Adrian Rogers’ Flub

by Andrew Wencl on August 29, 2012 · 131 comments

This is a perfect example why we should judge The Gospel Project for what it says, not for who said what:

Adrian Rogers, considered one of the preeminent Southern Baptists in recent history, wrote What Every Christian Ought to Know, a book that has been used in many SBC churches to disciple new believers in the basics of what Christians believe. I have used this book myself with new believers because it is short, easy to understand, and introduces some core Christian beliefs without getting too in-depth for a new believer to understand.

However, I’m reconsidering using What Every Christian Ought to Know because of some references and quotes that I feel could endanger the believers in my congregation by unwittingly exposing them to some Calvinists and Calvinistic ideas. Adrian Rogers was clearly not a Calvinist, and I’m grateful for his teachings on election and predestination. But I don’t believe Rogers fully realized the threat that Calvinism posed to the SBC when he wrote this book. What Every Christian Ought to Know leaves a trail that could ultimately lead unsuspecting and untrained new believers to embrace Calvinism, which would only lead to more division and strife in the SBC. Were he to write this book today, I’m certain that he would not include the same references that he did.

I would encourage any new believer to listen to and read Adrian Rogers’ material, so I don’t have an axe to grind against him. He’s one of my heroes. But I’d rather have new believers avoid overexposure to Calvinism when they’re at such an impressionable stage in their Christian walk. Here’s what concerns me about What Every Christian Ought to Know:

In chapter four, “Every Christian Ought to Know What Happens When a Christian Sins,” Rogers irresponsibly points his readers to two people any self-respecting Southern Baptist should wholeheartedly avoid. Rogers quotes lyrics from the song “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson. Robinson was a Methodist at the time he wrote that song, and though he later became a Baptist, he also became a Calvinist. Rogers also quotes Augustus Toplady’s song “Rock of Ages.” Toplady was a strong Calvinist who firmly opposed the teachings of John Wesley, founder of Methodism. Toplady argued that Calvinism was the historic position of the Church of England (not unlike the leading Calvinizers claim today about the SBC’s origins). Rogers gives no warning concerning the beliefs of Robinson or Toplady. Since sin is a very important doctrinal point for Calvinists, I can’t imagine why Rogers would haphazardly quote from people who would undermine what we, as traditional Southern Baptists, believe.

Update: I want to point out that this is completely tongue in cheek. I’m not a Traditionalist. I do like Rogers’ book (though I disagree with him on foreknowledge and predestination). Speaking of his book, a new edition is coming out in September 2012. If you don’t yet own a copy, I suggest picking one up (especially if it inadvertently leads to you becoming a Calvinist ;-)).

1 Daniel August 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I know, I know, Dave can’t do anything about what his posters choose to write about. This kind of writing is ridonculous. And yes, ridonculous, is a word.

2 Debbie Kaufman August 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm

And I think this post makes a very good and obvious point Daniel, which is ridiculous and I think Andrew would agree with you on that. That is the point if I am reading correctly. :)

3 Daniel August 29, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Agreed on the point of the post, Debbie. However I believe that this type of post is like me locking my 12yo and 8yo son up in their bedroom all day. Sure, they’ll have some fun and might learn to get along, but I can guarantee that there will be at lease one bloody nose before the day is over. And, if I could have prevented them from having that bloody nose by simply allowing them to utilize the rest of the house, then I certainly bear some of the responsibility. Locking two warring brothers in any room proves nothing and accomplishes very little.

Since the Evil Emperor of the Yankees may have a chance to read this himself I have one more thing to say …. :) :( :) :( :) :) :)

4 David Rogers August 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm

There are people out there naive enough to not realize what you are saying here is totally tongue in cheek.

But I guess “satire alerts” have a tendency to ruin the whole point of satire, don’t they?

5 David Rogers August 29, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Oh, and for the record, I heartily endorse both The Gospel Project and What Every Christian Ought to Know.

As Andrew, no doubt, does as well, for those who may still be trying to figure this out.

6 David Rogers August 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm

While we’re at it, I can chime in and say that my dad was known, on occasion, to quote from the pulpit that sinister Calvinist conspiracist Charles H. Spurgeon.

7 dr. james willingham August 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm

David: When I read about your saying that your dad was known on occasion to quote from the pulpit that sinister Calvinist conspiracist Charles H. Spurgeon, it caught me happily by surprise. I actually laughed out loud. Thank you. I am reminded of the fact that there are always marvelous inconsistencies in our lives. Whitefield and Wesley are two such examples. What gets me is how those who tend to the human side will produce those who tend to the Sovereignty side, and vice versa. Satire is close kin to irony, the latter certainly being one of the subtletest forms of language.

8 Andrew Wencl August 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm


I wonder how I would feel if someone pulled my dad into an issue he didn’t involve himself with. Thanks for being positive.

And for the record, I absolutely endorse both TGP and What Every Christian Ought to Know (even though I disagreed with the part about foreknowledge and predestination ;-)). I believe I saw something on Lifeway’s website indicating a new edition of What Every Christian Ought to Know was coming out this September. Glad to see it!

9 cb scott August 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

David Rogers,

Do you remember Pirate’s Island?

10 David Rogers August 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm


Are you referring to the TV movie, to Pirates World amusement park in Denia, Florida, or to something else?

11 cb scott August 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm

David Rogers,

I gave you the wrong name. It is Pirate’s World. Is it still in business?

12 David Rogers August 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm


I don’t think it is in business anymore, but we went there one time as a family when I was in elementary school. It was a lot of fun. I think my dad mentioned it in a sermon illustration one time. Is that where you are thinking I would remember it?

13 cb scott August 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm

That is correct, David. He mentioned your being there in a sermon.

BTW, it was/is a good sermon and so is the book in question in Andrew’s post.

14 David Rogers August 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm


No problem. I’ll let you invite me for coffee sometime.

15 Andrew Wencl August 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm

We just ran out of the liquid creamer, so if you stop by tonight, you’ll have to settle for the powdered stuff (or 2% milk). If you are ever in or near Indianapolis, give me a holler.

16 David Rogers August 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Actually, I’d prefer a good Spanish cortado. We might have to meet in Madrid for that.

17 Daniel August 29, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Got the satire, but also believe that it provokes more fights than it quells.

18 Debbie Kaufman August 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Daniel: He is simply replying to the SBCToday post concerning supposed Calvinist statements in the Gospel project. He is showing(and I believe rightly so) how ridiculous those arguments SBCToday gave are. That post is still up too. I doubt it’s going anywhere.

19 Daniel August 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm

For some reason my browser refuses to visit there.

20 Rick Patrick August 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm

While Dr. Rogers’ volume is complete, TGP is a work in progress. Thus, we can summarize the full content of the former, but are forced to draw conclusions from a mere sampling of the latter.

In three years, when the last period has been placed on TGP, and we can fully evaluate the material produced by this predominantly reformed cast, we will only then be able to make an informed evaluation as to Calvinistic bias.

When reviewing a book, read the whole book. When reviewing a movie, watch the whole movie. When reviewing a three-year curriculum, read the entire curriculum. Until then, the jury is out.

Nice satire, though, Andrew. I rather appreciate its literary usefulness.

21 Chris Roberts August 29, 2012 at 1:58 pm

“In three years, when the last period has been placed on TGP, and we can fully evaluate the material produced by this predominantly reformed cast, we will only then be able to make an informed evaluation as to Calvinistic bias.”

Meanwhile, people will continue to attack it for the indoctrination and propaganda it doesn’t contain but might some day contain…?

22 Anthony Clay August 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm

yes. By his own reasoning, hasn’t Rick discredited his own conclusions?

23 Rick Patrick August 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm

The primary criticisms have centered on the imbalance of the theological positions held by the creative team, with the reasonable deduction that their Calvinism is bound to be expressed in their writing.

One of the two lessons I’ve read discussed Total Depravity from a perspective that leaned toward Total Inability as well, rather than the view of many Traditionalists that our Depravity does not render us unable to respond freely.

I’m not comfortable saying that this indoctrination is all future tense. Some of it may already be there, but just in a very subtle form. I do think you’re correct that as time goes on, people will very carefully scrutinize the curriculum for Calvinism. Everyone’s antenna is up. If and when such a view is conclusively presented, I believe it will be noticed.

