Calvinism & Evangelism: A Baptist Conversation

As a Calvinist, I have been told that I’m a heretic, promoting a license to sin, preaching the doctrine of Hell, etc. I’m used to these comments and do not concern myself with them too much.

There is only one accusation that cuts deep: “Calvinism hinders evangelism.”

I’ve heard it mainly from my Arminian Methodist brothers and sisters (expectedly, of course), but lately I have seen traces of it all over the SBC – past and present. What kills me is that, as a Calvinist, I hold missions and evangelism in extremely high regard. Truly, one of my proudest claims as an SBCer is that we are so focused on the Great Commission.

Here are a few statements that I have read lately from SBC and other Baptist leaders:

  • Robert Sloan claims that “[Calvinism] is a dagger to the heart of evangelism” in a December 1994 article in the Baptist Standard. Leon McBeth is also cited as believing that Southern Baptists are most effective when balancing Calvinism with Arminianism.
  • Frank Stagg, in The Baptist Record in 1995, states that Calvinism as stated in SBTS’ Abstract of Principles “makes missions and evangelism a mere formality” since they believe in particular redemption.
  • In 2006, Nelson Price wrote an article for the Christian Index titled, “Evangelical Calvinism is an Oxymoron.”
  • In the Baptist Standard in 2000, Freddie Gage is quoted by Mark Wingfield claiming that “liberalism, five-point Calvinism, and dead orthodoxy … are all enemies of soul-winning” and are practically the same thing.
  • In 2006, Florida Baptist Convention executive director John Sullivan saw it fit to mail a copy of Jerry Vines’ anti-Calvinist sermon (stating in the audio that Calvinist soul-winners do so in spite of their theology) to every Baptist pastor in the state.
  • In the book Whosoever Will (birthed out of talks from the 2008 “John 3:16 Conference”), David Allen of SWBTS argues that Limited Atonement causes serious problems in evangelism.

And the list goes on forever.

It’s heartbreaking, to me, that these men of God blast a theology that they obviously do not understand. I can rant theologically for hours on why God’s sovereign election is more gratifying and worship-inhibiting to Calvinist evangelists, but we do not have time here. Plus, I’m sure that the comments section will be full of debate from both sides.

Instead, I will give a few snippets of support or testimony on behalf of Calvinistic evangelists’ efforts:

  • In 1993, when Albert Mohler was elected as SBTS president, one of his first plans of action was to establish the Billy Graham School for Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth.
  • Mark Dever, of the Reformed Baptist ministry IX Marks, wrote an amazing book released in 2007 called The Gospel and Personal Evangelism.
  • Roger Williams, the Calvinist founder of the first American Baptist church, spent much of his career evangelizing to Native Americans when most of his brethren were in disagreement. His passion for the Native Americans was one of the chief charges that led to his being forced out of Massachusetts by ruling of the General Court).
  • In Founders.org’s FJ in 1995, the late Ernest Reisinger contends that “Calvinism may kill man-centered evangelism, but true, Biblical Calvinism gives evangelism its only proper doctrinal foundation … it guarantees evangelism’s success … [because] God saves sinners.”
  • Daniel Akin, in the book Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue, says of himself, “I am Calvinist who embraces with my whole being our Lord’s command to take the Gospel across the street and around the world. Anything less puts a person outside the camp of Southern Baptists.”
  • Let us not forget William Carey, a Calvinist who is perhaps the greatest Baptist missionary to ever live.

Of course, this will never be settled. I pray that those who have animosity towards Calvinism will see the need for common Great Commission work, realize the Biblical Calvinist passion for missions, and leave the mud-slinging out of it.

Oh, and Calvinists… lighten up. :)

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Comments

  1. says

    There is no exegetical reason to believe Calvinism hinders evangelism in any way. This means that those who believe that do so because 1) they follow faulty logic rather than Scripture, or 2) their hatred of Calvinism is such that they’ll use any argument to refute it.

    On the other hand, I think Calvinists can fall into the same trap by insisting that non-Calvinists aren’t serious about God’s work in salvation so that it becomes a decision-based sales technique. There’s no exegetical reason to infer that. So Calvinists shouldn’t follow faulty logic in impugning non-Calvinists either.

  2. says

    Very thought provoking essay and comment. May I have the privilege of provoking a related thought?

    Now, with whom today have you–whether you are Calvinist, Arminian, or non-Calvinist–shared the gospel of Jesus Christ, who now saves sinners through faith in Him, His cross and resurrection?

    • says

      In this case, my guess would be that it isn’t Calvinism that has withheld Brandon from sharing the gospel today(if he hasn’t), but rather BLOGGING! :)

    • says

      Malcolm,

      I don’t see your question’s point to this article… I don’t think I talked a bit about Calvinism saving anyone. With all due respect, this article is actually written about men like you who were part of things like the “John 3:16 Conference” who paint Calvinist soteriology in a bad light as if IT DOES matter what theology you believe when you evangelize. You are correct, though, that no theology saves anyone. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

      • says

        Brandon,

        I could be wrong, but I think Malcolm’s point was- “you say it doesnt hinder you, therefore, who have you evangelized to today?”

        Which, is kind of silly, but that’s okay. If sharing the gospel is absent from your life it would be a great question, but to post the question as if you didn’t share the gospel this very day(at 10:37 no less) than it undermines your post is silly. But, like I said, that might not have been the purpose of his comment.

        If I am wrong than I would love to be corrected.

        • says

          Malcolm,

          I would like to say that I enjoyed your essay on Calvinist “lawlessness” in “Whosoever Will,” the only part of that conference or book that I enjoyed.

          Matt,

          You may be right. Either way, “silly” is a good point. And, I have shared the Gospel at work today. God-willing, there will be heart change!

          • says

            Matt and Brandon,

            Perhaps you misunderstood my query. My point was not about Calvinism or non-Calvinism, as the offset phrase clearly indicated. It was and remains a question about the practice of the faith at its most poignant expressiveness in our daily lives. If you will allow me to rephrase the question as a statement, it would be thus: “Share the Word, brothers, share the Word!” There is nothing indirect or inappropriate in that admonition. It is the most appropriate and direct encouragement I could share with a fellow minister.

            In Christ,
            Malcolm

  3. Josh says

    I don’t usually have to ask anyone if they are a Calvinist or an Arminian–it shows in how they do ministry…

  4. Darrell says

    Something that keeps my passion about my theology in check, is I have NEVER had someone realize their sin and turn to Christ ask me how it happened systematically. In fact in my most intimate times with the Lord, my soteriology is not at the forefront of my thoughts.

  5. says

    Okay, I will stir the pot a little. Remember, before you read what I write, that I am a Calvinist (though perhaps neither 5-point nor as passionate about it as some).

    In my church, the “Calvinist” group is also the most evangelistic group of people I have. They are passionate witnesses. So, it is not a generalization.

    However, I have seen a Calvinism, here in Iowa, that inhibits evangelism. I saw it in my church in Cedar Rapids and I saw it in our association there.

    Here is my non-scientific generalization. Calvinism does not inhibit evangelism, but those who become passionate about spreading Calviinism will sometimes forget that our goal is to spread the gospel, not the 5 points. I have seen that in churches.

    In his debate with Paige Patterson back in Greensboro, Al Mohler said something like this. “I have know people who will walk across the state to discuss the points of Calvinism but will not walk across the street to share the gospel.”

    Those of us who hold to Calvinism should also admit that there is a mutant strain of Calvinism out there that does inhibit evangelism. I do not think it is the essence of Calvinist theology, but I think it can hardly be denied that it exists.

    My two cents…

      • John D. says

        I definitely agree that there are some Calvinists who don’t evangelize, but it’s not necessarily because of their Calvinism.

        Perhaps because of their idolatry of Calvinism?

        I know I don’t evangelize as much as I should, and it’s usually because of my pride, selfishness, or fear, but not because it’s consistent with my doctrinal system.

        It seems I hear statistics of 80-90% of SBC churches are unevangelistic, and most growth is either transfer growth or child baptisms, but no outreach based growth. While something like 10% of SBC churches are Calvinistic. So if you completely take out the Calvinist factor, you get something like 3 out of ever 4 non-Calvinist church is not evangelistic.

        So clearly there is SOMETHING that is hindering evangelism, but (at least statistically) Calvinism isn’t it.

    • Bill Mac says

      Dave: I agree, but I think you can as easily insert in place of Calvinism and you will see similar results. There are some in the SBC more interested in (charismata, alcohol, the Supreme Court, gener roles, etc) than evangelism. It is too easy and too tempting to hop onto a hobby horse and ride it to death.

  6. says

    Great post, Brandon. It does sadden me when fellow Baptists make assertions about all Calvinists. Most Calvinists I know genuinely care about proclaiming the gospel. Like any group, there will be those who distort their stated beliefs by their actions. They should be seen as the aberration that they are instead of making them the focus of attacks on the entire group.

  7. says

    Brandon,

    Your quote from Danny Akin makes it sound like he is a Calvinist (of the 5 point variety). I’m not sure exactly where he stands but I’m pretty confident that he would not refer to himself as a Calvinist. His quote is still great, I just thought I’d offer this as a clarification.

      • says

        Brandon,

        When he preached at SBTS chapel about 3 years ago he said he was a 3.5 or a 4 pointer…. Depended on how he felt when he woke up that morning!

        • volfan007 says

          Also, I believe that it was Aken, who coined the phrase, “aggressive, 5 point Calvinist?” He was talking about those people, who are not hyper Calvinists, but who are obseesed with Calvinism and are seeking to convert others.

          David

          • says

            I’m not sure if he coined it… Every professor I had at SBTS used it and argued against it. Its not their fault it doesnt always get through!

  8. says

    I think many Calvinists realize that not only has God elected people from every tribe, people, language, and nation, but he has also decided the means by which He will call those people into His family, namely, the proclomation of the gospel. The Calvinist is called and mandated to do missions to people from every tribe, language and nation because (1) God says to do it, which should be enough of a reason, and (2) even though the elect are the ones that will respond positively to the gospel, nobody but God knows who the elect are, and so the gospel is proclaimed to all people.

    Maybe a weakend sort of objection to a Calvinist’s evangelism might hold though? Perhaps the Calvinist will be likely to be less tenacious when people don’t respond properly to the gospel proclomation? Maybe the Calvinist would be justified in believing that their negative response is because they are not part of the elect and so the Calvinist would “dust of their shoes”? I don’t this this will hold against a Calvinist either though. First, again, the identity of the elect is not known. Second, we are not told how many times a member of the elect will hear or be presented the gospel before responding properly. There is nothing as far as I can tell to say that the elect will respond on the first hearing of the gospel vice the 4th or 8th hearing of the gospel. There is also reason to believe that beyond just preaching to people, perhaps enduring relationships between people and a living out of the gospel message will lead to positive responses to the gospel. There is nothing that says the elect must respond on proclomation number one or else we are to give up and be done. ;)

    I think objecting to a Calvinist’s sense of missions is one of the weaker objections against Calvinism.

    Jimmie

  9. says

    Some Calvinists will cross the state to share TULIP, but won’t cross the street to share the gospel. — Mohler (paraphrase).

    True. I would add that that some non-Calvinists will cross the blogosphere to warn of the dangers of Calvinism, but won’t cross the street to warn of the dangers of sin, hell and judgment.

    Disobedience to the Great Commission is not a doctrinal distinctive, but a human one: Christians of all stripes sin when we keep the gospel to ourselves.

  10. says

    Brother Brandon,

    Just a few clarifications.

    First, your statement:

    It’s heartbreaking, to me, that these men of God blast a theology that they obviously do not understand.

    comes just after you quoted Dr. David Allen. Are you saying that the man who heads up the Theology Department for a major Southern Baptist Seminary does not understand one of the foremost theologians of Christendom? I think you can do better than that.

    Second, Ernest Reisenger contends that Southern Baptist do not know the Gospel. Thus, the Purpose of the Founders is stated;

    The purpose of Founders Ministries is the recovery of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the reformation of local churches. We believe intrinsic to this recovery is the promotion of the Doctrines of Grace in their experiential application to the local church particularly in the areas of worship and witness.

    Reisenger is looking to reform all SB churches. Are you, by advocating his quote, agreeing that all SB churches do not present the Gospel?

    Third, Roger Williams founded First Baptist Church in America but he later left that church and joined a society that were not Calvinist. Are you still going to promote him as a Calvinist with a heart for evangelism?

    Fourth, the John 3:16 conference was promoted as a conference that expressed the other side of the issue since many of the entities obliged the Founders and supported the Building Bridges Conference. However, name for me one person that spoke at the John 3:16 conference that was not a scholar.

    Fifth, because this is about Calvinism, :) what is it about Dr. Allen’s argument do you not agree? He did not just say ‘Limited Atonement drives a death nail into evangelism’. He gave a very clear argument for making his case against Limited Atonement.

    It seems your article is full of straw-men. I will tell you that I know people that would adhere to the Doctrines of Grace and are just as evangelistic as anyone I know. There are also people I know that shun anything that resembles Limited Atonement and Perseverance of the Saints but would not share the Gospel if their lives depended on it.

    Of all the SB that I know that stand on soteriological issues they always stand against Hyper-Calvinism. Supralapsarian Hyper-Calvinism will kill evangelism I do not know where you come from. And I believe you could agree with that last statement.

    Blessings,
    Tim

    • says

      I think the complaint about the John 3:16 conference is not that the speakers were not intelligent or scholarly, but that they misrepresented what most Calvinists believe.

      There is a tendency in theological debate to define the norm by the extreme. We do that with Charismatics a lot. We look at the wild men (and women) of the movement and paint everyone in the pentecostal or charismatic world according to their antics.

      I have observed that in terms of Calvinism as well. I see a strain of Calvinism that can be a hindrance to evangelism, but the tendency of some on the anti-Calvinist side is to paint all Calvinists in the extremist hues.

    • says

      Tim,

      You are right about Supralapsarian Hyper-Calvinism… The thing is, I have never met one. Peter Lumpkins puts James White in that category, but I don’t think anyone could argue that White’s calvinism hinders his gospel charing.

      I ask this seriously, do you know anyone in the SBC that fits that description?

      • says

        Brother Dave,

        First, the John 3:16 conference was put together just as I stated it. They did not have anyone presenting from the other side of the theological creek because Building Bridges was nothing more than a “we believe in tulips and do not believe in daisies”. You even had Dr. Danny Akin stating that if Dr. Patterson were pushed he would be an affirming 4 point Calvinist. Whether someone agrees with the points of the tulips or not is not what makes one a Calvinist. I know people that would affirm 4 points but they will tell you very quickly they are not Calvinists. I even know one man that affirms all 5 points, but he will quickly and adamantly oppose being labeled a Calvinist. So, this push that our convention is a Calvinist convention is nothing more that trying to paint the convention into a pleasant place for the young, restless and reformed that want to affirm those from the conservative branch of the Presbyterian denomination. As Dr. Adrian Rogers told Dr. D. James Kennedy as he introduced him at the Pastors Conference, “Dr. Kennedy, if you will go under, we will cross over.”

        Brother Matt,

        According to Phillip Johnson’s definition of Hyper-Calvinism, James White fits the mold. That is exactly what Dr. Allen argued at the John 3:16 conference. Of course, if one reads the book one will find and excellent argument that John Calvin was not a Calvinist.

        Blessings,
        Tim

        • says

          Tim,

          If someone sends it to me I will read it. :)

          With that being said, I have read a lot of the Institutes myself and he, at the very least, was a 4 point Calvinist.

          Would you mind summarize some of the points made about Calvin not being a Calvinist? I’m interested to know where they get that from.

          Also, what is Johnsons definition?

          Whites entire ministry is debating and sharing the gospel with those of different religious views, so if he is a hyper-calvinist than I guess he is one hyper-calvinist in which it encourages evangelism and missions.

          • volfan007 says

            In the book, Whosoever Will, the quotes given show that Calvin did not believe in limited atonement like todays 5 pointers do.

            The book is very, very good. I have not finished it, yet, but what I’ve read is excellent. I would highly recommend it.

            Also, it’s always funny to me when non-five point Calvinists have a conference it misrepresents Calvinism, and it’s bashing Calvinists, etc, etc. But, let the Founders have a conference, and it’s okay? Clear as a bell? Not bashing non-5 pointers? lol. C’mon, now.

            David

          • says

            David,

            Can you show me a Founders conference in which the topic was anti-arminian? Arent their conferences usually geared more towards Pro-Calvinism, not anti-Arminianism?

            Plus, I have said before, I wrote a whole post about it, if Calvinists held an anti-Arminianism conference I would be as against as I am Whosoever Will. “Against” might not be the best word. They are free to have a conference about whatever they want… Id love to go to a conference on Amillennialism and how it ought to help shape our daily mission! But, when it comes to the issue of Calvinism I think conferences like Whosoever Will are just unhelpful and divisive, and it would be the same if it was the other way around.

            Also, as I said, from my own reading of the Institutes it is undeniable that he is AT LEAST a 4 point Calvinist. And while I have read some quotes that might suggest he didnt believe in the L, I have also read a ton of quotes that seemed very pro-L. IMHO, no one can say with absolute certainty where Calvin stood on L. When we get to heaven we can ask and then we will all know whether or not he and many others were right!

        • says

          Tim writes…

          According to Phillip Johnson’s definition of Hyper-Calvinism, James White fits the mold.

          Tim, would it surprise you to know that Phil Johnson disagrees with you about that?

          within the militantly Arminian sector of the Southern Baptist Convention, it seems there are still those who insist that “by the definition of Phil Johnson,” James White is a hyper-Calvinist.

          That charge was made earlier this month by Dr. David Allen at the “John 3:16 Conference” in Woodstock, GA. I first read about it a day later from a couple of live-bloggers who were present at that conference—Andrew Lindsey and the blogger known as johnMark. I commented on Dr. Allen’s accusation immediately—first at Challies.com, then here on the blog. James White also responded to Dr. Allen both on his blog and via his webcast.

          I figured that would be the end of the matter. Evidently not.

          My initial response to Dr. Allen was admittedly written very quickly. (After all, it was a comment on Tim Challies’ blog, not a doctoral dissertation.) Reading it more than a week later, however, it still seems clear enough, and I stand by everything I said. The gist of it was that if Dr. Allen thinks James White is a hyper-Calvinist by my definition, then he doesn’t understand my definition.
          ~Phil Johnson, November 2008

          Phil’s full comments can be found at Pyromaniacs.

          Squirrel

          • says

            Bill,

            That’s funny… What is more hilarious is that when Yarnell comments at Lumpkins blog, Peter then foams at the mouth and tells everyone to treat Yarnell with the UTMOST respect because he has earned it… Next thing you know, Peter writes a post bashing equally qualified theologians, but since he disagrees with them it is okay to bash them.

            I do think Dr. Yarnell should be treated with respect, and so should everyone else. Double standards are lame, but Peter loves them.

            It cracks me up that non-calvinists talk down to Calvinist theologians, but then demand the utmost respect to non-Calvinist theologians… it’s not just Peter, but he sure is an obvious example.

          • says

            Matt,

            I respect Yarnell and I must admit… I was terrified to call him out like I did on this comment stream haha. But, when you disagree, you disagree.

          • volfan007t says

            Matt,

            I’ve been to a Founders Conf. a while back. I didnt hear non-5 pointers mentioned in too “positive” of a way. Arminians and “Semi Pelagians” were mentioned, and it was not in a good way. This was during the conf. and afterwards, when people were talking…”fellowshipping.”

            David

  11. says

    What a riot! Calvinists, really Sovereign Grace believers, not evangelistic? Nonsense! How come Edwards (Jonathan) could preach on Pressing into The Kingdom, Whitefield on Almost Christian, Dr. Ernest Campbell on Why Sit Ye Here Till Ye Die? and The Great Supper? Doesn’t any realize that, as Dr. John Eusden wrote in his preface to his translation of William Ames’ Marrow of Divinity: “Predestination is an invitation to begin one’s spiritual pilgrimage.” Let’s just shorten that to :”Predestination is an invitation to salvation.” So is Reprobation, Total Depravity and Inability, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement and Particular Redemption, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. When those truths were preached back in the First and Second Great Awakenings and the launching of the Great Century of Missions, Heaven came down and blessed those who preached such truths. Even old John Wesley, as Mr. Spurgeon pointed out somewhere, used language concerning the force of grace that he(Mr. Spurgeon) would not use. Now we are getting ready to have another Great Awakening, and how many of you have looked into the Bible to see how our Lord Himself preached these truths as invitations to accept Him and be saved? Well, compare Mt. 15:21-28 & Luke 4:18-31. Note how Jesus says to His disciples, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” which the woman must have heard and she acted like it was candy and came and through herself down and worshipped him….and she wasn’t even a Jew. Note Jesus said to His neighbors of Nazareth that Elijah did not help any widow in Israel but did help a widow of Sarepta a city of Sidon, and Elisha healed no leper in Israel, but he did heal Naaman the Syrian. The folks of His home town were enraged. Both cases show the supreme Counselor offering the healing power of the paradox. My pastor grasped what I meant, when he said his grade school teacher used a paradox to talk him out of the hiccups when he was a child. He went to her to ask for permission to go get a drink of water as he had the hiccups. She said, “Okay, hiccup for me.” And he found he could not do it. He and all his little buddies then said that the teacher talked them out of their hiccups. Jesus was offering his paradoxical truths and interventions to deliver his listeners from their sins. The woman of acted like what He said was all candy, she worshipped and groveled and took the position of a little dog and Jesus paid her a compliment that h never bestowed on any of the Twelve, “Great is Thy Faith.” He gave her a carte blanche, “Whatever you want and please.” The doctrines of grace are coming back, because they are most intensely evangelistic and inviting doctrines of all (we Baptists had forgotten that fact). Take the idea of limited atonement/particular redemption, Jesus found a new sheep in the woman, a sheep who was not of the physical Israel. If He said, I give my life for one lost sheep, I would expect to win the whole world and every soul in it, one sheep/soul at a time…and I would let the Lord handle any semantics, because the OT has provided us with the promise that the whole earth shall be full of His knowledge and glory as the waters cover the seas. Does any one really do anything these days? Thinking God’ thoughts will stretch the mind and heart like nothing else. The depth of truth, the white hot heat of melting truth, the blessed effect on one’s maturity, bringing one into becoming balanced, flexible, creative, and magnetic, is hardly to be believed. Indeed, it is impossible. I go out to win the whole earth with impossible truths as the most winsome of all. After all, don’t they sing in the Man from La Manche about Dreaming the Impossile Dream? Now when does the world get to out do us?

    • SSBN says

      Dr. W,

      Thanks for pointing out that sovereign grace still invites sinful flesh to participate in sharing the Savior’s message.

      Any dichotomy between sovereign grace and a lack of evangelism is a twisted and distorted, incomplete view.

  12. says

    “Supralapsarian Hyper-Calvinism will kill evangelism I do not care where you come from.”

    Tim, are you assuming that all supralapsarians are hypercalvinists? IOW, is supralapsarian a noun or an adjective in that statement? I agree that hypercalvinism is by its nature non-evangelistic. However, I think it’s because of a deranged sense of logic that it happens. It’s not just an errant doctrine. It’s sin. I don’t think it’s because of one’s idea of the order of decrees.

      • volfan007 says

        Charles Spurgeon would have had some “issues” with many of todays 5 pointers. I really dont think I would even label him a 5 pointer…

        David

        • says

          Well, he himself subscribed heavily to 5 point Calvinism so I dont know where you get that from…

          Also, no one knows if Spurgeon would have issues with many of todays 5 pointers…lol. Why do we act as if we know the minds of dead saints? lol- everyone does it and its hilarious. I think Adoniram Judson secretly had a thing for red-heads, but red-heads back then were different from red-heads of today!

          Spurgeon probably had issues with Calvinists in his day…. Heck, we all have issues with everyone because we recognize that no one is perfect… Thus, we ought to be a lot more humble and gracious in our interactions!

