Youth Targeted Calvinism | Part Two

October 19, 2015

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

Click HERE for Part One.

Part One briefly and generally contrasted Calvinism with Traditionalism—defined as the traditional Southern Baptist view of salvation doctrine prominent during the SBC’s greatest days in the mid-twentieth century.[i] The purpose in highlighting these differences was not so much to engender debate concerning them, but rather to point out that parents and their youth can be seen to embrace two differing sets of doctrinal principles. The primary thesis of this essay is that Southern Baptist youth ministers serving traditional SBC churches should not teach young people Calvinistic doctrines without apprising their parents and pastors of the curriculum.

In responding to Part One’s argument that the need for parental notification was impregnable, an astonishing number of commenters dismissed the very practice of churches calling youth ministers. Others placed the burden solely upon parents to be aware of what their children were being taught—almost as if the youth minister bore no responsibility for informing them at all. Still others went so far as to suggest that the youth minister, due to his superior theological training, was in a better position than the parents to direct the spiritual education of their teenager. To quote the catchphrase of humorist Dave Barry, “I am not making this up.”

Part Two seeks to examine specific case studies in which the youth in Traditional churches were exposed to reformed theology without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Of course, the teaching of Calvinism at Calvinistic or neutral Southern Baptist Churches presents no problem at all. This essay assumes that all “Youth Targeted Calvinism” takes place within churches where the pastors and parents would indeed have a concern with it if they only knew it was being taught.

How Calvinism is NOT Being Introduced
First, let us discuss the way Calvinism is not being introduced in the youth groups of Traditional churches. Typically, the youth minister does not come to the Pastor, the Deacons, the Sunday School Council or the Church Business Meeting and announce, “Church family, even though it has not been our customary doctrinal position in the past, our youth group will now be focusing upon Calvinism in our discipleship classes, retreats, concerts, conferences and Sunday School classes. This represents a major doctrinal shift for our church—a new direction of profound significance. Thus, we are asking you to vote and give your approval to this initiative as we seek to turn as many of our youth as possible into Calvinists.”

No Calvinistic youth minister at a Traditional church ever made such a speech. Calvinism does not arrive with a shout, but with a whisper. It does not come in the front door. It sneaks in the back door. It spreads incrementally and with subtlety.

Case Studies of Youth Targeted Calvinism

1. Youth Worship Service Promotes Disunity–Eight years ago, a Southern Baptist youth group was gathered for its Wednesday night service. The church was between youth ministers, and the speaker that night boldly pushed the claims of Calvinism, upsetting a number of the youth and adult sponsors. One young lady walked out of the room in protest. Others remained but fervently questioned the material. Before long, voices were raised and tempers grew short. The mother of two teenagers found out about the discussion. She had grown up in a Calvinistic church. Having rejected these doctrines, she did not want her two teenagers to be so indoctrinated. This disruption had thrown the entire youth group into a state of disarray. Suddenly, a potential youth minister candidate, who leaned reformed, was no longer a viable candidate for the vacancy. Calvinism is not well suited for every person or for every church. Because some individuals and churches will simply choose to reject these doctrines, it would seem prudent for youth speakers to inform the parents and the pastors when they plan to teach it.

2. Discipling Youth Right Out of the Convention–About a decade ago, another Southern Baptist youth ministry was in the habit of purchasing devotional books for the youth to study in small discipleship groups. For a period of time, the authors chosen included non-Southern Baptist Calvinists like John Piper and Tim Keller. Their Calvinistic youth minister explained these doctrines to the teens in private group meetings. Predictably, just like the general population at large, these parents were not familiar with all of the nuances of each author’s theology. Perhaps naively, they believed the youth minister was teaching their children the same things about God that they had learned when they were in a Southern Baptist youth group. This was not the case. Today, when the education minister is asked, “Do we still purchase John Piper books for the youth group?” he has a standard answer. “No, we do not. We bought them for years and discovered that virtually all those youth grew up to become Presbyterians. We discipled them right out of the Southern Baptist Convention. We won’t make that mistake again.”

3. SBC Youth Camps Led By Non-SBC Calvinists–When shelling out their $300 check for a “Southern Baptist” youth camp, most parents assume their teenager will hear sermons, songs and lessons preached, sung and taught by Southern Baptists. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The leadership of one camp in 2014 included a Pastor who served an Evangelical Free Church and a Worship Leader who served a non-SBC Charismatic Calvinist church. At another camp, young people were being interviewed to serve as counselors. In the process, they were specifically asked about their knowledge and use of a particular Sunday School curriculum designed by a creative team comprised almost entirely of Calvinists. Is one of the qualifications for being hired as a Southern Baptist student counselor in today’s SBC the familiarity with and support of a certain curriculum? Why should it matter which Sunday School curriculum a prospective student counselor might happen to prefer? With all the non-Southern Baptist preachers, singers, writers and teachers we are bringing in, it seems we are no longer waiting for our youth to leave the SBC. We can easily turn them into non-denominational evangelicals with Calvinistic and Charismatic tendencies even while they are still attending SBC youth summer camps.

Conclusion
In 2006, the first word in Collin Hansen’s title, Young, Restless, Reformed,[ii] was chosen for a reason. The recent surge in Calvinism’s popularity has never really targeted middle-aged or older Southern Baptists. To their credit, Calvinists have been successful in reaching teenagers. However, when it comes to introducing Calvinistic doctrines within Traditional SBC churches, leaders should be open and upfront in telling parents and pastors about their plans from the very start. Yes, parents should know what is being taught to their children, but if some parents have been duped, let us not be quick to judge their theological apathy or ignorance. Usually, they are busy working in the nursery, teaching missions or serving those foil wrapped baked potatoes in the supper line. Let us rather place the burden upon youth ministers and camp organizers to communicate clearly the doctrines that are being taught—especially those that have proven to be controversial for centuries.

 

 

[i] Just as a traditional worship service may refer to the music of the mid-twentieth century, traditional SBC salvation doctrine may refer to the theology popular in the same era. It would be a mistake to assume Traditionalists are claiming our view as the original view of the SBC. We are not Originalists. In fact, I cannot find a single Traditionalist who has ever made this claim. Rather, we simply espouse A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation. Both Calvinism and Traditionalism have existed since the beginning of our convention. Neither can claim to be the original SBC position. The definitive treatment of this topic is an essay by Dr. Steve W. Lemke entitled, “History or Revisionist History? How Calvinistic Were the Overwhelming Majority of Baptists and Their Confessions in the South until the Twentieth Century?” (Southwestern Journal of Theology, Volume 57, Number 2, Spring 2015, pages 227-254.)
[ii] Hansen, Collin. “Young, Restless, Reformed.” Christianity Today. September 22, 2006.

 

 

 

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Lydia

“We discipled them right out of the Southern Baptist Convention. We won’t make that mistake again.”

Piper’s son, Barnabas, became a Presbyterian. Then he was hired by LifeWay in a high paying job.

William Thornton

This is pretty much on target. It is unfathomable to me that a pastor would be uninvolved in what his student staff member is teaching or that a staff member would introduce by stealth what he knows would be objectionable to parents or the senior pastor.

Concerning the interview process for SBC student camp counselors, rather than vaguely implying eror at unnamed camps, if you think it both wrong and important enough to complain about publicly here, why not name the entity and camp and share the response you received when you addressed the issue with those who sponsor it?

    Lydia

    “Concerning the interview process for SBC student camp counselors, rather than vaguely implying eror at unnamed camps, if you think it both wrong and important enough to complain about publicly here, why not name the entity and camp and share the response you received when you addressed the issue with those who sponsor it?”

    Because the people involved who are witnesses are afraid, for one. They do not have pulpits that convince others. They are labeled as divisive. And it becomes the same old arguments about what is allowed by the BFM. Perhaps they fear losing their job.

    I have seen the problems with speaking up from so many people. Those who did, were labeled divisive and were often treated to star chamber treatment from elders/leaders. The YRR make it personal. It is all they know. And they do not consider any disagreement as credible. They seek to devalue/demoralize those who speak up.

    Frankly, for many, it is not worth it. Which is why it worked so well and is now ingrained.

    Rick Patrick

    Hi William,
    I would also find it unfathomable for the staff member to “introduce by stealth WHAT HE KNOWS would be objectionable to parents or the senior pastor.” I’m not sure the youth pastor knows it is objectionable in many cases. If he does not clear the topic of conversation, namely Calvinism, in advance, perhaps assuming no need to do so since “Calvinism is just good biblical theology” then a conversation that needs to take place might never happen. I believe that in many cases, the Pastor trusts the youth minister to handle such topics as sin, temptation, forgiveness, purity, relationships, obedience, heaven, hell, baptism, etc. These doctrines and lessons are not creating the same kind of division that Calvinism often does.

    My decision not to name any of the four churches or the two camps mentioned in these three different case studies was intentional. First, it is not my desire to embarrass anyone or to engage in “gotcha” journalism. Rather, my intention was to address the issue in a general way, providing anonymous case studies only as examples of the kind of problems many churches have faced. Second, I was only personally involved in one of these four churches. I will leave to others the responsibility to communicate directly with those two camps. Third, were I a gambling man, I would be willing to wager that those who did address such concerns in all likelihood received the kind of polite, boilerplate form letters to which I have grown accustomed whenever I address such matters personally with a ministry or entity. They are generally polite, but they don’t really respond to the problem in such a way as to fix it.

    No, my approach is not to sling specific charges at specific organizations. Rather, I wish to raise the issue in a general manner and encourage all churches and ministries to be sensitive to the fact that Calvinism is simply not for every Southern Baptist Church, and to implore youth ministers to inform parents and pastors when they plan to teach these controversial doctrines.

kyle

We should ask parents if they want their children to be taught biblical theology?

    william

    this is the rationale for the calvinist student teacher: “I consider it biblical theology; therefore, what my pastor thinks or what parent thinks is irrelevant.”

    Even a Calvinist, one would think, respects his pastor’s position and would have the courtesy and respect to include parents in what he intends. There is a reason many people like Rick and myself are wary of Calvinists…many cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

      Lydia

      “Even a Calvinist, one would think, respects his pastor’s position and would have the courtesy and respect to include parents in what he intends. There is a reason many people like Rick and myself are wary of Calvinists…many cannot be trusted to tell the truth.”

      About 7 years ago, an old est SBC church in a changing neighborhood had 2 SBTS students who volunteered to work with the youth. These students proceeded to tell the youth their pastor was not preaching the “true Gospel”. The pastor’s own kids were in the youth group. A blatant attempt to divide the family!. If the church erred it was in treating those students too nice in how they dealt with them which is a long story in itself.

      The YRR use people’s tolerance and kindness against them to gain power and cause division.

      Tom Shelton

      I think this is an erroneous claim that “most Calvinists” can’t be trusted to tell the truth. Just because some people don’t ask or don’t understand what they are told is not the same as not telling the truth.

        Scott Shaver

        Better to err on the margin of safety Tom.

      Ryan Morris

      William, I agree with your comment. I do lean toward a more calvinist position than my pastor does. He knows exactly my beliefs and I know his beliefs. We disagree but are on enough of the same ground we work together with no issue. He asked me my views in the interview process and I was upfront and again 2 years later he asked all of our staff to write papers on our beliefs on some foundational issues (including salvation and election.)

      Out of respect of him as my spiritual leader and my boss I do not teach calvinism to our kids. I never publicly disagree with my pastor. I support him as he supports me as well. We have unity in our staff even with disagreement. We have discussed theology and know there are disagreements but I never question what my pastor teaches to our church. He does it in a way that has grace. He says his views and will tell others that there are other views that he disagrees with but are within orthodoxy.

      As far as with parents, I never teach something to our kids without letting our parents know ahead of time. No matter the topic I send an email to parents informing them of what I am teaching, especially if it is a sensitive topic.

      I think the issue of parents and senior pastor not knowing what the youth pastor is teaching is something that the blame can be split 3 ways. Youth Pastors should inform pastors of what they are teaching, a pastor should be asking what the youth pastor is teaching and know their theology, and parents should be exploring what their kids are being taught. If parents are not doing that it is at least partially their fault too. I have seen parents explore what kids are learning in school and it should be the same in the church.

      With all that said, a youth pastor should be upfront with everything they believe on any topic and if anything is done in secret we should evaluate if it is from the Lord.

    Les Prouty

    “Rick and myself are wary of Calvinists…many cannot be trusted to tell the truth.”

    There surely are a few Calvinists who are liars (“cannot be trusted to tell the truth.”). But I seriously doubt that most Calvinists are liars about their theological views. Unless someone has data they haven’t shared.

    SDG!

      william

      Didn’t say “most.”

      My point, and I’m agreeing with Rick on this, something I don’t do often, is that SBC Calvinists have regularly been found to not be forthcoming about their views and agenda. I’ve seen it for about 20 years now. Rick has identified one category of this. He is right as rain on it. My advice to churches, to pastor and student minister search committees, is to be extremely diligent in examining candidates as a result of SBC calvinists’ record of stealth, of witholding their views and agenda. This posture of wariness has been forced by the behavior of some, not all, Calvinists.

      Les Prouty

      William, I stand corrected. I should not have said “most.” I suppose the word “many” has some validity but of course is wide open to interpretation.

      Anyway, overall I do understand the concerns expressed by Rick and others. My denomination (the PCA) is much more strict as to who can be ordained. And even most churches in the PCA are careful who is allowed to teach. In summary, if a Baptist wanted to teach SS, for instance, that is likely to not be permitted. Of course if a man were under consideration for a pastoral position, he would have to affirm his subscription to the WCF and catechisms. That goes a long way in preventing what Rick is describing in some SB churches. The SBC and her congregations are much more wide open as to what is acceptable along soteriological lines.

      So I generally agree that each SBC church should be able to set the doctrinal parameters for what is allowed to be taught. Then as others have said, a lot of responsibility lies with the current church leadership to do serious vetting.

      SDG!

    Lydia

    “We should ask parents if they want their children to be taught biblical theology?”

    Kyle, if you were honest you would ask parents if they want their kids taught Calvin’s ideas if biblical theology. If that had been the case, these posts would not be needed.

    Instead, your movement blames parents for being ignorant of Calvin’s theology.

    Andy

    Kyle,

    This comment reveals the problem, and why Rick is writing this article. The answer to your question is YES! Someone who claims to be an informed, educated, spiritual leader and shepherd SHOULD inform those who pay his salary, and who are his supervisors IF he intends to teach something HE KNOWS will be controversial, or is a departure from what HE KNOWS the church as a whole teaches. We would not want a closet charismatic teaching our teens to speak in tongues in secret at a cessationalist church.

    IF the young calvinists strongly believes in his message of biblical theology, he should at least share it with people his own age, and older, not just those younger than himself.

Les Prouty

““No, we do not. We bought them for years and discovered that virtually all those youth grew up to become Presbyterians.” Maybe some of them will become ruling elders someday!! Well at least the men.

Seriously though, I can understand you wanting to keep your children in the denomination as and when they grow up. I wonder what other factors may have been involved. And I wonder how these young adults are doing in their walk and service to God.

As for case study #1, the people who asked this prospective youth minister are responsible ultimately for going him or anyone else the mic without knowing more about what he teaches.

Not sure I get #3 and what the big issue is there.

SDG!

Bill Mac

This shouldn’t be controversial. Regardless of how widespread you think the problem is, this shouldn’t happen in any church about any doctrine. If the youth group leader thinks he’s got the market on “biblical theology” then he needs to clear it with the church leadership or find a church that is in agreement with him.

I would modify #3 to say that having non-SBCers leading the camps is a problem. You really think having a AOG lead the camp is ok as long as he’s not a Calvinist?

    Scott Shaver

    If those are the 2 hypothetical choices, Bill Mac, I’d opt for the AOG.

      Joel

      As someone who has been PCA, AoG, and is currently SBC, this stance interests me.

        Scott Shaver

        AOGs easier to cooperate with and most do not hold a deterministic theological template.

Lydia

“As for case study #1, the people who asked this prospective youth minister are responsible ultimately for going him or anyone else the mic without knowing more about what he teaches.”

People trusted the SBC seminaries they help pay for. These are people who go to work all week to help pay for the buildings and salary of church staff. It did not occur to them they had to check them out in that way. They trusted the seminaries too much.

    Tom Shelton

    As a parent of three I make sure that that my wife and I question the teachers and the church staff about what they are teaching our kids. We also examine the curriculum being used. We both work and have several positions in our church but we take time to find these things out. This is the responsibility of all parents and should not be delegated to anyone or any organization. To say they are too busy is not an acceptable excuse.

      Lydia

      Tom, i agree. People should not trust the institutions they support financially. This has been a hard lesson to learn in both church and secular realms. It just does not work that way anymore. Hard lesson to learn.

    Ryan Morris

    As someone that came from the seminaries I have not been in an interview where someone didn’t ask my theology just because I went to an SBC seminary.

    I don’t think this is because the seminary didn’t teach me good theology. I had a friend that went to the same seminary that I did and we left the seminary with totally different theology. I would consider he has some extreme theological errors. I think if our people didn’t ask because they “trusted the seminary” then they are making a huge error and it doesn’t matter how good our seminaries are.

Andy

Reading this, and thinking about it a bit, and while I agree that any youth minister should be open and honest with his intentions…I think the biggest problem I have with this and other discussions like it is that it seems to leave out what I believe to be a LARGE swath of “middlers” in the SBC, who really have no problem with either side, and while they have opinions on this issue, it is somewhere down around whether God can create a rock he can’t lift…who see strong & weak arguments from both sides, who see seemingly foolish and needlessly derogatory statements from both sides, and who either aren’t sure where they stand, or have studied it and decided that they don’t stand with either calvinism or traditionalism…I think THAT group of SBCers is quite large.

That said, I agree that any prospecting pastoral staff who DOESN’T ask about the calvinism issue is, in my opinion, either very foolish, or clueless about the division it can sometimes cause, or else needlessly secretive and deceptive about his own beliefs. But, In fact, back when I was looking for churches earlier in the 2000’s, I asked several pastors & search leaders about it, and ALL of them said it wasn’t a big deal in their churches, that they had members of multiple various positions and hybrids of positions, in fact most of them said they themselves were hybrids…and even those who definitely disagreed with the Calvinist view of election said it wasn’t a big deal…in fact at the church before the one I am currently in, (back when I probably WOULD have called myself a calvinist)…The Senior Pastor and I talked about these things and he disagreed with me, and hired me anyway.

    Mary

    The “middlers” are the ones getting hurt the most. They trusted that having a Calvinist on staff wouldn’t be a big deal and then realized that it wasn’t just an ivory tower how many angels on the head of the pin discussion. We’ve seen churches who were warned about bringing in Calvinists staff and they though “oh no those bad things won’t happen here” only to regret not being more careful when the church inevitabley split are was decimated by a Calvinist who forced the complete Calvinization on the church..

MattB

I will be up front, I hold to TULIP. I also agree with the overall message of the article. There should be a unity and continuity to what is taught in a Church, and this would go for any doctrine. To teach any doctrine which is controversial to what a Church holds in secret is dishonest. Pastoral and parental permission should be sought to teach youth.
I see two secondary issues. First, I was born in the late 70’s and my generation was the first where “theology was not very important.” To use a modern phrase, “Deeds not Creeds.” We were taught to be and do Christian things, and theology was for the old academics in seminary. Now we are reaping the consequences of this. What is interesting is that young people are much more interested in theology then most of their parents. This is where some of the issues are.
Lastly, there should be good dialogue over different theological views. Any discussion and debate that is healthy should force both sides back to the word and search. Within reason, there should be more theological discussions in churches.

Lydia

“First, I was born in the late 70’s and my generation was the first where “theology was not very important.” To use a modern phrase, “Deeds not Creeds.” We were taught to be and do Christian things, and theology was for the old academics in seminary. Now we are reaping the consequences of this. What is interesting is that young people are much more interested in theology then most of their parents. This is where some of the issues are.”

In the SBC that was the age of inerrancy and the CR. So, not sure exactly what you are referencing. Is it your personal experience or are you referencing some historical resource? Some of it I can relate to as in that was around the time of beginnings of the rise of the mega’s a horrible result of bigger is better thinking..

(Actually, it would be a move in the right direction to some good deeds instead of adherence to creeds these days. “Correct doctrine” from the creeds does not seem to be producing integrity or character but instead a quest for power and control over others)

    Steven

    Lydia writes,
    (Actually, it would be a move in the right direction to some good deeds instead of adherence to creeds these days. “Correct doctrine” from the creeds does not seem to be producing integrity or character but instead a quest for power and control over others)
    This is a gross misrepresentation based on your personal experience, how can you possibly know how many walk in integrity and character who follow the creeds and confessions as they are written.

    You have allowed bad apples to gain high offices and privileges in your SBC convention who are wolves in sheeps clothing, such as Driscols, and Mahaneys, and those of their ilk.
    These men are man centered and do not follow the confession as they have been established, investigation of their beliefs as so called “Calvinists” will reveal much.

    The ancient creeds and confessions of the Protestant Church have served the people of God through the ages.
    As precise and concise summaries of what the Bible teaches on very vital matters.
    These include, amongst others,
    The Doctrine of God,
    The person and work of Christ,
    How a man is justified in God’s sight,
    As well as the doctrine of last things (Eschatology).

