Calvinism: The New Racism in the SBC?

Coming out of last week’s meeting in Louisville I feel more optimistic about the future of our convention than I did this time last year.  I have a new found respect for Johnny Hunt, a deeper understanding of the decision making process, and reasons to look forward to next years get-together in sunny Orlando.

However, as I remarked in my last post, there are still two things that I am thinking about.  I will leave the SBC/Acts 29 cooperation aside until a later date, and instead focus on what I find to be is the most perplexing question in Southern Baptist life today: why are there still seeds of animosity towards Calvinism in many corners of the SBC?

This to me is an even more pertinent question since much of the animosity seems motivated by misunderstandings of Calvinism and caricatures of bastardized forms of Calvinism which are nearly if not totally non-existent in today’s church.  And don’t just take my word for it.  If you were at the convention then you no doubt witnessed Morris Chapman’s “report” in which he lauded the sovereignty of God and yet chimed that man must still share the gospel for men to be saved– a point directed against Calvinism and yet to which no Calvinist would disagree.  Or what about the dear messenger from Florida who asserted that the gospel for Calvinists is different than the gospel for non-Calvinists and that Calvinism tears apart churches, associations, and families (!) ?

Let me be clear, I do not believe that non-Calvinists in the SBC are ignorant.  I do however wonder why they seem so misinformed about Calvinism?  My wife and I were discussing it and we drew a parallel between this and the attitude that many take towards racism.  We know the stereotypes are false, we know Calvinists that are soul-winners and solid theologians, and yet we pretend like they are the exception to the rule and carry on with our fear and prejudice.  Why?

Please discuss this.  I know there are plenty non-Calvinists on this message board.  I honestly want to know. Why are so many people in the SBC afraid of Calvinism?


  1. says

    “Let me be clear, I do not believe that non-Calvinists in the SBC are ignorant. I do however wonder why they seem so misinformed about Calvinism?”

    Isn’t this the definition of ignorance?

    I would rather people be ignorant, since they can be instructed, rather than have them be malicious. Some of the vehement anti-calvinists are, unfortunately, in the latter camp.
    .-= Jerry´s last blog ..Latayne Scott Blog Tour – Mormon Mirage =-.

  2. says

    I’m out and proud. No, not that way!! I’ve got 5 points and I’m not afraid to use ’em.

    I’m not sure why non-Calvinist’s are afraid of Calvinism. I’m not sure some of them are afraid. I suspect the majority of them are simply following their conscience, to which I say “Get ‘r done”. Good, godly men and women have and will debate this and should be able to agree to disagree without name calling or making disparaging remarks like “I’m a Calvinist because it’s nice not to have to make excuses for what the Bible says”. There are some issues that are with the fight and should be fought (e-gal theology vs complimentarianism) but the fight over Calvinism isn’t one of them.

    Here’s the question I would have–why would/do Calvinists care what non-Calvinists think of them? Is this an issue because some DOM’s try to blackball Calvinists to keep them from getting church gigs?
    .-= Joe Blackmon´s last blog ..Matthew 6:19-21 Sound Investing Advice =-.

  3. says

    Let me weigh in on this, even at the risk of perhaps stirring up a hornet’s nest. I am a Calvinist, but I can see why some are upset about it.

    in my state, there have been some wonderful Calvinist pastors come in a do a good job. But there have been several who have come in with an agenda. They seemed more concerned with advocating the doctrines of grace than of grace itself. They have sometimes displayed an arrogant attitude – dismissing all ministry that is not rooted in the reformed system.

    So, if Calvinists want to be better accepted, there are some things we can do to aid that process.
    .-= Dave Miller´s last blog ..The Best Preaching Ever? =-.

  4. Bill says

    Todd: Great questions. Calvinism continues to be the popular SBC bogeyman. Here’s my take on the dislike of Calvinism in the SBC.

    1. The best and most generous reason may be that they simply believe it to be false and wish to stop what they consider to be false teaching. I suspect most anti-Calvinists would place themselves in this category.

    But there are other reasons. Please realize these are my opinion and so are worth what opinions are worth.

    2. The stereotypical public invitation has taken on almost sacramental status in the SBC, and Calvinists are not big fans of the invitation. The same can be said of revivals.

    3. Calvinists evangelize, but tend not to be high pressure evangelists, as if every soul who is lost is somehow their fault.

    4. The subject of alcohol throws many in the SBC into near apoplexy, and there is a bizarre fear that Calvinism is the gateway drug for introducing moderationism into the SBC.

    5. Although there are some Calvinistic mega-churches, the nature of Calvinistic theology tends away from what it takes to grow mega-churches. Mega-churches and their associated personalities wield nearly all the power in the SBC denominational structure and the rise of Calvinism seems to threaten that.

    6. New Calvinists can be so over the top zealous that they make themselves a perfect nuisance to everyone around them. I’ve head it called the “cage phase.” I went through it to some extent. Loose too many cage phasers into a local church, and they could certainly do damage and I’m sure it has been done. It’s not the theology that splits churches, it’s the zealots.

    That’s my take. Let the fur fly!

  5. says

    Volfan – I assume you meant to say, “Dave Miller speaks well EVERY morning.” Right?

    Bill, your comment #5 about mega churches was very interesting and insightful. Since the SBC has, by and large, become a megachurch controlled institution (look at the make-up of the GCR) your concept is something to consider.
    .-= Dave Miller´s last blog ..The Best Preaching Ever? =-.

  6. says

    I, as a pastor of an SBC church, have had to put out a couple of small fires that started because of my understanding of election and predestination (which seem be the only petals of the TULIP to define “Calvinist” to most non-“Calvinists”). It was said to be “elitist”! A good friend of mine always responds to complaints of him being a Calvinist by saying “I’m not a Calvinist–I don’t believe in paedo-baptism!”
    .-= Jason´s last blog ..Book Review: The Mormon Mirage =-.

  7. says

    as i’ve commented on this multiple times, i’m a non-calvinist who thinks there’s plenty of room in the SBC for both sides. i even think our seminaries should show some intentionality in selecting both calvinist & non- (or “soft-“) calvinist professors administrators.

    that said, i really don’t think “racism” is the right comparison here. i realize calvinists might indeed be snubbed in certain situations, but that’s a lot different than the plights & struggles minorities have faced in this country. let go a bit further and just be honest – a racism comparison is just flatout insane. i see where you’re coming from, but no, don’t go there.