  13. says

    Dr. Ernet R. Campbell was a supralapsarian hyper-calvinist and would tell you so from the pulpit and person to person, and yet he founded the American Race Track Chaplaincy (cf. Who’s Who in Religion. 2nd edn. Chicago: Marquis, 1977). He preached a revival in a rural church back in the 40s and had 100 conversions. One has to laugh at the follies of those wo never saw a real calvinist/sovereign grace believer instead of somebody who was badly misinformed and following the enemy’s conceptions of such. Don’t you all know that some one snuck into the Baptist camp back in the early 1800s and drove both sides of the truths into extremism in order to stop that Awakening which bid fair to win the whole earth back then? Some folks who thought they had the rule of the whole earth then, and who in one volume published in the 60s declared their theology and the theology they opposed. They are the folks who bring us our present mess and who plan to reduce the world’s population by 5.5 billion, because the useless eaters are consuming their resources who said the resources belonged to that small group anyway? The answer was given by C.S. Lewis in part in his That Hieous Strength in the section on Pulling Down Deep Heaven on Their Heads,” the heavnly presence, the second factor in a great awakening, the first being the doctrines of grace. O and the third is humility. Prayers have been made for 40-50 years for another awakening/revival, that is why the doctrines of grace are coming back, and like the lady said to Dr. Gene Spurgeon in 1965-66, “Oh, it was so wonderful, I could not resist it.” So it is with all the doctrines of grace, rightly grasped.

  14. Christiane says

    In the philosophy of the Calvinists, I hear many of the same arguments that exist in my Church among the ‘Thomists’.
    And in the philosophy of those who do not embrace Calvinism, I hear many of the same arguments of the ‘Molinists’ in my Church.

    My Church solved the problem rather neatly:
    the Molinists and the Thomists are recognized as each emphasizing the ends of a spectrum;
    but they were not allowed to hurl the charge of ‘heretic’ at one another.
    That is strictly forbidden.
    And so my Church has resolved the bitterness by embracing unity in diversity, once again, as those who lean towards one side and those who lean towards the other side, are called together in celebration of their essential unity in Christ the Lord.

    It IS POSSIBLE to embrace unity in Christ, in the midst of diversity.
    It does work. But it does demand respect for others who see things in a way that we might not see them. But then, again, in the Body of Christ, diversity is a strength, is it not?

      • Christiane says

        Brandon, ‘my’ Church is Catholic.
        My dear maternal grandmother, of blessed memory, was Southern Baptist.

        If you wanted to take ‘the debate’ over free-will and determinism back into the history of the Church, you end up looking at the impact that the Greek philosophers made on some in early Christian thinking.

        And profound questions of ‘free will’ vs. ‘determinism’ have actually emerged in areas of philosophy and in science outside of the Church debates.

        So the roots of ‘the debate’ go back much further than John Calvin, and the earlier history of ‘the debate’ is both extremely fascinating and very, very complicated.

        It must be very difficult for those Southern Baptists, who depend on across-the-board strict doctrinal conformity, to accept those Southern Baptists who have Calvinist leanings, but it CAN be done and done respectfully,
        if the heart of their faith is kept centered on Christ the Lord, in whom they are made ‘one’.

  15. says

    How many of you, whether Calvinist or not, have taken time to write approximately 20 pages critiquing other Christians’ theology in a chapter entitled The Potential Impact of Calvinist Tendencies upon Local Baptist Churches that could have been used to share the gospel instead?

    I’m just provoking thoughts. :)

  16. says

    Thank goodness Tim Rogers came (and then left) because his comments illustrate my point.

    There is only one accusation that cuts deep: “Calvinism hinders evangelism.”

    A. Calvinism doesn’t hinder evangelism, false doctrine does. Liberal Christians refuse to evangelize because they consider it to be religious bigotry. The anti-Calvinists are purposefully lumping doctrinally sound Calvinists in with heretics, something that they don’t do otherwise, and it is wrong.

    B. Anti-Calvinists often play the “it hinders evangelism” card as the trump card that justifies their position when all else fails. The urgency to win the lost, in their mind, justifies avoiding a complex examination of which position is more doctrinally sound. It is something that they use to justify themselves and to end debate, similar to how a political conservative will simply call an opponent a socialist and his opponent will reply by calling him a racist. The real purpose of “it hinders evangelism” charge is to be the one thing to justify rejecting Calvinism when the Biblical evidence supports it. The truth is that there is no conclusive Biblical evidence for either Calvinism or modern free will Christianity. Instead, the Biblical evidence merely tips heavily towards the Calvinist side. So, the purpose of the “it hinders evangelism” charge is to put it on the free will side of the scale to tip it back. In other words, it’s role is to nullify the Biblical evidence on the other side. It is what is called “jury nullification” in legal terms; where an explosive charge or controversy is used by a jury as an excuse to ignore which side has the most or best evidence. So, “it hinders evangelism” has the same purpose as did race in the OJ Simpson and Emmitt Till trials.

    • Christiane says

      “The truth is that there is no conclusive Biblical evidence for either Calvinism or modern free will Christianity.”

      An interesting statement.

      One thing that is missing somewhat from the debate is a view of the Judaic diversity regarding ‘determinism’ among the Saduccees, the Essenes, and the Pharisees.
      The Judaic perception is not the same as the Greek.

      The one thing shared was the idea that the Master of the Universe set before mankind a variety of choices, some leading to life, and some leading in another direction . . . . and then came the biblical command:
      ‘choose life’.

      We are told in Deuteronomy (30:19), “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse: therefore choose life.”
      Some read that statement to mean that is senseless if man has no free will and all of his actions are determined for him, and yet the Essenes did not follow this line of thought at all.

      So, the ‘debate’ surrounding determinism and ‘free will’ is an ancient one. Could be, it’s the philosophy you buy into that then determines how you interpret the Scriptures. Not visa-versa.

      ?

      • says

        “One thing that is missing somewhat from the debate is a view of the Judaic diversity regarding ‘determinism’ among the Saduccees, the Essenes, and the Pharisees. The Judaic perception is not the same as the Greek.”

        While that is interesting, what matters most is the Biblical text. Knowing those things helps makes us approach the text exegetically and expositionally. We can use what you describe to illuminate the Biblical text, to give it a fuller, richer meaning, but not to nullify or override what the text says. Otherwise, it is using the background as an excuse to engage in agenda-driven hermeneutics; using the background as a way to get to a preconceived agenda as the “real interpretation.”

        So, we can’t use the background information to evade, for instance, what Jesus Christ said concerning Judas Iscariot. It is mighty revealing that free will Christians need to resort to such things as “predestined foreknowledge” to get around the issues in the Biblical text. Yet, “predestined foreknowledge” ought to hinder evangelism just as much as Calvinism does. It shows that the primary problem with Calvinism is that the lack of free will is offensive to modern (humanist/rationalist/Enlightenment) ideas of fairness and equity.

        • Christiane says

          Well, when you consider that Paul, as Saul, was a pretty good example of a Pharisee when he was doing the Pharisee thing, it might be a good idea to want to know how the Pharisees felt about determinism.

          Another point: a lot of Western Christian thought is much influenced by Greek philosophy which was connected to determinism. So, now you want to educate yourself a little bit about that influence and maybe how that influence differed from the position of the Pharisees on determinism.

          Like I said: it gets complicated. And therein lies all of the ‘your a heretic’ charges which occur when people don’t understand the history behind their own frame of reference for interpreting a scripture, much less the other person’s frame of reference.

          A little understanding opens up the discussion.
          And respect for the fact that people do see things from different perspectives, allows for a civil dialogue to take place.

          This is not something that extremists-fundamentalists can engage in easily. I know that.

          • says

            Christiane:

            “So, now you want to educate yourself a little bit about that influence and maybe how that influence differed from the position of the Pharisees on determinism.”

            What makes you think that I haven’t already? Or that I am not “as educated” in things concerning philosophy and theology as you are?

    • says

      Brother Job,

      Tim Rogers has not gone. I am still here. Do you have something you would like to interject into my position? Let me clearly explain what I mean. Supralapsarian is the belief that God created individuals in order to sentence them to hell. I don’t know how one can reconcile the order of decrees to Genesis 2:4. However, that is not the purpose of the post and I will concede to you the last word instead of high jacking the post.

      Blessings,
      Tim

  17. Don Johnson says

    I think the difference between a Calvinist and a hyper Calvinist is simple. The Calvinist believes the 3-5 points in his head. The hyper Calvinist believes the 5 points in his head and in his heart.

  18. says

    Maybe the best question to ask would be:
    Do you spend more of your time defending and reforming to Calvinist theology or do you spend it seeking to lead people to Jesus?

    Today’s brand of Calvinist does not match the fervor of the old brand. if the focus were on evangelism, we would not see the great promotion of Calvinism. Many in the older generation were Calvinistic but you never know it for their mission was sharing Jesus with the lost.

    Maybe that is were we need to focus today instead of reforming!

    • says

      Tim G,

      That’s a fair question… But the same question needs to be asked of every other system of belief.

      Also, the facts disprove your claim. Todays calvinism is as evangelism and missions focused as it ever has been. Many of the leading churches in evangelism and missions are Calvinist. See- John Piper, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, David Platt, Francis Chan, and many many more. These mens churches do as much church planting and missions as anyone, and yes, they are all Calvinists. These churches, and many like them, don’t emphasize anything more than sharing the gospel through personal evangelism, church planting, and missions.

      Plus, you did know the older generation of Calvinists were Calvinists… Many, if not most, of the leading missionaries in our history were openly Calvinistic. Plus, check out Spurgeon, Boyce, and many more…

      To say otherwise is to deny reality for the sake of pushing an anti-calvinist agenda.

  19. Rick Garner says

    Brandon did you really mean to say that Robert Sloan, Frank Stagg and David Allen “blast a theology that they obviously do not understand.”

    Rick Garner

    • volfan007 says

      That was a very arrogant statement to make, wasnt it, Rick? For them to say that David Allen and others didnt understand 5 point Calvinism! Wow.

      David

      • says

        Rick and David,

        I think their statements prove that they don’t. Proof is in the pudding, and many of the largest missions/planting churches are Calvinist. See: Acts29 and Driscoll’s Mars Hill, The Village, Bethlehem Baptist, Cornerstone – Simi Valley, Redeemer (Tim Keller’s), Capitol Hill and IX Marks, etc.

        • volfan007 says

          Brandon,

          Are you seriously saying that theologians, who study theology for a living, dont understand something like Calvinism? Are you serious?

          David

          • says

            David,

            Yes… Haha. I meant it when I wrote it, when I just said it, and now. As I said, they prove my point when the stats are against their statements. As with anyone, you can’t study all day and your biases will cloud your judgment. Happens to me and I’m sure you, too

          • says

            David,

            Theologians, even the best kind, often dont fully understand theologies they dont believe… Also, if they do understand it, many times it seems they dont by how they argue against it. We all try to “pad the stats” and “stack the deck” and when we do that we often misrepresent the others in order to try to make our points look stronger.

          • says

            Good job, Brandon. Stick to your guns on this. I hate it when people want to trot out qualifications as justification for carelessness or ignorance. It is precisely because of these theologians’ professional status and stature that they should know better than to make such stupid arguments. Could you see D.A. Carson or Wayne Grudem making such imprecise statements about Scripture or theology? If these militant anti-Calvinist theologians really knew the issues, you’d think they could actually accurately speak to them. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen them interact accurately with the specific arguments of Calvinist theologians in the historical theology realm or interact responsibly with the specific texts in the exegetical theology realm. I’m sorry, but answering every Calvinist doctrine with, “What about John 3:16?” and “Calvinism kills evangelism,” and “What about Servetus?” is neither scholarly nor worthy of their positions in academia. How about some positive exegesis and interaction with the dominant Calvinist texts – paid scholars?

        • Rick Garner says

          David, I’m not sure if his statement was made out of ignorance or arrogance but for sure it demonstrates a lack of basic Christian respect.

          • volfan007t says

            Rick,

            I think you’re right. Also, for young men, very young men, to make such statements is…well, disturbing… concerning. It demonstrates what’s going on the SBC right now, with some of the young, 5 point fellas. They think that they’re “smarter” and “more spiritual,” than the older theologians of the SBC. And, they treat them with disrespect and disdain.
            I have no problem with them disagreeing with them, but for them to say that they dont understand Calvinism…well, that would be funny, if it were not so concerning.

            David

          • says

            Rick and David,

            A) 1 Timothy 4:12

            B) Show me how I’m wrong about the aforementioned Calvinist organizations and churches doing amazing evangelistic work and then we can talk about Dr. Allen’s credibility in saying Calvinists can’t do amazing evangelistic work. Like I said, the proof is in the pudding. Dr. Allen’s Unlimited Atonement glasses fog his view of reality. As do all of our biases. I’m not being arrogant, I’m being logical. Again, PROVE TO ME and everyone here that Calvinists do not and cannot evangelize… otherwise Allen is still wrong.

          • says

            Furthermore,

            I do not show disdain because we disagree and his age does not demand blind respect, either. I have the utmost respect for Patterson and we do not agree on this. BUT, Patterson is wise and learned enough to admit that Calvinists are effective evangelists. See his talk at th 2006 annual meeting with Mohler.

  20. says

    Tim G,

    Perhaps the older generation of Calvinist did not have to spend so much time defending themselves against Flaming Anti-Calvinist in the SBC in their day like Tim Rogers and his merry band of B.I. bloggers.

    Grace Always,

      • volfan007 says

        Greg,

        There you go again…saying things that verge on stupidity. Do you even know the theology of the BI crowd? Do you? That would be interesting to hear what you think about that?

        David lol

        • cb scott says

          “Greg,

          There you go again…saying things that verge on stupidity. Do you even know the theology of the BI crowd? Do you?”

          Well Greg, if you don’t know the theology of the BI gang, it is high time you learned, buddy. And you better look out ’cause they are coming to a town near you!!!

          Greg, you read the BI theology below and start sleeping with one eye open, Pal.

          B I Theology 101:

          Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise
          Playin’ in the street gonna be a big man some day
          You got mud on yo’ face
          You big disgrace
          Kickin’ your can all over the place

          We will we will rock you
          We will we will rock you

          Buddy you’re a young man hard man
          Shoutin’ in the street gonna take on the world some day
          You got blood on yo’ face
          You big disgrace
          Wavin’ your banner all over the place

          We will we will rock you
          We will we will rock you

          Buddy you’re an old man poor man
          Pleadin’ with your eyes gonna make you some peace some day

          You got mud on your face
          You big disgrace
          Somebody better put you back in your place

          We will we will rock you
          We will we will rock you

          • says

            Tim Rogers,

            Why not go there… your Flaming Anti-Calvinism is evident for all to see. (just read your comments on this one post) Proverbs 26:4??? I have no idea what you are trying to say with this comment… but that’s nothing new.

            David,

            Laughing … You ask “Do you even know the theology of the BI crowd? Do you? That would be interesting to hear what you think about that?” I will ask you a question in return David, Does the BI crowd even have theology? Besides their obvious Flaming Anti-Calvinism/Reformed position do you guys have any other doctrines that are the foundation upon which your “fringe” BI movement is based? Perhaps I am as ignorant as you say, so why don’t you enlighten all of us stupid Calvinist and lay out your BI theology for us to have a look at. NO! I did not think so… Laughing again.

            CB

            Cyber Bullying is a crime you know? :-)

            Grace Always

          • David Miller says

            Let me take a crack at “BI Theology” and see if I can get any agreement from David or CB. At its essence, BI prizes the maintainance of Baptist distinctives, both theological and ecclesiological. To BI, these distinctives are more important than cooperation in the greater Christian world.

            BI tends to emphasize the local church and deemphasize the univeral, invisible, worldwide church.

            BI strongly emphasizes the oversight of ordinances by the local church.

            BI adherents make statements like “Baptist IS biblical” and our convinced that Baptist polity and practice is the distinctive marker of a genuine NT church.

            They also tend to cheer for silly Southern Football teams.

  21. Bill Mac says

    I think the point is variations on the phrase “Calvinism hinders evangelism” demonstrate a misunderstanding of Calvinism. Since there are many evangelistic Calvinists, the phrase is demonstrably untrue. For the “Calvinism hinders evangelism” phrase to have any weight, proponents would have to provide some type of solid proof, rather than anecdotes and hunches. Perhaps such a study, peer reviewed and statistically sound, has been done. But if so, I’ve never heard of it or seen it.

  22. volfan007 says

    I once heard a well known, aggressive, obsessed, 5 point Calvinist sharing how he had witnessed to someone. He practically taught the lost fella the book of Romans. Then, when the man said that he wanted to be saved, this 5 pointer told him to go home and read the book of Romans, and maybe the Lord would save him!!!

    Now, that kind of ridiculousness is something that would hinder evangelism…BUT, at least he was sharing the Gospel. Of course, he left the man lost…wanting to be saved…not knowing how to be…wondering what to do next…BUT, at least he was sharing the Gospel. I just hope the man eventually got saved.

    David

    • says

      Brother Vol,

      You just expressed to the Calvinist on this board a works salvation. For them that was the right thing for the man to do because there is nothing the man can do to get saved. If he does not sense that God has saved him then he is lost until God decides to save him. The reason? Because as a lost man he cannot get saved because God has not enabled him yet. He has no choice in this thing because God’s Grace is irresistible. But, but for you and I we believe that God’s Grace is drawing him that is the reason for the questions. God’s Grace is available for him to receive if he will ask for it.

      Blessings,
      Tim

      • says

        Tim, that is the kind of twisting of Calvinist belief that causes trouble. I can believe that someone did what David said, but you extrapolated that into a Calvinist norm. You are painting with extremist hues again.

        It is not a fair extrapolation.

        • says

          Brother Dave Miller,

          Ok, I will play along. You tell me what I have said that is not in line with what Calvinist believe? I can take you to church after church here in NC where pastors have come in and stopped the invitation because their soteriology dictates that they not lead someone to make such a decision. I am not extrapolating anything. I am not rabid against Calvinists. I am merely expressing what has been expressed to me from pastors that claim to be 5 point Calvinist in their theology.

          Blessings,
          Tim

  23. Don Johnson says

    Matt,

    To briefly answer your question, I would say a hyper-Calvinist is a true Calvinist. Because a hyper is much more likely to practice what he believes with regards to the 5 points.

    A Calvinist does not believe the 5 points in his heart. His heart tells him they are not true (actually just the first four points). Therefore, with regards to evangelism his heart will often overrule his mind. However, the hyper whose heart and mind agree, “know” that most evangelism and missions work is a total waste.

    • says

      Don,

      That’s what we in the business call a “broad stroke stereotype.” My heart tells me 100% 5-point Calvinism and I see every person as a soul God could save and I treat them as such. So, your theory is officially busted by myself.

      Any other 5-pointers want to agree with me?

    • says

      Don,

      Actually, this goes to everyone here and not just you, but the term “hyper-Calvinist” is an actual historical term that does not mean “really-really Calvinist.” The term “hyper-Calvinist” refers to an errant and unbiblical form of Calvinism that, in part, teaches that there is no need for evangelism.

      So, hyper-Calvinism, by definition, kills missions because hyper-Calvinism is not a 5 point Calvinist who believes in his heart that the 5 poitns are true.

      I would love to see the reaction from the more Arminian side if we Calvinists started calling them “Hyper-Arminians” and saying that they belive that man can save himself by making his blind eyes see and his dead heart believe. You’d really see the other edge of the double standard then.

      Jeff.

  24. says

    David,

    Yes… Haha. I meant it when I wrote it, when I just said it, and now. As I said, they prove my point when the stats are against their statements. As with anyone, you can’t study all day and your biases will cloud your judgment. Happens to me and I’m sure you, too.

  25. says

    I’ll trot out my old mantra here .. don’t think I’ve unleashed it here.

    1) When we were founding members of Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) here, we took all the normal operating expenses for the church, as our base budget; we than added 50% to it, and that 50% additional .. 1/3 of the total budget .. went to missions. Denominational missions, and we would support individual missional causes if they would appear before our Session and explain their mission and it met our church’s approval.

    2) In the 35 years I have lived in the Birmingham area, I have NEVER ONCE been approached with a “witness” .. you know .. “If you were to die tonight, do you know where you’d spend eternity” .. NEVER ONCE by a Southern Baptist. ALWAYS, without fail, it has been a PCA church member.

    SBC people seem to talk big, and then belittle those who are actually doing what we claim to be so good at. Somebody ought to be ashamed.

    • cb scott says

      Bob,

      I told you five years ago, There’s a New Kid in Town, remember? And since this new kid came to town, if you lived on his side of town you would have heard it from a Southern Baptist.

      Let me remind you one more time Bob, as I said five years ago:

      “There’s a new kid in town
      just another new kid in town
      Ooh, hoo
      Everybody’s talking ’bout the new kid in town,
      Ooh, hoo
      Everybody’s walking’ like the new kid in town
      There’s a new kid in town
      Theres a new kid in town people started walking
      There’s a new kid in town
      I don’t want to hear it
      There’s a new kid in town
      I don’t want to hear it
      There’s a new kid in town
      There’s a new kid in town
      There’s a new kid in town”

      And that kid is a Southern Baptist, Bob :-)

      Seriously Bob, I hope I get to see you next week. It has been a strange summer. Tell Peg I said thanks so much for calling Karen today.

      • cb scott says

        Brandon,

        Bob is no longer PCA. He is now a Southern Baptist. But let me assure you, were he still PCA, he would still be at the “microphone” fighting against the recent approval of Sodomite pastors in the PCA. Bob Cleveland is a true pistol fighter of the first rank. He has true grit and lives with honor and above all, loves Jesus.

    • Stuart says

      PCA : PCUSA :: SBC : Alliance of Baptists

      Thoughtful theologians and careful writers will note the difference.

  26. says

    Several observations after coming home and reading the thread.

    1. Don Johnson, I’m very glad that Nash Bridges thing worked out in your favor. You deserved that money. :)

    2. Any time Calvinism is brought up, the same four or five men come trotting along to post the exact same misrepresentations and insults as always, making themselves look like fools who don’t really understand the issues.

    3. When the Calvinists try to clarify the issues, they are accused of being arrogant and elitist when really, if the militant non-Calvinists don’t want to be challenged, they shouldn’t make stupid arguments.

    4. Same old thing, different blog.

      • cb scott says

        Brandon,

        Would it also be “well played” to say:

        When the non-Calvinists try to clarify the issues, they are accused of being arrogant and elitist when really, if the militant Calvinists don’t want to be challenged, they shouldn’t make stupid arguments.

        • says

          cb,

          I think Brandon’s “well played” was in response to my point #1 concerning Don Johnson. However, I believe you to be a straight-shooter not given to overemotional assessments. So… are you actually saying that there is anything close to equivalence on this issue?

          • cb scott says

            Darby,

            I think that due to the subject of soteriology being such an important issue to any of us who take the faith seriously and know that we are talking about a life and death, heaven and hell matter, we can all get defensive at times.

            I also believe that due to the fact that good men and true brothers through the centuries have differed on this subject, that it is easy at times to chose our most “colorful” or most convincing hero and line up behind him and fire off many rounds of ammo at one another feeling completely justified in doing so.

  27. says

    Tim Rogers, I want to echo what (I think Phil Johnson) said, that all Hyper-Calvinists are Supralapsarians, but not all Supra’s are Hyper’s. So “Supralapsarian Hyper-Calvinism” would be redundant because of the word “Supralapsarian” (a superset) rather than “Hyper-Calvinism” (a subset). But really, true Hyper-Calvinism is a different animal in the food chain entirely.

  28. Don Johnson says

    Brandon,

    I expect all the 5 pointers will agree with you, but that doesn’t prove I’m “busted.”

    Here’s one way you can know if Calvinism is in your heart (hyper) or only in your mind.

    Acts 17:2 states that Paul “reasoned” with those in Thessalonica. In verse 4 it states some believed (persuaded).

    No self respecting hyper would even consider the possibility of “reasoning” with the lost, much less trying to “persuade.” The hyper “knows” in his heart that the man is “dead” he has “Total Inability” and is incapable of responding to any type of “reasoning” or “persuasion.” The hyper “knows” God must first regenerate the person before he can begin to understand anything spiritual, let alone being able to “reason.”

    Brandon do you try and “reason” with a dead corpse? If you do then you don’t believe “Total Inability” in your heart, but only in your mind.