24 Andrew Wencl August 29, 2012 at 2:10 pm

“In three years, when the last period has been placed on TGP, and we can fully evaluate the material produced by this predominantly reformed cast, we will only then be able to make an informed evaluation as to Calvinistic bias.”

Is this a retraction of your earlier statement?:

Despite any and all assertions to the contrary, The Gospel Project is a Sunday School curriculum designed and overseen by Calvinist advisors, written by Calvinist authors, discussing Calvinist themes from a Calvinist perspective, and recommending further exposure to Calvinist books and Calvinist sermon podcasts.

25 Rick Patrick August 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Not really. Take the six claims one by one:
1. Calvinist Advisors? PROVEN
2. Calvinist Authors? PROVEN
3. Calvinist Themes? SUGGESTED BIAS
4. Calvinist Perspective? PROVEN–who else is there?
5. Calvinist Books? PROVEN
6. Calvinist Podcasts? PROVEN

Of these six, the only issue still open for discussion is the only one most of you are focused upon–demonstrate the Calvinistic content of the lesson notes themselves, the actual verses chosen and interpretations explained. I am willing to admit that the jury is still out a bit on number three. I think it’s there, but my hunch is that in the future, it will become even more clear.

26 John K August 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Your sermon back in January you yourself point out that you are a 2.5 point Calvinist.

27 Rick Patrick August 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm

It really depends on definitions. At the time, I was claiming T and P and using the familiar “sufficiency-efficiency” argument for L.

I have now determined that, using the definitions of Calvinists, I must also disaffirm both T and L. Perseverance is the only point that has persevered.

Still, I would rather have one point than be pointless. And thanks for reading so closely.

28 John K August 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm

So in the last 8 months you have turned from being a 2.5 point Calvinist to a 1 point Calvinist. Your congregation must be confused with your theology shifts. Did you meet with the Deacons and inform them of this deception? I know you are big on Calvinist Pastors being honest with the congregation and Deacons.

29 Rick Patrick August 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm


I would say that my positions have only slightly changed. What has indeed changed is my clearer understanding of the definitions of these terms as they are more commonly understood by reformed thinkers. Two books that have been helpful in this regard are “Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist: The Disquieting Realities of Calvinism” by Ronnie W. Rogers, and “Considering Calvinism: Faith or Fatalism” by Gil VanOrder, Jr.

You’ll be happy to know my congregation is not at all confused by my theology, as they know I do not believe in unconditional election or irresistible grace. The more perceptive ones know that the Depravity I embrace does not include Inability. They have also heard me clearly proclaim that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. For that matter, they know I believe in perseverance of the saints as well.

Once again, there has been no deception or change in my theology at all. If there had been, I would indeed have informed our deacons. Rather, there has been a change in perspective concerning the best way to count the points.

30 John K August 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Your correct our Traditionalist friends should not judge you too harshly for this perceived error. How can we really expect you to have fully comprehended all of the many nuances of the complex theological system you just preached 8 months ago at your church. After all, as you have said your positions have only slightly changed just like Ronnie changing from a 4 point calvinist to writing a book just a short time ago saying his theology was in error.

31 Alan Cross August 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm


Then you should wait three years before attacking TGP repeatedly, if that is your standard.

Asking questions is a good thing. Looking for clarification is good communication. Asserting a conspiracy without proof over and over again is irresponsible. I am glad that you are rethinking your previous approach. We should all wait 3 years and look at the final product. I concur.

32 Rick Patrick August 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I am not rethinking the existence of theological position bias among (1) the advisors, (2) the writers, (3) the books recommended, or (4) the podcasts promoted.

Although one of the lessons I read presented a view of Depravity I felt leaned Calvinistic, I am, however, more than willing to wait three years to present my FINAL conclusion. However, I think it is more than fair that we should be able to evaluate EACH QUARTER’S LITERATURE AS IT IS RELEASED for the possible Calvinistic bias one might expect from such a team.

In other words, we can only evaluate each quarter’s literature once it has been published.

33 Alan Cross August 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm

You said:

Not really. Take the six claims one by one:
1. Calvinist Advisors? PROVEN
2. Calvinist Authors? PROVEN
3. Calvinist Themes? SUGGESTED BIAS
4. Calvinist Perspective? PROVEN–who else is there?
5. Calvinist Books? PROVEN
6. Calvinist Podcasts? PROVEN


1. Yes, there were some Calvinist advisors. Why is that a problem?
2. Authors? Who? How many were 5 pointers? Trevin Wax is a 4 pointer. I would contend that the system falls apart if you take out Limited Atonement. Do you really want to start examining points of TULIP on everyone?
3. Suggested Bias – by you and other Trads. Just because you suggest it does not make it so. One thing to consider is that the whole idea of the Grand Narrative of Scripture might seem foreign to many Trads because you guys have often broken theology up into a bunch of unrelated doctrines that don’t make too much sense and then you give an altar call and tell people to come forward and repeat a prayer after ou and they are saved.
4. Perspective Proven? – Again, how many of them are 5 point Calvinists? You don’t know. If you are anywhere on the Calvinist spectrum are you a Calvinist? I don’t think so, but it seems that you agree with Dr. Mohler on this. If so, then you might want to call perhaps 80% of the SBC Calvinists, according to your definition. Do you know how many of the guys are 5 pointers?
5. They use Calvinist books? Only? Is that all? Nothing else? Are you sure?
6. Podcasts? Only from Calvinists? No one else? Perhaps Trads should begin to do some podcasts on the Grand Narrative of Scripture.

Could it be that this idea articulated by WA Criswell and many Baptists over the years of a Grand Narrative has most recently been embraced by those who lean Calvinist and THAT is why they are being cited? It is a sound biblical perspective. Christopher Wright, an Anglican, lays it out well in The Mission of God. Maybe THAT is what htey were getting at instead of just pushing Calvinism and you can’t see it because it seems foreign to you?

Oh, and on #3, I was “suggesting” something. I know I can’t prove it, but I’ll just throw it out there and see if it sticks. Is that fair? No, I guess it isn’t. I’ll retract that.

34 dr. james willingham August 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Tell me, Rick: What should I do. Here I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church in Arkansas, where the pastor was a Sovereign Grace preacher, a great pastor. I was converted by Jesus appearing, knocking at my heart;s door, and, when I fled, He followed and opened the door so that I called on Him for forgiveness of my sins. Then I was called to the ministry of the word, and my ordaining pastor was a Five point, hyper calvinist, a supralapsarian, no less. David Rogers’ father knew him. In fact, Dr. Ernest R. Campbell was one of the preachers with Dr. Rogers who preached Dr. R.G. Lee’s funeral (and Dr. Campbell was specified in Dr. Lee’s will to preach his funeral). When Dr. Campbell ordained me, I did not believe in Sovereign Grace or Calvinism as you call it. However, by the end of the first year as a pastor of a rural church in Mo. and by close study of the Greek NT, I had come to the conclusion that man was total depraved and disabled, that that required a irresistible grace, and God’s choice to exercise it…and I preached my first sermon on the subject in 1963 at the Dixon Baptist Assn. on Eph.1:3-14, text, vs. 8, subject: Amazing Grace. Points three: 1. Immeasurable. 2. Irresistible. 3. Irreversible. I took about 10 years to make a determination on the fact that the power is in the blood. It took that many years and more to determine that Sovereign Grace was the founding theology of the SBC and of our oldest assns. and churches and that it was the theology that sparked the Great Awakenings and the launching of the Great Century of Missions.. I also found out that one of my ancestors was preaching it in Georgia, Alabama, and Texas, that he was mentioned in Henry Holcombe’s History of Alabama Baptists in 1840, that the internet showed he was one of the two individuals appointed to execute the will of the Daniel Marshall, the founder of the oldest continuing Baptist Church in the Georgia Baptist Convention in 1781 (relative Elder Holland Middleton), and that there is a circular letter of the Georgia Baptist Assn. in which Silas Mercer of the Jesse Mercer family, spoke of predestination as a soul winning doctrine, one that God blessed to win souls. AND then there are relatives in the Craigs, which name our son has borne for 40 years, being named by his great grandmother before he was born.
The Craigs are the folks who were active in Va. to secure religious liberty, and they, being Scotchmen were noted for their adherence to the Sovereignty of God’s grace. In fact, the descendant of Elijah Craig, the Elder who headed up the committee to meet with the colonial legislators to secure religious liberty to practice our faith in exchange for encouraging the young men of their communities to enlist in a civil war against a duly constituted government, a war we call the American Revolution and in which I had a number of ancestors who were participants. Now I have served as Chairman of the Historical Committee of the Sandy Creek Baptist Assn. (1977-81) and of the Baptist State Convention of NC (1985) and I know that the calvinists were the folks who launched the missionary movement (I have Luther Rice’s memoirs lying on the desk on which my computer sets about a foot from my elbow as I type). He says these doctrines are in the Bible and you had better preach them. And you say give them up. Will you tell my friend Dr. Gene Spurgeon to give up his beliefs and preaching of Sovereign Grace, when it took him almost 40 years before he finally came to see that irresistible grace is actually taught in the Bible. You ought to hear the story of how we came to such beliefs.