    The truth is the churches who do not follow established creeds and confessions, and those that have altered their faith and messages to a liberal interpretation of God’s Word have biblical inconsistencies in their shepherding of the Christ’s flock.

    The truth is that it is the WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT that leads God’s people to God’s truth.
    Only those that the HOLY SPIRIT convicts will turn God’s Elect to his TRUTHS.

    All Glory to God Alone

      Lydia

      “This is a gross misrepresentation based on your personal experience, how can you possibly know how many walk in integrity and character who follow the creeds and confessions as they are written. ”

      Long term patterns of behavior. The biggest problem out there is this idea we can “know” people at a distance. Yet people will claim they know the character and integrity of someone they have heard speak on a stage or read their book. Cult of personality is the most horrible thing to have infested Christianity The idea that we obey some human authority in the Body of Christ is very dangerous and is part of the problem we are seeing now. I expect cult of personality in politics but then we should measure that based upon protecting the constitution. (Yes, I understand that sounds ridiculous these days. But we are supposed to be a nation of laws—a government of the people– not human authorities to obey)

      You and I will never agree on the Protestant Reformation. I see the pro side but also see that it was basically political. Had it been a true spiritual movement, then people would not have been punished for such things as believers baptism, etc, etc. They would not have had their tongues branded for disagreeing with the “spiritual authorities”, they would not have been drowned for believers baptism and so on. If you see those things as obeying the “creeds” and walking in character and integrity then the only thing I can see is that whatever is acceptable within the current culture would also be considered character and integrity. That is the basic “man of his time” argument. We really don’t want to go there, do we? Christians do not seek to harm others who disagree with them. No matter the era..

        Steven

        You see Lydia, you project more philosophy than biblical grounding.
        You say, long term patterns of behavior,
        We say, as it is written, you will know them by their fruit.

        Secondly, you write,
        The biggest problem out there is this idea we can “know” people at a distance. Yet people will claim they know the character and integrity of someone they have heard speak on a stage or read their book. Cult of personality is the most horrible thing to have infested Christianity.

        That is right, anyone can become a victim is they are swayed by a smooth talker or read one book, that what you said.
        You must understand, God’s elect know the shepherds voice, Christ is their Lord, King, and Savior, the Elect of God will not be fooled by these charlatans.
        That is why you are giving examples of the unbelievers or those of little faith to strawman that no one can recognize integrity and character in preachers.
        See a true believer will listen to many sermons and read many books from an individual to determine their true faith.

        Lydia writes,
        I see the pro side but also see that it was basically political. Had it been a true spiritual movement, then people would not have been punished for such things as believers baptism, etc, etc. They would not have had their tongues branded for disagreeing with the “spiritual authorities”, they would not have been drowned for believers baptism and so on.

        Please once again, let cut the blanket statements and reference what you are referring to

          Lydia

          Steven, I tend to look at things from a birds eye view…including a long view of history. If you are interested in discussing the detailed virtues of Calvin, Luther and Zwingli, I am not interested. Been there done that in spades. Their “correct doctrine” does not justify their behaviors toward others who did not agree. I just don’t do “men of their time” arguments as if the Holy Spirit did not function in the 1500’s. I suppose those powerful “elect” did not “know the voice of their Shepherd” or they would have behaved much differently?

          I would rather spend time with one unorthodox heretic who practices (as in walks the talk) justice and mercy and knows basic right from wrong than one with “correct doctrine” that emulates their Reformed heros– both historical and current..

          Lydia

          “You see Lydia, you project more philosophy than biblical grounding.”

          Darrell, I am of the opinion that Protestant/Calvinistic doctrines are at the root, Greek Pagan Philosophy. Propagated by Augustine (who brought in Manichaeism) whose writings spread West. It is based on determinism/dualism. Calvin systematized it. My belief is you read scripture with the determinist filter so it would be a big waste of time for us to discuss it.

      Scott Shaver

      Seems to me Steven that a “liberal interpretation” of God’s Word would include all the extra-biblical trappings of TULIP working in concert with a God who is deterministic in his dealings with man.

      The theological embellishments and templates of Calvin are “liberal” additions to the sacred texts as well as the revealed nature and character of Christ. Calvinism has a way of making scripture inconsistent with scripture. I call that, among other things, “liberal”.

        Steven

        Scott writes,
        Seems to me Steven that a “liberal interpretation” of God’s Word would include all the extra-biblical trappings of TULIP working in concert with a God who is deterministic in his dealings with man.

        Let get rid of this blanket statement, extra-biblical trappings of TULIP, and explain yourself so we can address your issues.

        Scott writes,
        The theological embellishments and templates of Calvin are “liberal” additions to the sacred texts as well as the revealed nature and character of Christ. Calvinism has a way of making scripture inconsistent with scripture.

        It is your burden of proof since you claim, Calvinism has a way of making scripture inconsistent with scripture.

          Scott Shaver

          No Steven, at age 57 the burden of proof is upon YOU to convince me otherwise. Your preferred theological template has been weighed and found wanting in my experience

      Scott Shaver

      “Confessions” regardless of their antiquity or authorship are based ultimately in human speculation for the purpose of control. Poor substitutes indeed for the dynamic which occurs through the interface of Word, Spirit and Faith. Take your “confessions” and pass them off to real “Protestants”. Don’t count myself in the line of anabaptists as being part of that movement.
      But don’t let historical facts rain on your deterministic and extra-biblical parade ;)

Darrel

The willful ignorance of Scripture is appalling, and that from people who are supposed to know better. The total and complete Sovereignty of God did not begin with John Calvin, it is an eternal attribute of God. But you present a case here that makes those who side with Scriptures to be the bad guys. More than “shame on you” you should all be on your face seeking forgiveness. Would you rather your “church” be taught the lies of the Arminians in place of the truth of Scripture? Obviously that is your current choice since the Arminian lies reign supreme in your pulpits and seminaries. but what can anyone expect since most of your “churches” are infested with satan worshipping free-masons from the pulpit downward.

    Scott Shaver

    Darrel:

    Have you checked the new member roster for free-masons lately. They ain’t exactly setting the world on fire with enlistment.

      Andrew Barker

      Scott: He’s having problems resolving whether or not God sovereignly placed those satan worshipping free-masons in the pulpit in the first place. Talk about a crisis of your own making! ;-)

Les Prouty

All,

I agree with one thing Darrel wrote, “The total and complete Sovereignty of God did not begin with John Calvin.” The rest I disassociate myself from. Darrel you should as well. Your words are not helpful in a discussion like this.

SDG!

    Andy

    Plus, he doesn’t even know that Calvinists have taken over half of our seminaries and kicked out the arminians! He needs to catch up!

      Steven

      Andy writes,
      Plus, he doesn’t even know that Calvinists have taken over half of our seminaries and kicked out the arminians! He needs to catch up!

      No Andy, the truth is that the seminaries are being returned to their original positions of doctrine and confessions.
      Secondly, the arminians are not being convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent of their man centered belief.
      Thirdly, no one is kicking the arminians out, they are just offended by consistent biblical doctrine.

        Scott Shaver

        Hey Steven, are they returning to slavery and the theology of segregated races along with their “original doctrines”?

        Andy

        1. I was being a bit humorous, though there are some who would seriously state it the same way.

        2. Go find an Arminian who wants to teach theology at SBTS and see how far he makes it in the process when he refuses to sign the abstract of principles.

volfan007

I could tell you of many situations in W. TN, N. MS, and NE Arkansas, where Calvinists snuck into a Church….did not reveal that they were strong Calvinists….and ended up causing much strife and division in those Churches….even splitting some of them. Most of the Pastor Search Committees and Youth Pastor Search Committees were just asking the basic questions about the faith….you know, virgin birth, salvation by grace thru faith, testimony of personal salvation, etc, and did not have any idea about strong, 5 pt Calvinism. And then, when the Pastor or Youth Pastor came into the Church, and started teaching Calvinism, or telling the Church that having the plan of salvation on the fence leading up to the Church ball fields was wrong, and might lead someone to a false conversion….the PLAN OF SALVATION!!! The Roman Road, for crying out loud…..then, those Churches were shocked, stunned, and ready to tell the Calvinist fellas to hit the road. They weren’t Calvinists….did not want to be Calvinists….and, why would they come into a NON-Calvinist Church, and try to convert them??????

Yes, I have seen this scenario play out, a lot, around here.

David

volfan007

As a matter of fact, I know of a lot of these Churches, who went thru an aggressive Calvinist Pastor or Youth Pastor, are now making that the number one question they ask, now. In fact, one of the Churches that I know, actually put it on the ad concerning accepting resumes for a new Pastor….they put on there…”No Calvinists need to bother applying.” That’s how burned they were by a YRR, who came in, by stealth, and tried to convert the Church.

David

    Steven

    First of all, before you cry wolf, why don’t you name names of these YRR pastors you speak of. The reason is, there are many imposters of the traditional Reformed faith among us. By stereotyping these wolves in sheeps clothing you are misrepresenting the consistent biblical adherents of the true Reformed faith who adhere to the historical confessions of faith withour detouring from their original summaries of biblical doctrine.

      Scott Shaver

      Better yet Steven, why don’t you share the names of YRRs who don’t follow the the Trojan horse approach. Would save us all some time here.

        Andy

        I would gladly do this, except that some are my friends, and I wouldn’t want anyone to see their names here, then go look them up on facebook or their church’s websites and heckle them or belittle them publicly for being young and reformed (whether they are restless, I couldn’t say).

      volfan007

      Steven,

      These young men were all Reformed. They were strongly Calvinist in their theology. They were not imposters. I will not name names. There’s no point in doing that. God knows that I’m telling the truth.

      David

        Steven

        David writes,
        These young men were all Reformed. They were strongly Calvinist in their theology. They were not imposters.

        Did you ask them if they followed the London Baptist Cofession of Faith, the Westminster Confession, the Heidelberg.
        If these individuals do not follow any historic Reformed Confession of Faith, they are not truly Reformed and fall into the category of the Mark Driscols and Mahaneys of the Neo Calvinist movement, imposters.
        All Glory to God Alone.

          volfan007

          Steven

          C’mon, Brother….they were Calvinists. They were Reformed.

          David

Darrel

You’re right! My words were never intended to “help this conversation” they were meant as a last ditch wake-up call to those who have not fallen prey to the lies of the “free-will” Arminian heretics (see council of Dort from a few centuries ago). Augustine falls right in line with his own catholic version of “salvation” by works—-an exercise of one’s “free-will” to gain the salvation that is only afforded to God’s predestined and elect heirs of salvation. I’ve never met, read, or heard a “free-will” fantasy doctrine adherent who was not one who also taught that salvation can be lost and a man end up in hell despite his former claims to heaven. You also end up teaching universalism as championed by your resident heretic, Billy Graham, who by his own words does not know who Jesus Christ is, nor what His death and resurrection were for. Many of you have gone past the point of no return when you change the Word of God to fit your nonsense of a man’s will being the deciding factor as to whether he is saved or not. Most, if not all of you already know that God chooses whom He will to be saved. The Scriptures are in the hundreds throughout the Word that teach election, you know where they are and continuously ignore in favor of the doctrines of demons that you pass off as truth to those who ignorantly listen to you. The bottom line of this is called blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, because you have changed His Word for your own and taught lies as being from the mouth of God. Your fate is sealed: hell awaits. For those who have not crossed the final line: if you think that a decision of your “free-will” will gain you access to God’s heaven, then you have no need of grace. God’s elect are saved by grace through faith and THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES.

    Rick Patrick

    Darrel,

    You lost me at “your resident heretic, Billy Graham…” You certainly offended me at “Your fate is sealed: hell awaits.” Apparently, you believe I am lost simply because I am not a Calvinist. It is your right to believe this way. All I am asking is that if you ever happen to become a youth minister at a Traditional SBC Church, please tell them what you believe about Billy Graham.

      Scott Shaver

      This guy “Darel” wouldn’t pass benchmark for church parking lot attendant, much less a ministry staffer. Is this what SBC seminaries are turning out these days? If so, the whole system would be better off shut down.

        Ryan Morris

        From reading his post I would assume he didn’t attend an SBC seminary. The fact that he views Billy Graham as “our resident heretic” should show that he either did not attend an SBC seminary or at least did not agree with the seminary leaders. I mean SBTS has named a school after Billy Graham so I’m pretty sure they would not believe that about him.

        So please do not blame our seminaries for his errors.

          Scott Shaver

          Ryan:

          The seminaries have enough problems of their own without superimposing those of a blogger with a few screws loose.

          Garbage in, garbage out seems to be SBC seminary modus operandus these days huh?

            Andy

            Did you read Darrel’s first comment? He thinks our seminaries are all full of Arminian Mason heretics….I doubt he would go near one unless it was to heckle…I mean preach on the street.

            So to answer your question: NO, this is NOT what SBC seminaries are turning out these days.

            -Andy

    W.L. Talbot

    Regardless of one’s particular theological nuances, I would ask them to join me in calling upon the moderator of this site to remove mistaken and uncharitable comments such as this one by Darrel. Its inclusion does no good, but only harm, and it serves only to make the tone and spirit of this thread wholly unworthy of people who profess Christ as their Savior and Lord.

      Scott Shaver

      Leave Darrel alone and, by all means let him post….I’m enjoying this. Educational even.

        W.L. Talbot

        I will not ‘leave Darrel alone.’ The man is clearly violating the guidelines for commenting, the first of which is the golden rule: calling Rev. Patrick a heretic doomed to Hell isn’t exactly in accords with that commandment of our Lord’s. Furthermore, that you find it enjoyable when a man spreads such wicked nonsense is highly problematic, and more than a little at odds with the proper attitude we should all have concerning these things. Did John take pleasure in the Docetists whose errors he opposed in the letter of 1 John? Did Paul revel in the lies of the Judaizers? No, he opposed them with the utmost vigor, writing Galatians against them. Should we then laugh and giggle at Darrel’s unholy madness? May it never be! Let us rather oppose him by seeing his malice silenced by the moderator.

          Scott Shaver

          I would advise you W.L. not to make “my problem” your problem.

          Who died and made you the arbiter of conversation among Christians….Hmmm?

          Darrell’s words and views are a good case study for the problems Rick and others have eloquently addressed.

          Yes, we should laugh and giggle…….some of these views elicit more humor than artificially pious response IMO. Moderator is doing an excellent job by not over-exercising his option to stifle views and opinions.

          Sounds like you might be more at home over at PRAVDA.

            W.L. Talbot

            I am simply doing what scripture says: “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them” (Rom. 16:17). And again, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:10-11). Darrel flat out accused Rev. Patrick of being a heretic doomed to Hell; how, pray tell, is that not ‘stirring up division?’

            I disagree with Rev. Patrick, as evidenced in my comments upon this article, but I do not for a minute think that he is a heretic or false teacher. I think that he is a well-meaning brother in Christ with whom I simply happen to disagree on this minor, non-essential matter. Darrel, on the other hand, is spreading lies and hatred, and ought to be restrained; that you think he should be allowed to continue his ranting suggests that you are more interested in having ammunition to use in your arguments against so-called Calvinism than in obeying scripture and seeing to it that this website is a God-honoring and civil forum.

            Again: moderator, please restrain Darrel’s wickedness. His behavior is at odds with scripture, and therefore he ought to be disempowered lest his outbursts bring disrepute upon this website, believers everywhere, and our blessed Savior, whom he does not emulate.

              Scott Shaver

              W.L.Talbot

              “Theres a time for sewing and a time for rending”. You are absolutely correct about wanting Darrel to post so that he can be used as a poster boy/case study for neo calvinism. Unlike you, I consider this strained soteriology and deterministic view of God to be worthy of public scrutiny and yes, even ridicule.

              They’ve damaged and lied to too many under the umbrella of the SBC. Would rather you be “disempowered” at this point than Darrel.

                W.L. Talbot

                The problem with that approach is that Darrel is NOT an accurate ‘poster boy/case study’ for Neo-Calvinism. He is what would be called a Hyper-Calvinist (or in days gone by, a High Calvinist), one who over-emphasizes predestination, election, and divine sovereignty, taking them out of proportion to other clear teachings of scripture which are far more prominent (such as, for example, the responsibility of believers to be active in working out their sanctification or God’s universal love for the human race; John 3:16, 1 Tim. 2:4) and thus creating an unbalanced system of belief which tends to be cold and loveless, and to cause its adherents to spurn missions (and evangelism, uniting with fellow believers with whom they differ, etc.).

                It will be granted that people such as him are very vocal and vociferous – on the Internet. Their ferocity does not mean, however, that they are great in number, for, amongst other things, they are generally not well organized (there are no major denominations which are thoroughly Hyper-Calvinistic that I am aware of) or active in converting people to their cause (again, they tend to be anti-missional). Most such people are inclined to keep to themselves, and have gleaned their extreme and anti-scriptural views from personal reading, not from organized church activities.

                It will be granted that, alas, some young people have been inclined at times to imitate the thinking and behavior of people like Darrel, for which I, as a Reformed-leaning believer, apologize. There is an undeniable tendency for freshly-minted Reformed believers to be arrogant or condescending at first, something which is often referred to as the ‘cage stage.’ But, thankfully, most move beyond this in due time, so that Hyper-Calvinism and arrogance are by no means typical of Reformed individuals, churches, and denominations.

                I will limit myself to one example. Mission to the World, the foreign missions agency of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), has roughly 600 missionaries. The IMB has 4,700, with cuts on the way. The SBC has forty-five times as many members as does the PCA, but only eight times as many missionaries. It will be admitted that there are a great many factors which affect these totals – smaller organizations may be more efficient, where the IMB operates may be more expensive, thus reducing the number of missionaries it can field, etc. – but that is not the point. The point is that Reformed believers and denominations are very aggressive about witnessing to people about the love of God in Christ, and in reaching out to the lost and suffering.

                ‘But,’ you may say, ‘their soteriology is strained, so that even their missions are tainted by it.’ But the Reformed preach the same gospel as do other believers, the one and only gospel that God has offered the gift of salvation to all who will acknowledge their sin and turn from it to Him in repentance and faith, believing that Christ has died for their sins and risen from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-4). We still claim that any who wills may come to Christ in faith (John 7:37), thereby receiving the gift of everlasting life by acknowledging their own wickedness and trusting in Him for the forgiveness of their sins. Our understanding of how these things ultimately come about is different from, say, an Arminian or volitionalist, but that does not change the fact that at the end of the day we all preach the same gospel and seek to obey the same Great Commission by making disciples of all nations.

                Les

                W.L.,

                Thank you for your excellent post here. You are right in how you describe Darrel and for reminding all here that his views are not the Reformed views. He is definitely a fitting poster boy for those who have as their mission to constantly disparage Reformed theology. He is a fitting straw man poster boy, which many here are prone to erect. So expect them to continue to want him to have his voice.

                “Mission to the World, the foreign missions agency of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), has roughly 600 missionaries. The IMB has 4,700, with cuts on the way. The SBC has forty-five times as many members as does the PCA, but only eight times as many missionaries.” and “‘But,’ you may say, ‘their soteriology is strained, so that even their missions are tainted by it.’ But the Reformed preach the same gospel as do other believers, the one and only gospel that God has offered the gift of salvation to all who will acknowledge their sin and turn from it to Him in repentance and faith, believing that Christ has died for their sins and risen from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-4). We still claim that any who wills may come to Christ in faith (John 7:37), thereby receiving the gift of everlasting life by acknowledging their own wickedness and trusting in Him for the forgiveness of their sins.”

                Thank you for pointing this out. These kinds of facts surely get in the way of the straw man builders, but they actually completely undercut their contention that Reformed theology cannot possibly be evangelistic to the saving of souls.

                SDG! (Soli Deo gloria! for you who prefer the full name…”But i like the full name better. :o”)

          Steven

          W. L. writes,
          Did John take pleasure in the Docetists whose errors he opposed in the letter of 1 John? Did Paul revel in the lies of the Judaizers? No, he opposed them with the utmost vigor, writing Galatians against them.
          Then why are you not following their lead.
          Write against him, everyone has the right to free speech, he is not inciting any violence.
          John and Paul did not ask for them to be silenced, did they?

            W.L. Talbot

            You may be right in suggesting that I should write against Darrel directly. I refrained from so doing because I am inclined to think that anybody who accuses people of committing the unforgivable sin and being heretics doomed to Hell in a light and easy manner, and whose words are so ranting and hateful, is unworthy of debating. It would simply be a waste of time.

            As for whether John and Paul would wish to see someone like Darrel silenced, I will let you consider the following and decide on your own:

            “all things should be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40). Granted, worship services are in view in original passage; but the principle applies in all things. Is accusing a fellow believer of being a heretic (as did Darrel) encouraging decency and order?

            “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting” (2 John 10). Principle here is that false believers are not to be empowered in even the smallest of ways. John elsewhere said that “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20) and “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). Darrel and Rev. Patrick both claim to follow Christ, and yet Darrel hates his brother (Rev. Patrick) by accusing him of heresy and the unforgivable sin, and by saying he is doomed to Hell. Why should his opinions be allowed on a website which purports to honor and glorify God?