    • says

      No self respecting hyper would even consider the possibility of “reasoning” with the lost, much less trying to “persuade.” The hyper “knows” in his heart that the man is “dead” he has “Total Inability” and is incapable of responding to any type of “reasoning” or “persuasion.” The hyper “knows” God must first regenerate the person before he can begin to understand anything spiritual, let alone being able to “reason.”

      Thereby proving that James R. White is not a hyper-Calvinist, since he spends the vast majority of his time reasoning with the lost in debates, in books, on his webcast, and in personal street evangelism.

      Glad that’s settled…

      Squirrel

      • says

        Squirrel,

        James White does not “reason with the lost”. He puts on shows in order to regurgitate his vast knowledge he has accumulated. How many people has he publicly “reasoned” with that have seen the error of their argument and repented of their sins to turn to Christ?

        Paul’s “reasoning with the lost” produced disciples. James White’s “reasoning with the lost” produces dollars. Huge difference.

        Blessings,
        Tim

        • says

          And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. (Acts 17:4)

          Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” So Paul went out of their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. (Acts 17:32-34)

          Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. (Acts 28:24)

          When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)

          Tim,

          Our duty is to proclaim the message of the Cross. The results of our proclamation I leave to God.

          I will ignore your slanderous comments regarding James White. His record speaks for itself, he does not need my defense.

          Squirrel

  29. says

    When will people learn the following facts?

    1. Calvinists are missions-exempt determinists who hate evangelism and, even more, the lost people targeted by evangelistic efforts.

    2. Arminians are (semi-)Pelagian heretics who don’t understand the “unadjusted” Gospel of particular, works-free redemption.

    3. Arminians have made Finney a living legend by buying into his heresy of decisional regeneration.

    4. Non-Calvinist SBC’ers are theologically confused individuals who escape the necessary arguments of systematic theology by hiding under the cloak of “biblicism.”

    5. Blogging does NOT hinder evangelistic efforts – it spurs us to greater evangelistic heights by inflating our egos with the “TRUTH” we have expounded online.

    6. Unless you know the truths of Scripture exhaustively, you have no part in the Kingdom of God.

    7. God hates the lost, otherwise He would have elected them. They exist merely to serve the purpose of carrying out His secret will.

    8. The Good News of the Gospel is made known on this thread everyday. If the lost would log on to SBC Voices and read the comments, they’d undoubtedly want to come to faith in Christ. I think God would probably let them become elect if they wanted to do so.

    Thanks to everyone who encourages my decision to not attend seminary by arguing about theology without any apparent love. I’m sure glad I can rest in God’s sovereignty to reach the elect without my help.

    Grace “hopefully,”

    Marvin
    1 Corinthians 13:13

    • cb scott says

      Marvin,

      If you have decided that you are not going to seminary, let me direct you to some good Bible Colleges or a fine Divinity School or two.

  30. Smuschany says

    With all the attacks on Calvinists; Maybe this is the time where one needs to point out one of the major flaws in the SBC flavor of Arminian theology. What I mean to say is that after talking with a guy on the streets for 5-10 minutes, having that person say “I want to be saved”, you tell them to say a typical prayer, then go and tell everyone you lead a soul to Christ. I am sorry, but that makes me sick. Maybe, if this denomination (and to be fair Christianity as a whole) actually practiced some level of discipleship, this may not be so bad. But the mentality in our churches, missionary teams, and seminaries, is that if someone says a particular prayer, they are a believer! If someone goes up and is baptized the week after walking the isle, they are a believer! No accountability, no discipleship, NOTHING! I truly believe that this was one of the primary things that Our Lord was saying in Matthew 7:21-23. Just because someone “says” I believe in Christ Jesus, DOES NOT MEAN THEY DO! At least methodists and others out of the Holiness movement, dont have perseverance of the Saints holding them down in their free will theology. There, you can loose your salvation, thus yea you did believe when you said that quick prayer, but if you fall away after, opps you lost your salvation. In SBC life, even if a person is clearly does not act like a believer, we dont question it because some time ago they said a prayer, got dunked and thus they “have” to be a believer. Never mind that there was NO discipleship with that person, NO serious teaching that person about orthodox theology. I was raised in church, I knew who Christ Jesus was, I would even tell you that I was “saved” because “of course i dont want to go to hell and want to be with my family and Christ Jesus when I die.” But I did not KNOW Christ Jesus as my savior until HS. But had I been in the SBC when I was a little kid, I probably would have been baptized with out a second thought by some “arminian pastor”. As it is, when I decided to join an SBC church, and needed to be baptized, the only “talk” i got from the church staff, was a 5 minute session JUST before the baptism. The church barely knew me from Adam, and yet was willing to baptize me.

    How many in the SBC would have a complete and total cow if you said “We dont do alter calls”. As if walking down the isle in church is what saves you. Personally, at the church I attend, our pastor (who is a full 5point calvinist) does have an alter call of sorts, but it is more to let the pastor know that there is someone interested in Christ Jesus. And after that initial contact, several meetings take place between that person and our church’s Pastors, Deacons, and others all talking with that person helping them to see Christ Jesus as their savior in a TRUE and MEANINGFUL WAY. Where as other churches would take that same person, and after that FIRST walk down the isle, declare them saved, and then forget about them until it is time to do the next building campaign and start calling the rolls asking for donations. Then again maybe I am spoiled at my church, after all we have over 90% of our attenders participate in Sunday School before service. Our church CARES about the congregation, we CARE about the people, and dont just see them as numbers on a sheet to tout how big we are. That being said, we are one of the ONLY SBC churches in Missouri building a new building, we currently are running comfortably over 100% giving/budget in addition to our SEPARATE building fund. We have multiple ministries we support in the area, including but not limited to food pantries, homeless shelters, womens shelters, pro-life based family planning centers, ect. And again, our pastor, staff, and most of the congregation are self professing Christians. Gee…I guess we put a kink in to the “Calvinism suppresses evangelism.”

    • says

      Smuschany,

      You are 100% right about “decisionism.” One thing I love about being in the Midwest, its not nearly as bad.

      Yet, I have to deal with people thinking they are saved because their “family is Lutheran(or whatever denom). No dealing with sin- if they are associated with a church, they are saved. So, while I dont have it any better, after 12 years of Decisionism in the South I am glad to be out! Time to fight new battles! :)

  31. says

    I have been told by these Flaming Anti-Calvinist types that all 5-Pointers are “Hyper-Calvinist”, or if someone is passionate about the Sovereignty of God and Doctrines of Grace he is a “Hyper-Calvinist” Good grief! How can you have a honest discussion with these guys when they don’t even know, nor care to know, what the correct definitions of the theological terms are?

    • volfan007 says

      Greg,

      Who are the flaming anti-Calvinists that have told you that all 5 pointers are hyper Calvinists?

      Also, Greg, how can non-5 pointers have an honest discussion with you guys when you all claim that anyone that does not agree with your opinions and your view of the definitions and your theology is a)ignorant; b) just angry about 5 pointers and hate them; c) intentionally mischaracterizing Calvinism, or lying as one aggressive 5 pointer declared at a BI conferfence in Jackson, TN?

      It cuts both ways.

      David

  32. says

    Tim Rogers wrote…

    According to Phillip Johnson’s definition of Hyper-Calvinism, James White fits the mold. That is exactly what Dr. Allen argued at the John 3:16 conference.

    This is what Phil Johnson wrote shortly after he was made aware of Dr. Allen’s statements regarding James White:

    Let me go on record here: I know James White well, and he is not a hyper-Calvinist.

    The webpage Dr. Allen cited from me says nothing whatsoever about what God “desires.” What I have consistently said elsewhere [check out footnote 20 in that link] is this: Optative expressions like desire and wish are always problematic when it comes to describing God’s demeanor toward the reprobate. God does all His pleasure, and to suggest that He helplessly wrings His hands over unfulfilled “desires” is quite inaccurate—indeed, it is one of the central fallacies of the Arminian concept of God. So I try to avoid such terminology most of the time.

    I do, however, occasionally employ such terms in order to make a point—but only when I have an opportunity to explain the point: I do think there’s crucial meaning in God’s own pleas and expressions of willingness to be reconciled to any and all sinners (e.g., Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Corinthians 5:20). And I likewise think it is vital to see that all unbelief and sin is a rejection of God’s will and purpose with regard to what we are responsible to do (Luke 7:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).

    At the same time, I recognize and affirm the equally-valid point being made by those who steadfastly reject the language of “desire” or “will” when we are dealing with God’s overtures of mercy to the reprobate. We should not load those expressions with Arminian freight. Some choose never to use optative expressions with regard to God, and they might argue that the use of such language in any context is illegitimate. Dr. White may be of that persuasion. I don’t know. In all our many private conversations, I have never had an occasion to discuss it with him. However, I would not call someone a “hyper-Calvinist” merely for holding that opinion.

    Moreover, although my notes on hyper-Calvinism are just notes and not an academic treatise, in the section of those notes where I dealt with the issue of God’s will toward the reprobate, this was all carefully qualified. I expressly acknowledged that there is a strain of classic high-Calvinists who deny that God’s expressions of goodwill toward the reprobate may properly be called “love,” but who are not really hyper. I said, “They are a distinct minority, but they nonetheless have held this view. It’s a hyper-Calvinistic tendency, but not all who hold the view are hyper-Calvinists in any other respect.” I cited Arthur Pink as the best-known example of that view.

    Let me add this: if the average Baptist preacher were one-tenth as committed to evangelism as James White, Arminians in the SBC might actually be in a position to carp about hyper-Calvinism’s detrimental effect on soul-winning. As it is, those who say these kinds of things ought to sit with their hands over their mouths and learn some things from Mr. White.
    ~Phil Johnson, November 2008

    Phil’s full comments can be found here.

    Squirrel

    Oh, & I’m a Squirrel & I drink coffee… of course I’m hyper!

  33. lubabi says

    Can a consistent calvinist use Jn3:16; 1Jn2:2 and honestly say to a non-believer that “Jesus Christ has died for all your sins on the cross?”

    Considering the calvinistic doctrine of election, can a calvinist remain consistent to calvinistic election and say to an unbelievers that ” if you believe in Christ you will be saved” (Acts16:31)?

    • says

      Yes… Very easily. If they believe in Christ then they will be saved. How? Because God chose them in him before the foundation of the world! He chose them, adopted them, redeemed them, and promises to finish the work through sanctification until they are glorified with him! Its beautiful!

      Belief in Christ is evidence of election… And the life that follows a regenerated heart!

      • cb scott says

        Not only can he say those things to a non-believer, he is commissioned by Christ to do so.

  34. cb scott says

    I would wonder, actually, I would be greatly surprised if anyone who is a preacher of the gospel, on either side of this ancient debate, would believe “walking down the isle in church is what saves you.”

    Smuschany, do you really know an individual pastor of either persuasion expressed on this comment thread, who preaches the gospel, who loves Jesus, has experienced grace, lives a life that reflects, privately and publicly, a personal relationship with Christ who actually would affirm that walking down an isle in a church would constitute a salvation experience?

      • cb scott says

        Matt,

        “By accident” in my mind constitutes either sloppy or lazy preaching. If either of us preaches the biblical gospel, no person in our hearing should become convinced that walking the isle and “shaking my hand” or “filling out a card” will save them.

        • says

          cb,

          I agree…

          I dont think they think, “walking the aisle saved me.” But I have had conversation with people who when I ask them how they know they are saved their first response is to point me to the prayer they said after they walked the aisle…. Many times with no fruit. Its seems they lean on is for assurance and not justification.

          • cb scott says

            Matt,

            Herein we also agree. I do not exaggerate in saying I hear that or a similar statement 2-3-maybe 4 times a week here in Birmingham.

            I also know many people who came forward in a time of “invitation” who obviously had an experience of grace in their lives. In their situations the “fruit” is highly evident.

            BTW, Matt, I was not saved in a church. I did not go to church. Not one person had shared the biblical gospel with me prior to my being saved.

          • says

            I don’t remember where exactly it is in Hebrews 5, but Christ became the source of enternal salvation to those who obey Him. Assurance of salvation does not come from looking backward but it comes from see the Holy Spirit empower us as we live for Christ on a daily basis.

      • Smuschany says

        Further, I would say that, while they would never say that it is the “walking down the isle” that saves, they would believe/promote/encourage the concept that the belief, the faith, that the person supposes to have in that walking the isle is real. Far too many pastors, and churches, will take that person and dunk them in water (I dont truly consider those baptisms) with out a seconds guess. It happened to me, it happens all the time. What is worse, is when out of one side of the mouth SBC churches/pastors will condemn pedo-baptism, then take the word of a pre-teen that they are saved with no real in depth questions beyond “do you want to go to heaven and be with mom and dad and Jesus?”…

        I am not saying that EVERYONE who walks down the isle, does not trully believe. What I am saying is that MOST churches in the SBC dont take the time to find out if that person truly believes or is just going through the motions not knowing TRUE saving faith in Christ Jesus.

        • cb scott says

          Smuschany,

          In reality I like to comment on blog posts for “sport” most of the time. (Occasionally, I do confront liberals, attackers of good men or the CR, low-life liars who simply hate the conservative, biblical Christianity and anti-America nuts who need a good whacking)
          I made a couple of “sporting” comments on this thread already. Having done so, I had determined not to get into this comment thread in a serious way because this subject often brings the worst out in men who are “true” brothers in Christ. Church history will confirm that observation as, I am sure, you already well know.

          Nonetheless, I will venture a couple of things here, knowing full well that I am probably on a fool’s run. But of course, it won’t be the first time.

          Smuschany, I believe that “MANY” churches in the SBC dont take the time to find out if that person truly believes or is just going through the motions not knowing TRUE saving faith in Christ Jesus. I have a hard time believing that it is “MOST.”

          I also believe (know) a person can be saved after only a “5-10 minute” dialogue wherein the biblical gospel is shared and the Holy Spirit moves the individual to recognize himself as a sinner before a Holy God, repents of sin and believes the biblical gospel.

          • Smuschany says

            I will concede that “most” may not have been the best word to use. “Far too many” would have been better. I simply am looking at it as a kid who attended an SBC college as a non-baptist, and because of the assumption that I was at a Christian school, despite not attending a church in the area, was never asked to attend a church, or ministered to in any way by anyone. (Please note that my love and respect for one of my professors is the soul reason why I still love that school). After college I started attending and became a baptized member of a SBC church. Again this is the one that the first baptism date (they were monthly) after I said I wanted to be baptized, i was, without any talking or discipleship. I now attend a seminary where the street evangelism salvation experiences (with little to no follow-ups) are held in high regard. In light of this, in what i have seen, I hope you can understand where I am coming from, and why I may have said “most”.

            And I agree that a 5-10 minute dialogue can lead to a true salvation experience. My only contention is the assumption that all or most of those experiences are truly saving for those individuals. If I did not properly express that, then I apologize. I do tend to get a little offensive when I hear SBC people using blanket condemnation on Calvinism and evangelism, and ignore the equally large problems else where in the SBC.

          • cb scott says

            Smuschany,

            I think your phrase “Far too many” is better than your use of the word “most” or my use of the word “many.”

            I also greatly agree and sadly so with, “My only contention is the assumption that all or most of those experiences are truly saving for those individuals.”

            Far too often we hear testimonies of fellows saying they “led” some specific number to Christ the week before, the day before, etc, etc. It is almost like snipers bragging about the number of confirmed kills they have without realizing that they are talking about a subject of life and death importance.

            Evangelism is a serious thing, It is life or death, heaven or hell. It is wrought only by the power of the Holy Spirit and is never due to the boldness of men.

  35. lu ba bi says

    Greg Alford,

    I think we should differentiate between being passionate of Calvinism from being passionate of the Word of God. I know personally MANY who are passionate of Calvinism without reading the Bible seriously.

    I disagree with some of James White’s doctrines but I know he is passionate of his Hebrew and Greek exegesis. But we can’t say that about many Arminian and Calvinist teachers.

    • alford says

      lu ba bi,

      “I know personally MANY who are passionate of Calvinism without reading the Bible seriously.”

      It has been my experience that individuals become passionate Calvinist because of their passion for the Word of God.

      Grace Always,

  36. lu ba bi says

    Matt,

    If you read carefully the texts regarding election, it is always talking of and to those who are saved. Even Eps2:8-9 in its perfect-tense is emphasizing the current state of past saved = are now being saved.

    Eps1:4 is talking of election of those IN HIM to be holy and blameless.

    • says

      lu ba bi,

      I am so glad I was elected to be “in Him” from the foundation of the world. The only problem with how you interpret it? God did it “according to HIS GOOD PLEASURE,” not according to your good decision.

      And, how does the perfect tense make your point against election?

      • volfan007 says

        Brandon,

        It’s God’s good pleasure to save all of those who will believe. That’s the way the Lord has fore ordained that it should be.

        David

        • says

          Volfan–I know of no calvinist who would argue with that statement: it’s God’s good pleasure to save all who believe.

          The real dividing line in this debate, IMO, comes down to the question: how do we believe?

          If two people from similar backgrounds have similar exposure to the Gospel and one comes to faith and one does not, what caused that one to believe and the other to not?

          Personally, I chalk it up to John 10:26-27, “but you do not believe because you are not a part of my flock, but my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Jesus doesn’t say “you’re not my sheep because you don’t believe” rather “you don’t believe because you are not my sheep.”

          And 1 John 5:1 “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God”… now that one can sure sound like belief then born of God, until you compare it to the other “born of God” statements John makes which are all pretty much grammatically similar:

          1 Jn 2:29–the one born of God practices righteousness…biblically, born of God must come first; 3:9–no one born of God practices sin…again born must come first; 4:7–let us love one another for love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God…born must be first; and 5:4–whoever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith…born must be first. If “born of God” comes first in these, then it makes most sense to put it first in 5:1 so that we believe because we are born of God.

          So, IMO, God regenerates those who he has chosen to set apart as sheep and that regeneration leads to our faith (of course, coupled with hearing the word of God)…

          But I am completely curious for those who don’t agree: how does one come to faith but another does not? I’ve never personally found a satisfying answer…

          • volfan007t says

            And, you wont find an answer that satisfies you, because your mind is made up. Thus, no matter what I tell you right now, it will not change your mind.

            1 Timothy 2 says… 1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the trruth.”

            The context here is all people…not all sorts of people…all people…kings and others in authority included…people who did not get saved. Thus, God desires…sincerely desires… that all people get saved.

            Ezekiel 33:11 says…”Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” So, God’s good pleasure is that the wicked do not die and go Hell. God sincerely desires that the wicked repent and get saved. Thus, God really does want people to get saved that will not be saved. They somehow reject what God sincerely, earnestly desires.

            Matthew 23:37 says…”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” So, the Lord would have saved them, and looked upon them as His children, but THEY would not…not He would not…but THEY would not.

            These are some of the verses that keep me from being a 5 point Calvinist.

            Mark, I believe that everyone that’s saved is only because God chose us…planned to save us…called out to us and convicted us…and saved us apart from any works on our part. But, I also believe…from the Bible…that man does have freedom, and is able to choose, and is responsible for his choices. God allows men to choose to either be saved, or not be saved. Now, how do I reconcile these thoughts? I dont. I just believe that the Bible teaches both. How they come together…I dont know. You dont know. Nobody knows. God knows. But, both are true. They dont fit a system, but they’re true.

            David

          • says

            And, you wont find an answer that satisfies you, because your mind is made up. Thus, no matter what I tell you right now, it will not change your mind.

            Wow. Thank you for telling me how I am.

            When I started pastoring I was one of those 2.5er’s who disdained the world “calvinism.” It was sermon prep, not seminary classes or Piper books, that convinced me of the other 2.5…thus I’m always willing to change when I can be shown with the Bible and sound reason…I don’t do it perfectly but I try to keep myself captive to the word of God and not the systems of men (but if I think a system fits, I don’t mind saying so, either)…

            And to the rest of your post… holding to the five points, I don’t disagree with a single thing you said.

            But like you hinted at, something more must be going on as well. After all…: God’s good pleasure is that the wicked do not die and go Hell. God sincerely desires that the wicked repent and get saved.

            What about all these unreached people groups that we so desperately and rightly want to reach? If God so desires they repent and be saved as such, then why do generations of them die without their people ever having contact with the Gospel? Does God suspend his sovereignty so much to our will that he waits until we finally get there? Why doesn’t he do like he did with Paul and shipwreck some of us or down our planes or whatever so we are able to be there and work?

            I sure don’t have sure and solid answers, but right now the best answers, IMO, are framed within the context of unconditional election and regeneration beginning with God…

    • Bill Mac says

      Marvin: I have heard this many times from many preachers. I heard it so often I went through the NT and counted. Christ mentions heaven far more often than hell. Not even close. I’m not trying to diminish the reality of hell. Just correcting a misconception.

      • volfan007 says

        Bill Mac,

        But, Jesus did talk a lot about Hell…mentioned that it was a real place…where the fire burns…where the worms eat on the body…where teeth are clinched.

        David

        • Bill Mac says

          David: Absolutely. Just trying to put to rest a tired (and false) cliche that preachers use repeatedly without ever being challenged on it.

    • says

      I’m not sure Jesus preached about Hell as much as folks in Hardscrabble religion of the Billy Sunday Movement say he did; and by which SB’s by their socioeconomic status came to embrace.
      You have folks like Criswell who perfected the altar call and saw what kind of money he could make doing it and buy them white suits and ShaaaZZZammm all of a sudden Baptists got tagged with the moniker of Hell Fire and Brimstone.
      Surely Truett preached Judgment as well; but he had more integrity about it and when the pulpit fell over to Dr. Showtime; well the stage was set for the CR:

      Or maybe Luc Sante has insight here in his concluding paragraphs sparked by his ruminations on the Sawdust Trails of Billy Sunday and Water Baptism:

      http://www.apexart.org/exhibitions/sante.htm

      The last three paragraphs; broaden your perspective music and all.

      • volfan007 says

        Fox,

        I find that people, who are going to Hell, dont like to admit that there’s a literal Hell. They dont like to think about where they’re going to spend eternity.

        But, Hell is real. The Bible teaches about Hell very clearly and most certainly. It doesnt matter what Prof. So and So thinks, and it doesnt matter what DR. Thus and Such thinks. The Bible teaches that Hell is real, and it will contain all the people, who were not saved…even many religious people…even a lot of Baptist.

        David

  37. lu ba bi says

    Brandon Smith,

    Is it either/or or both/and?

    Saved/born again FIRST and THEN believe in Jesus? or Believe and be saved? or Both?

    Can you give a short exegesis of Jn3:16 WITHOUT reading TULIP into the text? Can you give a short breakdown of Jn3:16 WITHOUT going to other texts and theologies?

    Just curious bro

      • says

        Just curious, looking for an honest answer and I’m guessing it will be less than 40% but how many of you scholars without googling or other investigation know the meaning of the word amphicyony?
        If you reply just say I do or I don’t; and will go by the honor system until we have say 7 testimonies that will give us an honest sample

    • says

      I used to think that “Judge not” was the most misused verse in the bible. Now I’m seeing that it is John 3:16. You know what’s funny? John 3:16 isn’t even evangelistic, it simply declared what is true about belief…

      So, you are asking us to exegete John 3:16 without preconceptions about TULIP, but you (by your question) are assuming that John 3:16 is somehow a dagger in the heart of Calvinism when there are far better “proof texts” to use (those can be answered as well, but it requires study and reading more than a sentence.)

      Aside from the fact that reading a verse void of its context is dangerous, yes, you can read John 3:16 without going to other texts/theologies/TULIP:

      16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

      This verse tells us that God loved the world. It does not say that “God loved the world ‘so much'”, (Greek implies “this is how God loved the world”) it simply tells us in what way God loved the world. He loved it in this way – that he gave his only Son. What was the purpose of that giving? The purpose was that anybody who believes (Greek – all the believing ones) will have eternal life.

      John 3:16 says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about who the believing ones are, or why they believe or anything like that. It simply says that all the believing ones have eternal life. This is a pillar of Christianity that if denied, places a person dangerously close to heresy.