We got an introduction to Sovereign Grace in our first year of college (though I had heard it preached in child hood, I did not remember it) in the Fall of 1958 at East Texas Baptist College. A fellow who had been converted by irresistible grace was telling everyone about it. We rejected it at first. Then parted company, to meet again on Lincoln Univ.’s campus in Mo., where I told my friend Spurgeon about having changed my beliefs on the subject, believing grace to be irresistible./ Gene then on a visitation won a young lady of about 20 years of age to Christ. She responded so readily to his effort, he asked her why and she said, “O! It was so wonderful, that I could not resist it.” When she said that, he said, “What you said about grace being irrresistible popped into my mind.” I asked, if he had changed his mind. He said, no, but he was thinking about it. That was about 1965. As late as 2002-3 he was still thinking about it. Then by 2007, he had come to the conclusion that grace was irresistible. He also was informed by some geneaologist that he was related to C.H. Spurgeon, the calvinist conspiracist supreme that Brother David Rogers mentioned as being quoted by his Dad.

Rick, do I toss out my theology, gained my careful exegesis, six intensive years of research in Baptist History, the degrees that go with such work in ministry (five plus work on number 6), a family background very much related to the major sources of Sovereign Grace in the SBC, toss it out just to satisfy you? Forget what I believe to be sacred, wonderful truths? Get rid of all of my research…as for example the knowledge that the church from which came our first missionary to China, Matthew T. Yates, held that Christ died for the church. Its articles of faith said nothing about Him dying for the whole world? Is that what you advocate, Rick? Shall our son, who has been pastor of one church for 13 years, where the attendance has gone from 90-100 to 164 to 220 on Sunday mornings, and that while he believed and preached Sovereign Grace, shall he, I say, see his father deny his faith? You jest, surely, if you think we who are the descendants of the founders as well as their true successors , will give up the original faith. After all, it was the calvinists of Virginia Separate Baptists and Regular Baptists who, when they united, made room for the few back then who preached that Christ tasted death for every man, when most of them believed He died only for the elect..due to the fact that they believed the power was sin the blood….not in the individual’s faith. Yes, the liberal openess was on the part of the Sovereign Grace, the calvinists. They are the people who launched the Great Century of Missions and the educational institutions of our State and Southern Baptist Conventions. Tell me, brother, Rick, do you really demand that we get out of the organization which not only our theological predecessors founded, but even our actual biological ancestors who held to the same faith we hold today? The fellow who is the prototype for your kind of believer, the traditionalists, was Elder Ruben Ross. He was converted by calvinists, and at the end of his many years of ministry, his funeral was preached by a calvinist. He could never see his way clear to accept Sovereign Grace, but he was allowed to continue. Now we have you, always demanding that we, the descendants and successors of the originators of the great missionary effort, educational institutions, and the organizations pertaining thereto, must give up and let you folks ride rough shod over us? Can’t say a word about what we believe and hold dear and sacred. We allow you to do so. No one has gone after you, but I have had several go after me. A DOM who tried to get my deacons to fire me. He later gave me the book to which I called his attention, when he told me I ought to quit preaching that old stuff. I said, point to Luther Rice’s Memoirs, “He says it is in the Bible and you had better preach it.” Here you not only write on this blog, but you even get to write some of the columns which down the views of the blog’s owner, who has several who do not hold as he does..or at least that is what I gather from what I have read. I eagerly await your response.

35 Rick August 30, 2012 at 12:32 am

“”Rick, do I toss out my theology, gained my careful exegesis, six intensive years of research in Baptist History, the degrees that go with such work in ministry (five plus work on number 6), a family background very much related to the major sources of Sovereign Grace in the SBC, toss it out just to satisfy you? Forget what I believe to be sacred, wonderful truths?”” Let folks ride roughshod?

I appreciate your detailed history of the SBC. You have a much better handle on it than I do. But honestly, I’m a solid 5 pointer and not sure what your issue is.

36 dr. james willingham August 30, 2012 at 11:59 am

Yez, Rick c- I know you are a calvinist. I am addressing Rick Patrick who apparently wants to impose his standards on the whole show, when the originals intended something slightly different.

37 Rick Patrick August 30, 2012 at 9:06 am


There are two Ricks. The good doctor MAY have been referring to me. If so, Dr. Willingham, please know that the answer to your question, “Do I toss out my theology…” is simply, “No.” I have certainly never called on anyone to do that.

Dear Reformed and/or Calvinistic Brethren, do not think for a minute that I oppose your right to your Calvinism. I do not. It’s almost comical how often I get that. Last Sunday, we had a guest preacher at our church from a Calvinist leaning congregation. He quoted Platt and Akin and did a fine job. I may be a NON-Calvinist but I am not an ANTI-Calvinist.

You ask: “Then what do you Traditionalists want?” I can boil it down to two things:

(1) PROPORTIONALITY–In the life of the SBC and our entities and institutions, we should only be as Calvinistic as our denomination itself. If our seminaries and mission boards and publishing efforts become more Calvinistic than our churches, then we have an imbalance that needs to be corrected.

(2) TRANSPARENCY–Whether it’s an individual Pastor being considered by a church, an author of a Sunday School curriculum, a Seminary Professor, or a Youth Camp Leader, we want everyone to be UPFRONT about their Calvinistic commitments. Some of us are suspicious that certain Calvinists intend to “sneak” Calvinism into the Southern Baptist Convention through the “Quiet Revolution” mentioned in Reisinger and Allen’s book by the same title. Let us not have “secret” Calvinism. Let us have “open and transparent” Calvinism–so those who embrace it can find it easily, and so those who deny it can avoid any kind of syncretism.

38 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 9:25 am

40000 churches.
add all those members up… alot.
800 signed the Trad, doc.

What is out of proportion?

Transparency… Rick, do you want fairness in this search for transparency?

Okay then, so then whether it’s an individual Pastor being considered by a church, an author of a Sunday School curriculum, a Seminary Professor, or a Youth Camp Leader, we want everyone to be UPFRONT about their Calvinistic commitments, about their Arminian commitments, about their Traditionalistic commitments, their dispensationalism commitments, about their complementarian commitments, about their…etc

39 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 9:37 am

But it would seem to me that one employing the worker should be the one to decide which questions to ask, and to set the parameters for what is taught, according to how they see things.
And if they fail to ask the right questions and get a dispensationalist instead of and amillianealist, then that is on them.

40 Rick Patrick August 30, 2012 at 10:45 am


First, I believe it is a mistake to use the “sample size” of 800 and view that as the “entire population” of Traditionalists. I believe the majority of our convention believes what Traditionalists believe, or at least something very, very, very close to that.

Second, if failing to ask the right questions puts the matter “ON THEM” then we will have to do a better job of training Search Teams, Seminary Trustees, Publishers and others in Southern Baptist life to ask the kinds of questions that will keep our convention’s entities “proportional” theologically with the churches who support these institutions.

41 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

I am sure that 800 is low. But the majority?
My point is that your position is not credible.
That last time we had this conversation, your understanding was that Trads were more than 800 as well and you offered up a much smaller percentage than the majority.

