrince is known for its extreme but I argue biblical view of God’s grace and mercy. Then it should follow that they would be humble towards their brothers who don’t see eye to eye with them since God has extended them grace that was so undeserved.

Tim, all Christians believe that lost people must repent and believe in order to be saved. That is the very heart of the gospel. Turn from your sin and embrace Christ and what he has done for you through His life, death and ressurection. We all agree on that. We Disagree on the specifics behind it. Both sides believe the same gospel. We argue over the correct way to proclaim it and share it. That is how important this doctrine is.

    Brad Reynolds

    Johnny
    I have posted oft and thus will not respond much except to say 1) thank you for taking the time to engage and honestly answer the questions from your perspective and thank you for the way in which you responded and

    2) to point out I think you the comment on the sinners prayer and the history of the church (2000 years) may need some documenting; and your assumption about churches not knowing theology has not been my experience. In fact, most pastors who have preceded us probably knew and taught a lot about theology and the Bible as well.

      Darryl Hill

      Hey Brad, I would likely agree that many pastors who have worked in SBC churches in the last 50+ years knew theology- and likely knew it well. But to say that they’ve taught theology from their pulpits is true for some I’m sure, but not most. That’s my opinion. I’ve served on staff at 8 different SBC churches in Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, and Illinois and many preachers gave up on doctrinal sermons long ago because the people seemed to have no stomach for it. They seem to prefer therapeutic sermons, sermons on God’s unconditional love- how God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life, sermons regarding social issues, sermons that tickle their ears, and etc. I think the most popular verse quoted among Baptists in the last 20 years is Jeremiah 29:11 because anyone can fit anything into that verse and say that it’s God’s plan for them. In my experience, most (not all, mind you) SBC church members glaze over when you begin to talk doctrine and theology. If I stood up Sunday and said, “Today I want to address the attributes of God” by the end many would be snoozing. It’s because many think “what does this have to do with MY LIFE and ME?” Our culture has trained them this way and our churches have aided and abetted the culture by acquiescing and giving the people what they want.

        Lydia

        “I’ve served on staff at 8 different SBC churches in Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, and Illinois and many preachers gave up on doctrinal sermons long ago because the people seemed to have no stomach for it. They seem to prefer therapeutic sermons, sermons on God’s unconditional love- how God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life, sermons regarding social issues, sermons that tickle their ears, and etc.”

        Would it be fair to ask you to name those churches and pastors who preach shallow sermons? Or would you prefer we take your word for it?

          Darryl Hill

          Lydia, I’m not sure it would be fair. I wouldn’t name any of these men. They have all meant well. Some simply lacked the training or understanding to preach the depths of theology and doctrine. Some lacked the inclination. All of them did the best with what they had as far as I could tell. Some, regardless of theological leanings, may have been in ministry for the wrong reasons altogether from what I could tell. Some have split churches, others have saved churches from splits, and some have left the ministry altogether.

          I should add this, in those 8 churches I have been on staff during pastors leaving, interim pastors coming in, and then another pastor coming on board. So, I’ve actually worked directly with 14 different pastors in my time in ministry, since around 1990.

          After 22 years working with Southern Baptists, I’d say that my description of most of them (and I love them very much, by the way) really aren’t concerned with theology or doctrine. Most are unsure what they believe. We’ve had people leave our church, go to the Catholic church in town, leave there and go to a Oneness Pentecostal church, and then over a different Baptist church in the area. They’re more interested in kids programs than sound doctrine. Bottom line: the majority of Baptists glaze over or zone out when you begin to teach the depths of doctrine and the Gospel, and I’m not talking about Calvinism, I’m talking about things like the atonement, the Lord’s Supper, baptism, the Trinity, God’s holiness, and etc.

          My experience is that they want about a 20 minute message regarding something therapeutic, like how to be a good parent, how to manage your finances, how to deal with conflict, how to be a success in life, the dangers of drugs and alcohol, social issues, political issues, family issues, and etc. Many of these things have their place, by the way, but I’m just telling you my experience. I think the true root issue is that many are either not believers or they are so caught up in the things of the world that their minds are on earthly things.

          I should hasten to add, there are many in my church today who are interested in the deep things of God. They are strongly interested in sound doctrine and theology. They either know what they believe or they are in the process of learning it. I see God doing a work in the lives of many to revive an interest in these things and I am very happy to see it.

          Lydia

          Fair enough, Darryl. There is a lot I agree with as I come from the seeker movement which is based on “felt needs” with lots of programs and shallow teaching. That is one reason I was a bit shocked to see Piper team up with Warren to teach Reformed pastors at DG.

          In fact, one of the things that really shocked me was how many similar methods the up and coming Reformed wing of Christendom was using that were actually seeker type methods recycled to fit that audience.

          But I agree with you about not naming names. There are people who have moved on and don’t want to stir up the pot. There are also people involved who should not be targeted online when they are NOT public figures and did not seek to be public figures. Public teachers/figures are a whole other category. These seek publicity.

          Darryl Hill

          I was surprised regarding Piper and Rick Warren working together as well- it doesn’t upset me in any way- just surprised me. I agree about the difference between public figures and pastors of local churches. I love the guys I’m thinking of- even the ones I didn’t get along with so well. :-) I wouldn’t want to cause any of them any embarrassment.

          And I’ve had some really good pastors along the way. I believe several of them would have loved to teach more and with greater depth but I think they were afraid the people just wouldn’t embrace it. Honestly, I think this is a struggle every pastor has along the way.

Bill Mac

Re: #12. Calvinistic baptists have been calling themselves “reformed” for a long time. Why does anyone care? In one of the last comment threads on this site, people asserted that we can’t call ourselves Calvinists either (or that if we are Calvinists, we can’t be Baptists). Why does anyone care? We don’t baptize infants, and have congregational polity. We affirm the BFM. What’s the problem?

rhutchin

The Calvinist/Traditionalist issue affords Southern Baptists, and especially our pastors, the opportunity to engage our congregations in the study of the Scriptures. While SBs are known to study their Bibles, more and more SB pastors are concerned about the Biblical illiteracy of their congregations. Here is a hot button issue for which much confusion exists and pastors have been afforded a rare opportunity to preach/teach on this issue.

I have found that non-Calvinists exhibit certain characteristics that would be worthy of discussion. They are:

1. God’s omniscience. Non-Calvinists simply don’t know how to deal with this. They cannot take omniscience and work it through their thinking on salvation because doing so always produces Calvinist conclusions. So, they seem to ignore it altogether.

2. Total Depravity. Charnock’s “On Natural Atheism,” in his attributes of God book gives a good exposition on this but never uses the term, Total Depravity (at least, not that I remember). The non-Calvinists need to support their side as effectively.