      However, if we read further in the context of John 3:16, we read these words:

      17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

      Interesting that John says here who will come to God to be saved (per John 3:16). The answer – not anybody who does wicked things. They do not come to the light. Whomever does what is true comes to the light. Is John teaching works righteousness? Don’t go to any other verses/texts/commentaries/theologies to explain why John 3:21 does not teach works righteousness.

      But what unbeliever does what is true and right and carried out in God? Answer – NONE of them. So, John 3:16-21 together tell us who the “whosoever” is. And it’s not unbelievers. Why? Because they chose to live in darkness because their works are evil.

      So, I exegeted John 3:16 without going to other texts. But the context around John 3:16 sure makes it come alive, doesn’t it?

      Jeff.

      • SSBN says

        Jeff, it is an argument from silence to defend Jn. 3:16 in a narrow Calvinistic sense. While it does not say “explicitly” who the believing ones are, it takes theological gymnastics to make this anything less than a “univesal invitation.”

        Your exegesis is obviously influenced by your theological presuppositions (as we all are). This verse and those that follow clearly imply (strongly) an open-ended, whosoever will invitation.

        This is why TULIP is too narrow to fully explain Calvin. I consider myself “Calvinistic-lite,” but this verse clearly implies a “free-will” reception. It is a problem for TULIP, but not a problem for God, apparently.

        • lu ba bi says

          SSBN,

          Your reading of Jn3:16 is correct.

          From the internal construction of Jn3:16 itself it is a universal invitation. The restrictive reading actually read TULIP into that text.

        • says

          The Greek literally means “all the believing ones”. It does not at all imply ability to believe or free will or anything. It would be like me saying “Whoever breaks the law will be punished.” That says nothing about who is able or unable to break the law or what thought processes go on in their minds to make them either break or not break the law. It is a statement of fact.

          But, there are plenty of better explanations of this than I can give here. I used to believe like you did and until I was shown how I was reading my free will presupposition into John 3:16 to force it to imply a free will invitation when nothing about it implies that at all.

          It reminds me of Dave Hunt forcing free will into Romans 9. But at least you admit that it is your theological presupposition of “Calvinistic-lite” that clouds your reading of John 3:16… :)

          • SSBN says

            That simply does not make sense. There is simply NO limitation on who “all the believing ones” are. None. You do not have to “force” a free-will presupposition on the text, it is explicit.

            Your example: “whoever breaks the law . . .” is the exact same kind of statement that implies anybody could possibly break the law.

            I cannot follow your logic that this verse explicitly teaches a “limited atonement” or “particular redemption.” In my opinion, such an interpretation is definitely forced.

            The common man reading this common text would not see any limitation but that which the text explicitly states, “whosoever believes.”

            You had to be “shown” by man what you could not see when delivered by the hand of God. So, whose position is the “forced one?”

            It is this particular type of defense of Calvinism that gives Calvinism its bad name — in my humble opinion. I understand you do not agree. I am definitely no more impressed with “forced” Arminian positions.

            In fact, your exchange convinces me that using the term “Calvinism” to describe my view of God’s sovereignty is a dead end. My view is much more comprehensive and does not require I twist text that obviously show human free-will to fit in a presupposed theological box.

          • says

            This is in reply to SSBN below (#166 – for some reason I can’t reply to that post)

            First, I agree with you – John 3:16 places no limitation on the “who”.

            Second – I see your confusion about this topic since you seem to put limited atonement against free will. Those two positions are not at odds. You also read my statement “John 3:16 says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about who the believing ones are, or why they believe or anything like that. It simply says that all the believing ones have eternal life.” and say that I believe that John 3:16 teaches limited atonement. I don’t know how you got that because I actually don’t believe that John 3:16 teaches limited atonement. I also don’t believe it teaches free will.

            Third – Maybe my use of the lawbreaker was not good – analogies tend to work that way. What about this one:

            “Whoever becomes pregnant will normally have a baby in 9 months.”

            Does that imply a universal ability for everyone without distinction to become pregnant? I did say “whoever”, but what about a woman who had a hysterectomy? Or a 5 year old girl, or a post-menopausal woman, or *gasp* a man? According to your logic, if I made that statement, I would be implying that it is possible for every human to become pregnant. Jesus is saying, in no uncertain terms, that if you believe in the Son, you will be saved. And not only “you”, but “anyone” who believes in the Son.

            See, the issue is not whether or not we choose, the question is whether or not we have the ability or desire to choose. And I firmly believe that the bible teaches that the natural man is an enemy of God, enslaved to the passions and desires of the flesh, unable to please Him, loves his sin, does not come to the light, is dead, blind, deaf, and is neither able to, nor desires to, submit to God’s law. What about this man would make him wake up one day and say “by my free will I will love the God I hate”?

            Finally, I was not “shown by man” as you claim. I wrestled with God for over 2 years on this topic of God’s sovereignty and was forced by Godly men to address Scripture instead of commentaries and books by Lee Strobel and Norm Geisler. My position on the issue of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility is the result of countless hours of prayer, study, counsel, and yes, lost friendships. One very close friend of mine (in fact, the brother who God used to draw me to Himself) could not handle the fact that I had “become Calvinist” that he and his wife stopped fellowshipping with me and my wife. So please, don’t use words like “You had to be “shown” by man what you could not see when delivered by the hand of God” because I’ll say to my dying day that the understanding I have now was delivered by the hand of God and it was my blindness due to my man centered traditions that kept me from seeing it before.

            So, your view may be much more comprehensive than mine, but if you are willing to take advice from someone who twists Scripture and forces presuppositions into the text, you can take this from me: perhaps your “comprehensive” view is instead “capitulating” to the tradition of men whereby you force free-will into places it is not.

            Sorry if that rambled, but you hit a hot button with me.
            Jeff.

  38. lu ba bi says

    Guys,

    Is it possible to know just how many SBC pastors and seminarians are calvinists and how many are arminians? I happenned to fall on the arminian side. Agree mostly with Paige Patterson’s view

  39. cb scott says

    lubabi,

    I guess you and I shall clash forever relating to the subject of Paige Patterson. But nonetheless, Paige Patterson is not an Arminian.

  40. cb scott says

    lubabi,

    What I know is that Paige Patterson argues well against Arminianism and Calvinism, claiming to be neither, yet declaring to be completely biblical in his position. All the while he has embraced those of both persuasions with love and respect. In addition he has definitely preached the biblical gospel to the multitudes and shared the gospel on an individual basis with royalty and beggar alike with the same compassion for both.

    Now those are the things I know of the man. Any thing else would be mere speculation on my part, so I will not venture beyond what I have stated here.

    • volfan007 says

      Amen, CB.

      That’s where I also find myself falling. I dont really fit into anyone’s “camps.” I just try to believe the Bible, and that usually leaves me not fitting into the 5 point Calvinism camp, nor in the Arminian camp….not in the dispensational camp, nor in the covenant camp, etc.

      I think a lot of times, these fellas, who think they can fit the Bible and God into their neat, little, theological box, find verses that want to go outside of their box. So, they try to make that verse get back into their box. Having a 5 point system of theology helps them feel better about the things they cant understand. It’s always better to feel that you have it all figured out, and all decorated and tied up in a neat, little package. This is especially true for those people, who are intelligent, who are academically inclinded. They like to have all the answers.

      David

      • says

        David,

        I think you make a good point. Though I read Scripture as a 5-pointer and my interpretation will surely be done through that lens, I am looked at sideways by many Calvinists for being charismatic. C.J. Mahaney has somewhat popularized this view, but somehow people think Charismatic Calvinism can’t exist.

        • cb scott says

          “Charismatic Calvinist”

          That is certainly a lark.

          Brandon Smith meet Bob Cleveland.

          You two guys have a lot in common. :-)

      • cb scott says

        Vol,

        Being a Baptist ain’t easy is it? But, as you well know, there is nothing in human existence that is closer to the biblical concept of what it is to be a Christian…… especially when it comes to “ecclesiology” and soteriology.
        ‘Cause everybody knows Baptist ecclesiology is biblical ecclesiology head and shoulders above any other, right my brother? :-)

        Now, let’s wait for Dave Miller and David Rogers to appear from the cover of the “Doctrinal Hodgepodge Woods” and we can pick them off as they get into that little clearing of theological soundness, just left of “Plymouth Brethren Creek” where they both like to fish so much. :-)

          • cb scott says

            That’s right Dave. Keep comin’. There is not much wind today and it is not too hot. Target acquisition is not going to be a problem. So just keep coming into the clearing of theological soundness about three hundred yards to the “right” and……….. :-)

          • says

            There once was a blogger named CB
            Who suffered from biblical TB.
            Then Dave came along,
            And righted his wrong.
            “Don’t worry, my friend, its a freebie.”

          • cb scott says

            Very good Dave. :-) “Biblical TB” I will have to use that over in “Oklahoma” sometime.

            Now, just a little more into the clearing………

        • cb scott says

          Dave,

          You have been with David Rogers exploring in the Doctrinal Hodgepodge Woods for way too long.

          There are many more Wild Geese and Funhouse Club members in OK than one. :-)

          • says

            In terms of ecclesiology, I am very comfortable walking with David Rogers. Of all of his good qualities, his best is that he agrees with me most of the time!

            I always think that is a good idea.

          • cb scott says

            Dave,

            It has been fun, but I have to go preform a wedding. So it is time for me to get serious, cowboy-up and prayerfully encourage this couple that “what therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder”………and let no woman “sunder” it up either. :-)

            Seriously Dave, May God grant you power in the gospel tomorrow and give you good sleep tonight. Love you buddy, and know I pray for you often.

            In Christ Free,
            cb

      • says

        David,

        You’re speaking as if your interpretation of theology is absolute. All it is is interpretation, I have a feeling we’ll all be surprised how much we don’t know in Heaven.

      • SSBN says

        QUOTE That’s where I also find myself falling. END QUOTE

        David, mind if I sit down on that bench beside you?

    • says

      I don’t know that Paige “embraced” Arminians like Jimmy Allen with Love and Respect; but his Mother was honorable when Allen paid his respects on the evening of Paige’s Father’s wake.
      Story is she told Dot how to behave; and while I will never believe Paige acted honorably in all these matters, I haven’t lived a perfect life either.
      But on the occasion of that incident I have to find favor with Paige’s Mother.
      I’ll leave it to you, CB to tell the rest of the story as I imagine you know it well.

  41. says

    Marilynne Robinson, Paige and Mohler: Serious question, have any of you ever heard Mohler or other leading Calvin apologists broach her name in defense of Calvin or as a vehicle for understanding his theology?

    http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~hbr/issues/7.3spring06/articles/calvin.shtml

    I’ve broached her name before but anytime I make a peep on this board my thoughts or inquiries are sabotaged by Joe Blackmon telling me I’m going to Hell.
    So, please, this is not about my eternal security; another attempt to see if any of you are familiar with her and or read in particular her essays collected in the Death of Adam?
    Thank-you.

    • volfan007 says

      Fox,

      Before you can be eternally secure, first you have to be truly saved.

      David

      • volfan007 says

        Fox,

        And, joning a church does not save you…saying a prayer does not save you…getting baptized does not save you….doing all three does not save you. Only a surrendering faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior will save you. When a person denies the clear, black and white doctrines of the Bible…then, it shouts loudly that that person has not surrendered their hearts to Jesus in faith. It shouts loudly that that person may just have religion.

        DAvid

    • cb scott says

      Steve,

      I think there are some people who comment in these Baptist threads who are on their way to Hell in a wagon and everything they say confirms it more and more, no doubt about it. But I don’t think you are one of them, if that makes you feel any better.

      What I do think you are is an Old-time Alabama Baptist and Democrat who is still vexed because we CR boys took your ‘convention’ away from you and we Republicans took your ‘state’ away from you. And since it all happened about the same time, you feel that CR Southern Baptists and Conservative Southern Republicans can be put into a potato sack, shook up, dumped out on the ground and no one could recognize the difference between the two groups because they all look and smell the same to you.

      • says

        My feet feel a little cooler CB, so to that degree, Thanks
        That said, perfect opportunity to introduce what I came across this morning looking for the Harvard Review on MRobinson.
        I did not set this up; seems like I vaguely remember this article from a few years ago

        http://cruciality.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/marilynne-robinson-on-americas-third-great-awakening-i-e-christian-fundamentalism/

        but Jesus brought it to my attention this morning as it is probably good as I can find weaving the threads of Rove and Land religious right with SBC national politics since 1980.

        Please bring this to John Killian’s attention as I will as well; though I think you will agree, Dr. Killian though fundamentalist is a great Whosover Will Appeal to Jesus; and that he shares with my Dad.

        I only lived in Alabama since 86; and my thinking was shaped more from what I try to figure out from Truett, Marney and Will Campbell and the real politic of Church and Textile culture of Upstate SC than it was by Alabama.
        Though in Alabama I quickly came to the Gospel of Wayne Flynt, Paul Hemphill, and Alarise, which is no surprise to you.

        Some of you folks may want to see if this gains any traction at http://www.baptistlife.com/forums SBC Trends as I have set up a shadow discussion there.

        • says

          This second attempt cause I did not want to get stuck in the purgatory of Moderation.
          My apologies to the board if this comes up as a repeat.

          149 Stephen Fox July 17, 2010 at 10:37 am
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.

          My feet feel a little cooler CB, so to that degree, Thanks
          That said, perfect opportunity to introduce what I came across this morning looking for the Harvard Review on MRobinson.
          I did not set this up; seems like I vaguely remember this article from a few years ago

          http://cruciality.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/marilynne-robinson-on-americas-third-great-awakening-i-e-christian-fundamentalism/

          but Jesus brought it to my attention this morning as it is probably good as I can find weaving the threads of Rove and Land religious right with SBC national politics since 1980.

          Please bring this to John Killian’s attention as I will as well; though I think you will agree, Dr. Killian though fundamentalist is a great Whosover Will Appeal to Jesus; and that he shares with my Dad.

          I only lived in Alabama since 86; and my thinking was shaped more from what I try to figure out from Truett, Marney and Will Campbell and the real politic of Church and Textile culture of Upstate SC than it was by Alabama.
          Though in Alabama I quickly came to the Gospel of Wayne Flynt, Paul Hemphill, and Alarise, which is no surprise to you.

      • cb scott says

        Steve,

        I cannot resist but to ask you if you are going to support Bentley in the gov’s race?

        • says

          Actually, I may.
          I think Alabama is a disaster right now with the promise of Artur Davis 9 months ago squandered.
          Byrne was better than Bentley, but Bentley most likely is better than McGregor.
          The 55 movie on Phenix City was on TCM this afternoon; So back to 55 for Alabama to keep McGregor at bay with the latest John Patterson.
          Will be interesting to see what Wayne Flynt says about the cards the AEA has allegedly played in the GOP runoff.
          It’s a mess; and in some ways DAn Ireland andRick Lance are to blame though they have all their lights dimmed in the thicket that is the character of Bama.
          Shame folks like bright lights along the Matthews at UBama, Muse at Auburn, the late Tom Corts couldn’t get more traction with Flynt for REEEForm.
          Damn disaster is what it is.

      • says

        Not exactly, really not even close in the grander picture of meta-narrative; but I will share this from Ron Rash’s One Foot in Eden.
        Great line in there where Sheriff Alexander is trying to figure out what Billy Holcombe is thinking and he says Billy woulda been about as comfortable taking a particular course of action as a “Hard Shell Baptist in a room full of No-Hellers.”

  42. says

    Dear Voices,

    You write:

    “Peter Lumpkins puts James White in that category”
    “Peter then foams at the mouth”
    “Peter writes a post bashing equally qualified theologians”
    “Peter loves [double standards]”
    “[Peter] sure is an obvious example [of talking down to Calvinists]”

    And, I thought this was an irenic conversation from the most fair and balanced site within Baptist blogdom, an accepting group where real conversation abound. And, in this particular instance, a conversation about “Calvinism and Evangelism” which, of course, I would be more than willing to engage. For some reason, however, I am not so sure that’d be the best use of my time given some of the subject matter.

    With that, I am…
    Peter

    • says

      Peter,

      Well, besides maybe, maybe the second one are any of those untrue? Nope.

      But thank you, we do try to be a fair and balanced blog… But, SBC Impact and other do a great job as well. Maybe you should not blog for awhile and just read some of those blogs… It could help you not just try to push an agenda with every post.

      The good SBC blogs are the ones that aren’t pushing agendas.

    • David Miller says

      I appreciate Peter, that you recognize SBC Voices as a place where genuine conversation can take place, to see it as a fair and balanced site.

      On this site, both sides of a discussion can be heard, with very little moderation. SBC Voices does not refuse to post somments by those who disagree with our posts. People of all viewpoints are encouraged to post comments and they are not ridiculed or insulted for their views.

      It is a great site and it was nice of you to call attention to that.

      • peter says

        Dave,

        Why, thank you Dave. I’m glad you noticed.

        Matt,

        A) Whether or not any of them is true was not the purpose of my comment. Rather, the questionable subject matter on an incredibly irenic site, the atmosphere of which is PR’d as fair and balanced…you know, like Dave recognized I was suggesting…

        B) Supposing all were true with the exception of one as you concede, then why was the one spoken?

        C) Asserting all the others as true without specifically stating the nature of the claim is, shall we say, a pint shy of a full tank of gossip. For example, “Peter loves [double standards]”, an assertion you’re very much willing to produce twice now (once explicitly, once implicitly). To make a generic broad-brush about what I actually “love” is hardly consistent with the irenic, fair & balanced PR claimed here.

        Not only is it assumed that “double standards” characterizes my entire life (since no specifics were offered), but it is explicitly asserted about me when there is no way to know whether the personally negative value judgment is factual or not.

        For example, even if it could be shown I *practice* double standards in every sphere of my life, it no way follows I *love* double standards. For argument’s sake, supposing it so (i.e. I *practice* double standards), perhaps more than anything imaginable, I hate double standards… I hate that about myself and immensely struggle to overcome my horrid weakness I have grown to hate . If this is at least a possibility, Matt, then the value judgment about me personally becomes vacuous, a claim for which you must concede you possess no way of knowing short of knowing what’s taking place in my inner life.

        And, so I just wonder, Matt, do you, or anyone else here, know for a fact I *love* double standards, and if you do possess such certain knowledge, could you please inform us all, just how you would know?

        With that, I am…
        Peter

        • says

          Peter,

          Thank you for such a long reply. Due to the fact that I have wasted too much of my life interacting with you this will be the extent of my reply.

          I will see you in heaven. :)

  43. Christiane says

    “In the Mishnah (Ethics of the Fathers 3:15), Rabbi Akiva says it straight out: “Everything is foreseen, and free choice is granted.” The classic commentaries don’t have a problem with that. Allow me to paraphrase their very simple explanation:

    If I see a child in front of an ice cream and tell you he’s going to eat it, does that mean I made him eat it? Let’s say a psychologist predicts that a certain criminal, if released, will murder again. And it happens. Do we lock up the psychologist or the criminal? Of course not. The psychologist’s knowledge had no involvement in the criminal’s act of murder.

    Similarly, if someone came back from the future in a time machine and told you what was going to happen to the world, does that mean he is responsible for all that happens from that point on? G-d knows what you are going to do because He is beyond time. For Him, it all happened already. So, how does that imply that He denies us free choice to make those decisions?

    In other words, knowledge of the future is a result of the events of the future, not their cause. In G-d’s super-temporal realm, the result can exist before the cause. But it’s still a result and not a cause.”

    quote is from Tzvi Freeman’s article:

    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3019/jewish/Question-3-Prescience.htm

    for those who doubt that Judaism has insight into the arguments of determinism and free-will, this article does have some pretty insightful comments :)

  44. Don Johnson says

    Brandon and Squirrel,

    I never said James White is a hyper-Calvinist. I’ve never met Mr. White nor have I had any communication of any type with him.

    If what you state about Mr. White is correct, I would agree with you that he is not a hyper. Anyone as you wrote who “reasons with the lost” indicates Mr. White does not believe the 5 Points in his heart, but only in his mind. This would confirm he is not a hyper-Calvinist.

  45. Stuart says

    It seems to me that there’s often more “misrepresentation” than “misunderstanding” involved when one camp mischaracterizes the other (whether in a sermon, blogpost, seminar paper, or published article).

    If I treat your view fairly, I may be less persuasive in convincing others to adopt mine.

    p.s. All you semi-Pelagians just don’t understand that the logical end of anything but Dortian Calvinism is Open Theism.

    • Stuart says

      Sorry, what I meant to say in my postscript was
      p.s. All you pseudo-Presbyterian, pied-Pipers don’t realize your theology logically leads to supralapsarianism and deterministic fatalism.

  46. says

    cb,

    Don’t tempt me (about living on the other side of the town). I’ve already had thoughts about moving my letter….

    Brandon: The PCUSA is the “liberal” (kind word for it) one, I believe.

    And you can’t be a Calvinist believing less than the 5 points any more than you can be a 2-point trinitarian.

    Even good loyal Presbyterians don’t care for hyper-calvinists. They refer to them as TR’s. Derogatorily so.

    • cb scott says

      Hey Bob! MY brother.

      I have mentioned you a couple of times on this thread. These boys over here are a rather fun lot of guys. I am having a good time. Come and play with us.

  47. says

    On my Feedreader as we speak, CB.

    You shoulda been along on the trip, CB. I had immense fun shooting back and forth with a retired Presbyterian Minister from Philadelphia, on the bus trip, and a pretty good time taking a Priest to task for what all he left out of a sermon in the shipboard Sunday service, concerning Elijah, widow of Zarephath, and the Prophets of Baal. I’m not sure he ever got it.

  48. lu ba bi says

    Stuart,

    Listen to this quote “The gospel has never been and never will be “logical.””

    It is blasphemy!

    This attitude is born of the absolute commitment to the so called TULIP no matter what. This parroting after Dortian calvinism is so strong in Baptist seminaries now. Except for SWBTS because of Paige Patterson. Otherwise all Baptist school will be patterned after Bezae’s theological school.

    We need a ‘anti-calvinist’ resurgence in SBC.

    • Stuart says

      Ummmm…CB is hardly an apologist for Dortian Calvinism. Or any kind of Calvinism. Or any ism, period. He’s a conviced Baptist, and he stands up for his convictions on Baptist ecclesiology with tenacity. But an absolute commitment to the so-called TUPLIP? Don’t see it.

  49. volfan007 says

    Matt and others,

    I have a question for you: If the Founders type of Calvinists controlled the SBC…you know, Tom Ascol, Timmy Brister, James White, etc.; do you think that non-5 pointers would be appointed as church planters and missionaries?

    If aggressive, 5 pointers were in control of the SBC; would non 5 pointers be hired to teach in SBC seminaries? For example, has Dr. Mohler hired anyone to teach that’s not a 5 point Calvinist?

    Would non 5 pointers be appointed to serve on boards and committees in the SBC? Do you really and seriously think they would?

    A lot of us out here have a hard time believing that non 5 pointers would be welcome in a SBC controlled by the aggressive 5 pointers.

    What do you think? Be candid and blunt. Be as honest as you can be. Talk straight.

    DAvid

    • cb scott says

      Vol,

      I think you ask a valid question here. I am surprised that no one has picked up on it here. These guys generally seem to be pretty up front in discussion.

    • says

      David,

      I do think you have a valid point, to an extent. If I’m not mistaken, you have to be a 4-pointer to teach at Southern, with Limited Atonement being the variation (I could be wrong).

      Obviously, if the leaders are “aggressive” then their viewpoint will be defended at all costs. However, I’d submit that Mohler is more tolerant of non 5-pointers than he is given credit. He counts Dr. Patterson as a close friend and I have heard him preach on holding the Gospel above theologies.

      Patterson is selective in his hiring of 5-pointers at SWBTS, as well. I can’t say I blame him… the president will want a good amount of faculty unity on such important issues.

      • volfan007 says

        Has Dr. Mohler ever hired anyone to teach at Southern, who is a non 5 pointer? I know that Dr. Mohler is friendly towards non 5 pointers, but has he ever hired anyone, who is not a non 5 pointer?