    .-= mike´s last blog ..Cardinals trade for Mark DeRosa =-.

    • says

      The comparison with racism comes up not because of the history of the issue but because of the mindset. We can’t simply discount this comparison because Calvinists haven’t been segregated to different lunch tables and restrooms (though my local association did fire one from a missions position rather questionably) or murdered because of their differences. The question is, Is the same attitude of fear and unwillingness to coexist dominating the misrepresentation of Calvinism in the SBC as it did/does with the issue of race? If so then that is just as significant of a human intellectual/social problem as racism even if the way it plays out is not as severe.
      .-= Todd Burus´s last blog ..A Different Kind of Rock Star- Mike Huckabee and SBC Hypocrisy =-.

  8. Jack says

    So many good insights. I’m not sure I have much to say, but being a Baptist, I’m going to say it anyway :) The problem with the Calvinism debate is that I’m not sure there is any standard definition for the words used in the debate. I’ve read where a Calvinist defends his position and by the time he’s done he has dismantled any historical view of Calvinism. We humans love labels, especially in politics and religion (1Cor 3 for latter). However, those labels after sufficient debate nearly always lose any clarity, and therefore usefulness. Even if I were a Calvinist, Calvin is a poor role model for what a Christian should be, in my humble (historical) position. I’m not comfortable being a 5-point, 3-point, or 2-point Calvinist. So, I’ll remain pointless.

  9. says

    My own personal experience with those who profess to be calvinists very early on was not a good experience. It has only been since I started reading and writing for SBCVoices that I met “nicer” calvinists. In the past, there was a HUGE amount of arrogance portrayed that they were both better than me and smarter than me… that I needed time to catch up to their “caliber” of biblical insight.

    Also, when I tried to talk to calvinists in my own church, because I DID want to learn more, I was greeted with answers to my questions that led in circles and caused them to contradict themselves and their beliefs within moments of beginning to speak. Sometimes the only answer I would be given was “well, I don’t know why” or “because the Bible says so” with no reference point to look at. MANY calvinists say they are calvinists but can not explain why they are calvinists without getting help from other calvinists (via message boards, emails, blog buddies, etc.). I’m sure that happens with strict armenians, too, and I would have the same dis-trust for them if they met my questions in that fashion.

    My point I guess is if I ask a question from someone who says “this is the only way” then I expect THEM to be able to give biblical reasons for having that belief, even if it means studying and finding out for themselves. If they can’t explain why they believe something, then to me they are just following the crowd and hoping for the best.

    Another thing from personal experience is that the calvinists I’ve met consider themselves (and themselves alone) part of the reformed movement. But, again, I’ve heard many explanations of what it means to be reformed, too, and so confusion abounds.

    Obviously, I’m not a 5 point calvinist. I’m glad to say, though, I finally have friends who are and am equally glad that they have shown me love when I most needed it and don’t hold it against me even when I’m not in total agreeance with them.

    In Christ,
    .-= Sallie´s last blog ..For The Birds… =-.

  10. says

    I think comments make it clear that the idea that the Calvinist/Non-Calvinist debate in the SBC is not accurately presented by those Calvinists who insinuate that they are constantly the victims of this “new racism.”

    Calvinists have offended people with our arrogance and rigidity, with our almost messianic complex.

    I have known many Calvinists (some bloggers) who essentially have stated that those who are not Calvinists hold to a false gospel. We cannot ask the SBC’s non-Calvinists to accept us as part of the convention if we do not accept them as part of the kingdom.

    Basically, Todd, I think we Calvinists need to be less concerned about how we are perceived and be more concerned with what we might have done to create these perceptions.
    .-= Dave Miller´s last blog ..The Best Preaching Ever? =-.

    • says

      In a sense I am concerned about “what we might have done to create these perceptions.” I do not believe that people are just making things up, but I am concerned with the overwhelming (or at least vocal) number of people who are dead set that Calvinism “splits families” as was expressed in Louisville.

      If there is something that I as a Calvinist can do to help then great. I am all for having an open discussion where non-Calvinists can ask questions about the things I believe that they don’t understand, a la what Sallie mentioned above. I have been engaged in such a dialogue for a year and a half with a guy in my church and I think it has been beneficial for us both.

      What concerns me is that many of us (on both sides) can’t come to the table and have this discussion civilly. I am trying to understand why that is so from the non-Calvinist side of things since they tend to be the greater number within the SBC.
      .-= Todd Burus´s last blog ..A Different Kind of Rock Star- Mike Huckabee and SBC Hypocrisy =-.

  11. says


    “i realize calvinists might indeed be snubbed”

    Mike the persecution of Calvinist in the SBC rises just a little above what I would call being snubbed. Many godly men have been unjustifiably driven from their pulpits and positions in the SBC, had their reputations, and carriers forever damaged, all for daring to teach the whole council of God’s Word.

    That my friend is the ugly truth of what many Calvinist in the SBC have suffered over the last 20 years… and yes the word “Racism” is good metaphor for how many of the Anti-Calvinist feel toward their Calvinist brothers in the SBC. If someone took the time to write a book containing their stories, sadly it would be quite thick and very sad read.

    Grace Always,
    .-= Greg Alford´s last blog ..Hunt names 18-member GCR Task Force =-.

    • volfan007 says

      Sadly, in Greg’s comments above #19, we see why so many have a bad attitude about Dortian Cavlinists, or strict 5 pointers. Greg, I’m not a five point Calvinist, but I do preach the whole council of God. In fact, I am a verse by verse thru books type of preacher.

      And, Greg, the book would also be thick about how aggressive, Dortian Calvinists have gone into Churches that were not five point Churches, and they have caused division, Church splits, confusion, etc. I personally could name off 9 to 10 Churches around my neck of the woods where this happened. And, the people who were left standing after the five point onslaught were not too happy with five point Calvinism. So, it cuts both ways.


      • says


        I agree that the type of situations that you mentioned do happen often.

        I also know of a situation where a pastor was a Calvinist there was a church split, but he was certianly not the reason though Calvinism was the reason. He did not preach TULIP, he preached through verse-by-verse. He never even came out and said I AM A CALVINIST from the pulpit. A church member asked him about calvinism and he told that one person he was Reformed. Next thing you know, because 90% of the church WAS ignorant about calvinism, the church split 3 ways!!!