3. Problem of Evil. I don’t know why SBs and Christians in general have fallen for this. The “Problem” was created by atheists to confound Christians and it has been effective. Non-Calvinists seem more ripe for this deception than Calvinists. People need to start sorting out this issue and SB pastors have another great opportunity. Suffice it to say that God is not evil and does not do evil and this argument hardly proves otherwise.

4. SBs have a particular problem with children and mentally challenged people. For some reason, they simply can’t trust God to take care of these people and do what is right. More emotion here than anything else.

    Brad Reynolds

    rhutchin
    Thank you and I mean that. You have wonderfully demonstrated why the conversation between Calvinist and Traditionalist needs to occur – I assume you many Traditionalist misunderstand Calvinism about as much as you misunderstand Traditionalism with our first statement. You also seem to misunderstand some of the logical conclusions of Calvinism (problem of evil). Now I am fine with avoiding the logical conclusions via claims of mysterious or suprarational etc, but if God determines all things then he has determined the murderer to murder and the rapist to rape (two of my very close Calvinist friends affirm this – and I will hasten to say they are godly Christian men who live exemplary lives – and are logical to their belief system). And finally, we have no problem with children and handicap – we do have a problem with the idea that God’s nature causes Him to condemn them to hell (I think most Calvinist have this problem as well which is why they want to hold on to all infants being in heaven and yet they cannot answer how an infant that dies in the womb can repent and believe in the womb).

    Thanks for helping us see more clearly why this discussion is necessary.

      Darryl W

      Brad,

      Is it helpful to put determinism in the same arena as the Trinity and Christ’s humanity and Divinity? I cannot explain how Christ is fully God and fully human but I do not see it as a contradiction.

      Being supralapsarian I do not see a contradiction between God’s Sovereignty and man’s free will.

      Did God know Adam would fall? Yes.
      Did Adam have free will? Yes.
      Could Adam, occupying Creation as deemed by the Creator, have done anything other that what God ordained? No.
      Did God author sin? No.
      Was Adam punished(held responsible) for his disobedience? Yes.

      Similarly I think, when Luke tells how the Cross was God’s definite plan. A plan which involved deceit, perjury, betrayal, and punishment of the innocent. God ordained Jesus’ suffering but the ones who committed the acts were in no way relieved of guilt.

      Hope that was of some help of understanding our view of God’s Sovereignty and the existence of sin/evil.

      -Darryl

        holdon

        “Did God know Adam would fall? Yes.
        Did Adam have free will? Yes.
        Could Adam, occupying Creation as deemed by the Creator, have done anything other that what God ordained? No.
        Did God author sin? No.
        Was Adam punished(held responsible) for his disobedience? Yes.”

        How do you know what God ordained? Or that He ordained that Adam would fall?

          Darryl W

          Fair question. And I think it can help understand how we think.

          Eph 1 tells that we were predestined for adoption is Christ before the foundation of the world. This adoption is equated with our righteousness. Paul is saying that God knew we would need a Redeemer before the world existed.

          How could something happen that God did not ordain and He still be Sovereign? [And ordain does not mean ’caused’.]

          holdon

          “How could something happen that God did not ordain and He still be Sovereign? [And ordain does not mean ’caused’.]”

          I think a lot of things happen that the Sovereign God did not ordain.

          By the way: please explain “ordain”, if it doesn’t mean “cause” and yet you link it to “could something happen”.

          As far as Eph 1 goes: the predestination has nothing to do with the problem of sin and evil. Thus “before the foundation of the world” God wanted us to be His sons.

          Brad Reynolds

          Darryl and Darryl
          I think Holdon has a point concerning God’s will and ordaining. We know God’s desires all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4) but apparently in your understanding of will He hasn’t willed it.

          Why would God desire something He doesn’t will unless something else is happening and perhaps the comment about Adam’s free will cracks the door a bit to see what else is happening.

          If God gave Adam “free will” then by definition of free God would have to “ordain” things in accord to how Adam freely acted (Adam’s choices). Awe – perhaps here is a nugget. God knowing all things, knew it was good to create a free man. In so doing the rest of what God would do in relation to man would be in concert to mans freedom to choose and act and God ordained such freedom to man, because He is God.

          Darryl W

          Brad,

          We know God’s desires all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4) but apparently in your understanding of will He hasn’t willed it.

          We do both believe that God wills all men to be saved but we know that all men are not saved. Therefore, something superceeds that will. You are arguing that it is man’s will. I will argue that it is God’s Sovereignty.

          We are in agreement that Adam had free will but I would say he did not have the liberty to go outside the bounds of God. You are arguing from the viewpoint of a man-centered world view, which is consistent with your position. However, it requires an elevated or sacred view of man’s will which I do not believe the Bible supports. The hardening Pharaoh’s heart; death of Eli’s sons; the 10 kings in Revelation. Are just a few of the times God overrode man’s will for his Sovereign Plan. So God willed things to happen that involved violating his decrees(will) of behavior for men. As you might expect I am going to argue that there are two wills with God, secret will and decreed will.

          If we agree that man is born with a desire to sin then we also agree that ‘free will’ in the absolute sense cannot be applied to man Post Fall. We did not ask for a desire to sin but Scripture teaches we are still responsible for those choices. We are also born without the ability to discern Spiritual things(1 Cor 2:14). Man’s desire to sin must be replaced by a desire to please God. This brings us back to Traditionalist’s black box. I say we have examples of God replacing our desire to sin with a desire to please Him Ezekiel 36, Paul’s Damascus Road experience, and the opening of Lydia’s heart.
          Adam was unable to make the correct choice but if we say man is self-determining in salvation then the argument is that God somehow removes the effects of sin(the black box) and then believers make the correct choice, of their own free will, where Adam failed we now, free from outside influence,succeed. If it is free will like Adam then Grace is not impacting the decision; if Grace is influencing the decision then it is not free will in the sense that Adam.
          I do agree with you that this is a very limited way to communicate. Forum based comments, please :->

          Don Johnson

          Darryl W,

          You mentioned 1 Cor. 2:14. Could you tell me how this verse supports Calvinism?

          Brad Reynolds

          Darryl W
          You say “you are arguing it is man’s freewill, I will argue it is God’s Sovereignty”

          As if God’s Sovereignty was so limited. You claim I have a man-centered view but it is the Calvinist who put the Sovereignty of God in a box small enough to comprehend. I say His Sovereignty is So GREAT it can and does contain man’s free will – what an amazing God – sounds like Isa. 55 when he contemplated Gods universal invitation and realized Gods ways were higher.

          Concerning Pharaoh – in the 10 plague narrative God hardened Pharaohs heart in 4 plagues – Pharaoh hardened his own heart in 3 plagues and in three we are told simply it was hardened – sounds much closer to my view of Gods Sovereignty containing man’s truly free will tether than Gods determining man’s free will which removes all freedom.

