Youth Targeted Calvinism | Part One

October 1, 2015

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Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL

Southern Baptist youth groups are filled with young people converting away from the traditional doctrines held by their parents in favor of more Calvinistic views on salvation, church, culture and ministry. At first glance, this trend seems harmless. If anything, the students converting in spellbound droves[1] to the doctrinal views of Calvinism[2] take their faith far more seriously than their parents do. What Christian parent is going to oppose a movement that actually encourages their child to read the Bible and study theology?

Though most Southern Baptist parents are not at all familiar with the doctrines of Spurgeon, Edwards and Piper, they are profoundly relieved when they discover their teen is into books about God rather than any number of harmful or worldly temptations. In all my years of listening to Focus on the Family, I never once heard a parent ask Dr. Dobson for advice about their teenager reading too much theology. And yet, there are legitimate reasons for traditional Southern Baptist parents and church youth group leaders to view this trend as a dangerous development.[3]

The problems created by Youth Targeted Calvinism (YTC) can be divided into two groups: (a) general problems with Calvinistic doctrines that many parents may not understand, and (b) problems with the practice of targeting youth, introducing them to doctrines disaffirmed by their congregation and especially by their own parents.

Problems with Calvinism

1. Where is the love?
Calvinism is heavy on power and wrath; it is light on freedom and love. Parents who have labored to instill the message Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so, may discover that their teen now rejects this ditty, perhaps viewing it as scornfully simplistic. Teens may even embrace the view of Calvinist Arthur Pink, who wrote: God loves whom He chooses; He does not love everybody.[4] So much for all the little children of the world!

2. An Angry God?
Calvinism is associated with neo-puritanism. We tend to view the puritans as peaceful people who dressed modestly and made friends with the Indians. But Calvinist Puritan Cotton Mathers is certainly the most infamous leader responsible for the Salem Witch Trials, and Calvinist Puritan Jonathan Edwards best articulated the view that God’s disposition is primarily angry.

In his best known work, Edwards wrote: The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked. His wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire. He is of purer eyes than to bear you in his sight; you are ten thousand times as abominable in his eyes as the most hateful, venomous serpent is in ours.[5]

While it is granted that God pours out His wrath upon sin and unrepentant sinners will surely burn in hell, Edwards paints the picture of a monstrously capricious deity for whom the singing of Kumbayah My Lord on a youth group campout seems wildly out of place.

3. Which salvation plan?
Calvinism and Traditionalism both declare the same gospel, namely, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.[6] However, God’s plan of salvation, or the manner in which He works in a person’s life to implant the seed of the gospel and to save their soul, can be clearly differentiated within each theological position.

The Calvinist believes God determined, before the foundation of the world, that particular souls would be saved, while other particular souls would perish. The Traditionalist believes God does not choose particular souls irresistibly. Rather, desiring all men to be saved, He saves those exercising their free will to repent and believe when they could have done otherwise.

This brief description only skims the surface of the differences between Calvinism and Traditionalism. Young people turning to Calvinism may embrace: (a) a stricter view of church discipline than that held by most Southern Baptists, (b) an affinity for Elder Rule church government instead of Congregational Rule, (c) a tendency to reject dispensational premillennialism in favor of other views of the end times, (d) a less stringent view regarding the use of beverage alcohol, (e) a suspicious approach toward evangelism utilizing altar calls and the Sinner’s Prayer, (f) the avoidance of denominationally sponsored events in favor of broadly evangelical conferences, and (g) a tendency to frown upon existing Southern Baptist practices.

Problems With Targeting
Apart from theological concerns, let us turn our attention to the tactic of targeting youth with doctrines their parents may not even know they are learning. We live in a society that seeks, however ineffectively, to protect impressionable youth. In the state where I live, for example, one must be 19 to buy cigarettes and 21 to buy alcohol. Society recognizes that young people are still learning how to think responsibly and make mature decisions. Although theological choices do not present the same moral and ethical issues as illegal drug use, the principle that parents should be involved in decisions affecting their teenagers is impregnable.

In other areas of religious doctrine and practice, most churches exercise extreme care to gain parental consent. If a church youth group is taking a trip, a parent will be required to sign a consent form. When a teenager trusts in Christ as Lord and Savior, most churches will not baptize that young person if their parents do not give their consent to the ordinance. These are important decisions related to their teenager’s personal safety and religious practice. Parents should be involved.

Unfortunately, when it comes to Youth Targeted Calvinism, many parents are not involved at all in the decision to introduce such doctrines to their children. They may only discover the Calvinistic influence of the youth group’s discipleship plan after the fact—when teenagers have already been exposed to Calvinism. By the time parents figure out what is going on with the religious education of their kids, the die has already been cast. A doctrinal view has been introduced that historically has proven, in a great many cases, to be denominationally defining.

I can already hear the protests from Calvinistic youth ministers. “We don’t treat any other doctrine this way! Are we supposed to get parental pre-approval when we discuss our theology of the end times? Should we gain their consent before we promote cessationism over continuationism? What if we hold to a view of mankind that is tripartite instead of bipartite? How can we really be expected to run every single doctrinal topic up the parental approval flagpole?”

Frankly, such concerns may be dismissed as smokescreens. The various doctrines mentioned are not driving the kind of theological wedge we see today between Southern Baptist parents and their youth. Minor views do not rise to the level of Calvinism’s comprehensive theological system. Before students in a traditional Southern Baptist Church are introduced to the writings or the theology of Calvin, Piper, Spurgeon, Edwards, MacArthur, Keller, Sproul or Dever, youth ministers need to sit down with the parents and make sure they know what is being taught.

In many cases, Southern Baptist parents are not being briefed regarding the fact that their children are learning doctrines the parents themselves likely disaffirm.

In this part of the essay, we have explored Youth Targeted Calvinism—defining both the problems parents may have with Calvinism itself and the problems they may have with the practice of targeting youth by introducing them to doctrines without the full knowledge and consent of their parents. In Part Two, we will explore how YTC is being promoted today and consider specific case studies.

[1] “Why Are Young People So Drawn to Calvinism?” Matt Dabbs. mattdabbs.com. June 18, 2012.
[2] “Characteristics of New Calvinism.” E.S. Williams. newcalvinist.com.
[3] “Why New Calvinism is So Dangerous.” Joel Taylor. 5ptsalt.com. January 22, 2012.
[4] The Sovereignty of God. Arthur W. Pink. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1930. Pages 29-30.
[5] Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Jonathan Edwards. Enfield, Connecticut. July 8, 1741.
[6] 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. English Standard Version.

 

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Les Prouty

Would it be such a terrible thing if youth learned these doctrines and their life patterns resemble John Piper, John MacArthur, Tim Keller, RC Sprout, Mark Dever, Lig Duncan, DA Carson, Alistair Begg, JI Packer, Al Mohler? You think ANY parent would object if their children turned out like any of these modern Calvinists? Now someone will likely come up with some Calvinists who have caused a pock mark on Calvinism and Christianity. I’m pretty sure she will. But we wouldn’t have to look far to find non Calvinists in Traditionalists churches who have done the same. So that won’t work. Glass houses.

    norm

    She, Les? She? What do you mean by that, and why did you pen it?

    I am not very trusting of anyone who cannot see thru the theological fallacies of Calvinism, or of those who do, but ride the wave of fad-ism for the sake of building organizations.

    Your Calvinistic theology leads you to believe that the baptism of babies is biblical. Does that not make the rest of your theological views suspect?

    And as was suggested many months ago by the author of this post, that Calvin wanted to see Servetus dead provided ample reason to look askance at the rest of his theological underpinnings. The theological underpinnings of the men you have cited — all Calvinists or strongly Calvinistic — have been challenged and roundly refuted repeatedly on this blog.

    And, yes, I believe that many parents would be deeply concerned if their children believed as the men you cited, particularly Piper, who attributes all sorts of evil to God — which, of course, is the logical end of Calvinism.

    So, you make my point in my comment below: parents must be the primary theological educators of their children, and not the men you cited.

      Les Prouty

      Hi Norm,

      She alone was a mistype. It should have read “I’m pretty sure she/he will.”

      “Your Calvinistic theology leads you to believe that the baptism of babies is biblical. Does that not make the rest of your theological views suspect?”

      Not really Calvinism. Many Calvinists agree with you that credo immersion is the only way.

      Servetus dead horse has been beaten quite enough. “The theological underpinnings of the men you have cited — all Calvinists or strongly Calvinistic — have been challenged and roundly refuted repeatedly on this blog.” Well certainly there are “attempts” to refute their theological underpinnings.

      “And, yes, I believe that many parents would be deeply concerned if their children believed as the men you cited…”

      Actually what I said was “Would it be such a terrible thing if youth learned these doctrines and their life patterns resemble John Piper, John MacArthur, Tim Keller, RC Sprout, Mark Dever, Lig Duncan, DA Carson, Alistair Begg, JI Packer, Al Mohler?”

      Notice those words “and their life patterns resemble.” I doubt that any parent would object if their children believed the doctrines of grace AND their life patterns resembled any of these man.

      Blessings brother.

        Robert

        Les Prouty the defender of Calvinism makes some inaccurate, even false statements in the following exchange:

        [[“Your Calvinistic theology leads you to believe that the baptism of babies is biblical. Does that not make the rest of your theological views suspect?”
        Not really Calvinism. Many Calvinists agree with you that credo immersion is the only way.
        Servetus dead horse has been beaten quite enough. “The theological underpinnings of the men you have cited — all Calvinists or strongly Calvinistic — have been challenged and roundly refuted repeatedly on this blog.” Well certainly there are “attempts” to refute their theological underpinnings.]]

        Actually if Prouty were honest and forthright he would admit that Reformed theology (at least the vast MAJORITY who hold it), do espouse the false teaching of infant baptism. And this is easily traced to another false doctrine, covenant theology. Because the Reformed hold to covenant theology this forms the foundation for them also to espouse infant baptism. Prouty’s statement that “many Calvinists agree with you that credo immersion is the only way” is both inaccurate and misleading.

        There are SOME Calvinists who hold to believer baptism (e.g. the Reformed Baptists): but anyone familiar with that movement knows they are a minority within the Reformed group and that others in the Reformed group reject them as Reformed (it is interesting observing this squabble between those who view themselves as the “truly” Reformed who do hold infant baptism versus the Reformed Baptists who consider themselves as Reformed but are rejected by the others as not truly Reformed).

        Regarding the Servetus horse being beaten enough, this is also inaccurate as people need to know how the Reformers mistreated others (Calvin is an extremely bad example in his murder of Servetus, imprisoning and exiling people and complete violation of church/state separation for his own power; Luther’s siding with the nobles and mistreatment of the peasants and hatred of the Jews; multiple Reformers mistreatment of the Anabaptists, etc.). Those who choose to look the other way regarding these things show only that their commitment to the false theology of Calvinism is greater than their allegiance to godly character and behavior. These things have been presented on this blog, but for those with hard hearts who put theology ahead of how others are treated, this will have little impact upon them. And consider Prouty himself, a person who once espoused the truth (i.e. Baptist beliefs) but has renounced them in favor of false Reformed beliefs including covenant theology and infant baptism (he has to be hardened on the these things, hardened against the truth and now espousing error with no hesitation). The modern fans of Reformed theology tend to be intelligent types who prioritize that theology over godly character and behavior. Someone who prioritizes godly character and behavior would have major, major problems with the Reformers conduct and the conduct of their descendants as well (such a person would value the godly examples of Anabaptists much more than the ungodly conduct of the Reformers). But of course all of this can be put under the rug so some can keep on espousing their Calvinist theology.

          Lydia

          “Regarding the Servetus horse being beaten enough, this is also inaccurate as people need to know how the Reformers mistreated others (Calvin is an extremely bad example in his murder of Servetus, imprisoning and exiling people and complete violation of church/state separation for his own power; Luther’s siding with the nobles and mistreatment of the peasants and hatred of the Jews; multiple Reformers mistreatment of the Anabaptists, etc.). Those who choose to look the other way regarding these things show only that their commitment to the false theology of Calvinism is greater than their allegiance to godly character and behavior.”

          It boggles my mind. As a lover of history, I just could not accept Calvinism/Reformed as much as I tried. And yes, I was attracted to the seriousness at first. “Men of their time” arguments just try to make evil into something benign. A Reformed person asked me the other day what history might record about the church today (Driscoll, Mahaney, etc) and suggested it would be similar to how it was recorded about the Reformation. I told him I hoped us dissenters would be mentioned. There is certainly more material and a bigger footprint than what the Ana Baptists were able to smuggle around.

          “Those who choose to look the other way regarding these things show only that their commitment to the false theology of Calvinism is greater than their allegiance to godly character and behavior. ”

          This is it for me. And today they “look the other way” and even teach sin leveling concerning heinous crimes to protect image and have control.

          And they are confusing to teens. They teach you really have no “ability” yet when it comes to character and integrity they contend we are just teaching “morality”. Well, what was Jesus like? He is our example of the perfect Human. Are we to strive for that or not? Do unto others? For them, that is one way. Do as I say but do unto me as I want..

          How about we start with some history lessons. I have read portions of Martyrs Mirror with my kids who were freaked out that other “Christians” put them to their death. That is why we look to Christ. We must KNOW Him and follow him. Not the gurus.

            Robert

            Lydia,

            “It boggles my mind. As a lover of history, I just could not accept Calvinism/Reformed as much as I tried. And yes, I was attracted to the seriousness at first. “Men of their time” arguments just try to make evil into something benign. A Reformed person asked me the other day what history might record about the church today (Driscoll, Mahaney, etc) and suggested it would be similar to how it was recorded about the Reformation. I told him I hoped us dissenters would be mentioned. There is certainly more material and a bigger footprint than what the Ana Baptists were able to smuggle around.”

            I am a big fan of history as well, which is why whenever I hear some Calvinist such as Prouty make reference to this Reformed tradition I have the same thought: you really have to put a lot of disgusting events under the rug to say this with a straight face. The person who can do this with a straight person is not a person of high moral character. And what I have been taught from the beginning of my Christian walk is that character is the most important consideration of a church leader or Bible teacher.

            That is why there is such a major, major disconnect between the Reformers as supposedly great teachers and yet look at their conduct. To take Luther as an example. Reformed types speak highly of his stand on justification through faith: but these same folks are not alarmed or disgusted by Luther’s hatred of the Jewish people! Same goes for Calvin, they are happy to esteem his Institutes, but then Servetus and others he severely persecuted are just due to him being a “man of his times.” This continual minimizing and ignoring and even hiding what these people did to others (again consider their treatment of the Anabaptists) is just inexcusable.

            “This is it for me. And today they “look the other way” and even teach sin leveling concerning heinous crimes to protect image and have control.”

            People of high moral character do not look the other way, they repent of their sin and do not justify sin. But when you have a movement that esteems the Reformers then you have to look the other way, put things under the rug, engage in major spin to rationalize your movement and “heroes”.

            “And they are confusing to teens. They teach you really have no “ability” yet when it comes to character and integrity they contend we are just teaching “morality”. Well, what was Jesus like? He is our example of the perfect Human. Are we to strive for that or not? Do unto others? For them, that is one way. Do as I say but do unto me as I want..”

            The de-emphasis on character and Christian morality comes from an overemphasis on what God does and the consequences of affirming monergism in salvation. If “God does it all”, then there is no need to talk about character and sanctification takes a back seat to discussions of how we become saved (election, irresistible grace, etc.) rather than what we should be doing now that we are saved.

            “How about we start with some history lessons. I have read portions of Martyrs Mirror with my kids who were freaked out that other “Christians” put them to their death. That is why we look to Christ. We must KNOW Him and follow him. Not the gurus.”

            If they are “freaked out” about what the Reformers did, they show they have a conscience and moral sensibility. If they are informed about what these Reformers did, they will not be duped by the latest efforts of Calvinists to promote their Reformed heritage and promote the Reformers as examples to be followed. What they did to the Anabaptists ought to be a clear wake up call to all Baptists of the “heritage of the Reformers”. If Calvin and Luther and Zwingli were around today and had the power they had back then, imagine what they would say and do to Baptists today????

              Dennis Lee Dabney

              Robert,

              If Calvin, Luther and Zwingli were around today, we would have absolutely nothing to “image”. Why, because the “reality” would surpass even our “imagination”.

              Preach!

              mc

              This is not directed specifically at Robert or Lydia, I just found this a good place to put my thought. I am not a Calvinist, I am a Christian. I believe the whole counsel of God’s Word. There are “tough” passages on both sides that one side uses to prove their perspective and disprove the other, and vice versa. I was not raised in the SBC, but as a child I heard the reputation of the SBC as being divisive, petty, argumentative, and stubborn, while arguing over the inerrancy of Scripture. Much of this was pre-“Conservative Resurgence.” I vowed to NEVER join a SBC church. By God’s providence, He changed that when he moved me and my family, and led us to a strong Bible-believing, proclaiming local church. As I personally studied the Word and viewed verses and chapters in CONTEXT (even before the move), I unknowingly shifted toward what I later learned was the “Doctrines of Grace.” I thought I was just growing in my understanding of, and love of, Scripture.

              To shorten this (perhaps too late), I do not follow Calvin or Luther. I read the Word asking the Spirit to teach me and clean out ANY previous skewed / slanted teachings. When people ask me my theology, and listen as I explain, they sometimes say, “So you are a Calvinist / Reformed.” I am not a Calvinist, or any other “ist.” I am very gladly “Reformed” because much of the legalistic, out-of-context teaching I received earlier has been straightened and cleaned up. Studying Scripture began to reveal to me a God that is / was much bigger than the God of legalism that I had heard about for 40 years.

              I am a two-time graduate of a very traditional Baptist seminary that is NOT Reformed, NOT Calvinistic. I have an earned PhD in Church History. I have studied all sides and angles of the Luther/Calvin/Reformed arguments and I have learned at least one thing: Authors write books with agendas. I have read, and can cite, several sources that present Calvin as a wicked, mean-spirited, and self-willed dictator of Geneva. I can also cite sources that say he was only one of many men in Geneva, and wielded relatively little personal power. I read how he was compassionate and kind. So I agree we should not exalt Calvin, Luther, Piper, Dever. Let’s honestly, prayerfully, carefully read the whole counsel of God and rely upon it as our source, not the writings of Luther, or writings about Calvin. I am sure historians will differ on the “greatness” of Barack Obama in 100 years, since the modern media already do.

              As a side note, “targeting youth” is one of MANY reasons I am completely against youth groups / youth ministries. The problem started when we started hiring “professionals” to do our job as parents – which is to be our children’s spiritual teacher. The SBC is as guilty as any of farming out the parent’s responsibility to, in many cases, strangers. If so many parents, and pastors, are so concerned about the youth and their spiritual education and training, we MUST expect our PARENTS to be responsible and HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE. The problem is most of the SBC pastors do not take charge of their own children’s spiritual development, because many of our senior pastors were once youth directors (cannot say “youth pastor”).

                Lydia

                “I am very gladly “Reformed” because much of the legalistic, out-of-context teaching I received earlier has been straightened and cleaned up. Studying Scripture began to reveal to me a God that is / was much bigger than the God of legalism that I had heard about for 40 years.”

                I never know what people mean when they say this. Are you antinomian? There ARE laws: Love and obey. There is nothing more legalistic than an arbitrary God who randomly selects who will be saved before the world is created or Adam even sinned. That is more like Allah. Not Yahweh. How people can claim to know Jesus Christ and believe this boggles my mind.

                I have no doubt you think you were not taught well for 40 years. I was in the seeker movement that was so shallow and platitudinal it was ridiculous. But I can tell you that my early education in the SBC was excellent. We were taught we had to know Jesus Christ personally. We were taught the function of the Holy Spirit in a believers life. We were taught our responsibility as one in the Holy Priesthood and we would be held accountable for how we lived out the kingdom of God here and now. In sum, we were taught that we co-labor in sanctification because we have responsibility. We were not taught a cheap grace. That we could molest children as believers because we remain wicked and unable so say, “I repent” and all is well. We were taught repentence was a total change a “from…..to” metamorphisis that became obvious to all around. We love truth, justice, beauty and mercy. A tall order as they become complicated.

                In my home, I was blessed to have a mother that lived out the Good News to everyone she met. It is not just about correct doctrine. It is what we do with it that makes the biggest difference. .That is what is missing in the Reformed world which focuses on power.

                  mc

                  Lydia – I am sorry you experienced (apparently) those how claim to be reformed who also focused on power. That has NOT been my experience at all. I am not antinomian. As for “an arbitrary God who randomly selects who will be saved before the world is created or Adam even sinned…” This is what led me to say, “Studying Scripture began to reveal to me a God that is / was much bigger than the God of legalism.” Perhaps I should not have added “legalism” to that line.
                  Nevertheless, I believe the Scriptures when / where God says, ““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.” “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

                  Psalm 50:21

                  Earlier in life, I thought I HAD to figure out God. I even thought I could with enough studying and sermons. This is what i mean by “God being bigger” than before. I trust in a COMPLETELY sovereign God & Savior. He does not need me to defend His actions or choices. And I certainly am NOT trying to do that here. Being absolute CREATOR, LORD, and the SOVEREIGN of the universe, He can do as He pleases.

                  Please read just about every chapter 1 of Paul’s letters –

                  Ephesians 1:3-4 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” It is very clear here…

                  The whole book of Ephesians is simply showing that God can/does/will choose the Bride for His Son. Read the book carefully. The Father chooses the Bride that He will then give to His Son, who will give the Bride back to the Father.
                  Really quite beautiful!!

                  John 6:43-44 – “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.’ ”

                  Please read over and pray through these…

                    Lydia

                    Mc, are you in the SBC or a mainline Reformed church?

                  mc

                  Lydia – sorry, could not post below. I am in SBC.

            Shawn

            Lydia, amongst other wrong-headed, utterly unsupported claims, and straw man arguments (by the compounded dozen), you said “Calvin is an extremely bad example in his murder of Servetus …”.

            I won’t even get into anything else at this point except to say this: Be sure that you actually check out matters before you go and break the 9th commandment in such a flagrant manner. Calvin murdered no one. Period. Get your facts straight, and that means look into the matter from more than some scam page on the internet. It’s a very dangerous thing to falsely accuse someone, especially of murder.

            Here is a reasonable resource for you to get a little better idea of what happened with Servetus:
            https://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2009/calvin-and-servetus-2/

              Steve Williams

              Thanks for the reference Shawn. The truth is just too unsavory for those who refuse to even consider that history is not always what they have been told. It would remove their excuses. “I know what I believe. Don’t confuse me with the truth.”

              Lydia

              Oh my Shawn. Stop with the koolaid. Try reading around that historical era. Not just reformed approved sources. In addition to that horror resd the Genevan council minutes. You could have your tongue branded for saying bad things about Calvin. His second time around in Geneva he became a total despot. Often using his man Friday for the dirty work.

              The burning of Servetus was actually premeditated by Calvin. It is in a letter he wrote to a friend a few years before Servetus was passing through while fleeing. Calvin/Servetus had had a correspondence over Calvin’s writings. Calvin was furious over Servetus’ correcting him.

              Please do your homework outside what the Reformed world wants you to believe.

              Are you familiar with what Calvin did to his former protege, Castellio? Are you familiar with his response to the plague victims begging him to come pray over them?

              He is not a hero of the Faith. He is the opposite.

                Shawn

                “Oh my Shawn. Stop with the koolaid.”

                Me? Koolaid? Hilarious!
                Look sister, this is the way it is: I don’t care WHAT the truth is, I care what the truth IS. Understand? If you can show me from both the Scriptures, and from History, as well as from good reason, that my position is false, I will gladly, and immediately abandon it. What do I care? I didn’t make up my faith. I’m not stuck with believing ANYTHING. In fact I’m BEGGING you, or ANYONE to actually PROVE that my position is wrong, and that yours (or someone else’s) is right. Wanna know why? Because I’m only interested in the truth, NOT preserving my “traditional” denominational views.

                <>

                Oh, I have, and that has great bearing on what sorts of things happened in those days. You don’t seem to have actually grasped this tough. I supposed you’re of the sort who gets all in a huff and says “I would never have owned African slaves if I were a wealthy person in those days”. Is that you? And that brings up the question, Did you even read the article? It was only a short article. It wasn’t even a book, just an article. Did you read it? Did you actually read it? Did you even skim it? If you at least skimmed it, then go back and READ it. If you did neither, then you’re basically proving that you’re afraid of the facts.

                <>

                LOL! It just gets funnier and funnier.

                <>

                Servetus correcting him? Pardon me? Do you even have a clue as to what you’re saying? Servetus corrected Calvin … on what? The deity of Christ? You do know that Servetus denied the deity of Christ and was preaching that heresy, right? You do know that he was already found guilty by the church of Rome, and the death sentence was already upon him for unrepentant blasphemy. Read the article.

                <>

                Already have. Now if you would, please read the article.

                  Lydia

                  Shawn, I read the article a while back. Again, I encourage you to read outside approved Reformed sources.

                  Donald

                  Shawn, your mocking tone tells us all a lot more about your teachability than the words you write. Everyone should stop reading your post after “Lood sister….”

                    Shawn

                    Donald: “Shawn, your mocking tone tells us all a lot more about your teachability than the words you write. Everyone should stop reading your post after “Lood sister….””

                    Hey, nice dodge on not actually addressing the issue at hand, but that seems to be your default position, based upon your knee-jerk responses so far.
                    I also haven’t a clue as to what “Lood” is, and I don’t think I ever said it.
                    I suppose you think that 2+2?4 if Hitler says that 2+2=4, because Hitler was a bad man, and bad people cannot say anything right?
                    Are you intimidated by people who actually study the Scriptures and believe them?

              Lydia

              ” Be sure that you actually check out matters before you go and break the 9th commandment in such a flagrant manner. ”

              Beware of the 2nd commandment and attributing to God what is NOT from God.

                Shawn

                “Beware of the 2nd commandment and attributing to God what is NOT from God.”

                Such as …?

              Cheryl Cali

              Thank you

            Josh Duncan

            It “boggles my mind” that traditionalist Southern Baptists will actually quote Paul, given that he participated in the murder of Steven. Therefore, since Calvin advocating the execution of a heretic makes everything he said wrong, and Paul once facilitated the execution of a Jewish heretic, everything either of them said about Christian doctrine must be wrong.

              Kyle Gulledge

              Greetings Josh,

              Thanks for your interaction here at SBC Today. It boggles my mind that the banner/label that is so often given to Traditionalists is that of building a “Straw Man!” No matter what we have to say we are quickly called out and told that our arguments are straw men. So, allow me to return the favor. You argument here is full of logical fallacies (I’ll be nice and let you pick which one you want!). Let me state the obvious difference. Paul was not a Christian when the stoning took place. Then Paul had that wonderful encounter with Christ. Then Paul authored parts of the living, breathing, infallible, inerrant, trustworthy, life-changing, Word of God. So, why wouldn’t we quote Paul? Did I miss the chapter or book that Calvin wrote? Oh wait, that’s right–he did no such thing. Surely you are not trying to elevate Calvin to the level of those who are the authors of Scripture? I don’t think you are, and I am not accusing you of that–but that is just a short leap from the argument that you are making. I think the problem for “reformed” guys about Traditionalists quoting Paul is that is the “go to” book to defend your theology. So it is shocking to most that we Traditionalists read/use it. So instead of bringing up fallacious arguments–why not simply stick the the authors piece which has to do with parental rights. Also, I am not sure why those on the other side of the soteriological aisle always claim that we, Traditionalists, believe everything that Calvin said is wrong–who said that? Where? He has some very good things to say–but also many things that I don’t agree with. It’s unfortunate that his name is tied to a system of theology that he himself would probably not advocate (yes, that is my opinion).

              Have a blessed day in the Lord my brother.