The truth is that you do not know.
So I find it disingenuous for you to be asking for proportional representation at the convention when you don’t know the proportions.
Go find out if it means that much to you.
But what you *think* seems to me mixed up with what you *hope is*.

As to this”…we will have to do a better job of training Search Teams, Seminary Trustees, Publishers and others in Southern Baptist life to ask the kinds of questions that will keep our convention’s entities “proportional” theologically with the churches who support these institutions.”

Why limit the proportionality to just soteriological issues?
maybe the size of churches should be proportionally recognized as well?
maybe the eschatology of churches also be proportionally represented as well?
maybe a whole lot of issues churches differ on should also be properly represented by proportions as well?

But again, how will we ever know which proportions to use?
Go survey our churches Rick and bring us the facts.

42 Darryl Hill August 30, 2012 at 11:11 am

Rick, it shouldn’t be comical to you. If that many people “get that” from what you write, perhaps you’re either communicating your true intent poorly, haven’t come to grips with the extent of what you really want just yet, or you’re just denying your true intent when cornered. No matter what is the actual case, if you continue getting this same reaction from folks, perhaps the issue isn’t with their reading comprehension skills.

43 Darryl Hill August 30, 2012 at 11:28 am

Rick, the idea that the first thing I should tell anyone about myself is that I’m a calvinist, a name I don’t even call myself, is ridiculous! I’m a follower of Jesus Christ first and foremost. I am a teacher and preacher of His Word. I do not make things up to say. I expound on what God has already said in Scripture. I’m not out to convert everyone to calvinism. I suppose I need to have it printed on my business cards as well.

Respectfully brother, this is the most asinine thing you could ask. You’re saying the first thing I need to do when I meet a group of other believers is to DRAW LINES? Would it go something like this?

“Hello everyone, before I begin to speak to you about the 2nd most important thing in my life (Jesus) FIRST I need to tell you that my name is Darryl Hill and I’m a calvinist. Now, go ahead and let all of your stigmas and false assumptions about what I believe cloud everything God might otherwise want to say to you while I’m speaking today, and thank-you sir and madam for getting up to leave while I’m still introducing myself. I have no intent to speak to you today about the Synod of Dort but you might want to run because God doesn’t love any of you, is the author of evil, and is likely forcing many of you and your children into hell through reprobation even now. If anyone would like to throw stones, touch me and I’ll sue. Now, who would like to hear about Jesus Christ and His Gospel? Great!”

This is what I think about this whole calvinism debate at this point: the entire thing has been sparked by a few folks who sinned in the way they dealt with committees and with their churches- coupled with some frustration over the influence certain leaders have in the convention. So, now the rest of us have to wear a label before we can speak a word. Is this not 1 Corinthians all over again? “I follow Paul. I follow Apollos. I follow Cephas. No, I follow Christ!” Are we not being carnal here? I say that is the source.

I also say let a man speak from his heart and let the people judge for themselves the truth of his message. And trust a brother in Christ that he wants, above all, to see the Kingdom of God grow and souls added, rather than to convert people to calvinism.

44 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 11:38 am

Parson and Darryl,

It is not right to go into a Church, which is not a Calvinist, Reformed Church, and not tell them that you are a Calvinist. That is deceptive, and I dont think yall want to be deceptive. I mean, this is a very controversial issue, and you know that it is. And, for a Calvinist Pastor to go into a Church, without first telling that Church just who he is, is not right.

And, this has happened in many Churches of which I personally know of…and it caused much harm to the Churches….division, strife, and splits.

Whenever I’m talking with a Pastor Search Committee, I always try to tell them anything about me, or where I stand, which might I know might be controversial. I absolutely would not want to cause strife and division in the future….all in the name of “getting a Church.”


45 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 11:43 am

What Rick is asking is to draw lines upfront, to make divisions, to be divisive. He wants proportionality but has no plan to find even correct proportions.
Its like, no matter what the content is, if it from a C than be wary, so lets find out who the C’s are.

Certainly a church doesn’t want big changes in the pulpit when bringing in a new pastor, but that church needs to ask the right questions, and if the C lies, then when he is found out, oust him.

Now i don’t how people get chosen for SBC jobs at the convention level so i can’t address that but it seems to me that they are looking for people of upstanding Christian character who are gifted in the area where they will be serving. And not looking for proportionality in soteriological stands.

Let us trust God, it is His church. He puts kings in power. he can handle the leadership of the SBC.

46 Darryl Hill August 30, 2012 at 11:57 am

David, if I were meeting with a committee, I would tell them what I believe, but I would never use the word “calvinist” because it carries a stigma with it. You know that stigma. You believe that stigma. You want that stigma to cloud the judgment of that committee so that they will not want any calvinist in their church. That’s the whole point of the trad statement- to “out” the calvinists. Before I came to believe in sovereign grace, calvinism was a curse word to me. If I said it, I had to spit afterward. But I had no clue what it was really about, other than they believe God sends innocent people to hell who may desperately want to know Him. I wanted no part of it.

That’s the trouble. So, I need to spend several hours explaining something about what I believe which I do not intend to actively promote as a system from the pulpit? My intent is to preach the Word, not the synod of Dort. But I say “calvinism” and red flags go up around the room. “Is he going to be converting everyone to follow some man?”

But I will tell people what I believe David. I will tell them that I believe what the Bible teaches about God’s sovereignty in salvation and that God must call and draw men or they will not come. You tell me David, how does limited atonement change my Gospel presentation? How does unconditional election change my Gospel presentation? I would say that you believe in a form of depravity. You may not believe in inability but you believe they are unwilling to come until you preach the message and pray that God opens their eyes. The fact that I believe God knows and has chosen who will come does not change anything about the way I present the Gospel.

As I say David, this whole thing is 1 Corinthians all over again. I will not call myself a “calvinist” to people who do not understand it. I refuse to do so because #1 it doesn’t matter and #2 it only clouds their judgment. I’ve been in this church for nearly 13 years and have not said to one person “I’m a calvinist” the entire time I’ve been here. There are some who know I believe in sovereign grace but I do not make an issue of it and certainly not a dividing line of some kind, which is what you’re advocating.

47 dr. james willingham August 30, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Amen! Darryl. Amen!

48 dr. james willingham August 30, 2012 at 11:53 am

Thank You Rick Patrick: And your aim seems good, though I can’t buy the method in one sense, namely, the fact that the original folks should yield all leadership and not trouble any one about truths held dear and precious. In another Voices blog, I think, I mentioned that I had met Reisinger and we had a set -to. Not all of these calvinists are Reformed in the sense of Reisinger’s group; some of us are mossy backed longhorns from the beginnings (Since my Great Grandpappy use to herd them animals up the Chisum Trail, it seems appropriate to use that expression for a metaphor). I am a dyed-in-the-wool confessed, doctrinal congregationalist, agreeing even with Graves (J.R., that is) that “the government is with the body.” Can’t buy, swallow, or accept hierarchy as it smacks of Rome too much and lets some folks get away with murder (metaphorically speaking in the present situation, literally in church history). I have never hid what I am. Neither have I boldly declared it as in trying to pick a fight before I go anywhere. My aim is not to make calvinists; it is to win souls to Christ and train them to do likewise. Sort of like our son said to a Jewish fellow who happened to be seated with him in the same restaurant in Chapel Hill. The fellow found out our son was a Baptist preacher and said, “I suppose that means you are going to try and convert me?” Our son replied, “Well, what else would you expect?”

Rick. some churches and members need an emphasis on the Sovereignty of God; others need an emphasis on man’s responsibility. God’s aim is a balanced, flexible, creative, constant, magnetic believer, His best advertisements for the faith of His Son. All of the doctrines of biblical teachings, including the doctrines you so much worry and angst about, those Doctrines of Grace, are really designed to be the most intensely evangelistic and soul-winning, and the best adapted at making a person balanced, flexible, etc. Rick, shouldn’t a pastoral candidate evince his understanding of paradoxical interventions and therapeutic paradoxes, his being able to use with precision the doctrines of impossibility as God intended (Mk.10:27)? You are so overwhelmingly concerned about a point that every one should accept as a given, namely, that a Southern Baptists ought to believe in Sovereign Grace, and that, if he does not, he is indulged. Now admittedly, some folks who have little or no finesse in theology and ministry do have a tendency to use their doctrines as billy clubs to beat a person into senselessness. However, that attitude has a built in corrective, the law of diminishing returns. Sooner or later, one has to learn delicacy in applying any teaching of Scripture.