          I have had this conversation more often than I desire to recall but at the end of the day the logic breaks down for the Calvinist. Either God directs men to rape and murder or He does not. You cannot say God directed Pharaoh to do evil by keeping the children in Egypt but He doesn’t direct rapists to rape and murder little children.

          I know this is a horrible medium but hopefully I have helped others understand my position

        Darryl W

        holdon,

        I’m going to be a bit limited on time today and I hope you are asking these things in order to understand how a Calvinists thinks.

        I cannot reconcile your interpretation of Eph 1 to the text.

        We believe that anything that happens, good or evil, is ordained by God(Lamentations 3:37 and many other places). God repeatedly states that He is running the show. We are not saying that God does evil but He does allow evil to be done(Job) for His purposes.

        Ordained means it is in the control of God and He willed it to happen in order to fulfill His glorious plan. That is how we interpret Romans 8:28. We do not see God as reactive but proactive. Scripture testifies that God causes some disasters and He also allows other to come about. All things work to His glory.

        -Darryl

          Darryl Hill

          That is an excellent explanation Darryl, from your other brother. :-)

          Before I began studying the Doctrines of Grace, I had no answer for why evil existed other than “people do what they want and God lets them- people are evil, not God.” The trouble is, that leaves me with a world in which my faith in God is shaken. If God is good and He knows men are doing evil and will continue to do evil AND He has the power to stop it, why does it exist?

          The same dilemma exists regarding the cross. Was that outside the control of God? Or does not Isaiah say that it was God’s will to crush His own Son? The question I would have to wonder is “what if these people who were acting completely freely had not crucified Jesus? what hope would we have?” That leaves me asking, “Did He simply ‘foresee’ what would occur and then adjust His plan accordingly? Was the cross an afterthought or a means of God reacting to man’s choices?” And for that matter, what of the atonement? If Christ’s death simply ‘makes possible’ the salvation of men but leaves the actual salvation to their choice, how can God even guarantee a Bride for His Son? If sinful people are left to their own devices, can ANYONE promise a Bride to Christ?

          I know there are likely much better answers offered to these questions than I have pondered previously, but the answers given that consider a completely sovereign God in the mix are much better and ring truer. And, incidentally, they also give me a much greater sense of security, knowing that all things are under His control. This does not mean that evil things will not happen to me, but I know they will be made to result in my good and God’s glory.

          Darryl W

          Darryl Hill,

          Similar story on my pursuit of the Doctrines of Grace. My big question was how could I have chosen Christ with an unregenerate heart and it not be meritorious. But this is not the place we should affirm our mutual beliefs.

          I do hope that those who do not believe as we do find our participation here helpful. We are not enemies of Christ but Children of God who are searching the Scriptures for answers.

          -Other Brother Darryl

          holdon

          Thanks Darryl, I don’t have a whole lot of time either.

          “We believe that anything that happens, good or evil, is ordained by God(Lamentations 3:37 and many other places).”
          Ok. So, according to you God ordains evil.
          Also, I don’t see that Lam 3:37 says that all is “ordained” by God. To me it says that God does requite for evil deeds. See also verse 33 of the same chapter, that goes against your point:
          “for he doth not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.”

          “Ordained means it is in the control of God and He willed it to happen in order to fulfill His glorious plan.”

          So, the most heinous sins (rape, etc.) are “His glorious plan”? Please confirm that.

          “Scripture testifies that God causes some disasters and He also allows other to come about. All things work to His glory.”

          Here you seem to use the word “cause” again as equivalent to “ordain” you used just before. So, which is it? Is Rom 8:28 not God “causing” all things work together for good?

          How does Rom 8:28 expand to all things for all people? (because it speaks about “those who love God”?

          Too bad that you can’t see my point in Eph 1. Even if Adam had not sinned, he still wouldn’t have had the “adoption” of which Eph 1 speaks or be conformed to the image of the Son of which Rom 8 speaks.

          Darryl W

          Holdon,
          I do apologize for the slow response but I knew it would be a busy day for me. Thank you for your patience.
          I understand what you are saying about Ephesians 1 but I have never heard anyone argue that Paul was not talking about the eternal plan for God to redeem mankind. I sat in a classroom at SWBTS as a Traditionalist, in a room full of Traditionalists, and no one argued against the presented interpretation. Verses 3-14 are one sentence in the Greek. It is difficult to reconcile a separation of redemption from the idea of God’s omnipotent plan. If there are scholars who do this then I must confess my ignorance.
          I do believe Scripture shows God decreeing bad things. It is stated in Lamentations 3:37, with verse 32 showing that God does cause bad things to happen, there is also Amos 3:7, Isaiah 41:23- God saying if the false gods are real let them do good or bad, Isaiah 45:7. There are also many times it is described as King David knew intimately(2 Sam 24). God sent a pestilence that killed the 70000 men for David’s sin. That is a lot of widows and fatherless children that paid for the sin of the king. God takes the life of David’s son (2 Sam 12:15). It is certainly not God’s desire to see us suffer but sometimes it is God’s will for us to suffer 1 Peter 3:17. Which goes back to Brad’s question that I responded with the two wills of God.

          So, the most heinous sins (rape, etc.) are “His glorious plan”? Please confirm that.This is often used as a trap question so I must confess that it did arouse my suspicions. Hopefully, I am in error. Let’s push the argument to the most heinous of all sins; the crucifixion of a morally perfect man who was the Son of God. We know that it was part of God’s plan (Luke 2:23) and that it pleased God(Isaiah 53:10). God was glorified.
          God is omnipotent; nothing happens without him either causing it or allowing it. Job buried not one of his children but ten. What parent does that not strike to the core? When Satan asked for permission to strike Job I have no doubt that God knew the price Job would pay. Job buried his children and said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord”.

          Darryl W

          Sorry about the wonky blockquote. I may have put in bad html. It’s late!

          holdon

          “I have never heard anyone argue that Paul was not talking about the eternal plan for God to redeem mankind.”

          Spoken like a true supra. If there was an eternal plan to redeem then there was an eternal plan to plunge creation in evil and sin. So, in short the Planner is to blame for that.

          “Verses 3-14 are one sentence in the Greek. It is difficult to reconcile a separation of redemption from the idea of God’s omnipotent plan.”

          Well, that’s probably because your thinking is supra. So, in your conception of the “Omnipotent Plan”, God wanted sin in this world knowing that all would be lost and He could save only some.
          I don’t see predestination to salvation at all. When I see “predestination” it is to a certain purpose useful to God (not so much our condition). The predestination clauses are always followed with a “that” clause that gives the reason and salvation is not among the reasons given. Yes, Paul wrote long sentences, but I sure don’t know what you want to infer from that.