            “watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them” (Rom. 16:17). Accusing a believer in good standing of being a heretic doomed to perdition is advocating division and creating obstacles, is it not? At the least it is blatant disobedience to the commands to honor shepherds and pastors (1 Tim. 5:17, 19; 1 Thess. 5:12).

            “remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:3). Paul is here telling Timothy to order people from teaching falsehood. Darrel uttered falsehood: one, he slanderously accused Rev. Patrick of being a heretic; two, he asserted a great deal of unhistorical nonsense of belief in a free will leading to a belief that salvation can be lost (I am not aware of any Baptist in history who has asserted that salvation can be lost; eternal security is one of our strong points), and also that it always ends in universalism.

              Steven

              W.L. writes,
              Darrel hates his brother (Rev. Patrick) by accusing him of heresy and the unforgivable sin, and by saying he is doomed to Hell

              Sounds like Darrell is rebuking Rick Patrick
              If your brother sins, then rebuke him, if he repents, forgive him. Luke 17:3.

                W.L. Talbot

                His tone suggests that he is not rebuking Rev. Patrick, and also that he does not consider him a brother. Then too, his method is at odds with scriptural instruction in this; we are told that a godly man goes about “correcting his opponents with gentleness” because “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:25). Or again, “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness” (Gal. 6:1). We are to “speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2).

                  Scott Shaver

                  W. L. Talbot

                  You keep using that word “scriptural”.

                  I don’t think it means what you think it means. :0

                    W.L. Talbot

                    Approximately half of my previous post consists of direct quotation from scripture. How is it that I do not understand the meaning of ‘scriptural’ again? You are simply being contentious for its own sake, for there was nothing in that post which was partisan or worthy of your snide comment.

      Lydia

      ” Its inclusion does no good, but only harm, and it serves only to make the tone and spirit of this thread wholly unworthy of people who profess Christ as their Savior and Lord.”

      Why censor opinions? That is where this whole problem starts.

      Actually, Darrell sounds like most of the YRR in my neck of the woods when they are challenged. Amazing how Billy Graham and Finney are the whipping boys. Problem is, . we failed to establish more gurus past and present like the Cals have. :o)

        W.L. Talbot

        “Why censor opinions?” Because this is a public website, the comments of which can be read by any and all. How many atheists do you think have stumbled across this ‘discussion’ (undignified mudslinging contest would be more accurate, I think) and felt more justified than ever in their secularism? How many immature or young believers have come across this thread, read spiteful comments such as Darrel’s, and had their faith shaken because of it?
        Look, if Darrel wants to take his vile, unkind nonsense elsewhere he has every right to do so. But the publishers and readers of this website should not be forced to have a hand in giving his malice a voice; and indeed, they should adamantly refuse to do so. Such blatant dishonesty (e.g., Darrel’s accusing Arminians and volitionalists of denying eternal security is soundly refuted by an abundance of evidence, both historical and contemporary) and madness (he accused Rev. Patrick of committing the unforgivable sin and said he is damned) should not be tolerated, at least not on any respectable website which purports to be interested in advancing the truth and glorifying God.

          Scott Shaver

          W.L. Talbot

          Methinks your primary concern is the black eye guys like Darrel (and his tribe is huge) give hyper-calvinists.

          Are you really as concerned about “malice” and the weaker constitution of nonbelievers/young christians as your are the reputation of reformed Calvinists?

          Your piety rings a little hollow for me personally.

            Steven

            Scott writes,
            Methinks your primary concern is the black eye guys like Darrel (and his tribe is huge) give hyper-calvinists.

            The fact is, Darrell has not given any indication is what he has written showing him as a hyper-calvinists.
            Scott needs to do his homework for the facts.

              Scott Shaver

              Yes, Scott needs to do his homework and Steven probably needs to move out of his mother’s basement.

          Lydia

          “Why censor opinions?” Because this is a public website, the comments of which can be read by any and all. How many atheists do you think have stumbled across this ‘discussion’ (undignified mudslinging contest would be more accurate, I think) and felt more justified than ever in their secularism?

          Now I am really confused. How does the Calvinist position on election square with what you said above? They are either chosen or not and it was done before they were ever born.

          You know it is so strange. When Calvinists talk doctrine they only know determinism. But when they talk every day life things, they talk in terms of free will. It is the strangest thing I have seen over and over.

            W.L. Talbot

            Election and predestination are not the central themes of Reformed theology; nor do those who adhere to it think of everything in light of them. You rightly note that when people who lean Reformed talk, we speak as if Man has a free will. That would be because scripture speaks to Man as a moral agent. It tells him to do certain things and not others; it warns against apostasy and urges perseverance; it calls for repentance and works of mercy and witness; and so on.

            It is interesting to note that Calvin himself wrote a book called “The Liberation and Bondage of the Will,” which was subtitled “A Defence of the Orthodox Doctrine of Human Choice against Pighius.” In it he says things such as “we allow that man has choice and that it is self-determined, so that if he does anything evil, it should be imputed to him and to his own voluntary choosing. We do away with coercion and force, because this contradicts the nature of the will and cannot coexist with it.”

            Granted, Reformed theology does reject the concept of libertarian free will; but it does not say that Man is an automaton. It has often been misunderstood as doing so, and as promoting hard determinism, but a closer examination will show that this is not the case. Calvin would also say, in the aforementioned work, “If freedom is opposed to coercion, I both acknowledge and consistently maintain that choice is free, and I hold anyone who thinks otherwise to be a heretic. If, I say, it were called free in the sense of not being coerced nor forcibly moved by an external impulse, but moving of its own accord, I have no objection.”

            Furthermore, and perhaps more to the point, no man could think of everything in light of God’s sovereignty and predestination without going utterly mad. One, they are necessarily mysterious, and so the specifics of how they are the case are by necessity beyond our ability to understand (Rom. 11:33-35; Deut. 29:29). Two, scripture’s language is the language of men, and so it – as already noted – speaks as men speak, everywhere taking for granted that Man is a moral agent responsible for his own actions.

              Lydia

              “It is interesting to note that Calvin himself wrote a book called “The Liberation and Bondage of the Will,” which was subtitled “A Defence of the Orthodox Doctrine of Human Choice against Pighius.” In it he says things such as “we allow that man has choice and that it is self-determined, so that if he does anything evil, it should be imputed to him and to his own voluntary choosing. We do away with coercion and force, because this contradicts the nature of the will and cannot coexist with it.”

              Yes, I am aware. It does not make any sense to me at all but I am familiar with the cognitive dissonance one must live within to buy into Calvins circular reasoning and black hole mental gymnastics. But back then, people had no choice but to agree. (sigh) And btw, Calvin was all about “coercion”. Church attendance was mandatory in Geneva or one was visited by the magistrates. Just like Jesus. :o).

              Lydia

              “Furthermore, and perhaps more to the point, no man could think of everything in light of God’s sovereignty and predestination without going utterly mad.”

              This is true for the determinist because one cannot take Jesus at His simple word that we have the ability to: Repent and believe. It is one reason Calvinism tends to die down or go social gospel— when you take the longer view of history.

                W.L. Talbot

                Any who desires to repent and believe may do so; whosoever will may come. We are agreed on that much Lydia, as have been all believers throughout the entirety of history. We do differ somewhat about what is required prior to one coming to faith, but we are all agreed that the gospel is to be sincerely offered to all, in the hope that they will repent, believe, and be saved. And that, I daresay, is the key thing, and why it is that – our disagreements about the particulars aside – we are still brothers and sisters in Christ.

                If you are not convinced by the tenets of Reformed theology, then by all means do not accept them. But I personally am convinced that they are scriptural and true. I do not regard it as my mission to convert anyone or make them Reformed, since one can be a faithful disciple without adhering to the proper views on some matters of soteriology. Reformed believers are not elite Christians; they are not superior to other believers, nor more loved or more used by God. I’ll admit that some do not have this attitude, but act unethically or arrogantly; for that I apologize. I do hope that we can better be joined together in love going forward.

                All this said, I do believe that the Reformed view on things such as soteriology is the accurate one, and would urge all to fairly consider it. I believe that people such as Rev. Patrick (and yourself) are mistaken about Reformed theology, but also – and far, far more importantly – that you are well-meaning and sincere, fellow members of the family of God. I hope that in the future the SBC continues to espouse a robust understanding of God’s sovereignty in salvation, but also that it does so in a careful and blameless way.

                Grace and peace.

                  W.L. Talbot

                  Sentence three should read: “We do differ somewhat about what occurs prior to one coming to faith. . . ” lest I be misunderstood as suggesting that something more than faith is required to be saved.

                  Andrew Barker

                  WL Talbot: you quote …..”Any who desires to repent and believe may do so; whosoever will may come. We are agreed on that much Lydia, as have been all believers throughout the entirety of history.”

                  This is also an inaccurate picture of what some people believe. It is typified by people like Piper who change the gospel message slightly. I call it the “anybody who believes” gospel. This is not the same as the Biblical “whoever believes Gospel”. Piper argues that naturally people don’t want to believe so in effect nobody ‘can’ believe unless they are first regenerated. He does this because he believes that God chooses who will (and by definition who will not ) believe.

                  The “anybody who believes” gospel limits salvation to a chosen elect.
                  The “whoever or whosoever Gospel” offers salvation to all so all can be elect in Him.

                  The two are not the same Gospel. (IMO)

                    W.L. Talbot

                    I would suggest that the gospel is, quite simply, the good news that God has provided salvation for us by the death and resurrection of Christ, a salvation which is certain and sure, and which can be received if only we confess our sinfulness and put our trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.

                    I happen to believe that only those whom God has elected will actually come to faith; but as I do not know who those individuals are, I believe the gospel is to be sincerely offered to all in the hope that all will believe and be saved. I do not consider this to be modifying the gospel or teaching another gospel, but merely to be an alternative interpretation of the sovereignty of God in salvation. I would note that Jesus Himself said (twice) that “no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father” (John 6:44, 65; cf. 37-40).

                    Andrew Barker

                    WL Talbot: you quoted …. “I happen to believe that only those whom God has elected will actually come to faith; but as I do not know who those individuals are, I believe the gospel is to be sincerely offered to all in the hope that all will believe and be saved. I do not consider this to be modifying the gospel or teaching another gospel, but merely to be an alternative interpretation of the sovereignty of God in salvation.”

                    Speaking plainly, you believe in offering the gospel to all in the knowledge that not all can respond or come to faith. To me, that is good news for some, but certainly not for all.

                    God is sovereign in salvation because he chooses to save all who come to him in faith. But you have twisted God’s word to say that God chooses those who are able to come to him in faith.

                  W.L. Talbot

                  You say that I “believe in offering the gospel to all in the knowledge that not all can respond or come to faith.” That is not exactly correct; I believe in offering the gospel to all in the hope that all can and will respond in faith. I do not know the mind of God, so I simply cannot know who He has and has not elected. My hope is that going forward everyone has been elected, or at least that a great majority have been. In saying this I am not being unrealistic, for I am aware that, alas, both experience and scripture suggest that many are lost; but I am still hopeful that many will be saved, for we are told that the inhabitants of Heaven are “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (Rev. 7:9).

                  Furthermore, I would look at what you state originally from a different angle. I believe offering the gospel to all in the knowledge that some certainly will respond in faith. Knowing that the church will bear some fruit in her evangelizing is a pretty sound motivation for being aggressive in missions and witnessing.

                  As to whether I “have twisted God’s word to say that God chooses those who are able to come to him in faith,” I would note that it was not I who said “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” and “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:37, 44, 65). That would be Jesus Christ, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, speaking.

                    Andrew Barker

                    WL Talbot quotes “As to whether I “have twisted God’s word to say that God chooses those who are able to come to him in faith,” I would note that it was not I who said “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” and “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:37, 44, 65). That would be Jesus Christ, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, speaking.”

                    If you must keep quoting John 6 in support of your assertion, you need to look more carefully at the whole of John 6, not just a few selected verses. Jesus is so unlike anything I’ve ever seen from Reformed theology. I just can’t understand how you people look at him and go away believing what you do. Jesus talks to everyone, believers non-believers, even to those who he knows will betray him. Any yet somehow you manage to drag out of this beautiful passage a doctrine which is so divisive and segregating I do wonder if we’ve been reading the same book. If you must use the concept of being ‘drawn’, please don’t forget that Jesus said he would ‘draw’ (same word) all men to him. So make of that what you will.

                    I said you twist the words of scripture, because that what I firmly believe you do. The Gospel is open to all who believe.

              Andrew Barker

              WL Talbot: “Election and predestination are not the central themes of Reformed theology; nor do those who adhere to it think of everything in light of them.”

              I’m sorry but I totally disagree with you on this point. Calvinism and Reformed theology can be summed up by an unhealthy mischaracterisation of the sovereignty of God in salvation.

              You will find all shades of Calvinism rejecting various parts of the ‘system’ and insisting on their own variations, but to a man they all hold to God’s unconditional choice in election in some form or other. Darrel has not said much that I haven’t seen on this site before from other calvinists. He’s just said it more plainly without all the obfuscation learned from years of trying to avoid being caught out. From that point he’s probably a bit naive (topical word) and he’s made himself an easier target to demonstrate the inconsistency in his thought processes. This is why some would prefer him to keep quiet. They of course would be miffed if their words were censored!

                W.L. Talbot

                I see where you are coming from, and understand why you think that Reformed theology is primarily characterized by certain views of God’s sovereignty in salvation. It is the case that Reformed theology is often poorly or clumsily presented, so that people come away with the wrong impressions about it. Certainly there are those like Darrel whose theology centers far too heavily upon election, predestination, etc., and this at the expense of other teachings of scripture, ones which are far more prominent and immediately important.

                The problem with that kind of theology is that it is insufficiently Reformed (amongst other things). We call it Hyper-Calvinism, but that is actually not accurate at all. It is partial Calvinism. It is taking a select few parts of the Reformed tradition’s theology (predestination and a monergistic scheme of salvation) and ignoring the rest; and I might say, the rest is by far the greater bulk of Reformed theology. Reformed theology is an entire system of theology, and so it touches upon all things to do with the Christian faith and life.
                Much of the debate about Reformed theology has skewed its actual nature, such that people think that it consists simply of five points related to soteriology. But there is more to the Reformed faith than its controversial and debated soteriology: there is also Reformed ecclesiology, as well as beliefs about worship, the sacraments, covenantal theology, confessions, doctrines concerning the Law and its role in the life of believers, etc. It is not for no reason that there are books entitled such things as “Beyond the Five Points: Pursuing A More Comprehensive Reformation.” Indeed Reformed theology extends down even to one’s personal lifestyle choices, as evidenced by the fact that many Reformed believers think it acceptable to consume alcoholic beverages, whereas many traditionalists do not.
                To say that Reformed theology is primarily characterized by particular views about salvation is simply not correct. It impoverishes and diminishes what is actually a robust, comprehensive, and thoroughly scriptural system of theology, one which deals with all matters that affect believers. There are some whose Calvinistic faith is limited to talk of predestination and arrogant boasting – and what a weak and wretched faith is theirs! It is certainly not the faith of the Reformed church. Indeed, the whole reason that Reformed theology is often called Calvinism is because he has been its great systematizer. Just today I was reading a little of his commentary upon 1 Peter chapter 3 – that is as much Reformed theology as is the Reformed soteriology which is described by the acronym TULIP. It is simply less controversial and therefore not as prominent when people think of the Reformed faith. When they do so they tend to think of those things which distinguish it from other traditions and systems (our views on unconditional election, for example), rather than thinking of it in light of the many things which it has in common with other traditions of the Christian faith.

                  Andy

                  “When they do so they tend to think of those things which distinguish it from other traditions and systems (our views on unconditional election, for example), rather than thinking of it in light of the many things which it has in common with other traditions of the Christian faith.”

                  I was reading this exchange ready to dismiss your last few posts as simply glossing over the largest and most prominent point of Reformed theology, but I think this sentence has some merit. If I were to ask a Baptist what is at the center of their beliefs, they may, and should, say “Jesus and his cross.” A Presbyterian might say the same thing, as would a Methodist, Evangelical free, and Nazarine. They would all be telling the truth. It is important to remember that as we converse with those who differ.

                  However, I agree with Andrew that the PRIMARY distinction between reformed/calvinistic theology and other theologies is it’s beliefs regarding Election/Predestination. You can find other Christians who are careful about their worship practices, or who drink wine. While it is true that an elder at a Dutch Reformed church, or even an actual Reformed Baptist church, may not consider a young Baptist to be truly “reformed” if he accepts the soteriology, but not the ecclesiology or the regulative principle; the fact remains that he is largely still in the reformed stream of history.

                    Lydia

                    “If I were to ask a Baptist what is at the center of their beliefs, they may, and should, say “Jesus and his cross.”

                    Andy, the cross is meaningless without the resurrection. It has become too commonplace in the SBC to leave it out and what they mean TOGETHER. In fact, I believe it sums up the overall problem we have.

                    Andy

                    “Andy, the cross is meaningless without the resurrection. It has become too commonplace in the SBC to leave it out and what they mean TOGETHER. In fact, I believe it sums up the overall problem we have.”

                    1. I agree, the cross is meaningless without the resurection…however that doesn’t mean we must mention it at EVERY mention of the cross…even paul said on one occasion: “I resolved to know nothing among you except Christ and him crucified.”

                    2. I’ve never heard any SBC Pastor of any stripe minimize the importance of the resurrection…again, we must just run in very different circles…I mean if you live in Louisville you must be at least a whole hour from me…may as well be different worlds! :-)

                    W.L. Talbot

                    I am inclined to agree that, in the popular consciousness, the primary distinction between the Reformed system and others is our monergistic scheme of salvation – including, of course, the belief in unconditional election. But the key word there is ‘distinction’; many think that our soteriology is the primary facet or theme of our system, a mistaken perception which I dispute. As Richard Muller wrote, “it is quite remarkable how little the acrostic [TULIP] has to do with Calvin or Calvinism” and “gather ye rosebuds while ye may,’ but don’t plant TULIP in your Reformed garden” (Calvin and the Reformed Tradition, 59 & 69).

                    To say that our view on predestination is the largest and most prominent theme of Reformed theology is simply incorrect. It is to ignore the fact that Reformed theology is, as aforementioned, a complete and comprehensive system of theology which touches upon all things to do with the Christian faith. Its essential themes are actually simply the prominent themes of all Protestant theology: the five solas of sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria, and sola scriptura (grace, faith, Christ, and scripture alone, to the glory of God alone).

                  Les

                  Andy,

                  I seriously doubt anyone living in Louisville or anywhere else in SBC land can prove such a claim that the resurrection is being left out by anyone. Just another baseless way to smear those one disagrees with.

                  SDG!

                    Scott Shaver

                    If the claim is indeed “baseless” Les, why does it have you posting left and right in reaction?

                    Must be something to it.

                    Consequently the claim of “baseless” is itself, baseless.

                    Lydia

                    Andy, Istarted listening for it years ago. the resurrection has been downplayed on both sides but more so from Reformed circles with PSA that takes us away from “New creation” and Born again to the wrathful God satiating His thirst for anger and punishment toward those He did not “elect”.

                    The ” new beginning” resurrection is like leaving out “the rest of the story”.

                    From a Reformed perspective, it probably does not matter because of imputed guit, Jesus perpetually obeys for us as we are unable to strive for Holiness. So we are, by implication stuck at the cross. I think this is one reason we are so desensitized to evils done in the Name of Jesus. It is taught as normal for even long time believers who remain perpetual sinners.

                    Maybe you don’t recognize it being left out. So much of the focus anymore is on sin instead of our ability to overcome it due to the resurrection.

                    And yes, thus is my experience and opinion of such.

                  Les Prouty

                  Scott,

                  “If the claim is indeed “baseless” Les, why does it have you posting left and right in reaction?

                  Must be something to it.

                  Consequently the claim of “baseless” is itself, baseless.”

                  Au contraire. Left and right? I think I posted once on this latest baseless claim. Besides, like 29 Cubs batters vs the Mets pitchers the NLCS who struck out, you have just swung and missed.

                  SDG!

                    W.L. Talbot

                    I would like to ask you what ‘Reformed’ sources you are specifically referring to Lydia; in so doing I am not attempting to be contentious or difficult, but only curious, for the ‘Reformed’ sources you speak of are wholly unlike the Reformed authors and works that I am familiar with. I have read a good deal of R.C. Sproul, a little Piper, some stuff over at TGC, some Calvin, etc., and I have yet to find the resurrection of Christ minimized or an undue amount of attention given to the wrath of God.

                    And I will admit that I am utterly baffled by this statement: “From a Reformed perspective, it probably does not matter because of imputed guit [sic], Jesus perpetually obeys for us as we are unable to strive for Holiness. So we are, by implication stuck at the cross. I think this is one reason we are so desensitized to evils done in the Name of Jesus. It is taught as normal for even long time believers who remain perpetual sinners.”