              A Whosoever,

              Jon Carter, Editor
              SBC Today

                Dennis Lee Dabney

                Jonathan,

                Amen and Amen,

                Israel wasn’t required to accept God’s command from Moses nor follow him who while defending his brethren killed the Egyptian. It wasn’t until after the burning bush and his commission were they to required to receive the Word of God by following him

                The same is true, as you so eloquently mentioned of
                Saul of Taurus before his Damascus Rd experience. The Church of our Lord Jesus Christ wasn’t required to receive him or his, hatred, nor rhetoric against the Church. He who declared himself the Chief of sinners consented to the death of God’s choice saints. It was only after his conversion and subsequent commission are we to receive him and the doctrine committed to him.

                My final observation is this, “When one handles someone else’s”hay”most of the day, then their own hay the remainder of the day and night, No one should be surprised if at some point everything starts to resemble “Straw”.

                Preach!

                Josh Duncan

                Jon,

                “Straw Man!” No matter what we have to say we are quickly called out and told that our arguments are straw men”

                It is very possible to raise an objection to another position without raising a strawman (though, ironically, I wonder where you see me making that claim in my comment.) Perhaps, brother, you should consider that the reason that the traditionalists on SBC today are being accused of making strawman argument is not because your opponents are all thin-skinned illogical morons, but that quoting three sentences of Jonathan Edwards and then characterizing him as preaching a capricious God is so clearly a strawman fallacy, the fact you even bring up the term when I didn’t tells me that I think you recognize this site is publishing quite a bit of really bad argumentation against Reformed thinkers. Even scales, brother. Three sentences of Edwards is not enough to accuse him of believing in an angry, unjust God, particularly when his theology was so passionately focused upon grace and mercy.

              Lydia

              “It “boggles my mind” that traditionalist Southern Baptists will actually quote Paul, given that he participated in the murder of Steven. Therefore, since Calvin advocating the execution of a heretic makes everything he said wrong, and Paul once facilitated the execution of a Jewish heretic, everything either of them said about Christian doctrine must be wrong.”

              Do we have any evidence that Paul was participating in murdering others after he was saved to the truth of Jesus Christ? If not, how does your point stand? Calvin claimed to be saved by Jesus Christ (and that he represented Christ’s truth) YET advocated heinous treatment of people who dared not to go along with his ST. Did Paul continue in the persecution— except the new focus was on those who were not Christians?

              Thinking is not a strong point in the YRR movement.

                Les

                Lydia, are you suggesting that a child of God is incapable of murder?

                  Lydia

                  “Lydia, are you suggesting that a child of God is incapable of murder?”

                  What are the circumstances?

                Les Prouty

                Lydia,

                Let me help jog your memory. I asked, “are you suggesting that a child of God is incapable of murder?”

                Think David. Uriah.

                SDG!

                  Lydia

                  Les, Think the cross/resurrection. Then name one from the NT.
                  Before salvation.
                  It is no wonder some people believe long time “Christans” molest children and commit heinous crimes against others as a matter of “walking” in the light. .

                    Lydia

                    “Before salvation.”

                    Big oops. I meant “after” salvation. I cannot think of one.

                  Les Prouty

                  Lydia,

                  “Les, Think the cross/resurrection. Then name one from the NT.” “After salvation.”

                  Lydia, surely you are not advocating there were no children of God prior to the cross, are you? Or that salvation ws different in the OT, or you?

                  Fact is you’ve painted yourself into a corner and are now trying to argue dispensations and NT silence. Bad hermeneutics there.

                  I already gave you one example from scripture where a child of God committed premeditated murder to go along with his adultery. But please make your case biblically that a child of God post cross 100% cannot commit a murder. Please. maybe some of your friends on this site will jump in and help you.

                  SDG!

                    Lydia

                    “Lydia, surely you are not advocating there were no children of God prior to the cross, are you? Or that salvation ws different in the OT, or you?”

                    I will borrow your tactic: Surely Les, you are not suggesting Jesus Christ was a moot point and not necessary?

                    Lydia

                    “I already gave you one example from scripture where a child of God committed premeditated murder to go along with his adultery. ”

                    Here is a takeaway for the kids concerning David: God was their King but the Jews begged for a human king like the pagans had. That is the first lesson. David had free will and was eventually corrupted by his own power. Today, he would be in prison for polygamy and premeditated murder. So, what changed?

                    It is above my pay grade to announce the “keys” like 9 Marx does. But if there is one thing I cannot stand it is to reframe the story to leave out the bad parts and excuse them. I would rather we strive to be like Jesus than David. My guess is Calvin thought he was being like David.

                  Les

                  Lydia,

                  “I will borrow your tactic: Surely Les, you are not suggesting Jesus Christ was a moot point and not necessary?”

                  Not at all. So, is a child of God capable or incapable of murder? OT child of God–yes or no? NT child of God–yes or no?

                  Can you answer a very simple, straight up answer?

                  SDG!

                  Les

                  Lydia, I realized I didn’t word the question properly. Just so there’s no confusion:

                  So, is a child of God capable of murder? OT child of God–yes or no? NT child of God–yes or no?

                  SDG!

                    Lydia

                    “So, is a child of God capable of murder? OT child of God–yes or no? NT child of God–yes or no?”

                    “Capable”? See how determinism comes into everything. I believe all people, with the mental capacity, whether Christian or not, are “capable” of murder. Because one is capable, does not mean one carries it out.

                    I also take motivation into consideration, such as attempting to protect innocents or prevent mass murders. Such as Bonhoeffer. Of course, the determinist god did not allow his band of brothers to succeed which means God wanted Hitler to carry on longer, right?

                    Les

                    “Capable”? See how determinism comes into everything. I believe all people, with the mental capacity, whether Christian or not, are “capable” of murder. Because one is capable, does not mean one carries it out.”

                    So I can count you as one who agrees that a born again person can commit murder. Thank you. My point stands.

                    SDG!

                  Les

                  Lydia,

                  I really got what I expected. A non answer answer. You’re apparently afflicted with total inability after all. :)

                  “But if there is one thing I cannot stand it is to reframe the story to leave out the bad parts and excuse them.”

                  Precisely. That’s what we Reformed biblical interpreters have been saying. A child of God, though he/she is safe in Jesus if born again, can still sin, sometimes grievously.

                  “I would rather we strive to be like Jesus than David.” On that we agree.

                  “My guess is Calvin thought he was being like David.” I’m happy your “guesser” machine is fallible. It malfunctioned on that one.

                  Now back t where we started. Substituting David for Paul, I’ll quote you:

                  “Do we have any evidence that David was participating in murdering others after he was saved to the truth of Jesus Christ? If not, how does your point stand?”

                  Point stands, rather strongly at that.

                  SDG!

                Andrew Barker

                Lydia: This is becoming an alarming trend among the YRR contributors who for reasons best known only to God (because he surely determines ‘everything’) seem unable to think straight. I can only reach the conclusion that this is some form of ‘inherited’ inability. ;-)

                  Lydia

                  “Lydia: This is becoming an alarming trend among the YRR contributors who for reasons best known only to God (because he surely determines ‘everything’) seem unable to think straight. I can only reach the conclusion that this is some form of ‘inherited’ inability. ;-)”

                  It is alarming. If being new creatures in Christ and Born Again means we still commit horrible heinous sins against each other and then use sin leveling to dismiss them easily, then what was the point of the cross/resurrection? So we could do horrible things to others and get by with it? I guess if your very existence is sin then it makes a tad bit more sense but one would think the determinist God would change them for real instead of leaving them totally depraved and unable to change.

              Dennis Lee Dabney

              Josh,

              Saul consented to the death of some in the Church before his conversion. How many afterward?

              So are you saying John Calvin was still lost in his sins when Servetus was sentenced to death?

              Preach!

              Scott Shaver

              Biblical scholarship in rare form there Josh Duncan.

              Was Paul a confessing Christian when he held cloaks and encouraged the stoning of Steven?

              LOL. For folks who claim to “STUDY” and “REVERE” Scripture, you Geneva boys sure seem to have a proficiency for overlooking clearly stated biblical facts.

          Les

          Robert,

          I’ll just quote Dr. Braxton Hunter from a comment he made to another commenter on a different post, with slight modification.

          “I am astonished at your lack of humility. You and I have always had direct, but cordial exchanges [well maybe not] yet this is off the reservation. Frankly, I should not reply, but I will. No maybe I won’t.”

          Blessings brother.

          Chad

          Robert,

          Read any of the reputable objective biographies of Calvin (McGrath, Gordon, Parker, etc.) and you will find that not only did Calvin not murder Servetus, but he also petitioned the Little Council to exile him rather than execute him. Calvin had no authority to execute anyone and was not even a citizen of Geneva when the trial of Servetus took place, so he was not “responsible” for the execution. He did oppose Servetus because he considered his Unitarianism to be a blight on Christian Europe that would rob people of their eternal salvation if they listened to him and accepted his teachings. But the old saw that Calvin had Servetus killed is just plainly and simply false.
          As to,pedobaptism, many Baptists who hold to Calvinistic soteriology do,not feel compelled to follow Calvin’s reasoning on baptism. Many reject covenant theology. Read Gentry and Wellum’s book Kingdom through Covenant. It is an affirmation of Calvinistic soteriology but a rejection of the covenant hermeneutic that underlies much Reformed theology today. There are many others whose views are similar to theirs. Affirming Calvinistic soteriology only leads to pedobaptism (and then, certainly not always) if one accepts the covenant hermeneutic of Bullinger, Cocceius, etc. Even Calvin himself did not develop that hermeneutic, though he certainly laid the ground word for it upon which later generations built. All Southern Baptist Calvinists that I know affirm credo-immersion, as well as all Reformed Baptists, and many other evangelicals (E-free, Bibke church pastors, etc.) and do not feel compelled to follow Calvin and his Reformed brethren to reject that, since the Bible clearly teaches disciples’ baptism.
          As for the idea that Calvinists put head over heart, have you read Piper, or Edwards? Someone noted that Edwards loved to preach on the God who hates. Someone did a study of Edwards’ sermons a few years back and concluded that he preached four times as often on the beauty and grace of God as he did on God as judge. Everyone loves to quote the Enfield sermon, but it becomes a straw man in the hands of those who do not look a little deeper. Read Marsden’s biography and you will have a more nuanced understanding of the man.

            Robert

            Chad and Shawn(and anyone else who venerates John Calvin),

            Some of us are concerned about the legacy of Calvin and the Reformers **not based solely on the Servetus incident**. We have read extensively on these supposed “heroes”. Servetus was just a symptom of the disease, the disease being the lack of Christian character of John Calvin who systematized the theological novelty created and originated by Augustine.

            I have read on the Reformation era and on the Reformers, and the best biography I have seen (and some Calvinists believe it is the best as well) on Calvin is the one by Bruce Gordon.

            Here is Gordon’s description of Calvin in the preface:

            “John Calvin was the greatest Protestant reformer of the sixteenth century, brilliant, visionary, and iconic. The superior force of his mind was evident in all that he did. He was also ruthless, and an outstanding hater. Among those things he hated were the Roman church, Anabaptists and those people who, he believed, only faint-heartedly embraced the Gospel and tainted themselves with idolatry. He saw himself as an instrument of God, and as a prophet of the Church he brooked no rivals. He never felt he had encountered an intellectual equal, and he was probably correct. To achieve what he believed to be right, he would do virtually anything. Although not physically imposing, he dominated others and knew how to manipulate relationships. He intimidated, bullied and humiliated, saving some of his worst conduct for his friends.”(from the preface)

            Does that sound like a man of godly Christian character?

            I would say No.

            Is a man manifesting this kind of character to be emulated, followed or even respected? No.

            By the marks of a Christian (including love of the brethren, love of the lost, the character traits required of elders) Calvin does not fit these things at all.

            Later Calvinists such as you, overlook and minimize his lack of character, his hatefulness towards others, his sinful actions towards others and focus only on the **content** of his beliefs and theology and writings (again look at the description: “To achieve what he believed to be right, he would do virtually anything. Although not physically imposing, he dominated others and knew how to manipulate relationships. He intimidated, bullied and humiliated, saving some of his worst conduct for his friends.”).

            I was taught that a godly person is seen in their character first, not the content of what they teach or promote. There is no way looking at this person who was “an outstanding hater”, who “intimidated, bullied and humiliated” others, that you could conclude that he was an example in character of what a Christian leader ought to be. Ironically modern Calvinists seem to follow Calvin’s example: like him they tend to be very smart but also very hateful of all others who believe differently.

            I don’t accept your veneration of Calvin, as we should honor people worthy of honor (which biblically speaking is godly persons who exhibit godly character). A person with the lack of character of John Calvin shouldn’t even be considered for a pastorate of a local church. In the world they may esteem someone’s intellect or intellectual accomplishments (Einstein being a perfect example of this) while at the same time overlooking or minimizing their character or immorality. But that is not the Christian way. We esteem people who exhibit godly character, who trust the Lord in difficult circumstances even if they are hated by the world. As that is our standard we ought not to esteem people who have the lack of Christian character like John Calvin.

              Shawn

              Robert: “Chad and Shawn(and anyone else who venerates John Calvin)”

              I don’t venerate Calvin. I’ve barely even read anything the man wrote. That’s possibly not a great thing, but I’m kind of glad that I haven’t because I don’t need to credit Calvin with what I believe. We just both happen to believe similarly when it comes to the Doctrines of Grace. We both agree with the Scriptures.

              ” Ironically modern Calvinists seem to follow Calvin’s example: like him they tend to be very smart but also very hateful of all others who believe differently.”
              Um, not sure of what you mean by “hateful” unless you mean that we’re able to corner our opponents because of their unstable, unbiblical position, as “hateful”.
              Can we get a bit edgy? Yep. How about if you try having people CONSTANTLY misrepresenting your position; speaking out of crass IGNORANCE of what we believe, and from that ignorance, using their emotions to erect one straw man after another, and then expect the merely human Reformed folks to just sit and take it from people who are supposed to be their brothers and sisters in Christ, but who are either PURPOSEFULLY lying, because they know they haven’t any reasonable argument, but don’t want their comfortable place being upset, and cannot be bothered with the facts, or they are, as previously mentioned, crassly ignorant, and are (dishonestly, no matter how you slice it) flying by the seat of their pants, and reacting to the Teaching viscerally rather than seeking to understand. It truely makes us, at times, wonder if such people are really Christians.

              So your disgust at the merely human John Calvin, who lived in a very, very different time than in which we live, is utterly irrelevant. How about dealing with the issue at hand?
              Neither Augustine nor Calvin INVENTED the Doctrines of Grace. They are the teaching of Scripture. That absolute sovereignty of God, and His loving predestinating of SINNERS unto salvation, is the teaching of the Scriptures. The fallen estate of mankind, and the undeserving election of some of them; the specifically intentioned and applied redemption of the obedience, suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ; that the Holy Spirit always enjoys full success in bringing everyone for whom Christ died into an estate of salvation, and of His keeping of them unto the Last Day, ARE ALL the teaching of SCRIPTURE. If Augustine and Calvin agree with that, then good for them! And good for you, if you do too! And if not, then you are, without reserve, in opposition to the Gospel, and are proclaiming faith in your own flesh. This is INESCAPABLE.

              So get off of the “Calvin is a meany” nonsense and deal with the DOCTRINE that the OP is so miffed about.

                Rick Patrick

                The OP is miffed primarily that the doctrine is being taught, in many cases, to minors without the knowledge or approval of their parents. That is the primary subject of the post, a subject very few are interacting with at all.

                  Stephen Cox

                  Rick, I am new to the SBC after a long absence due to major problems in those circles in the middle 80’s. So much immorality, spiritual immaturity, and charismatic extremes creeping in as well. The SBC church I attend is Reformed in its Doctrine of Salvation but has the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 document, as its Doctrinal Statement. It also has the 1689 London Baptist Confession as another Baptist Standard. That church makes it clear what they teach and no one is targeted unknowingly with Reformed Doctrine, adults or youth of membership age. Your Article seems to imply that this is all being done by stealth or deceptively. If not would you clarify that point please. I think the main point of your concern about Traditional SBC teaching as compared to Particular Baptist teaching or Calvinism as you state it. This could have been done without the overly negative statements in you sub points. The sins of the tongue are abundant I think because you as it were lit the wick by your comments about Reformed Persons of note and your rather brief quotes which you must admit are very negative. I have read hundreds of the responses and my mind kept thinking of what the Letter of James says about the tongue in chapter 3, also 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 and much teaching about our thoughts and attitudes toward Brethren we disagree with. You in my opinion should not allow people to be so disrespectful as I think this article degenerated to at some points. Thank you for your time.

                    Rick Patrick

                    Stephen,

                    I agree with some of your points, namely, that the article did not make clear enough that the only real “Youth Targeted Calvinism” takes place in churches that are neither reformed leaning, such as yours, or even neutral, as are many others, but rather strongly disaffirm Calvinism, as is true in a number of SBC churches.

                    I did not mean merely to imply that this is being done by stealth within some Traditional Southern Baptist Churches. Rather, I meant to state it firmly and categorically so there could be no confusion whatsoever. I am not sure if the stealth is intentional or whether it is just working out that way, but this is indeed happening in a number of Traditional SBC churches, and many pastors and parents are “caught off guard” when they learn of it. Part Two will share a few examples that may make this claim a bit clearer.

                    As for the sins of the tongue, I certainly mean no disrespect to those who affirm Calvinism. They have the right to do so. It was necessary, in my opinion, for the sake of parents just learning about these issues, to share a few of the broad differences between our views. And you are right—comment streams do degenerate after a while, unfortunately.

                    My overall goal is a greater understanding of the problem, with the hope that youth ministers beginning to promote Calvinism within a Traditional SBC youth group will call a meeting with the pastors and the parents before introducing such new doctrines. Failure to do so has, in many cases, brought about needless strife within the Body of Christ. If we can raise awareness of the issue and “hash it out online” it will all be worth it if we can save even one church from “hashing it out” in the midst of a doctrinal church or youth group split.

                Paul N

                No, the doctrines of grace are not taught in scripture. No one taught this until Augustine. No one. The idea that the Church prior to Augustine missed these “truths” is hard to believe.

                  Shawn

                  Sure they did.
                  Every writer of the Bible, as well as Christ Himself, did.

                  The Bible is filled with the fact that every facet of man’s being has been corrupted by sin.

                  The Bible is filled with the fact that God, out of His mere good pleasure, graciously chooses to be merciful to some sinners, revealing Himself to them, forgiving them, and keeping them for Himself; and justly passing over other equally undeserving sinners, justly judging them for their sins.

                  The Bible is filled with the fact that God deals with His chosen people, and provides for them the means of grace for their salvation.

                  The Bible is filled with the fact that when God specifically calls (inwardly) His people, they always come to Him, without fail.

                  The Bible is filled with the fact that all of His elect, whom He chose in Christ from the foundation of the world, will indeed persevere to the end in the faith, for they are preserved by the Holy Spirit to that end, even as Christ Himself said “All whom the Father has given me will come to me, and I will raise him up on the Last Day.”

                  The Bible is filled with the fact that God has indeed foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, and that there is none who can hold back His hand from doing all His will, nor does anyone have the right to say to Him “What are you doing?”

                  God has mercy on whom He wills to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wills to harden.
                  Your complaint is with the Word of God; your complaint is that God isn’t how you think He ought to be, in accordance to your idolatrous mind.

                    Paul N

                    Then Christ is the most confused of all, because this is what He has to say to those who feel He is out to condemn any man.

                    Luke 9:54-56New King James Version (NKJV)

                    54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”[a]

                    55 But He turned and rebuked them,[b] and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”[c] And they went to another village.”

                    But Christ is not confused so it is you and those who think likewise. So no, my issue is not with the word of God, it is with the devil who has deceived people into thinking that your doctrinal persuasion reflects God in the flesh, when there is no way that you can read about Christ and believe that He has predestined any man to hell. A crying shame that any man would try to reconcile this teaching with Jesus Christ.

                    Shawn

                    “Then Christ is the most confused of all, because this is what He has to say to those who feel He is out to condemn any man.”
                    And there we go, once again, with the primary weapon of the anti-grace folks, the straw man.
                    Who, pray tell is saying that Christ is “out to condemn any man”? WHO?

                    I’m even entirely sure of what it is that you hoped to accomplish in quoting Luke 9:54-56:
                    “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.”

                    What are you trying to say with that verse? That Christ will condemn no one … even on the Last Day? But of course before you even both with that, do address the FACT that you (once again) erected a straw man.

                    “But Christ is not confused so it is you and those who think likewise. So no, my issue is not with the word of God, it is with the devil who has deceived people into thinking that your doctrinal persuasion reflects God in the flesh, when there is no way that you can read about Christ and believe that He has predestined any man to hell.”

                    Ohh, so your goal in posting that verse was to prove that Jesus doesn’t predestine anyone to Hell? Yeah … um, there’s absolutely nothing in that passage to even support such a theme as that. It simply says that Jesus came to save men. And He did. Jesus saves sinners. He actually accomplishes what He came to do. He SAVES them. He doesn’t merely offer to save them, He saves them. He never fails to save anyone whom He came to save. Jesus said “ALL that the Father GIVES Me WILL COME to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the WILL of Him who SENT Me. THIS is the WILL of the Father who sent Me, that of ALL He HAS GIVEN Me I should lose NOTHING, but should RAISE IT UP at the last day.” (John 6:37-39 NKJV).
                    Jesus saves ALL of whom the Father gives Him. Jesus is not the potential savior of anyone. Jesus IS the SAVIOR of sinners.

                    And beside that, you’re ignoring the fact that one is either in the ark or outside the ark, so to speak. Everyone who was in the ark lived, everyone outside the ark died. It’s really that simple. All who are in Christ are saved, all outside of Christ are not saved. God elected, chose, predestined His people not only to faith and repentance, but to sanctification, perseverance, and finally to glorification, Heaven. Therefore everyone whom God did NOT predestine unto those things were, ipso facto, predestined to Hell. This is inescapable, and is the teaching of Scripture.
                    “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Rom 8:28-30)

                    All one need do is to look at the above verse in reverse to see whom it is that God glorifies. Everyone who is glorified is everyone who was justified; Everyone who was justified is everyone whom He called; Everyone whom He called is everyone whom He predestined; Everyone whom He predestined is everyone whom He foreknew. He foreknew THEM. And He chose them to be IN Christ, from the foundation of the world.
                    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed US with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places IN Christ, just as He CHOSE us IN Him BEFORE the foundation of the world, that we should be HOLY and without blame before Him in love, having PREDESTINED us to ADOPTION as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the GOOD PLEASURE of His WILL, to the praise of the glory of His GRACE, by which He MADE us ACCEPTED in the Beloved.” (Eph 1:3-6)

                    “A crying shame that any man would try to reconcile this teaching with Jesus Christ.”
                    A crying shame that any man would try to reconcile WHAT teaching with Jesus Christ? The teaching that Jesus is “out to condemn” men? LOL!
                    Sorry, but that’s the straw man you erected, which is a fake, invented doctrine that you, out of your perverted mind, invented, because your position is that of your emotions and imagination, and could not deal with the REAL doctrines embraced by Reformed Christians.
                    How do you sleep at night when you must know, deep down, that you’re flat out lying?
                    You do know that Satan is called the father of lies, and that those who imitate him will inherit his same reward, right?

                    How about if you and your buddies do this … Accuse us of what we actually believe, and then work toward finding evidence from the Scriptures that, contextually and as a whole, are opposed to our position. I know that this is something that you cannot do, hence the straw men, and the purposeful ignorance of the passages that are presented to you again and again. It’s just sad, really sad, to see people profess the name of Christ, who have no qualm in breaking the 9th commandment as if it were nothing at all.

                    Stop behaving like a coward.

                    Kyle Gulledge

                    Greetings Shawn,

                    Let me suggest one thing–please stop using/saying/accusing everyone who disagrees with you as builders of “Straw Men.” In doing so, you yourself have built a “Straw Man” against everyone who disagrees with your view. It is pure silliness. Please refrain from this in your next posts. Blessings to you brother.

                    A Whosoever,

                    Jon Carter, Editor
                    SBC Today

                    Paul N

                    Read the last part of Shawn’s comment. This is the spirit that I have witnessed all too much with Calvinists. You would think this “chosen” individual would try to open my eyes. Nope, he throws childish and idiotic insults around. The spirit that works through Calvinists is enough to reject this trash. Not that all are this arrogant but way too many are.

                    Steven

                    The basic fact is this: fallen man demands to be in control and his vanity, worldly pride, and self-will are ASSAULTED by limited atonement and predestination and the doctrine of election and reprobation. When these hard truths are accepted (when they CAN be due to regeneration) they effect an internal reorientation from being man-centered to being God-centered. Arminians and others similar demand the Bible remain comfortable to their man-centered demands. These are voices from hell, soft spoken, usually, who would affect to be more loving and more wise and more good and more just than God Himself. Don’t heed them.

                    There will be nobody in hell who doesn’t want to be there; and don’t be surprised at the fact that the soft-spoken ‘loving’ types with a greater ‘sense of justice’ than God Himself will be right where their fallen, petulant, rebellious, carnal pride will have them to be.

                    Shawn

                    I am truly struggling with wondering if I’m dealing with believers at all here. I’d like to think that I am, as I was certainly not raised in a Reformed Church, and I put up my own fight against most of what I thought was going on in a “Calvinistic” soteriology. But when confronted by my opponents, saying that I was misrepresenting their position, I immediately stopped participating in the “debates” until I had an adequate knowledge. This is not the attitude of any Arminian in this group, nor has it been my experience with any militant Arminian. There are the Arminians who don’t even know that that’s what they are, and when they first hear of these things they’re like “Wha …?” but when you show them from the consistent use of the Scriptures, though they have their natural struggles (because of the flesh) they begin to understand. I just don’t understand how a Christian, a person who (supposedly) knows Christ, and has respect for the Word of God, the very Law of God, and a new desire unto holiness, how that person can do what these people do — to persistently misrepresent our position, and when notified of this, they continue to do it with increased vigor, never once acknowledging it, but combining that which the purposeful ignorance of any and every Scripture and exegesis thereof, moving on to one red herring after another.

                    There’s really no difference in how they’re handling our position, and in how JW’s attack the Faith with those same tactics.
                    It’s really confusing and sad.

                    Rick Patrick

                    Shawn,
                    Come on, now, brother. You just did it yourself. I don’t know a single person on this thread who identifies as an Arminian. (See this article by Malcolm Yarnell: http://bit.ly/1LNAAtV)

                    For you to persist in calling us Arminians means that you are guilty of setting up the same so-called “straw men” that you claim we are setting up. I mean, do you realize that in this last comment you basically wondered if we were even saved, and then compared us with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

                    This is getting a little out of hand. I believe we are all Christians. We simply disagree on certain matters of theology. If grown adults have this much difficulty handling these controversial topics, how much more important is it that we make sure we know if they are being introduced to our teenagers.

                  Andy

                  Allow me to translate Shawn’s line of logic here:

                  SHAWN SAID: “A crying shame that any man would try to reconcile WHAT teaching with Jesus Christ? The teaching that Jesus is “out to condemn” men? LOL!
                  Sorry, but that’s the straw man you erected, which is a fake, invented doctrine that you, out of your perverted mind, invented, because your position is that of your emotions and imagination, and could not deal with the REAL doctrines embraced by Reformed Christians.
                  How do you sleep at night when you must know, deep down, that you’re flat out lying?
                  You do know that Satan is called the father of lies, and that those who imitate him will inherit his same reward, right?”