          “I do believe Scripture shows God decreeing bad things. It is stated in Lamentations 3:37, with verse 32 showing that God does cause bad things to happen, there is also Amos 3:7, Isaiah 41:23- God saying if the false gods are real let them do good or bad, Isaiah 45:7. There are also many times it is described as King David knew intimately(2 Sam 24). God sent a pestilence that killed the 70000 men for David’s sin. That is a lot of widows and fatherless children that paid for the sin of the king. God takes the life of David’s son (2 Sam 12:15). It is certainly not God’s desire to see us suffer but sometimes it is God’s will for us to suffer 1 Peter 3:17.”

          Look, God bringing about bad things, of course these verses speak to that. (apart from the last one where evil-doers do evil to the believers.) But what we were discussing is not God punishing for sins, but whether evil is “His glorious Plan”. That the actual situation is so bad, does not mean that God willed it to be bad in the first place. And He is still working to bring it to a good end: a very good end. We know God hates evil, so how can it be “His glorious Plan”? And: isn’t it possible to explain these things differently, while keeping all the facts straight: that God is Sovereign; that He absolutely hates evil; that He is absolutely Good; that the world is absolutely bad; that Man was created perfectly good; that Man is now absolutely lost and in need of salvation? I think there is a better way than Calvinism (Augustinianism), that cannot do other than make God the (ultimate) cause of evil.

          “God was glorified.
          God is omnipotent; nothing happens without him either causing it or allowing it.”

          But “God allowing” it is obvious: otherwise it wouldn’t happen. But the question is whether things can happen without God causing them. And whether the current state (if God “allowing” means He wants it be so) is His will already? Why then pray: “your will be done” if it is done already?
          But coming back to the issue of God’s Sovereignty: He sovereignly created Man in His image and likeness and gave him dominion (sovereignty) over the earth with the built-in freedom to exercise his will: choose before or against God for instance. It was His Sovereign will to continue with fallen Man, while questioning his state and motives, holding him responsible. And to announce the judgment of Satan through another Man, Jesus Christ, in order to clear this mess up and salvage those who will come on a non-coerced basis according to His own loving heart: whosoever will, come! “he that will, let him take the water of life freely.”
          This is a better way than to say “God has 2 wills”. It is all His benevolent will from beginning to end.

      rhutchin

      Brad,

      You say, “You also seem to misunderstand some of the logical conclusions of Calvinism (problem of evil).” You have been sucked into this illusion (created by atheists which should be a red flag) of a problem of evil. There is no problem of evil and it is not a logical problem for Calvinism. You accept the atheist’s definition of evil and from that point, you are dead meat for the atheist feast.

      There are two things the Calvinist affirms – omniscience and omnipotence. This means that God knows all future events and God’s decides whether to intervene to change any event or to allow natural forces to play out unhindered by Him. Thus, God decides every event that happens – He ordains them but He does not have to cause them. The only way to avoid the Calvinist conclusion is to deny either omnipotence or omniscience. This is what the Open Theists figured out so they have chosen to deny God’s omniscience.

        Brad Reynolds

        rhutchin
        “There are two things the Calvinist affirms – omniscience and omnipotence. This means that God knows all future events and God’s decides whether to intervene to change any event or to allow natural forces to play out unhindered by Him.”

        WOW – are you sure you are a Calvinist? Does God know all who will accept Him and thus decides to intervene or not? Sounds like foreknowledge plays a primary role in salvation.

        PS – who is in control of the “natural forces” that play out?

        PSS – Why would God choose to change an event he predestined to happen according to His Will? Can He even do such?

        holdon

        The Determinists make God’s knowing of all things the instrument by which (somehow: call it “ordain” to have a nice vague term) all things do happen. According to the Determinist omniscience means that the fact must be known; must be knowable; so the fact is determined before the knowledge really. In that scheme despite saying that “man has his own responsibility”, man does not really have a choice: he must do what God (fore)knows; the fact is “actualized”. Thus fundamentally, all morality is gone: whatever happens is God’s will. It’s not different than the “inshallah” of the muslim. Man can say: it must have been God’s will. Some will say: “the woman you gave me….” Gen 3:12

        The Open theists will actually have a similar reasoning. If (fore)knowledge determines what man does, then he is not free and morally responsible. But we know that man is a moral being and free, thus, (fore)knowledge does not exist for all man’s actions (only for some actions; prophecies and such). God only knows when the action is “actualized”: the future is “open”.

        The truth is that God knows all things all the time, but is not necessarily doing the “ordaining” of all things. Foreseeing is not foredoing. Of course sometimes He does “ordain” certain things. Even then, humans have a choice. He does not make the sinner sin (James 1:13). Jesus wept willing to gather the people of Jerusalem who were not willing. He was not “ordaining” them to not will, as is clear from this text, but they had rejected Him.

          Tim Guthrie

          holden,
          Excellent reply above. This paragraph will preach:
          “The truth is that God knows all things all the time, but is not necessarily doing the “ordaining” of all things. Foreseeing is not foredoing. Of course sometimes He does “ordain” certain things. Even then, humans have a choice. He does not make the sinner sin (James 1:13). Jesus wept willing to gather the people of Jerusalem who were not willing. He was not “ordaining” them to not will, as is clear from this text, but they had rejected Him.”

        volfan007

        rhutchins,

        I believe in the omnipotence of God. I also believe in the omniscience of God. I’m not a Calvinist.

        David

    Bill Mac

    rhutchin: You’re killing me. The “if you thought this through clearly you’d be a Calvinist” rhetoric is not only demonstrably false (and I say this as a Calvinist) but absolutely counterproductive to cooperation between Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the SBC. Your comment is insulting.

      rhutchin

      The problem here is understanding Calvinism and I am not convinced that you do. The foundation on which Calvinism is built consists of the attributes of God and the depravity of man. That is why Calvin and guys like Charles Hodge spend so much time talking about God and then man before even trying to get into ULIP. As a general rule, those who oppose Calvinism must (make that MUST) deny that God is omniscient and/or that man is totally depraved.

      If you are a Calvinist, then you know that Calvinism is firmly planted in the nature of God and the nature of man and that people who deny Calvinist must either deny God’s superiority and/or man’s inferiority. I do not understand why you think this is false thinking or why it might be counterproductive to force discussions of these issues.

        volfan007

        rhutchin,

        Respectively, people like you are one of the reasons why the Traditional Statement came to be.

        David

          volfan007

          That should’ve been “respectfully.”

Norm Miller

Many in this thread asked Rev. Guthrie for proof of a manual by 9 Marks on how to move a church from wherever it may be theologically to a more Reformed position. Though the posted link below doesn’t lead to a manual, it is at least digital verification of Guthrie’s claim. Here is that proof, posted here w/permission from 9 Marks.
http://www.9marks.org/journal/roadmap-church-reform
There are also two other articles on the linked page including the Reformation of a church in Durham, N.C., and an article on what makes church Reformation possible.
The first point of advice in the linked article is “Preach the Word.” The primacy of preaching is something we all applaud.
But perhaps the first step in the church Reformation process is that the pastor ought to tell the church leaders of his intent to move the church from its current theological stance to a Calvinistic one.