                    I haven’t a clue what you are talking about here, as this statement does not bear any actual relation to any Reformed teaching and preaching I am familiar with. Correctly understood, imputation refers to a) the fact that our sins have been laid upon Christ, with Him suffering the guilt and wrath for them (Isaiah 53); and b) our being justified or accounted righteous in Him, not having a righteousness of our own, but that which is in Him alone (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21). I would also point out that, as near as I can tell, this has been the historical Protestant position, and not merely that of the Reformed tradition.

                    Furthermore, we are not ‘stuck at the cross.’ As scripture says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). In other words, Christ died so that we could be made righteous, and so that we could begin to live lives of holiness (see also Rom. 6:2, 11-13; Col. 2:20).

                    Likewise, it is not normal for believers to be perpetual sinners, at least not in a major way. We are all still not yet fully perfected, so that we do still sin; but there are some sins which, if we regularly commit them without any attempt at repentance, suggest we are not truly Christ’s, as seen in a number of passages (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5).

                    Scott Shaver

                    Ever consider I’m thinking per annual as opposed to per thread, Les?

                    Scott Shaver

                    Les:

                    I think perhaps the source of your perpetual frustration with some of us is that you never really got to fulfill your life’s calling. I think instead of an intinerant preacher/mission worker you really wanted to be a baseball player.

                    You’re obsession with sports-illustrated responses to comments and posts in terms of swinging and missing probably explains why you never fulfilled your first calling….couldn’t hit.

                  Les Prouty

                  “Ever consider I’m thinking per annual as opposed to per thread, Les?”

                  No I didn’t peg you for that. But as long as false claims are out there, whether here or somewhere else, I and others will counter with truth. Not each and every time, but sometimes. Besides If we of the Reformed faith didn’t comment about all the false claims, there would really just be attaboy comments in the echo chamber here. How fun would that be?

                  SDG!

                  Les Prouty

                  Andy, I started listening years ago. the resurrection has been downplayed by liberals (not Trads or Reformed) with a denial of PSA that guts the gospel. And if someone paints a picture “the wrathful God satiating His thirst for anger and punishment toward those He did not “elect,” they are sadly spiritually mistaken and only out to disparage brothers in Christ.

                  From a Reformed perspective, if someone says, “it probably does not matter because of imputed guit, Jesus perpetually obeys for us as we are unable to strive for Holiness. So we are, by implication stuck at the cross” such a one is grossly ignorant (no offense intended. Ignorant in the “lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular” sense) of Reformed theology. Further, if one says, “I think this is one reason we are so desensitized to evils done in the Name of Jesus. It is taught as normal for even long time believers who remain perpetual sinners” such a one is grossly ignorant of Reformed theology.

                  SDG!

                  Andrew Barker

                  WL Talbot: So your argument against Darrel’s hyper-Calvinism is …… more Reformed theology!! I think not.

                  Having spent the best part of 18 months in a Reformed evangelical church (not having come across it before) I can tell you there is nothing in Reformed theology which I either need or want. Absolutely nothing. This does not mean that all Reformed theology is wrong, it’s just that I don’t need to get the truth secondhand when the real thing is on offer direct.

                  What really clinched it for me, was that I eventually found out that the majority of church members were not ‘Reformed’ in their thinking at all. Some were blissfully unaware that there was an alternative. I do not criticize them for this, because I was brought up in a Open Brethren Assembly, was well versed in scripture and it still took me 6 months or so to really clock on to what was happening. The pastor and other elders were Reformed plus one or two others and that was it. They tried to impose their thinking on the church and it just didn’t work. Thankfully, the church no longer exists. I have every sympathy for SBC churches which have Calvinistic doctrine forced on them by underhand measures and the idea of accepting a youth pastor with the level of understanding of some of those who contribute here, is just inconceivable!

                    Steven

                    Give us your definition of hyper-calvinism.

                    Lydia

                    Andrew,
                    You may not understand the rules yet. The Calvinists get to decide if your experiences are valid or not. In that world you are told what and how to think. They honestly believe people must prove things to them as if their stamp of approval is required. I think there is a psychological term for that.:o)

                    W.L. Talbot

                    Five of the principles of Reformed theology are scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, and glory to God alone. As a believer you gladly embrace all of these, I am sure; what this means is that when you say “I can tell you there is nothing in Reformed theology which I either need or want” you are inadvertently uttering a nonsensical statement, for you are really saying that you don’t want belief in the sole authority of scripture, salvation by grace alone through faith alone, etc.

                    Obviously, as a believer, you DO adhere to such things. My point is not to criticize you, but to – as humbly and gently as I may – again note that your conception of Reformed theology is mistaken. Reformed theology is a comprehensive system, something which touches upon all things to do with Christian faith and practice. Part of this is its soteriology, which includes such doctrines as total inability, unconditional election, etc. But again, the doctrines represented in the acronym TULIP are only a part of the Reformed soteriology, which in turn is only a part of the Reformed faith.

                    Elsewhere you say that my “argument against Darrel’s hyper-Calvinism is …… more Reformed theology!” Darrel’s whole problem is that he is NOT Reformed. Hyper-Calvinism is not an accurate term at all, for he is one who has taken a small part (unconditional election, etc.) of one portion of the Reformed system and made it the center of his beliefs, leaving out the rest of Reformed doctrine in so doing. Thus he speaks as if an approval of unconditional election is necessary for salvation, a ridiculous claim which he would not make if he were more thoroughly Reformed, for the other elements of Reformed theology (such as that it is the duty of all to believe; the duty of the church to freely offer the gospel to all in sincerity; that the gospel is the good news of God’s gift of salvation to all who repent and believe, trusting in the crucified and resurrected Christ for salvation, etc.) would make it unthinkable for him to do so.

                  Les Prouty

                  “They tried to impose their thinking on the church and it just didn’t work. Thankfully, the church no longer exists. I have every sympathy for SBC churches which have Calvinistic doctrine forced on them by underhand measures and the idea of accepting a youth pastor with the level of understanding of some of those who contribute here, is just inconceivable!”

                  Right. 18 months in one Reformed or Calvinistic church plus the witness of people on this site=this conclusion. A few bad examples huh? (and we can only conclude it’s a few since no one can document widespread Calvinistic abuses…even in Louisville where dead cats hit some such churches). Kinda of like…some Trad churches abuse the altar call (which all admit to), but never mind. Nothing to see here so move along.

                  SDG!

                    Andrew Barker

                    How many examples do you need Les? Believe me, you only need to smell a bad egg once to know it’s off.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Andrews 18 month dance with the devil is a familiar story when it comes to Calvinism.

                    Les, rather than keep looking for good examples, why not let the abundance of bad examples sway the argument? Andrew is absolutely right and I agree. Why opt for cheap imitations when the real thing is on offer for free.

                    Andrew has put his finger directly on the reason I personally detest and resist reform theology. All I’ve ever seen it produce is a pseudo-spiritual arrogance that tramples both Christ and the Holy Spirit underfoot while elevating men and personalities above truth.

                    Some of us don’t see any benefit, historically or spiritually, to watering down the gospel with reform Calvinism. We ain’t reformers because that “cure” was (still is) in many ways worse than the disease.

                    Your charge of “abuse of the altar call” reminds us once again that reform Calvinists don’t care for pure evangelism because they’re impaled on the horns of a deterministic agenda.

                    Your are right as rain Les about one thing. Certainly “nothing to see” or worth seeing here.

                    Don’t take my word for it Les……take your own. :)

                  Les Prouty

                  Scott,

                  “Les, rather than keep looking for good examples, why not let the abundance of bad examples sway the argument? Andrew is absolutely right and I agree. Why opt for cheap imitations when the real thing is on offer for free.”

                  If I could ever see an abundance of examples I might consider it. Hard to have something that doesn’t exist sway me.

                  “Andrew has put his finger directly on the reason I personally detest and resist reform theology. All I’ve ever seen it produce is a pseudo-spiritual arrogance that tramples both Christ and the Holy Spirit underfoot while elevating men and personalities above truth.”

                  You should get around more is that’s all you have ever seen.

                  “Some of us don’t see any benefit, historically or spiritually, to watering down the gospel with reform Calvinism. We ain’t reformers because that “cure” was (still is) in many ways worse than the disease.”

                  Watering down the gospel? Too much humor this early in the day.

                  “Your charge of “abuse of the altar call” reminds us once again that reform Calvinists don’t care for pure evangelism because they’re impaled on the horns of a deterministic agenda.”

                  Right. Like Whitfield, Edwards, Spurgeon oh and Jim Kennedy and such really don’t care much for pure evangelism. Don’t you just hate it when real life examples actually cut your legs of criticism right out from under you?

                  “Your are right as rain Les about one thing. Certainly “nothing to see” or worth seeing here.” Yep. :)

                  SDG!

                  Les Prouty

                  Scott,

                  I almost forgot to thank you for diagnosing my situation. I have wondered why I simply flood this site with sports related/illustrated responses. I mean it’s kind of like I just blitz a comment and jet sweep with my replies flooding the flat. So yeah it’s that fact that I couldn’t his as a kid. Thank you Scott. Thank you thank you thank you. And I didn’t even have to pay a counseling fee. :)

                    Scott Shaver

                    De nada

          Steven

          W.L. writes,
          Such blatant dishonesty (e.g., Darrel’s accusing Arminians and volitionalists of denying eternal security is soundly refuted by an abundance of evidence, both historical and contemporary) and madness (he accused Rev. Patrick of committing the unforgivable sin and said he is damned)

          If you answer yes to most or all of these questions, then Darrell will be vindicated or is way off line.

          1. Is this what you believe about Acts 13:48
          and as many as believed were ordained to eternal life.’

          2.Is this what you believe about Matthew 22:14
          “For many are called, but few choose.”

          3.Is this what you believe about Matthew 11:27
          “Make your decision for Christ.:

          4. Is this what you believe about Galatians 1:15,16
          “I accepted Jesus as my personal saviour.”

          5.Is this what you believe about Romans 9:16, 18
          “God can’t save you unless you let him, it is your choice.”

          6. Is this what you believe about Rom. 9:11-13
          “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”

          7.Is this what you believe about Mark 4:11,12
          “God wants everyone to be saved.”

    Scott Shaver

    You’ve issued your wake up call to those of us in the slumber of death…now kindly crawl back into the “last ditch” from which you emerged :0

    Andy

    As I said before, you at least need to do some research on your “arminian Heretics”:

    1. There are at least 1, and now maybe as many as 3 SBC Seminaries that are strongly calvinistic.

    2. There are ACTUAL ARMINIANS who believe in eternal security.

    3. There are many more who are not arminians, who none-the-less believe in libertarian free will, AND believe in eternal security based on the sealing of the holy spirit at the point of conversion.

    4. There are many non-calvinists who do NOT teach universalism.

    5. Since you brought up the “teachings of demons” passage (1 Timothy 4), you are no doubt aware that what is described as teaching of demons is specifically: Forbidding marraige and forbidding certain foods…in other words, ADDING a requirement that God himself has not required. Be careful that you are not doing the same by requiring adherance to a certain view of election for one to be saved…when scripture clearly says that calling on the Lord in faith in his death is what is required…whether or not one has the details of God’s eternal decrees figured out or not.

    6. Since you mentioned “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”, you are no doubt aware that it was refering specifically to Seeing the miraculous works of Jesus, and attributing them to Satan…While I don’t personally believe a perfect comparison exists to day, should we not be careful not to explain away the love and devotion and changed life that a non-calvinist has toward God, by saying that person is following the teaching of demons? Lest we be like Michael who despised David for dancing before the Lord, we must take extreme care when attacking those fellow followers of Jesus Christ.

    7. Even if, however, you believe these “free-willers” are held captive by satan, can you please explain how your comments thus far are in keeping with obedience, to 2 Timothy 2:24-26? Surely, your comments will all be “not quarrelsome, kind, patient, correcting your opponents with gentleness…” correct?

    May God bless us all to grow in loving God and loving our soteriologically confused neighbors! (whoever you believe that to be!) :-)
    -andy

    volfan007

    And, with Darrell, we have a perfect illustration of a YRR. AND, we have perfectly illustrated for us all why some of us do NOT want to see these kinds of Calvinists gaining any control over the SBC, whatsoever.

    David

      Andy

      Thankfully, In my experience, Darrel is NOT the perfect illustration of a YRR. He may be the perfect illustration of the EXREME form of a YRR; but not typical of the young reformed people I know. Perhaps they are only Y&R, but not quite so restless.

        Lydia

        “Thankfully, In my experience, Darrel is NOT the perfect illustration of a YRR. He may be the perfect illustration of the EXREME form of a YRR; but not typical of the young reformed people I know. Perhaps they are only Y&R, but not quite so restless.”

        Perhaps you aren’t reading over at TGC. Or dealing with the victims of 9 Marx church discipline. Or maybe it is your normal and reading Darrell, who is direct and not the typical flowery delivery– was too direct. Often, in the YRR movement celebrity world, the words and actions don’t match.

          Andy

          1. You are right, I rarely read anything at TGC, don’t know any YRR celebrities, and am not associated with any 9 Marks churches. (You spelled it wrong, I thought I’d help you out. ;-)

          2. Directness is not Darrell’s problem. His problem is that (a) he actually believes that a person who loves Jesus and has turned to him in faith for salvation is none-the-less actually bound for hell because he doesn’t agree with unconditional election (which would itself be an abandonment of the Grace-alone credo of the reformers), and (b) he believes that his “rightness” on this issue nullifies his responsibility to obey 2 Timothy 2:24-26, in which the sovereign God himself commands us to be patient, correct our opponents with gentleness, not be quarrelsome, etc, even if he believes they are trapped by Satan. God has said THAT approach is what may bring some to repentance. And of course, if he truly believed God was in control of everything, he would realize that the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

          So, yes, Darrel is direct, but he also actually believes differently than most of the people I know who are calvinistic.

            Lydia

            “So, yes, Darrel is direct, but he also actually believes differently than most of the people I know who are calvinistic.”

            So why all the insistence over the last 10 years or so from the YRR movement they have the “true Gospel” if it was not about salvation?

            What about the New Cal mivement being the only place for those who want to see the national rejoice for Christ?

              Andy

              1. The YRR groups HAVE way over-used the word Gospel in the last 10 years, to desribe everything under the sun, but at the same time…(see #2)

              2. MOST calvinists I have heard will say, (just as traditionalists would say) that their side is a truer understanding of the gospel, or something like that…but would not say (or even believe) that the other side does not believe the gospel in a salvific way (hence the difference with Darrel).

                Lydia

                They have redefined Gospel, Sovereign, Love, Grace, church discipline, covenant.. As in church membership, sin, eye, etc.

                The trad position is a response to their earlier arrogant assertions and stealth behavior that is dishonest. It should not have been necessary. However, the Neo Cals have power over most of the entities so this is all a moot point. Maybe the trads can help some who are thrown to the curb in the quest for power and control.

                That would be a better legacy for the SBC.

                Scott Shaver

                If this is the perpetual case between “Trads” and “Cals” Andy, then allowing them to separate forever according to their incompatible theologies seems the best course of action.

                Abraham and Lot on the plains of Mamre kind of thing.

            W.L. Talbot

            I second Andy’s comments here. Well put sir.

W.L. Talbot

As far as this essay is concerned, it could probably benefit from greater elaboration, at least as far as the examples (or to use the author’s parlance, ‘case studies’) are concerned. Consider example one. As it is currently worded, it could be interpreted as follows: a potential candidate for the youth pastorate of a church gave a presentation during a Wednesday night youth service in which he presented some of the finer points of Reformed theology. Precisely what this means is not said, though presumably it involved some mention of total inability, unconditional election, etc. Doing so caused a great deal of discomfort among many of the listeners, some of whom responded by leaving or contradicting what was said in a rude and worldly manner (hence, “voices were raised and tempers grew short”). Thus an uncomfortable situation was created because a potential candidate was outspoken about his particular system of theology.
Furthermore, I fail to see how such an example makes the author’s point, which is that Reformed-leaning youth pastors are often secretive about their intentions and actions in exposing youth to their particular system of theology. Note that, as written, the example says that a candidate openly declared Reformed teachings – that is, a person who was being considered for the youth pastorate made clear his convictions prior to being hired, and did so publicly. Hardly what most would call being dishonest or unforthcoming.
Or consider example two, in which it is said that the result of using materials written by Reformed-leaning authors was that the youth who were so taught became members of other denominations. Provided that said denominations are faithful to the truth, it is hard to see why this is a problem. As written, said example could also be interpreted as follows: the youth who were taught with these Reformed materials went on to become faithful members of vibrant denominations which adhere to sound doctrine and are active in fulfilling the Great Commission. Hardly a problem.
Indeed, as denominations are creations of Man, being nowhere provided for or sanctioned by Scripture, it is hard to see how this objection arises from anything save pride in one’s own denomination (a grievous sin) or a gross ignorance of the fidelity of other denominations, whose members are our brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we ought to do all that we can to cooperate in advancing the Kingdom of Christ.
As far as example three is concerned, the same objection to it may be levelled as was levelled against example two; viz., that it elevates denominational identity, valuing it more than sound doctrine and unity with our brothers and sisters who happen to be members of other denominations. Provided that the presenters at the camps in question are gifted and faithful to sound doctrine, it cannot be said that their inclusion is a problem in any way – unless, that is, one is full of pride and divisiveness, valuing their own denominational identity and heritage more than uniting with their brothers and sisters in worshipping God and learning the truth. I would much rather hear the truth faithfully expounded by a capable and gifted leader of another denomination than suffer hearing it be mishandled or clumsily presented by a Baptist. Provided one is teaching the truth, their specific denominational identity – whether Baptist, Methodist, Anglican, or whatever it might so happen to be – is irrelevant.
It will be admitted that part of example three does sound concerning; namely, that potential counselors were asked about their familiarity with a certain Sunday School curriculum. But, depending on the circumstances, this may not be as troubling as it first sounds. If the camp in question used that particular curriculum it is reasonable for them to want counselors who are familiar with it, especially if said counselors were going to have to teach Sunday School with said curriculum. Furthermore, the author does not clarify whether those candidates who were not familiar with it were or were not hired; as written – and that is the key to all my responses to this article’s points – it would appear very probable that they were only asked if they were familiar with it because it was used at the camp, and that even if they were not they were still likely to be hired.
This article could use greater clarity and elaboration, with fuller and more detailed accounts being given of the case studies in question. It is perhaps understandable if the author does not wish to use names of the churches/camps/individuals in question, though doing so would probably not hurt his case. Furthermore, that case is mistaken, if well-meaning. Nothing in scripture suggests that one’s denominational identity matters with God, and – we being told to imitate Him (Eph. 5:1) – it should not matter with us either. Only fidelity to the truth and abiding in the way of Christ should be our concerns when dealing with others who profess faith in Him, and in seeking out people to instruct our youth.
It will be granted that it is felt that members of other denominations (or even Reformed Baptists) are in some ways at odds with the truth, and that it is for this reason that we should seek to keep our youth in our denomination, seeing to it that they are instructed by non-Reformed youth pastors. But we Southern Baptists do not have a monopoly on scriptural fidelity and orthodoxy, and to think we do is worldly, arrogant, and foolish; long before the Southern Baptist Convention was even thought or dreamed of there were many believers of various stripes and shades carrying on the banner of Christ’s cause. And even in our day much of the work of the kingdom is being done by believers other than Southern Baptists, the convention’s members numbering only a very small percentage of all professing believers in the world. In short, the author’s case – AS PRESENTLY WORDED (apologies for the all caps; please read them as italics, not as yelling) – comes across as being grounded in silly and unholy pride, valuing highly denominational identity; more so even, perhaps, than Christian unity (e.g. points 2 and 3).

    Scott Shaver

    Instead of trying to interpret W.L. Talbot’s 400 word analysis of protocol, why not just cut to the chase and make it simple?

    Just tell your Southern Baptist friends to save their churches a lot of time, trouble and heartache by refusing to hire 5 point reform Calvinists. Much more simple and effective than a “fair and balanced” analysis.

    Scott Shaver

    And not once did Jesus or Paul reference Calvin in their teachings on the nature of God. More glaringly important is the fact that Calvin certainly didn’t comport himself like either Paul or Jesus. What are we to do with that little inconvenient truth?

      W.L. Talbot

      I would humbly invite you (and indeed, any and all who might read this thread) to consider my comment more fully, rather than simply attempting to dismiss it as a ‘400 word analysis of protocol.’ Furthermore, any church which automatically disqualifies an applicant just because they happened to be Reformed in their theological convictions is being very foolish; they might very well be passing up a very loving and gifted pastor whose work will greatly benefit the church. If your suggestion were followed, it is possible that the next Spurgeon or Whitefield would be passed over and relegated to silence. I hardly think that is in accords with God’s will or wisdom.