                  1. Paul points to Jesus expressing desire to save rather than destroy, and uses it to argue against the very common Reformed position of double predestination. Paul says that belief doesn’t fit with Jesus revealed character.
                  2. This somehow reveals to Shawn that Paul fully knows that what he is writing is a straw man, and therefore a flat out lie (the following other possibilities are not entertained: a) Paul is right, b) Paul is wrong, but truly thinks he is right, c) Paul is in unintentionally mis-stating what calvinists believe, and needs to be gently corrected.)
                  3. So, because Paul is intentionally decieving and lying, he is a child of satan and will go to hell. (Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for liars notwithstanding).

                  Is this correct?

              Chad

              Reluctantly, I continue this fruitless exchange. You will look in vain at my post to find such language as “veneration,” “adulation,” etc. That is what I hate most about these fora. Someone like me comes and posts a few paragraphs and people immediately think they know my heart. I suggest you read the first paragraph or so of 1 Corinthians 4. And if you pay attention to my brief comments here, you will search in vain for any ad hominem attacks.

              I note that you quote the first half of the first paragraph of Gordon’s Preface. Guess what? I agree with him. (Jaws are dropping all over the SBC. There is a tremor at the campus of SBTS, and Mark Dever is trying to compose himself to preach in the morning, after being informed by one of his staff, since I am pretty sure he never stops off here.)

              Would that you might have gone on and quoted the last part of the paragraph in Gordon. “What made John Calvin, and not another sixteenth century writer, was his brilliance as a thinker and writer, and above all, his ability to interpret the Bible. His coherent, penetrating and lucid vision of God’s abiding love for humanity, expressed in some of the most exquisite prose of his age, has continued down the centuries to instruct and to inspire. Like all great writers, he transcends his time.”

              Now, lest you accuse me of cherry-picking quotes, I am only “finishing the hermeneutic” on your own post. Gordon captures my sentiments almost to a “T.”

              Calvin made many mistakes in his lifetime, his failure to read the Anabaptists more carefully not the least. I dare say, though, that if even a non-Calvinist read the Institutes in the Battles translation, (the only one readable unless you are fluent in Victorian English), he would find much that is moving. I have read the three-volume Works of Arminius. Why? Because I believe you should do to others’ theology as you would have them do to yours. But if you have not read them (and I do not mean you, personally), just how can you do that?

              Calvin was a brilliant, flawed man who loved God intensely. Someone in this forum asked how one could claim the heritage of such a flawed man? How do we as Southern Baptists differ? Our Founders were mostly slave holders. Yet, here we are.

                Robert

                Chad,

                I almost missed your comment due to the immensity of this thread. But your comments prove my point. To many of you Calvinists character is less important than holding the correct doctrinal content. That is the only way that you can rationalize John Calvin away. He was an evil man, and his actions and treatment of others (including his “friends”) shows this. The Gordon biography demonstrates this in a crystal clear way.

                “I note that you quote the first half of the first paragraph of Gordon’s Preface. Guess what? I agree with him. (Jaws are dropping all over the SBC. There is a tremor at the campus of SBTS, and Mark Dever is trying to compose himself to preach in the morning, after being informed by one of his staff, since I am pretty sure he never stops off here.)
                Would that you might have gone on and quoted the last part of the paragraph in Gordon.”

                No need to quote the other part as I was not talking about the content of his doctrine BUT ABOUT HIS CHARACTER. And I note that you run to speak of his doctrinal content and just put HIS LACK OF CHARACTER under the rug, in the closet.

                “Now, lest you accuse me of cherry-picking quotes, I am only “finishing the hermeneutic” on your own post. Gordon captures my sentiments almost to a “T.””

                Again, I was speaking of his character (actually lack of) and you prefer to focus upon the content of his teaching. I will say again, someone who is a hater as Calvin was, manipulative and intimidating, as Calvin was, is unfit for leadership in Christian leadership. But you put that all aside and think he is this great person because of the content of his doctrine.

                And this again proves that character is less important than the content of his doctrine to you and other calvinists.

                “Calvin made many mistakes in his lifetime, his failure to read the Anabaptists more carefully not the least.”

                Made “mistakes”, No, he was a hateful arrogant person, unfit for Christian leadership.

                “Calvin was a brilliant, flawed man who loved God intensely. Someone in this forum asked how one could claim the heritage of such a flawed man?”

                Again, I understand that we are all flawed, but Calvin is something worse, he was a hateful person, arrogant person, a person completely unfit for Christian leadership. If he were candidating today and people knew of Gordon’s description of his lack of character, his hatefulness, he would never be selected as a pastor today. But because your standards are not biblical standards of a local church leader, but the content of his doctrine you esteem such a hateful and arrogant person.

                You are no different than those who esteem Einstein for his brilliant theories completely ignoring his immoral character. That is not the way of the church that is the way of the world.

                Lydia

                “Calvin was a brilliant, flawed man who loved God intensely.”

                How can one love God without it showing as fruit toward others? True love as in justice, mercy, compassion, etc. His life is the opposite right down to his behavior during the plague. It was about consolidating power over others when given the opportunity his second time around in Geneva. He is a horrible hero to have.

              Josh Duncan

              Does calling Reformed Christians worshipers of Satan not count as hateful on your planet? This site earlier published an article insinuating that becuase Calvinism was a type of spiritual racism, there probably weren’t many non-white Calvinists, happily ignoring the existence of reformed communities around the world, including the large population of Korean Presbyterians.

              I think the problem here is you are relying upon this site for your information about Calvinism. “I hates traditionalists.com” probably wouldn’t be a good source of information about non calvinist baptists.

            Lydia

            “ead any of the reputable objective biographies of Calvin (McGrath, Gordon, Parker, etc.) and you will find that not only did Calvin not murder Servetus, but he also petitioned the Little Council to exile him rather than execute him. ”

            Ha ha. Like your qualification, “reputable”. According to whom?

            Actually, Calvin (through his personal assistant-man Friday) wanted a beheading. A beheading signals to the citizens that Servetus’ crime was civil not church related. The tide was starting to turn against Calvin’s despotic rule in little ways during Servetus’ imprisonment where he was treated horrible. The law in Geneva at the time was that since Servetus was not a citizen but passing through, he would have normally been banished. It was Calvin who called for his arrest.

            You cannot get around the fact that Calvin PREMEDITATED killing Servetus in a letter he wrote to a friend a few years before this happened. He said if he shows up here he won’t leave alive. You can choose to be willfully ignorant which is what most Reformers do to get around this nasty fact that their doctrinal hero was a cruel man.

            The victors always write the official history so one has to dig deep in archives, etc. There is some irony that it was not really until after WW2 that so many European archives opened to American researchers. Monarchies fell, the church state mentality was just about gone….

              Chad

              “Reputable.” These men have taught at significant institutions. McGrath has been at Oxford for many years. That is what I meant. In preparation for writing his biography on Calvin, he researched the actual archives of Geneva’s various levels of government (Little Council, Town Council, etc) in Geneva. That is, he read the minutes of their meetings (which still survive) for the entire twenty-eight years that Calvin was involved with reforming the city, even the two and a half years that Calvin was in Strassbourg.

              When it comes to Servetus, nearly everyone wanted him dead or banished from the loop so that his teachings would send one else to hell. The Catholics wanted him more than even the Lutherans and the Reformed. It just so happened that Geneva became the end of the road for him. I am not defending Calvin’s approach as the model to follow. It leaves much to be desired. But what many have said on this forum bears false witness against the Geneva Reformer. When it gets down to “us vs. them” people get a little out of hand with the vitriol, and that goes for Calvinists, as well.

              My purpose in posting was to quell language like “Calvin the murderer.” Anyone who says such things either does not know anything about the actual facts of the case, or they have a very broad interpretation of the word “murder.” Look, I am no more a Constantinian than you are. Calvin’s views on church and state are generally not my views. (Don’t make too much of the word “generally.” I only mean that some times he got it right, such as his views on overthrowing tyrants.) When his views were imported to the Masachusetts Bay Colony, it took men like Roger Williams and others to change the tone. That was a good thing, though it took time.

              One final thing. In your last paragraph you assume that you know me and the kind of person I am. That, in spite of the fact that I have not posted here for three years, and then did so only a time or two. Do you not think that is a bit presumptuous, if not downright arrogant? It seems to me that you have encountered a certain theological “type,” and when anyone holds views similar to theirs, well they have the “typical mentality that follows the Neo/Cals/YRR.” Really? Do you think they are all alike? You must not know very many of them personally, or you would have to temper your comment. And I have never considered myself either of these. If you met me you would never consider me young, and many people I have taught never knew my theology was Reformed in nature (let alone, Neo/Cal, which I am not). Why not? Because I was hiding it? Absolutely not! Rather it was because my task was to teach on some other subject: eschatology, ecclesiology, cults, world religions, etc. I do not dodge the question if someone asks me if my soteriology is Reformed or something else. But nether do I have “JC” tattooed on my arm, and if I did, it would mean Jesus Christ.

              I debated whether to jump in to this debate, knowing from past experience that these fora simply lead to elevated blood pressure and people thinking they know you because you pnned a few paragraphs. I guess I will ride this one out, but I doubt I will be back after this one.

                Scott Shaver

                Chad:

                If Calvin was a “murderer” (let history speak for itself), why would you want to “quell” the language.

                Tell lies so that good may come of it?

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Les,

        With all due respect Les, history has a dead Servetus on its hands. This is a clear case of “It is what it is”.

        Attention must be called to this event in the life of the man who has introduced the greatest debate in Church history. John Calvin the man must be examined before we accept his theological system.

        We do this with all potential candidates for the pastorate and other positions in the Church. The “who” question has disqualified, not a few from acceptance in the Church to lead and teach. No need in us getting all “brand new” when it comes to the scrutiny of John Calvin.

        The “who” usually determines the “what “. The man determines the doctrine believed, espoused and propagated .

        By the way where was John Calvin when the apostle Paul taught, “How To Deal With False Teachers And Their Erroneous Doctrines 101?

        Preach!

        Scott Shaver

        They haven’t REFUTED anything. they have argued that the historical record of Calvin and Servetus should be discounted at their word. Big difference Les.

      Tom Sawyer

      From someone who is not a Calvinist, I must say that your evaluation of Calvinism is horrific.

      People who identify as Calvinists do not necessarily endorse paedo-baptism (which isn’t a rank heresy anyhow, though I am a conservative baptist).

      In general, those Reformed teachers are scholarly, Spirit-led men of God who have been faithful in their service to Christ’s church. Though parental influence is important, young adults will reach a stage where they need to begin thinking for themselves. For this, Reformed teachers and scholars are wonderful influences, even for simply another perspective.

      Even if I grant you that Calvin was wrong in how he dealt with Servetus (perhaps an unjustified assumption in light of the context), this small aspect of his life does not impinge upon the validity of his theology. By the way, Servetus denied the deity of Christ: perhaps that’s a little more heretical than paedo-baptism?

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Why not use the same rationale to select our leadership.

        Paul gave specific instructions as to how the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ deals with those who teach error. This method has been used before the Reformation and we use it now.

        Preach!

        ScottShaver

        What a CROCK Tom Sawyer.

        I’d rather have a sanctity of life proponent with suspect theology than an “orthodox” executioner in the hands of an angry God. I’m sure I could get a second and simple 2/3 majority vote on that one.

      Dave

      Norm,
      If the parents truly were seeing to the theological training of their children, there would not be any slipping ideas past them without their knowledge. The problem is not with what is being taught at the church house. It is a problem of parents not fulfilling their God-given responsibility to teach doctrine at home.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    “Would it be such a terrible thing if youth learned these doctrines and their life patterns resemble John Piper, John MacArthur, Tim Keller, RC Sprout, Mark Dever, Lig Duncan, DA Carson, Alistair Begg, JI Packer, Al Mohler? ”

    Regarding some of those names. Yes. I think it would be terrible.

    Some of those folks make even me look like Mr. Rogers by comparison. ;)

      Les Prouty

      In the manner of the supervisor in that comedy movie “Office Space,” “Ummm, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and be specific where these men listed have demonstrated in their lives where they would not be pretty decent role models for youth or anyone else for that matter.” “Life patterns.”

      Blessings brother.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        “Life patterns” would naturally include behavior patterns.

        Carson, MacArthur, Sproul, Packer, and far too often Piper to be sure (who, like Sproul, should be given enough credit to at least say they should know better). These men have publicly and repeatedly demonstrated that they are among the most smug, arrogant, uncharitable, and/or unpleasant people to be around in all of Christendom. Though, I would say Carson and MacArthur are among the worst of that bunch.

        That you may like them is irrelevant.

        The other guys are typically nice fellas though so far as I know.

        You named the names, now I specified the ones I had in mind since you asked. Is isn’t like there aren’t popular non-Calvinists who I would say the same things about if someone held them up as role models for the kiddies. For example, since you want me to name names, I am happy to toss Geisler under that bus.

        I am not saying they aren’t Christians. I am not saying they aren’t intelligent. I am saying they aren’t examples or role models with respect to “life patterns” or “behavior” or “character.”

        I am also saying I don’t hold myself up as an example for the kiddies either. But again, on my worst, grumpiest, most curmudgeony day, I look like Mr. Rogers compared to those guys.

        You may esteem them differently. That’s your business.

        Les Prouty

        Johnathan said,

        “These men [Carson, MacArthur, Sproul, Packer, and far too often Piper to be sure] have publicly and repeatedly demonstrated that they are among the most smug, arrogant, uncharitable, and/or unpleasant people to be around in all of Christendom.”

        Well I realize it’s only your opinion, but that is not even close to being able to be demonstrated by you and is one of the most “smug, arrogant, uncharitable, and/or unpleasant” I have seen in a long time.

        Oh and Lydia, “I was thinking Jesus Christ is a better goal to strive for being like.” I never said otherwise. You need to read a bit more carefully sister.

        Blessings to both of you. SDG!

          Johnathan Pritchett

          You are kidding right?

          Seriously, read up and watch some videos, listen to conferences, etc. with those guys.

          It is quite more than just my opinion, by the way. It is recognized by many, many others as well.

          Les Prouty

          “You are kidding right?” Not at all. I’ve spent time personally with several of these men and have listened to many audios and watched some videos. You are so far off base it is really laughable. “…among the most smug, arrogant, uncharitable, and/or unpleasant people to be around in all of Christendom.” All of Christendom? You really should just go quietly on this line of commentary you’re making. You obviously are so biased about these men that your bias has caused you to confer up one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve read in a long time. “It is recognized by many, many others as well.” I suppose there are many, many others with your same bias about these men. That’s all that shows. BTW, how much personal time have you spent with these men?

          SDG!

            Johnathan Pritchett

            Thankfully, I have spent zero time with these men. Perhaps it is your bias and being starstruck at having met them. Again, these people have a reputation outside of their fanboys that is well-earned.

            You may think these men are role models. I do not. They are among the most smug, arrogant, uncharitable, and/or unpleasant people to be around in all of Christendom.

            Lydia

            ” BTW, how much personal time have you spent with these men?”

            That is a strange criteria for judgment of public personalities. One would be hard pressed to even get them on the phone much less “spend time” with them unless you consider a 5min convo during a conference “spending time”. I saw this same thinking when it came to mega church pastors. They were very important busy people but one could not voice any concern or dissent UNLESS they had “spent time” with them. The problem is is akin to CS Lewis’ “inner ring” and quite impossible for the average pew peon nobody. So it creates an impossible standard which is used to shame and censor folks.

            It also suggests their “private” persona is the opposite of their public one. I heard this all the time concerning Driscoll. It was as if we could spent a lot of time with him, we would find he was a totally different person than what he purposely projected as a public person. Very strange that people actually believe that. Why would that be a good thing? The whole focus is a form of gaslighting..

            Les Prouty

            “Thankfully, I have spent zero time with these men.”

            Ahh. All the better for you to be such an informed person and say that they are, and I quote you, “among the most smug, arrogant, uncharitable, and/or unpleasant people to be around in all of Christendom.”

            “Perhaps it is your bias and being starstruck at having met them.” Well between you and me, I’m the only one who has actually spent time with them. Hmmm. I wonder which one of us is better able to say whether or not they are “”among the most smug, arrogant, uncharitable, and/or unpleasant people to be around in all of Christendom?” J you are firing on zero cylinders on this one. And starstruck? Well this just makes crystal clear what we already suspect about each other. You obviously know zero about me for you too think I’m one to be starstruck by ANY man in ministry.

            Anyway, SDG!

            Les Prouty

            Lydia,

            “That is a strange criteria for judgment of public personalities.” See above. It was Johnathan who said these men “are among the most smug, arrogant, uncharitable, and/or unpleasant people to be around in all of Christendom.”

            One should know better than to say what these men are like to be around when said one has spent zero time with said men. Basic stuff here Lydia.

            “It also suggests their “private” persona is the opposite of their public one.”

            And how would you know their private persona Lydia? Based on your time with them? Nope. Based on what J said above? Nope. He has zero time with them either.

            SDG!

              Lydia

              “One should know better than to say what these men are like to be around when said one has spent zero time with said men. Basic stuff here Lydia.”

              Well, it should be common sense 101- but it isn’t. I realize you have a vested interest in holding up certain personalities. Take Driscoll, his patterns of behavior and very words should have been red flag enough. But over and over people were told by movement followers they had not spent time with him so they could not judge him. As if he was a totally different person in person. How does that even make sense? It should have been a further red flag about those who were shaming people for speaking up about him. But, It only makes sense within a determinist doctrine that totally excuses patterns of behavior if “correct doctrine” is present. That is Calvin’s legacy.

              It goes back to earlier: Promote Jesus. He never fails.

              Les

              Lydia,

              “Well, it should be common sense 101- but it isn’t. I realize you have a vested interest in holding up certain personalities.”

              Personalities? A vested interest? You’re continually funny with comments like that. But I have to assume that you have no real answer to what I actually pointed out, namely that for one to declare a group of men “among the most smug, arrogant, uncharitable, and/or unpleasant people to be around in all of Christendom” when the one who says that has never been around said men, well that’s tough for you to swallow. You have no answer because you see how obviously ignorant such a statement really is but can’t bring yourself to say such. Figures.

              “Take Driscoll.” No, nice try at deflection but I don’t “take Driscoll.” Never met him never read him or heard him. I have zero knowledge of Driscoll. Maybe he is closer to how Johnathan erroneously described the other men. I have no idea. But it’s not good form to paint with a too broad brush (see Braxton Hunter saying so…”That is certainly true of some, but you are painting with far too broad a brush.”)

              SDG!

                Lydia

                Les, I get it. Association is good (Acts 29, speaking gigs, etc) when the money is flowing in but when it is isn’t, lets all pretend Driscoll was not associated so closely and we promoted him as part of the club. Same with Mahaney. Where are the decent honest men these days in Christendom? The truthtellers even if it means sacrificing some power and wealth?

                Following gurus is a trap.

                Les

                No Lydia you apparently don’t get it. Else you wouldn’t keep barking up a tree where no one is.

                “Where are the decent honest men these days in Christendom?”

                I’ve already provided a partial list. I can introduce you to my pastors, our ruling elders and many more. You must run in some interesting circles if you’re having trouble finding such men.

                SDG!

          Lydia

          “Oh and Lydia, “I was thinking Jesus Christ is a better goal to strive for being like.” I never said otherwise. You need to read a bit more carefully sister.”

          All I know is Jesus was not your first thought as indicated in your first response. You held up the gurus as exmples to emulate. For the sake of our teens and the Body, that thinking needs to change to focus on Christ. . Although these days promoting and defending gurus to follow is the normal.

          Les Prouty

          Lydia,

          “All I know is Jesus was not your first thought as indicated in your first response.”

          Not only do you need to read a bit better but it would serve you well to not try to read minds. You have no way of knowing what my first thought was when I wrote what I wrote Lydia. Sister these are unforced errors on your part. Step up your game! :)

            Lydia

            “ot only do you need to read a bit better but it would serve you well to not try to read minds. You have no way of knowing what my first thought was when I wrote what I wrote Lydia. Sister these are unforced errors on your part. Step up your game! :)”

            I can only go by what you write. If you were thinking of Jesus Christ as our example then why not write that? Promoting gurus for teens to emulate was your first response so why wouldn’t I think you were thinking that?

            (I personally think it is very man centered from that perspective)

            Les Prouty

            And I can only assume the best of fellow believers (since that’s what scripture calls us to do) and I assume that other Christians (like you) would be doing the same thing. So it never occurred to me that a fellow Christian would assume merely from my written response that I would prefer for “gurus for teens to emulate.” I just can’t imagine fellow Christians assuming such when we all know that we are first to follow Christ. I just don’t understand professing Christians assuming the worst of fellow Christians. It doesn’t add up biblically.

            “(I personally think it is very man centered from that perspective)” Not sure what that means. But in case you are referring to the list of men,I was only using some of the ones Rick listed. I’d be very happy if my daughters lives emulated Elizabeth Elliot.

            Oh, and emulating men (people) is biblical. See the apostle Paul. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

            SDG!

              Lydia

              “And I can only assume the best of fellow believers (since that’s what scripture calls us to do) and I assume that other Christians (like you) would be doing the same thing.”

              We are really touching on something bigger here. One is foolish not to take patterns of behavior and words into consideration. You are always saying “believe the best” because it is more a rebuke with you. Charles Finney: Believe the best! Don’t consider his behavior or words, just believe the best. Right, Les? CJ Mahaney used this one a lot, too, in order to shame people into ignoring his patterns and words.

              Sorry Les, it is not working with me. We have been down this road too many times.

              The biggest problem Calvinism has is Jesus Christ which is why it is much more convenient for them to focus on God’s Sovereignty and selective grace. If we constantly point people to Jesus Christ, His words and patterns of behavior in the Gospels, Calvin ST looks like what it really is about: Power.

              I take a long view of history and I see that Calvinism works with coercion and shaming. That is why we see the rise of requiring people to sign legal documents and an upside down church discipline that mainly protects the gurus. Belief in that ST was mandatory in Geneva or you suffered punishment. That thinking is ingrained but harder to pull off in a free country. We see the same sorts of coercion across history until the Puritans died out. (they were worse than the masters they escaped from).

              Then Calvinism starts to die off with freedom of thought/conscience and goes either more liberal or to the more frozen chosen types. The timing of the current Neo Puritan resurgence is no coincidence, IMO. Our entire country is going more collectivist with a ruling oligarchy and cult of personality. Calvinism’s focus on groupthink, coercion and mans lack of volition, fits perfectly.

              Les Prouty

              Thanks for this Lydia,

              “We are really touching on something bigger here. One is foolish not to take patterns of behavior and words into consideration.”

              You and a couple of others here (non Cals) are proving my point…behavior and words.

              SDG!!

                Lydia

                “You and a couple of others here (non Cals) are proving my point…behavior and words.”

                Why? Because I pointed out the underlying problem with your first response about teens emulating the gurus? Why is that so horrible in your view? You have responded with a sort of “You cannot read my mind and I WAS thinking of Jesus when I mentioned the gurus”!

                Why are you so offended? Why not say, good point if you do agree they should look to emulating Jesus? I don’t get it. Why would we point teens to humans to emulate when we should point them to Christ? You held them up as examples of Jesus Christ. I don’t even do that with my own kids. There is way too much cult of personality in Christendom. It has reached epic levels.

                Why the constant tu quoque responses from you? Is it because a woman dared to disagree with a ruling elder in public? That we have an opinion different than yours? What point have we proven? That we can finally “pushback” from all the arrogance and power mongering that has gone all for so long from that movement? It is then that you guys start the angry whine and claim: Not fair.

                There is no “do unto others” coming out of the YRR/Neo Cal wing. That is the bigger problem.

                  Scott Shaver

                  234 comments on this thread Lydia. They come in like the Hun to tout their theology. As their heads are handed to em they turn to twisting scripture, ironically, still under the assumption that the rest of us never handle the Word. These guys wouldn’t last 5 minutes in a classical debate.
                  What a CROCK Tom Sawyer.

                  I’d rather have a sanctity of life proponent with suspect theology than an “orthodox” executioner in the hands of an angry God. I’m sure I could get a second and simple 2/3 majority,.
                  The sheer number of comments here from the Bill Mac brigade leads me to believe they just can’t stomach the fact that other believers find their theology to be skewed and biblically inconsistent in the absence of a deterministic premise.

                    Lydia

                    “I’d rather have a sanctity of life proponent with suspect theology than an “orthodox” executioner in the hands of an angry God. I’m sure I could get a second and simple 2/3 majority,.”

                    This is what it boils down to precisely. When innocent children are apt to find more justice with the secular government than they are with “Christian leaders”, it is time to question the “doctrine” behind that thinking.

                Les Prouty

                Lydia,

                “Why? Because I pointed out the underlying problem with your first response about teens emulating the gurus? Why is that so horrible in your view? You have responded with a sort of “You cannot read my mind and I WAS thinking of Jesus when I mentioned the gurus”!

                No that’s not the problem at all. I was simply pointing out your mistake. Your mind reader is broken apparently. But it always has been, you just refuse to stop trying to read others’ minds.

                I also just was pointing out to you that all your concern about following Jesus’ example is not working out so well in your all comments. Just read back thru your and a few others’ comments. Jesus in those comments?

                “Why are you so offended? Why not say, good point if you do agree they should look to emulating Jesus? I don’t get it. Why would we point teens to humans to emulate when we should point them to Christ? You held them up as examples of Jesus Christ. I don’t even do that with my own kids. There is way too much cult of personality in Christendom. It has reached epic levels.”

                Not offended at all sister. We should point them to Christ. No disagreement there. And to those who emulate Christ. I showed you the apostle on that. You’re not disagreeing with me, but with scripture.

                See the premise established earlier by some on this site is that the men listed are not only not good Christians to emulate, but the worst examples in all of Christendom. “the most smug, arrogant, uncharitable, and/or unpleasant people to be around in all of Christendom.” Laughable.

                “Is it because a woman dared to disagree with a ruling elder in public?” Ha ha. Yeah that’s it. No woman should ever disagree with a ruling elder. :)

                “That we have an opinion different than yours?” No, you’re entitled to be mistaken.

                “What point have we proven? That we can finally “pushback” from all the arrogance and power mongering that has gone all for so long from that movement?” Well I’m not part of any movement. But I have not seen widespread arrogance and power mongering among Calvinist leaders in the SBC. I have seen lots of arrogance around these arts though, but not by Calvinists. And what looks like jealousy of power. Not sure.

                “It is then that you guys start the angry whine and claim: Not fair.” Not me. I don’t whine.

                SDG!

                  Scott Shaver

                  Les writes:

                  “I’m not part of any movement. But I have not seen widespread arrogance and power mongering among Calvinist leaders in the SBC.”

                  This statement alone is enough for one to realize that any discussion about Southern Baptist history (past, present or future) is an exercise in futility with Les. He has absolutely no regard for any source data other than his own “experience”.

                  Like arguing with a fence post that it’s not a gate :)

                    Robert

                    Scott,

                    You quoted Les Prouty as saying: “I’m not part of any movement”.

                    What?

                    This is one of the most preposterous statements that I have ever seen at this blog!

                    Recall that Les Prouty is an ex-Southern Baptist who once held the truth on things such as baptism, church leadership, congregational rule, etc.

                    He renounced all of those things, is now Presbyterian and HIS PRIMARY REASON FOR POSTING HERE IS TO DEFEND CALVINISM.

                    And He is not part of any movement?

                    I guess the new Calvinism is more stealth than I thought, if its advocates such as Les Prouty don’t even know they are part of this movement to convert everyone to Calvinism, to defend and promote and maintain Calvinist doctrines!!!

                    Lydia

                    “This statement alone is enough for one to realize that any discussion about Southern Baptist history (past, present or future) is an exercise in futility with Les. He has absolutely no regard for any source data other than his own “experience”.

                    Scott, Evidently if you write “BIBLICAL” or SDG! in all caps it makes it so. :o)

                  Les

                  Scott,

                  “This statement alone is enough for one to realize that any discussion about Southern Baptist history (past, present or future) is an exercise in futility with Les.”