This is a Sovereign Grace denomination and has been from its inception. It wasn’t the General Baptists with their doctrine of a General Atonement that launched the Great Century of Missions: It was them Particular Baptists who were not trying to brow beat folks into submission but win them with truth that did it. That is why they allowed that preaching Christ tasted death for every man would be no bar to communion, when the accepted view was that He died only for the elect. And you want to change that? You want to diminish what originally belonged to them and kick them into a corner, when we have been praying for a Third Great Awakening. The theology which produces such (or at least produced the only two in history that are known) is that of Sovereign Grace. So if we have another, it must require and involve the theology necessary for such a visitation and transformation.

49 Max August 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Rick P. writes “Let us have “open and transparent” Calvinism–so those who embrace it can find it easily, and so those who deny it can avoid any kind of syncretism.”

That’s it … the solution! Since SBC leaders appear to be leaning toward agree-to-disagree, get-along-to-get-along, co-existence of two distinct soteriological views in a single denomination … why not simply paint “Calvinist” or “Non-Calvinist” on the bottom of the 40,000+ Southern Baptist church signs?! A young reformed pastor actually did that in our area – he painted “Reformed” on the bottom of his church sign and posted an explanation of reformed theology on the church website. While I may not agree with his theology, I certainly appreciate his integrity! Now all current and prospective members know exactly which way his church leans and can choose to go there or elsewhere, without wondering which theological flavor they will be exposed to.

50 Walt Carpenter August 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Soooo, what’s objectionable in the hymns “Come thou Fount” and “Rock of Ages?”

51 Andrew Wencl August 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm

It’s not that the hymns are objectionable, just the people who wrote them.

PS: This is satire. ;-).

52 Greg Harvey August 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Rock of Ages cleft for me? Sounds suspiciously dependent on unconditional election…

53 Les Prouty August 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Rick Patrick said,

‘I’m not comfortable saying that this indoctrination is all future tense. Some of it may already be there, but just in a very subtle form.”

I think I’ve got it now. The plot is to be so subtle as to be undetectable. Reminds me of the “backward masking” scare on records. :)

54 Mark Applegate August 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Wow…tricked me! I guess I am so used to this kind of rhetoric being real. I guess I will now go back to the repentance corner…

55 Donald August 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Andrew, you clearly do not understand.

56 Andrew Wencl August 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Assuming that you recognize my post as satire, are you just trolling, or do you have something to add to the conversation?

57 Donald August 30, 2012 at 1:20 am

Andrew, the concerns are about the “stacked deck” not merely references to Calvinist. The same people who are raising objections to TGP regularly refer to works by Calvinist. Many of us have Calvinists on staff and many in the pews. This “satire” simply mocks real concerns, and seems to be an attempt to minimize and dismiss.

58 Max August 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Forgive them Father. They know not what they do. They are a generation that knew not Adrian.

59 Greg Harvey August 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm

That reply borders on brilliant, Max, as a response to Andrew’s satire.

60 Andrew Wencl August 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Have I done something wrong? I have a lot of respect for Adrian Rogers.

61 Rick August 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Maybe the best angle to take for new folks coming into the SBC, is to give them fair warning that the SBC cannot for the life of them, decide what kind of theological reputation they want to cling to in the SBC: and let them know that it may be years before it gets worked out whether Calvinists, Non-Calvinists, Anti-Calvinists, Traditionalists, etc., could or could not be considered worthy monikers for the capstone of their doctrinal title deed to being Southern Baptist.

62 Alan Cross August 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm


It seems as though that is the idea. We are to be united in Christ, not in every doctrinal understanding on every issue. That is impossible anyway.

63 volfan007 August 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I quote Spurgeon and Calvin and MacArthur in sermons. I also quote Wesley, Adrian Rogers, Praying Hyde, EM Bounds, and Harry Ironside, as well as J. Vernon McGee.



64 volfan007 August 29, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Oh, and BTW, thanks for introducing me to this discipleship book by Rogers. I’ll order some tomorrow to use for my church. Do they have children’s editions?


65 Andrew Wencl August 29, 2012 at 4:47 pm


The criticisms of TGP of late have been focused on who was quoted. I thought this might give some perspective on why supporters of TGP think this is ridiculous (or ridonculous, as one person said).

66 volfan007 August 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm


I believe the criticism is aimed at how many Calvinists are quoted, in relation to others.


67 cb scott August 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I quote Springsteen, Nelson, Jennings, Cash, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young pretty often and sometimes Kristofferson and Diamond.

68 David Rogers August 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm

That’s funny. My 23-year-old son was telling me the other day he gets Neil Young and Neil Diamond mixed up. I told him they don’t have anything to do with each other, and lo and behold they turn up here in the same list.

69 volfan007 August 29, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I also quote Lynyrd Skynyrd, Merle Haggard, Elvis(not in a good way), Hank Williams, Jr.(also not in a good way), Kansas, William Wallace, and Elmer Fudd.


70 cb scott August 30, 2012 at 7:43 am


In an effort to express humility I did not mention the great Lynyrd Skynyrd. Now that you have mentioned him I will make a statement.

Those of us who are familiar with the great works of Skynyrd and are so capable to understand him and so bold as to quote him are among the ranks of the academic elite.

My humble hat is off to you sir and if I may, I would like to send all of my children to sit at your feet and learn from the deep pools of your vast Skynyrd infused wisdom.

71 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 10:01 am


Thanks, and right back at you, my friend. Skynyrd is truly one of the legends of music.


72 Dave Miller August 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I’m just not sure what it is about Calvinism-related topics. We’ve had some pretty good discussions on a wide variety of topics, but as soon as the subject goes to Calvinism/non-Calvinism, the gloves come off, the rhetoric rises, tempers flare and pettiness ensues (there is a ball of mixed-metaphors for you!).

73 Andrew Wencl August 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm

So, tell me how you really feel about my post!

74 John Wallace August 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Thank you, Andrew. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written what I thought were obviously facetious comments and was castigated for them by people who though I was serious. I think I’m going to have to break this habit.

75 Dave Miller August 29, 2012 at 6:16 pm

That can be a problem on blogs, John, because there is no relationship, no body language, no tone of voice. That’s why people use those accursed emoticons that all originated in the kingdom of darkness.

76 John Wallace August 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm


77 Andrew Wencl August 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Better facetious than feces-ish. That’s just crap. ;-)

78 dean August 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm

There is a huge difference between a book published by Broadman Holman that was written by a single author and a Sunday school project written by Lifeway. I will refrain from describing what kind of person fails to recognize that.

79 Andrew Wencl August 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I will refrain from describing what kind of person fails to recognize that.

Are you just trolling, or do you have something to add to the conversation?

80 dean August 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Andrew, I thought I did add to the conversation. There is a huge difference in the book publishing arm of the SBC and the Sunday school arm of the SBC. It is laughable at the apparent glee that the reform brethren have in discovering Dr. Rogers quoted a reform hymn or theologian. This is what you use to refute issues that some have with the GP. The criteria for what goes into a B&H published book is for different than that of the SS lesson. Your comparing apples and grenades.

I will ask the question once more that I have asked several times already. No one has an issue with recognized authorities on a subject being quoted. I don’t think any one would get upset with a quote on prayer from EM Bounds though he was a Methodist Episcopal minister. My question is if you are going to quote a modern scholar are our professors not intelligent enough? If you need a reform thought do Southeastern and Southern not have a capable person?

81 Andrew Wencl August 29, 2012 at 10:22 pm


No, you were just being rude. My post is satire. The mirth is in the satire, not in finding that Rogers quoted a Calvinist. No one is suggesting that Southern Baptist scholars aren’t intelligent enough. There’s actually a lot of good in quoting people who play outside our sandbox. The Church is bigger than the SBC.