      As for your second comment, I would note that it is a distraction from my initial comment, and therefore from the topic at hand as discussed by Rev. Patrick (in his original article) and myself (in my initial comment). You say, for example, that Jesus and Paul never referenced Calvin; neither did I. My comments would hold true even if I were in the volitionalist camp, for AS WRITTEN [all caps represent italics, not yelling] the article’s examples are by no means clear, and in general do not make a compelling case that teaching what the author calls Calvinism is ultimately a bad thing. For good measure, let’s go through Patrick’s original examples again:

      One, the presentation of Reformed teachings – whatever that means exactly (Patrick does not elaborate) – caused quite a stir at a Wednesday youth service. As written, the problem appears to be, not so much the speaker, but the audience, several members of which acted in a rowdy and improper manner (hence “voices were raised and tempers grew short” in the original article). This example hardly makes the case that teaching so-called Calvinism is the problem; if anything, the inability of people to listen open-mindedly and to digest unpleasant truths appears to be. Furthermore, it does not make the case that many Reformed youth pastors are deceptive and attempt to subvert traditional teaching by stealth – in the example a candidate for youth pastor PUBLICLY DECLARED [italics, not yelling] his particular beliefs in a service before he was hired. Hardly deceptive or stealthy.

      Two, it is claimed that the use of Reformed teaching materials was to blame for the youth who were taught with them leaving the convention. Only if one feels that the SBC is the best denomination, or that it has a greater hold on scriptural truth than others, can this be considered a problem.

      Three, Patrick complains that the presence of non-SBC pastors and leaders at SBC camps will turn youth away from the SBC and towards more Reformed denominations. Again, it is hard to see why this is a problem; provided that the youth in these camps go on to be faithful and obedient disciples of Christ and active members of vigorous churches, who cares what denomination they are members of? (The answer: either a) people who value the pride of being a Southern Baptist above youth being taught and edified by believers of other denominations; or b) people who cannot imagine that other denominations – even those that might be Reformed – are capable of loving and instructing SBC youth as well as or even better than SBC leaders.)

        Scott Shaver

        You’ve only cut your invitations to analyse by 50 words W.L. and still haven’t said anything new or compelling.

        Meanwhile, let’s keep working to keep youth out of the swath of this scourge.

        Steven

        W.L. writes,
        and is on target. Well articulated
        Let them be drawn by the Holy Spirit to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Triune God.
        All Glory to God Alone.

          Scott Shaver

          Steven:

          Listening to you and WL rant draws me quicker to a horse-whip than the “Holy Spirit”. Just saying.

Randy Davenport

I do not understand why people do not want the Bible taught in our SBC churches. Words, like election, and predestination is in the Bible. Calvinism is in the Bible. We must teach the hard verses, even if we do not understand or agree with them. Luke 24 mentions that Jesus taught the from all the writings and prophets about Himself. In Acts 20, Paul tell the Ephesians Elders to preach and teach the whole counsel of God.

    Scott Shaver

    It’s because we don’t want the bible used as an auxiliary to “Institutes”. The bible is not the Calvinist’s primary concern, it’s his/her mule for packing the revised history of Geneva into a post-modern world.

    Andy

    Then you truly do not understand this discussion at all. Men like rick do teach on Eph. 1, Romans 8, and other passages. They interpret them differently than you. The only way you could understand this debate would be to think of some Belief or practice that you think IS legitimately debateable, and consider whether you would be justified in secretly and deceptively going into a church and teaching your correct view to their teenagers. (perhaps a baptist going into a presby church and teaching all the teens the needed to be baptized again, or a cessatiionaist secretly teaching a pentacostal youth group that tongues speaking was evil).

    Once you have thought this through, come back and let us know whether you think your correct doctrine is reason enough to justify deception so that you have a platform to teach it…ON SECONDARY ISSUES. (whether you can lie to sneek bibles into a closed country is another, albeit related issue).

    Scott Shaver

    Not the bible that we’ve got a problem with Randy.

    Our problem is Calvinists who walk, talk and act as though John Calvin is medium through which we should interpret Christ.

    Not by a long shot and not on my watch in my personal sphere of influence. I’m of the opinion that the YRR and hyper-calvinist membership element of the SBC should be deeded by virtue of vote to the Presbyterians.

Lydia

Randy, can you point us where it was said the bible should not be taught in SBC churches?

Kristopher

Why not just think ahead and write an article that teaches a church/pastor how to ask good questions in an interview so you don’t end with the scenario you have described above?

    Scott Shaver

    Kristopher:

    Why not make it easy and just warn Southern Baptist Churches to avoid reform Calvinist staffers?

Juni

All this uproar about Calvinism just makes me want to look into it even more. Just started hearing about Calvinism lately. Was more of an Armenian background until my complete surrender to Christ five years ago. I do not know how it happened but slowly was attracted to people like Swanson, McDurmon, Bauchaum, Piper, Keller, Packer, Owen, Hodge, Spurgeon, etc., about six months ago I asked myself what do they all have in common: Reformed and Calvinistic. A dear friend is sending me a book on why Calvinism is bad. Boy, Oh boy! Was she upset and antagonistic towards Calvinism. All this does for me is to fuel the fire to learn even more about Calvinism. Why are so many people afraid of Calvinism?

    Lydia

    Juni, I encourage you to study. Just do not neglect the historical backdrop and political underpinnings of that era including the socio/political life in Geneva his second time around there. I became convinced Calvin was a brilliant sociopath.

      Lydia

      Juni, Don’t forget to read the archives of Calvin’s letters. And the Genevan petite council book of minutes. You will learn of the heinous punishments for disagreeing with Calvin’s ST.
      Do some real digging. It took me years.

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Juni,

    Why would you leave Christ and the simplicity of the gospel in order to follow after men and their words.

    Pray my friend!

    You are not the first one to roll out a list of men such as above.

    Preach!

    Andy

    I would also encourage you to study, just don’t let the study of this one issue side-track you from more important things, like following Jesus in your devotional life and in your treatment of others. And be willing to disagree with both sides from time to time, if scripture calls you to do so. Be willing to learn from both Edwards and Wesley, Packer & Tozer.

Caleb

As I am trying to go to an SBC seminary I looked for one that teaches the doctrines of grace (Calvinism) and found many of the schools did. Why would we not want our youth learning sound theology, these articles are targeting youth pastors but the SBC is failing to realize that older pastors have already held to the doctrines and have been and still are teaching them. I love the SBC and my hope and prayer is that one day the whole convention will be reformed.

    Andy

    Caleb,

    I hope you can find a seminary that meets your needs, and trains to you to be a humble, biblical, grace-filled, Gospel-driven Pastor!

    IF you are convinced that reformed theology is the truth, then it is a noble thing for you to desire that others in the SBC come to embrace it as well.

    The question of the day is, are you willing to have this happen by free, open, and honest discussions of the issues and scriptures involved, or is it also OK for a young pastor to intentionally hide his beliefs in the doctrines of grace in a hiring process, or hide what he is teaching teenagers from parents and senior pastors?

    Lydia

    “Why would we not want our youth learning sound theology, …”

    How can we have “unity” if you don’t think my theology is sound? :o) Please ask your gurus how that is possible. They will tell you how to answer.

    Rick, I think you are being targeted by the indoctrinaters. (wink)

    Scott Shaver

    Caleb:

    If the outcome of Calvinistic thinking is in conflict with the words, example and claims of Christ….it’s BAD THEOLOGY.

    Consequently, youth are much better off without it.

    volfan007

    Caleb,

    Teaching the Bible and teaching Calvinism is not the same thing. Sound theology and Calvinism are not the same thing. And, if a Pastor, or a Youth Pastor goes into a Church, which they know is not a Reformed Church, and try to convert it, then that is deceitful and immoral.

    David

Frank

I grew up in an SBC church. I wish one of our pastors had thoroughly taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t think we ever went verse by verse through the book of John, or Romans, or Ephesians or any other book for that matter. I was taught a gospel of legalism instead. Thankfully God blessed me with a college experience where I was taught the Doctrines of Grace and allowed to challenge them until the Holy Spirit convicted me of their truth…
“Sneaking in” “Calvinism” is a funny way to put it. So many SBC churches are so theologically weak and not being confessional, elder lead churches, its the wild wild west when it comes to what is being taught..

    Lydia

    “. I was taught a gospel of legalism instead.”

    The law of love is legalism? BTW, do you obey any laws now? If so, you are a legalistic. :o)

      Steven

      Lydia writes,
      BTW, do you obey any laws now? If so, you are a legalistic.
      She is not being honest here,

      legalism is not simply the pursuit of the law. It is pursuing the law in the wrong way — with some other engine than faith.
      The law of God should be pursued. The Son of God “condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4). We should seek to fulfill the law — by the Spirit. Let’s call this good pursuit the “obedience of faith.”

        Lydia

        Steven, it is too lengthy to get into but Jesus referred to the Pharisees as lawless. 1 John refers to sin as lawlessness.

        Scott Shaver

        Faith as an “engine”?

        How much more bizarre is this going to get?

    Scott Shaver

    “Confessionalism” is NOTORIOUSLY and HIGHLY OVERRATED by those who prefer a caste-system approach to the Christian faith.

      Scott Shaver

      In the last 20 years, the SBC has moved from “confessionalism” to galloping creedalism.

      Some of us are developing a greater appreciation for the expression “NO CREED BUT CHRIST”

      Steven

      Scott writes,
      Confessionalism” is NOTORIOUSLY and HIGHLY OVERRATED by those who prefer a caste-system approach to the Christian faith.

      Scott is also saying, Statement of Faithism is NOTORIOUSLY and HIGHLY OVERRATED by those who prefer a caste-system approach to the Christian faith.
      Because that is all a Confession of Faith, or creeds are, are Statements of Faith.

      Scott also writes,
      “Confessions” regardless of their antiquity or authorship are based ultimately in human speculation for the purpose of control.

      Not so,
      Creeds serve a variety of purposes in the life of the church. They are a testimony of the church’s belief to the world; they offer a summation of Christian doctrine for the instruction of the faithful; and they form a bulwark against the incursion of error by providing a standard of orthodoxy and a test for office-bearers. In these ways creeds also serve to protect and to foster the bond of Christian fellowship as a unity of faith and doctrine, of mind and conviction, and not merely of organization or sentiment.

        Andy

        It has long been my belief, that those who are opposed to confessions or creeds (same thing) are only opposed to (a) confessions that are too narrow and (b) the controlling ways that SOME people/groups use confessions. Here’s why:

        I challenge Scott to state in one short sentance, in his own words, some basic truth about what he believes about Jesus.

        Then, to answer the question “Would you want to be part of a church that did not agree with you on that fundamental belief about Jesus?”

        Then, would he be opposed to his church writing down some short statement of their belief in Jesus, so people would know what they believe?

        Then, would he be opposed to, or in favor of his church allowing members, deacons, pastors who DISAGREED with that statement?

          Scott Shaver

          Andy:

          I believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and the single sufficient propitiation for the sin of those who by faith believe in Him.

          Wouldn’t need a creed or confession, Andy, to determine whether I depart or remain with a local fellowship of believers based on the previously stated personal conviction. The “Spirit” testifies to our unity and common faith as we surrender ourselves to one another in love and service to God.

          The last confession/creed/statement I was personally willing to rally around and sign off on was the 1963 BFM.

          Totally reject the 2000 BFM as it took the liberty of writing Jesus Christ out completely as the ultimate criteria for biblical interpretation. A demotion of the role of the Holy Spirit in SBC “confessionalism” for the purpose of doctrinal control and exclusion is my conclusion about that.

          The BFM 200, IMO, is the watershed of SBC fragmentation and dissolution.

          Creeds tend to replace Christ as final religious authority.

            Lydia

            Great comment Scott. We are a dying breed as our churches and government gallop toward oligarchical collectivism.

            Paul N

            Well said…very well said!

        Scott Shaver

        Steven:

        The church needs no advocate or protector other than Christ. Never has.

    volfan007

    Funny thing….I teach the Bible verse by verse, and I’m not a Calvinist. In fact, I just got thru preaching thru Romans, and right now, I’m preaching thru Ephesians. I’m not even thinking about becoming a Calvinist.

    David

Le Roi

Before addressing any issue regarding method, is reformed theology true or is it damnable heresy?

I understand that it is a controversial issue but it seems, for the most part, that people are arguing over how *preference* is handled/expressed.

Once we have a foundation, we can at least be more understanding of the views of one another.

    Andy

    1. If “Le Roi” is your real name, that’s the coolest spelling ever!

    2. Is there any possibility between “true” and “damnable heresy”? In recent history, Heresy has been reserved for those beliefs that would make a person no longer Christian.

    3. I agree that MUCH more understanding is needed all around.

      Lydia

      “If “Le Roi” is your real name, that’s the coolest spelling ever!”

      It is French for “The King”.

    Scott Shaver

    Le Roi:

    I appreciate your desire for “understanding one another’s views”.

    There is the kind of person, generally middle-aged and older, for whom the Christian faith has been often tested by the philosophies and theologies of man. As Christian’s grow older and more experienced, they tend to throw off the baggage that separates them from a full-orbed appreciation of what God has done for us in Christ. This is especially true of theological templates, like Calvinism, which tend to distort the nature, character and claims of Christ as recorded in Scripture and affirmed by the H.S. We become less interested in earthly kingdoms and institutions and far more concerned with the reality that is to come along with the full apprehension of Christ on the other side of the veil.

    Consequently, an “interest in understanding the views of others” who hold to a more determistic view of God does not rate high on one’s list of priorities. An ongoing contention for the faith “once and for all delivered” seems to be job one.

      Steven

      Le Roi, Scott Shaver is all about opinion and constantly misrepresents Reformed Theology along with others on this forum. I have reached out to you so you can judge for yourself. Do not be deceived.

        Scott Shaver

        And the opinions seem to be working for me Steven.

        Over the last year have taught a group of open-minded college students to be just as strident in their dissection and rejection of Reform Calvinsim as myself, Lydia, or Andrew. They’re so fired up about what’s being exposed to them that they’re teaching it to their friends, which in turn, fires me up.

        My “opinions” must have convinced our minister of education and pastor to quit spending good money on “The Gospel Project”. We use that material for confetti cannons now at Halloween. Yes, Steve, I’m all about opinions and opinions lead to reexamined thinking and redirected perspectives.

        It’s a rewarding thing.

    volfan007

    Reformed theology is not damnable heresy. Arminianism is not damnable heresy. They are just theological, philosophical frameworks, in which people are trying to understand the finer points of theology. It would be considered in the same camp as people, who disagree over end times doctrine. Some people are Amillenial, and some are Pre-Mil. Some are Pre-Trib. and others are Mid Trib. None of them are heretics. They just believe differently about some of the finer points of theology. That’s all.

    As long as we hold to the clear, fundamental truths of the Gospel, then we’re all Christians. And, if we hold to the teachings of the Baptist Faith and Message 2K, then we’re all the Baptist kind of Christians…..even if we disagree on whether election means that God has arbitrarily chosen to save a few people, or if we believe that election just simply means that God has chosen to save people, in a more general sense….like, God chose to save people, rather than just send mankind to Hell. It was God, who chose to save people, and who did He choose to save? Anyone and everyone who will repent and believe. But, whether one is a Calvinist, or a Traditionalist, or even an Arminian does NOT make that person a heretic, preaching a false Gospel.

    David

      Scott Shaver

      Excellent David:
      Makes me smile as an old school SBCer.

    Steven

    Le Roi, if you truly seek the truth and not misrepresentations of Reformed theology, feel free to contact me at gobagua@yahoo.com.
    Do not be jaded by any anti reformed theology misrepresentations until you weigh and measure these biblical truths for yourself. If you have a thirst for understanding God’s Word, if you have repented of your sins to the Triune God of the Bible, you are my brother and I will give you direction to the truths of the Reformation where Christ’s church separated from the Roman Catholic false gospel system and Reformed Theology was drawn from the Holy Scriptures.
    All Glory to God Alone.

    Steven

    Le Roi, if you truly seek the truth and not misrepresentations of Reformed theology, feel free to contact me at gobagua@yahoo.com.
    Do not be jaded by any anti reformed theology misrepresentations until you weigh and measure these biblical truths for yourself. If you have a thirst for understanding God’s Word, if you have repented of your sins to the Triune God of the Bible, you are my brother and I will give you direction to the truths of the Reformation where Christ’s church separated from the Roman Catholic false gospel system and Reformed Theology was drawn from the Holy Scriptures.
    All Glory to God Alone.

Darrel

It’s good to know that “election”, “predestination”, and “chosen” are words that have been redacted from your brain. Is the word “election” so offensive to you? WHY? Does not God have the right to have mercy on whom He will have mercy and the right to harden whom He will? Not according to the fantasy “theology” presented here. If “election” is so offensive to you then you how can you possibly claim to love Christ? muchless to be saved by Him. CHRIST WAS AND IS GOD’S ELECT. So if election is so distasteful to you that tells the world just what you think of the Lord Jesus Christ———He is inconsequential to you, not worthy to reign over you, and cannot possibly be Savior to you who despise Him to the degree that you have sought to change His Gospel to fit your own evil desires of putting man in charge of his own eternal fate (sounds like what is described in Isaiah 14). You want to change the Gospel to coincide with your own fantasy religion? Have at it. But before you totally remove all sanity from what’s left of your brain, read again Matt. 7:21-23; Gal. 1:6-9. The eternal condemnation is pronounced on the PERSON who speaks lies in the Name of the Lord, not the ‘message’. So here’s the short of it: if election offends you, then Christ offends you. All of you seminary educated folks should turn immediately to 1 Peter, and then to your concordance to search out ‘election’, ‘choose’, ‘chosen’, etc. but you won’t because to do so would bring down your house of cards that you have perpetrated on those who believe they are getting the truth from you. Today is a good day for you to repent, but some of you can’t. You’re like Esau who sought it carefully with tears, but could not find it (so much for your own ability to seek God). You claim to be educated in the Word and do you not know that repentance is a gift from God just like saving faith? Obviously many do not know this. But how could you, seeing that your seminaries have for decades churned out people two-fold more the child of hell than their teachers were (Matt. 23:15) with Finney and Graham leading the charge (Oh, can’t leave out Warren, actually the list seems to be endless).

None of you have presented anything from the Scriptures to refute the absolute Sovereignty of God, nor can you, for it does not exist. Instead, you want to silence me and those who would stand with the Word against your heresies. Hasn’t this been the case throughout history for those who tell the truth? Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

    Scott Shaver

    Darrel:

    For your many words neither have you PRESENTED ONE THING from “the Scriptures” supporting the claims, insitutions and practices of John Calvin and his perpetual league of aspiring reformers.

    At best, we’ll call this one a draw. :0

      Darrel

      Nor shall I, because John Calvin is not the originator of the Sovereign Lord. Though many live or die by Calvin’s words, I’ll stick to the Word of God. Problem is, Scott, you already know some of the Scriptures that speak directly to this “discussion” but have chosen to ignore them due to peer pressure, or maybe a paycheck, or any other worthless “reason” you may postulate all the while totally disregarding the Word of God. So just for you, Scott, here are a few verses that you already know, but have chosen to ignore: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” John 15:16. No “free-will” found here. “…who were born, not of blood [you’re not saved because your daddy was], nor of the will of the flesh [someone else cannot “get saved” in your place], nor of the will of man [yourself or anyone else, so where is your “free-will” here?] BUT OF GOD” John 1:13. “…And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” Acts 13:48. This is possibly the most hated verse for Arminians because there is no “come back”. Others are Eph. 1:4 (actually nearly the whole book), the entire ninth chapter of Romans. There are hundreds more in the OT as well, but these are more than sufficient to make the point that Arminians teach lies in the Name of the Lord Jesus. So, Scott, will you embrace their lies or the Word of God? CHOOSE.

        Scott Shaver

        Darrel:
        I make a living in the oil and gas industry which doesn’t pay well for religious and philosophical speculation.

        The transparent youthful foolishness of your scriptural shell game would impress Robert Tilton. Send me a prayer cloth while your ripping up the Old Testament and New to buttress the theology of your gurus.
        You’re actually more fun than a barrel of monkeys equipped with Bible verses. ;)

    volfan007

    Darrell,

    The Bible does not teach a fatalistic view of the sovereignty of God. And, we do believe in the Bible words, “Election” and “Predestination.” We just don’t believe in them, like a Reformed Calvinist believes in them. And, we reject your “puppets on a string,” robot view of the sovereignty of God. In fact, that fatalistic, deterministic view of God limits God so much. Instead, I believe in a God so mighty, and strong, and sovereign, that He could give man a free will, and still be almighty, sovereign God, Who is carrying out His plans and purposes for this world.

    DAvid

      Darrel

      David, you are the one tugging against the string that control you. Believe as you will, but DO NOT attribute your fantasy doctrine of the “free-will” of man being on par with and equal to the Sovereignty of Almighty God. There is ZERO Scripture for this nonsense so don’t bother trying to proof text. Remember Moses and Pharaoh? How many times did the LORD harden the heart of Pharaoh? You count. What of Judas? Scriptures teach that he was forever the son of perdition, that Jesus purposefully chose Judas knowing full well that he would betray Him. How about Esau? Roman’s 9 tells us that God made HIS choice BEFORE he and his brother were born and you want us (me) to believe that Esau had the power to overrule God’s chosen path for him just to justify your “free-will” fantasy doctrine? No thanks. And moving on to 2 Peter 2 and Jude where we are told that evil men are “reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (2 Peter 2:17 and Jude 13). Shall I go on with a few hundred more? Don’t tell people that you believe that God is all Sovereign and in the same breath tell them that an act of their will is necessary to gain His salvation, The two ideas have NOTHING in common, but again, you already know this and have chosen to teach otherwise. WHY?