        I know this from a guy who was the associate pastor of the church, a non-calvinist, but thought the pastor was extraordinarily gifted and humble. In this case, it was not the calvinists pastors fault, but rather the confused. I cant say they were arminians because according to the associate pastor they were pretty ignorant of both sides!!! They didnt even know the debate and yet they caused the church to split because of their ignorance.

        My point: lets not go pointing fingering at who splits churches, etc. Calvinists and Arminians are equally bad at misrepresenting one another and splitting churches due to the other party.

      • says

        Sadly, in David’s comment above we see why so many Calvinist have a bad attitude toward “Dishonest Neo-Arminians” in the SBC. As a 5-Point Southern Baptist Calvinist I can’t even make the comment that a fellow Southern Baptist Calvinist was attacked for preaching the whole council of God without being attacked by some rouge Anti-Calvinist like David for saying that I said Non-Calvinist did not preach the whole council of God.

        David if I need your help in saying something… I’ll let you know. I personally am offended by the dishonest way you are attempted to twist my comment around and put words in my mouth that I did not actually say..

        Sadly, David has the reputation of trying to make it appear that someone (usually a Calvinist) said something they did not actually say… and that my friend is one of the major contributing factors to this ongoing war on Calvinism in the SBC.
        .-= Greg Alford´s last blog ..The Rise of Passionate Missionary Calvinism in the SBC =-.

        • volfan007 says


          You said it…dont deny it.

          Also, I’m not an anti-Calvinist. lol. If you only knew how close I was to reformed theology…. but alas, I do not hold to the five points. I’m not a Dortian Calvinist. But, anti-Calvinist???? I’m afraid only an aggressive, obsessed, Dortian Calvinist would think that I am anti-Calvinist.

          BTW, I love John McArthur. I love Spurgeon. Anti-Calvinist??? Naaaa.

          BTW, Greg, so, when you said that “all for daring to teach the whole council of God’s Word. ” Exactly what do you consider the “whole council of God’s Word” that caused them to get their reputations damaged and were forced from their pulpits?


          • says


            Good grief David, I never denied I said anything… everything I have said is still posted on this blog for all to read. What I denied is that I said anything that any minister of God’s word should be “castigated” for saying. What I mean by “the whole council of God’s Word” is Expository preaching of entire books (verse by verse). This, as opposed to the topical (three points and a poem) fluff that many in the SBC have grown accustom to over the last 50 to 100 years.

            Regardless of your claim David, your finding fault in my saying that the Calvinist brother was attacked for preaching the whole council of God’s Word, and by your instance upon using a term (Dortian Calvinist) that I find offensive when I ask you not to do so, just proves that you are indeed an angry Anti-Calvinist.

            I shall be happy to stop addressing you as an angry Anti-Calvinist when you agree to stop addressing Southern Baptist Calvinist as “Dortian”. This label began being thrown around the blogs after the infamous John 3:16 conference and I for one do not appreciate it at all.

            Grace Always,

  12. Dan says

    I am either a 4-pointer or a 5-pointer, depending on who you ask. I serve on an SBC church staff where none of my fellow pastors could be considered reformed, and the lead pastor is vigorously opposed to Calvinism. However, we agree on almost everything. In fact, before I interviewed here I listened to a sermon that the pastor preached on Romans 9 and became convinced that the man was a 5-point Calvinist. (He is not.)

    What I’ve learned here is that the greatest objections to Calvinism are based on straw men. When I met with the pastor and staff of my church during the interview process, they were all surprised to learn that I would call myself a Calvinist and at the same time believe that salvation comes only through faith, and that evangelism is necessary. Their understanding was very similar to what Morris Chapman said in his report, which is that Calvinists think God’s sovereignty does away with man’s responsibility. My pastor has even decided from his reading of Spurgeon that Spurgeon was not a Calvinist since he does not fit the straw man stereotype.

    I’ve also learned that there is nothing that prevents Calvinists and non-Calvinists from working together in the mission of the Gospel within the same church. We all believe that God is sovereign, that man is responsible, that the message of the gospel must be preached, and that it must be received with faith. The only time Calvinism is ever an issue is when we bring it up in private conversations around the church office.

    I once heard John Piper say that there are some people whose “hearts are better than their theology”, and thus live out the Christian life differently than how they teach it. I would say that’s what’s happening with my fellow staff members when they pray for someone to be saved, but they would probably say that’s what’s happening with me when I do evangelistic visitations.

  13. says

    @todd b and greg a,

    i totally see where you guys are coming from, but i still believe comparing this issue to racism is insane. i’m a little surprised you two typed such lengthy defenses of the comparison. still, you didn’t convince me that it’s the right comparison. you should drop it and just call it what it is – christians who fight over different theological persuasions.

    am i the only one who has seen calvinists and non-calvinists coexist peacefully in sbc life? i was blessed to pastor a church in missouri where several lay leaders, Godly men, were reformed in their doctrine but it was never a fighting issue, especially since we all wanted to reach the lost around our church. we were united in a partnership for the gospel (see philippians), and although things were never perfect, no one yelled “racist” over theological differences!
    .-= mike´s last blog ..Cardinals trade for Mark DeRosa =-.

    • says

      am i the only one who has seen calvinists and non-calvinists coexist peacefully in sbc life?

      No, in both the church I now pastor and the church I last attended Calvinists and non-Calvinists peacefully co-exist without issue.