    Darryl W

    I agree a Pastor should be up front and make changes only as a congregation is ready.

    As a Calvinist in SBC churches all my life I have never understood Congregationalism. It seems to be the source many conflicts. I think this is relevant because I often feel like Western Philosophy colors a good bit of SBC polity.

    -Darryl

      Lydia

      “As a Calvinist in SBC churches all my life I have never understood Congregationalism. It seems to be the source many conflicts. I think this is relevant because I often feel like Western Philosophy colors a good bit of SBC polity.”

      I hear this a lot from the Calvinist wing. But as someone who has worked with many an elder led church, I can tell you the difference is this: Conflict is hidden in elder led because they lead lemmings. Conflict is NOT hidden in congregationalism because they have to deal with it and like watching congress on C-Span it can be messy. So one could very well be fake unity simply because the pew sitter is not interested and turns everthing over to a few to decide. That is not really “Baptistic” at all. The Casserole ladies have always been interested and voted.

      When I came back to the SBC years ago, the most joyous occassion was the Wed night business meeting. I was in rapture. After all the intrique and backroom plotting I had seen from a few elders running things, it was pure bliss to listen to Bob, once again, make a plea for new sound equipment and the discussion by everyone that followed.

      And I would love to hear you flesh out what you mean by “Western Philosophy” as to this subject of congregational rule. Jesus said ‘do not lord it over as the Gentiles do’ and I believe he was referring to the Greek chain of being type hierarchy (or Roman military) which is what many churches actually practice with elder rule or topdown hierarchy. We can talk a good game about elder led not being that sort of hierarchy but because of the flesh, it almost always ends up that way. Best to think of ourselves always as servants first. Perhaps “leader” never as some cannot handle it.

    John Frank

    Brother,
    I think you might be a little confused. Nowhere in this article is reformed theology mentioned. I think the phrase ‘church reform’ is throwing you off. However, with this phrase 9 Marks is referring to what some entitle ‘church revitalization,’ not reformed theology.

    Regarding the Andy Davis’s article, remember that his main issues were complementarian gender roles and liberalism, not reformed theology. While he mentions reformed theology, it isn’t the main thrust of his article by any means.

      Norm Miller

      Thx for your comment John. One question: When a Calvinist uses the word “reform,” would it be unreasonable to conclude he/she used it as a noun (reformed) and not a verb? It is at least a fair assumption to make on a Calvinistic web site from a Calvinistic author.

        John Frank

        Thanks. I would say it is best to not assume anything about anyone. One must look at the content of the article, not just one word in the title. Consider the content of the article you posted, it deals exclusively with ecclesiology (church membership, etc.) and never once mentions soteriology.

    Kyle Thomas

    Norm,

    I read the articles you linked to. The reform in question appears to be all about church polity, not Reformed theology. Case in point – the “reform” of the church in Durham was away from liberalism (women ordained, etc.) toward an elder-led polity. Fascinating story, by the way.

    I think we need to be careful in conflating these two issues. I know churches that are far from being Calvinist who have recently moved to plurality of elders. And I know lots of Reformed churches that have the typical Baptist polity (pastor, staff, deacons).

    But I do agree with you – if your intention is to eventually change things in a church, whether it’s about structure or whatever, you ought to be up front about the future vision you have for the church. Changes in polity shouldn’t be sprung on church members as a surprise.

      Norm Miller

      Thx for the clarity, Kyle. I appreciate it. Though I am not familiar with the Durham church’s history, I’d be curious to know if in that reformation the church landed at a Reformed, or Calvinistic theology.

        Alan Davis

        Thank you for the link. I had previously known it but had deleted the link. I for one like the advice, no matter if it is reforming in the sense of becoming Calvinistic or just bringing a stalled church back to running like a NT church.

        Alan

    John

    Norm,
    Your link is very informative on many levels. This is what needs to be done by folks that blog in the Christian world. Source the facts with links. It would be helpful for all that write articles to attend Blog World and sign up for the basic courses of proper blogging techniques.

    I know blogger conventions are more boring than the SBC in NOLA but it sure would advance the conversations greatly if the Christian Bloggers learned the basics of sourced structured articles and implemented them.

    Darryl Hill

    Regarding the idea of “reforming a church” I would just like to say a couple things.

    #1 It would be foolish to attempt to force a church to believe something the people do not believe.
    #2 If by preaching the Word and teaching what a pastor believes from Scripture, the people within a church begin to consider these things and gradually have their views change, should anyone have a problem with that?
    #3 Any pastor whose attitude becomes “believe like me or get out!” regarding these finer points of theology is committing sin and should be reprimanded.

    I have a friend who I mentioned in a post earlier in this very thread who found himself pastoring a very traditional (according to the recent statement) Southern Baptist Church but also simultaneously having his own views regarding soteriology change in mid-stream. He struggled with it. He considered resigning and finding another church that was perhaps reformed. Instead, he was honest about his realizations with the congregation and everyone stayed put. He was simply preaching through the Gospel of John. He just kept preaching through the Gospel of John. When he came to a text that taught something related to these doctrines, he preached them. When he came to a text that taught something else, he didn’t try to work in reformation theology. He just preached the Word. In the process of this, the church has remained intact. Some have left. Many have stayed. It’s been difficult. But he has not once said, “Agree with me or leave.” That is one of the most mission-minded churches in our area, by the way. They are active in both their own community and throughout the world and their people understand theology and know what they believe. Even those who have left understand theology and know what they believe- and they can recognize when someone is telling them differently. That’s much more than I can say for most Southern Baptists in the area.

    That is my opinion of how something like that should happen. If a church is resistant, who is going to force its cooperation? Not me. How can you force someone to believe something? I don’t think you can. You can persuade, for sure, but you can’t make them change their minds. The pastor should leave if he finds himself at odds with a congregation. I can tell you this because I’ve been at my church for 12 1/2 years as a staff member- if my staying meant a split or harm would come to this church, I would leave. I think that should be the attitude of every loving pastor no matter what camp he is from. I’m not saying he shouldn’t stand his ground on non-negotiables, but this is not a matter of breaking fellowship in my mind.

    Greg Alford

    Norm,

    “But perhaps the first step in the church Reformation process is that the pastor ought to tell the church leaders of his intent to move the church from its current theological stance to a Calvinistic one.”

    I will agree with you here if you will modify your statement to include all pastors (Calvinist, Arminian, New Anabaptist) out to tell the church leaders of their intent to move the church from it’s current theological stance to one more closely aligned with there beliefs.