        Also, I think that most of the 5 pointers in this comment thread already know the answer to my question is why they didnt want to answer me. The answer is more than likely a very big, fat NO to non 5 pointers being asked to serve in any way in a SBC controlled by aggressive 5 pointers. And, that is a very big concern for many, many out here in the real world.

        DAvid

  50. volfan007 says

    I have no idea how the t got into volfan007, but volfan007t is really me. I’ve corrected it. But, I notice that volfan007 comments are being moderated. Volfan007t’s are not.

    So, Dave, I guess Peter’s not the only one that moderates some commenters, after all…in this free exchange of ideas in here at SBC Voices. lol.

    BTW, non-5 pointers have demonstrated that they can put 5 pointers into places of leadership in the SBC. 5 pointers are on boards and committees…Dr. Mohler was hired as a SB seminary Pres…5 pointers are being approved for mission work and church planting by a SBC controlled by non 5 pointers.

    Also, I differentiate between regular ole 5 pointers and aggressive 5 pointers. I know many, many regular ole 5 pointers. You would never know that they are 5 pointers, unless you sat down and talked to them about it. When they preach, you dont hear all of that. You just hear Bible. I have no problem fellowshipping and serving and worshipping with these fellas and gals. But, the ones who are out to convert the SBC…who make it a matter of fellowship…who cant preach or teach without it being a dissertation on Calvinism, or how the Bible teaches this Calvinist position, or how Calvinism is the true Gospel; well, I have trouble with them.

    David

    • says

      David,

      Sometimes comments get stuck in “pending.” You arent being moderated. How many times do I have to go over that with you?

      Plus, lets not pretend SBC Voices is a place of such bad conversation that every single comment needs approved. We are a much more open forum than the majority of SBC blogs. We do, very little moderating. We’d be dumb to do 0 moderating, but we do as little as anyone.

  51. volfan007 says

    Mark,

    Once again, the Bible…not Calvinism..not Arminianism…not some other system…shows us about the people, who live in places where they dont have the Gospel. And, the Bible teaches that those people have the light of nature and of thier conscience. So, while it’s true that they dont have the light of the Gospel, they do have light. Nature declares to them that there is a Creator God. Their conscience tells them that there is a God, and that there are rights and wrongs, and that they are responsible for their conduct. I think that you will find this to be true not only from the teachings of the Bible, but it’s also proven by every people group thats out there having some concept of a god, and morals, and values.

    Those people do not even respond to that light. They dont want to know the God of creation. They want to remain in their sin, just as many people do, who have the light of Gospel. But, if those people did respond to the light they have, then God would do something…like the things that you suggested above…to get the light of the Gospel to those people.

    So, when these people die…people who have never heard the Gospel…they will not be able to look and God and declare that they had no light. They did! They will not be able to declare that they had no chance..no opportunity to be saved. They did! They will not be able to declare that they should not be punished…after all, they were living in ignorance. But, they’re still guilty of sin. They’re still guilty of choosing to reject the light they had. And, they will go to Hell and pay for their sins forever and ever and ever. They will answer for the sins that they were aware of…according to the light they had.

    David

    • says

      Volfan… I hope you’re not confusing me w/ someone else, ’cause you keep replying to me yet saying “Mark”… I’ll own the M and the k, but it ain’t Mark! :)

      I agree w/ most of your sentiment but this:

      Those people do not even respond to that light. They dont want to know the God of creation. They want to remain in their sin, just as many people do, who have the light of Gospel. But, if those people did respond to the light they have, then God would do something…like the things that you suggested above…to get the light of the Gospel to those people.

      According to Paul (Rom 3)–none of us want to know the God of creation or will ever seek after him. None of us respond positively to the light of general revelation…and Rom 1&10 none of us can be moved to faith w/o the gospel. If God waited until we responded to the light we have to bring the Gospel to us, none of us would have ever been saved. But God didn’t wait, he sent… he told us to go into all the world, but he didn’t bring it about instantly to every people group when he could have, if he chose to…

      The Romans 1, knowledge of God from creation thing, explains why all are without excuse but it doesn’t explain why God doesn’t send the gospel into certain places, those sacred writings that make us wise for salvation (2 Tim 3:15).

      But if God unconditionally elects, and he chose certain people in certain places at certain times, then it makes more sense as to why he spreads the gospel as he does… at least in my mind…

      • volfan007 says

        Mike…sorry about the Mark thing, :)

        But, the very fact that God honestly, sincerely desires the salvation of all people…not just all groups of people…but all people…and takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked… would say to us that people can respond. They can choose. And, they’re responsible for their choices.

        Mike, not Mark, I believe that God is calling out to those people. He is drawing them. His light draws them. His Spirit uses the light to draw them…to convince them…to convict them. And, the more light…the more drawing. The better light(the Gospel)… the more they’re convinced and convicted. So, correct…no man will come to the Father, except if he’s drawn by the Holy Spirit. No man will seek after God. God has to seek after us. And, He does! That’s the Good News. He does seek after us. He’s the Hound of Heaven. He’s the Great Shepherd looking for the 1 sheep, leaving the 99. So, yes, I agree most wholeheartedly that man will not seek after God…left to himself. God has to draw us…and He does.

        Now, who will respond to the light and the drawing of the Lord? Who? Those who do. Those who dont go to Hell.

        David

  52. volfan007 says

    And, Mark, that’s another compelling reason why we need to get the light of the Gospel out to the world. This dark world needs more light. They need to be exposed more. The more exposed to the light of the Gospel people are, then the more they’ll respond…the more people will be saved. Has not history shown this to be true?

    Now, I know, and I agree, that we do missions because we’re commanded to do it, and we should obey. Also, the love of Christ constrains us to go and tell. But, also, the more the Gospel is preached…the more people will be saved. Amen?

    Now, does that fit Calvinism? I dont really care if it does, or not. Does that fit Arminianism? Again, I dont really care. Does it fit the teachings of the Bible? yes. I believe it does. And, I care very, very much about it fitting the clear teachings of Scripture.

    Also, again, it’s all the working of God…by His sovereign grace and mercy…that any of us are saved. It’s all according to His plan and His purposes….and He earnestly, sincerely desires that all people get saved. Thus, the offer of salvation really does go out to all people. And, every single person really can be saved. And, every single person really does have to make that choice.

    David

    • says

      Yes, we should do missions because we’re commanded, but even more than that, no matter how one comes on the spectrum, we do missions b/c God has made it so that people are saved only through the gospel…he has ordained the means, so if we have one lick of care about people getting saved, we share…

      Every time we share the gospel, we are being effective–whether that means more people come to know Jesus or people continue to reject Jesus. It’s as Paul said in 2 Cor 2:14-3:6, we are an aroma of Christ among those being saved and those who are perishing–to one from life to life and the other from death to death; and God is the one who makes us sufficient for such a task.

      But I would content: It’s all according to His plan and His purposes….and He earnestly, sincerely desires that all people get saved. Thus, the offer of salvation really does go out to all people. And, every single person really can be saved. And, every single person really does have to make that choice.

      …the offer of salvation, in fact, does not go to all people. Romans 10… whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, but how do they call if they don’t believe, how do they believe if they don’t hear, and how do they hear unless someone preaches, and how do they preach unless they are sent? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.

      If there is no gospel proclamation to a person, there is no possibility to have believed. Yes, they have had the light of general revelation. Yes they have rejected the true God even with it. Yes, they have chosen their sin over God. But if they never had the gospel presented, then they never had the opportunity to be saved. It doesn’t make them any less guilty or accountable for their actions…

      …but if the Bible says the gospel is required for salvation, and many have died and never heard the gospel, then I don’t see how we can honestly say, “the offer of salvation really does go out to all people.”

      • volfan007 says

        Mike, not Mark,

        The light they have is God working on their souls…offering in a sense. And, they did choose…they chose sin and darkness over God…over the light that He has given them.

        And, Mike, the offer of salvation is out to every person… but God has chosen to use people to get the Gospel out to the world. Thus, we, Believers, need to do all that we can to shed more light on this dark world. They most certainly do need more light. And, we’ve been commissioned to go and give it to them. This is the way God has chosen for it to be. But, just because some people do not have the light of the Gospel, does not mean that God is not working on their hearts…thru the light they have.

        David

        • says

          You know I think this might be the impass where we agree to disagree…

          We agree on the important thing: the gospel must be preached, people need to hear…

          But I think the Bible spells out so black-and-white that the offer of salvation comes only through the gospel…therefore: I disagree that the offer goes out to all if all do not hear.

  53. says

    I’m not smart enough to figure out who all God seriously wants to be saved; you know, the old sovereignty vs free will thing. But I am smart enough, methinks, to know that the real compelling reason to preach the gospel to the world is that God said to. I thus have no choice but to fill the role for which God has prepared me, in that process.

    What God does with the declaration of the gospel is up to Him, but disobedience to His commands in the area of spreading the gospel to the lost is as bad a sin as can be, whether one is Calvinist, Arminian, or whatever.

    And another thing: folks seem to think that Calvinists only preach about Calvinism. I don’t remember that .. I remember the gospel being preached.

    • Christiane says

      “But I am smart enough, methinks, to know that the real compelling reason to preach the gospel to the world is that God said to.”

      Then that makes you very wise indeed. And very humble.
      Somehow, the combination of humility and wisdom is not a coincidence in you, Bob. We might say that in your humility, you have allowed room for God’s grace to give you His wisdom.

      He wouldn’t be give His wisdom to the proud. They won’t allow room for it because they think they already have all the answers. How little we know. And how much we need Him.

  54. says

    David,

    You wrote: “Mark, I believe that everyone that’s saved is only because God chose us…planned to save us…called out to us and convicted us…and saved us apart from any works on our part. But, I also believe…from the Bible…that man does have freedom, and is able to choose, and is responsible for his choices. God allows men to choose to either be saved, or not be saved. Now, how do I reconcile these thoughts? I dont. I just believe that the Bible teaches both. How they come together…I dont know. You dont know. Nobody knows. God knows. But, both are true. They dont fit a system, but they’re true.”

    In my opinion, my brother, you have written the definitive statement on this post in this paragraph. Thank you. What you addressed here is exactly what all our SBC brothers and sisters should agree upon. I would only add the utter universal sinfulness that I’m sure everyone agrees with. I am not going to argue with you that some texts of Scripture are difficult to reconcile. So as long as they don’t contradict one another (and Scripture never does), we all stand on both and let God have the final say. We aren’t so far apart.

  55. lu ba bi says

    David,

    Because God’s sovereignty and human freedom are made known in the Scriptures–don’t you think it is best to say that God wants us to know first and then to affirm that God is sovereign and yet He has made man free?

  56. lu ba bi says

    David,

    I see the biblical affirmations of God’s sovereignty and human freedom as best illustrated in our election.

    Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we SHOULD be holy and blameless before Him In love (Eps 1:4; NAS, 1977)

    Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we WOULD be holy and blameless before Him In love (Eps 1:4; NAS, 1995)

    God sovereignly predetermined two things: ONE, that HIS CHILDREN WOULD BE IN CHRIST. We, His children have NO CHOICE regarding this predestination–this is unconditional election.

    TWO, that they WOULD live holy lives (Eps1:4).

    The TEMPORAL IMPLICATION of God’s PRETEMPORAL election is seen in Eps1:4; and 2:10

    For we ARE His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we SHOULD walk in them. (Eps 2:10; NAS, 1977)

    For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we WOULD walk in them (Eps 2:10; NAS, 1995)

    The election covers both the elect WOULD BE–His workmanship; and also the elect SHOULD BE–holy.

    Problem comes when some use the TULIP paradigm seeing the whole thing settled in eternity past. They forget that EVERY time PRETEMPORAL election appears in the Bible, it is DESCRIBED FROM TERMPORAL PERSPECTIVE.

    I see God pretemporally & sovereignly predermined that BELIEVERS will be in Christ.

    But they are NOT ACTUALLY in Christ until the TEMPORAL MOMENT they believe (Eps1:13).

    It is a FORCED AUGUSTINIAN READING of the text to make Eps1:4 as referring to those who already entered into Christ by faith in eternity past.

    Every time the Scripture talks of the elect due to his pretemporal election, they are being described from the TEMPORAL PERSPECTIVE–they have ALREADY BELIEVED and been put in Christ as a result. They have already entered into temporal sphere of their pre-temporal election. They are IN CHRIST and already HIS WORKMANSHIP.

    In election God determined what we WOULD BE and what we SHOULD BE.

    The IN CHRIST part of the believers’ election is irresistible; yet the WOULD BE holy part–by living acc to God’s moral will is resistible as it is our human freedom at play.

    God’s election (sovereignty) only guarantees what WOULD BE, not what SHOULD BE (human freedom).

    Our calvinists brothers want should be also made absolute–hence, no perseverance = no election. I think this is a collosal theological problem.

    • volfan007 says

      lu,

      I believe that the only thing we can know is God is sovereign; He planned to save us; He chose to save us; and He calls out to us, and convicts us; and that it’s He that regenerates us…makes us a new creation.

      On the other hand, man has the freedom to choose, and he’s responsible for his choice. If man chooses to be saved, then he will go to Heaven and rejoice in God’s amazing grace. If he chooses to remain lost, then he will go to Hell forever…paying for his sins.

      That’s what we can know for sure from the Bible. To delve deeper into this begins to break down into the speculations of man.

      David

      • says

        David: To delve deeper into this break down into speculations of man? Lu gave you scriptures that you failed to even attempt to address. They aren’t in the Bible? We don’t believe those passages to be true?

        • cb scott says

          Debbie,

          Maybe you should read lubabi’s comments again. He is not embracing Calvinism. Actually, in Vol’s first statement in #221, he comes to a more Calvinistic position than does lubabi in all of his comments. Lubabi stated he leans more to an Arminian view in his soteriology.

          • volfan007 says

            Debbie,

            You need to listen to CB. You will learn much if you do.

            Debbie, of course we should delve deeper into the Bible. Of course, we should seek to know every verse…every phrase…every word of it. But, there’s just so much that we’re told…in the Bible. But, man thinks that he can know more than that…man thinks that he can figure it all out… man thinks that he has the answers that God has not given us….Do you?

            David

  57. lu ba bi says

    David,

    To delve deeper into the Bible is what we supposed to always striving for. This is different from philosophical-theological speculations. I deem TULIP to be the fruit of speculative theology and not necessarily produced by biblical exegesis.

    An example of speculative theology: our calvinist brothers’ speculative view of salvation BEFORE believe. Now, that IS speculation AGAINST clear affirmations of the Scriptures (e.g., “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, AND you shall be saved.”).

    Our calvinist brothers would say the other way around: regeneration/salvation FIRST then believe as a consequence. That is, then, speculative theology and NOT biblical theology.

    I agree: no speculation beyond that which is known as revealed in Scripture. To go beyond the explicit affirmations of Scripture is really a speculative theology. Hence, I propose that Bible loving believers to strive to exposit texts of Scripture free from TULIP.

  58. says

    Within my experience, the worst thing about Calvinists is what Baptists (and other non-Calvinists) SAY Calvinists say. Most of the stuff I hear now, like that, I NEVER heard in the Presbyterian Church.

    Come to think of it, Calvinism itself, and its five central points, was a point of study, not of preaching or exposition.

      • cb scott says

        And since we are here together Debbie, here would be as fine a place as any for you to admit I never sent you an email about the Caner situation.

        • volfan007 says

          Bob,

          Then, my Brother, you have never heard one of the aggressive, obsessed 5 point Calvinists preach and teach in a church. I could give you example after example of it.

          On the other hand, I know of many, many 5 point Calvinists, who you’d never know are a 5 pointer, unless you personally asked them. Why? Because they just preach the Bible. They just preach the Gospel. I know of some Pastors right now, who are 5 point Calvinists, and their churches dont even know that they are. Other Pastors in their association do not know that they are. And, I’m not gonna out them. lol. I could, if I was so inclined. But, I’m not gonna do that. They are fine fellas, who preach the Bible. They’re not the aggressive kind. I do have a problem with those fellas.

          David

          • says

            David,

            You speak of 5 point Calvinist pastors in about the same terms as closet homosexuals. Part of the problem is seeing Calvinism, not a differing valid interpretation of Scripture, but as a sin that one should be ashamed for believing.

            Now, in saying their churches don’t even know they are Calvinists because they preach the Bible, are you saying they don’t teach Calvinism as a system or they never preach Calvinist doctrines like depravity, election, atonement and perseverance? If you’re saying they never teach Calvinism as a system, then I would agree because many of our members wouldn’t know what a Calvinist is, but would understand from Scripture the above doctrines. If you’re saying they never preach the doctrines of Calvinism from Scripture, yet believe them personally, then I’d say these men need to come out of the closet.

          • says

            David,

            You’re right. I haven’t. But I’d like to. I’d get a kick out of standing up and calling them out. Never interrupted a sermon before, but that doesn’t mean I won’t.

            On the other hand, I have indeed heard some obsessed preachers preaching stuff that wasn’t biblical. Some of them were even NOT in SBC churches.

            :)

  59. says

    I wish to say that I am Sovereign Grace by persuasion of the meaning of the very words of Scripture.l Jesus said, “No one can,” meaning no one has the ability or as Sandy Creek put it in the 1816 Confession of Faith, man is utterly impotent by his own free will or ability to sae himself. The command to preach man’s inability and
    Christ’s ability to meet man’s need for help is plain. All the calvinists I know (with the exception of some Primitive Baptists (and not all of them) are evangelistic and missionary, extremely so. I even have a soul winning tract from the late 1700s/early 1800s in my collection of materials written b so-called calvinists for the purpose of winning souls to Christ. Title: The Dairyman’s Daughter. Some child, a Master Zebulon Latimer, had that tract when he was pre-adolescent. A paper I wrote in my Evangelism class at SEBTS was on the subject, “Evangelism in The Eighteenth Century.” It was published in the American Edition of Sword and Trowel, published in Greensboro, NC, by Rev. Gerald Primm (a fighter pilot from WWII, Sovereign Grace Southern Baptist) in the January-July 1975 Edition. It has some 77 footnotes in about 2 pages. What many do not seem to realize is that calvinists/sovereign grace believers, hyper-calvinists, can be evangelistic and missionary and zealously so, while Arminians can be utterly unconcerned for souls, worse than any fatalist. And there are those in both cases who reverse situations. Me. I want to win souls, but I do not want to manipulate them, that is, lie to get them forward or work their emotions to accept Jesus without reaching the real core of their nature. My aim is conversion, because that is the target for soul winning effort. God must give a new nature (regeneration), and He must lead in the conversion process to draw forth the new life implanted within. Such new life responds to the Gospel message as a hungry child would to food.

    Let me say a word for Arminians. I had a personal friend who was in the Arminian camp (he did believe in Eternal Security). He had a Th.D. from NOBTS and a Dr. of Chiropractic. He was a good man, a devout Christian, and a man of God. He actually pastored in Phenix City, Sin City, Alabama, which Mr. Fox mentioned in one of his blogs. Dr. L.G. Meadows actually baptized the wife and daughter of the leader of that crime syndicate there in the early 50s. His deacons had to carry guns to potext their pastor. One of the henchmen who Dr. Meadows baptized told him they would find him (the henchman) dead outside of the city by the River. Dr. Meadows said that happened just as the man said. I wondered if the reference made in the part of the docudrama this afternoon I saw (weather shut down my directtv) to a sermon might not have been one preached by Dr. Meadows. I never knew how hard it was until I saw that docudrama. When people put their lives on the line for Jesus and the right it hardly becomes us to be vicious toward them, just because they do not agree with evey point we hold. I pray for a Great Awakening every day, almost without exception, these days. We really need to go out of our way to cultivate a more Christian spirit of courtesy and conduct.

  60. says

    Back about comment 174 I linked a stellar piece by Marilynne Robinson on Calvin and Fundamentalism.
    It is proof this site for the most part embraces mediocre thought that no one has engaged that site with the exception of Mark who said something about the White Horse Inn.

  61. says

    Fox and Matt,

    In an attempt to be less mediocre, I read the nugget from Robinson. It’s a nice snippet, but I do not feel less mediocre. Shucks.

  62. lu ba bi says

    Bob Cleveland,

    If you read Jonathan Edwards’ sermons you will see the TULIP infected his teachings. Have you heard or read John Piper’s sermons? Or pastor Arthur Pink?

    These teachers uniformly (based on TULIP) preach that Election leads to Perseverance. Election guarantees perseverance. No Perseverance = no election.

    In our layman’s language: NO good works [perseverance] = no salvation. THAT is TULIP sir!

  63. Matt Parker says

    Where is the eternal significance in the debate over whether the SBC’ers are Arminian or Calvanist? Just wondering … Seems to be alot of press lately … curios.

  64. says

    I listen to those sermons and I praise God that He gives me the perseverance He does. The only reason I am secure in the faith is that he ordained it.

    I take no credit for it whatsoever.

    And, equating good works with perseverance is a direct slap at the sufficiency of the righteousness of Christ imputed to me. “Oh, I’ll be saved IF I now…..”.

    Your statement affirms in my mind, what I said was the worst part about Calvinists .. what others SAY they say.

  65. The Elect says

    Luke 16:15 (King James Version)

    And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

  66. The Elect says

    Bob Cleveland July 17-18

    I would highly recommend everyone go back and reread everything Bob has said here!

  67. Bill Mac says

    You don’t like aggressive, pushy 5 pointers? Fine. Neither do I. I also don’t like pushy, aggressive abstentionists, complementarians, non-Calvinists, or Republicans and I’ve seen plenty in the SBC.

    This is what my Calvinism means to me. I am called upon to share my faith. This I understand and do, albeit imperfectly. But, I believe ultimately God gets what He wants. There will not be people in hell because of what I did or failed to do. I will try to do what I am called to do, but my efforts or lack thereof will not save nor condemn anyone. I do not believe someone is in hell who might have made it to heaven if they had but lived a little longer, or heard a little more. When I preach (infrequently, I am not a preacher) I invite people to believe, but whether they believe or not is not up to me, or my efforts. God will call those whom He will call and that is none of my doing, although he may use my words as a means. That is up to Him. I have friends and family who do not know God. I pray for them (also a means). I understand they have free will. I believe God’s will is sovereign over theirs (and mine). I believe God can change our wills and desires and pray that He does so. I believe God can turn stone hearts to flesh and quicken them to life. I believe God regenerates and ignites faith leading to repentance.

    You may say that non-Calvinists can believe these things and do. Fine. I’m not saying they can’t. I’m just saying that this is where my faith is. If you can prove that Calvin didn’t believe all these things, what is that to me? I don’t care. I am not following Calvin, and the name Calvinism is merely a convenient label.

  68. lu ba bi says

    Hi Bob,

    If you read carefully what John Piper’s sermons, he teaches salvation by works.

    “Paul foresees the possibility that some professing believers – in the judgment of charity he calls them brothers, may go to hell… Your works confirm that you are saved.”[Piper, “We Will All Stand Before the Judgment of God (Rom 14:10-13)]”; October 30, 2005.

    “Getting to heaven in the New Testament involves the use of means… Your perseverance in faith is a means of attaining heaven; it is necessary… Mutual exhortation is a means by which we…help each other persevere to heaven. It is not automatic…”[Piper, “Do Not Destroy the Work of God (Rom 14:14-23)]”; Nov 6, 2005.

    See, salvation is not a gift now, it is at the end of perseverance! This is CONDITIONAL salvation–salvation conditioned on performance!

    “…These are just some of the conditions that the New Testament says we must meet in order to be saved in the fullest and final sense. We must believe in Jesus and receive him and turn from our sin and obey him and humble ourselves like little children and love him more than we love our family, our possessions, or our life. This is what it means to be converted to Christ. This alone is the way of life everlasting.”[Piper, “Do Not Destroy the Work of God (Rom 14:14-23)]”; Nov 6, 2005.

    Note Piper’s MANY CONDITIONS OF SALVATION. Mr. Cleveland, can you give me a lesson of salvation from John 3:16 WITHOUT jumping to and fro from TULIP? Can you please give me the Gospel of salvation from John 3:16?

    I assume you’d better hang on to TULIP instead of the word of our Lord in John 3:16.