  14. says

    Calvinism is feared by some due to bad experiences with some of its representatives. I had a lady that attended my church many yrs. ago. Her parents were Primitive Baptist, and she wound up joining the Southern or Missionary Baptists due to the fact that her own parents would not teach her about the Lord or show any concern about her salvation. She said in my preaching that I sounded like some of the primitive Baptist elders she had heard, and yet I preached differently than they did. Dr. Akin in his interview with Trevinwax (?) spoke of three candidates for churches who were turned down, because they had no program of evangelism to teach the young people of the churches that were looking at them. My brother-in-law, a DOM in another state, said he had some Calvinists who would not evangelize, etc. The problem is that Sovereign Grace went into a decline for about 70 years, say from 1920 until 1990. There were efforts made to silence those who preached such views. At least two of my friends were literally driven out of the convention by people who hated the truth so much they wuld do anything to stop it. After all, it was not the truth to them. What was forgotten was that there is a Sovereign Grace Evangelism with tracts, books, methods, and etc. which respected the truths of Grace and the sinners’ individual situations. For example, I had in my possession for years, a tract, The Dairyman’s Daughter, which was used as a means of getting the Gosel across to people, even children. The tract I had had been the possession of a child in the early 1800s (1820?), and it had his name written in it, Master Zebulon Latimer. More could be said, but the point I am making is that we need to recapture the methods, spirit, etc., of how they went about evangelism , when Sovereign Grace was the hottest thing going. My ordaining pastor, Dr. Ernest R. Campbell (see his autobiog. listed on the internet & Who’s Who in Religion, 2nd edn. Chicago: Marquis, 1977) could preach the most evangelistic sermons I ever heard. He preached one revival in a Georgia Baptist Church in the country in which there were 100 conversions. What we need is for Sovereign Grace Evangelism to be taught in the seminaries so such silliness as Calvinists not knowing how to evangelize or how to train young people to evangelize such as Dr. Akin mentioned would not be repeated. There is more than enough material available in the past 500 years (since the Reformation) to be able to train people in such evangelism even to the point of offering Ph.Ds in the field. AND I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT EVANGELISM TO MAKE SINNERS INTO CALVINISTS. I AM TALKING ABOUT WINNING THEM TO CHRIST. Anyone you can make into a Calvinist can be unmade, and such a person can be cold, dead, hard, utterly indifferent to lost souls and the glory of Christ in saving such. Dr. John Thomas the first Baptist missionary to India (he preceded Carey by 7 yrs) and who was called a hyper-calvinist had such a desire to see souls saved, that he literally lost his mind for a period, when he won his first convert to Christ. That convert, Krishna Pal, was the person that William Carey baptized. Thomas was raving , out of his mind with joy. I have read, though I cannot say how true it was, that when Carey baptized Pal, Thomas was in a building nearby raving in elation while Mrs. Carey was raving in her PSTD condition over culture shock. The Great Century of Missions originated in the prayer meetings inspired and informed by the tract written by the greatest Calvinist of the 18th Century, Jonathan Edwards in his Humble Attempt. That tract listed the promises to be pleaded for the propagation of the Gospel among the heathen, and it moved the Baptists of England and Carey in particular to prayer and then action. God grant that our Sovereign Grace Believers of today would learn to do likewise.
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  15. says

    I would add that we also need to distinguish between “non-Calvinists” and “anti-Calvinists.” I don’t know of a single non-Calvinist (personally or in print through blogs, articles, etc.) who really gives a rip about Calvinism as long as we both can stand “together for the Gospel,” to use the term.

    I also think those who are not Calvinists (the anti-Calvinists more specifically) need to be honest and stop using evangelism as a red herring. When Lifeway turns up information that shows SBC Calvinists are more likely to be evangelistic than those who are not (though across the board we’re still terrible), there is a certain amount of shutting up and soul searching that needs to happen. Calvinists aren’t responsible for our terrible evangelism numbers – they only make up 10% of pastors! It’s squarely the responsibility of those who are not Calvinists. The sooner we can get that through our thick skulls, the better.

    We (non-Calvinists, and again anti-Calvinists specifically) also need to realize that it has been Calvinists who have been leading the charge for the Gospel in recent years, while we on the other hand have been trying to come up with yet another program, have more revivals, etc. as if that would solve the problem. We want band-aids instead of cures. We should be ashamed of ourselves and thanking our Calvinist brothers for begging us to see reason.

    James W., I would submit that what you’re saying (no evangelism program) is not peculiar of Calvinists but of all of us. I had no idea how to go about evangelizing people – or even how to “program” it – until I came under the leadership of Johnny Hunt’s church as an intern in seminary. All I knew was to bludgeon people with John 3:16 and Jack Chick (!) tracts. And sadly, I’m afraid that’s typical of many believing teens and young men who haven’t been taught.

    But I truly believe our generation has the potential to drastically reverse these trends. That’s what sold me on the Calvinism of those I know and have read, even though I stand in the same position as Akin, Bruce Ware, and others in relation to the TULIP. Let’s pray it continues!
    .-= Stephen Newell´s last blog ..GCR: The Gospel and Deaf Ministry =-.

  16. iMonk says

    The biggest church split in recent KBC history was over Calvinism. I mean- it wasn’t- but that was the MO of those attempting to force the pastor out. This has enforced the idea that Calvinists split churches in Ky. Is it true?

    Well…..pastoral tenure in Ky has to be less than 4 years. Lots of churches hear chew up and spit out preachers with regularity. Calvinism gives them a scapegoat, and it gives moderates an excuse to say they are more Biblical than the “trouble makers.”

    I think that’s a big thing in our state.

  17. says

    There is a lot of misunderstanding about Calvinism among non-Calvinists. There are many reasons for this. Maybe people have been taught inaccurately. Maybe they are working off of false assumptions. But, what Dave Miller is saying cannot be denied and should be listened to. Reading many SBC Calvinists on the blogs, you would think that there was severe persecution going on. In some cases, maybe there is and that should be denounced. But, others who are not anti-Calvinists simply have concerns that when voiced, should not be shouted down as bigotry. I am not a Calvinist, but I am very friendly towards Calvinists and appreciate them greatly. Most of my theological reading is by Calvinists. So, I say this as someone who is not an adherent of the entire system, but rather, as someone deeply affected and shaped by the Doctrines of Grace. I just wish that where misunderstanding occur, grace would be given on all sides.
    .-= Alan Cross´s last blog ..The Secret to Getting Along in the SBC: Morris Chapman, Calvinists, and the GCR =-.

  18. says

    I do not intend to argue here and have many friends on both sides. I am not a Calvinist, ignorant or “taught inaccuratley.” These are the very phrases of arrogance that cause the bigotry and stereotypes.
    Now …tell someone Jesus loves them and died for them.
    .-= Amy Waddell´s last blog ..Frances Morrow by Eleece Parker =-.

    • says


      I don’t think that phrase is arrogant, but it can be taken as arrogance as one chooses to take it that way. It is mere observation to say that a lot of people are “taught inaccurately” when it comes to calvinism. Many arminians teach about calvinism inaccurately on a consistent basis. With phrases such as “Calvinists dont believe God loves everyone.” I have heard it MANY, MANY times and it is simply not at all true!

      To be fair, many Calvinists teach about Arminianism inaccurately. It often, sadly, goes both ways, but I just dont see arrogance in what has been said.