    After all according to the new LifeWay survey 30% of our churches now openly identify themselves as Reformed or Calvinistic, and if we are truly concerned about pastors disrupting the peace of our local churches we must address the danger that an Arminian, or New Anabaptist, Pastor poses to a Reformed or Calvinistic church as well.

    Grace for the Journey,

Tom Parker

Mr. Guthrie:

One thing that would help me with all of your many concerns would be to– define simply –New Calvinist.

My thanks in advance for clearing up my confusion.

    Cb scott

    Tom Parker,

    I read in the Greensboro paper, just this morning, that due to the lack of rain in the mountains there in NC, the Black Bears are coming down into the lowlands where you live. The article stated the bears are very “thirsty” and “hungry.” I also know that Black Bears are very fund of Blackberries and there is an abundance of Blackberries where you live.

    I am going to visit NC in a week or two and I really like Blackberry pie. Might I impose upon you to go out today to a Blackberry thicket and pick me some Blackberries? Also, make sure you take a couple of gallons of water with you.

      volfan007

      CB,

      LOL

      David

Keith Winfree

I had very smart person tell me that we have undone the reformation by accepting the text and language of the RCC bible. We need a restoration. Tell the people the truth that the church RCC changed the NT to fit the politics of the day. Remember they killed people if you disagreed with the pope. Restoration of a few words shoulc be a good start. Restore the names of ISAIAH and JEREMIAH since you will see the truth of what the RCC did to our beloved word. ISAIAH = YashaYAHUW, JEREMIAH = YermeYAHUW. Can you not see the NAME. That is what we should restore not reform. 1 John (YAHUWchanon) tells us what is important in this debate. The prophets names mean ISAIAH (The Savior is YAHUW) and JEREMIAH (The resurrection of YAHUW). LORD = YHWH restore YHWH. We must focus on the fact that we are on a journey stop giving people a lie. Look what it is doing.
Another key point is restore the translation of the 3rd commandment that the NAME never should be treated as unimportant. We do that with LORD, JESUS, GOD. I always ask what God do you believe in my friend.
Keith YAHUW Winfree graduate of SBTS

volfan007

New Calvinists are Calvinists, who make thier Calvinism a matter of fellowship. They’re aggressive and militant in their Calvinistic views….they want the SBC to become Reformed. They are the types, who would be for converting people and churches to Reformed theology….it’s like a mission to them.

I know of regular ole Calvinists, who are not like the above paragraph. I can worship and serve the Lord all day long, and I believe they’d have no problem worshipping and serving the Lord with me. But, I find it very difficult to “get along” with the New Calvinists, who might call me a Semi Pelagian; or a heretic; or who say that I am someone who needs to really preach the Gospel; or, who wont hire anyone but Reformed people to teach in their Seminary/Baptist College; or, who only put 5 pt. Calvinists on their advisory board for a new SS curriculum; or, who sneak into a Church, which is not Reformed, and try to make it Reformed; or, who black ball someone wanting to be a DOM, but he’s not a Calvinist, so “NOPE!” Now, I can, and do, get along very well with regular Calvinists; even though I dont agree with them on some non essential doctrines. But, I do have a hard time with the New Calvinists. And, I do see the New Calvinists as the Elephant in the Room….and, I do not appreciate the division they stir up in the SBC. I also see them as the reason why the Traditional Statement even came to be….why we even see a need to have this said.

Well, anyway, there it is. Chew on that for a while.

David

    Christian

    In my opinion not only do we have an elephant in the room, but also a snake in the grass! As one of the pastors at our local SBC church stated in reference to the “Gospel Project” controversy, “What is happening isn’t even Christian!”

      Tim Guthrie

      Cristian,
      So as not to read into what you typed, could you elaborate some on that comment?

Louis

I rarely comment on this blog. My Reformed friends say that I am not truly reformed because I don’t believe all of the 5 points. I suppose my non-reformed friends would call me something short of a 5 point Calvinist, which my Reformed friends say doesn’t exist.

Tim, I will take a stab at answer your questions. Here goes:

1. Ask 10 different Calvinists what they believe must occur for a person to be saved, and you will get at least 5 different answers.

ANSWER: This is not a question. I guess it is a concern. This has not been my experience. I believe that Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Tom Ascol, Danny Akin, David Platt, Timothy George, Ed Stetzer etc. all say the same thing about salvation.

I believe that they agree with the solas of the Reformation. Salvation is by Grace through Faith.

2. Do Calvinists really believe that John 3:16 shows that only the elect are the ones God loves.

ANSWER: No. God loves the entire world and all of his creatures. I guess the question could be asked that if God loved the entire world, why would He allow some to reject the Gospel? Why not just transform everyone and open their eyes with so much love and power that rejection would be an impossibility. Why create a world where it would be possible for people to be deceived and reject God in the first place?

3. Do Calvinists believe that some people are born with NO hope of salvation?

ANSWER: I have never heard it put that way. That is the thing about theological debates. One person can have a proposition. One who disagrees can couch the proposition in such language that it truly sounds repulsive. For example, we believe that Christ, the only begotten Son of God, died on the cross for our sins, and made our forgiveness possible. Our detractors say, “Are you saying God kills his own son, employs divine child abuse, to accomplish forgiveness? Why can’t God forgive in some other way? Is He not great enough to forgive without killing his Son. Why could God not have set it up otherwise?” Of course we don’t believe that. It’s the way things are said that makes a difference. People are born with hope, but for some reason that is unknown to us the truth of Romans 9 still applies.

4. At what point do Calvinists believe salvation occurs?

ANSWER: There is some mystery here obviously. The precise millisecond is not knowable to us. When the person believes in Christ, they are saved by God’s grace.

5. How can Calvinists call Traditionalists divisive when it is the Calvinists who have web sites and blogs that specifically state their desire to change the SBC and beyond?

ANSWER: Much has been made of the Founders’ desire to impact the SBC. This desire is completely legitimate, and should not be characterized using the old Moderate Baptist lingo “takeover plan.” The Founders wanted to emphasize Reformed theology and see that spread across the convention, just as any group may have its own emphasis and seek to promote it.

I believe all of the talk about who is divisive and who is not is silly.

Until some group launches an overt political campaign to elect SBC leadership that will only promote their preferred nominees etc., everything is fine. Anything short of that is normal denominational life.

6. Young pastors and staff members are speaking and writing articles claiming it is dangerous to lead a child to pray to accept Christ? If this is true, what, then, should a child do and how should a child be lead by their parents and other influences?

ANSWER: It can be dangerous to lead a child in a way that is manipulative. This should be written about in my opinion, but also balanced with Jesus’s call to let the children come to him.

7. Why is Lifeway sponsoring The Gospel Coalition conferences?

ANSWER: Lifeway is free, I believe, to sponsor these conferences. Lifeway is free to sponsor other conferences, too. I suppose that many Southern Baptists attend these conferences, and Lifeway wants to be a part of conferences that promote the Gospel and have large Southern Baptist participation.