82 Steve Martin August 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm

“All upright sacred books agree on one thing, that they all collectively preach and promote Christ. Likewise, the true criterion for criticizing all books is to see whether they promote Christ or not, since all scripture manifests Christ. Whatever does not teach Christ is not apostolic, even if Peter and Paul should teach it. On the other hand, whatever preaches Christ is apostolic, even if Judas, Annas, Pilate, and Herod should do it!” (LW 35:396)

I like this quote because it lifts up the Word, and not out of whose lips or pen it comes from.

(it’s from Luther, btw…and I don’t mean Vandross)

83 Dean August 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Andrew are you trying to say that your satire was not aimed at trads who do not like the number of reformed non-SBC quoted in the material? Your satire was played to an intended audience (the reformed) and aimed at an intended target (trads who oppose gp). I answered your assertion that this problem with GP is a new issue, after all Dr Rogers quoted Spurgeon. My answer is what it is. It’s foolish to compare a book published by B&H to Lifeway Sunday school material.

84 Andrew Wencl August 30, 2012 at 7:24 am


My satire was played to an intended audience, but it’s not just the Reformed. There are plenty of non-Calvinists who support the material. There are also plenty of non-Calvinists who disapprove of it for other reasons than the ones I satirized. I think that there is some merit to questions that have been asked concerning the abundance of representation from the Calvinist camp. But the accusations, such as that this material is Calvinist indoctrination, or that quoting Tim Keller will result in the naive among us becoming Calvinists, are hardly worth considering.

85 John Wylie August 30, 2012 at 7:51 am

Sign me up for the Adrian Rogers fan club. Isn’t that what flub means? LOL

On a more serious note, I agree with Andrew on this. Every preacher has at some point in time quoted Calvinists, and for that matter full blown Arminians, neither constitutes a wholesale endorsement of everything that person said or believed. From what I’ve seen of TGP it is about the best SBC material I’ve ever seen and a tremendous leap forward by Lifeway.

86 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 10:03 am

Uh, once again, I dont think the criticism is about quoting a Calvinist, or a Non Calvinist. I believe the criticism is directed towards the large number of quotes from Calvinists.


87 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

And that would be a problem why?

88 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 10:22 am


Well, I guess that people would say that this shows a clear bias in the teachings of the GP.

I mean, what if 90% of the quotes were from Osteen, Joyce Meyers, Jakes, Hagee, and Jim Cymbala. Do you think some people might say something about it? That someone’s trying to promote this type of teaching?

Or, if the material had 90% of the quotes coming from the Wesley’s, Billy Sunday, Finney, and others of that persuasion; dont you think that some people might raise an eyebrow, or two?

I think so. And, that’s what some people are saying about the GP, which has ALL, Calvinist Advisors; lots of quotes from Calvinists; etc. That’s what they’re talking about….not that the material just has a quote from Piper, or Spurgeon in it.


89 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 10:46 am

But wouldn’t it be the content of what is quoted, as long as the one quoted was respected as a Christian?
Personally, i don’t use pre-printed materials in my class. We just read the Word and study it.
But most in my class wouldn’t know the soteriology of the speaker any how.
And I imagine that most of the Sunday School folk in my church wouldn’t care as long as what is being said is Biblical.

Now if 90% of the quotes were from Osteen, Joyce Meyers, Jakes, Hagee, and Jim Cymbala, these people aren’t respected as leaders, so yes they would care. I mean they would care IF they knew what those people preached.

I am not so sure if they would care if the material had 90% of the quotes coming from the Wesley’s, Billy Sunday, Finney, and others of that persuasion; but my pastor would. My deacon would.
But the people, I’m not so sure that they would.
But of course the quotes would have to Biblical.

And that is my point: content is the deciding straw.

90 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 10:52 am


I believe you’re still missing the point. It’s not what you’re people would think, or dont think. The point is…does this not show a bias in the writings? Does it not show the bias, which many are claiming about the GP? That the GP is really Reformed, SS material?

That’s what it’s about for many people.

91 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 11:04 am

Is the GP Reformed Sunday School material?
How to know?
Read it.

92 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 11:40 am


I’m not saying that is, or that it aint. I’m waiting to see.


93 Jason G. August 30, 2012 at 11:56 am


Come on…be honest. You are not “waiting to see”, you have already decided. The line coming from you, and others, about “this needs to be evaluated over 3 years” is bogus because it was considered, questioned, and disregarded as legitimate before the first lesson ever came out. I think you guys are forgetting what all you said about this material over the past few months. You guy basically called Trevin Wax and Ed Stetzer liars with regard to their intent and the content of the studies.

The one attempt at going through the lessons and “proving” what had already been decided by the anti-GP crowd was an utter disaster. It was misrepresentations and ad hominem attacks…with no real analysis of the teaching content.

If you don’t want to use it and don’t like it….just say so. But don’t hide behind the “wait to see” comments. It comes off as disingenuous.

94 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm


So, you can look down into my heart, and see my thoughts, motives, and feelings about things? Wow, are you the Holy Spirit?


95 Jason G. August 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm


Come on, brother. Deal with what is said.

Do you deny that you have passed judgment on the GP a long time ago? Are you now denying the posts you have made in the past with regard to your criticism and rejection of the GP?

I don’t have to see into your heart. I have read your comments in several places over several months. Out of the heart a man speak, or types. Your views are very clear.

I am saying your words now, claiming to “wait and see”, are inconsistent with what you have said in the past about this material. Heck, your own words in this comment stream are inconsistent. You can’t claim “wait and see” and then post other comments saying that the material shows specific reformed bias. You can’t have it both ways.

All I am saying is “be honest”. If you believe the material is reformed and needs to be rejected as biased, then just be consistent and say so. Talking out of both sides of your mouth is disingenuous.

96 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm


Maybe you need to calm down. Eat a little ice cream. And then, go back and re read what I’ve said in the past.


97 Jason G. August 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I find it funny that you think anyone who disagrees with you is angry. I’m not. It is a little childish to refuse to deal with questions and issues as raised and instead resort to weak responses like (a) you’re not the Holy Spirit, and (b) you are angry. I see you do it often…please stop. Just respond to questions and don’t assume everyone is out to get you.

We are on the same team, brother, even if we disagree on this issue.

Let me clarify…Yes, your position may be more moderated than that of Rick Patrick or Bob Hadley, but you have made your feelings clear in this comment stream and others.

Giving “attaboys” here and other sites to those who criticize GP shows that you have already drawn conclusions. You have criticized openly on this site (when GP was announced – see the February interview of Trevin on this site): the necessity of the material, the contributors, the advisory committee for being all-calvinists, and the use of non-SBCers in developing curriculum. Was such criticism a “wait and see” attitude? No. At that point, no writers were identified yet…only the advisors. You even hinted that Trevin was being less than honest and forthcoming. You didn’t “wait and see” before posting those comments. You also brought up examples of Lifeway’s poor judgment in the past in selling material, and thus linked this material with their poor judgment…you did that on multiple occasions.

Making comments with statements like “some might see a conspiracy” or “some might take it this way” when the comments are made repeatedly on multiple threads don’t show unbiased thought, they show a thinly veiled argument for the “some” you are representing.

I am willing to grant that you WANT to wait and see. I have seen you post that is what you want to do. But your comments seem to show someone who has already made up his mind but wants to cement those feelings once it becomes prudent. I mean, you have never once argued in the positive for the GP…you have never counseled those opposed to it to “wait and see”. You did not assume the best of Trevin and Lifeway at the beginning. Your comments have never been neutral, nor have they ever defended the GP in any way as vehemently as you have raised “questions” against it. You have never raised “questions” against those “raising questions”. As Bob Hadley and Rick Patrick and others were criticizing it from the very beginning, where was the public response to their public statements? Where was the counsel then to “wait and see”?

I am not trying to read your heart, David…but I am reading your words. I have not called you a liar, I am just saying your comments are inconsistent.

98 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm


Yep, it is true that I’ve been suspicious of GP from the very beginning. And, I have had many questions about it. I also understand exactly where people like Rick are coming from. I can see what they’re saying. Yes. Is that wrong?

But, I am also taking a wait and see attitude about it, and I have said many times that I hope it’s as good as some of yall say that it is.

But, I will wait and see.