  19. says

    To S. Newell: You are quite right about the fact that we all have a problem. Having been a professing Christian for 51 1/2 yrs, I have been trained in many forms of soulwinning, most of it Arminian with little regard to the reality of dealing with a totally depraved and disabled, darkened, dead sinner. At the same time, the Sovereign Grace Evangelistic training I have had has been sporadic. Most of it I have gotten by going back and studing the Sovereign Grace Evangelistic practitioners of the past. I have also found that pre-programmed approaches have a limited usefulness, that one has to be able to adapt and improvise (a Marine slogan?) on the spot. Nevertheless, I am excited as we can work with the more Arminian minded witnesses. After all, God can strike a straight blow with a crooked stick (and I am thinking of we who believe in Sovereign Grace – no the Arminian). And God can use them. What I always find to be humorous is how God will use an Arminian to win some one who will beccome a leading Sovereign Grace minister and how a Sovereign Grace minister can win one who becomes a leading Arminian type. Consider how George Whitefield’s death was the means of converting Benjamin Randall who founded the Free Will Baptists of New England. C. G. Finney won A. H. Strong to Christ (in his Rochester crusade I think) and Strong is a noted Calvinist on at least 4 points. There are others that could be named or commented on….like the Methodist exhorter who won C.H. Spurgeon to Christ. I think God has a sense of humor. And are we not getting close to that aweful awakening time, when the whole earth comes to Christ voluntarily under the influence of His very awesomeness (Zep.2:11)?
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  20. says

    I still want to get to the bottom of this. Some people have touched on the argument over limited atonement, but I think that is the least of our worries. I’m more concerned about the misunderstandings and misrepresentations of unconditional election and total depravity. A lot of Southern Baptists out there disagree with these, but then when pressed they either become angry or issue anti-intellectual defenses like “Dead men can’t sin” and “I just have to believe God allows man to chose.” I see this even in my own Sunday School class where this past week I said God chose us for adoption as sons and daughters (he did, cf. Ephesians 1.3-6, John 1.12-13, and James 1.18) and one of the people in my class just closed their Bible and stared off into the distance. Where does this reaction come from?
    .-= Todd Burus´s last blog ..A Different Kind of Rock Star- Mike Huckabee and SBC Hypocrisy =-.

  21. says

    I don’t think the real issue is about theology as much as it is a misunderstanding of Church History. Just last fall when I was back home an intelligent, informed guy made the statement that Calvinists were dangerous because Calvinism always leads to lack of evangelism and decline. There was no arguing with him on this. I am not a Calvinist but since nearly all my leadership here on the field are Calvinists you can better believe that I have respect for them. They are sacrificing everything for the Gospel. Unfortunately, the vast majority of folks in the SBC do not know or understand this. I graduated SWBTS in 1991 and in my Church History class we clearly learned that Calvinism was always the enemy of missions and always leads to decline. Calvinists have a lot of work to undo that much misinformation.
    .-= Strider´s last blog ..The Controversial Divorce Post =-.

  22. William Eastwood says

    I posted this at Phoenix Preacher… I am a former SBC…my departure had nothing to do with Calvinism per se… My own departure was over charismata, the role of women and a number of other things… as a noncalvinist that would have done it sooner or later. Because this was posted elsewhere it reads differently. Mr Burus I think you have made a big mistake with your use of the Racism analogy.

    “The decline is not going away for a very long time… and Calvinism is at the center of that decline and probably not for the silly reasons cited in Todd Burus ridiculous comparison to Racism. (let’s see he thinks that by inferring the Calvinist critics are racists he is going to make peace?) His unbelievably blind accusation makes the point.

    Calvinism is not going to suffer as much at the hands of its critics as its adherents. It is by nature an intolerant theology. No not in the sense that Calvinists cannot be reasonable people on a blog or in the neighborhood. Rather by nature of the fact that the SBC has already shown the intolerance of Calvinism.

    Two seminaries returned to their Calvinist roots. At what cost? The exclusion of any alternative voices. Those two seminaries did not just eliminate any nonconservatives, they eliminated any noncalvinists. How does that not translate into pastors who will do the same thing in the local church? How does that not translate into churches that will struggle with their ongoing fellowship with noncalvinist churches and entities?

    Calvinism is by nature somewhat intolerant… it considers all other forms of theology to be at best aberrant and at worst heretical.

    When the moderates left the SBC they unanimously predicted that the fighting in the SBC would continue … and it was not hard to see that Calvinism would be at the heart of many of those battles.

    Exclusion breeds exclusion just as the opposite is true.

    The SBC is in for a long slow agonizing decline…not because of loss of zeal but because of its redirection.

    So think about it again… TODD BURUS THINKS THAT CALLING THE CRITICS OF CALVINISM RACISTS IS A SOLUTION? That sounds a little more ridiculous to me than what he is decrying.”

    • Jack says

      It is obvious you have not really left the SBC. You obviously harbor deep resentments for whatever reason. You paint with a very wider brush suggesting that those (moderates) who left the SBC do not fight and argue, but accurately predicted the conservatives would “continue fighting.” Simply not an accurate appraisal. You predict a “slow decline of the SBC,” but I suspect that is as much a point of hope for you, rather than a prophecy. I agree the SBC will eventually die as all movements do — but, I won’t be disappointed if we can redirect our efforts to more evangelistic fervor as we go. PS — “And what has been the cost of the two seminaries returning to their roots?” Phenomenal growth and a renewed vision to reach the lost. And what about those who chose to go a different theological route? There seminaries continue to falter and hover at status quo. I’ll take the new direction over the alternative everytime — warts and all.

      • William Eastwood says


        Deep resentments…? You err badly in that assessment. I came into the SBC as an outsider, I chose to affiliate. I knew why I was there and who I was. My disaffiliation was both sad and yet liberating. I am well known for my determination to bless and not curse them.

        Broad brush? I made a claim, illustrated it with an irrefutable example; the seminaries, and drew a conclusion. That you think you can evaluate my soul by virtue of these remarks is a commentary on you not me.

        If I picked a fight it was not with Calvinism…but with Burus for his misplaced use of the word racism in relationship to the whole matter.

        Finally you suggest I would rejoice at the collapse of the denomination … ‘let God be true and every man a liar.’ I will leave myself to his evaluation.

        As for your final word, “And what about those who chose to go a different theological route? There (sic) seminaries continue to falter and hover at status quo.” Honestly, I would not know a thing about them as I did not and do not identify with them.
        But I am sure you knew that as clearly as the other things you know about me.