                  Feel free (free will and such) to refrain from such discussions with me. You won’t hurt my feelings at all. :)

                  SDG!

                    Scott Shaver

                    Already done Les. Thank you.

                  Les

                  Lydia,

                  “Evidently if you write “BIBLICAL” or SDG! in all caps it makes it so.” Not necessarily. :)

                  Scott, great!

                  Robert,

                  “Recall that Les Prouty is an ex-Southern Baptist who once held the truth on things such as baptism, church leadership, congregational rule, etc.”

                  Robert, i fact I’m still an ordained SB minister. So not quite ex yet. And I do still hold to the truth on “baptism, church leadership, congregational rule.”

                  “He renounced all of those things, is now Presbyterian and HIS PRIMARY REASON FOR POSTING HERE IS TO DEFEND CALVINISM.”

                  In order, No, yes and no. And SB.

                  “I guess the new Calvinism is more stealth than I thought, if its advocates such as Les Prouty don’t even know they are part of this movement to convert everyone to Calvinism, to defend and promote and maintain Calvinist doctrines!!!”

                  Brobert, “new Calvinism? What constitutes “new?” I’ve held to the Reformed doctrines from the scriptures for almost 30 years. I know Lydia tries to put me in the YRR crowd and part of me is heartened. But at almost 60 years old and according to my wife not very restless, I don’t actually fit there either.

                  SDG!

      Lydia

      “Would it be such a terrible thing if youth learned these doctrines and their life patterns resemble John Piper, John MacArthur, Tim Keller, RC Sprout, Mark Dever, Lig Duncan, DA Carson, Alistair Begg, JI Packer, Al Mohler? ”

      John Piper taught that women should take abuse for a “season”.. He also taught that if a husband asks for a menage a trois, the wife must maintain her submission and his leadership when saying no. That is an aside to all the Neo Puritan angry god stuff. That was certainly enough for several parents in my last church.

      Yep, that is what i want my daughter to learn concerning her value as made in the Image of God. (Sheesh!) Piper is so concerned about male leadership he forgot to ask if the jerk was a professing believer or not.

      As to the “enduring abuse”” advice, I would suggest they call the police as that always escalates unless you nip it in the bud immediately. As to the manage a trois situation, the guy is sick and I would be seeing a doctor. Get away.

      I am wondering how many men here would teach their daughters this?

      There is plenty more. but of course, I have the exhalted Piper all wrong. We always get their teaching wrong. We never understand them as we simply do not have the intellectual capacity to understand the lofty, convoluted doctrines they teach.

        Janice Wright

        the slander in this comment is incredible.

          Lydia

          “The slander in this comment is incredible.”

          Janice, this seems to be a boilerplate response from the Neo Cal movement. One is either slandering, libeling, accusing the brethren or breaking the 9th Commandment. I am starting to wonder if there is a playbook somewhere.

          We could discuss the legal definition of slander for a start. I will say I started doing due diligence on Piper aboutt 16 years ago when some of my young family went to study and work with Piper after college. They came back for a visit and informed their entire family they did not know the “true Gospel”. So, you can imagine that those who paid for their time at college and with Piper were curious about him on a different level. Since then, I have slogged through his books, listened to his flowery verbosity and watched many a video.

          The information referenced is on video. Piper followers rarely “hear” or analyze what he says because he is so revered.

            Donald

            “…this seems to be a boilerplate response from the Neo Cal movement. One is either slandering, libeling, accusing the brethren or breaking the 9th Commandment. I am starting to wonder if there is a playbook somewhere.”

            Truly!

          Scott shaver

          Define slander. Can lies be slandered?

      Bill Mac

      I think I’d substitute in Spurgeon, John Bunyan, Steve Green and George Muller in favor of a few of these guys, notably Piper.

    Lydia

    “Would it be such a terrible thing if youth learned these doctrines and their life patterns resemble John Piper, John MacArthur, Tim Keller, RC Sprout, Mark Dever, Lig Duncan, DA Carson, Alistair Begg, JI Packer, Al Mohler? You think ANY parent would object if their children turned out like any of these modern Calvinists?”

    I was thinking Jesus Christ is a better goal to strive for being like.

    Pam

    Yes it would be very bad for my children or any children to learn about those Doctrines. And I would never want my child to emulate anyone that portrays God’s Character like Calvinist portray Him.

    sharon gardner

    why even preach if you have already been chosen ???? do no understand this at all. where is it biblical ? isn’t it rather arrogant to believe certain people are chosen and that God did not give us free will.?

      Drew

      Sharon, I addressed the first part of your question in another comment farther down the page: http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/youth-targeted-calvinism-part-one/#comment-50896
      As far as it being biblical, it’s a pretty broad question, but there are many biblical defenses for a reformed understanding of salvation. The first one that comes to me is Jesus saying “you did not choose me, but I chose you” in John 15.
      If you’re referring to the biblical warrant to evangelize the lost, Matthew 28:20 and Acts 1:8 are good places to start.
      I’m not writing this to start a debate as much as I wanted to let you know that the position is based in the Bible.

      As far as it being arrogant, many would say it’s arrogant to think that Man could somehow thwart the plans of God, hime being God and all.
      I’m not really willing to say that position is arrogant, but I do think there’s equal opportunity to find that fault on both sides of the debate.

      Grace and peace.

        Lydia

        “As far as it being arrogant, many would say it’s arrogant to think that Man could somehow thwart the plans of God, hime being God and all.”

        That “sounds” good but think it through in light of your Calvinistic construct. It must assume that whatever happens is “God’s plan. Six million Jews gassed: God’s plan. Babies dying of cancer: God’s plan. “Christian” predators molest children and the pastors protect them: God’s plan.

        So no matter what happens you can declare it is from God. He sounds more like Allah than Yahweh. The biggest problem I have with Calvinism is you guys refuse to take your beliefs to their logical conclusion. But we an always quote Luther about “reason”.

          Zach

          Even if you’re not Calvinistic, being Biblical still requires you to at least accept the idea of God allowing things like that happen.

            Lydia

            “Even if you’re not Calvinistic, being Biblical still requires you to at least accept the idea of God allowing things like that happen.”

            Well, of course Zack. But when one denies man’s volition as given by God, it becomes a convoluted mess that ends up attributing to God what is not from God.

            The irony of your Calvinistic position is that it translates into one of two points: 1) you cannot possibly know as you lack volition so why would I listen to you? Your own ST counsels me not to Or, 2) The Holy Spirit has given you special knowledge I cannot have.

            The last is similar to Plato’s Philosopher Kings.

            I do understand your ST has all sorts of explanations to get around this problem. I personally think they are tortured and convoluted.

              Zach

              I don’t deny that man’s volition was given by God. I just think there are limits to what that volition is capable of. ;) Nor do I think a Calvinistic construct requires a belief of “hard-determinism” (i.e., God directly causes everything) as you seem to.

                Andrew Barker

                Zach: “Nor do I think a Calvinistic construct requires a belief of “hard-determinism” (i.e., God directly causes everything) as you seem to.”

                This is an interesting comment if it is taken at face value. It would suggest that you think there is more than one type of determinism? Some people refer to ‘soft-determinism’ in the belief that is it somehow less deterministic than the ‘hard’ variety. It is not. It is simply the way theologians have tried to explain how ‘free will’ could/might operate within a deterministic paradigm. It will come as no surprise to you that I believe they fail in their endeavours.

                The reason why most non-Calvinists see Calvinism as ‘deterministic’ is simply because that’s what we constantly hear from the Calvinist camp. I would be interested to hear those things you think which God has determined and those which he hasn’t.

                  Zach

                  Andrew,

                  These are fair points, and I understand that not everyone can accept the idea of soft determinism. I’ll say up front that I don’t believe there is such a thing as truly “free” will. I do believe in the ability to make real choices with real consequences and effects, however, and I don’t believe God determining things is incompatible with this. Some feel it is either determinism or free will; I see it more as a paradox we can’t completely explain. It is both the case that God is absolutely sovereign and operates His sovereignty at times to determine His will is accomplished, and that we are responsible for the choices we make. I do think making a distinction between God “decretive will” and His “desiccative will” helps. I suspect you might see such a distinction to be artificial, but I disagree and think it is supported by Scripture.

                  At the end of the day for me, it’s a simple matter of seeing God operate in ways that are clearly deterministic throughout the Scriptures. Take for instance Paul’s conversion. There wasn’t A CHANCE that things would have happened any differently than they did in Acts 9. You can’t tell me for a second, without being disingenuous, that Paul wouldn’t have been saved that day! And Paul himself clearly sees his conversion as something having been determined by God to happen (Galatians 3:15-17). Along with this, take the many other examples of God in the Scriptures clearly interacting more directly with certain individuals and intervening more directly in their lives than with humanity in general (e.g., Abraham, Moses, David, etc.). Take the facts of the Gospel! Jesus WAS going to the cross and WAS going to be raised! Nothing would thwart this! No man, no circumstance, no angel or demon, nothing. Everything happened exactly as God intended. Peter said as much in Acts 2:22-23; curiously, he also says that the people were responsible (compatibilism, anyone?). Clearly, God determines certain things will infallibly happen! And in many of the examples given in Scripture, that includes the sure salvation of at least some individuals.

                  That might make some people uncomfortable; it used to make me feel that way. But then I though, why? When I was honest with myself, I had to admit that discomfort was born more out of man-centered, philosophical concepts of “choice” and “fairness” rather than what the Scriptures actually teach. For me, when philosophical concepts are at odds with the Scriptures, it is our philosophy that must be conformed the Scriptures, and not the other way around. If the Scriptures lead me to believe to God is at least to some extent deterministic, then so be it! To me, you cannot escape that there is at least some degree of determinism in the way God interacts with creation without denying what the Scriptures say.

                  I guess to sum it all up, I believe that even within God being sovereign and determining certain things to happen, I believe that as humans we still make real choices within time that have real effects on the world around us, and that we bear responsibility for those choices. But yet those real choices happen in such a way that ultimately, God’s will is accomplished. I can’t explain it in every detail, but I don’t think I can explain every detail about how God exists as Trinity either. And I’m okay with that.

                    Zach

                    “desiccative” was supposed to be “desirative.” Sorry for the typo there.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Zach: Thanks. It’s quite refreshing to disagree with someone without having them resorting to cries of heresy or worse! ;-)

                    The problem with your assertions re Paul for example is that there is just no way of usefully discussing a ‘what if’ he hadn’t responded correctly. My instinct is to say that God would have raised somebody else up in his place. Sure, history would have been different, but God would still have accomplished whatever he wanted but in a different way. So hopefully, I’m not being disingenuous in disagreeing with you there.

                    It’s the same with Acts 2:22-3. God’s plan was for certain things to happen, as prophesied, but nobody was named and everybody involved was seen to be acting in accordance with their own free will. The Jews were specifically asked and their reply was “we will not have this man”.

                    The area where compatibilism really falls down for me is that it skips over the question of who gets to be changed so that they can then exercise their ‘free will’ and choose God. If God could do that for one person, he could do it for all people everywhere. And why wouldn’t he?

                    For me, Eph 1:11 holds the key. God works all things after the counsel of his will. Most Calvinists will jump at this and read it that God determines all things. But I focus more on the aspect of God’s will? What exactly is this counsel of God’s will? For a start, God’s will is that nobody should perish. A good place to begin. How does God save people? Through faith etc. God has determined how he is going to bring salvation, but I’ve read nothing in scripture which convinces me of anything other than that God wants all men everywhere to be saved. That’s not based on man’s philosophy or what I feel may or may not be ‘fair’. That’s an honest assessment of what I find to be the balance of scripture.

                    PS. typos? …. I ignore them on the whole and take them for what they are meant to be.

Jon Estes

There seems to be a problem with your presentation. At least, I do not see it being addressed.

If said church (as described above) is so traditional and theologically sound in free will positions… What on earth would make them call a Calvinist minister to youth?

I guess the following reasons could be considered…

1 – The youthminister lied to get the job.
2 – The committee doing the vetting was clueless to doctrinal things important to the church.
3 – The church has little to no say or input into the theological position of ones being hired.
4 – The church doesn’t care… due to ignorance.
5 – Put the Pastor in place of # 2-4.

If a church hires a Calvinist and they are not of that stripe.. Don’t just come out and blame the hire.

There is a lot of wrong information out there about Calvinists and someone who is adimately against such probably would not be the best to explain or most fair to present the differences.

Even in your article, Calvinism is the evil brother hiding in the closet waiting to pounce out and destroy people with a bent theology.

Isn’t it time to stop the head hunting and get back to the traditional Baptist life of reaching a world for Christ, even if along the way some of them may end up believing a bit different than we do?

2 cents worth.

    Rick Patrick

    Jon,

    Thank you for detailing the many problems that result in a Calvinistic youth minister being placed in a position in which the youth group parents ASSUME he believes what they have believed all their lives. You did a great job with that. Lots of committees (and pastors) overlook the signs and hire that Calvinist anyway. Would it surprise you to know that I came VERY CLOSE to hiring a Calvinist youth minister on two separate occasions? Candidates are sometimes able to mask their views and sound quite convincing in the interview.

    Obviously, we disagree on the whole philosophy of, “Let’s just forget this is happening and move on with our lives and our ministries.” Too many churches have been deeply affected by situations like this one to just ignore it and move on. I believe it deserves attention. Parents need to know if the youth are being taught Calvinism.

D. Morgan

Well said Dr. Patrick. Regardless of which “ism” one is discussing, the targeted instruction and indoctrination of the youth lays the foundation for change. The progressives have been using this tactic for decades. Our current society shows the results. And scripture teaches us to raise a child up properly. The materials being used from Lifeway in most SBC churches shows an obvious slant towards the reform movement. The Alinsky type tactics being used by those of the reform movement leave a bad taste in ones mouth. Why the subterfuge? Why the duplicitous nature of their methods? We obviously need to properly raise our children in truth, building a solid foundation on rock! But indoctrination in calvinistic theology is not the same as the rock of sacred scripture. And i foresee a bad end to this; for both our youth and for the SBC in general.

    Jon Estes

    “targeted instruction and indoctrination of the youth”

    Interesting that those who are traditionalists do not see that they are also involved in indoctrination and instruction of their traditionalist tenants.

    Admit it… You want to be able to teach all you can how you understand it to be.

    I’m not sure if you are wanting to say Calvinists are progressives, I do not see how one could (If you are). Calvinism is as old as your traditionalism.

    At least that is how I see it.

    2 cents worth.

      Rick Patrick

      Jon,

      Yes, indeed, Traditionalists are involved in the indoctrination and instruction of our youth according to our own beliefs. You suggest that we “do not see” this, but the truth is that we “do” see this and it is precisely the point. We have every right to teach our children the doctrines we affirm without such doctrines being supplanted, apart from our knowledge, by Calvinistic youth ministers who are “reforming” our children.

      Of course we “admit it.” We want to impart to our children the doctrines we hold dear, not the doctrines we disaffirm but that happen to be popular now among certain reformed youth ministers. Here is the situation: parents have the RIGHT to indoctrinate their children and oversee their religious instruction, while youth ministers have the RESPONSIBILITY not to teach a doctrinal system secretly opposing that of the parents.

        Shawn

        Rick, you said “We have every right to teach our children the doctrines we affirm without such doctrines being supplanted, apart from our knowledge, by Calvinistic youth ministers who are “reforming” our children.”

        Let’s give supply alternate words here and consider the outcome:
        “We Roman Catholics have every right to teach our children the doctrines we affirm without such doctrines being supplanted, apart from our knowledge, by Southern Baptist youth ministers who are “reforming” our children.”

          Rick Patrick

          Shawn,
          The principle of parental authority to direct the religious education of their children still applies across denominational lines. In your example, Roman Catholic parents would be correctly disturbed if the Roman Catholic teenagers in their youth group were being taught Southern Baptist doctrines by a Southern Baptist youth minister who managed to sneak into a Roman Catholic leadership position without the Priest or Bishop discovering it.

          Your example is clearly different from mine, however, because in your case, the two separate denominations are fully understood and delineated, but in mine we have, within one and the same denomination, two differing and competing theologies. My problem is not with a Baptist Youth Minister teaching Calvinism *with the knowledge and consent of the Pastors and the Parents.* My problem is when he teaches Calvinism without such knowledge and consent.

        mc

        “Parents need to know if the youth are being taught Calvinism.”
        “parents have the RIGHT to indoctrinate their children and oversee their religious instruction.”

        Parents do have the RIGHT to indoctrinate. Even more, parents have THE RESPONSIBILITY to do so. Parents should not farm out their children to any youth minister.
        This is literally destroying families, churches, and the SBC. Every parent (hopefully) wants his/her child to know and grow in the Word of the LORD, yet so few are picking up this RESPONSIBILITY. Much of the guilt lies with the “professional” ministers. “We must have things for our young preacher boys to do… Lord knows they cannot really teach / preach at 20, 21, 22” (except for all those who for centuries DID just that!!). How many current senior pastors started at YP’s, after all??
        Most, sadly!

        Parents need to know the Bible and how to teach their own children. Whether Calvinist or not, parents should not sit by idly and accept at face-value what ANY teacher, preacher teaches them or their children – who actually are usually down the hall having 40 minutes of game time, followed by a 10 minute “devo” (that’s the slang for “devotional” for you parents who are not “cool”). Not only is the Bible time truncated, even the terms to refer to the short instruction time are as well. But, yes, by all means, protect our children from youth “pastors.”

        It is genuinely funny that most parents do not care and do not know what is going on in the “youth dept” as long as the kids have a good time. Every one loves the youth guy as long as the kids can tell mom and the pastor, “Yeah, Joe is cool, and doesn’t judge us for our music. He can even pull spaghetti through his nose!!!”

        But then … someone screams, “Calvinism!!” Then most parents first response is, “What is that?,” followed by, “I don’t want my kid learning that stuff.” Didn’t know, didn’t care, until the deacons held a late-nighter to determine what to do with that Calvinist YP.

        This is all simply a rant against this thread (and youth ministry) and the bitter venom begin spewed by “Christians” from the same SBC family. Quite sad. Reminds one of a family squabble over the execution of an estate after dad dies.

          Jon Estes

          “Parents do have the RIGHT to indoctrinate. Even more, parents have THE RESPONSIBILITY to do so. Parents should not farm out their children to any youth minister.”

          Would you apply this (youth pastor) position to VBS and the many unchurched kids from the community show up to hear our take on the gospel?

          The church is filled with responsibility to step on other peoples false beliefs (whether they see them that way or not) to present the gospel.

          Yeah, I know the traditionalist will say that have the truth and Calvinists are the liars so it is their moral higher ground to expose such lies and indoctrinate as many as they can to their thinking.

          I wonder what God would do without us?

            mc

            I believe I know what you are getting at. My point is related to parents who are saved. These parents who know Christ have the responsibility to know what their children are learning. Unsaved children from unsaved families are a different category. Yet proper discipleship in the church will lead the adults to know how to love and teach “unchurched kids from the community.” Mature / maturing adults are the key to those unchurched kids in VBS. But we are moving away from the thread.

      Johnathan Pritchett

      “Interesting that those who are traditionalists do not see that they are also involved in indoctrination and instruction of their traditionalist tenants.”

      Not necessarily. That may be the problem. As even Rick recognizes, at least the Calvinists take their theology serious enough to teach it, or “indoctrinate” it…I don’t think that is a bad word that should NECESSARILY have bad connotations.

      “Admit it… You want to be able to teach all you can how you understand it to be.”

      I wish that were so. Calvinists, in my opinion, get this right. Traditionalists have in the past punted on this and have not taught theology in a robust manner (by and large). Even Hankins conceded this to Mohler in their conversation. Sadly, I see little being done to reverse this trend in those churches. As someone who grew up in Reformed Baptist churches, I have yet to see in Traditionalist churches with the same level of commitment and rigor in church education. Some Traditionalist churches are better than others to be sure, but we are talking generally.

      “I’m not sure if you are wanting to say Calvinists are progressives,”

      I don’t think that was the case. I think the comparison was a “tactical” comparison, not an ideological comparison. Even I have nicknamed the SBC Calvinists the Reformed Bolsheviks for a couple of similarities (for tactical ones, not ideological ones).

      “Calvinism is as old as your traditionalism.”

      Depends on if we are talking within SBC, or within the long history of Christendom. If the former, that is certainly correct, if the latter, then not by a long shot. With respect to soteriology, Traditionalism is very, very close to Oden’s “proto-orthodoxy” view that the preponderance of evidence demonstrates from early Patristics. One has to go to Augustine’s latter writings to find much of the precursors to the soteriological views of Calvinism.

        Lydia

        ” don’t think that was the case. I think the comparison was a “tactical” comparison, not an ideological comparison. Even I have nicknamed the SBC Calvinists the Reformed Bolsheviks for a couple of similarities (for tactical ones, not ideological ones).”

        This is why I call them Collectivists. Same thing. Purity of ideology of the party (movement) is more important than an individual in the group. (Unless a party leader who are the Oligarchy. As we saw with Les naming men instead of Christ as the examples).

        And of course that means Traditionalism is harder to deal with because individuals matter and that giving people a voice always makes it much messier.

        Ironically, the YRR/Neo Puritans are going the same way our country is going….down the slope of collectivism. Groupthink is very powerful.

        Jon Estes

        ““Interesting that those who are traditionalists do not see that they are also involved in indoctrination and instruction of their traditionalist tenants.”

        Not necessarily. That may be the problem. As even Rick recognizes, at least the Calvinists take their theology serious enough to teach it, or “indoctrinate” it…I don’t think that is a bad word that should NECESSARILY have bad connotations.”

        I am not attempting to mae the term bad but use it in it’s purest form. ALso, the seriousness of the commitment doesn’t play into my comment. I was simply stating the traditionalist have their thinking they use to indoctrinate others with.

        ““Admit it… You want to be able to teach all you can how you understand it to be.”

        I wish that were so. Calvinists, in my opinion, get this right. Traditionalists have in the past punted on this and have not taught theology in a robust manner (by and large). Even Hankins conceded this to Mohler in their conversation. Sadly, I see little being done to reverse this trend in those churches. As someone who grew up in Reformed Baptist churches, I have yet to see in Traditionalist churches with the same level of commitment and rigor in church education. Some Traditionalist churches are better than others to be sure, but we are talking generally.”

        Again,my comment is not about ones robustness but about their eliefs being taught to others – no matter how exciting or boring they present it.

        ““I’m not sure if you are wanting to say Calvinists are progressives,”

        I don’t think that was the case. I think the comparison was a “tactical” comparison, not an ideological comparison. Even I have nicknamed the SBC Calvinists the Reformed Bolsheviks for a couple of similarities (for tactical ones, not ideological ones).”

        I’m okay with your statement.

        2 cents worth – if that much.

norm

Insightful and significant post, Rick. Thank you.
Not only is this a grave theological trend, it points to something equally as grave from which our churches have suffered for decades. And when I say churches, I really mean families who are members of churches. This matter goes back to when church youth minsters became a popular additions to church staffs. At that time (and even unto today), too many parents entrusted the theological education of their children to someone only a few years older than those children. Whereas I absolutely resonate with your post, I think it is salient to indicate that we are reaping a symptom from at least one problem, and that is parents’ near-total abdication of the theological training of the children entrusted to them by God. And, the sad truth is, one of the reasons that Calvinism has had such success is that parents are not theologically astute themselves. Inasmuch as parents have trusted others for their children’s discipleship, many church leaders have trusted denominational literature to do the same. But that has proven not to be a wise decision, either, in some cases.
The primary responsibility for theological training belongs to parents, not another person or institution.
We have sown the wind and are reaping the whirlwind. — Norm

    Johnathan Pritchett

    “…many church leaders have trusted denominational literature to do the same.”

    Though, this kind of sparked a memory for me that is probably the same criticism, but in reverse. When our family became SBC in the early 1990’s, my dad eventually started a SS class. He totally ditched the literature and prepared his own lessons because it was all but worthless. His class, which eventually became two classes, grew to the largest in the Church (a Trad church), but the other SS teachers complained that he wasn’t using the literature. My dad is what one could consider a Calvinist along the lines of Erickson (in both demeanor and theology. i.e. occasionally dubbed as “gently Calvinistic”).

    What I think is actually happening is not that Calvinism itself is attractive. Rather, it is that serious, robust theological education is attractive to people in the church. Whoever goes deeper and takes it more seriously, eventually gets a crowd. I see the “Neo-Calvinism” rise in the SBC as a large-scale model of what happened with my dad’s SS classes. My dad could hardly be accused of teaching robust CALVINISM, but he was teaching robustly (as far as a layman can teach robustly anyways). Calvinists have typically (generally speaking, I know there are exceptions) done a better job of this.

    My dad would probably approve of the literature today. Like Emir Caner said on this blog with respect to The Gospel Project:

    “Most of us in our forties – what I call the Seinfeld Generation – remember the old Southern Baptist literature, much of which was shallower than an oasis in the midst of the Mohave Desert. The study was topical and usually began and ended with the question, ‘What does that passage mean to me.’ For years we have longed for a curriculum that gave an in-depth, exegetical study of Scriptural passages that expounded authorial intent while also attaching a personal and contemporary application.”

    Certainly theological training for youth should primarily be in the home. But untrained parents do them no good. That pushes back the problem. The only way to train the parents is to train them.

    Only a serious, theologically robust and compelling alternative will get the job done. Traditionalism has it, but so what? If it isn’t seriously taught and defended in churches, it won’t matter much.

      Bill Mac

      I agree with this completely. As long as Traditionalism takes its identity from Calvinism, they are not going to see the growth they hope for. They need a robust and deep effort to promote what they believe, rather than what they don’t believe.

      I think there is a lesson to be had from politics. Both major political parties have things that they are for, but they spend most of their time railing against what they are against. As a result, year after year they are seen as more and more ineffectual and useless.

        Scott Shaver

        Let’s look at the other side of the SBC coin with regard to your comments Bill Mac.

        What’s are the positives of reform calvinist influence in the SBC over the last 20 years. Better or worse for it’s place at the table?

Dr. Will Hall

The problem is Scripture describes Calvinism, Arminianism, Dispensationalism, Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, Pentecostalism … as SIN.

I have no problem with any godly person teaching the Word of God. I object to anyone (John Piper, John MacArthur, Tim Keller, RC Sprout, Mark Dever, Lig Duncan, DA Carson, Alistair Begg, JI Packer, Al Mohler, the Pope, Benny Hinn, Thomas S. Munson) corrupting Scripture from a human perspective regardless of the manmade religious philosophy.

The Bible needs no outside commentary, much less a systematic theology that squeezes every verse to fit that point of view.

Teaching the Word–no problem. Teaching man’s view–an abomination.

Regarding what is to be taught: “that you have heard from me among many witnesses” — Scripture alone (ironic).

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Regarding “teachers” who would impose “circumcision of the mind” with a systematic theology or other diversion from a purely biblical theology:

1 John 1:26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

    Jess

    Are you a member of a local Church?

      Dr. Will Hall

      Seriously? Instead of being silly, why not go to Scripture?

      I don’t want to waste time parsing with you some strawman point that you believe all sermons are built on systematic theologies or that no reading of the Bible is void of such influences.

        Scott Shaver

        I guess the first couple of centuries of Christian witness was always a day late and a dollar short until systematic theologies could be written and circulated.

        A right obtuse rationale IMO. Good points Will Hall.

    David (NAS) Rogers

    “The Bible needs no outside commentary, much less a systematic theology that squeezes every verse to fit that point of view.”
    “Regarding what is to be taught: “that you have heard from me among many witnesses” — Scripture alone (ironic).”