99 Andrew Wencl August 30, 2012 at 11:01 am


I think it’s unfair to compare people like Tim Keller and D.A. Carson to the likes of Osteen and Meyers. A fairer comparison would be to compare them to Rogers and Vines.

Also, there’ve been a few different tracks of criticism of TGP. The first wave was that TGP was promoting Calvinism, even calling it an “indoctrination tool.” When the content proved to show that there was no Calvinist doctrine being espoused, the focus shifted (and still lingers) to the argument that quoting Calvinists will lead to “unsuspecting church members” to embracing Calvinism. That’s what I’m batting at with this post. The new focus is to argue that there should be more non-Calvinists quoted. I think there’s some merit to that, but it looks like people are just looking for a reason to not like the curriculum when the first charge proved to be nothing but fear-mongering.

As more material is coming to light, it appears that subsequent lessons have more materials and quotes from non-Calvinists. Is this a response to the critics, or are the writers and editors just grabbing what they consider to be a good resource or quote on a given subject? I’m going to give the editors the benefit of the doubt on that.

Another issue is the labeling of everything as being Calvinist. Dave Miller is a Calvinist, but I bet you’d have no problem recommending something he’s written on, say, baptism to your congregation, even without having read it. Why? Because he doesn’t have to pump the five points into everything he writes.

100 Rick August 30, 2012 at 11:07 am

Wouldn’t it be better to just acknowledge whether or not the quote speaks to the issue? If the quote is relevant and explains something more thoroughly what does it matter who said it? Throw it out if isn’t explanatory — use it if it is, regardless of who said it.

101 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 11:44 am


Once again, I think you’re missing the point of what some people are saying about the quotes. I agree with you, that if the quote is clarifying the Scripture, then use it by all means….no matter who said it.

What some are saying is that the MAJORITY of quotes coming from Calvinists shows the Calvinist, Reformed bias of the GP.


102 Debbie Kaufman August 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Wolfan: You say most of the statements are from Calvinists yet you have not shown where that is the case. And if they are, you have not given one quote that is not orthodox and Biblical. To say one is quoting Calvinists says to me you want no Calvinist quoted, yet I have no problem with read, listening to or quoting non-Calvinists in a Sunday School quarterly. None.

103 Debbie Kaufman August 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm

If it is in scripture and it is sound according to the passage, it shouldn’t matter who is quoted. That is the point. I can even disagree and it wouldn’t matter who quoted it. I think the arguments are just that arguments because you want to prove a phantom point.

104 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 11:42 am


The comparison was merely an attempt to show that people would question such a thing, if 90% of the quotes were coming from a certain, theological group. I was not comparing Carson, Piper, and Keller to Osteen. C’mon, Dude.

Also, I hope that the GP is as good as you think it is. I’m waiting to see.


105 Andrew Wencl August 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Osteen and Meyers?!? C’mon, Dude, yourself!

106 Debbie Kaufman August 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm

And I’m sorry David, Volfan.

107 dean August 30, 2012 at 11:54 am

So in today’s SBC life we are now comparing Tim Keller and D A Carson to Adrian Rogers and Jerry Vines – remarkable! One is a professor at an evangelical free church seminary and the other a Presbyterian pastor. Lets see, they all four are seemingly born again, they all four love Jesus, they all four hold Scripture in high esteem. I will be struggling to find much more in which to compare these four men. My beef has been consistent and will be consistent with the GP, can’t we find reform scholars at our two reform seminaries to quote and we should identify this literature for what it is, literature that is designed with the reformed brothers and sisters in the SBC in mind. People can then use it if they want to or not. However we were sold a bill of goods as this not being reform literature.

108 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I suppose you have read it and can point out the reformed bias?
Please illuminate us.

If you haven’t read it, then surely you are guessing it will have reformed bias. But then you don’t know what you boldly assert: “we were sold a bill of goods as this not being reform literature.”

What does it tell us when someone who boldly asserts what they do not know of which they speak?

109 Andrew Wencl August 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm


You’re being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative. I could have just as easily said David Platt and James Hamilton, both of whom are Southern Baptists and both of whom were quoted in the material. It seems you wouldn’t be happy with the material unless no one outside of the SBC was quoted.

110 dean August 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm

No Andrew you do not know me at all. I would not be happy with the material period. I reject Calvinism. However, I have no issue with a person using the material they want in their church family. Andrew, I am not being argumentative you didn’t name Platt or Hamilton did you? In my mind, for an SBC individual to compare Vines, Rogers to Keller and Carson is remarkable.

111 dr. james willingham August 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Baloney, Dean. There are those Sovereign Grace folks (like me, for instance) who are not Reformed, but genuine, dyed-in-the-wool descendants of ancestors who were also predecessors in the SBC and the State Conventions and the Assns. and the Churches who welcome the writings in GP. We hold to Sovereign Grace (I know I have ever since the second year of my being an ordained Southern Baptist minister after the Bible convinced me that man was depraved and disabled to the point that he needed a Sovereign work of an Almighty God to irresistibly overcome his inability in order to save him from his sins…I was ordained 50 years ago, May 20, 1962. When my ordaining pastor, Dr. Ernest R. Campbell asked me, “Jim, What do you believe about original sin?” I answered, “Which theory do you want? There are six of them.”(thinking of A.H. Strong’s Systematic Theology). Dr. Campbell said, “Jim, don’t be a smart alec.” He did this before a council of the St. Louis Baptist Assn.(I forget what the name of the assn. was then; it seems like Fee Fee, but I am not sure) and no one but no one took him to task about the idea of original sin and the federalist/augustinian view that was the accepted view of Baptists throughout most of the country then…excepting some like Hershel Hobbs. Seems like the descendants and successors who follow in the steps of the originators should have the right to follow in the same paths without some fellow beefing about something?

112 dean August 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Dr. James I made a clear statement that anyone can use the material they want and I have no issue with it. As for as my opinion that it is remarkable to me that Vines, Rogers are compared to Keller and Carson that is my opinion. I did not insult those brothers or speak ugly about them. You claim my opinion on that matter is baloney. Well if we are going to simply insult a person based on their opinion on a matter then yours is potted meat.

113 dr. james willingham August 30, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Did you notice how David Rogers, Adrian’s son, said his father quoted that great calvinist conpiracist, Charles H. Spurgeon? Really, Dean, if you so totally reject calvinism, what in the world are you doing in a denomination that is noted for adhering to Sovereign Grace theology? So, when I follow my predecessors and my ancestors, too, I am just potted meat? Amazing! And since you don’t follow the originators and founders at all, what kind of meat are you? Filey Mignon? Prime Rib? New York Strip? Porterhouse? I think not. Please tell me, the appropriate term you would consider?

114 Jason G. August 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I find it a little sad that some within the SBC are so arrogant as to think those outside the SBC cannot agree with us theologically enough for us to benefit from the words they write. The “SBC superiority” angle is confusing to me and quite disheartening. For people to question the integrity of non-SBC writers SIMPLY BECAUSE they are not SBC is small-minded tribalism.

I know someone will respond and say that is not what they are doing…but, I have read it enough to know that is precisely what is being said. Some may not WANT to say that, but they say it nonetheless.

Can we be frank? Southern Baptists do not have the market cornered on biblical fidelity and evangelical fervor.

The arrogance shown by some posters decrying the usage of non-SBC writers is a little ironic considering those same posters often accuse calvinists of being arrogant. Yes, they will say they only want SBC authors because they don’t want to confuse SBC members…again, an arrogant statament that assumes our people are too dumb to read and discern anything other than SBC materials (or worse yet, anything other than anti-calvinist authors). It can be denied as arrogant or tribalistic, it can be justified as something else, but to quote a great SBC leader (just to keep everyone happy)…”a skunk by any other name still stinks.”