    • says


      “Those two seminaries did not just eliminate any nonconservatives, they eliminated any noncalvinists. “

      Two which two seminaries do you refer? Regardless, your comment simply is not correct and a quick call to each of our seminaries would prove that they are men and women on staff at all our seminaries who hold to a variety of opinions on Calvinism.

      As a Christian brother you should be a little more careful in what you claim as factual.
      .-= Greg Alford´s last blog ..The Rise of Passionate Missionary Calvinism in the SBC =-.

    • says

      Yeah, I’d be careful about the comments on the seminaries. At Southern, Chuck Lawless is a non-Calvinist and Dean of the Graham School for Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. At Southeastern, Alvin Reid is a non-Calvinist and an influential voice in both his school and the convention. And that’s just a start. To say Southern and Southeastern “exclude” the “alternative voices” to Calvinism is a bit of a reach.
      .-= Todd Burus´s last blog ..Choosing to Hate?- Blog Post on Reactions against Calvinism in the SBC =-.

      • William Eastwood says


        I welcome this particular corrective. I believe the two seminaries have embraced their founding Abstract of Principles which were founded is sufficient …

        {When the original charter of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was adopted in 1858 it contained the following statement which continues as a part of the “fundamental laws.” “Every professor of the institution shall be a member of a regular Baptist Church; and all persons accepting professorships in this Seminary shall be considered, by such acceptance, as engaging to teach in accordance with, and not contrary to, the Abstract of Principles hereinafter laid down, a departure from which principles on his part shall be grounds for his resignation or removal by the Trustees.”}

        Futher I believe Mohler established this…

        From Southeastern we have this
        What We Believe

        Abstract of Principles

        Article IX of the bylaws of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Inc., adopted Dec. 7, 1950, provides that “all members of the faculty shall be required to subscribe to the Articles of Faith, or Beliefs, as adopted by the Board, and publicly sign these Articles at the opening of the session at which they enter upon their duties.” These articles were originally prepared for and adopted by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, founded in 1859.

        If there is dissent among the faculties… I for one should welcome it. It is true that I have been away and things could have changed since leaving.

        But there is no question that exclusion was practiced based on these documents and that Calvinistic theology is a the root of these statements.

        James Boyce was certainly a rigorous calvinist and these statements find their Genesis with him.

        Honestly if you offer correctives I will accept them but stand by the crux of my original statement as posted.

        • says

          Sadly, William if you would have stopped your comment above after the first 5 words I would have thought you open to honest debate, but seeing you went into such a length defense of your original comment that is factually wrong, and everyone on this post knows it is factually wrong, I am convinced that you will not receive anything written here.

          I do hope you have a great day in worship Sunday…
          .-= Greg Alford´s last blog ..The Rise of Passionate Missionary Calvinism in the SBC =-.

        • says

          Here is another example of everyone defining Calvinist and Calvinistic differently. If by Calvinist you mean the 5 points, then the Abstract is not a Calvinist document. It does not affirm all the five points.

          If by Calvinist you mean a belief in unconditional election, then the Abstract is a Calvinist document.

          And, for the record, if by Calvinist you mean hyper-Calvinist, the Abstract is not that either.

  23. says


    I would suggest that “ignorant of” or “taught inaccurately” are not in fact arrogance but are a valid, on-point observation. One need look no further than the ridiculous (and that’s the kindest word for it) assertion made from the floor of SBC 2009 that “Calvinism splits families” to understand that. Once I actually took the time to study Calvinism I realized much of what I had heard or had been taught was, at best, false and at worst, a willful misrepresentation!

    And don’t overlook the possible arrogance of the rejoinder often given to Calvinists that you so aptly quoted in your own words: “Now …tell someone Jesus loves them and died for them.” I’ve more often than I care to think about seen Calvinists answered with this very statement in several variations, as if what one believes is less important than evangelism. What one believes is extremely important and directly influences one’s evangelism, because what you win someone with is potentially what you win them into. If we don’t think our doctrine is as big a deal as evangelism, then those we disciple won’t think so, either. This doesn’t even touch on the bigger arrogance the statement implies, that Calvinists don’t do what they’ve just been told to do while the one making such a statement does!

    Again, we who are not Calvinists need badly to drop this red herring of evangelism.
    .-= Stephen Newell´s last blog ..GCR: The Gospel and Deaf Ministry =-.

    • says

      Blanket statements as a whole…from either camp cause the division and stereotypes ( “uninformed”, “ignorant”, “Calvinism splits families”, “afraid of Calvinists”, “makes excuses for what the bible says, “…)
      The constant need to be right and one upmanship which leads to futile arguments (which I might add i’ve witnessed a good part of 21 years in at least 8 states on many levels) are rooted with arrogance and pride.
      The self absorption and pride these days is almost intolerable.
      Stephen.. my final satement was a challenge to us all …myself included.
      .-= Amy Waddell´s last blog ..Heaven is a Much Sweeter Place…Frances Morrow, Wife of Rev. Calvin Morrow of Over 60 years =-.

  24. Bill says

    I think we need to be very careful with this idea that: “It’s ok to be a Calvinist pastor as long as you don’t try to turn your congregation into Calvinists.”

    I think there is a certain amount of wisdom in that, but see where it leads. Take out the word Calvinist and insert {any other doctrinal position} and see how it works. I don’t think anyone, of any doctrinal persuasion should sneak into a congregation under the cloak of darkness, but do we want any pastor to relinquish the right to teach the doctrines they believe?

    Any abstentionists willing to forgo that teaching in their congregation? Complementarians? What if your absentionism splits the church? What if the egals leave? When the charismatic movement split churches years ago, the cessationists probably breathed a sigh of relief when the door shut behind them.

    I have admitted that Calvinists, especially new ones, can be pushy. But I guess this needs to be said also: So can everyone else. Find a rabid Calvinist and I’ll find you a rabid anti-Calvinist.

    Christianity splits churches, and families. I don’t equate Calvinism with Christianity, but the “split churches” bogeyman only carries so much weight.

  25. says

    I would relate the issue of Calvinism to some extent with the issue of Premillennialism. I am a Premillennialist, but I certainly do not agree with all who claim to be. I don’t deny they are Premillennialists, I just disagree with their version of it.

    I think some Calvinists would do better if they admitted there are Calvinists who are extremists, instead of denying that those extremists are Calvinists at all. Most of us have seen Calvinists who are arrogant, militant, non-evangelistic, don’t believe God loves everyone, etc. Don’t deny they are Calvinists, they are. Just disagree with their version of Calvinism. Don’t deny their existence. I don’t believe these are straw men; on the other hand, I realize they do not accurately represent all Calvinists.