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Darrel,

        How free was man created by our God to be? He was and still is free to the degree he could choose to walk away from God by consuming the “forbidden” in the Garden of Eden and even now in this age of Grace can loss his “mind” for a moment and choose the “FORBIDDEN” over the Sovereign.

        You must remember all of creation fell with Adam in his transgression. However, before that dreaded hour, all of mankind, as well as all of creation was known by God without the stain of SIN. He was the One who declared that His work of creation was good, not only good, but with the addition of mankind, very good. The whole idea of “Be reconciled to God” sums up my point. He did not create Satan, He created Lucifer. Lucifer made himself over from the inside out with the substance of pride.

        Now I see you have rolled out Pharaoh, who made a deliberated choice to HARDEN his own heart first and we see the Law of reciprocity at work and of course God harden Pharaoh’s heart each time the Word was thrust from his hard, sinful heart, a callus spot was left behind. All he had to do was obey and he would not comply! There was Judas and Esau whom both made choices in their lifetime which like all will have far reaching implication in this life as well in the next. Judas like every soul which went out of this life head long in Hades did so by not obeying the Word of God. It was not a matter of they could not obey, ye rather these rebels would not obey.

        I sure hope no one has a problem with God’s corporate election in the affairs of men. He rules and imposes His will as He pleases, who can stay His hand.

        The Sovereign did not create one single organism FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISOBEYING HIS COMMAND.

        Conclusion of the matter, God has known all of mankind well before Genesis 1:26 and certainly before Chapter 3.

        Preach!

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Darrel,

    The Sovereignty of God and the responsibility of all men to obey Him when He speaks from His being or through His chosen vessel.

    All are and will be accountable to Him.

    Name one creature our God created for the sole purpose of disobeying Him.

    Preach!

      Darrel

      One of the answers you seek was given above (see response to David). When someone plays the “love card” you can bet they are in desperation mode because they have nothing of substance to make their point with other than to accuse their opponent of being “unloving” and therefore not worthy of listening to. Problem is, Dennis, “love” as you would portray it has nothing to do with sound doctrine. No doubt your version of “love” is nothing more than some sloppy, sentimental, feel-good notion of making someone else happy, at ease, & relieved of their pain. Nothing wrong with that, but it is not a full disclosure of the Love of God. That comes when Christ died on the cross and was raised again. The sacrifice OF EVERYTHING that Christ did for His elect is the only legitimate display of the Love of God. So you want to love like He does? What sacrifices have you made? How does it help a man to tell him that “God loves you”? Does your obligation to preach the Gospel to another man end when you say “God loves you”? If you think it does then you have no concept of the Gospel, who Christ is and what He has done, nor what the Love of God entails. The hypocrisy of the Arminians is always on display when they make great bluster about a man’s “free-will” and the “decision” he must make in order to be saved. If you who teach this really believed what you say then how do sleep, not just at night, but how can you ever sleep? According to you a man must make his “decision for Christ” or he will die and go to hell, so why are you not out 24/7/365 trying to persuade men to make that “decision”. How can you live with yourself if men are not constantly “saved” under your “ministry”? How many will you will be responsible for allowing to slip off into eternity unsaved because you got tired and needed a nap? Can’t you see how utterly ridiculous this teaching is? I guess not because few will lay it aside, come to their senses, repent and believe/preach the GOSPEL.

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Darrel,

        Whether you love or not, see ye to that, that’s your concern. However, love has everything to do with sound doctrine from its origin found in The One Triune God’s own heart, to its presentation in the Holy Scriptures to all hearers, as it is written, “speaking the Truth in Love”. Grace precedes Truth for both came by our precious Lord Jesus Christ. God is the One who has demonstrated His love painting a picture on the canvas of this lost World in the precious blood of His Son.

        By the way, you might be surprised at the content of the proclamation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in the ministry I’ve been called to glorify Him through my vessel. The above remarks happen to be a poor estimation on your part of this servant who warns to wicked to repent or perish, and warning the righteous, that we do not practice sin.

        Yes, Darrel, God is love, which will make His judgment of all who resist the drawing of the Holy Ghost, all who reject the Lord Jesus Christ the ONLY ALL SUFFICIENT SAVIOR, and all who refuse God the Father’s love, fit for eternal torment.

        As I said before, there is absolutely no election, no predestination or any of the combined graces of God apart from God who is Love.

        For your information I’m not an Arminian as you suppose.

        Preach!

      Steven

      All the seed of Adam, hence the need for a Savior in Jesus Christ.

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Darrel,

    He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

    Don’t talk to us about election until you have a Scriptural understanding of the Truth, God is love.

    Preach!

Andrew Barker

Darrel: It may or may not surprise you to know that most of the people who contribute to this blog actually do believe in election, predestination and the like and do not find it at all offensive. In fact, much of what you describe is simply mainline Reformed/Calvinistic doctrine. Granted you have a more strident delivery, but essentially what you are saying is pretty much in keeping with standard Reformed/Calvinist thinking.

In particular, I would compliment you on your use of the phrase “CHRIST WAS AND IS GOD’S ELECT”. This is right on the money and in fact some of your Calvinist brothers would do well to bear this in mind since they have a habit of saying ‘they’ are chosen. This is not supported in scripture which says we are “chosen in Him”. Instead of going on a rant, I suggest you look more calmly at what people who would generally describe themselves as ‘non-Calvinists’ are saying on this blog. It may yet surprise you. But working from Christ as God’s elect is an excellent starting point.

    Scott Shaver

    I concur Andrew. Well stated.

    Darrel

    Andrew, I do not know who the moderator is for this thread, but whoever it is thank you for your indulgence with my “rants.” Perhaps it would be good to remember that the Lord Jesus seldom had kind words for the religious elite of His day, men who were “educated” (seminary grads) rabbis (preacher, pastor, conference speaker) and “leaders” who were more interested in the status quo than the truth of Scripture. As the “great falling away” is upon us and few there be that actually stand for the Word of God perhaps the “rants” should increase in frequency and volume. As for the word “elect’ applying only to Christ, Scripture says otherwise. 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Thes. 1:4; Matt. 24:24 & 31; Mark 13:27 and many others that teach that we, too, are elect and elected to salvation. So many have diplomas out the wha-zu and yet fail to understand the simplest of doctrines (only the ELECT are saved). And you wonder why the church is in the current state of disarray and decay. Start with self-willed preachers.

      Andrew Barker

      Darrel: I think you will find we are always elect ‘in Him’ because that’s how election works. When ‘in Him’ we have all the attributes which would normally only be credited to Christ ie righteous, holy etc. etc. We are not (of ourselves) these things, but ‘in Him’ we are. That’s scriptural election. Nobody is ‘elected to salvation’ either. Since the elect are by definition ‘in Him’ they are already saved. So there would be no point in electing them to a salvation which they already possess!

      Diplomas are not necessary for understanding the word of God, but championing a lack of education is no solution. As for rants, as my dad once told me, “if you get on your high horse, be prepared to fall off it once in a while”.

        Paul N

        Excellent comment!

    Lydia

    Well said, Andrew.

Dennis Lee Dabney

Darrel,

Seriously, haven’t we all had just about all we can take of a god who is not love.

The god of this present age, the Prince of the power of the air.

Our God is love and that’s just the Way it is.

Preach!

Debbie Kaufman

Dennis Dabney: So God is not the God of the Bible. That is what you are saying. There are so many passages that show his election of some, and his knowledge and not just knowledge but acutal hand in bringing people to his Son that it would take two comment posts to list them all. Not one scripture is mentioned in any of your posts, just opinion that I do not find in scripture. And if you say the bullying word Preach! one more time, I am going to scream. Loudly.

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Debbie,

    No it is what I said, and not what you thought you heard. Read the post Debbie.

    Darrel wants a god who is not love. . . we have one, the god of this age which has blinded the minds of them which believe not. He is without love.

    Our God is Love,

    PreachBlackMan!

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Debbie,

    In these parts among other names I am called “PreachBlackManPreach”.

    Preach is shorter version, so now you can relax Sister

    Preach!

    Andrew Barker

    Debbie Kaufman:
    Serious egg on face moment there sister. Never mind, you can recover by providing quotes to support your next statement …..
    “There are so many passages that show his election of some, and his knowledge and not just knowledge but acutal hand in bringing people to his Son that it would take two comment posts to list them all.”

    I’ll make it easier. Just stick to passages that show his election of ‘some’. Personally, I think you’re going to struggle to find a serious ‘one’.

    PS you’re not alone in not knowing that ‘preach’ was a nickname :) I just thought it was a pleasant diversion from the ‘Amen’ ‘blessings’ and ‘SDG’ brigade. :-o

      Lydia

      “..st thought it was a pleasant diversion from the ‘Amen’ ‘blessings’ and ‘SDG’ brigade. :-o”

      Me too. But i like the full name better. :o)

    Scott Shaver

    Debbie:

    Along with threats to scream, do you also pitch tantrums and hold your breath until your face turns blue? :)

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Debbie says,

    So God is not the God of the Bible. That is what you are saying.

    Beloved, God is More than The God of the Holy Scriptures. He is the The Living Word, for it is written, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:and they are they which testify of Me. He went on to say, And ye will Not come to Me, ( for heaven sake, come to You for what) that Ye might have life. The Lord has plainly told these murderers that they assumed they had eternal life because they had the Scriptures, however the Scriptures testified of Him. This Motley Crew of sort “glossed” their so-called election in Abraham as God’s own elect, making much of themselves rather than God who does elect “first” to establish His means to bring His “Seed” into the world, “second” to provide Salvation for His elect as well as the whole world. Now here are some examples of God establishing His purposeful election or as Christ said “CHOSEN VESSELS” in the earth by preparing for Christ as well as preparing the world for His entrance. He chose “Some” Debbie, ( but not limited to the following), these were His chosen “vessels” such as Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and many others. These were Some of His chosen vessels whom He would use through their vessel to bring His will on earth without failure in order not just to save Some but whosoever. Of course there were others throughout the Old Testament such as John the Baptist as well as His chosen apostles even many others during the Church age,(Saul of Tarsus) not a few.

    God does elect in Christ and there is nothing we can do about it but praise His Holy name! I accept the Word of God as it is, and as it was taught before some of the Reformers and some of their followers pressed their interpretation upon the Word of God.

    Listen Debbie, God did not, as you and some others may believe, Chose those who will occupy the Lake of Fire throughout eternity without Christ, by determining their eternal state for them by rejecting them before the foundation of the world. He did not create them for the sole purpose of DISOBEYING HIM. How ridiculous for anyone to press such meaning upon The Holy Scriptures. There is no such teaching in the Word of God. Ye rather the Holy Scriptures refute such outrageous claims by those who promote such doctrine within the blood bought New Testament Church of God in Christ. There is not one Scripture having two or more witnesses on this subject regarding the above from Genesis to the maps. Please don’t roll out Roman 9 with the Calvinistic interpretation regarding the Holy Spirit dealing Israel and Gentiles which would believe! I am so weary of this passage usage as the Banner or Calvinism.

    Listen Debbie, we all know that the Lake of Fire was created for the DEVIL and His angels. Now allow me for set before you the following. Since we all know Hell was created for the Devil and his angels who “followed” him, God has worked it out, where they will all end up in the same place together for similar crimes committed against Him.

    Not only that, but all of the children of men whom the Devil has blinded the mind of by deception, who continue to reject the Light of the World who has found them, having the only remedy for darkness in Himself which is Light, all who follow his deception into death will end up in the same place together. The Lake of Fire Debbie is a place of judgment for CRIMES against the SOVEREIGN. Not for as you and others suppose that God created some in order to Judge along with the Devil just because He’s God. He is not that God!

    So we could say it like this Debbie. Not only will the Devil and his angels end up in Hell, but also some of the children of men, the Beast and the False Prophet and yes all others deceived by him who live their entire life in Rebellion to the known will of God. Repent and believe the Gospel! He said, Repent or (what) Perish!

    So as you see, God did not elect the lost to Hell, ye rather they followed the Devil there to this place of punishment, deceived all the way, while in total rebellion against God and in defiance against His declared Will.

    Let’s not confuse the “Some” Chosen vessels such as the apostle Paul and all others who suffered for Christ both in the Old and New Testament for the “Seed” and His gospel as the only elect. There is a noticeable Biblical difference by the way.

    Preach!

Jim P

1Cor. 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

“Preach” could end up meaning nothing more than being a “noise maker” if you’re not careful.

    Scott Shaver

    Jim P.

    “Preach” is going to have to really get his noise level up to drown out your tired, one-note clanging and clinking. LOL.

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Jim P,

    You were in the GOLD market until you entered the Send button with your response to Lydia and Andrew.

    Nevertheless Jim, and I say this with love, you missed a “golden “opportunity to turn “silence ” into Gold.

    Preach!

scott crowder

So it is not o.k. with a Calvinist to teach in a SBC church even though he is a SBC member, but why is no one decrying all the programs and outreach we do with other denominations. My local Baptist assoc. partners with many different denominations….Methodist, Pentacostal, etc. and no one complains. Or at least not enough folks complain. Is this hypocrisy.

    Lydia

    .” My local Baptist assoc. partners with many different denominations….Methodist, Pentacostal, etc. and no one complains. Or at least not enough folks complain. Is this hypocrisy.”

    Because they do not have a reputation of being stealth Methodists and Pentecostals. It is all out in the open.

    Scott Shaver

    Because we ain’t paying to promote their theology in those endeavors. Simple answer, Scott Crowder

    volfan007

    Scott, maybe you’re not exactly getting what’s being said here. We’re talking about Reformed, Calvinist Youth Pastors, and even Pastors, who go into a Southern Baptist Church, which is not Reformed, nor do they want to be, and that Youth Pastor or Pastor goes in there to convert them. He does not tell them that he is a Calvinist. He does not tell them that he’s Reformed. He knows that the Church is not that way. But still, he sneaks into the Church, in an attempt to CHANGE that Church. That’s what we’re talking about.

    David

Dave

This article reaches an unbiblical conclusion when it excuses parents from fulfilling their God-given responsibility to teach their children because they are busy elsewhere at the church house. Indoctrination should occur primarily at home. If this were being done, these issues would be a matter of family discussion, and could further brought to the attention of the church staff, and even the entire church.

    volfan007

    Dave,

    I believe we would all agree that parents should teach the Bible to their own children. Of course…yes….true. But, that absolutely does NOT excuse a Reformed Calvinist from sneaking into a Church, which is not Reformed, and trying to convert it, by converting the young people. And, for you to say such a thing, as if the problem is with the parents, and not with the deceitful, Reformed, Youth Pastor is disturbing, and thoughts like you have is probably one of the reasons why Rick felt compelled to write such an article.

    David

Lydia

“This article reaches an unbiblical conclusion when it excuses parents from fulfilling their God-given responsibility to teach their children because they are busy elsewhere at the church house. ”

Dave, you have not spent much time ministering in a inner city church, have you? :o)

I think most involved parents simply trusted their church and seminaries they help pay for. They assumed they were on the same page. We ARE told over and over in the SBC to trust our leaders. Many now realize that was a mistake of epic proportions.

Stealth Calvism is not easy to spot right away. They use same words but with different definitiins without explaining that fact. They believe this is a good thing because they have the true Gospel and the rest of us are just ignorant and need to be taught their truth.

It can take a while to catch on to that agenda. And then people are blamed by the Cals of being ignorant. Using people’s trust and goodwill against them is rather base. And dishonest, to boot.

W.L. Talbot

It is not apparent to me that the practice of dishonesty and infiltration on the part of Reformed-leaning believers is anywhere near as common as is repeatedly suggested. Certainly this article does not convince me that it is the problem many claim that it is. None of the case studies presented clearly shows an example of ‘stealth infiltration’ or dishonesty on the part of Reformed youth workers. Let’s go through them one by one.

One: A candidate for the youth pastorate of a church who leaned Reformed made publicly known some of his particular beliefs at a Wednesday night worship service, and was summarily discounted as a potential youth candidate. That is not being dishonest or stealthy at all; quite the reverse, actually. Had he kept his views to himself he may have been hired, but he did not, and so he was not hired. If anything this argues against the author’s claim that Reformed youth pastors are being dishonest and infiltrating churches secretively.

Two: A church’s youth group used materials by Reformed authors, with the result that many of the youth who used them eventually became Presbyterians. Where is the dishonesty here? It is suggested that the church bought the materials, so it would seem that there was undoubtedly public knowledge of what was being bought and used; furthermore, the nature of the language suggests that the ‘Calvinistic youth minister’ is still employed by the church: for example, the author writes, “Today, when the education minister is asked…,” thus implying that this is the same youth minister he described three sentences before as ‘Calvinistic.’ (No comments are made as to whether he lied prior to being hired.)

Three: Some SBC camps have leaders and participants who are Reformed. The author does not say whether this was public knowledge or not, but presumably it was not kept hidden; such camps often announce who their participants will be. They may not put asterisks next to their names in the advertisements, with little footnotes that say “Attention: this person is a Calvinist,” but is doubtful they were deceptive about it. The author certainly does not demonstrate as much – not a single piece of evidence is presented which would suggest that there was willful secrecy on the part of the camp organizers in including “a Pastor who served an Evangelical Free Church and a Worship Leader who served a non-SBC Charismatic Calvinist church.”

Lydia

“I would like to ask you what ‘Reformed’ sources you are specifically referring to Lydia; in so doing I am not attempting to be contentious or difficult, but only curious, for the ‘Reformed’ sources you speak of are wholly unlike the Reformed authors and works that I am familiar with. I have read a good deal of R.C. Sproul, a little Piper, some stuff over at TGC, some Calvin, etc., and I have yet to find the resurrection of Christ minimized or an undue amount of attention given to the wrath of God”

It hardly matters because I just don’t go down this road much anymore. I spent about 12 years diving into this stuff from Pink to Sproul to Piper. And Calvin/Luther, etc. It all started when some family members came back from “studying with Piper” about 15 years ago and told all of us we did not know true Gospel. My background is in org development so I always watch trends from all angles which will influence movements/workplace, etc. I am a bit of a history buff so I dove into Reformed history and then read Calvin and the others. Sicko stuff. Absolutely horrible. A black hole of cognitive dissonance. And I live at ground zero and cannot swing a dead cat without it hitting a YRR.

I came to the conclusion the Reformation was political wrapped in the spiritual. Calvin was a brilliant sociopath. And that most Calvinists (of most stripes) do not really understand it because they buy into the cognitive dissonance hook line and sinker. Those that did understand it, could not live with it became liberals and promoted a more social gospel. You have to look at it over history and ask what happened? The Puritan descendants became Universalists ,for the most part. Protestant Europe became a spiritual graveyard and produced Hitler who used Luther’s writings on the Jews to bring the Lutheran church inline. Your heros were not even decent people.

There is no way America would have happened if the Founders were following Calvinistic teachings. They were reading Locke and appealing to “Providence” as a help. Not a deterministic god. I do believe this Calvinist resurgence is right on time as our country careens toward more oligarchical collectivism. Calvinism fits right in. Spiritual authorities and government authorities who know best for us. People are not taught to think but to parrot what they read. Ergo, your appeal to what gurus I have read. I don’t even believe that Calvinism coexists well with our Constitution. I believe the same about Islam. In fact, I think they have a lot in common, foundationaly with a deterministic god. (I am familiar with the arguments against determinism like compatiblism. Not buying)

So going into your black hole of what Reformed/Calvin guru wrote what is a total waste of time. I honestly think we would all be better off reading Jesus’ words over and over until we can start to interpret Paul through a Jesus filter.

Does that explain my position? :o)

    W.L. Talbot

    I think that explains your position Lydia, thank you. Of course I still don’t see where you are coming from or how you reached those particular conclusions, though, and I would dispute some of your individual claims. For example, you say that “Protestant Europe became a spiritual graveyard and produced Hitler.” Hitler was from Austria, a nation which has historically been predominantly Catholic. Or again, you say that “I do believe this Calvinist resurgence is right on time as our country careens toward more oligarchical collectivism.” Those nations which have been most Reformed have had a tendency to have republican governments: the Netherlands, for example, or England under the Commonwealth. I fail to see, therefore, how it is that what you call ‘Calvinism’ promotes collectivism; if anything, the reverse has been shown to be true.

    Or again, your claim that “I don’t even believe that Calvinism coexists well with our Constitution” is fully at odds with the opinions of others. For example, touching upon the relation of the Reformed faith and liberty and constitutionalism, Abraham Kuyper says in his “Lectures on Calvinism”:

    “Every competent historian will without exception confirm the words of Bancroft : “The fanatic for Calvinism was a fanatic for liberty, for in the moral warfare for freedom, his creed was a part of his army, and his most faithful ally in the battle.” And Groen van Prinsterer has thus expressed it : ‘In Calvinism lies the origin and guarantee of our constitutional liberties.’”