    If I were to take those sentences literally my sermons would be extremely shortened. I would read the Bible text and then pray. Any comments that I would make about the text would be “outside commentary.” Any theology that I explained to the congregation would be human theology, whether systematized or not, since I am a human and not an author of Scripture. I have only rarely heard any preacher just read the text and then shut up. Virtually all Southern Baptist preaching includes the commentary of the preacher alongside the text. It would be helpful if we would admit that our preaching includes our own human commentary. The key is whether our commentary is submitted to and shaped by the whole teaching of the Scriptures. It is naive to think that we preachers “just preach the Bible” because we don’t “just” do that. We read the text and we add our comments to it. And that is not wrong in principle. It is sloppy to ignore that reality.
    We can dismiss another’s “systematic theology” but if that is the principle for preaching then we must dismiss our own and not add it.

      Dr. Will Hall

      I would expect a better response than “everyone’s doing it.”

      Naive? Sloppy? Please don’t pretend not to know the difference between a biblical theology and a systematic theology, nor how to preach a robust sermon without using a Mishna and Gemara (whether Jewish or Calvinistic or Arminian or Mormon or … .). I’m sure you know this information I’m about to share but are content to make strawman comments to make your point. But for anyone reading this comment stream here’s what Enns says about the difference between the two approaches:

      “In contrast to systematic theology, which draws its information about God from any and every source, biblical theology has a narrower focus, drawing its information from the Bible (and from historical information that expands or clarifies the historical events of the Bible). Biblical theology thus is exegetical in nature, examining the doctrines in the various periods of history or examining the words and statements of a particular writer. This enables the student to determine the self-disclosure of God at
      a given period of history.”

      NOTE: Enns clarifies that in terms of history, the information is from the period of the passage of Scripture in question, not from centuries afterward.

      I’m sure you’ll agree that the original writers or the witnesses thereof had a better understanding of the doctrines of Christ than Calvin or Arminius. Moreover, adherents of both Calvin and Arminius disagree on what these two founders of competing systematic thought believed and taught (hence, three-point vs. four-point vs. five-point vs. seven-point Calvinists; likewise regarding seven dispensational periods vs. nine.).

      Moreover, apparently, the early Christians were fulfilled by sermons that didn’t contain quotes from Augustine or Piper or … . From Justin Martyr (about worship services in the second century, which likely reflected what had been passed down from the first century):

      “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; … .

      Finally, what is it about those Scripture passages (which I provided in context) that you can’t take “literally”? Can this passage be taken literally?

      — Luke 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

      Scott Shaver

      David: If you really think you’d have nothing to say or to expound from the texts alone without the aid of commentaries or third-party thinking, all I can say is I’ve never heard anybody complain about “shorter” sermons.

      “Out of the abundance of heart, the mouth speaks”.

Tim

Dr. Patrick,

I would like to respectfully speak to you about what I am seeing in Southern Baptist Churches and state my experience with the church. I am 46 years old. I grew up and was saved at a young age in a traditionalist Southern Baptist Church. I didn’t even really know what Calvinism was until about two years ago. I have an 8 year old son who was born with spina bifida. He is a blessing from God, but my wife and I were devastated when we first found out about his condition. My religious training had not prepared me for this event in my life. Everyone would just say “I don’t know why this has happened, but just remember that God loves you”. We also got a lot of “You must be very special people, because God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

My pastor happened to quote John Piper in his sermon and for some reason it caught my attention. At the time, for all I knew John Piper was someone who lived in the 1700’s. I looked him up and found a lot of things that helped to handle what was happening to my son and family. I didn’t know he was Calvinist, I just knew that what he said was helping me get through this time. Through his ministry I found a lot of other reformed (Calvinist) teachers. I listened to them mainly because he recommended them. I didn’t know they were Calvinist or even what that meant. I also listened to pastors of the traditionalist theology. I found myself getting a lot more from the Calvinist teachers than the traditionalist teachers. Not because of the Calvinist teaching, but because they seemed more serious about studying the Bible.

My point, I suppose, is I am not 100% sold on Calvinism. But on the traditionalist side all I seem to hear is talking negative about Calvinism. If the traditionalist movement is going to survive, Traditionalists have got to start teaching that theology. I am tired of sports analogies and quaint little stories in place of Biblical teaching in sermons. Traditionalist will lose if they (we) do not start being strategic, taking Biblical teaching more seriously at all ages, and stop making entertainment the main objective. Perhaps, we need a little more teaching about the wrath and justice of God almighty. I feel like sometimeswe have dumbed down God’s message so much that no one is compelled to learn it. I find so many people in church who know who the best Southern Gospel groups are and especially know how their college football team is doing, but their theology is not based on Biblical scripture. They don’t even want to talk about the Bible because they don’t know what it says.

Ok, I’m sorry for the rant. I love my church and I love being a Southern Baptist. I just get frustrated sometimes and concerned for my children’s spiritual growth. Last Sunday, in my son’s Sunday school class he and one other child were the only ones that could tell the teacher that Genesis was the first book of the Bible! And most of these other children have grown up in the church. I see a lot of nice people in church, but not a lot of educated, Godly people.

Thank you for your time.
Tim Huckaby

    Lydia

    “If the traditionalist movement is going to survive, Traditionalists have got to start teaching that theology.”

    I totally agree with this, Tim. The problem is that people have allowed the YRR/Neo Puritans to frame everything. Those who are not Calvinists who believe in personal responsibility (ability) are accused of being Pelagians and Open Theists. Do you remember back when everyone was a liberal? The Trads are the new liberals. Let them accuse all they want. I believe God gave us free will and the ability to do good or evil. A big problem is that the Reformed world has redefined evil as good in the areas of sin leveling, authoritarianism, following gurus and a wrathful-random God who has favorites.

    Instead of the anti gospel (it is not good news) navel gazing, lets focus on cures and treatments for our precious ones as God has given us the ability to put to rights so many horrible things like diseases, etc. We have come a long way but we have further to go. And we did not get there by claiming that God sent these things to make us suffer. I want to alleviate as much suffering as I can in my little corner of the world.

      Johnathan Pritchett

      “Those who are not Calvinists who believe in personal responsibility (ability) are accused of being Pelagians and Open Theists.”

      I hear that.

      Do what I do. It is similar to when I talk to a whackjob about homosexuality, and they, for not reason whatsoever, start with falsely accusing me of being a “bigot,” “homophobe,” “hate-monger,” or whatever, I just say, “fine. Okay, settle down. Got it. I’m a hateful bigot homophobe in your mind. Great, can we have an actual conversation about homosexuality now?”

      Same thing with the Calvinist. If they just want to hurl labels, then just remember this: You aren’t really talking to a Calvinist. You are talking to an idiot.

      Once you realize that, you can save yourself the hassle and not waste your life speaking to an idiot who doesn’t care anything about discussing the Bible.

        Lydia

        “Once you realize that, you can save yourself the hassle and not waste your life speaking to an idiot who doesn’t care anything about discussing the Bible.”

        That is pretty much every SBC church at ground zero. And you can add in many Methodist and others they have stealthy infiltrated by deception because jobs are scarce in the SBC now as they churn them out at SBTS. The only “baptist” churches they have not been able to infiltrate are the CBF churches.

        It really can be a sin to attend church here and go along with the deception and game playing. These are people who destroy people who dare disagree with their quest for power. Caste system power is an ingrained concept in Calvinism.

    doug sayers

    No need for apology, Tim, thanks for chiming in. You are probably expressing the views of many. Our side has got to get busy about doctrinal issues if we want to keep the more scholarly and academically minded young people in our churches. (Here is a place where our “altar call mentally” has risen up to bite, if you know what I mean.)

    I certainly agree that real Calvinism is derogatory to the character of God and disparaging to His common grace but every believer needs a strong dose of the sovereignty of God, especially when faced with the circumstances you describe with your son. Our time as Reformed Baptists provided our family with a high view of God’s right as the Potter over the clay; it helped us persevere through some difficult times after our youngest child’s near drowning accident and subsequent brain injury (mentioned on this blog previously).

    We are not saying that God *can’t* manipulate every choice, we are saying that God sovereignly *refuses* to manipulate every choice (especially the decision to repent and believe the Gospel).

    Hang in there brother. Don’t waste that spina bifada. Keeping the faith through suffering is our secret weapon (for Calvinists and non)!

Scott Shaver

About the only positive side of SBC Calvinization has been the discussions opened up between my daughters, my wife and myself. They’ve learned the distinguishing characteristics of neo Cal and reformed “baptist” churches and know to avoid them like a European plague.

Terry Delaney

Meanwhile, us evil Calvinists just want to proclaim the gospel to a world in need of salvation rather than “expose” the evils of historically orthodox and accepted doctrines.

    Scott Shaver

    Terry Delaney:

    As an “evil” calvinist, why are you wasting your time proclaiming the gospel to the Non Elect?

    Shouldn’t prolonged “fruit inspection” precede “proclamaton” in your chosen theological paradigm?

      Drew

      What a silly thing to posit. As is often the case in discussions surround calvinism, you have created a caricature of calvinist theology and are now tearing it apart rather than dealing with the actual ideas calvinists believe. This is called the fallacy of the straw man.
      The idea that we should not give a gospel call is rooted in hyper-calvinism, which contrary to popular consciousness was an actual systematic belief system that cropped among English baptists hundreds of years ago (17th or 18th century? I’m a little fuzzy on the dates.) This movement was wrong, divorced from traditional (and we would Biblical) understanding of Reformed teaching, and fizzled out before too long. I won’t say people like this don’t exist today, but they are rather rare. Some Primitive Baptists fall into this teaching. See http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Q-WTic5OsYAJ:www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/hypercal.htm+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us for more info on that.

      To answer your question, we proclaim the gospel to all because we do not know who is elect and who is not, and God calls us to do this work. As we grow in our sanctification, we become more like Jesus and our priorities are more in line with his. He saw the lost as sheep without a shepherd and had compassion. This mindset is also motivation for evangelism. A third motivation is a desire to see God glorified among all peoples. Additionally, we understand that God has ordained not only the ends (the salvation of people,) but he has also ordained the means (the proclamation of the Gospel.)

        Scott Shaver

        You don’t know “who the elect” are?

        So you spend at least half your time proclaiming “good news” to those who have no business hearing…being predestined for damnation and all.

        Seems like an exercise in futility based on……..”not knowing”. Any system that includes 5 points is “HYPER”.

        I don’t remember Jesus saying “preach and perhaps your message will fall upon the ears of the elect”. Such thinking would be closer to the mindset of the executioner John Calvin.

          Dave Cooke

          I don’t remember Jesus saying “preach and perhaps your message will fall upon the ears of the elect”.

          How about the Parable of the sower? It is all about what soil the “seed” falls on. Some falls on the “good” soil, which would ultimately be the ears of the elect. No matter what side of the soteriological fence you stand on, we preach to all, and some respond. Those that respond are the elect. I happen to believe that God is the one who determines the identity of the elect, and you believe that it is man, but their “election” is undeniable.

            Scott Shaver

            Nice try with the Parable of the Sower but no cookie,

            That particular parade has to do with the various degrees of receptivity in the human heart upon interaction with the Holy Spirit..

            Since you guys are more into the authority of theological gurus than any authority of the Holy Spirit, I’m a little surprised at your voice for a proof-text:)
            What else you got that may be relevant David Cooke.

          JJ

          Do you remember Jesus saying “all that the Father gives to me will come to me” along with “no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” in John 6?

            Scott Shaver

            JJ:

            How does God the Father operationally GIVE “all that belong” to Jesus (i.e. John 6) finally into his hands? Hmmm?

            By the interaction of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in the heart of the beliver. That’s an invitation which extends to “WHOSOEVER WILL”

            God in his omnipotence may know whom and how many from His ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE, but who’s to say from our FINITE perspective, the number is LIMITED?

            Calvinism speculates the FINITE REASONING can fully apprehend the REDEMPTIVE purpose and intent of that which is INFINITE AND ETERNAL.

            For me, such is the illustration of arrogance.

    Cheryl Cali

    Amen

      Scott Shaver

      Cheryl:

      When it comes to “Calvinism” the correct response should be “Oh No” as opposed to “Amen” :)

Ray

Youth ministry is fraught with many dangers. Exposure to Spurgeon is not one of them.

    Steve Williams

    Absolutely Ray. Guess a ski trip with pizza would be better than anything Spurgeon had to say. It saddens me to read such uninformed comments regarding the doctrines of grace. The reduction of a whole system of belief to a few oversimplified “catch phrases” presented with such spite is sickening.

      Dr. Will Hall

      It’s interesting you make the point you do about serous scholarship regarding Calvinists and Traditionalists.

      My experience has been just the opposite.

      I went to the latest and hottest Calvinist church in Nashville with a friend who had questions. The pastor used PowerPoint slides with multiple quotes of Trevin Wax, R.C. Sproul, John Piper and a clip from a cartoon and a hip commercial … and just two verses from the Bible.

      Meanwhile, a while ago I saw a sermon by Ed Stetzer using a giant printed poster board of a snack box for his “exegetical” sermon.

      My pastor in Nashville, on the other hand, a decidedly non-Calvinist, preached verse-by-verse from the New Testament each Sunday and each Wednesday night the same way from the Old Testament. We completed John and Genesis, Ephesians and Exodus, for example.

      I have since moved to a new state and in the four months I’ve been here, we’ve done a verse-by-verse study Sunday mornings, Sunday nights and Wednesday nights (true exegetical studies).

      Don’t confuse rigorous study of a systematic theology and church history as the same thing as actually studying the Word. It seems many Calvinists have confused the conversation with how they define the debate.

John K

I assume we are “not” calling Calvinism a heresy in this article based on the authors past statements. So I think I should look at the main issues/problems pointed out by Rick.

“doctrines that many parents may not understand, and (b) problems with the practice of targeting youth, introducing them to doctrines disaffirmed by their congregation and especially by their own parents.”

Why don’t parents understand this doctrine?
Is it not important for all accepted Christ centered doctrines to be discussed from the pulpit and within the congregational programs?
Have we gone so far away from having family devotional time that it is no longer accepted practice to discuss God outside the Church building?
Are we so fearful of Calvinism that we only speak of it in whispers and/or in a derogatory manner?

If my children came to me and said they are in Christ and viewed a doctrine that was not a heresy, that was different from mine; I would see this as a great opportunity to have many discussions in a Christ like manner of reasoned logic, with the Spirit leading that glorified God just as Christ and the Apostles do throughout the New Testament.

If my children or anyone in the congregation came to me with a view that is considered a heresy: I would see this as a great opportunity to have many discussions in a Christ like manner of reasoned logic with the Spirit leading, that glorified God just as Christ and the Apostles do throughout the New Testament.

And if I saw anyone “Targeting Youth” with heresy I would be having a “stern” discussion with them just as Christ and the Apostles do throughout the New Testament.

I would not be pointing my finger at others for these issues, I would be pointing my finger at myself. .

Christ made me responsible to know his teachings.
1 Peter 3
Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

    Lydia

    “Why don’t parents understand this doctrine?”

    Be honest up front and make sure parents understand you are teaching Calvinism. Don’t make up names for it like “doctrines if grace” (since some might not have been chosen before the world was formed… so no grace for them) or whatever it is calked this week. Tell them it is determinism. Be honest for a change. They might agree, end up being a convert to Calvinism. Or they might not.

    Rick Patrick

    John K,
    Can something be less than heresy, and yet still not what your church teaches and believes? I mean, the Presbyterians are paedobaptists. I’m not going to shout, “Heresy,” but it’s a view I don’t want taught in the church where I serve.

    I don’t believe in continuationism. I don’t believe tongue speaking is required to show evidence that the Holy Spirit is in your life. Yes, some Southern Baptists are charismatic. So, I’m not shouting, “Heresy,” but I still don’t want that doctrine taught in the church where I serve.

    It is the same with Calvinism. You are correct that I’m not comfortable calling it “heresy.” But neither do I call it an acceptable topic for our impressionable youth to be indoctrinated in without parental consent.

      John K

      ” But neither do I call it an acceptable topic for our impressionable youth to be indoctrinated in without parental consent”.

      And that is why I tried to interact with your OP with these 4 questions.

      Why don’t parents understand this doctrine?
      Is it not important for all accepted Christ centered doctrines to be discussed from the pulpit and within the congregational programs?
      Have we gone so far away from having family devotional time that it is no longer accepted practice to discuss God outside the Church building?
      Are we so fearful of Calvinism that we only speak of it in whispers and/or in a derogatory manner?

    Jason

    I just want to say….well said sir. I ask not that you agree with my theology, but be sure you know what you are disagreeing with. I believed these things before ever hearing of Luther or Calvin. I Learned them from men I trusted, and it connected the Bible in an amazing way. I had questions, they answered them. I had doubts, they pointed me to scripture…and not one or two verses, but chapters and books of context. Now…I come here to find that not only is it semi-hersey…but DANGEROUS? I love the Lord, try to be like Jesus, share my salvation story and the Gospel with as many as I can. It hurts to have the faith I cherish be mocked, misunderstood, and denegrated by arguments that in all reality I was able to refute since the 8th grade. Thank you for your reasoned post, regardless of where you land theologically.

    Lydia

    “Why don’t parents understand this doctrine?”

    One of the biggest problems we have is how much trust people put into institutions. They work hard, give money to the institution to pay the salaries of those who teach there and then they mistakenly trust them. When those in the institution take advantage of this, it signals a deeper problem. Those within the institution taking their money and have had the opportunity to study are not upfront about what they are teaching are con men. They take advantage of that trust and even of their tolerance in Christian love to pull a bait and switch. Then they blame the parents for not knowing. It would be like me blaming you if you were conned by what you were taught should be a trustworthy source.

    But since most of the YRR do not announce upfront they are teaching Calvinism and their language is “loaded” (See Lifton Thought Reform) using similar words but with different meanings but not announcing that fact (grace, Sovereinty, etc) they are pulling a bait and switch on people and expecting them to pay them to do it. They are acting like cons and have been taught this is a good thing because people are so ignorant and do not know the true “Gospel”. Then when there is pushback, they resort to blaming the parents (and others) for not being experts on the YRR tactic of bait and switch with loaded language. They also blame them for not being experts on Calvin’s ST. SGM used “love bombing” to get people sucked into their system.

    This is not how one earns trust.

      John K

      Lydia,
      Thanks for you response, although Rick framed this in a way that led me to perceive this was happening in “Traditional” churches. To children that are being taught through the congregation programs and/or seeking outside teachings. I understand how easy it is for me to point the finger at others. I also believe it is important that I examine myself to understand the issue, so that I can provide solutions. I have to be responsible, I need to take the leadership role for my family, and I have to know when my family is seeking outside programs that may lead them astray.

      How does a child even get transportation to these programs, and the time to attend them, if I am being a biblical father to them?

      I perceive it starts me being responsible. I would not send my child to a strangers house. I would not send my child to a strange program either. A program or house that I did not have insight of discernment of.

        Lydia

        Thanks for you response, although Rick framed this in a way that led me to perceive this was happening in “Traditional” churches. To children that are being taught through the congregation programs and/or seeking outside teachings. I understand how easy it is for me to point the finger at others. I also believe it is important that I examine myself to understand the issue, so that I can provide solutions. I have to be responsible, I need to take the leadership role for my family, and I have to know when my family is seeking outside programs that may lead them astray.

        How does a child even get transportation to these programs, and the time to attend them, if I am being a biblical father to them?

        I perceive it starts me being responsible. I would not send my child to a strangers house. I would not send my child to a strange program either. A program or house that I did not have insight of discernment of.”

        John, Maybe you spend too much time in the middle to high income demographics of typical YRR church plants. The last 25 years of my mom’s life was spent in the inner city and she was thrilled they came. Their parents did not care where they were.

        As to the middle and upperclass kids, most parents TRUST the institutions whether that is public school, private school or church. To continue to blame parents only means you are trying to deflect. Just be honest and upfront you are teaching the determinist view to kids. Of course, the minute my tweens came home and told me who was being quoted by the new YRR youth pastor (because we DO discuss the differences at home between determinism and free will), I went to see him to explain we believed differently. Sadly, my kids were targeted after that as those to avoid. As goes the leader, so goes the teens. So to blame those who have put trust in you or your staff at a “Church” is really just sad to me. It tells me so much about the character and integrity of that movement.

        If the YRR would only stick with Jesus and quote Him at least a bit more than Piper, et al, everyone would benefit– including the YRR who could use more Jesus, less gurus..

          John K

          Lydia,
          To my knowledge I have never been to a YRR church plant. I am pretty sure that is not the case knowing that the churches I have attended have been established before the 60’s. Although when traveling I may have attended one once, can’t be sure.

          I don’t put blind trust into institutions, and I had to look up “determinist” to get the definition, I’ll look at this more closely for a Christian definition but from a wikipedia definition of determinism, I would have to say “NO”. I have lived in many income levels and grew up receiving one present at Christmas time from my parents and also very grateful I was brought up in the Church. I do agree that life experience can form us for the better or worse. I am very grateful that we have the Word to form us for the better.

          Thanks for the exchange Lydia.

Jeremy Adkins

Dr. Patrick
I have read much of what you have to say on this issue. I appreciate how you make me have to think through what I believe. I am reformed and attend a small SBC church where cals/trade get along fine. I hear what you are saying. I’m not informed enough to know how much of a trend this is. All I can say is in my Sunday school class we talk about different positions on different issues and I will certainly give what I feel is the best interpretation of the text.
I simply wanted to 2nd a couple of comments thus far. I sincerely and passionately believe the both Jonathan and Tim Huckaby have hit the nail squarely on its head. The issue of biblical integrity and dealing with the hard questions from a passionate, deep, Christ-centered position that makes God the center of the universe doesn’t come through IMHO. As Jonathan stated, I’m absolutely sure that there are many Traditionalist who do this well, but I don’t see it in a more general sense. The articles that you write, though thought provoking, will not affect this trend. Only an equally robust Traditionalist position will take root and blossom. Instead of negatively opposing what you believe to be error, positively affirm the better alternative in such a way as to show the God who gives us libertarian free will as much MORE glorious than a God of unconditional election. Through the Spirit people shall see the truth of Scripture when it’s presented.
Just one more personal note. I was addicted to pornography from the age of 13. It was Pipers sermon Sex and the Supremecy of Christ Part 2 that the Holy Spirit used to set me on a different path. Reformed theology came much later for me. Like Tim, these men took the Bible and showed me Christ in a way I had never heard before. It was very compelling and got me through some very tough times.

Joshua V.

“Those pesky “Reformed” pastors and youth leaders have steered us away from ourselves and pointed us to Christ. How could they be so mean!”

Brothers in Christ, to be quite honest, I’ve been on both sides of this issue in the past several years, and have figured out that the biggest difference in Reformed Theology and what many people call “Traditional” Theology is a simple “Chicken and Egg” conundrum….. Does God come to Man, or does Man come to God?
Seriously…which comes first:
1.) Regeneration of one’s heart through the work of the Holy Spirit?
2.) Man’s response to the Gospel and his belief in Christ?

Biblically speaking, Romans 3:11 points out that “No One seeks after God”….. and in John 6:44 Jesus plainly states “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” So I’m answering that question with “Regeneration Comes First – through the work of the spirit, causing repentance and faith in Christ”.

Reformed theology puts “God” first and foremost (as we should), and teaches (as the Bible does) that God is sovereign, Just, Holy and full of Grace. He is sovereign in our salvation, and that is a biblical truth. Look it up.
Traditional theology put’s “Man” first….Man has to come to God….Man has to “Ask” (?) God…..Man has to Accept…..Man has to, Man has to, Man has to.

Finally….Does Reformed pastors preach much on God’s hatred of Sin and his Holy Wrath?!? Why Yes. Only through the lens of knowing how wrathful God is can one see how equally loving God is in as much that He gave His own Son that we may be called Children of God…….but here’s my question: Why doesn’t the Traditional churches equally preach these truths? Because fearing God is scary? Because it might run people out of the church if they find out that God hates sin?!?! BECAUSE IT MAY SHOW SOMEONE HOW HORRIBLE THEIR SIN NATURE IS AND HOW BEAUTIFUL GOD IS IN GIVING THEM GRACE THROUGH THE WORK OF CHRIST?!?!?!? (Uhhh…..That may lead people to Love God more!!!) OH THE HORROR!!!!!

This hatred toward the “Reformed” beliefs is divisive and it’s built on ignorance. Do yourself a favor if you find yourself hating on it….go find a few Reformed brothers in Christ and get to know them. Love them, and ask serious questions about their theology – doing so in respect, love and patience. You’ll soon find out that it’s not what people like this author put it out to be.

    Scott Shaver

    Joshua V:

    Here we ago again with the smoke of “divisiveness”. Which being interpreted means, “allow us quarter to remake you in our own theological image”. That being the case, “hatred” (your term) is a strong source of motivation. If HATING DETERMINISTIC THEOLOGY from a conviction that it does injustice to the revealed nature and character of Christ is “hatred” then, by all means….I’m a HATER. Additionally…lovin every minute of it.

    Reminds me of a scene from Saving Private Ryan when Tom Sizemore was about to pull the trigger on a comrade-in-arms for his refusal to whack a German soldier who’d already killed at least one member of their unit.

    The “principled” comrade with the gun to his head protested: “You mean you’re gonna shoot me for doing the right thing?” To which Sizemore replied: “No….I’m gonna shoot you cause I don’t like you.”

    Sizemore knew, Geneva Convention or not, the German prisoner was a huge liability to both his unit and his mission.

    Andrew Barker

    Joshua V: “Those pesky “Reformed” pastors and youth leaders have steered us away from ourselves and pointed us to Christ. How could they be so mean!”

    Well I guess there’s nothing like quoting yourself …… apart from the above quote which appears to be exactly just that! Perhaps it comes from another line within the SBC Today blog, but certainly I can’t find it anywhere in Rick’s current piece.

    “This hatred toward the “Reformed” beliefs is divisive and it’s built on ignorance.” I can’t find the hatred you speak of. Strong disagreement, yes but hatred? Surely not, but of course you will come back with examples of this ‘hatred’.

    As for ignorance, as one who is on record as thinking that ” the biggest difference in Reformed Theology and what many people call “Traditional” Theology is a simple “Chicken and Egg” conundrum” you seem to be well …… rather uninformed? I could of course be totally wrong on that score. But to save any argument lets settle the matter once and for all here. It’s the Chicken. Of course you could argue who gets to be the ‘Chicken’ and who ends up being the ‘Egg’?! But that’s what you get when you argue from a position of ignorance. :)

    Mary

    It’s always amazing how people puff themselves up to declare they “know” what the “difference” between reformed theology and traditionalism is and then they go on a little rant proving they have not clue one what traditionalism actually is. This is how young people are being brainwashed into believing reformed theology. First you build your nice straw man “well if you’re not reformed you believe you seek God on your own, you believe you save yourself. You believe MAN, MAN, MAN…. now see how unbiblical that belief is, you want to believe in the Bible don’t you?”

    This hatred toward Traditionalist belief is built on ignorance and is divisive. Do yourself a favor get a clue before making a fool of yourself on the internet and showing your ignorance and those who are really divisive. Because clearly from this thread there are a lot of “reformed” believers who don’t know what those they call “brothers and sisters” actually believe and are actively teaching young people these false beliefs all to pump up their own Calvinism.