    There are Premillennialists who set dates for the return of Christ. I strongly disagree with setting dates, but I don’t try to deny they are Premillennialists. I just point out the fact that there are some Premillennialists that are extreme and wrong. I would also point to the Premillennialists that are good examples of what I believe.

    Also, if it makes anyone feel better, I’ve heard a number of unfair, negative, blanket statements against Premillennialism. And yes, I know the same can be said of Amillennialism. Southern Baptists so far have agreed to disagree about both Calvinism and eschatology. Whatever your view, however, you will occasionally take a hit in SBC life. Maybe we should all grow thicker skins (Psalm 119:165 kjv).
    David R. Brumbelow
    .-= David R. Brumbelow´s last blog ..R. L. Sumner and the Biblical Evangelist =-.

    • says

      I take your comments to heart, but I just don’t know if they get to the depth of the issue. Eschatology is nice, but at the end of the day, eschatology is the future, largely unnecessary to discuss at large, and easy to disagree agreeably on. Soteriology is something else altogether. I will just be honest for a minute, it pisses me off when I hear someone like David Allen or Steve Lemke get up and run Calvinists into the ground with phony-baloney arguments, bad scholarship and caricatures of the truth. Don’t pretend like we don’t care about evangelism and the salvation of all men simply because we disagree with the traditional tent-revival style Finneyism practiced in most SBC churches.

      There is a difference between Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism. They really are not the same thing. If you don’t believe me, read Spurgeon v. Hyper-Cavinism. Teaching eternal justification, a half-loving God, no responsibility on the part of man, and the uselessness of faith, all of these are hyper-Calvinism and are miles apart from Scripture-driven biblical Calvinism. These aren’t our cousins. That is like saying non-Calvinists are the same as Universalists because they believe once saved always saved.

      This is a big deal, and as a Calvinist who is tired of having to watch their steps in order not to offend all those people who can’t stand to hear about predestination and depravity, I am tired of having to defend a perfectly biblical theology against senseless criticisms. If there are legitimate issues here I want to talk them out and try to forge unity, but just brushing it aside hasn’t helped anything up to this point and probably won’t start to anytime soon.
      .-= Todd Burus´s last blog ..Choosing to Hate?- Blog Post on Reactions against Calvinism in the SBC =-.

      • Bart Barber says

        “tent-revival style Finneyism practiced in most SBC churches”

        …while we’re on the topic of “bad scholarship and caricatures of the truth.

        But to your main point:

        1. A non-Calvinist like myself should be careful not to draw conclusions about the general state of SBC Calvinist-nonCalvinist relations from the occasional comments of people who allege that the bulk of the SBC consist of Pelagian heretics, Finneyists, or uninformed academic weaklings. Such comments come from either fringe people or non-fringe people in fringe moments of their lives.

        2. Calvinists, commensurately, should not take the remarks of one messenger from Florida or one entity head from Nashville as generally indicative of the state of soteriological tolerance in the SBC. We have no idea where the former came from, and the latter is clearly engaging in political rhetoric for reasons non-theological. If it butters his bread next week to issue forth the precise wording of your post as his own words, it wouldn’t surprise me to read of it.

        3. Articulating non-Calvinism should not be taken as anti-Calvinism. Yes, to explain why one is not a Calvinist is, in the strictest sense, an “attack” against Calvinism (for it is a rationale for not being a Calvinist); however, until one is explicitly attacking the liberty to be a Calvinist, one is not (IMHO) an anti-Calvinist. There must be room for one to be just as passionate in expressing a biblical rationale for not being a Calvinist as you, Todd, would use in explaining your Calvinism.

        4. For each occasion of a guy standing at the SBC microphones to claim that Calvinists have brought a wrong gospel to the SBC, I can produce a Calvinist saying that Calvinism is the gospel and that the expansion of Calvinism is the only hope for the Southern Baptist Convention to “get back” to the gospel. Perhaps he reaches his conclusions about Calvinists’ and non-Calvinists’ not being united in the gospel and has become misinformed not by Steve Lemke and David Allen, but by reading a bit much of the wrong sorts of SBC Calvinists.

        5. I’d consider a revision of the language in this comment if I were you. I don’t think it reflects well upon you.

        • says


          When you are not in one of your “fringe moments” as a Non-Calvinist one can hardly argue with your reasoning… You have spoken well here.

          And see, when I am not in one of my “fringe moments” as a Calvinist I can even compliment a Non-Calvinist.

          We really need to come up with a better definition of those who do not hold to the 5-points of Calvinism than a Non-Calvinist. That really makes it sound like they do not believe in any of the doctrines and we know that is not the case.

          Perhaps when we are more mature we can stop labeling one another all together? I was just a Baptist until someone first called me a Calvinist. At the time I had no idea what a Calvinist was and strongly denied being one. (Sometimes ignorance is bliss) I am convinced that labels are not healthy for the SBC, and it was something that Paul strongly rebuked the early church for doing. But dropping all our labels may be something that will only happen when Jesus returns… even so come quickly Lord Jesus!

          Grace Always,
          .-= Greg Alford´s last blog ..The Rise of Passionate Missionary Calvinism in the SBC =-.

        • says

          Thank you for your words. Speaking on your second point, I would say that the original intention of this post was not to finger two individual comments at the meeting as representing a theological consensus, but instead to get inside the psyche of this. I think I am more sensitive to it because I have spent the last year watching my steps as non-Calvinists all around me respond to theological arguments for Calvinism by saying, “Well, at the end of the day I just have to believe man has the freedom to choose.” I know this is not a majority reaction, but you hear it (and the line about Calvinists disliking evangelism) enough that you start to wonder why people respond in this way. That is what I was after all along, but per usual (and I probably didn’t help) the discussion spiraled off into non-sense with little productive coming out.

          As for accusation of “anti-Calvinism”, I have attempted to be careful in using that label. I agree that it should not apply to all views against Calvinism. But when we hear things like Chuck Kelley saying that he believes our failure in evangelism is do in part to a rise in Calvinistic convictions in the SBC, I find little else to call that but an anti-Calvinist sentiment.