    “Present justification is based on the substitutionary work of Christ alone, enjoyed in union with him through faith alone. Piper in “The Justification Debate: A Primer” (CT, July 23, 2009; see http://www. christianitytoday. com/ct/2009/ june/29.34.html).

    Future justification is the open confirmation and declaration that in Christ Jesus we are perfectly blameless before God. This final judgment accords with our works. That is, the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives will be brought forward as the evidence and confirmation of true faith and union with Christ. Without that validating transformation, there will be no future salvation” (italics added). How it can be true that “through faith alone…we have eternal life with God in the new heavens and the new earth,” but at the same time also be true that at the “final judgment,” without the “validating transformation” of our good works, “there will be no future salvation”? Which is it – “through faith alone,” or only with the “validating transformation” of “our works”?

    Bob, listen, it is FINAL JUSTIFICATION BY WORKS.

    During a conference to many students, in response to a question about our imperfectness in this life, Piper responded: “I know people, and I would say this about myself, for whom the greatest threat to my perseverance and my ultimate salvation is the slowness of my sanctification. It’s not theoretical questions like ‘Did He rise from the dead?’ or the problem of evil. I’ve got answers. But why I sin against my wife the same at age 62 that I did at age 42 causes me sometimes to doubt my salvation or the power of the Holy Spirit… This question is not theoretical.” John Piper, “Why God is Not a Megalomaniac . . . ” Evangelical Theological Society 2009. Recording # EV08487 (www.actsconferenceproducts.com).

    To this calvinist preacher, his final salvation is conditioned on his performance (NOT CHRIST’S ALONE).

    Mr. Cleveland, what kind of works will you show as evidence of your salvation?

      • says

        And, incidentally, 1 John 5:11-13 says I can KNOW (present tense ) that I HAVE (present tense) eternal life. Which, by definition, cannot end, else it would not be eternal today, either.

        • says

          Hebrews 11:13 says and I quote from Memory:

          These then died in faith, not having received the Promised, but having seen them afar off, they were persuaded of them, and embraced and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims here on the Earth.
          As long as humanity reproduces, those who embrace the eternal truths of the Jew, Jesus, incarnate in the Moment the timelessness he Promised.
          The rest is a Mystery as the Bible Says: Behold I show you a Mystery……

    • cb scott says

      lubabi,

      Piper does not preach salvation by works. Bob is a Calvinist and does not teach salvation by works. Patterson is not an Arminian and does not teach or preach salvation by works.

      You may, in fact believe that one’s salvation must be maintained by works. You may actually believe salvation is by God’s grace, yet maintained (preserved) by human works. Who knows at this point. But be assured, if you think salvation is by works or maintained (preserved) by works you do not embrace the biblical gospel.

      You may very well be a Christian. I am not saying you are not, but if you believe works of human origin constitutes any part of the redemption of a lost sinner, you do not embrace the biblical gospel. The truth would be in that case that God has saved you and made you His child, granting you grace, even though you do not understand that of which has been bestowed upon you, not the means by which it was bestowed.

      • cb scott says

        That last sentence should be: “The truth would be in that case that God has saved you and made you His child, granting you grace, even though you do not understand that of which has been bestowed upon you, ‘nor’ the means by which it was bestowed.”
        “nor” rather than “not”

        • SSBN says

          CB, in reading Arminius’ thoughts on the matter over the weekend, it seems to boil down to whether one considers prevenient grace a “salvation by works.” I do not think that is a conclusion that must be drawn, or even should be drawn, from the writings of Arminius or those that take their lead from his direction.

          It depends on how one defines “prevenient grace” that seems to go to the heart of the matter.

          • cb scott says

            SSBN,

            In 2004 while living in PA, although my heart pumps Baptist blood, I could not find a Bible teaching, Bible preaching Southern Baptist church within fifty miles of me. I visited all of them. Too little biblical gospel preaching for me. (PA Baptists could use a big dose of Paul Washer if you ask me.) In addition, I had been sternly told that I would never have any standing in Baptist life again just prior to moving to PA. So I started visiting churches of various stripes.

            Due to the fact that my wife had taken an Administrative Director’s position for a Lutheran seminary in PA, we visited a Lutheran church. The first time we visited the Lutheran church, I thought I had died and St. Peter had consigned me to the Theological Dwarf Village on the “left side” of Heaven. The small group teacher, nor the pastor opened the Bible one time with a single “thus saith the Lord.” The second time, we visited, the small group topic was human rights. Well, when I chimed in and defined the Sanctity of Human Life from a biblical position, I thought I might have to fight several ladies and at least two men for the sanctity of my own life. Needless to say, we did not go back.

            We visited every kind of church around, from the Assembly of God to the Plymouth Brethren. Nothing worked for me. I was as out of place and as uncomfortable as a bear in a ballet tutu.

            Then one day, I meet a Nazarene pastor who had been saved in prison, during a seven year stretch for white collar crime. He had been an engineer and rather well educated. He was just not a real good thief and he got caught.

            God called him into ministry while in prison. When he got out he went to one of the Nazarene Bible colleges. This guy had a passion for souls. And he could preach the paint off the walls. I started helping this guy get his Sunday School going even though I was not a member of the church. I went on pastoral and prospect visitation with this guy. The Lord blessed. Church was fun again. God helped me a lot through the ministry of that Nazarene preacher during a time when I needed a lot of help.

            Now, to make a real long story short. I began to read everything I could about Nazarene history and theology published by the Nazarene Publishing House in Kansas City. The more I read, the more I realized, I was not and never would be a Nazarene.

            SSBN, you are right. “Prevenient Grace” is defined differently by various groups. And I am in no way an authority. But for me, the concept of Prevenient Grace “chips away” far too much of the Doctrine of Total Depravity for me to be comfortable with as defined by any thing I have read in print.

            SSBN, I realize this is a long comment to answer a short question, but I just felt like writing it tonight. Hope you give me “grace” and forgive me. :-)

  69. says

    Quote from beginning of discussion:

    Daniel Akin, in the book Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue, says of himself, “I am Calvinist who embraces with my whole being our Lord’s command to take the Gospel across the street and around the world. Anything less puts a person outside the camp of Southern Baptists.”

    QUESTION:

    Why could he not say he was a Christian who belived in Calvinism as well?????

    Calvinism is but one of many approaches to Protestant thought. Roger Williams / John and Charles Wesley / Harry Emerson Fosdick / Leslie D. Weatherhead / George Truett / L.R. Scarborough (just to name a few) all had slightly different approaches. The CR leaders of the last 40 years have their lock-step views, but behind the closed doors of meetings there are serious differences. Wade Burleson has clearly shown it for years.

    Holding Autonomy high used to give each Baptist the clearly stated opportunity to “agree to disagree, yet support missions together.”

    So what is so important about Calvin, pray tell?????

    • cb scott says

      Gene,

      What does the way Danny constructed that statement have to do with the CR, CR leaders, Wade Burleson or closed door meetings?

      I assure you Danny held autonomy high and continues in “holding autonomy high.”

      BTW, Fosdick sold out in the end.

      • says

        cb—

        If Danny held autonomy high, he would have never gotten his position at SEBTS!!! You must be a card-carrying CR boy to play.

        CR never has, nor will it ever hold Autnomy high. It is all about control and limiting power to a few—while saying we are still for missions so much you can trust us. Naive people think it is good. Leaders get triple-digit salaries and plush offices with generous expense accounts = reward for subsurvience.

        Total bull hockey—proven to be such ever since 1979. How long do you have to smell roses which smell like excrement to make up the mind it is excrement reshaped to look like roses?????

    • says

      My point, gentlemen–er gentleboys–is this seems to be more about Calvin than about Christ!

      We might grow up more if we looked to Christ as individuals and not individuals following someone to Christ whom you may think more of than Christ!

      I just try to follow Christ as best I know him in the fullness of the Gospels rather than some small corner thereof.

      • says

        The problem with that, Gene, while it sounds really humble, is that 1) you won’t even follow the apostle Paul in his letters without putting them up against Christ, and 2) it’s quite arrogant to think highly and thankfully about the wisdom the Spirit gives you while discounting the wisdom he’s giving others.

        • says

          “Your wisdom is as filthy rags before God!

          It is found in the Psalms and Proverbs—as a few men realized they didn’t know it all—as some here are pretending!

          Get real, my bothers, and quit pretending you know it all!!!!

        • says

          Darby—

          The Apostle Paul had his issues just like you CR gentlemen. He was so hard-headed in his “kill the Christians” days, God had to strike him down with blindness on the Damascas Road.

          It proves God can use even the most distorted of minds—provided we bow down when struck by blinding light!!!

          Why be so hard-headed it takes a grandpa’s 2X4 across the mule head to get you attention—and another 2X4 broken to get the message across. If the mule dies of head trauma, all you lost was a hard headed mule eating feed without doing as the master wishes to produce a crop!!!!!

        • says

          Brandon—

          What did Jesus say????

          “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.”

          When Jesus says it clearly, I believe and trust it. After 64 years of living, I find it to be more true each day.

          Why don’t you start your trust as I did at your age? You will find the journey thereafter to be full of surprises and wonders you would not have believed in your Gnostic years—trying to be a “Know It All!” Trying to know it all makes you into a “know-it-all” who is just—–obnoxious to those listening the your arrogant pontifications!!!!!

          Shakespeare put it: “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity and the striving after wind!!!!”

        • David Miller says

          Gene, didn’t Paul say, “I would not have you to be ignorant…” You seem to advocate ignorance of the Bible and its teachings as a virtue.

          Since God gave us a perfect Word, it is our duty to study it and come it understand it.

          You remind me of the liberal professors I had in college who tried to cast doubt on every basic doctrine of the scriptures – even the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement of Christ. They always couched their doubt as if it demonstrated superior intelligence.

          Ignorance is intelligence – an interesting viewpoint.

          • says

            David

            A great theologian was once asked what was his most important discovery after a lifetime of highly acclaimed scholarship.

            His answer was: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”

            I like it!!!!!!! K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple Stupid

          • David Miller says

            Yeah, but if the Bible is full of errors, how do you know that Jesus loves you?

          • says

            More to the ponit, Daave, why does it matter that Jesus loves us. Gene believes you can get to heaven based on Muslim faith or Mormon faith.

            Christians, in contrast, recognize that it is only through repentance of sins and faith in Jesus Christ that saves a person. Anything else will send a person straight to hell.

          • says

            You both sound like broken records to me!!!!

            Here is Scripture more appropriate in your present state:

            Paraphrase of Matthew 23:1-36

            The Pattersonites and Presslerites control the SBC so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They make many rules and narrow theologies, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not live personal lives under them.

            They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their designer ties bright and their expensive tailored suits sharp, and they love the place of honor at all Pastor’s Conferences. They love being recognized and called “Dr.” by their subservient masses. But you are all the same as Baptists: you have one master, Jesus, and one Father who is God in heaven. Neither be called President or Vice-President, for you have one master, the Christ… But woe to you, dictators to Baptists, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who follow you to go in.

            You go on glorious and expensive overseas mission trips to make a single proselyte and then corrupt him. You make all kinds of Resolutions and use Robert’s Rules of Order in any way to get your way. You don’t care what promises you make or public statements as long as you sound politically correct. Your sermons are slick and designed to please men. You neglect the Gospels and the ideas of God’s love and forgiveness, replacing them with legalisms and judgmentalism to make sinful men feel worse.

            You blind guides, straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel! Woe to you dictator pastors! You are like dishes and cups cleaned only on the outside while the inside is full of rotting food and disease. First cleanse the inside and the outside will clean itself. You take statements out of context from Baptist forefathers and act as if they applaud your mindless theology. You say you would love what the forefathers died for, but you take away the freedoms for which they would give their life. They went to jail and endured punishment so we could live in a land of freedom of religion and conscience. You would have been in the mobs which booed them and threw them in prison. You would have shot them rather than listen to their cries for freedom of individual churches and believers.

            Many Baptists are saying we have deserted our heritage of freedom in recent years, but you call them “skunks” and “liberals” to anyone who doesn’t know what being free and Baptist means. The hottest fires of Hell wait for those who do not live in love and allow their brothers in the faith to be free. Anyone who claims to serve a God of love, but cannot love his brother who is different or uses different words, is a liar and a hypocrite destined for God’s harshest judgment.

          • says

            1-That is borderline heretical.

            2-That has NOTHING to do with the fact that you believe muslims can get to heaven through their islamic faith and that Mormons are real Christians.

          • says

            Sorry, Joe—

            I’m just not willing to do the simplistic judging you do.

            I think God is capable of making those decisions without consulting with you or me, Mr. “Blow”!!!!!

  70. lu ba bi says

    Bob Cleveland,

    You are not a calvinist then.

    Listen to what famous calvinist teachers are saying regarding final salvation by performance till death:

    John Murray states, “The perseverance of the saints reminds us forcefully that only those who persevere to the end are truly saints.”

    Charles Hodge, a Calvinist theologian says: “The only evidence of election is effectual calling, that is, the production of holiness. And the only evidence of the genuineness of this call and the certainty of our perseverance, is a patient continuance in well doing.
    (Charles Hodge, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, (reprint, 1950; Eerdmans) p 212)

    The calvinist scholar Don Carson wrote in the Calvinistic journal that in the end, calvinism and arminianism are saying the SAME thing regarding salvation by performance–determined when you die: “Thus at their worst, the two approaches meet in strange and sad ways.” “Reflections on Christian Assurance,” Westminster Theological Journal 54(1992)

    • says

      lu,

      Listen to CB. He speaketh the truth, and he knoweth me pretty well.

      I’ll mix it up on TULIP .. actually I lean more to TUIPL .. any day of the week. Me and my pastor have lots of fun mixing it up on this; I tell him he’s really one of us but just won’t admit it.

  71. Lydia says

    Serious question: Do we choose to sin after we are saved? In other words, is there free will in sinning? And if yes, can it be consistent and willful if we have the indwelling Holy Spirit?

    What do Calvinists believe about this?

    • David Miller says

      In general, asking what “Calvinists” believe about something is hard to pin down. Calvinists believe so many different things on so many different subjects.

      I believe that Christians are the only people who actually have a choice about sinning. The unredeemed are slaves to sin. In Romans 6, we are told that we have been freed from sin, therefore we should not let sin reign in our mortal bodies.

      • David Miller says

        I operate under a simple theory. If the Bible commands it, it is possible for us to do it in the power of Christ. It is also possible for us NOT to do it when we walk in the flesh.

        So, if Paul commanded us not to let sin reign, then we have the power to live above slavery to sin. We also have the ability to let our fleshly nature reign where Jesus should.

        • cb scott says

          Lydia,

          I think Dave has given a good answer to your question. I don’t know if it suffices as an answer to you since you were specific in asking what Calvinists think on the issue. I don’t actually know if Dave is a Calvinist or not, but I think his answer is consistent with New Testament Christianity.

          • David Miller says

            I’m a Calvinist but many Calvinists wouldn’t claim me. I guess my Calvinism is tempered a little.

    • says

      The bible is clear that there’s a war going on with the flesh, as long as we live. If the Apostle Paul fought it .. a guy who wrote a bunch of the New Testament .. well, at least he SAID he did .. every day, I figure that’s probably going to happen to me, too.

      And it does.

      • cb scott says

        Dave,

        I think that a good follow up post to the last few posted here would be: Plymouth Brethren in Calvinist Clothing: An Issue of Ecclesiology. I would like to write it. I will dedicate it to you and David Rogers.

      • cb scott says

        Bob,

        I think “war” is the operative word. At least that is true in my personal experience.

    • says

      I am curious as to what you and Christiane, you two in particular make of this lecture from March 2010 in Berlin:

      Here is a link:

      http://tinyurl.com/3xgcv7n

      Is it too much of a stretch of your theological moorings; wondering what Wade Burleson will make of it as well as he has participated in the Baptist Covenant gatherings.

        • Christiane says

          STEPHEN, if so, it kind of shut down on me at the point where he is discussing how Bonhoeffer is searching in America for a ‘community for others’ (social Gospel context). I will try again.

          I do know about the influence of the American Civil Rights/Scottsboro Boys on Bonhoeffer. This encounter with our own country’s difficulties must have resonated in him as the Germans took up their attempt to annihilate the Jews in Europe.

          I believe that there must have been many influences on Bonhoeffer to get him to the point where he accepted his death peacefully (he was hung slowly from very thin wire, extending his agony). His commitment was, in my own mind, a kind of martyrdom where he could no longer in this world live ‘partially’, but embraced a kind of integrity where his beliefs informed his actions utterly. It IS understandable that exposure to the American South could set him on that path, yes.
          I can see that.

          There is much discussion about his choice to seek Hitler’s death.
          And about the conflict of ethics he must have dealt with before making his decision. But once made, Bonhoeffer was committed to doing what he felt was right for the oppressed of his own country, and he did, according to witnesses, accept his own execution peacefully. So he acted in accord with his conscience, apparently.

          I’m going to share your link of that lecture with Chris Ryan who blogs at ‘Wisdom’s Table’. He is a student of Bonhoeffer and I’m sure he would be interested in the lecture. I think you might want his opinion about it. He is very gifted for his age, I think.

          You may know that I am a supporter of the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., so I suspect that may be why you sought my input. (?)

          • says

            I did not know about your connection to the Holocaust Museum but I do appreciate your reply.
            I would hope you would listen again to the last ten minutes of the Lecture as I think Marsh soars there.
            See if you can get a good price or through intralibrary loan turn up Fleming Rutledge collection of sermons help my Unbelief. cause Fleming has a great framework for Marsh in a sermon there on Fannie Lou Hamer.
            Marsh has a biography coming out next year on DB to be published by Knopf.
            Eric Metaxas has just publised a bio on DB(thomas nelson) that has been embraced by World Magazine of Marvin Olasky and CToday.
            Marsh took exception to Bobby Welch and Jerry Boykin in his 07 book Wayard Christian Soldiers which references Bonhoeffer a good bit; and has fascinating 8 pages on Mohler’s mentor Francis Schaeffer and FS refusal to sign the Lausanne Covenant of 74, a statement endoresed by Billy Graham.
            Make sure your Friend Ryan is aware of all this as well as google up Damon Linker’s review of Marsh in TNR titled The Idolatry of America.
            Marsh is the nephew of Fisher Humphreys who had the famous interview of Judge Pressler some 20 years ago.

  72. cb scott says

    Lydia,

    I don’t know about others, but I grieve the Holy Spirit with willful sin. I take responsibility for my sinful actions and thoughts. No one has forced me to sin other than my own desire to feed my fallen nature. But I am not responsible for the forgiveness granted me by Christ. That was and is provided by His atonement. I often lay down thankful tears of repentance at the threshold of 1 John 1:9.

  73. SSBN says

    Well, I’ve been away in the mountains playing in a softball tournament and enjoying God’s creation with my wife. I also had some time to read along the lines of Calvin vs. Arminius.

    I definitely am NOT a Calvinist if that means boiling my soteriology down to a flower. I also think that it is a bit unfair to call the Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace, “a salvation by works.” They do not call it that, and I don’t see any justification for calling it such.

    I’m convinced the truth lies somewhere in between and human language will be inadequate to complete articulate a common soteriology — at least if the goal is to win an argument.

    My humble opinion is “we all need more humble and less opinion.”

      • SSBN says

        Stephen, I missed this post earlier. I was in the Mammoth Lakes, Eastern Sierra. I did not play baseball in hs or college. We had a pretty healthy city league. My Dad was my coach most of my years. He had a shot at the pros but ended up playing for the Air Force during Korea.

        Thanks for the nice conversation.

        • says

          Tell your Dad to check out David Halberstam’s The Teammates.
          In the 46 World Series between the Bosox and the Cards the man who Almost married Aunt Virginia, Leon Culberson of Rome, Ga; goes in for Dom Dimmagio who had a tight hamstring, and the rest is one of the most legendary plays of 20th Century Baseball lore.

  74. lu ba bi says

    CB Scott,

    You did not read my post (253)–it was not me but the quotations from John Piper’s sermons that teach FINAL SALVATION BY WORKS.

    I think it is the teaching of many calvinist pastors: FINAL SALVATION BY PERFORMANCE [PERSEVERANCE].

    Let me ask you a question: Is saving faith PUNCTILIAR or LINEAR? In other words, salvation is granted at the point someone put his faith in Christ (PUNCTILIAR) or salvation will be granted at the end of a LINEAR FAITH (FAITHFULNESS)–by persevering unto the end?

    I see calvinist teachers such as Jonathan Edwards, John Piper, John Murray, Arthur Pink, Charles Hodge have been and are saying JUST that.

    I am not a calvinist and neither are you.

    • cb scott says

      lubabi,

      Salvation as a complete work of God in the life of a lost sinner occurs in the exact moment God grants grace to the sinner. And any man, woman, boy or girl, who recognizes the fact that he/she is a lost sinner before a righteous and holy God who repents of sin and believes the biblical gospel will be totally and completely saved by God’s grace in that very moment. And that grace, granted salvation experience of that once lost sinner will be forever and eternally preserved by God, for we are His workmanship, for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

      • says

        CB,

        Calvinist here. I fully agree with your statement , lest some might think you can’t and still be a Calvinist.

        I’ll also say we can no more decide to become “unborn” any more than a baby can decide to go back and become the genetic material it consisted of, before conception.

        • cb scott says

          Thank you Bob.

          I have reread lubabi’s comments trying to get a grasp of his theological moorings. I have found the chore rather difficult. I do not doubt him to be a brother in the Lord, but his understanding of the various soteriological views seems to be lacking. It also seems he has an ax to grind with Paige Patterson and various other CR guys for some reason. Of course, in that he has a great host as agreeable company.

    • says

      Mark Noll is the expert of Jonathan Edwards. From Wheaton he went to Notre Dame.
      Mark Noll gave a presentation at the SBC Inerrancy Conference in 87 at Ridgecrest that in effect said Adrian Rogers and the CR was mistaken.
      From that I conclude if Edwards were with us today and aware of the discussion he would be in the Noll camp having serious issues with the CR; and if Edwards were a Baptist today would be in the strain of Marney, Stewart Newman, Marsh take on Bonhoeffer; in the strain of the Unfettered Word.

  75. Christiane says

    Hi STEPHEN FOX and BRANDON SMITH,

    thank you both respectively for the referrals to the lecture, and to the Metaxus bio of Bonhoeffer. DB was most certainly one who transcended the man-made divisions in Christianity. and stood above those divisions, as a Christian who lived fully for Christ, and who died for his beliefs. In my Church, we call such people ‘saints’.

    • says

      I spent about twenty minutes on an exhaustive reply about what the sure discussion on the implications for Baptist life of the different emphasis it appears Marsh will take interpretting the life of DB as opposed to Metaxas embrace by World Magazine but it got lost in cyberspace.
      A punch in the gut early in the morning.
      But glad you and Brandon are engaging the life of DB.
      Ihope Brandon will listen to the lecture soon.

      • Christiane says

        Hi STEPHEN,

        Please continue commenting on DB.
        I am interested in your point of view.

        • says

          Right now I’m overwhelmed by the Berlin lecture as I have been an admirer of Marsh for sometime.
          I have it on good word and the daughter of SBC PC member and former SBC Prez Jim Henry; Marsh and Kate Campbell are grand friends.
          Marsh’s pilgrimage to date as I have referenced to date is fascinating.
          I have read the CT and World Mag reviews of the Metaxas book, and read Metaxas chapter on DB In America.
          In the lecture Marsh says DB came back up through the South on US HWY 11 in April 31 during the time the Scottsboro case was becoming a national and international obsession.
          Most likley DB or his trip from NO back up to WVA and NYC drove within 15 miles of Scottsboro, though that is not to say he was aware of the cases significance at the time as it was evolving.
          Great link in my next post.

          • says

            Another great intro into Marsh’s bent on Bonhoeffer:

            http://www.tnr.com/article/environment-energy/the-idolatry-america

            Few bullet points to frame what is sure to be most fascinating discussion between Marsh and Metaxas views on DB after Marsh bio is published by Knopf fall of 2011

            Timothy George has tried to enlist DB into the world view of the Manhattan Declaration with his what I consider ridiculous pamphlet on abortion in 93 published by Land’s ERLC where George abuses the Barmen Declaration to justify his view on anti-choice.
            Metaxas has been embraced by World Magazine.