    Now you might attempt to dismiss Kuyper as a guru or [insert whatever other negative label you plan to use here] who did [insert whatever historical action, probably taken out of context, which he did that you are critical of here], but there is no disputing the fact that he was a successful, knowledgeable, and fertile person, a man who founded a political party, a newspaper, a denomination, and a university. None of this guarantees that his opinions are correct, but it does mean that they are worthy of serious consideration; and, even if not accepted, something more than a snide dismissal.

      Scott Shaver

      You don’t see where she’s coming from or how she reached those conclusions, W.L., because you really don’t understand much about recent Southern Baptist History.

      Your last answer wrapped with questions exposes that fact rather unmistakably.

      Scott Shaver

      Bancroft on Calvin?

      There’s objectivity for you. What a hoot.

        W.L. Talbot

        Would you elaborate upon who Bancroft is, and upon why it is felt that he is not objective?

          Andy

          George Bancroft…American historian/statesman in the 1800s…unitarian, son of a unitarian minister…not sure how he was biased in favor of Calvin….

            Scott Shaver

            Andy:

            IMO…because Bancroft’s idea of “Pan-Democracy” made the state central. Links well enough with Geneva for me to be wary. He probably would have agreed with Calvin on the progressive and all-emcompassing evolution and power of the state, heads of church as guardians, of course :)

      Lydia

      “Hitler was from Austria, a nation which has historically been predominantly Catholic.”

      Oh my. I see your understanding of history is quite lacking. Yes Hitler was from Austria and thought himself and Austria thoroughly German. Are you not familiar with the reasons for the Anschluss? Have you not read Mein Kampf? As a true believer in Germany, his religion was himself and Germany.

      As to using Luther to bring the Lutheran Church in line, you might want to check out a comprehensive but easy to find/read “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by William Shirer. He was both in Berlin and in Austria as a broadcast reporter working for Murrow up until they were forced out. He has a sub chapter on the strategy to bring the Lutheran church on board using Luther’s writings. Luther was quite persuasive when it came to why it was ok to hate Jews.

        W.L. Talbot

        We are arguing past each other, Lydia. I was disputing – and still do dispute – the point you originally made when you said that “Protestant Europe became a spiritual graveyard and produced Hitler.” I’ll admit that my response was a little vague at first, so I shall elaborate upon it here. In saying that Hitler was from Austria (which has been predominantly Catholic historically), what I meant was that he grew up in a culture (initially Austria, and later Bavaria) which was influenced primarily by Catholicism, and therefore that it is not correct to say that “Protestant Europe” produced Hitler (that foul villain).

        In arguing against my point (which, again, could have been clearer, I’ll admit), you talk about Hitler’s views on Germany, the later use of some on Luther’s writings in propaganda, etc. I am aware that Hitler was literally obsessed with all things German, and that he espoused a radical German nationalism even from a young age (amongst other things, volunteering to serve in the German army rather than the Austro-Hungarian army). I am aware that Luther wrote some terrible things about Jews later in his life, which things are, as you will no doubt agree, sickening. I am aware of how the Nazi state tried to gain the support of German believers with the ‘German Christians’ movement and ‘Positive Christianity’.

        That has nothing to do with my rebuttal of your point, however. Hitler was not produced by Protestant Europe. His monstrous personality and deeds were produced by a great many things, not least his feuding with his father, his hard times in Vienna prior to the war (including not being accepted to art school), his experiences during the war (including being gassed and temporarily blinded), and the social and economic climate of the Weimar Republic after the war.

        Whatever the precise reasons, it is incorrect to say that Protestant Europe produced the archfiend Hitler, as if his being the monster he was had anything to do with Protestantism or, more to the point of this thread, Reformed theology. The ‘Protestantism’ of Hitler’s life was, I am afraid, very unworthy of the name in many instances, a liberalized shell of its former self which had little to do with the historic Reformed or Lutheran faiths.

          Scott Shaver

          W.L.
          When history doesn’t agree with you, feel free to re-write.

          Lydia’s insight totally wasted on you.

          You can use more words to say less than anybody I’ve seen previously.

          Lydia

          “We are arguing past each other, Lydia. I was disputing – and still do dispute – the point you originally made when you said that “Protestant Europe became a spiritual graveyard and produced Hitler.” I’ll admit that my response was a little vague at first, so I shall elaborate upon it here. In saying that Hitler was from Austria (which has been predominantly Catholic historically), what I meant was that he grew up in a culture (initially Austria, and later Bavaria) which was influenced primarily by Catholicism, and therefore that it is not correct to say that “Protestant Europe” produced Hitler (that foul villain).”

          Actually, we are disagreeing. You cannot seem to get past the “Catholic” mantra. I do get this. When I first started diving into Calvinism and was looking at the different factions, I was blown away at their constant focus on Catholicism. Sort of like how some are still fighting the Civil War. :o) You are making too big of a deal of Hitler’s youth in Austria as a Catholic as if that makes a difference concerning Protestant Europe and the after effects of a state enforced caste system religion. So while Protestant Europe did not “produce” Hitler, he was able to use Luther;s writings on the Jews to influence the Protestant’s behavior to go along with Jewish persecution pograms. You are trying to argue that because Hitler was not a born and bred Lutheran, they can not be implicated in what took place in Germany during that time? There were a some Lutherans who did not go along: Bonhoeffer and his brother. But the official church, did. And Luther’s position on the Jews was used to do it.

          To further the point, Hilter was not concerned that Austria, which he considered Germany, become Lutheran after the Anschluss. He was only jnterested in using the religion caste thinking. Luther’s writings on Jews were convenient. The question for us is really how come there were not masses of Protestant and Catholic Christians in Europe who loved freedom not only for themselves, but others? Because it was not really Christianity.

          Europe is/was full of empty Cathedrals , too, as the state church caste thinking started to disinegrate after WW1. Hitler’s religion was Germany and himself and like any tyrant, he used whatever means possible to bring people in line. Luther ‘s writings on Jews was quite handy in a country whose state religion had been Lutheran. Luther’s writings influenced behavior (in a murderous way) centuries after he was dead.

          I think the Protestantism and Catholicism have quite a bit in common from that era. Both are caste system religions. Protestant leaders were protesting the encroachments of Rome with indulgences, etc. It was much more political for the powers than many want to admit. I even doubt Calvin would have been asked back to Geneva if they had not been so scared of Rome creeping back in. They needed another caste system. Calvin had one.

          As I read that history, I would hope I would have had the courage to have been one of the Radical Reformers. But so many had their lives taken or were banished by either the Catholic or the Protestants. As I read that history it becomes clearer to me why Europe eventually turned their backs on church. Look at the long list of evils done in the Name of Christ. And today many young people are making them their heros! Church history is an evil bloody mess all the way back to Augustine wanting to wipe out the Donatists who did not want to take communion from corrupt priests. And so many still appeal to “tradition” and end up rewriting history to leave out the evil parts. Or they try to use “man of his time” arguments as if the Holy Spirit was not operating in that era.. It blows my mind.

          You are glorifying what was basically an evil caste system and trying to make it something it was not. Am I glad Luther nailed the Theses to the door? Yes. But lets be honest about it. They were about indulgences. The electors/princes were sick of sending so much money to Rome. The time was ripe. So what do they do? They start a NEW “state church” which was mandatory.

          Btw, While Luther was busy writing his insults and bizarre treatises on Jews, women, etc, his wife, Catherine von Bora, the former nun, was busy running the brewery business that brought them an income. She worked her fingers to the bone. The man was a goat.

            W.L. Talbot

            Pray tell, what does any of this have to do with my original contention, which was that Protestant Europe did not produce the archfiend Hitler, or with the original topic of this thread, which was that Reformed theology is being stealthily introduced into traditional churches against their will, and directed towards their youth? I am glad that you admit my point; but having done so you then proceed to go on about Hitler, Luther’s writings, etc. Hence your statement “So while Protestant Europe did not ‘produce’ Hitler” followed by six paragraphs of talk of Hitler’s use of Luther’s writings in propaganda, and so on.

            I am not talking about those things which Hitler did to bring the nominally Lutheran German people into submission, including his use of some of Luther’s later (and horrid) writings. At that point in history (~the 1930’s) he was already a monster. I am talking about what it was that made him into a monster in the first place; or as you put it, ‘produced’ him. Again, Protestant Europe did not produce Hitler. One, Europe is not uniformly Protestant, with those areas where Hitler was made into a radical fiend being Catholic in their culture in many cases. Two, at the time Europe was simply a continent, not a monolithic social/political entity (unlike the present EU), its various countries being distinct nations with their own cultures. Three, the Protestantism of Europe at this time was in many cases a liberalized shell of its former self which had little to do with the historic Reformed or Lutheran faiths. Had it not been so liberalized – which paved the way for secularization after WW1 – it seems doubtful someone as odious as Hitler would have risen to great influence.

            Now, as for the rest of your post, I think that it is obvious that you have an axe to grind. I don’t know you personally and so I cannot judge your motives, though I am sure you mean well; but it is obvious that you are very biased against the Reformed faith. When originally you said that “Protestant Europe produced Hitler” you made the statement in a larger statement against Protestantism, in which you implied that Protestantism is to blame for Europe being a “spiritual graveyard” in which someone as odious as Hitler could come about.

            First of all, you made these statements in response to my inquiring specifically what Reformed sources you were referring to when you said that “the resurrection has been downplayed on both sides but more so from Reformed circles” and that bit about “imputed guit [sic], Jesus perpetually obeys for us . . . So we are, by implication stuck at the cross.” I would note that you didn’t actually answer my question: you didn’t list a single work, but merely dropped names of prominent Reformed authors and said “It hardly matters because I just don’t go down this road much anymore.” Then you started talking about ‘Protestant Europe’ and all of that, thus trying to change the focus of the discussion to Protestantism in general (and its misdeeds in particular) when I all I wanted to know was specifically what sources of one branch of Protestantism (the Reformed faith) you were reading that lead you to believe we downplay the resurrection.

            Instead you proceeded to launch into a long tirade about Protestantism and why it and its proponents have been pretty bad for the world. Hence all your talk of “Sicko stuff. Absolutely horrible. A black hole of cognitive dissonance” and all that. Now I am not interested in whitewashing the history of Protestantism, some of which IS absolutely horrible and sick, especially if it involved Luther (who was of questionable sanity on a good day). But I mention this to highlight that basically everything that you write is negative and critical, with no attempt to consider larger historical or cultural contexts, concede the positive things about Protestantism, etc. To your credit, you do say that you are glad that the Reformation happened in a later post (i.e., this one), but on the whole all that you write is persistently critical and has a rather brusque tone.

            When it comes to the Reformed faith in particular – which, because of the topic of the original article, is what I am primarily interested in, not Lutheranism – you are quite dismissive. You equate it with Islam. You say Calvin was a brilliant sociopath. You say that it is in no way a part of the thinking which lead to the founding of the United States, and that you don’t think it coexists well with our constitution, both of which are disputed by people far more learned than yourself (e.g. Kuyper, whom I quoted in response). To adhere to it requires cognitive dissonance and unthinking acceptance of what one is told. Worst of all, you say that the God of Calvinism is a ‘deterministic god.’ That is a) uncharitable, in that it suggests we who are Reformed-leaning serve a different god than you, thus encouraging division – for if we serve a different god then we are heretics and unbelievers from whom you ought to separate; b) blasphemy. I humbly ask you to be more fair and to be more careful in your words.

      Lydia

      “Those nations which have been most Reformed have had a tendency to have republican governments: the Netherlands, for example, or England under the Commonwealth. I fail to see, therefore, how it is that what you call ‘Calvinism’ promotes collectivism; if anything, the reverse has been shown to be true.”

      Andrew from Wales, please feel free to chime in.

      W.L., If you don’t think a state church promotes collectivism then there really is nothing more to discuss. Is there anything more collectivist in that except perhaps a Soviet farm collective? Please do not forget that Henry the 8th gave himself the title of “Defender of the Faith”. The highest spiritual authority in the land. With that said, it is quite different now but we have to ask what a state funded and approved church meant to quite a few generations? And what about those in a “low” church over the last few generations?

      The Netherlands were a bit of a mish mash as people tended to flee there from persecution– but they had their moments. So, where are they today?

      In fact, a state church tended, over time, to cause church attendance to be quite low when it was no longer mandatory or expected. In England it is projected that less than 10% of the population attends. My Brit friends report 10-15 people attending most Parish churches in the North on any given Sunday. My older Brit friends can remember when there was CofE Religious Instruction in all the public schools. (We call them public when anyone can attend) This was a huge turn off to them as it was required– not voluntary.

      Contrast that with America where the Westward expansion proved unparalleled freedom in deciding these things. Many denominations sprung up, people paying for and building churches for their little settlements and so on. No government involvement at all. It was strictly voluntary and their decision. No caste system Christianity. Most pastors rode a circuit which meant the lay people were teaching/preaching on certain Sundays.

      The contrast is enormous when we take a birds eye and long view of history. Freedom of choice. Freedom of conscience. It literally changed the world in many ways.

        W.L. Talbot

        You have not responded to my claim. I was responding to your statement that “I do believe this Calvinist resurgence is right on time as our country careens toward more oligarchical collectivism.” I am at a loss as to how the Anglican church, Henry the VIIIth, and the spiritual state of Britain have anything to do with the present political state of our own nation, or how it is that either they or the recent revival of interest in Reformed theology bear any relation to the rise of ‘oligarchical collectivism,’ a term which you have yet to define and which is, as far as I am aware, not in major use by prominent commentators upon the social and political state of our country.

        My original point – which I here reiterate – is that, as can be amply seen from history if one is willing to look, those nations which have been most Reformed have often been republican in nature, some of the most democratic, prosperous, and free nations of their times. Places like England under the Commonwealth, Scotland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland are such examples. Neither they nor any of the other Reformed countries were perfect; they had, as I am sure you will be zealous to note, a number of failures and shortcomings (not least their tendency to often mistreat our Baptist forerunners). But they were still imbibed with more of a spirit of liberty than many of their counterparts in their day, hardly good examples of ‘oligarchical collectivism.’

        I agree with you that an officially-established state church is a bad arrangement, one which is often counterproductive to the making of disciples of Christ. We are both Baptists, and this is (for me at least) one of the reasons why. But I fail to see what this has to do with the PRESENT state of Reformed theology or the present political state of our nation. Reformed theology does not currently advocate the establishment of state churches, nor does its revival have anything to do with such.

          Lydia

          “You have not responded to my claim. I was responding to your statement that “I do believe this Calvinist resurgence is right on time as our country careens toward more oligarchical collectivism.” I am at a loss as to how the Anglican church, Henry the VIIIth, and the spiritual state of Britain have anything to do with the present political state of our own nation, or how it is that either they or the recent revival of interest in Reformed theology bear any relation to the rise of ‘oligarchical collectivism,’ a term which you have yet to define and which is, as far as I am aware, not in major use by prominent commentators upon the social and political state of our country.”

          It is all based upon how people are taught to think about themselves and others. I use collectivism in the sense of group/movement as in the thinking or ideology of the group is more important than the individuals that make up the group. All collectives have an oligarchy (gurus/political leaders/etc) which is their irony. Reformed history is about determinism and caste system thinking.

          America is digressing in both the political and religious realm from freedom of conscience and individual choice to more collectivist thinking of the group/factions. We like to identify with groups/factions. We have been moving toward looking to political and spiritual leaders to tell us what to think and to solve our problems for us. Why do people check their brains at the ballot box AND the church doors? Because they were taught to do so in both the secular and religious realms. They are taught to follow leaders/gurus. The “experiment” in individual freedom/choice is just about over. We decided we did not want the responsibility that comes with choice? The debates in both realms have become so pedantic I can hardly stand them as they hinge on censoring, insults, shaming, etc. From the gay lobby who claims some hate gay people if they don’t embrace it to the Calvinist who claim we don’t think God is Sovereign if we don’t agree with their definition of Sovereignty and believe in free will.

          The fact that you can hold up Reformed history as some sort of freedom template just shows how ingrained the problem really is. It scares me for the future of this country. If I am to believe in the end result of Calvinistic thought, then I am to believe God determined Obamacare.

          I have to give this up. I have laundry and kids to drive to practice. :o)

      Lydia

      “The fanatic for Calvinism was a fanatic for liberty, for in the moral warfare for freedom, his creed was a part of his army, and his most faithful ally in the battle.” And Groen van Prinsterer has thus expressed it : ‘In Calvinism lies the origin and guarantee of our constitutional liberties.’”

      I hate to break it to you, W.L. but freedom for Calvinists usually meant freedom from the encroachments of Rome. How one can read Calvin and come away believing in individual freedom of choice and freedom of conscience is beyond me. All one has to do is look at how Calvinists viewed certain groups like slaves, Jews, etc. You are aware the Boers, creators of Apartheid, were Dutch Calvinists? The Calvinist SBC Founders were pro chattel slavery? They were on the wrong side of “moral warfare”, btw. :o)

      It certainly was not the Puritans declaring their lives and fortunes for Liberty. They had been too busy sin sniffing and putting people in the stocks who dared disagree with their elders. Their New Jerusalem was anything but.

      So, perhaps freedom for some?

        Scott Shaver

        And a long, hushed silence on the historical value of Calvinism.

        Thank you for your precision Lydia. “Rise and Fall” with “Mein Kampfe” used to be required reading…guess not anymore.

        Boyce and Broadus images on display at Southern remaining from the chattel slavery era. Mohler praising Broadus again this week in Oklahoma.

          Lydia

          “Rise and Fall” with “Mein Kampfe” used to be required reading…guess not anymore.”

          What I found, for the most part, when researching Reformed positions was that they promoted what I call “Mongeristic History” books. It is very insular. Do we have a generation or two who have been reading only “approved and promoted” Christian history? Are they only reading what their gurus are promoting?

          I remember reading Paul Johnson’s “History of the Jews” and thinking it was really well done. But then I read his “History of Christianity” and was a bit taken back. I read up on him and found he was a devout Catholic. Then it made sense. You know, he did touch on some obvious problems with Augustine, Popes, etc, but basically they were underplayed as their influence. It was as if he could be more objective with Jewish history but not with what he termed as Christian history. Which is interesting in and of itself. Perhaps others did not come away with that but it really affected me in how all of us approach history.and its nuances.

          There was a lesson for me in there. We have to read around subjects. Most of the official Reformed history is quite one sided as the victors wrote the history. We don’t even know the names of the masses of people burned, drowned and ruined in the Name of Christ who disagreed about our Lord with the powers of that era.. But we will know their new names one day.

          Ironically, it was Leonard Verduin, the Dutch Calvinist, who wrote, “The Reformers and Their Step Children” who really got me interested in digging more into Reformed history. I think he is an under rated scholar. His “Anatomy of a Hybrid” is excellent, too.

        W.L. Talbot

        Lydia, you say “I hate to break it to you, W.L. but freedom for Calvinists usually meant freedom from the encroachments of Rome. How one can read Calvin and come away believing in individual freedom of choice and freedom of conscience is beyond me.” I shall let John Calvin reply in his own words:

        Freedom is such a desirable thing to every one of us, that without it our lives would be little more than a living death, or at the very least, perpetual misery. Indeed, so far as we are able, we flee subjection and constraint, and covet liberty, which, according to the old proverb, is a priceless treasure. If this is true of our earthly lives, then it applies even more to the eternal salvation of our souls. Yet how many there are who are still in bondage, as if they have a noose tied around their necks! Although they claim to love freedom, they live as though they were bound in slavery. This freedom is particularly evident when people are able to rejoice in the liberty purchased for them by the Lord Jesus Christ, which brings rest to their souls. In the gospel, God declares that he delights to adopt us as his children, and in doing so, he frees us from Satan’s snare and from the tyranny of sin. But there are very few who will accept this gift when it is presented to them, because of their cursed captivity to sin; they seem to prefer to be subject to their own carnal appetites, rather than to yield in obedience to God and walk in complete liberty. Paul, therefore, has good reason to scold the Galatians for living under the law, because they are rejecting the freedom and liberty that they should have enjoyed as children of God.”

        Yes, freedom from Rome had a part, but the larger theme was freedom from the corruption and defilements of sin, an aim which bore admirable fruit in the field of political liberty as well.

        Elsewhere you say “You are aware the Boers, creators of Apartheid, were Dutch Calvinists?” This is a sloppy statement. The nation of South Africa, under the leadership of the National Party, enacted Apartheid in 1948. The question for us is: did those of its members who were Dutch Reformed support Apartheid because of their faith, or in spite if it? A similar question might be asked regarding the early founders of the SBC. The answer is the same in both cases, for it is clear that the ethos of scripture is in favor of mutual equality, liberty, and respect, and that slavery is therefore ultimately not in accords with God’s will for the human race. It was allowable once as a necessary evil (like divorce), but is now something which needs to be willing done away with.

          Lydia

          W.L, How can you quote Calvin with a straight face on “freedom”? Freedom as in mandatory church attendance? Freedom as in every aspect of daily life was micromanaged for Genevans down to what sort of bread was used in communion and how many courses could be served at each meal? Freedom as in there were harsh punishments for making fun of Calvin or even falling asleep during his long sermons and on and on and on. To quote Calvin on freedom is like quoting Che Guevara on Freedom.

            Scott Shavers

            At least Che Guevara could practice medicine.