8. Why is Lifeway promoting more Calvinists and their material?

ANSWER: I do not know that Lifeway chooses what to promote based on whether the writers are Calvinist or not. I believe that there are many good writers who sell well today who are Calvinist. I suppose that there are non-Calvinist writers that fit the same description. It is true that Reformed theology has become more prominent in recent years, and this has raised an entire new crop of writers who are good writers. The Founders, Dr. Mohler and Southern and 9 Marks did not become prominent because of Lifeway. But their activities over the last 25 years put a whole new crop of good Reformed writers into the Christian market. Lifeway should sell their material, I suppose. Are there some writers who are being promoted who should not be?

Also, Dr. Rainer is not a five point Calvinist.

9. Why are Calvinists leaders NOT doing more to instill that pastors must be upfront with their soteriology? There are even manuals on how to transition a church from Traditional to Calvinist doctrine. If there is no move to change the SBC, why are there manuals by 9Marks and others?

ANSWER: I have not seen any material that tells young pastors not to be up front with their soteriology. I have seen advice to young pastors about how to present their soteriology in an appealing and understandable way.

Opponents are not free to dictate to people how they get to present what they believe.

Sometimes I get the impression that some non-Reformed people feel like they get to insist that every young Reformed pastor must march into a church and declare “I am a Calvinist” as the first words out of his mouth.

Those people don’t get to dictate that, however.

People who believe in a certain theology have the freedom to present it in the most appealing way.

It would be like universalists saying, “Why to Evangelicals hide their theology by talking so much about God’s love of all people. If they were honest, they should come out and say openly as a first matter that God does not love infidels if they do not accept the Evangelical precepts.”

10. Why the aggression from Calvinists because many in the SBC do NOT agree with them?

ANSWER: Aggression exists in the world of ideas because humans are involved. The debate here is not between “Old Calvinists” and “New Calvinists”, but between “Good Calvinists” and “Bad Calvinists.” Any group has its bad representatives. That is true of Non-Calvinists, too, isn’t it?

11. If the BF&M is enough, why do we have two seminaries requiring faculty to sign other statements that are Calvinist/Reformed documents?

ANSWER: Southern Seminary existed before the BF&M was created in 1925 and Southern already had the Abstract and required professors to sign that. In fact, the main drafter of the original BF&M, E.Y. Mullins, was the President of the Southern. So, there was no conflict in the minds of earlier SBC generations between Southern having and maintaining the Abstract and the SBC churches adopting the BF&M.

That way of thinking apparently continued when Southeastern was founded.

Paige Patterson, not a Calvinist, was President of Southeastern, and as far as I know never expressed concern about the Abstract there. I think that Dr. Patterson’s example in that regard is a good course for us all to follow.

For all I know, the other seminaries may have confessions or mottos etc. that do not conform to the BF&M. That’s o.k. by me.

Your question really needs to be directed to those generations of Southern Baptists who preceded us and people like Dr. Patterson.

I believe that any movement to take action to force Southern and Southeastern to abandon the Abstract, assuming those institutions did not want to do that, against so much Southern Baptist History, would be a divisive step. See my points about divisiveness above.

12. Since when did Baptist and Reform go together? The day-to-day operations of the church do not even match!

ANSWER: I am not sure that I understand this, given its wording. Just let me say, for example, that James P. Boyce and John Broadus, 2 of the 4 founding faculty members at Southern were both Reformed and were well integrated as churchmen in the SBC. There appeared to be no conflict about that. The same could be said of the other 2 founding faculty, William Williams, and Basil Manly, Jr. (who authored the Abstract, and whose father, Basil Manly, Sr. was a pastor and President of the Unviersity of Alabama). Both of these men were active in SBC church life.

13. If there is no takeover plan, why was there an SBC Professor giving the benefits of the takeover (even using a racial slur) at one of the meetings during the SBC?

ANSWER: Again, with respect, you are using Moderate Baptist langugage used to describe the CR, which was overt political activity and advertised as such (which was necessary) to change the Trustees at SBC institutions. The Founders and other Reformed groups, to my knowledge, have never proposed or taken any overt political program to push their agenda. The have used speaking, publishing, and conferences, to persuade and educate. It has been successful in many ways.

These avenues are open to all in SBC life. Hence, the John 3:16 conference etc.

Again, if either side launches political activity to try and push their plan and exclude others, I will be opposed to that.

14. Why did Lifeway do a survey that offered respondents no option other than saying they were, essentially, either Calvinists or Arminians?

ANSWER: I cannot answer this. I did not see the survey. But the use of “essentially” causes me some concern. But again, I cannot answer that. Some surveys are better than others.

15. With the exception of infant baptism, since when were Baptist and Presbyterians so much alike? Dr. James Kennedy was my kind of Presbyterian, but today’s new Calvinists are nothing close in belief and practice. Just think back to Evangelism Explosion materials (I was certified as a trainer in an SBC church). Today’s new Calvinists would reject Dr. Kennedy’s material. How and why?

ANSWER: I heard Dr. Kennedy speak at the SBC years ago. I like many things about the Evangelism Explosion material. I would not use it because it’s not my style. But the theology is great. I have not heard any so-called “New Calvinists” criticize the EE material’s theology. But I would not put any program on a pedastal such that it would be shielded from correction or criticism. I found some of the old evangelism material that I used years ago. Man is it bad. But it was good then.

I do not believe that any Baptists are going to start doing infant baptism or using Presbyteries or Ecclesiastical courts. These are significant differences.

Of course, Baptist churches have had elders over the years. It was more common in the 1800s than today, but it is seeing a comeback. I go to a church that has elders. It is very helpful. But I note that even Mark Dever writes strongly against what he calls “Elder Rule.”

Given these differences, I don’t think that Baptists are in any danger of becoming Presbyterians.

So, there you go. Those are my takes on these issues. Just one man’s opinion.

Louis

Dave

Im not a worthy spokesman by ny stretch of the imagination….but here goes. Lol

1. Ask 10 different Calvinists what they believe must occur for a person to be saved, and you will get at least 5 different answers.

This is not a question….but I’ll respond as if it were.  Every fellow Calvinist I know says that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ.  All who believe by genuine repentant faith will be saved.  For more detail….  I’d recommend “What is the Gospel”, by Greg Gilbert. 

2. Do Calvinists really believe that John 3:16 shows that only the elect are the ones God loves.

Of course, John 3 deals with salvation and I believe, as it states….that anyone who believes by genuine repentant faith will be saved, by the means of God’s graceful gift of the penal substitutionary death of His Son apart from any merit or works of man.   Period. 