            Marsh in his God’s Long Summer profiles 60’s FBC Jackson pastor in which I see lot of analogy to current Al Mohler.
            Marsh’s father came to a stinging rebuke of the SBC takeover in 1990 in an address to his deacons at2nd Ponce in Atlanta.
            When they were at FBC Laurel in late 60’s; leading member was Charles Pickering who now has influential church state platform by virtue of trusteeship of Alliance Defense Fund; Pick an SBC Peace Committee member, Prez of Miss. SBC; and Bush 43 Judicial nominee.
            The Pickering church state faultline will be a most interesting aspect of the discussion to follow Marsh’s DB bio as you will gather from the review by Linker of God’s Wayward Soldiers; which I think is most fascinating with implications of the Lausanne Covenant forFrancis Schaeffer and by Mentorship Al Mohler.

            So the upcoming discussion about the distinctions between Metaxas and Marsh on Bonhoeffer could be fascinating indeed.
            Fisher Humphreys, the man who had one of the more fascinating interviews with Paul Pressler in CR history; is the Uncle of Charles Marsh.
            Marsh Mother, and Fisher’s wife are sisters.

  76. volfan007 says

    Dave Miller said, “Let me take a crack at “BI Theology” and see if I can get any agreement from David or CB. At its essence, BI prizes the maintainance of Baptist distinctives, both theological and ecclesiological. To BI, these distinctives are more important than cooperation in the greater Christian world.

    BI tends to emphasize the local church and deemphasize the univeral, invisible, worldwide church.

    BI strongly emphasizes the oversight of ordinances by the local church.

    BI adherents make statements like “Baptist IS biblical” and our convinced that Baptist polity and practice is the distinctive marker of a genuine NT church.

    They also tend to cheer for silly Southern Football teams.”

    Dave is absolutely right about some of the BI guys and football teams. Of course, he’s wrong about me. I pull for the Vols.

    Secondly, he basically gets it about the rest. We believe that the things that Baptist believe are the Biblical way to believe it, and they’re important enough to divide over. We would have a hard time cooperating with people, who believed differently over issues like: Believers baptism by immersion; eternal security of the Believer; congregational polity; etc.

    Also, we dont deny the universal, invisible church; but that it’s always seen in a local, visible congregation.

    Also, the local church is the one that was given the command to bapitze and administer the Lord’s Supper. Those are church ordinances, not individual, personal ordinances. We believe that God works thru His church.

    And, lastly, we most definitely believe that Baptists beliefs are the most close to the NT. We most certainly believe that where we stand on Scripture is based on the teachings of the NT. If we didnt believe that, we’d either change our beliefs, or else we’d go join with those churches that did believe right.

    David

    • cb scott says

      Six A-mens and Eight hand raised waves at a SEC football stadium for the truth in Vol’s following statement:

      “And, lastly, we most definitely believe that Baptists beliefs are the most close to the NT. We most certainly believe that where we stand on Scripture is based on the teachings of the NT. If we didnt believe that, we’d either change our beliefs, or else we’d go join with those churches that did believe right.”

      • says

        If Baptists belief and practice is synonymous with the New Testament, they how did it come to pass that Ronnie Floyd used a platform at the Houston SBC in 93 to castigate his Brother in Christ Jesus, William Jefferson Clinton, a year after taking his Hand in Rededication when Clinton walked the aisle at FBC, Springdale during a REvival.
        Where do you find that in the New Testament?
        Maybe Mike Huckabee’s delightful conversation with Robert Duvall last night on Fox, but not Ronnie Floyd in Houston.
        That ain’t in my Bible, the Old or the New; not part of the Redemption Story.
        Though you may find some noble Bible themes in this parable from NW Arkansas. Ronnie Floyd has a lot to learn from the virtue of REE.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE_X2pDRXyY

  77. says

    David (volfan007),

    I am not sure your question below was ever answered, so I wanted to do so. Here was your original question:

    Has Dr. Mohler ever hired anyone to teach at Southern, who is a non 5 pointer? I know that Dr. Mohler is friendly towards non 5 pointers, but has he ever hired anyone, who is not a non 5 pointer?

    The answer is a resounding “YES” – contrary to what you’ve suggested. There are several 4 pointers and even a few 3 pointers. Probably the biggest name, which you clearly know, is Dr. Richard Land, who teaches regularly on an adjunct basis (3 pointer).

    Other important names who are non-5 pointers are Russell Moore (a 4 pointer) who is the Dean of the School of Theology and Dr. Bruce Ware, who is the most senior Professor of Theology. I also believe that Dr. Steven Wellum is a 4 pointer as well, though I am not 100% sure.

    In order to be hired at Southern, all one must do is affirm the Abstract of Principles. This statement was the original Confession of the seminary, written by its first president, James P. Boyce. It allows for 3 and 4 point Calvinism.

    Hope this fully satisfies your inquiry. And I hope you will see that no one who really knows the answer is avoiding your question. It may just be that no one on this thread knew the answer.

    D.R.

  78. volfan007 says

    D.R. Randle,

    I was not suggesting anything. I was asking a question. I forgot about Dr. Russ Moore, and I didnt know about the others. So, I was not suggesting anything. I was wondering IF he had. Good to hear that he has. Thanks for answering the question.

    Now, I was suggesting that the aggressive 5 pointers in the SBC would not. So, unless you can show me different, then I will still believe that they would not.

    Thus, you see that I dont consider Dr. Mohler an aggressive 5 pointer. I was wondering, but I didnt consider him that way. I did know that he was a 5 pointer, of course. But, I see a huge difference in someone, who is an aggressive, obsessed 5 pointer, and a 5 pointer that’s not aggressive and obsessed.

    DAvid

  79. says

    Tim:

    “Supralapsarian is the belief that God created individuals in order to sentence them to hell. I don’t know how one can reconcile the order of decrees to Genesis 2:4.”

    First, echoing Matt’s statement, “Historically, it is estimated that less than 5% of all Calvinists have been Supralapsarian, and “At the present day it is probably safe to say that not more than one Calvinist in a hundred holds the supralapsarian view.” Loraine Boettner (1932). “2.11.6: Supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism” So pardon me, but if you are using supralapsarianism to support the “Calvinism hinders evangelism” idea, then that constitutes tilting at windmills. It is actually worse than that, because the people who make this charge generally aim it at the moderate-mainstream Calvinists (such as those that you will find in the Southern Baptist Convention) who follow the doctrines of the Puritans and of people like John Bunyan and Charles Spurgeon, not the magisterial Reformers like Theodore Beza (generally credited as the creator of supralapsarianism) whose doctrines were – according to the claims of Dr. Ergun Caner anyway – created around the political and economic needs of state run churches that add new members primarily through infant baptism, not evangelism and conversion. Contemporary Calvinists like Albert Mohler and Paul Washer are closer to the Anabaptists that Beza hunted and killed because of their refusal to join the magisterial Reformed church-states than they are to Beza. In particular, Beza and similar had this doctrine of “the ecclesiola within the ecclesia.” The “ecclesia” is the (state) church, which must include all people living in a nation-state because of the (pre-Enlightenment) belief of the day that a common religion was required for there to be a lawful, orderly cohesive society. So, the “ecclesia” was essentially everyone who lived in a particular country, and they were forced by law through government action to be members of the state church, and their children baptized into that church. Of course, such people did not try to deny that everyone in a particular country was saved, born again, in Christ, going to heaven. Instead, the “ecclesiola” within the “ecclesia”, or the “church within the church”, applied to those. The true (hidden) church within the church was supposed to accommodate fellowshipping with the unsaved because it was “for the good of the state”; for political, economic and social order and unity, and it was deemed acceptable because civil authority and order is from God and desired by God also (see Romans 13). So, the real reason why Reformed church-states opposed believers’ baptism – and persecuted and killed those who took part in it – wasn’t theological. Instead, it was political. Receiving a believer’s baptism was considered an act of treason that rendered the infant baptism – which in addition to being a religious rite was also a political act, initiating the infant as a citizen of the nation – to no effect. They considered believer’s baptism to be the equivalent of renouncing your citizenship. (And the Anabaptists made things worse on themselves by taking the odd position that since they were no longer in the state church, they should not be required to pay taxes or serve in the military.)

    So, the Beza doctrines had more to do with justifying mixing the church with the world. Because of the need to maintain a church-state where the only practical way to join is infant baptism, (as believers’ baptism of new converts is discouraged because if the people who were baptized as infants witness the believer’s baptism, they may want to make their public profession of faith and partake in the obedience to Jesus Christ and the resulting joy as well!), it isn’t hard to see how an anti-evangelism mindset can develop, and an anti-missionary mindset (where one is actually required to accommodate adults born outside the church-state) even more so.

    So I stand by my original statement. It isn’t Calvinism that hinders evangelism, it is false doctrine. In Beza’s case, it was a false doctrine that attempted to maintain and justify mingling the church and the world. So, instead of pointing the finger at a doctrine that barely exists anymore and is irrelevant to an American religious context that constitutionally mandates the separation of church and state and freedom of religion, it would be far wiser to consider the many ways that Christians are mixing the church and the world AS PART OF THEIR ATTEMPTS TO SECURE MORE FREE WILL DECISIONS FOR CHRIST. Instead of focusing on supralapsarian Calvinism that barely exists in the American religious context, we need to take a look at the far more pervasive attempts to make the gospel watered-down, seeker-sensitive, relevant, and man-pleasing in evangelical Christianity. So any talk of hindering the gospel should be less about Theodore Beza and more about Rick Warren, George Foster, Dallas Willard, people who would rather talk about political and cultural issues than Jesus Christ, and yes the “relevant hip” Calvinists like Mark “the cussing pastor” Driscoll.

    • lu ba bi says

      Job,

      I think TULIP DOES influence the Gospel message presented.

      The gospel message presented by TULIP holders is often expressed in a way which makes faith and works necessary for salvation.

      Reasons: because man is spiritually dead, and is regenerated by God apart from any response on the part of man, and because God’s purpose [ELECTION-PERSEVERANCE] cannot be thwarted (“true” faith cannot fail to issue in works), that a saved person will inevitably and absolutely “persevere” in the faith. Thus, works, as an inevitable MUST, are NECESSARY COMPONENT for salvation [you can see this VERY clearly in the sermons of Jonathan Edwards, John Piper, etc].

      I know 5 pointers disagree to this by description of the gospel message as not “faith + works = justification,” BUT “faith = justification + works.” But I submit that anyone with a basic knowledge of logic can easily demonstrate that these two end up in the same place.

      In the first equation, faith alone does not lead to justification; works must be added.

      But in the second, once again faith alone does not lead to justification; if works do not follow, then there was no faith.

      This is no more than a word game. Like pious nonsense (in terms of logic).

      It is a Calvinist adage that says: “You are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves you is never alone.” Let me rephrase it: “You are saved by faith alone (apart from works), but the faith that saves you is never alone (apart from works).” This is internally inconsistent & foolish.

      So too it is foolishness to say that salvation is by faith alone, but that faith is not true faith unless it comes with works. Let’s be honest: this is salvation by works.

      John Gerstner writes: “From the essential truth that no sinner in himself can merit salvation, the antinomian draws the erroneous conclusion that good works need not accompany faith in the saint. The question is not whether good works are necessary to salvation, but in what way they are necessary. As the inevitable outworking of saving faith, they are necessary for salvation.” Gerstner adds: “Thus, good works may be said to be a condition for obtaining salvation in that they inevitably accompany genuine faith.”

      Instead Paul affirms the contrary: “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Rom 4:4-5).

      And in Galatians 2:16, ” …knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; for by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified.”

      And again,” …not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5-6).

      Some calvinist teachers, such as John MacArthur uses back-door to faith-works salvation by creating two categories, non-meritorious works (works which inevitably result from salvation), and meritorious works (works which result in salvation). The former verify or validate one’s salvation; the latter, of course, are impossible.

      MacArthur: “Meritorious works have nothing to do with faith. But faith works have everything to do with it…faith that does not produce works is dead faith, inefficacious faith. Faith that remains idle is no better than the faith the demons display.”

      Again: “The believer himself contributes nothing meritorious to the saving process.

      Also, ” As we have seen time and time again in our study, meritorious works have no place in salvation.”

      But you can’t find this distinction in Scripture. In fact it IS NOT there. It exists in TULIP, but not in the Bible.

      Works are works; they either are or are not necessary for salvation.

      With the apostle Paul, I say they are not; we are saved “by grace…through faith…not of works” (Eph 2:8-9).

      Yes, 5 point calvinism does influence the Gospel message.

      • says

        lu ba bi,

        Ever hear the story about the accountant who woke up obsessed with the #5 one day? He ran a trial balance at noon and every number on the page was 5? He ran and grabbed a cab .. #555 .. and raced to Pimlico in time for the 5th race? Put everything he had on horse #5? And ran to the rail just in time to see #5 come in…

        … in 5th place!

        Sometimes you can use a lot of the right info and come to the wrong conclusion. Your dissertation is a stellar example.

        • lu ba bi says

          Bob Cleveland,

          Are you saying your calvinism does not matter in your gospel presentation?

          It is like saying TULIP is mere devotional nice reading, but does not influence my life and ministry. Is TULIP integral and inherent in your system of belief or just a mere side issue?

          I gave you proof after proof, quotations with references that those guys teach salvation by works and you just don’t get it.

          Let me try again to say that TULIP INFORMS AND INFLUENCES a calvinist’s Gospel presentation.

          Most forms of the gospel being preached today are what I call FAITH-PLUS gospels. Or FAITH ALONE-BUT NOT ALONE gospel.

          Faith-plus Gospel or Faith alone but not alone Gospel tenets can be seen in these forms:

          That faith in Christ for eternal life is necessary, but that it is not enough. It must be faith PLUS works. Variations of this faith-plus gospel:

          Some say that one must have faith plus works in order to obtain salvation. A person lacking sufficient good works, or guilty of major sins, will not make it to heaven, even if he believes in Christ.

          Others say that one must have faith that works. They claim that one is saved by faith in Christ plus nothing, but that true faith in Christ results in commitment, obedience, turning from sins, etc.

          Those are two ways to say the same thing: faith & works, or faith-works, or faith that works salvation message.

          Yes, TULIP determines a calvinist’s gospel presentation.

          • says

            lu,

            Yes I am saying that.

            TULIP merely “nice devotional reading”? Your words, not mine, and spoken like someone who does not understand Calvinism.

            I don’t care what “those guys” teach. I am responsible for my faith. Not for theirs.

            I say it again .. the worst thing about Calvinism: what others SAY it says. Your comments serve only to reinforce that belief.

            :)

          • cb scott says

            Brandon,

            Bob is a good grappler. I think it has to do with that Charismatic-Calvinist thing. :-)

  80. lu ba bi says

    CB Scott,

    I am just trying to get as biblical as possible in doctrines–as objective to the text as possible. It has NOTHING to do with Paige Patterson whatsoever.

    Bible reading through the lense of TULIP really robs you all of all objectivity.

    TULIP appeared since Bezae and NOT before him.

    Also many calvinists profess that TULIP does NOT affect their theology of missions and evangelism. It is naive. It is like saying: TULIP is only devotionally important for me but not affecting my Gospel preaching in terms of content.

    My take is, TULIP DEEPLY influenced the message presented. Somewhat in a dangerous way.

  81. cb scott says

    lubabi,

    In reading my comment, you will see I made two (2) distinctive observations as to the things I have read in your comments, both here and elsewhere.

    As to your comments on Calvinism, it seems to me that you do not understand what Calvinists mean by perseverance. You continuously make statements that particular Calvinists adhere to a faith + works soteriology. That is not the case in any of the examples you have thus far presented.

    My comment relating to Paige Patterson and the CR is based on what I have read here and at Debbie’s place.

    And for you to have said Paige Patterson adheres to an Arminian soteriology is ample evidence you know little of his position at all. Frankly, I am becoming more convinced that you do not know him as “personally” as you said you did over at Debbie’s place. of course, that my be due to the fact that we might define “know personally” somewhat differently. Some folks say they “know someone personally” if they have been in the same room with them at some event. That is not how I define it.

  82. Smuschany says

    lu ba bi,

    Simple question…Do you believe that a person, who made a profession of faith and was baptized is saved, if for the rest of their life after that deceleration; never tithes or gives an offering, never participates in ministries of the church, never shares the gospel with anyone, never does anything that can even remotely be considered to further the Kingdom of God. Again, is that person truly a child of God, saved by the blood of Christ Jesus, and will be received into heaven at the end of his life?

    Can you answer that?

    Chances are you will/can not because you know that if you do you will either prove your misconceptions about Calvinism wrong in saying that that person’s initial declaration of faith was not true because they showed no fruit/good works/ect that demonstrate that a person is a true believer; or show that you believe one can loose their salvation, if you say that that person did believe but now does not; or third, you would show that YOUR view is a hindrance to evangelism if you believe and teach that you can be a lazy bumb and choosing not to further God’s kingdom.

    Furthermore, I am going to make some blind assumptions. I know the following argument is stinking of fallacy but I just have to make it.

    I am going to assume that Mark Driscol’s church, Mars Hill, is larger, gives more per capita, does more evangelism per capita, ect. than your church.

    I am going to assume that Mark Dever’s church, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, is larger, gives more per capita, does more evangelism per capita, ect. than your church.

    I am going to assume that John Piper’s church, Bethlehem Baptist Church, is larger, gives more per capita, does more evangelism per capita, ect. than your church.

    I am going to assume that Tim Keller’s church, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, is larger, gives more per capita, does more evangelism per capita, ect. than your church.

    I am going to assume that R.C. Sproul’s church, St Andrews Chapel, is larger, gives more per capita, does more evangelism per capita, ect. than your church.

    I am going to assume that Alistar Begg’s church, Parkside Church, is larger, gives more per capita, does more evangelism per capita, ect. than your church.

    I could go on. I also mentioned in a previous post which you ignored, my own church. A SBC aligned church with a Calvinist pastor. Currently we are one of the only SBC churches in all of Missouri and Kansas building a new sanctuary. With 3-4 more months to go in our fiscal calender year, we currently are UNDER budget and OVER in giving. I should also note that our Building fund is separately designated from our normal tithe/offering fund, and we are on track to pay back our 15 year loan in about 5 years. Our church is a major supporter/ministry partner of a local food pantry, homeless shelter, women’s pregnancy clinic, ect. Each year for our missions trip we help run VBS for churches that either cant afford to or cant do it themselves. All of this is due directly to the Godly, biblical leadership that our CALVINIST pastor has led us with, as well as the CALVINIST laymen/women who rise up and serve our church and community.

    Your arguments are fall helpless and void in the face of solid evidence that you are wrong.

  83. lu ba bi says

    Schmuschany,

    You give an emotional argument but you have not given any scriptural one.

    Large churches having a lot of money going all over the world is a great thing, but it does NOT mount to an argument sir.

    I answer your question FROM Scripture and I deem that an accurate reading of the text itself is the defense.

    “These things I have written to you who BELIEVE in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you HAVE eternal life” (1Jn5:12-13).

    I guess you want to add works to this. I don’t. Works are NOT for salvation. Works are NOT INTEGRAL NOR INHERENT to the Gospel. Works is external and important but NOT REQUIRED FOR SALVATION.

    WHO TESTIFIED to the above certainty of HAVING SALVATION NOW? GOD HIMSELF in His word: I HAVE WRITTEN TO YOU!

    Bro. how about taking Romans 4:4-5 seriously and objectively? It is possible that you meant well but confused by your pastor? Not your fault. I understand.

    Again the text continues: “If we receive the witness of men, the WITNESS OF GOD is greater; for this is the WITNESS OF GOD which He has testified of His Son. He who BELIEVES in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And THIS IS THE TESTIMONY: that God HAS GIVEN us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:9-12). I know you want to jump to James 2 to cancel or ADD to the absolute promise of this text; but then you will affirm wrongly James and cancel 1John.

    I am sure you will NOT neutralize this famous salvation text, “MOST ASSUREDLY, I say to you, he who HEARS My word and BELIEVES in Him who sent Me HAS everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but HAS PASSED [past tense with present result] from death into life (John 5:24). The Speaker, our Lord surely was not lying here sir!

    But I can assure you of one thing, that taking TULIP above Scripture can bred doubt of one’s salvation. Since you mentioned Sproul, let me quote you Sproul’s testimony of his doubting his own salvation (because of his faith-works salvation theology):

    Dr. R.C. Sproul candidly admitted that he wasn’t sure he was saved in a TableTalk article a few years back (Nov 6, 1989, p. 20). He began:

    A while back I had one of those moments of acute self-awareness that we have from time to time, and suddenly the question hit me: “R.C., what if you are not one of the redeemed? What if your destiny is not heaven after all, but hell?” Let me tell you that I was flooded in my body with a chill that went from my head to the bottom of my spine. I was terrified.

    A few sentences later he confirmed his doubts,

    I thought, “Maybe it’s really true. Maybe I’m not saved after all.”

    His conclusion to the report of the episode reveals his understanding that assurance of salvation is something less than certainty:

    I could not be sure about my own heart and motivation. Then I remembered John 6:68. Jesus had been giving out hard teaching, and many of His former followers had left Him. When He asked Peter if he was also going to leave, Peter said, “Where else can I go? Only you have the words of eternal life.” In other words, Peter was also uncomfortable, but he realized that being uncomfortable with Jesus was better than any other option.

    The testimony of God IN the text of Scripture is surely our rock of certainty. NO works of any magnitude should not become an anchor of our certainty–false certainty, including giving 100% of tithes and offering to Annie Armstrong funds (it is noble though; but never necessary as a proof of salvation)!

  84. Smuschany says

    Again you did not answer my question…Isa man who made a profession of faith and was baptized, but lives the rest of his life with out showing one ounce of Spirit led ministry in any area of his life, have eternal life? I say again, that he was NEVER SAVED TO BEGIN WITH! Just because someone SAYS they have accepted Christ Jesus into their hearts does NOT mean they have.

    Scripture? I did give you scripture, but you choose to interpret James 2 in a way that virtually NO serious theologian has interpreted it in the history of Christianity. Why should I quote scripture after scripture to you if all you will do is say I am “interpreting it wrong”. I neither have the time nor the patience to argue with you with your bias is so clear and so repugnant. I have had the wonderful opportunity to study under some very GODLY men who with out a doubt in my mind have more theological, linguistically, and scriptural knowledge than you. And even when I have disagreed with them, in class mind you, they NEVER brushed me or my arguments off like you have. Because of them, God has enabled me to grow in understanding and knowledge as they grasiously poke holes in my arguments, logic, and theology. Many times I have changed my views because of this (note this is how I came to the Calvinist position in the first place), other times I step back, study scripture more, and go back with a new line of reasoning from scripture. And it might surprise you that these men of God ENJOY that quality of mine.

    But to humor you, here is my scriptural support.
    Colosians 1:3-14
    John 15:2-11
    Ephesians 2:10; 4:1-29 (but specifically v 12)
    Titus 2:11-14; 3:1-7 (v1)
    2nd Timothy 2:21
    Romans 7:4-6

    All these scriptures show that a “true” Christian will bear good fruit as EVIDENCE of their faith. Christians should NOT, canNOT, and will NOT be lazy bumbs doing nothing to further the kingdom. A TRUE child of God, one who TRULY has been saved, will show evidence in their lives of that salvation. If they do not, no matter what they said or claimed about “believing in Jesus” does NOT make it so. Jesus Himself told us as recorded in Matthew 7:21-23, that not everyone who claims to believe in Christ Jesus is saved.

    If you are saved you will follow God’s will and commands; if you dont follow God’s will and commands YOU ARE NOT SAVED!

  85. lu ba bi says

    Schmuschany,

    I answered by using the word of our Lord that EXCLUDES WORKS AS CONDITION OF SALVATION.

    Bro. we supposed to put our faith in what the Lord says, NOT what men say about the subject.

    Let me ask you: is work a NECESSARY CONDITION for salvation? Is work INHERENT in the Gospel? I said it is NOT.

    If so: why our Lord DID NOT mention it in Jn3:16; 5:24?