    Patsy A

    Joshua V, you spoke well. I grew up in a SBC church and have many reasons to be thankful for the things I learned from some precious Christians. However, until the Lord gets hold of you through regeneration, your understanding of spiritual matters will substitute with moralism, legalism, and other “isms”. Thankfully, while thinking myself to be a Christian (because I was baptized and repeatedly responded to the numerous appeals to “rededicate”) God revealed Himself to me in yet another Baptist Revival. This time I “knew” He had given me a new heart. My focus now was on learning of Him and love of His Word. Seeing the often vitriolic response to calvinism from my Baptist family and friends saddens me greatly. Some seem intent on holding their position, or their biased traditions/beliefs, without any serious study of these doctrines. My challenge to those who have expressed such “horror” that Sovereign God would be the determinative factor in their salvation would do well to hold their time honored positions “loosely”. Calvin is an imperfect human, as we all are. He didn’t invent anything. Look at the teachings of Jesus, Look how he affirmed the Doctrines of Grace in John. Study Paul in Romans when he taught how our uregenerated flesh was in bondage to sin and we were DEAD in sin. And Paul’s reasoning in Romans 9 to explain that God was God and that God, ALONE, could show mercy to whomever He chose. We deserve nothing but His Wrath. Paul expected the same misunderstandings and rebuttals we are hearing in this dialogue on Election: “that God is not fair”, or a loving God owes everyone equally, or that He’s limiting His Sovereignty to allow for sinful man to make the choice to invite Him into their heart!! May it never be!!! You won’t find that anywhere in His Word. To conceive such an accusatory tone with a most Holy, Righteous God is unthinkable.

    I know devout believers on both sides of this issue. Acknowledge we all have our prejudices and biases. Only by studying the Word and having a teachable spirit can we view these controversies in a manner worthy of our calling. These truths should never provoke anything but an increased appetite for His Word and overwhelming gratitude that He chose me before the foundation of the world, not because of ME but because it pleased Him to do so.

      mc

      Patsy – Oh if only everyone here would read your post then head to the prayer closet. Well said, ma’am, well said.

      Did I say, “Well said?”

      Andrew Barker

      Patsy A: “He chose me before the foundation of the world, not because of ME but because it pleased Him to do so.”
      You’re a lovely Christian lady, obviously, but if you are going to quote scripture, you still need to quote it accurately. There is no such passage which says He chose me before the foundation of the world. Is there! :)

        John K

        Andrew,
        Patsy was not quoting scripture nor did she attempt to.
        I will.
        Ephesians 1:4
        even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

        I think it was fair that Patsy included herself by using the word “me”.
        You consider her a “lovely Christian lady”. I consider you lovely Christian man, and have no issue if you include yourself as a “me” in whom Paul is referencing if you are paraphrasing scripture as Patsy was clearly doing.

        I would be interested in how my Exegesis is incorrect from your viewpoint, as interpretation of this text of Ephesians. Especially when you take all of Ephesians 1 in context.

        I think it is fair that Patsy included herself by using the word “me” as someone you deem as a Christian lady.

          Andrew Barker

          John K: If Patsy wasn’t quoting scripture then she’s on a sticky wicket, making it up as she goes along. The truth is John, as you well know, she was misquoting Eph 1:4. She is not the first, neither will she be the last, to do this.

          As for your exegesis, I rather missed that. Sorry. I wasn’t paraphrasing scripture. It was my attempt not to be too confrontational while at the same time pointing out what is a common error when quoting Eph 1:4

          If you wish to carry on in the belief that this passage confirms that ‘God chose you’ before the foundation of the world then be my guest. But it doesn’t and your own quote confirms this.

            John K

            Andrew,
            I was just wondering if it was good exegesis from your prospective to include/substitute the word “me” when “us” is used in speaking of Christians from the plural form in scripture in this case, nothing else. I’ll let Ephesians 1 speak for itself..

            Thanks for your clarification and answer Andrew.

              Andrew Barker

              John K: I’m glad it’s clear to you, because your last comment is totally unintelligible to me. Sorry.

            mc

            Not much exegesis needed. Scripture is ABSOLUTELY clear here on what it means. I am open to hearing Andrew’s explanation / discussion on Ephesians 1:4.

              Andrew Barker

              mc: I agree with you that scripture is absolutely clear on the matter. However the problem, of which you seem blissfully unaware, is that if people misquote scripture, then the meaning is …… well, it’s basically anything you like. Eph 1:4 cannot be used, in this case by Patsy A, to support the statement that God chose ‘me’ because it doesn’t say that. It says “he chose us in Him”. Now if you wish to discount part of scripture and disregard the words, ‘in Him’ please do so at your own peril. But you can’t cherry pick to make scripture say what you like, which is exactly what you (and Patsy A) are doing here. All scriptures referring to being ‘chosen’ always qualify the statement with either ‘in Him’ or give some reason for the choice. You will not find a single statement which just says we are ‘chosen’ in regard to salvation. It doesn’t exist. Period. God does not select for salvation by divine decree , choice or unconditional election. God selects for service and ministry. The clues if you’re interested are in 1 Pet 1:20 and linking this to Eph 1:4-11. The one who is specifically chosen is of course Jesus. This is the type of choice you are incorrectly applying to ‘us’. But here you have it, scripture says Jesus is the one who is ‘chosen’ hence, we are not chosen directly, but ‘in Him’ we are chosen.

              I suspect this is not the answer you are looking for or will accept but if you wish to carry on with your “not much exegesis needed” exegesis, please do, but it helps if you quote scripture correctly.

                mc

                Andrew – I am so sorry that I have angered you. I mean that genuinely. I have much I could say in reply, but I am not here to argue with, or anger anyone. I sincerely ask for your forgiveness.

                Seems these threads by Christians are turning us against one another. Not my desire AT ALL.

                I am new to posting comments online, and what I have experienced on this site / post makes me tremble. I understand good, honest, sincere and sweet “iron sharpening iron,” but I am not sensing that here. I am not seeing, reading, experiencing much edification when I read the posts. I here admit that I am as guilty as the rest. The damage that is taking place here is truly heartbreaking.
                I fear if the editor’s remove words such as “Calvinism,” “Jesus,” or Scripture references, even the pagan world would not see a difference between these posts and those written by them. Please brothers and sisters…

                  Andrew Barker

                  mc: I’ve no idea what you mean by angered. I’m not in the least angered by your comments. Don’t agree, yes! Angered?

                  Suggest you stick to making comments on scripture and not trying to guess how people are ‘feeling’ :)

                  Jim P

                  mc, you’re right in the ‘right’ way. In James’ epistle chat. 3 & 4 is his discussion of the dangers in communicating, dangers every believer should stay alert to. “James 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

                  True 2,000 years ago, true today.

                    Lydia

                    Jim, so when an SBC entity employee with a very large platform says that those who signed the Trad statement should be “marginalized” that is ok? How about declaring that only New Calvinism wants to see the nations rejoice for Christ? Those are just a few examples of the incredible arrogance of an SBC employee from that movement with a very large following..

                    You see, there was so much of this arrogance propagated for so long by New Calvinist leaders and their followers that it seems rather disingenuous when Calvinists come on blogs and rebuke or complain when there is pushback or folks won’t back down. The Calvinists end up holding others to a higher standard than they hold themselves. Reminds me of Calvin lamenting to his friend in a letter about how people were treating him after Servetus’ burning.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Jim P: I can’t see that mc said anything ‘right’ particularly. In fact he seems to avoid addressing the issue and instead is offering an ‘apology’ where none was needed and certainly not asked for. I can assure you that it takes more than any comments he’s made to rub me up the wrong way! The apology is a complete distraction as far as I’m concerned, so I’ll say no more on it.

                    The issues however should be addressed. mc assumed Eph 1:4 supports the that statement “God chose me” and furthermore stated that scripture was absolutely clear on the matter. In fact, scripture says nothing of the sort. I believe John K piped in saying that substituting ‘me’ for ‘us’ is quite legitimate and being short of time I couldn’t see what he was driving at. If he’s saying that “God chose me” is pretty much the same as “God chose us”, he’s simply overlooking the misquote. He should be saying “God chose ‘us’ in Him” (I would go along with that sentiment). So I would simply state again, if you feel that missing out the ‘in Him’ is legitimate in your exegesis, then I think you’ve got a problem. Also, if you think the inclusion of the phrase ‘in Him’ is not significant then you’re overlooking a basic teaching that ALL the benefits we enjoy as Christians are always to be found ‘in Him’. It’s a teaching which runs throughout the whole of the NT.

                    So, there you have it. No angry exchanges, no unpleasant words. Just a plain statement of what scripture actually says, not a misquote which has gained general popularity among a certain section of ‘reformed’/calvinistic thinkers.

                    Andy

                    Lydia, here are the facts: Mohler said this:

                    The three weeks prior to this year’s SBC did not find Southern Baptists at their best in terms of this kind of discussion, but we can and must have the right conversations in the right way. This conversation will marginalize those whose influence should be marginalized — those who have a party spirit, who play into tribalism, or who want to divide Southern Baptists form each other. We will stand within the “Baptist Faith & Message” and we will learn how to talk in a way that will help each other to be more faithful and biblical, not more hardened and bitter.”

                    He did NOT say “those who signed the Trad statement should be “marginalized”.

                    Please stop saying this.

                    -Andy

                  Jim P

                  Andrew, you’re the one whose ‘got a problem.’ Your so ‘smart.’ Like I suggested earlier, read James 3&4. You need to consider how you communicate.

                  Les

                  Andy,

                  That false statement by Lydia continues to be made in spite of the fact that she has been shown her statements to be false numerous times. It is really dishonest and it sad that those who generally agree with her remain silent while she continues to make false accusations.

                  SDG!

      Lydia

      “Paul expected the same misunderstandings and rebuttals we are hearing in this dialogue on Election: “that God is not fair”, or a loving God owes everyone equally, or that He’s limiting His Sovereignty to allow for sinful man to make the choice to invite Him into their heart!! May it never be!!! You won’t find that anywhere in His Word. To conceive such an accusatory tone with a most Holy, Righteous God is unthinkable.”

      Patsy, Why would Jesus say, “Repent and believe” since we cannot really do that—it was already done for us “before the foundation of the world”. Was He pulling a bait and switch?

      Why did Jesus look at the Rich young Ruler and “love” him even though he had been consigned to hell “before the foundation of the world”? That makes Jesus creepy. Your focus makes God look more like Allah.

        Mary

        It’s so sad to see people who ignore Jesus and His work on the cross. For Calvinists, God is such a weak God that He is incapable of reaching people without first performing works in addition to the work of Jesus on the cross. You see Jesus didn’t really mean “it is finished” what He meant to say was “It is finished plus God the Father will now have to do an additional work of ‘regenerating’ ‘dead’ hearts because God is so weak that He cannot reach a ‘dead’ heart until He first performs the miracle. Calvinists not only think dead men can’t hear but they think God is so weak that He is incapable of making Himself heard without first performing a miracle.

          Andrew Barker

          Mary: I decided to do a little study on ‘regeneration’ just recently and was surprised, really surprised at what I found, or should I say, at what I didn’t find! It seems to me that what is presently going on (and has been for many years) is a discussion about something which is badly if not wrongly defined in the first place which is maybe why there is so much controversy surrounding it. Those of us who have been arguing for years that regeneration does not precede faith are correct (in one sense) but it’s effectively a discussion/argument which should never be had. It misses the point. The way most people view the word regeneration is not how scripture describes conversion, so I would suggest it is a loaded term and best not used or at least it needs to be more precisely defined. Suffice it to say, I have reached the conclusion that God is not at all interesting in ‘regenerating’ unbelievers. I hope that makes sense!

            Mary

            Andrew, you’ve been around enough to know that Calvinists have their own definitions for many, many Biblical terms. They start with their definitions and try to force everyone else to agree with their definitions that they then force back into scripture. So words like Omniscience becomes determinism – God can only know the future because He determines the future, he’s a puny weak god who has to control in order to know. The only alternative they can see is a weak puny fortune teller god who looks into the future. God is completely bound by time and space just like men in their paradigm. Regeneration thus has become a work that is necessary for salvation and where’s the Cross? And of course “death” gets tortured to mean that man is so far gone that not even God Himself can reach man without first performing a miracle. Again adding to the work of the Cross which is just not sufficient for salvation if you believe the Calvinists definition of regeneration.

      Scott Shaver

      And what exactly is “OUR CALLING” Patsy A?

    Bob Hadley

    Joshua V

    Your simplified statement with reference to the “chicken and egg” conundrum is not so simple. Your initial question of “Does God come to man or does man come to God” is not even worth considering: It is clear that God has come to man by sending Jesus to the cross and through His sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection, He has come to seek and to save those that are lost. So lets iron this one down; God has taken the first step toward men in Christ Jesus and therefore it is impossible for man to come to God. Settled once and for all.

    Here is the fallacy in your presentation; Which comes first : regeneration or man’s response as if that is synonymous with God coming to man or man coming to God. That my brother is a poorly constructed analogy that has no merit in the premise. The truth is God has chosen to reveal Himself to man through His Word and the presentation of the gospel AND He has chosen to reconcile a lost world unto Himself. Both revelation and reconciliation DEMAND a response and our response to His initiative is what determines our eternal destiny. I believe conviction, not regeneration is the initial work of the Holy Spirit in the salvific process. Keep in mind the Bible says the GOSPEL is the power of God unto salvation NOT regeneration. In the calvinist mindset, the gospel has NO POWER to save the unregenerate. In order for the gospel to have ANY power God has to FIRST regenerate the lost person and THEN the gospel has the power to sanctify the new born believer.

    Here is a second issue that is especially problematic with this idea of regeneration PRIOR to repentance and believing faith as you have suggested; in your system the Holy Spirit takes up residence in an unrepentant heart that THEN repents and believes. New life is the result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I find this the most detrimental aspect of the regeneration prior to repentance position calvinists posit. It simply is a position that does not stand on a solid Biblical basis.

    Finally allow me to comment on your statement: Reformed theology puts “God” first and foremost (as we should), and teaches (as the Bible does) that God is sovereign, Just, Holy and full of Grace. He is sovereign in our salvation, and that is a biblical truth. Look it up.
    Traditional theology put’s “Man” first….Man has to come to God….Man has to “Ask” (?) God…..Man has to Accept…..Man has to, Man has to, Man has to.

    I can tell you my theological position has God just as responsible for salvation as yours. Notice your criticism, “Traditional theology puts “man” first; man as to come to God; man has to accept man has to ……. ” Funny; I thought your position had the same requirements… an willingly repents; it is his choice bla bla bla… the difference is not that we BOTH do these things because that is CLEARLY what the Bible says we MUST do to be saved… the difference is the impetus for that repentance and man coming to God and repenting (as opposed to accepting) etc. It would appear to me your whole little tirade about man’s responsibility in salvation is equally true for your position as it is for mine?

    Sadly your final statement is a bit much. I do not need to ask serious questions about THEIR theology; I fully understand calvinism; NOT calvinists because a lot of them do not fully understand some of the nuances of their belief system either. Your conclusion is sort of… those who do not embrace calvinism are those who do not understand it; for if you truly understood it you would embrace it. Sorry that is NOT the case here.

    May God continue to speak to us ALL giving us not only the grace we need in this endeavor to know Him and the power of His wonderful salvation but the wisdom to get it right. We may both be wrong but it is crystal clear that we cannot BOTH be right and that is the basis of Rick’s original article.

    Bob

John

“Unfortunately, when it comes to Youth Targeted Calvinism, many parents are not involved at all in the decision to introduce such doctrines to their children…”

Perhaps the “traditionalist” should teach parents to be involved in the discipleship of their kids rather than delegating it a youth group. This article has more to say about how traditional churches are structured poorly than anything.

    Rick Patrick

    John,
    Yes, I agree with you that parents should be more involved in the discipleship of their kids. This article is designed to enlighten parents to the reality that some pretty important doctrinal concerns are being covered in youth groups these days, and they need to pay attention in order to make certain that their children are not being educated religiously against their wishes. Hopefully, this essay will encourage parents to pay more attention in the future.

    Scott Shaver

    John:

    Unlike some of these 20 year old “elders” who give instruction without having raised kids of their own, I don’t worry about mine. They could call out the fallacies of Calvinism on their own before they finished high school.

    The only thing “poorly structured” about traditional baptist church practice and congregational policy is allowing reform Calvinism a seat at the table of their local fellowships.

    From my experience and life perspective, Good-bye and good-riddance is the best approach to dealing with neo Cals and “reformers”.

    Most of the “reformation” I’ve seen in the last 30 years of SBC history is more akin to “deformation”. Proof is in the pudding.

    mc

    John – Completely agree!

Joseph Randall

Oh to love the God of the Bible!

Romans 9:6-24 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad – in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call – 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory – 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

Johnathan

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As an SBC church planter-now pastor, committed to our partnership in the Cooperative Program and reaching the nations together through the IMB, please allow me to make an appeal for a greater loving respect for our partners in the gospel and a deeper pursuit of theological seriousness. I have participated in conversations as the above and have come away disappointed that our level love for the word of God and the gospel have left us still in such a mode as this. Such accusations and sparring reveal great shallowness. The mega-ton truths of God in His word are not petty matters to be trivialized in such fruitless discussions. This does not suggest a genuine desire to know God and his truth. May we all forge ahead into deeper, sounder understanding of these deep truths and be mastered by them in all humility. Let us fearlessly study the Scriptures and allow them to speak all that God intended them to say. We younger ones grew up hearing our preachers exhort us to believe the inspired text. We have taken them at their word and are looking into the word of God, hungry for Him. Let us not fall into child like name-calling and silliness. Rather let us chase hard after God’s solid meat given to nourish our souls. If at some point you disagree, find a way to hear your brother out and seek to be sharpened by him in all humility in a spirit of submission to Christ. (please do not mistake this as a call to theological neutrality but rather to a more serious study and commitment to sound theology) Blessings to you all. Let us champion the Gospel and our partnership in it for the glory of God.

    Scott Shaver

    Jonathan:

    210 million dollars vanished like ashes in a whirl-wind with approximately 1000 foreign missionaries in state of transition and confusion are not TRIVIAL issues my friend.

    Requiring “triage” to be either Baptist, Christian, or both, is not “trivial.”

    I would imagine the things you ought to concern yourself with more than warm fuzzies at the moment are ….$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      Johnathan

      Sir, respectfully, I fail to see your point.

        Drew

        You’re not alone Jonathan.
        Or as my logic professor would say, “Holy non squitur Batman!”

        Scott Shaver

        Drew and Jonathan:

        I wouldn’t expect a couple of blunt instruments like yourself to apprehend “points” in general. Regardless of who makes them or how.

Drew

Two things I’d like to point out.
1.) The BFM is a very big tent document and accommodates both calvinistic and non-calvinistic, baptistic Christians, and was penned that way intentionally.
2.) Traditionalism is a misnomer (whether intentional or not I don’t know.) Practically all the churches that formed the SBC originally were calvinistic in their theology, subscribing to the Philadelphia Baptist Confession or the Second London Baptist Confession. I would concede that the non-calvinist soteriology represents a very large portion of Southern Baptists, and has for some time, but it is hardly traditional.

    Rick Patrick

    Perhaps this explanation of the term Traditional will help. http://connect316.net/aWhyTraditionalism

    To clarify, we do not suggest that it was the only early SBC view. It was one of two major views. And even though General Baptists in England came before Particular Baptists, it was only by about twenty or thirty years.

    In many of our churches, the “Traditional” service references songs from the mid-twentieth century. Our doctrinal positions prevailed in the SBC during this period.

      Drew

      Thanks for link. It explains a lot.
      I totally agree that there have been periods of Baptist life that were not predominantly calvinistic in our past (both recent and farther back.)
      To me, that’s part of what makes the term a misnomer. Both sides can appeal to tradition, thus making the term meaningless and lacking real distinction.

    Lydia

    “2.) Traditionalism is a misnomer (whether intentional or not I don’t know.) Practically all the churches that formed the SBC originally were calvinistic in their theology, subscribing to the Philadelphia Baptist Confession or the Second London Baptist Confession. I would concede that the non-calvinist soteriology represents a very large portion of Southern Baptists, and has for some time, but it is hardly traditional.”

    Yes, the SBC Founders were pro chattel slavery. Chattel slavery was considered to be God’s design. When God did not “determine” they win the war, Calvinism started to die down over the subsequent decades. People were rethinking determinism.

    I am at a loss why you are proud of that. Don’t you know when you bring up our founding heritage you end up making a moot point? This is another thing SBC Calvinists fail to think through. Why would we want to go back to the determinism and caste system thinking of those evil days?

    Cheryl Cali

    For brethren on both sides of the arguement, I would just like to offer some words of encouragement. It is only Christ who builds His church Matthew 16:18. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. It is only the Holy Spirit who can lead us in truth. Wherever brethren are seeking for the glory of God there should be praise. There should not been condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. There should not be accusing of the brethren. Who is the Accuser? If you are accusing the brethren who do you really serve? If you are slandering, or maliciously gossiping, this is not rooted in godliness. Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit. I would hope that if one were to refute a system of theology they would do so actually using scripture which should be their basis for sound teaching, rather than criticisms based off of what they fear. While we are a society where the norm is to hand off our children to institutions for instruction. It is the highest responsibility we have ever been given to instruct them in all that Jesus has commanded. Let us not turn over the responsibility to others to lead our children in godliness.

Blaine Comeaux

I grew up Catholic and didn’t question theology because you don’t do that as a Catholoc. Then I started going to a Baptist church when I got married to a non-Catholic. I felt like I had discovered an ancient treasure when I heard Scriptural sermons and Sunday School. I was saved there. I did not choose to be saved. Nobody does. God did it. This fundamental mistake in mainstream Baptist teaching is the discovery that led me to Reformed Theology. When you look intently for a defense of this theology in the Bible it jumps off the page. It requires study. It gives God 100% of the credit and the glory. That just sounds right to me.

    David Albracht

    Amen!

    Like you, I also grew up Catholic, but by the grace of God my parents were exposed to the gospel through the patient teaching of dear friends. My family eventually left the Catholic church, and I was saved by the grace of God, not by my own “choosing”. I did not have an understanding of reformed theology for many years, but seeds were planted over many subsequent years of reading and studying the word of God. Understanding the doctrines of grace requires that a person be completely honest with God and himself/herself. I remember praying something like this… “teach me O Lord who you really are, help me to learn what your word says, even if I find the results to be disappointing or frightful… I want to know who you truly are”. The doctrines of grace, also known as Calvinism, truly does “jump of the page” of scripture. Not only does it sound right, it is right!

    Paul N

    Where does the idea that man takes the credit for salvation come from? It is a fallacious idea used to prop up Calvinism as the truth.

    I am dying of thirst with no way of getting water for myself. A man comes appears and offers me a glass of water. I knowing that I am about to die accept and drink the water. Do I then go around crediting myself for accepting a glass of water that I did not provide for myself? You can call the man who rejects the offer stupid but you cannot credit the one who accosts it. That only sensible reaction is to show utmost gratitude to the one who saved you. No disrespect but this attempt to glorify Calvinism is weak. You seem sincere, but wrong all the same.

      Paul N

      Accepts, that is.

Scott Shaver

Drew:

The BFM (2000) is USELESS except for the perpetuation of denominational power through perpetual “doctrinal crises”.

Jesus is not PART of that particular document. He was tossed out by crafters as the “ultimate criterion for biblical interpretation”.

BFM is good for thee things. A scratch pad, a paper airplane, a sermon outline for aspiring denominational leaders. Equally “binding” during all three uses.

    Drew

    I’m not really sure the basis of this claim, or what the ultimate point you’re trying to make is.
    My intention in bringing up the BFM is that for better or worse it is the official statement of faith for Southern Baptists, and it accommodates the calvinist and non-calvinist alike.

    Regarding Jesus being absent from the document, let me point you to section II. B.

    Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

    Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 53:1-12; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

      Scott Shaver

      Thanks Drew for going straight to the source document.

      Among other things this statement woefully neglects the authority of Christ and the unction of the Holy Spirit in biblical interpretation.

      If they printed it on cotton we could get more use out of it as eco-friendly diapers.

Rhonda Sheets

Well one platform that both Calvinists and Armenians share is that we are Protestants, hence, Protestors. We are Protestors of the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching of how we are justified – made right and kept right before God. Therein lies the real doctrinal issue. I too have been on both sides of this debate – 30 years in the free will doctrine and now 12 years in reformed doctrine. One of the most difficult (but necessary) aspects of the process? Letting the Scriptures speak and not fearing what they say. Remember even Wesley’s hymn writing, “My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose went forth and followed Thee.”

    Lydia

    Rhonda, I am not a Protestant but am Baptist. The Protestant Reformation was “political” not spiritual. If only people could understand that and take a broader view of history. You cannot separate power politics from the “church” when it comes to the Reformation. Sorry, it is impossible if you have done your reading.

    Christianity, in my view, did not come about in the 16th Century. But that is where Calvinists start.

    Stephen Jones

    Rhonda, as a Baptist I am not a Protestant. I learned that in church history classes at both a Baptist university and Baptist seminary over 30 years ago. Further reading has not changed that fact. You are right about those who were protestors of the RCC. It was doctrinal. But I have always said those Lutherans & Presbyterians didn’t move far enough from the Catholic church doctrine – still putting water on babies and calling it baptism, seeing the Lord’s Supper as a channel of grace, for example. And then we have the persecution & killing of the non-Protestants (such as Anabaptists) by those highly revered “reformers”. Nope, we aren’t Protestants. By the way, the theology professors at the Baptist university and seminary I attended taught about Calvinism, and taught about Arminianism. And then they explained that Baptists were neither of those, possibly some of each, but not fitting under either label.

John

Pastor Patrick,

As an IMB worker overseas, I am appalled at your generalization of Calvinism in the SBC. I’ve been with the Board for 8 years and I can tell you for a fact that most of the workers out here are very much Reformed in their theology. Working overseas in hard places really brings out man’s complete depravity and God’s complete sovereignty in ALL things.

There are many things to object to here but I want to comment on one particular section, specifically the section about things to look out for.

(a) a stricter view of church discipline than that held by most Southern Baptists,
Wouldn’t this benefit the church? This would allow more honesty in the congregation than just your typical hey-everything-is-fine attitude. Plus it would reduce the number of unregenerate church members.

(b) an affinity for Elder Rule church government instead of Congregational Rule,
Show me congregational rule in the Bible. Everywhere Paul went he established church leaders (elders).

(c) a tendency to reject dispensational premillennialism in favor of other views of the end times,
Again, show me where this is explicitly spelled out in the Word. No one really knows how the end-times will happen exactly. Not a prerequisite to Baptist theology.

(d) a less stringent view regarding the use of beverage alcohol
Who cares. Jesus and the disciples drink wine. The only sin is being drunk.

(e) a suspicious approach toward evangelism utilizing altar calls and the Sinner’s Prayer
I feel I’m beating a dead horse here, but show this in Scripture. Nowhere is this found. This is an invention by Charles Finney.
(f) the avoidance of denominationally sponsored events in favor of broadly evangelical conferences,
(g) a tendency to frown upon existing Southern Baptist practices.
Where is your proof for these two?

I would love to know the Calvinists you interviewed to get these “warning signs”.

    Rick Patrick

    Hi John,
    I am intrigued by your observation that most of the SBC’s workers overseas are Calvinists. Most of our churches are filled with members who are not.

    Regarding my list of Calvinistic characteristics, these are matters about which we can agree to disagree as brothers. I did not list them in order to begin an eight-point debate. Rather, my purpose was simply to show that there will likely be some major differences between parents and their youth whenever Calvinism is introduced. Rather than debating the merits of each belief, I simply wanted to demonstrate the existence of two separate systems. Parents need to know these side effects of Calvinistic theology.

      Anonoymous M

      Rick,

      Maybe I can help to clarify on the issue of most IMB workers being Calvinists. Perhaps in John’s area most are. I will not debate that. In my immediate area most are, but again that is my immediate area. In many other areas I would also say that most are not. I would also add that in the country where I work, although there are many differing points of view on this, it seriously never enters into the equation. Each person where I work teaches many, many local people to share the gospel(including an “invitational” approach with what some would consider a sinner’s prayer) and we each personally strive for making at least 20-30 gospel presentations per month.

      Thanks for your ministry brother Rick.