              Andrew Barker

              And he sold a lot of T-shirts! ;-)

Andy

HYPER-CALVINISM:

This is difficult because there is no official agreed-upon definition…AND because no-one uses the term to describe themselves…only other people. But I’ll give it a go:

1. The least helpful way to use the term is simply to apply it to someone who is “really serious about calvinism.” Ie, he may believe the same things as Classic Westminster calvinists, but is more exited about them, or more abrasive in the way he talks about them. (Some may put Darrel only in this category, but I will disagree with that in a moment.) Further, it is self-defeating for a non-calvinist to call a simple serious calvinists a “hyper-calvinist” because in that case they may as well call all calvinists “hyper”, with no distinction, so the lable loses it’s usefulness.

2. Historically, some of the items described as hyper-calvinism were (a) Denial of sufficient grace for the salvation of all persons, (b) denial of the indescriminate offer of salvation to all people (c) denial that all men have a duty to respond in faith, (d) denial of any responsibility on the church to engage in evangelism or missions.

3. Some may see these as simply logical conclusions to normal calvinism, and conclude that only hyper-calvinists logically follow their own system, but that may be a discussion for another day.

4. Back to Darrel: While Darrel has NOT, I beleive, explicitly stated any of the points under #2 (though he has not mentioned some of them either way)…I would tend to say that his comments about non-calvinists put him close to the hyper-calvinist camp, in that he seems to believe those who do not accept calvinism are not saved. THIS is the key difference in his BELIEFS, and while anyone can make harsh comments, it is his beliefs that drove him to make those particular ones.

Feel free to disagree,
-andy

    Steven

    Hyper-Calvinism emphasizes the sovereignty of God to such an extent that man’s human responsibility is denied.

    is a rejection of historic Calvinist thought.

    denies that the Gospel call applies to all;
    denies that faith is the duty of every sinner;
    denies the Gospel offer to the non-elect

    denies that faith is the duty of every sinner;
    denies the Gospel offer to the non-elect;

    denies that the offer of divine mercy is free and universal;
    denies that there is such a thing as “common grace”

    denies that God has any sort of love for the non-elect.

    Calvinists do not agree with the Hyper-Calvinists.

Joel

Can we all agree that there are Hyper-Arminians, just as much as there are Hyper-Calvinists?

    Andrew Barker

    Joel: Believe what you like, so long as you don’t try and paint everyone who is not a Calvinist as a de facto Arminian! Thanks!

      Andy

      What good does it do to “all agree” they exists, if nobody admits to being one? No one admits to being a hyper-calvinist…and no one is going to admit to being a hyper-arminian, or likely a semi-pelagian for that matter…I mean, seriously, no one will hardly admit to being a REGULAR arminian! :-)

      It’s like asking us to “all agree” that STUPID PEOPLE exist. We’ll all agree to it, but we’ll all say it’s somebody else, not us…so we’ll feel better about ourselves.

Lydia

“Can we all agree that there are Hyper-Arminians, just as much as there are Hyper-Calvinists?”

I thought those were the semi Pelagians. : o)

Bill B.

There is so much spiritual, emotional, and intellectual unhealthiness on this thread that it is nauseating.

Spiritual – “we disagree on a peripheral point of theology, so we obviously can’t work together.”
Emotional – “this isn’t how I like MY church and I want it to be MY way, and I’m offended if anyone does something I didn’t vote on or approve”
Intellectual – “anyone ever heard of the straw man theory?”

I’m not saying anyone is right or wrong in the points being made. In fact several of Rick’s points are valid. But the tone and attitude of the post and many of the comments are just sad to me. What does this accomplish? SBC churches are autonomous. That’s the beauty of the SBC. Each church gets to decide how to handle cases like the ones Rick listed. We learn from our mistakes, and we press on.

Come on guys. How is this helping us reach people for Jesus?

    Randy Davenport

    Amen Bill B.

    Rick Patrick

    Bill,
    That is a fair question. I believe in addressing problems affecting church unity that stem from doctrinal divisions over Calvinism. The best way to move forward and avoid repeating the same mistakes in church after church is to learn from the mistakes of others. I am declaring one of those mistakes to be Youth-Targeted-Calvinism in a traditional church without the prior consent of the pastor and the parents. By addressing the issue, we help to raise awareness, and thus to improve conflict resolution, which helps us reach people for Jesus by avoiding the type of distractions that disturb the health of the Body and the Christ-honoring peaceful witness of the church.

    Scott Shavers

    Dr. Phil, I mean Bill.

    Your psycho-babble is just as “nauseating” and spiritually neutral/destructive, appeals to the heart of evangelism not withstanding.

    W.L. Talbot

    “How is this helping us reach people for Jesus?”

    It’s not. I will admit that I am one of the foremost of those who are guilty in that respect. I have published a great many comments here, many of them quite lengthy, in the hope that I might help to bring attention to some of the misperceptions regarding Reformed theology (and also that I might restrain the raving slanders of a certain individual). In so doing I fear that I have only contributed to creating the sort of fruitless controversy which scripture explicitly condemns: as Paul said, “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels” (2 Tim. 2:23). For my part, I regret getting caught up in such an unholy and dishonorable affair, and wish God’s blessings upon all that might read this article, regardless of what their opinion of it might be. I also hope that there will be greater understanding going forward, and that a) the Reformed system of theology will be better understood; and b) those of us who are sympathetic to it will be more careful to conduct ourselves ethically and humbly. I would suggest, however, that in the future there be more careful and strict moderation of comments.

Lydia

Bill, there is nothing more unhealthy than sweeping serious problems/differences under the rug and pretending. That is called dysfunction and it has been expected from SBC leaders for years now. How can people work toward a common goal when the goals are really quite different? Usually enablers want to censor what needs to be discussed when uncomfortable. There is nothing wrong with encouraging thinking about why we believe what we believe. Unless one wants indoctrination. It is great you find some of Rick’s points “valid”, though. :o)

As to SBC churches as “autonomous” that would include the Acts 29 and other Reformed only churches we have subsidized, too, right? That argument is often trotted out in these situations but it is not exactly the way things are when stealth take overs have occurred and people are wondering what happened. I could tell you about a few where by laws were interpreted unethically so votes by some who were long time members/tithers could not vote because they were shut ins.

Bill Mac

So much of this discussion is a colossal exercise in missing the point.

Do any Calvinists here really think it’s ok for a youth minister to teach Calvinism in a decidedly non-Calvinist church without the express permission of the church leadership? Anyone?

    Jim P

    Bill,
    The real point is, is ‘that tactic’ implied in your last sentence and in this article going on in the degree as portrayed or simply a red-herring?

    I’ll go back to a parrallel point I made in the past: The Jews resented the Romans to such a degree they were unable to see God’s Christ for their real deliverance from their real enemy. It’s a lot easier to enlist a less worthy enemy in order to avoid facing the greater enemy.

      Scott Shaver

      Jews resented Romans as an occupying force the same way Genevans who didn’t subscribe to Calvin’s views resented his occupation and government.

      As a baptist (non-protestant), I can understand the resentment. Don’t go away angry with the message of “reform”…..but please go away.

        Steven

        Scott writes,
        As a baptist (non-protestant)

        You are saying you side with Catholicism, as a non-protestant.

          Scott Shaver

          I have no doubt, Steven, that what I’ve actually written is no where close to what you claim I say.

          You can make me so whatever you want me to say, but the point of the matter is I have less difficulty with the extremes and shifts of Catholicism than I do with Calvinist reformers. Guess you could say I’d rather have coffee with Cathollics than Neo-Calvinists. At least they don’t misrepresent (for the most part) what and who they are.

            Scott Shaver

            Additonally, they don’t misrepresent what Southern Baptists are and historically have been.

      Steven

      Jim P writes,
      The Jews resented the Romans to such a degree they were unable to see God’s Christ for their real deliverance from their real enemy.

      Where can we find this statement so we can be more informed about your opinion,
      or is there a reference you can supply to what you write? Thank you.

        Jim P

        Steven, I want to respect your question. Jesus, said to the woman at the well, “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” Paul said, “that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

        Those outside Israel during Christ’s time, had ‘no hope.’ What was the Jews’ ‘hope?’ The Jews’ hope was the promises made to Abraham of a great nation, a nation whose seed would be more than the sands of he shores or stars in the heavens. The Jews, during Christ’s time, held to that hope but held to that hope in a growing opposition and resentment to the World around them. A world where God was using the Jews themselves to bring salvation. Their hope became reduced to a cultural criteria instead of the God who gave those promises. That cultural criteria turned inward on them to the degree they could only see themselves against the world and could not see God working in their midst to fulfill His promises to Abraham through Jesus. Anyway that cultural dilemma has a way of plaguing the best of Christians. Plaguing to the degree to even redefine the Lord priorities, priorities I’m not sure many even care to know.

        Peace

    Jim P

    The Jews, in their resentment for Roman Rule became worse than the Roman’s whom they resented ending crucifying the very Christ who would deliver them from their true task master, who they willfully ignored. They, making Rome the enemy instead of their real enemy, became marginalized eventually being defeated by a ‘paper tiger’ who they traded for their true enemy (Roman 70 &135 A.D.) Both turning their backs on the One who came to deliver both of them. This is no chess game.

      Scott Shaver

      Jim P:
      With all due respect, your blanket and collective statement of the “Jews” responsibility for the death of Christ (opposed to my understanding of his death being the responsibility of us all) smacks to me as the remarks of an anti-semite when you get right down to where the theological rubber meets the road.

      Want no part of it, or any slight of hand proof-texting for justification. Calvin or no Calvin

      Scott Shaver

      You guys are the ones who want to take deeply spiritual and personal matters (apart form Spirit interaction) and make chess games of it all.

      You should be finding out by now it’s no “chess” game.

      Lydia

      Jim, trying to understand your illustration and how it maps to the discussion. Does it mean the Neo Cals are the occupying force in the SBC and the Free Will folks are so resentful they miss out on Jesus.

      I guess my question is why Christians think it is ok to be an occupying force for other Christians?

      Lydia

      Jim P, I am trying to understand your illustration and map it to the discussion. Does it mean that you view the Neo Calvinists in the SBC as an occupying force and the free will folks are so resentful they miss out on Christ?

      I guess my question would be why any group of Christians would want to be occupiers of other Christians?

    Jim P

    An extended explanation for those who like to argue when there is really no argument: Pilate tried three time to release Christ. Who on this earth pushed Pilate toward the crucifixion?
    Some of the people here aught to read their Bibles a little more. Checkmate

      Scott Shaver

      Ha.

      Let’s see if you’re still pointing a finger at Jews on judgement day Jim P.

      Scott Shaver

      Where where the mighty disciples Jim P?

Scott Crowder

I just watched a conversation between Eric Hankins and Al. Mohler on almohler.com. They were very respectful of one another and one anothers beliefs. Why is it I don’t see people treating each other as God’s children elsewhere when discussing Calvinism in the SBC.

    Lydia

    “They were very respectful of one another and one anothers beliefs. Why is it I don’t see people treating each other as God’s children elsewhere when discussing Calvinism in the SBC.”

    Respectful could also be no stealth Calvinism when you go to work in a church. Be upfront about what you are. But many years of the opposite behavior have now passed. There is a trust issue. Lets not pretend “Quiet Revolution” chapter 4 was never written and implemented by the subsequent army of YRR followers— without even realizing it.

    Andy

    It’s the perceived anonymity of the net…

    Mohler/Hankins…Montgomery/Fisher…White/Brown….AND every real life discussion I have been a part of has been much more cordial…but internet typing debates tend to be less so.

    Scott Shaver

    They get PAID for being nice to each other (Mohler and Hankins). Their jobs and legacies are dependent upon that.

    The rest of us get “robbed” and “marginalized” based on the changing theologies and concessions of these guys. Have you noticed they’re nice to each other but speak in general tones of disdain for nameless Baptists who question their logic and theological bents.

    These guys are not “examples” for many of us.

Lydia

“Do any Calvinists here really think it’s ok for a youth minister to teach Calvinism in a decidedly non-Calvinist church without the express permission of the church leadership? Anyone?”

That would be like asking CJ to admit he protected child molesters. Not going to happen. We are all going to pretend there were “technicalities” involved which render him innocent of re-abusing the victims. My last church hired a youth pastor 3 years ago who was teaching determinism (his guru of choice was Piper and Driscoll which most had never heard of) and he knew it was a non Calvinist church. He never once told the church or the personnel committee he was a Calvinist. They simply trusted the seminary and the state convention folks recommendation for candidates..

But you see, it was the personnel committee’s fault for not asking the right questions before they put them out there. Bill, this sort of thing has happened in many places. Most people just don’t want to deal with conflict because it is “not Christian” to have conflict over such things. And on it goes.

    Bill Mac

    Lydia: My point is with this post and the last, at least a few people seem to be implying that stealth reformed teaching is OK. These conversations inevitably devolve into the rightness or wrongness of Calvinism rather than the issue of a youth minister being subject to the church and church leadership regarding what he teaches.

Lydia

“ydia: My point is with this post and the last, at least a few people seem to be implying that stealth reformed teaching is OK. These conversations inevitably devolve into the rightness or wrongness of Calvinism rather than the issue of a youth minister being subject to the church and church leadership regarding what he teaches.”

That is a step forward, perhaps. In the past, the Neo Cal young men on blogs demanded DNA evidence that these things happened at all in SBC churches. But churches are actually worse than corporations who want someone to leave but then won’t give them a bad reference for all the trouble they caused.

I am not sure we can dismiss the rightness/wrongness of Calvinism with the issue. Doesn’t zeal for doctrine drive behavior? Did Calvin care what the pew sitters (the priesthood) thought about his ST?

    Bill Mac

    The rightness or wrongness of Calvinism matters to the churches in question more so than in this discussion. Every Calvinist who posts comments here ought to be lining up to say that stealth teaching of Calvinism is wrong. If the church as a whole rejects what they call “biblical theology”, then they need to go elsewhere.

      Scott Shaver

      GOP should be lining up to defend constitution, rule of law and separation of powers……but it ain’t happening.

        Scott Shaver

        Doesn’t this kind of go back to the suggestion posed earlier in the thread about the nature of Calvinism, from its inception, being more political-theological than rightly-interpreted framework of completed revelation?

Dot Lok

I found the implication made in this article that Calvinism is being taught secretly and behind the parents’ back to be interesting. The writer seems to be saying that youth ministers etc are teaching tenets of Calvinsim to the youths by saying (or not saying) “this is Calvinsim”, and then outlining, say, TULIP. If this is indeed what is going on, then I do see an issue with it. I grew up in an evangelical church that kind of took the middle of the road, meaning no one really discussed Calvinism or Arminianism. As I was growing up, I had many questions about the bible, what specific passages meant and what that looked like practically, and although answers were given at church, at times I wasn’t sure I fully accepted the answers. Into my 20s, I was studying the Bible more and more with different bible teachers and came to better understand and accept who God was and what the Bible taught. I had an understanding of the Bible that I believed more and more to be true. Interestingly enough those Biblical truths lined up much more with Reformed (Calvinist) Theology then Arminian Theology. I hesitate to call myself a Calvinist because I haven’t read Calvin’s works and I don’t know if I would agree with him 100%, but in my understanding of the Bible and of the sovereignty of God and election, I would say my theology is very much Reformed.

I guess my point is that pastors, youth pastors, bible study leaders should not be teaching Calvinism or Arminianism. We need to teach the Bible and we need to know the Bible better. And yes we come from different understandings and we will teach it based on that understanding, whether it’s with a Calvinist bent or with an Arminian bent but the important thing is that we teach scripture, and we go back to the Word. Then we step back and let the Holy Spirit speak and teach each person personally, including the youths.

At then end of the day, our Salvation is not based on whether we are Calvinists or Arminians, Baptists or Presbyterians. We are all saved by grace through faith in the risen Christ, and as much as we may disagree on these details maybe the important thing is disagree with gentleness and respect, treating each other like brothers and sisters in Christ, because we are.

    Randy Davenport

    I am going through a similar journey. I agree we need to teach the Bible, but I also believe that doctrine is important. As my Alma Mater, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary proclaims, Preach The Word, Impact Eternity.

    Lydia

    “We are all saved by grace through faith in the risen Christ, and as much as we may disagree on these details maybe the important thing is disagree with gentleness and respect, treating each other like brothers and sisters in Christ, because we are.”

    There is nothing gentle and respectful about teaching teens fatalism. If this movement had mass produced humble, sacrificial , respectful young men you might be right. But it did not. And the horror stories keep pouring in. Determinism never does in mass movements. It recruits the young for a reason. Read history.

    Jim P

    You are correct ‘at the end of the day.’ At the end of the day for Jesus, Pilate, out of frustration asked, “What is truth?” then walk away, then, at the end of the day, let Jesus be crucified, The right question is and always has been, “Who is Truth?”

    “I am the way the truth and the light, no man comes to the Father but through Me.” Whatever the doctrine, anti-doctrine or lack of doctrine, if the Person of Jesus is not the source of truth for God’s people, at the end of the day, frustration. Not much different than Pilate, who let Truth be crucified..

      Scott Shaver

      Fumny Jim P.

      Out of one side of your mouth you defend Christ as the embodiment of truth…..next comment you’re making a bee line to the gurus and doctrines of “Calvinism” to buttress your support.

      Pilate did ask “What is truth”. It was a question designed to deflect from the fact that he knew Jesus was innocent but remained to determined to that which was politically expedient……JUST EXACTLY LIKE MOST NEO AND HYPER-CALVINIST TYPES I’M FAMILIAR WITH.

      Stealth deceivers of the young and weak.

jerry

To paraphrase point two: If we teach the kids what the Bible says via the writings of Piper and Keller, they’ll believe it. We can’t have that.

    Scott Shaver

    Who said anything about Piper “teaching” the Bible other than you Jerry?

    Piper uses the bible for a diving board the same way Mormons use it as supplement to their primary “Holy Book”.

    Scott Shaver

    Jerry:

    Exactly the reason that “paraphrases” and “allegory” are deficient tools for discerning reality. They’re more often than not totally off base.

Jerry

Despite Dr. Patrick’s claim, the definitive book on the theological views of the founders of the SBC is Tom Nettles’ “By His Grace and For His Glory.”

    Rick Patrick

    Jerry,
    Lemke’s research is impeccable. By exploring both the beliefs of the early Baptist leaders and the early Baptist confessions, he proves that BOTH views existed in significant measure in the early days of the SBC. Nettles has a bias in favor of Calvinism rivaling CNN’s preference for the Democratic Party. In fairness, both views were strongly represented, which is Lemke’s position.

      Scott Shaver

      Rick says Nettles “has a bias in favor of Calvinism.”

      Scott says Nettles revises history based on his preference for Calvinism. Does not deserve an honorable mention among Southern Baptist Historians IMO.

    Scott Shaver

    Jerry:

    You mean, of course, Tom Nettles of Soverign Divine Reformed Grace fame?

    Glad he’s retired.

      Scott Shaver

      Start with McBeths “Four Centuries of Baptist Heritage”.

      Feel far more comfortable dropping the names of historians as opposed to preferred theologians in this environment :)

    Les Prouty

    Jerry,

    I was privileged to have Dr. Nettles in seminary. What a godly man and blessing he has been to Jesus’ church. Wish he was not retired. But as long as the Lord gives him breath he will no doubt be used to teach biblical truths to God’s people and win people to Jesus.

    SDG!

Scott Shaver

Les Prouty on Tom Nettles….”Wish he was not retired, what a godly man and blessing he has been to Jesus’s church”.

I think Les meant to write “a blessing for Calvin’s church”. This based on the previous and repeated testimony of Les at this site, and at least PRAVDA, that he left before finishing seminary all together because of the “liberal teaching and professors”.

Some of us has enough interaction with Nettles and his “Founders” THUGS to know what a TRUE “BLESSING” they really are.

Passive agressive is not going to work well for you Les, you’re too obvious.

    Scott Shaver

    Typo. “Some of us have had enough interaction”

    Les Prouty

    Au contraire Scott. I meant just what I wrote. You guys and gal her need to have your mind readers checked. Something is broken I think.

    “that he left before finishing seminary all together because of the “liberal teaching and professors”.” Oh I see what you did there. Right. I didn’t finish “THAT” seminary. Liberal profs. Yeah. it’s coming back to me now. NOBTS where we were taught that the miracles in the bible were’t really miracles. Right that seminary. Yeah left that one behind for one where the bible is believed. Wait two seminars later wherein I actually did finish. Both seminaries. Both degrees. Scott you need to get your omniscience machine checked too.

    “Some of us has enough interaction with Nettles and his “Founders” THUGS to know what a TRUE “BLESSING” they really are.”

    “THUGS.” Just gonna leave that one out there. You referred to Founders men as Thugs. wow.

    Passive aggressive? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    SDG!

Lydia

When I read Quiet Revolution and especially chapter 4, the playbook of the Founders, “thug” was not the word I thought of but something much more deceptively sinister. But it made total sense they would want to go back to the days of protecting chattel slavery which was part of the “correct founding doctrine” of the SBC. There is power in ruling over people if you can convince them you are appointed by God to do so.

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