115 dean August 30, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Parsonsmike, I have been on record at least four times saying that when a person takes two lessons and says show me the reform bias that person is foolish. I have stated this but will once more, you can go listen to Creflo Dollar for two services and not hear the prosperity gospel preached but if you go three years you will because it is who he is. You can read quotes from Stalin that are not socialist but you read long enough you will because that is who he is. If you talk to Vince Lombardi long enough football will come up that is what makes him tick. I can look at all the names affiliated with GP and know without question that in the next three years their reform leanings will be written into the material. It is who they are. Are we to assume that this great project that teaches God’s Word in its entirety is going to skip Romans 9? How do you think that chapter will be dealt with? Do you think that I John 2:2 would be spoke of in the same manner by D A Carson and Jerry Vines? Of course not. If I hear you teach long enough in your non-scripted Sunday school class I can assume that your beliefs will evident to all. However I do not have anything to quote today from the GP. I make a deal with you, if this material goes three years and no calvinistic leanings are evident then I will apologize to all involved and say that I was wrong. However, I do not feel like I am impugning a person by identifying him as reform. For that I will never apologize it is their belief system.

116 Debbie Kaufman August 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm

It’s not for anyone to speculate how it will be dealt with. I am pretty sure it will be dealt with according to what the passage says. Since you haven’t read the curriculum Dean, being speculative is being unfair and leaning toward the absurd.

117 dean August 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Debbie, I didnt say I hadn’t read the material. You are the one who is being unfair and absurd. I will be waiting for you to highlight statement for me.

118 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm

So you don’t know if there is a reform bias but you imagine it will based on your logical understanding.

But isn’t that assuming that the unwritten lessons will again all quote reformed biased ideas from reformed writers? yep.

When you only see part of a thing, and you assume from what you see that you KNOW the whole of it, and make bold accusations against it or bold statements that sound like accusations against it, sight unseen, doesn’t that speak to your character?

When the people who are producing it say it wont be biased and you who has only an incomplete knowledge of it logically infer from that incompleteness that they are lying [selling you a bill of goods means a deception was perpetrated], and yet you have no proof, should such a thing be done to your brothers?

No one is forcing you to use it, are they? why the hate?

119 dean August 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Parsonsmike, you are exactly right. My use of “bill of goods” is an unfortunate choice of words and for that I am truly apologetic. Until the material makes direct Calvinistic assertions I should not accuse them of anything. They have not yet sold us a bill of goods. However, my challenge to you is that when the teachings do produce Calvinistic assertions that you come right back to this sight and say I was correct.

I do not feel all of my post get completely read so let me say once more I am all for a church using whatever material they want. I’m all for a teacher quoting Gandhi if he wants. God bless em all. I have no problem with our Sunday school material quoting accepted authorities on material such as Bound on prayer or Torrey on the Holy Spirit. However if we are going to quote contemporaries why no quote our folk from our seminaries?

120 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Well you might be right, they may swing the old reformed way and put the hammer down.
But no sense judging them beforehand,
so thanks for your apology.

121 dean August 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Thanks for showing me the error of my way.

122 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Oh by the way, i prayed for you and Donald and Rick at my 1:07 post. i prayed that God would lead you and guide you in truth.

7 minutes later I see my prayer for you answered.

He is a great God, really!

123 Donald August 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm

“…know without question that in the next three years their reform leanings will be written into the material. It is who they are.”

Yes. Flawed Calvinistic hermeneutics will be used by Calvinist. This will be reflected in what they teach.

Any Bible teacher will teach what he believes and will consistently interpret scripture as he believes to be right. I would expect no less from these theological giants, why would any of you?

124 parsonsmike August 30, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I dunno, I suppose they may use flawed Calvinistic hermeneutics or maybe they’ll use unflawed ones. And why do you call em “giants”?

Looks like the bias begins with you.

The way I see it, they aren’t FIRST Calvinists, and Trevin isn’t even a C altogether, i suppose if you’re counting points and all.

See FIRST, Trevin and our brothers working on this GOSPEL Project are CHRISTIANS, and the hope is that any Christian working on a SBC sponsored study will stick to the BFM2000 like they oughta.

So it seems like you are just guessing and assuming like Dean and the rest of the ones who seem quite a divisive group with all that bias puffing out from the chest and all via assumptions and guesswork as you pronounce the servants as liars and sellers of a false bill of goods.

Fear is a sad thing to live with.
hate is too.
Bearing false witness against your brothers is unliked by the Father.

I hope and pray you are keeping short straws with the Lord. He will guide you into all truth by His Spirit. We all need to humble ourselves before Him.

125 dr. james willingham August 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Seems like to me that the Sovereign Grace folks have a right to this table. After all, it was just our predecessors who wrote that teaching into the original documents of our faith, it was even, in some cases, our ancestors. so I think you are way out of line in taking a billy club to the heads of the so-called Reform folks. After all, if my predecessors and ancestors made room for you,…as they did in 1787, saying, “that the preaching that Christ tasted death for every man shall be no bar for communion,” then it ought to be okay for their descendants and successors to have literature that hold to the original type of theology…even if written by some you don’t like. After all, we allow for you…

126 dean August 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Dr. James I am in agreement with Dr. Lemke that our convention was founded in Calvinistic roots but has been moving away from that position ever since.

127 dr. james willingham August 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Well, David, has it ever occurred to you that them folks of Sandy Creek cared as much for what the Bible teaches as you do. Let us begin by calling attention to something of the Bible that they accepted and you, apparently, do not. I refer to man’s inability due to his fall and sinfulness, his original sin problem. Our Lord Jesus Himself said, “No man can come to me,” twice in Jn.6 (vss 44 and 65). What do you say to their doctrine of man’s spiritual impotence to do anything to save himself…written in their confession of 1816 under the leadership of Luther Rice and in the Abstract of Principles by the son of one of the members of that Sandy Creek Committee, the Basil Manlys, father and son. Now if man is disabled, then it takes a supernatural act of God to open his heart’s door as was my case, when Jesus came knocking at my heart door and I ran the other way.(try Rev.3:20 & Acts 16:14). Seems like you are flying in the face of the word of God which clearly says in Jn and again in I Cors.2:14 that man suffers from spiritual inability, from spiritual deadness (Jn.5:25 and Ephs.2:1-5). Why are you leaving the word of God for the explanations of humans..trying to evade, avoid, and deny that man’s fall ruined him completely, that he is now a mass of corruption, has a heart of darkness, is dead in trespasses and sins?

128 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Dr. Willingham,

Yep, I’m sure they did. I’m sure that Calvin and Wesley did, too. I’m sure that Luther and Zwingli did, too.

There is much I disagree with all of these people, as well. Do you agree with everything the Reformers believed?


129 dr. james willingham August 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Volfan, Dave: The first original churches in Tennessee were Sandy Creek Churches, and they, according to a friend of mine that pastored one of those churches back in the fifties , had adopted in a number of cases the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, the confession of the Regular Baptists!!!! How calvinistic!!! And your insistence that every one do things your way is “Not Arrogant?”!!!!!

130 volfan007 August 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Dr. Willingham,

I have no idea why you’re saying this to me. Besides, I’m more interested in what does the Bible teach, than I am with what did Sandy Creek, or Charleston, or Dort taught a long time ago. I’m more concerned with what Jesus said, and what the Apostles taught.


131 dr. james willingham August 30, 2012 at 9:03 pm

volfan: I thought I had typed an answer earlier, but it must not have gone through. It was on what Jesus said, and I wanted to know why you did not agree with our Lord which was the basis of what Sandy Creek had to say about original sin. The saying was this, “No one can come to me,”(Jn6:44,65), no one is able to come to me, the inability of man to respond to the Gospel, also the teaching of the Apostle Paul in I Cors.2:14. Sandy Creeks’s Confession of 1816, adopted under the leadership of the Father of Missions among Baptists, Rev. Luther Rice, with one of the members of that committee being Basil Manley, Sr., whose son would be the chairman of the group drawing up the Abstract of Principles of SBTS in 1859 and which has a similar statement concerning man’s spiritual inability, along with a statement of God’s choice, something set forth in Jn.6:44,65 as a matter of God’s determination. Also cf. Jn.15:16 and Ephs.1:4. I would also call attention to B.H. Carroll’s comment on Acts 13:48: “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” He said, “When I was young, I wanted that to read, “As many as believed were ordained to eternal life. It doesn’t say that. And you let the scripture say what it means.” He stressed the point that it plainly says, that God ordained the ones to believe. The active voice of ordained, also translated destined by some, is causative to the believed which is in the passive voice. Now these are just some of the Scripture, but they are enough to see how well you like what the Bible says….

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