      Dr. Will Hall

      Rick,

      You might want to ask IMB for a breakout by seminary of the missionaries hired/appointed since 2000. This might shed some light. Likewise, it would be interesting to find out how many rank and file Southern Baptists are selected versus seminary graduates.

      Blessings,
      — Will

    Anonymous M

    John,

    Hey brother. I agree with several of your points and I most of my close coworkers would say they hold to a “Reformed” view. However, I am confused by your asking someone to show you congregational rule in the Bible. You signed a statement, the BFM 2000 that affirms congregational polity. Agreeing to that and teaching according to that statement is a condition of your employment with the Board. Maybe I am missing some distinction here between “rule” and church polity in general, but if you do not agree with what you signed then you need to tell someone quickly. On the field we all agree to work under the BFM 2000. I would add that Mark Dever even would affirm congregational polity, as well he should. Again, maybe I am missing something. Grace and peace to you!

      John

      After reading my comment I can see that I definitely misspoke. What I was trying to say was that a plurality of elders as leaders of the church seems to be the biblical model. I do accept the congregational rule as laid out in the BFM.

    Dr. Will Hall

    (a) Rick is being nice. Let me be blunt. Many reformed leaders use church discipline as bludgeon to squash opposing views, attacking people who have not sinned, but merely expressed views different from the leaders (These leaders have even disfellowshipped their “fellow” elders who are supposedly equals; but I guess there are some who are “more equal than others.” See Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, James McDonald, etc.

    (b) See “whole multitude” (i.e. “church”) immediately below and “being sent on their way by the church” further below:

    — Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.

    — Acts 15:1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question. 3 So, being sent on their way by the church they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren.

    Even John Piper teaches that “elders” is a general term that means “leaders” (which by the way in some cases means “a bishop and multiple deacons” and in other places includes spiritually mature men in the church and leaders of families, etc.). There is no office of elder, just the offices of a bishop and deacons.

    (c) True. Believers do not need to know a particular (pardon the pun) timing about the end times in order to understand the events described in Matthew 24-25, 1 Cor. 15, 1 Thessalonians 4, Revelation, etc. However, it is interesting that several leaders of the YRR interpret Matthew 24:14 as a sort of lever to move God to bring about the end times more quickly. Research this a little bit and you’ll find out that this belief plays a part in the 2 percent threshhold used in international missions, and the switch to a focus on reaching people groups instead of individual souls.

    (d) Disingenuous. Do you know of one winebibber who has not been affected by the alcohol content? If you drink and exceed 0.08 percent alcohol in the bloodstream, even at home and not behind the wheel of a car, you have exceeded the level determined by the government to affect one’s motor skills and reasoning (i.e. one is “drunk”). Likewise, no one has ever started drinking beer for the taste. It smells like horse urine … but I admit I don’t know what it tastes like. However, even in Germany, they say it’s an acquired taste. Drunk does not have to mean stumbling and bumbling, but being buzzed means you are impaired. Moreover, leaders are prohibited from dulling their judgment with strong drink. BTW, is it sinful to smoke pot if you’re doing it “to reach the lost” or because you “like the taste”?

    “All things are lawful, but not profitable” (1 Cor. 10:23).

    (e) An altar call is nothing more than saying “come” and I’m pretty sure this follows Christ’s example. See Mt. 1:28, Mt. 4:19 and John 1:39. No sinner’s prayer in the Bible? Perhaps you missed Luke 18:13 and Mark 9:24.

    BTW, Billy Graham’s ministry resulted in 3.2 million converts to Christ during his lifetime of ministry, and, most of them were shepherded into congregations to learn how to live as “born again” believers–and he called them forward and led them in prayer.

    On the other hand, David Platt, who called a sinner’s prayer a superstition, averaged 4,608 in worship his last year at Brook Hills and baptized 58. Praise God for each lost soul that comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus the Christ. But, his church was in the bottom third of all SBC congregations in terms of evangelistic effectiveness.

    The average SBC church baptized 5.3 percent of its average weekly worship attendance (Platt baptized 1.3 percent) and it took the average SBC church about 18-19 people in the pew to result in 1 baptism, and Brook Hills needed 79 people in seats for the same result.

    Matt Chandler did a little better than David Platt. Averaging 12,000 or so in weekly worship, he recorded about 200 baptisms, meaning he baptized 1.7 percent of his average worship attendance, and, that it took 59 of his followers to produce 1 baptism.

    (f) It’s not that Calvinists favor broadly evangelical conferences, but that they attend narrowly Calvinistic ones and apparently won’t attend a Pastors’ Conference unless its mainly Calvinist presenters (It’s not “broadly evangelical” to reject Ben Carson for correctly interpreting Acts 17:28 and then turn around and accept James McDonald who falsely called congregational polity sinful and acted sinfully toward some of his elders.).

    (g) Referring to hymns and mass evangelism as “1950’s methodologies.” See Alvin Reid and Ed Stetzer on the topic.

    You misunderstand Rick. He didn’t survey Calvinists, he made in-the-field observations as an informed observer (a much more reliable research method).

      Zach

      (a) But is church discipline that exists in name only, as it does in the majority of SBC churches today, a better alternative? Going so far as to use church discipline merely as a means to power is certainly wrong, but a stricter view than the average church holds is surely needed.

      (b) Yes, “elders” is a general term that means leaders, but it’s pretty widely agreed upon that Paul used the terms ??????, ?????????, and ??????????? interchangeably, with all terms referring to the same office. So, if there isn’t an office of elder, then there isn’t an office of bishop/overseer or pastor either. Personally, it blows my mind that any one would actually prefer a “single-elder” approach to pastoring when the practical and Scriptural evidence for a “plural-elder” approach is so abounding.

      (c) Glad that you don’t see dispensationalism as a first (or even second?) order doctrine, and yes, Matthew 24:14 isn’t a lever to make God “hurry up.” But when you take it along with other Scriptural passages that make it clear every language group needs to hear the Gospel, it does seem to be the most clear sign and issue regarding the timing of the end. Even though it is impossible to establish a one-to-one correlation between the Biblical notion of “every tribe, tongue, and nation” with the modern concept of a “people group,” there does seem to be some overlap there, and going on the Biblical concept of what constitutes a “tongue,” then a focus on people groups in missions is at least somewhat justifiable and wise. It’s pretty clear that every language group needs to hear the Gospel before Revelation 7:9-10 is fulfilled. Either way, a focus on people groups need not be at odds with a focus on individual souls.

      (d) I know many people who enjoy certain types of alcohol merely for the taste and do not seek even the slightest bit of a “buzz” when they drink. Nevertheless, I would agree that abstinence is generally a wise practice.

      (e) Nothing wrong with using altar calls or helping people articulate words to call on Christ and repent of sin. But at the same time, are these methods sine qua nons of doing ministry? Many churches are growing and reaching the lost that do not use either of these means.

      Regarding the stats you quoted…how many of those 5.3 percent of those being baptized are young children? I’m not saying it’s wrong to baptize young children by any means, but I’ve seen first hand churches that promptly send a person to the baptistry upon any profession of faith…professions of faith which the individuals’ lives later grossly contradicted. What if part of the reason Platt’s and Chandler’s churches had lower rates has more to do with them taking more time to question and examine a person before they baptize them?

      (f) I’ve seen this and lament over it as well. Personally, I tell my friends that if you’re going to T4G, you ought to come to the conferences of the SBC and your state convention as well.

      (g) Again, are these sine qua nons?

        Zach

        So apparently the comments on this website don’t support Greek letters. Just to clarify, the words in (b) are poimen, episkopos, and presbyteros.

          Dr. Will Hall

          Let me correct my statement in (a) about “experiencing” church discipline to say “knowing about” an instance of church discipline. (GRIN)

        Dr. Will Hall

        Zach,

        (a) What is the basis for your claim that church discipline “exists in name only … in the majority of SBC churches”?

        Just because the majority of SBC churches aren’t Calvinistic does not mean they don’t practice church discipline.

        Moreover, as a retired naval aviator, I have been an active member in at least a dozen SBC congregations across the country. There was only one in which I can’t remember experiencing a matter of church discipline. But, each congregation went to the Word and followed Matthew 18 as well as Galatians 6, etc. In most cases, the matter did not have to go to the congregation because it was settled at step one or two.

        But, this is anecdotal, just as, I suspect, the basis of your assertion.

        (b) You have really tangled a ball of yarn. If you suggest that you don’t see the difference between a function or role and an office, there’s not much I can do to untangle that knot (and I’m not sure this discussion warrants mention of the Gordian knot solution). But, to assert “if there isn’t an office of elder, then there isn’t an office of bishop/overseer or pastor either” is “reductio ad absurdum.”

        Moreover, you suggest something I did not.

        It is not a matter of either a “single-elder” or “plural-elder” approach.

        The biblical model is a bishop overseeing deacons. Regardless of the “abounding” examples you suggest, Paul uses singular language with regard to the qualifications of a bishop and plural language with regard to the qualifications of deacons, purposely, in discussing the two offices together.

        (c) Wow. I am a little bit stunned about your statement regarding fulfilling Rev. 7:9-10.

        There are so many aspects I should address, but I’ll focus only on one: God has been forming a great multitude of gentiles in Heaven since Adam and Eve. These multitudes are there, now, and have been there long before the modern notion of “people groups” (emerged into a strategy around 1994 or so). For the record, reaching the world with the Gospel didn’t begin with the SBC, much less with “millennials.”

        All of us, hopefully, are adding to the work Christ began long before you or I took our first steps on this planet.

        P.S. Try reading Matthew 24:14 in context of Revelation 14:6, instead of a human notion (“missional” strategy) of “people groups.”

        (d) O.K. Let’s take the notion of what people “seek” off the table and discuss results. The Bible says not to get drunk. No person who drinks alcohol, even if seeking only the taste and not a buzz (whether wine spritzers or white lightning), has avoided drunkenness. None.

        (e) The issue is not whether altar calls during a worship service are the sine non qua of reaching the lost. Philip met the Ethiopian treasurer on a chariot in the desert south of Jerusalem. But, I would argue a sinner calling out to God (prayer) to confess his sins and to confess Christ as Lord is essential to any conversion.

        I was addressing “John’s” challenge to “show this in Scripture” and his assertions “Nowhere is this found” and “This is an invention by Charles Finney.”

        Woefully, only about a quarter of our baptisms are due to reaching our children (as children).

        Moreover, how do you know that Platt’s and Chandler’s baptisms weren’t all children?

        Here’s the deal: let’s say the lack of baptisms is a delay due to extreme caution to ask probing questions and to be sure the individual can (1) recite all 66 books of the Bible and (2) recall the divisions of the books within the OT and NT and (3) name the 13 disciples (yes, 12 plus 1) and (4) quote at least the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23, the fruit of the Spirit and remember the Apostle’s creed and (4) have completed a New Believer’s class and (5) passed an intensive line of questioning by church leaders (BTW, these are things I’m pretty certain Platt nor Chandler had to complete to be recognized as giving certainty of being a believer and worthy of being obedient in baptism) — name the process. AT SOME POINT these people should be baptized, as an essential of obedience. Platt’s baptisms didn’t change year-to-year (at least not up). Chandler’s baptisms haven’t changed year-to-year (ditto). So, are they fulfilling Matthew 28:18-20?

        (f) & (g) It appears “sola reformationis” is sine non qua for these YRR. In these cases, it is a “sine non qua” for me about them.

          Zach

          (a) Yes, it was anecdotal…I was just making “in-the-field observations as an informed observer,” which is, as you said, “a much more reliable research method.”

          (b) Okay, so maybe I stated it a bit strongly, but I absolutely understand the difference between “function” and an “office.” For what it’s worth, many, if not most NT scholars would argue that the terms “overseer/bishop” and “deacon” were used just as much, if not purely, as functions more so than an “office.” Hence, if you’re going to say that “elder” is just a function, then you should at least be open to the possibility that “deacons” and “bishops” are just functions as well. Also, the majority of NT scholars also agree that the terms “overseer,” “pastor,” and “elder” are all referring to the same role. Because of this, we can infer from other passages where elders are clearly in the plural that Paul did not envision merely one overseer and multiple deacons. I should say that I don’t think a “single elder/pastor” approach is wrong, but I certainly don’t think it’s the prescribed model, nor do I think it practically as effective or healthy as a plural pastor/elder approach.

          (c) I’m a bit stunned at your view here. Several scholars and pastors have consistently seen Revelation primarily consisting of future events to be fulfilled, or at least containing some future elements, one of which is saved people from every place on earth. Most scholars and pastors I’ve read consistently interpret this text as John having a vision of the end times, and that these are Christians who have been, are being, and will have been saved throughout history. That’s how I’ve primarily understood and interpreted it. I’ve never heard any NT scholar say that there “has been a forming of a great multitude of gentiles in Heaven since Adam and Eve” except perhaps referring to the OT saints who are included among God’s people throughout history. And I’ve never heard Rev. 7:9-10 interpreted as being already completely fulfilled as if this multinational multitude had always been there prior to John’s experience. Where did you get this? Just so you know, I’m not asking this rhetorically…I’m genuinely curious of the details of your viewpoint here, as well as who advocates them among NT scholars and theologians.

          And Revelation 14:6…I’ve never really examined a connection here. I’ll definitely be looking into it more, though just looking at it, there are many possibilities. But I also think that it should be read in the context of Revelation 7:9-10, with understanding that the later has yet to be fulfilled. But, then again, maybe Revelation 7:9-10 has no futuristic elements whatsoever and, as you seem to have said, has already been fulfilled completely. Let’s not forget reading Matthew 24:14 in the context of Matthew 28:18-20 either.

          Regardless of our eschatological and missiological differences, I’m quite sure that reaching the world for Christ didn’t begin with the SBC or millennials…did anything I say or the way I said it make you think I wasn’t?

          (d) I think “not getting drunk” = “avoiding drunkenness”; I also think that “having a drink” ? “getting drunk.” Perhaps you would disagree.

          (e) Fair points. I would say regardless of the percentages, yes, they’re helping fulfill Matthew 28:18-20.

          (f) and (g) Fair enough.

            Zach

            Just to clarify, the second line in (d) was supposed to be “having a drink” doesn’t equal “getting drunk.” I was trying to use the symbol for it, but like Greek letters, it can’t be used in the comments.

            Dr. Will Hall

            Zach,

            (a) Apparently, you do not have the background to understand, but “anecdotal” and “trained observer” are mutually exclusive. In ethnography and anthropology, being a trained observer making field observations has a specific meaning. It’s alternately integrating (becoming part of the situation: “in situ”) and differentiating (stepping out of the environment and its influence to gain an outside perspective) in order to develop both an emic and etic view.

            (b) There’s no logic to your generalizations regarding the Bible’s teaching on offices of the church versus roles and functions. In laying down the bedrock organization for a congregation, Paul identifies two offices, and was intentional in indicating there is one “overseer” (bishop) and multiple “servants” (deacons) of the congregation.

            Again, “elder” is simply a general term to describe “leaders.”

            For the sake of clarifying, the bishop with the deacons compose a church’s “elders” (formal structure). But the term would also extend to spiritually mature men (informal structure) acknowledged by the congregation as having wisdom and discernment.

            The model characterized by Paul (“a” bishop and “some” deacons) is THE proper reference for interpreting “elders” as it is discussed in the New Testament.

            The concept is called “precedence” (use of “antecedents”, if you will) and holds true in philology, law, etc. in terms of understanding intent in interpreting what has been written (by the “ancients,” for instance).

            References to “elders” in the NT alternately acknowledge (1) a gathering of a bishop and deacons, or (2) a group of bishops, or (3) an assembly of deacons, or (4) a meeting among apostles, or (5) a crowd of spiritual mature men or family leaders, or …

            But such does not establish an “office” of elder, nor does it create a plurality-of-elders “rule.”

            The NT goes to extreme efforts to clarify that the bishop and deacons are not to “rule” but to “oversee” and “serve.”

            In 1 Peter (where Peter is writing to multiple churches in “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Birthynia” referred to as “the exiles of the Dispersion”), he says to the leaders of these congregations (“elders”) (in Chapter 5):

            2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

            But he was only repeating what Christ Himself taught in Matthew 20 in dealing with those who would follow Him, but also seek to set themselves above their brethren (and this was to the 12 apostles):

            25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

            (c) You are only “stunned” because you are misrepresenting I wrote in response to your defense of a “people group” strategy, in which you referenced Rev. 7:9-10 (which describes a “great multitude”).

            You said “It’s pretty clear that every language group needs to hear the Gospel before Revelation 7:9-10 is fulfilled” and implied that the relatively recent notion of “people groups” was or is or could be key.

            I responded that God “has been forming” these great multitude of gentiles long before the notion of “people groups” was popularized in 1994, and I added there are multitudes “there, now”–long before the switch in strategy to people groups (which includes an artificial 2 percent threshhold with regard to abandoning a people group).

            If you missed it, I also wrote, “For the record, reaching the world with the Gospel didn’t begin with the SBC, much less with ‘millennials,’” letting you know I was addressing your notion about this relatively recent strategy. I added, “All of us, hopefully, are adding to the work Christ began long before you or I took our first steps on this planet.”

            Nothing I wrote indicates a cessation of God’s work; only that His eternal work (past, present and future) is not dependent on the 25-year-old notion of “people groups.”

            For the record this IMB strategy has an artificial 2 percent threshold — meaning the strategy does not seek to share the Gospel with all men, just all people groups.

            Moreover, you may not be familiar with the research, but basically, a movement must reach a 10 percent threshold within a population in order to make a significant impact on the society. So, we are IRRESPONSIBLE if we give up on reaching individuals after somehow determining we have achieved a 2 percent mark in reaching a people group.

            Regarding your whole misdirection about “future elements” and “vision of the end times” and suggestion that I wasn’t talking about people being saved past, present AND future, all I can say is either you misread what I wrote or you are being intentionally disingenuous.

            I repeat, God HAS BEEN FORMING these great multitudes of gentiles long before our present strategy of “people groups” and its artificial 2 percent threshold.

            John’s vision takes place during the end times, meaning there have been at least 2,000 years of the church age which have passed.

            Demographers estimate there have been more than 100 BILLION people who have lived on the earth through 2015. If just one-tenth of one percent are now children of God, there are about 100 million members of the great multitude in Heaven now .. and STILL growing.

            [BTW, about 10 billion people lived on earth at different periods during the 20th century, most before 1994. So it is not a stretch to say, using my example, that most of the supposed 100 million who came to Christ did so long before 1994, and, before the creation of a “people group” missionary strategy based on a 2 percent threshold to trigger the abandonment of work among those people.]

            Can a “people group” strategy result in some people in turning to Christ?

            Yes.

            Does it potentially hinder more from coming that it reaches?

            Yes, because we abandon a “people group” after reaching a 2 percent threshold (which research shows is not sufficient to sustain a social movement).

            Likewise, we are spending enormous resources among resistant people groups at the expense of fertile ground, places where people are more receptive and the harvest is more plentiful.

            So is a “people group” strategy “wise”? No, in fact, it appears to work against Matthew 28:18-20.

            You asked whether “anything” you said or “the way I said it” make me think you don’t understand “that reaching the world for Christ didn’t begin with the SBC or millennials.”

            I wrote: “For the record, reaching the world with the Gospel didn’t begin with the SBC, much less with ‘millennials.’ All of us, hopefully, are adding to the work Christ began long before you or I took our first steps on this planet.” I’m not sure what you misunderstand.

            (d) The problem is, you still have not defined what you think constitutes “drunk.” I gave you biblical and legal definitions.

            Again I ask, if you think it’s o.k. to drink for the taste of the alcohol, or, to somehow relate to the lost in outreach, is it OK to smoke pot for the taste of it, or, to somehow attempt to “connect” with the lost ?

            (e) You wrote, “I would say regardless of the percentages, yes, they’re helping fulfill Matthew 28:18-20.” My point is they are “not effective” compared to the average congregation in a declining denomination.

            (f) and (g) Nothing to add.

              Shawn

              Will, it’s rather strange that you have a problem with the right use of the gift of God called alcoholic beverages. You seem to be under the impression that because the STATE declares that someone with 0.08 blood/alcohol level is not fit to operate a motor vehicle, then that presumption becomes the Biblical identifier of that which constitutes “drunkeness”, and that anyone partaking of it is sinning, and therefore the State becomes equal with the Word as being the moral authority.

              Funny, how your t-totalling view never been the view of the Scriptures, and in fact, is opposed to the things of God, and of how He has chosen to not only allow its use by His people, but in fact encourages it. Nothing could be more blazingly clear than this command of God:
              “And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
              And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there,
              then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses
              and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or WINE OR STRONG DRINK, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.
              And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.” (Deut 14:23-27)

              The LORD God invites His covenant people to eat and drink before Him, including all that their appetite craves, including wine or other strong drinks.

              This not only is not in isolation from other texts, but the entirety of Scripture has God removing wine (which means wine, not grape juice) as part of His curse.

              God also describes His feast that He prepares for His people: “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples
              a feast of rich food, a feast of WELL-AGED WINE,
              of rich food full of marrow, of AGED WINE WELL REFINED.” (Isa 25:6)

              I like that one especially because it absolutely disallows any hint of “wine” meaning “grape juice” as “aged grape juice” IF it were still grape juice would be a moldy, repulsive mess. But the LORD created the breaking-down process known as fermentation, and the natural result of any organic material is that of alcohol.

              Neither time nor space allows me to reprint the work I’ve done on the topic, but I’ve written an essay on the topic, which is absolutely FILLED with the Scriptures, not only showing that it’s “okay” for Christians (in good conscience, and responsibly) to partake of alcoholic beverages, not MERELY for their taste, though that is glorious, but in order to relax, catch a little buzz, and to enjoy life.

              The abuses are well-known, and we are required to take heed of them, but it’s funny how those who are opposed to the good gift of God only wish to heap upon it such harsh judgments that they’d never think of applying to the other good gifts of God, which are just as readily abused, if not more so than alcohol. Plenty of people who don’t drink alcohol participate in sexual immorality; or hoarding of money, or perhaps not reporting their income; or who eat too much; or who abuse their power and authority in any given situation. With that in mind, try applying the same sort of stringency to power, or money, or food, or sex. People abuse sex, and money, and power, and food all the time, but you don’t suggest that there is no right use of it, do you? Do you think that the only right use of sex is to have babies? Do you think that we shouldn’t eat cake, or candy since it’s not necessary to our survival? Do you think that we shouldn’t save money? Do you think we should relinquish all forms of power and authority?

              If you’re interested in reading the essay, which I highly doubt that you are, but if for some crazy reason you might be, just let me know, and we can make arrangement for you to download it. I’ve had plenty of t-totallers read it, but I’ve never had anyone come back with an actual argument against the findings therein. Perhaps you’ll be the first … only I do hope that when you do, you actually address the Scriptures, in their context, and as a whole, just as you should with any Doctrine.

              So in closing, just because someone drinks enough to excede the State’s legal limit doesn’t mean that they can’t do so and have a designated driver, nor that they cannot sit in the privacy of their own home, not operating machinery, but enjoying their wine, beer, or other strong drink, in thankfulness to God for it.

              PS: Your assumption that no one likes beer from the start is utterly false. Not only have I observed children having a taste of their dad’s beer and liking it, I know plenty of adults who, when they tasted beer for the first time, they liked it right off the bat. The key is not to drink the cheap stuff.
              I don’t know why you go about smelling horse urine. It seems like an odd thing to do. But no matter why, even the cheapest beer smells nothing like any kind of urine. It smells of yeast mostly to the untrained nose, but the higher-end stuff can contain an abundance of complex bouquets.

                Dr. Will Hall

                Shawn,

                This discussion is easy to bring to a close.

                The Bible says don’t get drunk. Period.

                So, if indeed you believe alcohol is a gift from God, and you know He forbids drunkenness, then you should know what He considers drunkenness to be, especially in light of Paul’s warning that drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (1 Cor. 6:10).

                Just so you understand, I’m not likening the government definition of drunkenness to biblical authority. But, the Bible indicates drunkenness equals impairment. in that regard, research shows impairment from drunkenness is observable at least at 0.08 blood alcohol content, a level easily achieved with little alcohol consumption (based on body weight).

                Finally, your coarse joking is not cute, but reflects poorly on you (“I don’t know why you go about smelling horse urine. It seems like an odd thing to do.”). It also shows you’ve likely never cleaned horse stalls.

                Offer your points without being vulgar. Otherwise, you risk being dismissed out of hand for lack of spiritual discernment.

                  Shawn

                  Will,
                  All you’ve done is to ignore them and restate your misguided position, and completely disregarded some verses (there’re plenty more where they came from) that are clearly at difference with your opinion.
                  Please address those verses instead of doing precisely what you said you weren’t doing, which is making the opinion of the State equal with the revelation of God’s Word.

                    Dr. Will Hall

                    Shawn,

                    I repeat: This discussion is easy to bring to a close.

                    The Bible says don’t get drunk. Period.

                    So, if indeed you believe alcohol is a gift from God, and you know He forbids drunkenness, then you should know what He considers drunkenness to be, especially in light of Paul’s warning that drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (1 Cor. 6:10).

                    — WKH

                    Shawn

                    “I repeat: This discussion is easy to bring to a close.”
                    It’s easy to ignore the Scriptures and not have to deal with them if that’s what you mean … and apparently it does … but that’s nothing new.

                    “The Bible says don’t get drunk. Period.”
                    When has anyone denied this? Oh, that’s right, it’s the tactic of the Arminian to erect straw men from the start, and I guess since it’s become habit for you when dealing with the Biblical position on the sovereignty of God, and of His loving electing and predestinating some sinners unto salvation, then it’s only logical that it should extend to all other areas of doctrine that have been corrupted in your world view.

                    “So, if indeed you believe alcohol is a gift from God, and you know He forbids drunkenness, then you should know what He considers drunkenness to be, especially in light of Paul’s warning that drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (1 Cor. 6:10).”
                    Non-seqitur.

                    You’ll do well to remember that all liars have their place in Hell.
                    Now, address the verses I presented to you where God invites, nay, COMMANDS His people to eat and to drink alcholic beverages in His presence.

              Zach

              Dr. Hall,

              (a) Apparently I don’t, but hey, I didn’t go to the US Naval Academy, Harvard, or Vanderbilt either. I’m glad to learn new things every day. (BTW, I’m very glad we have individuals with backgrounds like yours within the SBC; I sincerely mean this.)

              (b) Yes, there is logic to it. In Acts 20:17, we read that Paul “sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.” “Elders” is in the plural and “church” is singular, in this context clearly referring to a singular local church. In verse 28, Paul commands these “elders” to “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers…” There it is–Paul calls “elders” “overseers,” clearly referring to the same individuals. Two terms, one role, one office. Elsewhere in Titus 1:5, Paul instructs his protege to “appoint elders,” then in 1:7 refers to “an overseer.” It’s very clear in the context that Paul used these terms completely interchangeably.

              Sure, the term “elder” can have several different meanings in the NT, but this doesn’t in any way deny that at least one of those definitions was that of an “overseer” or “pastor.”

              Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think your logic, in the way you read these terms could be represented this way: “All pastors/bishops are elders, but not all elders are pastors/bishops.” Am I right? I would agree with you, at least purely on how the term “elder” has multiple meanings within the NT. Even so, wherever the NT uses the terms completely interchangeably, they refer to the same “role” and the same “office.”

              For what it’s worth, I absolutely agree with you that pastors/elders/overseers are NOT to rule. I believe in congregational rule! I just believe in having more than one pastor to help with the work of oversight and leadership in the local church whenever possible.