    If so: why Paul did not mention it in Acts16:31.

    Let me remind you of Jn3:18 “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

    I believe in works BUT NOT FOR SALVATION!
    I believe in tithing AFTER salvation.
    I believe in baptism AFTER salvation.
    I believe in sacrificing AFTER salvation.
    I believe in keeping the ten commandments AFTER salvation.

    But Salvation is FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE APART FROM WORKS (Rm4:4-5).

    Bro. I truly believe calvinism has misled you! It is my opinion. Don’t be offended. It is truly dangerous (TULIP).

    I challenge you to study Galatians, Romans and James AGAIN. I mean really studying them.

    IF WORKS is a REQUIREMENT and/or a CONDITION of salvation then our Lord is lying in Jn 3:16 when He said “whosoever BELIEVETH in HIM HAS eternal life.” Let Christ be true and everyone else who differ be liar who want to ADD works to what HE required. FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE!

    Paul said in Eps2:8-9, that salvation is NOT of works.

    Bro. why are you insisting that NO WORKS NO SALVATION?

    TULIP has blinded the eyes of those who use it to read Scripture.

  86. lu ba bi says

    Schmuscany,

    Re. Mt7:21-23. You use this passage as though it teaches salvation by faith & works. It is not.

    I urge you to read it on context. Don’t take texts as prooftexts.

    The passage is talking about FALSE PROPHETS AND FALSE TEACHING.

    The larger context says ” 15″Watch out for FALSE PROPHETS. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By THEIR FRUIT you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by THEIR FRUIT you will recognize them.

    Their fruit is their FALSE DOCTRINE.

    It has NOTHING to do with the doctrine of salvation.

  87. says

    I keep hoping that one of these threads will solve the Calvinism/Arminianism debate once and for all. Everytime I read them, however, I am disappointed. Not because soteriology hasn’t been figured out in full, but because of the people who think they’ve got it figured out in full.

  88. lu ba bi says

    Schmuscany,

    You said, “If you are saved you will follow God’s will and commands; if you dont follow God’s will and commands YOU ARE NOT SAVED!”

    Is this to replace the words of our Lord that says “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (Jn15:14)?

    It is for His friends–already saved friends. The context is for His disciples. And Jesus was not threatening them with hell.

    You want me to go to hell for upholding NO WORK salvation, do you?

    It is OK. I do NO work at all to get saved Nor doing any work because I am saved. I do not prove my salvation to no one. I am saved by FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE APART FROM WORK.

    I am a friend of the Lord and doing His will NOT because I am saved nor in order to get saved. I am saved by faith alone in Christ alone apart—totally apart from works, totally apart from fruits.

    Fruits & works are for friendship for fellowship with my Lord; but NOT FOR PROVING SALVATION. NONE. ZERO.

    And NO REFORMED CALVINIST CAN SAY IT AND TEACH IT.

  89. Smuschany says

    Until you answer my question that I have no posted TWICE I will have no further discussions with you. It is clear you are not willing to dialogue, and that your hatred for anything that is remotely connected to Calvinism blinds you to simple honest discussion. The fact that you are not willing to answer my simple question proves this.

    BTW, I probably know more about “TULIP” than you do, seeing as I was raised Presbyterian, later rejected Calvinism, finally during and after college, studied it extensively and returned to what I believe true biblical theology. However, unlike you, I dont/wont call full true Arminianism some type of evil, or hinderance to the gospel or some hogwash like that (though when you get into semi and full pelagianism, I have no quams on calling THAT heresy).

    I could also point out that if you agree with and adhere to the BFM2000, you are at least a 1 point calvinist. That is Perseverance of the saints. From Article V of the BFM2000 “All true believers endure to the end.” Also, Arminians and the BFM2000 agree than mankind is Totally Depraved. From Article III of the BFM2000 “Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God.” Thus, if a SBC member adheres to the BFM2000, they are at least 2 point Calvinists. The dreaded “T” and “P”. I guess “TULIP” is not so evil after all.

  90. lu ba bi says

    Schmuscany,

    Please refer me to your 2 questions please.

    Is it regarding a believer without any work at all?

    I don’t know which question.

    Since you know a lot about TULIP, let us continue on bro. Dont give up.

    As a Baptist I am not required to attend to BFM.

    I believe in some but not all of the BFM content.

    My burden is the Bible more than philosophical theology.

    Dont get mad bro. Because maybe I am a heretic and you are not.

    Thanks

  91. says

    From (318) to (342) above has been like hunting rabbits with a dog who thinks more of squirrels!!!!! He is going to and fro with his nose in the air and eyes on tree foliage rather than the ground and burrows where rabbits reside.

    No comments in me except “a squirrel chase contributes nothing to a real discussion on why Baptists are Calvinists—as if anybody really cares in the world of the general public.”

  92. lu ba bi says

    Gene,

    What is more down to earth than accurate reading of the Bible? Do you think parroting each other is faith building? It is gossiping sir. Rather than talking about people and events it is best to talk of ideas–bible exegesis NOT eisegesis–what the Bible really says and NOT what we want the Bible to say.

    I deem calvinists are parroting each other and not learning the Bible afresh. Parroting TULIP forever is a sign of soul-starving.

    • says

      lu ba bi,

      “I deem calvinists are parroting each other and not learning the Bible afresh. Parroting TULIP forever is a sign of soul-starving.”

      Wow. you said a mouthful there, but not about Calvinists or Calvinism.

      I don’t know if you’ve ever studied the Westminster Confession of Faith, but I can assure you that every point made therein (and I don’t agree with all of them, by the way) is backed up by as much or more scripture as any point made in the Baptist Faith and Message. Or anybody else’s Creed, or Confession of Faith.

      • says

        Bob—

        As usual, your down-to-earth analysis shines through!

        What is the problem with these folks realizing the BF&M is not the Bible, but a man-made statement trying to prove it is backed by the Bible.

        The same is true of the Westminster Confession / Nicean Creed / any other statement of faith. The old Baptist Hymnals used to contain a statement of Baptist Beliefs. I found it posted in bold letters across the front of a Baptist church in Magnolia, AK, where my brother got married.

        Frankly, those AK Baptists are somewhat different from those in NC / SC / GA where I have resided and been brought up Baptist. There, the Statement of Faith is almost more important than the Bible on which it is based.

        Is it possible our problem leading to 1979 and other controversies was people with large egos boiling their faith down to a man-made statement which did not agree with other previous man-made statements?????

        Maybe we just have too much man-made stuff over God-made love and forgiveness!!!!!

  93. says

    lli ba bi—

    There is nothing more important than reading the Bible!!!! It is our “measuring stick” of faith and practice. Depending on what you read and how it relates to the Gospels, determines that which is most important. When you have key Jewish materials alongside key Christian materials, you have to do some realistic reading.

    I, personally allow the 4 Gospels to be my sieve which determins what is really important… Here is an example of clear Bible reading:

    Paraphrase/Update of Matthew 23:1-36

    The Pattersonites and Presslerites control the SBC so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They make many rules and narrow theologies, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not live personal lives under them.

    They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their designer ties bright and their expensive tailored suits sharp, and they love the place of honor at all Pastor’s Conferences. They love being recognized and called “Dr.” by their subservient masses. But you are all the same as Baptists: you have one master, Jesus, and one Father who is God in heaven. Neither be called President or Vice-President, for you have one master, the Christ… But woe to you, dictators to Baptists, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who follow you to go in.

    You go on glorious and expensive overseas mission trips to make a single proselyte and then corrupt him. You make all kinds of Resolutions and use Robert’s Rules of Order in any way to get your way. You don’t care what promises you make or public statements as long as you sound politically correct. Your sermons are slick and designed to please men. You neglect the Gospels and the ideas of God’s love and forgiveness, replacing them with legalisms and judgmentalism to make sinful men feel worse.

    You blind guides, straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel! Woe to you dictator pastors! You are like dishes and cups cleaned only on the outside while the inside is full of rotting food and disease. First cleanse the inside and the outside will clean itself. You take statements out of context from Baptist forefathers and act as if they applaud your mindless theology. You say you would love what the forefathers died for, but you take away the freedoms for which they would give their life. They went to jail and endured punishment so we could live in a land of freedom of religion and conscience. You would have been in the mobs which booed them and threw them in prison. You would have shot them rather than listen to their cries for freedom of individual churches and believers.

    Many Baptists are saying we have deserted our heritage of freedom in recent years, but you call them “skunks” and “liberals” to anyone who doesn’t know what being free and Baptist means. The hottest fires of Hell wait for those who do not live in love and allow their brothers in the faith to be free. Anyone who claims to serve a God of love, but cannot love his brother who is different or uses different words, is a liar and a hypocrite destined for God’s harshest judgment.

    • volfan007 says

      Gene,

      You dont even believe that the Bible is inerrant and true. Yet, you claim to be the one, who follows it?

      Dude, you cant treat the Bible like a buffet..picking and choosing what you want and dont want. You either take it all, or you take none of it. The hottest fires of Hell wait on those people, who deny the faith and throw doubt on God’s Word….leading others astray. Besides, do you even believe in Hell?

      David

  94. says

    Gene,

    I am a Calvinist, among other reasons, because it seems to acknowledge the greatest sovereignty on the part of God, of all the systems of faith with which I am familiar.

  95. says

    I want to accentuate, emphasize two of Gene’s points.

    One) One of Judge Pressler’s Hills on Which to Die in 02 was the candidacy of Judge Roy Moore in Alabama, the Ten Commandments Judge. When Pressler visitted the State he straight away took Joe Godfrey, later an SBC State President of Bama, to private lunch with Judge Moore.

    Two) Jesse Helms while politically carousing with folks in El Salvador who assassinated SAint Oscar Romero there; in the US Senate was known to use his mastery of Roberts Rules of Orders to tie down things like Birthday celebration of MLKing; and a plethora of Helms operatives were used against the BJC including Sam Currin; and it was Helms 86 choice to head the NC GOP, Barry McCarty, who is SBC Parliamentarian to this day; and enthusiastically joined in Pressler’s brawling celebration in New Orleans in 1990.

    • says

      Steve—

      The more you pull strings together from various states and eras, the more I see a pattern:

      CONTROL — CONTROL — CONTROL

      Baptists used to shout “FREEDOM” loud and clear!
      MISSIONS AND GOSPEL SHARING / AUTONOMY / SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE / ANYTHING RELATING TO THE RIGHT OF INDIVIDUALS AND CHURCHES TO MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS TO COOPERATE — NEVER TO BE COERCED INTO ANYTHING!!!!!

      It all bespeaks an attempt to eliminate fear of the modern age by hunkering behind wagons put into a circle to prevent the Indians from killing the invaders of their territory. The White Man thought he had an innate right from God to possess all the good land full of crops / timber / valuable minerals.

      As we look at this sad chapter in “being American,” is our land being used in a model of soil conservation? Are we getting away from fossil fuels because they pollute and are running out??? Does any wealthy American worry that their Corporation consumes more money than many 3rd World Countries where people are starving and full of common disease????

    • volfan007 says

      Fox,

      So Judge Pressler took Joe Godfrey and Judge Moore to lunch. Big deal. lol. So what? I wish I could’ve gone with them.

      Jesse Helms caroused with people in El Salvador, who assasinated Romero. I’ve been with people, who drink moonshine. I dont make it. I dont drink it. I dont condone the making of it, nor the drinking of it. And, you’re mad because Helms insisted on going by Roberts Rules of Order? lol.

      Man, you seriously need to rethink what bothers you. Go outside today. Take a nap. Breathe deeply. And, tell yourself…”there’s more to life than being mad at the CR. There’s more to life than being mad at the CR.”

      David

      • volfan007 says

        Gene,

        Control….yeesssssssssssssssssssssssss….and WE have CONTROL over the SBC!!! Bwu ha ha ha ha ha ha! We have it, Gene. All of us conservatives have control of the SBC. We wanted it, and we asked God to give it to us. He did. And, we did what we felt that God wanted us to do. Get rid of the liberals. Hallelujah!

        So, yes, we wanted control of the SBC. We did want it. So that we could turn it back to the Bible. Thank God.

        David

        • says

          David—

          Congratulations on your OWNERSHIP!!!
          Congratulations that you have plateued in giving and missions!
          Congratulation that contention still ruled in the EC President selection process!!
          Congratulation on the 15-year silence on what really was discussed leading up to the GCTF report!!!!

          Have you ever noticed how remote you have become from the real needs of people suffering in this economy and seeking spiritual solutions as well as financial ones????

          I talk to them every day about how God is here to help and ways I have discovered to survive.

          They are listening to me—Sorry about your failure of you connection to real issues of society today!!!!

      • says

        Volfan: I want you to be proud of the Award Pressler and the Bircher Albert Lee Smith gave Jesse Helms in 89 and was the subject of some SBC platform Intrigue in New Orleans in 90:
        Read the whole thing now cause you don’t want to be just another ignorant fundy on the windshield of Life now do you?
        Title speaks for itself.
        Be Proud of your Conservative Resurgence in all its manifestations. Jesus Christ must surely be Proud of you and Jesse Helms:

        http://motherjones.com/politics/1995/05/what-you-need-know-about-jesse-helms

          • volfan007 says

            We have CONTROL!!! Yesssssssssss. Yes. Yes. Yes. And, we will do what we want to do. Bwu ha ha ha ha! We will have lunch with Judges and Congressmen, in order to gain more control. Bwu ha ha ha ha ha And, we will secretly meet with 4 Star Generals, and with Mayors of Talladega and Savannah, so that we might gain even more control. Control. Control. Coooontrrrrollllllll…..yes.

            Bwu ha ha ha ha ha ha

            David

    • says

      I’d like to emphasize two of Gene’s points…

      1) Mormons are real Christians and can get to heaven based on their Mormon faith.

      2) Muslims are able to get to heaven based on their faith in Islam.

      In contrast, the Bible says that faith in Christ and repentance from sin is the only way a person can go to heaven. Anyone else (Mormon, Muslim, agnostic….) will burn in hell forever.

      Therefore, since Gene proclaims a different gospel than what scripture proclaims (a) he is not a Christian and (b) I am happy beyond words that the Bold Mission Thrust was dropped because the gospel Gene’s side wanted to preach was obviously not the gospel of Christ.

      • says

        Joe “blow”—

        Now tell me something else I haven’t heard 1,000 time before as you stand menacingly behind it with our balsa wood caveman’s club!!!!!

        I see nothing more than a hard-hearted / hard-headed / person filled with venom for anyone not agreeing with him to the fullest degree or submission!!!!

        I have to leave soon for tree work. Why don’t you get a real job that consumes you hate??????

        • says

          Actually, Gene, if you don’t agree with me 100% that Christ is the only way of salvation I don’t have venom for you. I feel sorry for you.

  96. lu ba bi says

    Gene,

    Your new version of Matthew 23:1-36 sounds interesting and made to voice your dislike of PP & Co. But it does not amount to a faithful reading of the text. I like how you put your thoughts together.

    Though I don’t like PPs politics I think his literal reading of the Bible is superior to most in this blog.

    You all dislike his person and hate his politics, but let us say it is differing in application, not principles.

    You sound like those in the book of Judges–wanting freedom without fences and boundaries.

    I submit that you should meet PP and talk to him personally. How about that as a beginning?

    • says

      lu ba bi—

      (1) I HAVE met Patterson personally. I have corresponded with him. I have visited his office and taken pictures to prove it. I was by SEBTS numbers of times when he was its President. It is only a 45-minute drive from Rocky Mount. He listens to nothing, but his own version of “being Baptist.”

      (2) I HAVE NOT made any new stuff up to bring Matthew 23 into the present age. It doesn’t take much to see the Pharisee in current SBC stuff: more interest in living royal than sending missionaries who make average incomes / wanting to keep people under a thumb of fear / needing to control Jesus and get rid of him / happy to put on a big show with the biggest building in Jerusalem with fancy PA-video screens of the day-smoke and mirrors to raise the hair of those who visit-trumpets blaring-etc.

  97. lu ba bi says

    Gene,

    I agree mostly with pt2: most missionaries are not the best prepared men for the fields. Most sent were and are ill-prepared; some because unable to get posts at home. I’ve met many personally who are doing next to nothing in the field. Actually, a couple left last month to go for 3 year ministry overseas without much preparation at all.

    I disagree with most of your pt1: it depends on your definition of love. PP loves people by practicing truth. In this I think he is consistent. Such is his position on women not teaching men. To love others best is by means of keeping God’s commandments. Gene, you meant he listens to all but only agrees if it is in the Bible?

  98. says

    lu ba bi—

    I have no measure of current SBC mission appointees. In my full-time active days, I met more who were proficient than those who should not have been there. The FMB (now IMB) was arranged into a very stratified order where older missionaries ruled their mission territory and could tell those with less tenure exactly what to do with organizational backing. It made for some frustration in new missionaries with new ideas.

    The IMB has/had a rather intense training as opposed to some other sending organizations: you must be seminary educated / have language training / participate in orientation at home and on the actual mission field.

    Have these rules and procedures changed since I actually participated by being a HMB (now NAMB) appointed Chaplain to the Wake County Juvenile Court as well as a part of Partnership Evangelism in its first mission to England years ago–around 1984?

    Another adventure with the HMB involved going to the “Southern-Tier Association” going from Binghamton, NY, along the border line of NY and PENN. There I found plenty of protestant churches doing a good job of ministry. Our biggest mission church was really a haven for Southerners working for IBM headquarters in Binghamton. They had just decided to relocate headquarters to Texas and it had killed the great building plans of the Lincoln Ave. Baptist Church.

    Outside of that church, many of our home missionaries there had little skills and, additionally, we were socially categorized alongside the JW’s and Mormons as some kind of cult and “wierd small religious group.”

    Paragraph 2: NO!!!! Patterson reads the Bible to support his arrogant pontifications which put him and his buddies in control. It is not a total reading and appreciation of the wider views of the Bible—only those supporting a narrow / conservative / repressive approach to worshiping God!

    I hope this clarifies my position and observations relative to missions and Patterson. Feel free to ask more. I will do my best to give honest answers.

    • SSBN says

      Just a note along those lines: TULIP is only one expression of Calvinism. It is the most popular, but it is not a comprehensive expression of all that Calvinism addresses.

      One of the problems with understanding theology from Calvinistic perspective is to draw the lines too tight. TULIP, in my humble opinion, may be a good place to start, but it should not be considered the full expression of what a Calvinistic theology may entail.

      Again, this is my opinion. I’m no expert — in fact, I’m no “pert” at all.

  99. SSBN says

    QUOTE He listens to nothing, but his own version of “being Baptist.”
    END QUOTE

    This simply is not true. I know that Dr. Patterson is very willing to listen and very willing to give assistance, even when he does not personally agree with every point of a person’s theology.

    To paint him as rigid and ungracious is simply not who he is. I know this through personal experience.

    So, the above statement is an out and out lie.

  100. SSBN says

    QUOTE Most sent were and are ill-prepared END QUOTE

    The word “most” seems to be a pretty broad brush that is not substantiated by the facts and statistics. Most of our missionaries have (and have had) long, effective careers. Though, I will grant that this is not ALWAYS the case. Some have come home without much effectiveness for a number of different reasons but they are not the rule, but the exception.

  101. lu ba bi says

    SSBN,

    You are right that TULIP is not the whole thing. It is foundational in terms of salvation (soteriology).

    But other areas don’t differ much amongst evangelicals of all stripes. Basically all agree on the doctrine of the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, Satan and demons, the sacraments and the Second Coming of Christ, etc.

    The sharp difference is on the doctrine of salvation. In this respect TULIP is absolute and central for calvinism.

    As non calvinists we take issue with the calvinist’s view of human depravity that led to the so called irresistible grace, etc.

    If we can shoot down one then the whole system of TULIP will surely crumbled.

    This is to provoke Schmuscany to get back to the TULIP field of discussion. He got mad at me and disappear.

  102. lu ba bi says

    Joe,

    When you drink coffee every single time please remember: ultimately your drinking it is not by you or to you because you willed it, but it was predestined whether you wanted to or not.

  103. BenJamin says

    So, I have a question for you guys. I am going to state my convictions and how I feel on this subject. I would like to here where you believe I belong. So your opinions are very important.

    To begin I believe that God is sovereign and all knowing. Thus, he knows who will accept Him and who will reject him. I believe God chose to make man responsible for His own actions displaying true sovereignty, thus judgment day. If he chose who went to heaven and hell from day one there should be no need for a judgment day because He judged from the beginning of time. Also, how can God call Himself just if He doesn’t offer an equal opportunity for people to come to Him? I know some are going to say He will judge our works on earth, well here is an issue with that some won’t even have the opportunity to have works because God preordained it to be that way. Now wouldn’t that be an unjust judge? Now remember we are finite beings trying to understand a infinite God just a reminder, I need it often times when I start thinking about this stuff. Now back on subject. We all are deserving of hell do to our sin nature. Thus, we have to have the blood of Jesus and His grace to save us from our sin. We can’t do anything to earn our salvation. However, we do have to respond to the call, “come as you are” that doesn’t mean we are responsible for gaining salvation because that is only by the blood of Jesus but it does mean we have a part in it. Man is totally sinful in nature. It is only by Jesus’ blood and grace we are saved but we cannot ever receive a gift unless we actually take it. Here is an illustration, on your birthday someone gives you a new car and says, “take it, it is yours” and you simply say nothing. You don’t reach out to have the keys handed to you. You don’t even look up. Do you think you can drive the car? No, why? Because you have to accept it. Like wise with salvation you cannot just have salvation without taking that step when being called. So this brings me to an issue in scripture Jesus loved the young rich ruler but the young rich ruler rejected the truth. Also, Pharaoh hardened his own heart before God hardened it. Thus, I see a God who reached out and the young ruler denied it and a God who hardened a heart after Pharaoh hardened his own heart so it just doesn’t make sense to me to say that grace is irresistible because it doesn’t look to be the case in scripture. Judas was right there with Jesus and he betrayed him. Also, did God desire for Peter to deny Him three times? I don’t think so. It was his sin nature that took over. Now here is something that I think we all can agree on is that once you lay your life down for Christ and place him as ruler of your life you will never be taken away from Him. But, it is like James said “faith without works is dead.” Thus if you have no desire to study God’s word to grow in His teachings and to disciple others then you might want to check and see if you have a genuine relationship with Him. So now to believe that Jesus only died for the elect is limiting. Don’t you think it is a contradiction to God’s sovereignty? I do if God desired to show off His true power He would send his son to die for the world. Wait that is what scripture says doesn’t it? For God so love the world? But I do see that the Bible refers to the disciples of Christ as the elect. How ever the gospels support that everyone has an opportunity but only a few will accept. So could the term elect merely mean the ones that are disciples of Christ? Like we reference ourselves as Christians today? I myself find it hard to claim to be a Christian when so many in the world claim to belong to the body but make a joke out of it and don’t ever change their lifestyles. I feel that we have to go and preach the gospel and share the good news and leave the salvation stuff to God. I am just a man trying to further God’s kingdom so this is what with everything said brings me to does supporting Calvinism or Arminianism further the kingdom? My vote is no it doesn’t neither one has anything to do with the gospel neither one has anything to do with discipleship and neither one has been beneficial to the body of Christ it has caused fights amongst brothers has it not?
    Here is a simplistic version of my beliefs…
    God is Sovereign
    Man cannot earn salvation but has to accept when the Father draws him to Himself
    Jesus’ grace and cleansing blood is the only way to have salvation and is enough for all mankind
    Man can reject the call
    God knowing all knows who will and will not accept the call
    When one accepts the call he will never be released by God
    Their faith will be proven by works but they are not saved by them because it is only through Jesus salvation is possible
    He is perfect thus cannot create or will someone to sin because He cannot deny Himself
    His desire is for none to perish but some will
    We are to make disciples not necessarily “evangelism” but more of a witnessing and when the God draws them and they accept you begin to cultivate that and teach them in the truth of God’s Word so they can do the same, thus, the Great Commission.

    Now remember I am still searching and learning myself and asking God to reveal His truth and this is what I have had Him reveal to me at this point. I am simply a humble servant seeking the Lord.
    BenJamin

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