3. Do Calvinists believe that some people are born with NO hope of salvation?

Despite the phrasing of the question (have you quit beating your wife?) ….. I’ll bite.  Yes.  Don’t you?  Or are  you a universalist? Fact is not everyone is saved.  Not everyone hears….or do you believe in salvation granted in a different way that through personal faith in Christ?  If salvation is by means of human choice….then if no one ever chooses….then Christ would have died in vain, right?  Wouldn’t it be possible for no one to believe at all? Of course God loves all men in a Creative sense….but only to those who believe does he granted right to be sons of God,  and thereby receive his familial love. 

4. At what point do Calvinists believe salvation occurs?  

Like the bible says “we were chosen in Him, before the foundation of the world”

5. How can Calvinists call Traditionalists divisive when it is the Calvinists who have web sites and blogs that specifically state their desire to change the SBC and beyond?

Because writing (with numerous past SBC presidents)  a document regarding salvation stating that those who disagree are not real southern baptists is in fact, by common sense,  denominationally divisive.    If the intent was not go marginalize and put us in our place…please explain what you really meant…because that’s how it came across.   

If your contention is “the founders do it, so we will too”….that seems particularly, not only juvenile, but an incredibly weak and shallow reason fr doing something.  Also, if your saying it’s wrong nd divisive for the founders…how can you then justify doing it? 

6. Young pastors and staff members are speaking and writing articles claiming it is dangerous to lead a child to pray to accept Christ? If this is true, what, then, should a child do and how should a child be lead by their parents and other influences?

Caution is a really good thing!  For the life of me I can’t see what the rub is here.  I would not use the word dangerous.  Children are incredibly impressionable and adult approval seeking.  I encourage our children and teen workers to avoid manipulation….however inadvertent.   I give the same cautions regarding adults BTW.  

Easy believism and manipulative shenanigans  should never, ever define our evangelistic practices.  We want to call people to salvation, but we don’t want to create “false converts” at any age! 

7.  Why is Lifeway sponsoring The Gospel Coalition conferences?

$$$$$.   Lifeway is a business.   They also sell and feature health wealth and prosperity materials, oneness theology authors, and the liberal leaning national youth workers convention.   If you’re wanting to place them under the total funding and control of the messengers…then make that motion. …. Otherwise they’re going to operate as a business. 

8. Why is Lifeway promoting more Calvinists and their material?

See above.  They’re not theological gatekeepers….haven’t been for a long time. 

9. Why are Calvinists leaders NOT doing more to instill that pastors must be upfront with their soteriology? There are even manuals on how to transition a church from Traditional to Calvinist doctrine. If there is no move to change the SBC, why are there manuals by 9Marks and others?

9 marks does not teach how to change to Calvinist doctrine….but how to change to biblical doctrine and practice.   Which of the 9 marks themselves are you against? 

BTW …. There are also manuals (published and distributed by state conventions) on how to spot a calvinist.  

10. Why the aggression from Calvinists because many in the SBC do NOT agree with them?

I personally know of no aggressive calvinist ….but personally know of LOTS of aggressive traditionalists.  (please try and stop lumping us all by our most obnoxious bloggers, and we’ll try and stop lumping all traditionalists by some of your most obnoxious bloggers)

11. If the BF&M is enough, why do we have two seminaries requiring faculty to sign other statements that are Calvinist/Reformed documents?

Because they’re academic institutions and continuity is important.  Also, these documents to which you refer date back to the seminaries founding.  

12. Since when did Baptist and Reform go together? The day-to-day operations of the church do not even match!

I do not think I understand this question. 

13. If there is no takeover plan, why was there an SBC Professor giving the benefits of the takeover (even using a racial slur) at one of the meetings during the SBC?

Don’t know what you’re talking about. 

14. Why did Lifeway do a survey that offered respondents no option other than saying they were, essentially, either Calvinists or Arminians?

Ask them. 

15. With the exception of infant baptism, since when were Baptist and Presbyterians so much alike? Dr. James Kennedy was my kind of Presbyterian, but today’s new Calvinists are nothing close in belief and practice. Just think back to Evangelism Explosion materials (I was certified as a trainer in an SBC church). Today’s new Calvinists would reject Dr. Kennedy’s material. How and why?

D James Kennedy was a five pointer.   

Back to the lumping idea….that’s a broad stroke!  I, nor any of my Calvinist, brothers would reject Kennedy.  

The YRR crowd that so often is called “new Calvinists” are young and fired up so to speak.   Give them a break….  I was there at one time too and bet you were too (maybe you weren’t a Calvinist, but you were fired up about your new found and newly minted theology….most if not all students and new graduates are obviously, in their own minds, “smarter” than their professors, parents, and everyone else. Lol

I haven’t lost my passion for sound theology, but I have learned with experience how to temper the fire so as not burn the joint down…lol. 

I hope this helped.

    Scott

    As a guy who is a 5 pointer, let me say that your answer to #4 is troubling. We are chosen before the foundation of the world, but our salvation is not realized until we repent and believe in Christ in response to the preaching of the Gospel. What you have said is very close to what was called “eternal justification.”

      Cb scott

      Scott,

      Earlier in this thread Tim G. was hit pretty hard for making the following comment:

      “You and I have always agreed on this. Yet I keep hearing comments that go something like this: You guys think you needed to ask Jesus, while we just realized we were.

      Big difference!”

      In a recent comment, Dave answered Q #4: At what point do Calvinists believe salvation occurs?

      Dave’s Answer:
      Like the bible says “we were chosen in Him, before the foundation of the world”

      You challenged him in your comment thusly:

      “What you have said is very close to what was called “eternal justification.”

      Scott, does your challenge to Dave, not resemble the conclusion that Tim G. has come to concerning the position that some Calvinists hold relating to Q #4?

Dr. Bruce McLaughlin

A review of Calvinism and the quagmire it has caused within the SBC are summarized at http://www.christianapologetic.org/thology.htm#2 .

Pastors, appointed SBC bureaucrats and elected SBC political hacks are terrified to reveal and defend their own beliefs on this issue. They blubber magnanimous statements about peace and unity while hoping church congregations remain ignorant. SBC institutions and leadership show, on this issue, the character, trustworthiness and truthfulness of of used car salesmen, ambulance chasing lawyers and career government politicians.

The simple solution to this problem is for each of the 46,000 Southern Baptist churches to identify themselves as either Calvinist or Traditional Baptist. Each church can then decide which seminaries they wish to support and which pastors they wish to hire. This is a moral and ethical option which relies on the “soul competency and priesthood of believers” and confirms the autonomy of the local church.

    Dan

    “The simple solution to this problem is for each of the 46,000 Southern Baptist churches to identify themselves as either Calvinist or Traditional Baptist”

    Do you really think that this is a good idea? Have you considered how many SBC churches have internal disagreements on this matter and yet practice unity among their members? Have you considered the damage and the splits that would happen if every church had to pick a side?