              (c) I did not intend to misrepresent your view; clearly, I misunderstood it. In light of that, I was not intending to “misdirect” anything. Your statement that “God has been forming a great multitude of gentiles in Heaven since Adam and Eve. These multitudes are there, now, and have been there long before the modern notion of ‘people groups’” came across to me as if you were saying Revelation 7:9-10 had already been completely fulfilled at the time of John’s vision, and there were no more people to be added to this multitude. It was more your second sentence that made me think this. I see now that isn’t what you meant, but your wording made it seem that way.

              So let’s establish we agree that God HAS BEEN FORMING these great multitudes of Gentiles. I absolutely agree with that statement, and I agree with you that it isn’t dependent on a “people groups” strategy, or any strategy other than simply seeking to make disciples of all people! However I still think there is something to be said for seeking to target people and/or language groups. After all, what does Revelation 7:9 say the multitude consists of? Is it not people “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages?” To me, that means until at least one person from every spoken language that ever has been or will be spoken has been saved, Revelation 7:9 has yet to be finally fulfilled. Now I don’t take that to mean that reaching at least one person from every spoken language means Revelation 7:9 is finally fulfilled; just that until that happens at the bare minimum, it hasn’t been. If that’s the case, then wouldn’t we want to try our best to insure that people from every spoken language in the world have had a chance to hear the Gospel? Do you disagree? Is it really that “stunning” to draw that implication out of Revelation 7:9?

              I readily admit I had not been familiar with the 2 percent strategy. I would agree with you that we probably shouldn’t limit our efforts with that criteria.

              I asked whether “anything I said or the way I said it” made you think I don’t understand “that reaching the world for Christ didn’t begin with the SBC or millennials.” You wrote: “For the record, reaching the world with the Gospel didn’t begin with the SBC, much less with ‘millennials.’ All of us, hopefully, are adding to the work Christ began long before you or I took our first steps on this planet.” I’m not sure what you misunderstand.”

              Your language here came across as fairly condescending. I apologize if I misunderstood the tone or intent of what you said there.

              (d) You’re right, I didn’t provide a definition. One drink will not get you to the .08 legal limit, nor does it result in a buzz or even the slightest impairment. Having a drink for enjoyment is not conceptually parallel to smoking even one joint, so I would say it isn’t ok to do the latter, whereas it may be ok to do the former.

              (e) Fair enough.

              (f) and (g) Nothing to add for me either.

                Dr.Will Hall

                Zach,

                I re-looked my inputs to this thread after you mentioned I “came across as fairly condescending” in my comment relating to our exchange about “people groups.”

                Re-reading some of my statements in this thought stream, I can see I didn’t self-edit to re-word things that could be read that way.

                It’s not my nature to be condescending, even when writing with emotion.

                Proverbs 15:1 offers a bedrock principle of leadership development: sarcasm and such related modes of expression are the poorest methods for communicating. [There may be self-satisfaction in venting, but not much probability of convincing others of your views.] Although I regularly recite this verse to myself as a measure of awareness about its wisdom, it’s obvious I didn’t heed it in some of the things I wrote in this thread.

                Re-reading my use of “wow” in my first response and “apparently, you don’t have the background” in my second caused me just now to say out loud, “ackkkk!”

                These were attempts at being casual … and both flopped, and worse, came off as flippant, which epitomizes condescension.

                I apologize. Please forgive me.

                As for our dialog about alcohol, I can share with you that a lot of researchers on the matter would disagree with your position that one drink (let’s say about 12 ounces of beer; or, 5 ounces of wine; or, 1.5 ounces of hard liquor) will not cause a person to exceed the 0.08 BAC limit for driving a car.

                It depends on how quickly you drink the alcohol, weight and gender factors, as well as whether you’re drinking on an empty stomach or not (there are even racial elements of physiology to consider, according to one report).

                Organizations like MADD say U.S. limits are too generous:

                — In China the BAC limit is 0.02.
                — Most of India has a 0.03 BAC restriction.
                — In much of Europe you are considered drunk if you reach 0.05 BAC.

                The point is that drunkenness, in terms of impairment, occurs at relatively low levels of alcohol consumption.

                In naval aviation we were forbidden from having a drink within eight hours of a flight because of alcohol’s effects even when it wasn’t detectable in the bloodstream. A Stanford University study showed “even 14 hours after their last drink, and with no trace of alcohol in their system, pilots’ reaction time was slowed.”

                The federal BAC limit for piloting an aircraft is 0.04, by the way.

                As for your other points, I’ll just say “acknowledged” and we can move on.

                — WKH

                  Zach

                  Dr. Hall,

                  Apologies accepted, and I confess that I probably came across that way at times as well. I likewise ask your forgiveness. And with regards to alcohol, I would say the research you provided are good reasons as to why abstinence is generally the best policy regardless of where one stands.

                  Thanks again, and here’s to working to remedy that Johnny Hunt quote you posted elsewhere in this discussion thread.

                  Blessings!

    Scott Shaver

    John:

    I’m “appalled” by your declaration that most of the workers “out there” (IMB) are very much “reformed” in their theology.

    Precisely the reason some of us feel that you and your peer group with less tenure should be THE ONES COMIING HOME FIRST. NAMB would obviously have an easier time finding continued ministry for you and your peers than the tenured missionaries who are no longer “compatible” with the reformed church plant flash-in-the-pan.

William

I think you are on target here, Rick. The pastor better know what’s going on.

Jim P

There is a very unnerving paradox that plays itself out in any struggle. An example of that paradox: The Jews who were so anti-Roman became worse than the Romans whom they resented, culminating in crucifying the One who could deliver them. That paradox plays itself out 2,000 years later. “He who has an ear let him hear.”

    Scott Shaver

    Jim P.

    You’ve just given an excellent example from history on the motivation behind folks running kicking and screaming from John Calvin and Geneva.

    The reformers became worse medicine than the church corruption they claimed to address. You are correct, paradox plays itself out (in a humorous manner) with these kindergarden cop neo-cals. This new breed wouldn’t have the courage to light a fire in their own barbecue pits, much less under a bonafide “heretic”. The whole movement is like a historical gag reel.

      Lydia

      “You’ve just given an excellent example from history on the motivation behind folks running kicking and screaming from John Calvin and Geneva.

      The reformers became worse medicine than the church corruption they claimed to address”

      Very true because it was always about power. What has happened with the current resurgence is that they deceived and then continued to provoke (anyone signing the Trad statement must be marginalized-Al Mohler) and when there is a decisive response they whine like little girls. I have seen it in too many churches and on the larger platform of this movement. They deceive, poke and provoke then get all whiney and upset when there is a response. Why would anyone be involved with a movement that knowingly and willfully protects those who cheat, are vulgar and protect child molesters? And expect people to sign contracts to obey them!!! These are people who have learned to rationalize horrors. And I am thankful every day it is not 16th Century Geneva because if they had that sort of power, it would be horrible.

      Have people lost their minds? Yes.

Blake McCollough

I wish this was satire. This is utterly ridiculous. It is laughable that this article and its author seem to be more interested in “traditional Southern Baptist belief” than SCRIPTURE.

The most laughable part to me is this section…

Young people turning to Calvinism may embrace: (a) a stricter view of church discipline than that held by most Southern Baptists, (b) an affinity for Elder Rule church government instead of Congregational Rule, (c) a tendency to reject dispensational premillennialism in favor of other views of the end times, (d) a less stringent view regarding the use of beverage alcohol, (e) a suspicious approach toward evangelism utilizing altar calls and the Sinner’s Prayer, (f) the avoidance of denominationally sponsored events in favor of broadly evangelical conferences, and (g) a tendency to frown upon existing Southern Baptist practices

Why is it so bad that young people want to be strict on church discipline, as Matthew 18 prescribes.
What is wrong with elder rule? Isn’t it Biblical?
Did Jesus not turn water into wine?
Did Jesus use the sinner’s prayer?
Did Jesus die just for the Southern Baptist Convention?
Do Southern Baptists do all things correctly?

Sincerely,

One of those “Brainwashed” and “Brainwashers”

    Bill Mac

    What’s wrong with not embracing dispensationalism?

      Rick Patrick

      Bill Mac,
      In this listing of eight categories, I’m not so much saying all of these things are necessarily WRONG, so much as I am saying these are views that are DIFFERENT, in many cases, from the beliefs their parents may be assuming they are being taught. The point is, “Parents, your children may be learning dozens of theological positions that you disaffirm, and you may not even know that it is happening.”

      Johnathan Pritchett

      Nothing. I reject dispensational premillennialism. Dr. Patrick and all the other Traditionalists are still nice to me.

      I was even hired at Trinity by two Traditionalists who affirm dispensational premillennialism and they knew I didn’t. My buddy Dr. Randy White is as die hard a pre-mill dispy as one can be, and we get on just fine.

    JoelP

    Well Said Blake!

    So we should hold SBC Traditions above Scripture? My family searched for a church for some time and I found from pastor to pew biblical illiteracy was rampant. It took a long to find a preacher that was firmly set in Scripture.
    This is a sad article reflecting the state of today’s SBC. might I just add that the SBC should go back and look at its own baptist roots and discern the validity of the BCF 1689. It is more scripturally founded than today’s BCF

    Lydia

    ” wish this was satire. This is utterly ridiculous. It is laughable that this article and its author seem to be more interested in “traditional Southern Baptist belief” than SCRIPTURE.”

    You mean your understanding of scripture through a determinist filter. You sound like someone who loves the power of having people obey you. Calvin did, too.

    Jerry Dodson

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Scott Shaver

    Blake:

    “This is utterly ridiculous” Why then are you not following biblical instruction to avoid meaningless disputes and vain arguments?

    Especially since you seem to more ROOTED IN and CONCERNED WITH SCRIPTURE than Rick Patrick and others of us commenting here.

Josh

Please just tell somebody about Jesus. The dialog is nonsense. I am sure both Wesley and Whitfield would agree.

    Scott Shaver

    Josh:

    Both Wesley and Whitfield have been DEAD AS HAMMERS for a long time and are no longer concerned with earthly affairs.

    As to your certainty in obtaining the agreement of dead men, pure speculation. The only thing we know with relative certainty they agree upon at this moment is the splendor of Christ.

    “The dialogue is nonsense”. If that’s the way you feel you need to exit this thread per scriptural teaching which admonishes you to avoid “vain disputes and wranglings”.

    Be biblical :)

Chris

Blake, I was just thinking the same thing. That list undermines his own case. This is ridiculous.

    Scott Shaver

    Blake:

    My comment to Josh ditto for you.

Tyler

“Young people turning to Calvinism may embrace: (a) a stricter view of church discipline than that held by most Southern Baptists, (b) an affinity for Elder Rule church government instead of Congregational Rule, (c) a tendency to reject dispensational premillennialism in favor of other views of the end times, (d) a less stringent view regarding the use of beverage alcohol, (e) a suspicious approach toward evangelism utilizing altar calls and the Sinner’s Prayer, (f) the avoidance of denominationally sponsored events in favor of broadly evangelical conferences, and (g) a tendency to frown upon existing Southern Baptist practices.”

I said “Amen!” about ten times. Were those things supposed to be negatives? And if the they were, surely you can see how some of these things are secondary issues. Like come on…who really cares if you are a premillennialist or an Amillennialist.

    Jim P

    Tyler, your last sentence is more a point of contention then admitted. These issues are not changeable to many, particularly those in ministry. They will associate pre-millennialism with traditionalism and a-millennialism with calvinism and the case is closed. Your on my side or the wrong side. Those in ministry, before all else, must be examples of ‘growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord in Savior’ if the church of God will go forward. Truth be told that is harder than winning doctrinal points.

      Tyler

      I agree brother. In my church we have all sorts of varying views. I like it that way. In fact, I think it helps in the advancement of the Gospel

    Lydia

    “(a) a stricter view of church discipline than that held by most Southern Baptists”

    When they have the power. Otherwise, they may find they signed a legal contract that says they have to obey young elders who declare a young woman must stay married to a child pornographer masquerading as a missionary. She gets “church discipline” for wanting out and the predator doesn’t cos he said “sorry”. Well, until all the bad PR happened. Then they left her alone and said sorry. But what on earth were they thinking? They were thinking like Calvin.

    There is a deep sickness in that movement that astonishes me. Heaven forbid people mature then the young elders/disciplinerians will be out of lofty positions lording it over others and their followers will simply have to grow up.

Rick Patrick

Friends,

It is obvious from the comment stream that many Calvinists have shared this article and are weighing in today. Welcome, brothers. I do realize that many Southern Baptist Churches are quite affirming of Calvinism while many others are neutral on the matter and willing for both views to co-exist simultaneously. Please understand that I am writing from the perspective of a large number of Southern Baptist Churches whose members and pastors and teachers simply disaffirm Calvinism. It is, for them and for me, a very important doctrinal distinctive, and not the kind of non-essential that others may perceive it to be.

Most of the Calvinist commenters on this thread have reacted rather harshly and emotionally to this article, but have failed to interact with the primary thesis, which has to do with parental rights. Again, I am only addressing the teaching of Calvinism within those Southern Baptist Churches where the parents and the Pastors do not embrace Calvinism and do not want it to be taught to their children, except perhaps to say that this is what certain Christians (and nearly all Presbyterians) believe, but it is not what we believe in our church and here’s why…

In those cases where the Pastor and the parents are FINE with Calvinism being taught approvingly in the youth group, then have at it! Feel free! Calvinize away! All I am talking about is those cases where the church leaders—the Pastors and the parents—are NOT FINE with Calvinism being taught approvingly in the youth group. In such a case, these doctrines should not be spread without the knowledge of the parents and the Pastors. Parents are assuming that their kids are learning what the parents learned in their Southern Baptist youth group in the seventies or the eighties. Parents have the right and the responsibility to know what is being taught. In many cases, this is simply not happening.

    Ryan Abernathy

    Rick,

    As a child of the 80’s I would like to interact with part of your comment. Youth group in the 80’s was about providing an alternative place for teenagers to hang out apart from the “worldly” influences. It had its own vernacular, rituals, music, magazines, and books. It was largely based on an attractional model that majored in bait and switch methodology, scare tactics, and youth pastors with personalities closer to teenagers than adults. In short, it was long on flash and short on doctrine- unless it was turn or burn.

    I am a product of that type of youth ministry. I spent my late high school and early college years confused about God, grace, and Christianity- and I was a Pastoral Ministry major at a Baptist college. The youth groups you are longing for largely died with my generation of youth pastors. We killed them. Intentionally. Partly out of disdain for how we were not taught and partly out of necessity- because we were now youth pastors to a generation of kids largely separated from Christianity. They were asking questions that pizza parties, “Without Reservation,” and CCM were not only not answering, but were not even asking. So we did the only thing we could do- we went back to Scripture.

    In going back to Scripture, we begin to seek to learn theology. Some of us (like me) went to seminary- I’m a SWBTS grad- others gravitated to books via CBD or at Mardels or Lifeway. We read commentaries and devoured classics. We brought the answers we found in scripture back to our youth groups. The rise of the internet gave us access to even more resources. It also gave us the ability to debate and discuss in real time. All that time, I would not have considered myself a Calvinist (I rejected Calvinism because of Calvinists in college and seminary, only to have the doctrines of grace sneak up on me as I was planting a church and devouring preaching podcasts)- and could not have been accused of “Calvinizing” my youth group. But I was teaching them to think theologically, to question traditions, and to not just accept something as true because it came out of the mouth of the guy on stage.

    The ship of the “safe place” youth ministry that you are mentioning that your group is wanting is gone- it has sailed. And good riddance. If you want that, and if that’s what the group you represent wants, then I think you are even more in the minority than you already seem to be. I would hope, as a pastor, a seminary educated man, and a father, that you would want a youth ministry that teaches students theology- how to follow Jesus in this world- rather than entertains them- which is all the youth ministry you just mentioned that you want back did.

    That is, in my experience, where Calvinists are kicking your backside. It’s not that they are better networked, or have a larger platform, or are somehow privileged. At the student level, they make learning about theology interesting. They don’t sugarcoat or avoid the hard stuff. They tackle it. And they do it in a way that makes it accessible- even to teenagers. It has been said multiple times in this comment stream that for Traditionalists to have the same impact, or similar impact, as Calvinists are having, they are going to have to become better teachers of something other than anti-Calvinism. Teenagers and young adults are looking to join a movement, not label someone else the enemy. Give them the opportunity to do so and maybe you won’t have to write part two.

      Lesley

      I love your comment, Ryan, because I have such a similar story.

      I spent my entire 20’s undoing, by the grace and patience of God, the theology that I received from my youth group and from a church that majored in evangelism and…well, they didn’t even MINOR in theology. My shoddy faith was built on emotion and flimsy doctrines that I was aghast to realize, when I started being fed Biblical teaching, were not even in the Word! You can identify with my distress to find that my entire worldview had been a shadow of what it should have been. I was sort of angry, in fact. So much wasted time, and so many years of confusion and misguided thinking and feeling and doing.

      The Calvinists I personally know and love don’t have an agenda to steal children’s songs from the church or to indoctrinate their youth. They are plain ol’ people like me, people who love the Lord and want desperately to know what He requires of His children.

      We have less people in our church today than we did when I was a teen, and our baptisms are much fewer in number, but a huge percentage of what we had and who we baptized back then had no feet to stand on because they weren’t being taught the truth. Most of them are not in church anymore, and many don’t even pretend to be Christians today!

      I just don’t see how anyone can think that what we had in the 80’s and 90’s, exciting as it seemed to be, is better than what we are experiencing today, a growth that is steady and true. I’ve personally never been happier in church! A feast, every Sunday!

Bill Mac

Rick: I know I’ve said this before, but I want to echo what a few of the less strident voices on this thread have recommended. The best way to promote your doctrine is to teach your doctrine. When the TS was first introduced you specifically said you were not interested in being “against Calvinism” but rather with promoting what you believe to be longtime SBC doctrine. Fair enough, but I think the reality is that you and your contributors spend much more time being against Calvinism than in promoting your own doctrine. You have said repeatedly that you dislike the label of non-Calvinist because you would rather be for something than against something, but with respect that doesn’t seem to have played out in reality. Do you you really want Traditionalism to be the opposite side of the Calvinist coin?

    Rick Patrick

    Bill Mac,
    Calvinists always see my promotion of Traditionalism as being against Calvinism, but they never see their promotion of Calvinism as being against Traditionalism. It’s just a matter of perspective, really.

    For example, Traditionalists say, “God loves everybody.” When Calvinist Arthur Pink says, “God does not love everybody,” nobody gives him grief for attacking Traditionalism. (It kinda helps that he’s dead.) Nobody says, “Arthur, why are you always so AGAINST Traditionalism? Just say what you believe.” But the thing he believes IS the opposite of Traditionalism. To some degree, one simply must articulate both for and against positions.

    As we each promote our own views, we see ourselves as standing up strongly for our position, but those on the other side tend to view it as an attack. This absolutely runs both ways.

      Shawn

      Rick, Our position is against yours because our position is the Gospel. God saves sinners. This is the teaching of Scripture. God doesn’t help sinners to save themselves, nor does He wait upon sinners, who are, in accordance to the Scriptures, dead in trespasses and sins (dead, not sick, not slightly disabled, but dead, unresponsive — not that they cannot think, but that their thinking is corrupt; not that they don’t have wills, but that their wills are corrupt) …. they are deaf and blind to the things of God, opposed to all holiness and righteousness; lovers of self, lovers of sin (they may not love the consequences of their sin, but they love their sin, and will kill whomever would take it from them, or them from it. Just try and stop a pro-abortion person from getting their way, or a drug addict from getting his fix, or a thug from getting whatever it is he has decided to have from you!), under the dominion of darkness and of Satan; children of wrath, constantly inventing evil; unable to please God; unable to obey His commands, and unwilling as well, because “We will not have this Man to rule over us”; they love the darkness and WILL NOT come into the Light; what knowledge they do have (by virtue of being created in the image of God and without excuse) they purposefully suppress, and sin all the more, encouraging others to do the same; the Gospel is FOOLISHNESS to them, and they cannot believe it because the Gospel is SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED. They have dead spirits, which are “alive” only to evil, and every false religion, and practice.

      Does that sound like someone with a “free will” to you?

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Shawn,

        C’ mon Man,

        Calvinism rides the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as if it were a swayback mule for Heaven sake. The gospel is the gospel of God. The gospel is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul said, the gospel was his gospel, committed to him as a sacred trust not to promote man’s glory but the glory of our God and Him alone. You have introduced nothing new in your post only the Word of God seasoned with the flavor of Calvinism.

        This discussion concerns our children being taught the elementary doctrine of Calvinism. The love of God found in
        John 3:16 repackaged with a Calvinistic take. The anger of God misrepresented without God’s love. Finally, salvation taught from a
        Calvinistic point of view.

        For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

        We want this portion of pericope to be taught as our Master gave it to us without pressing man’s opinion upon the text to promote the doctrine of men instead of the glory of God.

        Preach!

          Shawn

          Dennis Lee Dabney: <>

          Such as …?

          <>

          Right, that’s because it’s the Gospel. You’re objecting to children being taught the Gospel. That God saves sinners. God MERCIFULLY and NOT OBLIGATORILY, save UNDESERVING, rebellious, sin-loving, idolatrous sinners. God stopped the wandering pagan Abram and called him to Himself. God stopped the well-intentioned Saul, and called him to Himself. He does the same to each and every sinner, in differing ways. But it’s always the same. Christ raises the dead just as He did with Lazarus. We were DEAD in sins and trespasses. Jesus didn’t ask Lazarus’ permission. Jesus called him, and he didn’t banter back and forth as to whether he felt like obeying the Voice or not.

          <>

          Got any more straw men?

          <>

          Amen. And …? How does this support your claim?

          <>

          So you want a contextless teaching? Okay, go right ahead. That’s how every Christianesque cult on the planet gets their doctrine. “To Hell with context! To Hell with properly exegeting the passage! To Hell with comparing Scripture to Scripture. We just want to believe what feels comfortable, even if it’s contradictory to the revelation of God, because it’s convenient, and we like our traditionalism.”

          “This is the way that God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not suffer the wrath of God, but would have ever-lasting life.”
          Do you have any objection to that interpretation of the passage? If so, in what way?
          See, there is no “repackaging” of John 3:16 by Calvinists. We’re simply saying what the passage says.
          You on other hand, are suggesting that it says what it does not say, nor can it possibly say so in light of the rest of Scripture.
          You make “whosoever” to mean “everyone has free will”, when it simply does not.
          “Whosoever” means “anyone”, “everyone”, whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, etc.
          Everyone who believes upon the Lord Jesus shall be saved.
          How is that repackaging anything?

          I offer the same challenge to you, since you very obviously do not understand that at which you are railing against.
          I offer a study into the so-called TULIP. If at the end of the study you are not convinced, well, at least you’ll actually have an education in the matter.
          And as I’ve stated, I’d be willing to go through any study in opposition to my position afterward.
          Are you up to the challenge?

            Dennis Lee Dabney

            Shawn,

            You started off so well, what did hinder you?

            I said to myself, “Shawn can do this if He stays with the Word of God and for a while man you did”. I said, Go Shawn, Preach! Preach! You preached me happy. LoL I was your amen corner, let me tell you! You were running so well, until in your haste to straighten me out, the unlearned servant that I am, you just couldn’t resist, you just had to make my case, through your own argument, you fell on your own SWORD. Rather than continuing to stand on the truth of the Word, ye rather you mounted Calvinism on the “back” of the glorious “Gospel of God” to glorify a spurious interpretation of other men in order to keep the “FLOWER” alive.LET THE FLOWER DIE ALREADY! We have the Blessed Tree of Life for Heaven sake why trifle with a tulip?

            Once again, John 3:16 repackaged for Lil Willy to take home to his folks. Talking “bout” God don’t love the WORLD!

            By the way, there is nothing you can teach me about Calvin nor the men of his ilk. Don’t let this get out, because I don’t want anyone to know, but my library consist “REFORMED THEOLOGY, “not a few! The Reformation, its history is no secret to me. So don’t get it twisted! Church history isn’t new “NEWS” to me.

            Finally, my friend, your exegesis of the text, JOHN 3:16 is “wanting” and will not HOLD ETERNAL WATER, why, because it is not proper hermenutics in its environs, violating the meaning in other well known text in which you are well aware of, therefore violating the other inspired witnesses elsewhere.

            As you said “Scripture interpreting Scripture.

            Have a good day,

            Preach!

              Shawn

              Dennis Lee Dabney: “By the way, there is nothing you can teach me about Calvin nor the men of his ilk. Don’t let this get out, because I don’t want anyone to know, but my library consist “REFORMED THEOLOGY, “not a few! The Reformation, its history is no secret to me. So don’t get it twisted! Church history isn’t new “NEWS” to me.”

              I never intended on teaching you anything about “Calvin nor the men of his ilk”. Straw man much?

              “Finally, my friend, your exegesis of the text, JOHN 3:16 is “wanting” and will not HOLD ETERNAL WATER, why, because it is not proper hermenutics in its environs, violating the meaning in other well known text in which you are well aware of, therefore violating the other inspired witnesses elsewhere.”

              Nope. See how that works? All you did was to make a bald claim. You didn’t actually address anything I SAID, all you did was your (previous) erection of a straw man, and then your (current) bald claim. Pretty shabby.

              And your claim of my having blundered by mentioning “TULIP” is absurd to the Nth degree. Is that not the whole POINT of the arguments here? It’s people, claiming to be disciples of Christ, yet DENYING that God is the SAVIOR who actually SAVES, not merely is a potential savior who only sometimes saves, but is, most of the time frustrated, and is subjected to the capricious wills of his fallen creatures, as he hopes against hope that somebody might give him a little luv.

              You claim to know Reformed Theology, and yet with every word you prove that you do not.

                Dennis Lee Dabney

                Shawn, says

                You claim to know Reformed Theology, and yet with every word you prove that you do not.

                Listen Shawn, we can all give God a hearty Amen for that my Friend. He delivered me from “much” learning!

                However don’t be confused or get it twisted, as I said, I know Church history and enough about reformation theology.

                There is a reason I’m not a Calvinist nor a Reformed Baptist. Listen Shawn, while I testify, stand up and tell the truth.

                Many years ago I was tempted by the passion for God’s Holy Word by those who I later found out were Calvinist. While dialoguing with them, it seemed every other was concerning the Sovereignty of God. I embraced their passion for their relentless study of God’s Word in “other” doctrinal matters.

                However. . . . this is where I said, “Let me off the ride, and you don’t even have to stop the ride, was their interpretation of John 3:16 as I was “introduced” to the SPRING FLOWER, the T.U.L.I.P.

                With much prayer and my own passion to pursue the Truth found in God’ Holy Word like Dr. Adrian Rogers and others, I will defend the Holy Scriptures against all spurious interpretation against the Biblical Absolute Sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man.

                Preach!

                  Shawn

                  Scott, thanks for your passive-aggressive admittance to cowardice.
                  I’ll be moving on.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Nothing “passive” about it Shawn. The charge of “cowardice” is something that would require a little personal interaction prior to final confirmation i’m afraid.

            Dennis Lee Dabney

            SHAWN says,

            This is the way that God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not suffer the wrath of God, but would have ever-lasting life.
            Do you have any objection to that interpretation of the passage? If so, in what way?
            See, there is no “repackaging” of John 3:16 by Calvinists. We’re simply saying what the passage says.
            You on other hand, are suggesting that it says what it does not say, nor can it possibly say so in light of the rest of Scripture.

            Shawn,

            I do have objections to the so-called exegesis of this passage as you knew I would and I’m in good company.

            Before you were CALVINIZED you believed what I believe right now, correct me if I wrong. Your new enlightenment seems to suggest, God doesn’t love those who reject such a great salvation but the Scriptures indicate He “so” loved the WORLD, which is my position. If that is your take, then in your theology suggest the radical idea that God is not love. I hope I’m wrong.

            For God “so” loved the WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son, that “whosoever” believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!

            Let’s talk about it,

            Preach!