          I also am careful not to throw around the terms of ‘Arminian’ or ‘Pelagian’, but would be interested to see a statistical survey on the state of Finneyism in our convention when it comes to evangelistic endeavors. Just two weeks ago Florida’s DOM used several Finney-esque methods in a sermon he delivered at my church, which greatly disturbs me.
          .-= Todd Burus´s last blog ..Choosing to Hate?- Blog Post on Reactions against Calvinism in the SBC =-.

        • says

          “Articulating non-Calvinism should not be taken as anti-Calvinism. Yes, to explain why one is not a Calvinist is, in the strictest sense, an “attack” against Calvinism (for it is a rationale for not being a Calvinist); however, until one is explicitly attacking the liberty to be a Calvinist, one is not (IMHO) an anti-Calvinist.”

          This is very well said. I think some of us Calvinists in the SBC need to grow some thicker skin.
          .-= Darby Livingston´s last blog ..A Scalpel or a Sword: Surgery or Slaughter? =-.

  26. says

    David, I agree with that.

    We are all so sensitive. So Morris Chapman said some silly things about Calvinists. Didn’t damage me in any way. Made me think less of him? A little. But I am not really injured.

    Thick skins and forgiving spirits!
    .-= Dave Miller´s last blog ..The Best Preaching Ever? =-.

  27. says

    Hey, Todd…Some of we non-calvinists are misinformed because some (not all) Calvinists are misinforming, inarticulate, defensive, and condescending when we ask questions to get informed. Let a brand new non-calvie come onto this board and see what happens. Let a brand new Calvie join this stream and see what happens. Then you’ll get a better idea of why folks are misinformed.

    I have friends who are both. Good friends. Dear friends. My reformed “friends” are not trying to remake me, reform me, patronize me, or treat me hatefully. They have helped me understand and that is because they were full of love not judgment. I’ve been treated like an idiot. A stupid, uninformed person. And tromped on for asking simple questions. (Ask Greg Alford. He once emailed me off-line when I was attacked on a blog). And while some folks think they are the only ones in the comment streams where this is going on, they are sadly mistaken. Thousands of eyes are reading us and not commenting. From both sides of the equation and some who haven’t even got a side. Divides are formed…sides are taken…and it normally is because of tone and treatment–not information and education.

    What we should be asking is why some non-Calvies and Calvies are not at odds with one another…then we’ll see how to avoid the pitfalls of misunderstandings. I believe it is because true Christ-filled love binds them–rather than positions.

    Ultimately, with me…I am not trying to make you (figuratively) see things my way so you (figuratively) will become a thinking, believing person like me…rather, just to understand me and me understand you (figuratively). With some Calvinists, I feel I am never going to be good enough to meet with their approval for dialogue about much of anything. I’m just too “ignorant”, because I just don’t “know” what I need to “know” to understand. And because there are already preconceived assumptions about who I am and what I think.

    BTW, I totally disagree with the title of this post. (Can I do that?) Extremely inflammatory and to be honest, almost kept me from bothering to comment. It colors those who question Calvinism’s influence in the SBC as racist in their questioning, much like a white person would question a black person having the audacity to move into a white neighborhood. And Calvinists have been living in our neighborhood for years. Are they unhappy with the neighborhood? Or are the non-Calvinists unhappy with the neighborhood? Where is the race war? I’m perfectly content to live in the neighborhood as it is–with both C’s and non-Cs. You do your autonomous church your way, and we’ll do our autonomous church our way. We make up the SBC not the other way around. I don’t want anyone to move out of the neighborhood, do you?
    .-= selahV´s last blog ..WHEN I GET DISCOURAGED =-.

    • Bill says

      David: Maybe Todd is a secret KJVonlyist. 😉 That word is straight out of the Authorized Version.

  28. Bill says

    This isn’t just about everyday SBCers not understanding Calvinism. It is denominational big wigs and overzealous bloggers fear mongering. J3:16 conference anyone? Anti-Founders rhetoric? Tom Ascol being painted as some kind of SBC destroying subversive?

    Let’s tally up the things that Calvinists are accused of:
    splitting churches
    splitting families
    being arrogant
    being condescending
    not evangelizing
    being aggressive
    promoting alcohol (good grief)

    Now if we could, let’s tally up all of the above occurrences in the life of the SBC. Does anyone really think that Calvinists would be the majority offenders in any of those cases?

    Everyone knows a Calvinist who was mean to them. Everyone’s “heard” of a church that split over Calvinism. We’ve all been told that Calvinists don’t believe in evangelism. Circumstantial piled on top of anecdotal. Mostly in the name of fear. I think Todd’s title is well chosen.

  29. says

    Mike, the “racism” comparison was patently absurd, bordering on offensive. But I understood the point Todd was making and just dealt with that.

    Bill, you delineated the following:

    Let’s tally up the things that Calvinists are accused of:
    splitting churches
    splitting families
    being arrogant
    being condescending
    not evangelizing
    being aggressive
    promoting alcohol (good grief)

    I can say yes to every one of these. In my personal experience, I have seen every one of these take place.

    Since I am a Calvinist, I tend to be harder on Calvinists. If we claim to have a biblical theology it ought to produce biblical practice.

    • Bill says

      Dave: The question isn’t whether Calvinists are guilty of these things, but whether they are typical of Calvinists and atypical of non-Calvinists. They aren’t good things but as long as churches continue to be populated with human beings they will happen.

      • says

        To be honest, Bill, there was a time I was concerned it was becoming characteristic of the Calvinists I was meeting. I think there has been some softening in that – perhaps a few of us have passed through cage stage and are maturing, as Mike’s comment (#48) indicates.
        .-= Dave Miller´s last blog ..The Best Preaching Ever? =-.

  30. says

    I am a 5 point Calvinist and a former “caged” Calvinist that wanted to convert everyone else to the doctrines of grace (and I think I did it without grace). I have been guilty of thinking pridefully and less of people that are not Calvinists. I have in the past been very immature–and am certain that I will still be immature at times.

    Over the past two years God has radically changed and is radically changing my heart in this matter. A few thoughts to consider.
    “Mad” Calvinism is a reflection of not truly understanding the doctrines of GRACE.
    Arminians can love Jesus more than I do.
    Most, if not all, Anti-Calvinist think they are defending the truth and the gospel. They are just as prone to arrogance, pride, misinformation, etc. as we Calvinist are. We do not have the truth market cornered and they do not have the sin market cornered.
    God is sovereign over Arminians
    I’m not a victim nor do I need to really defend myself when “attacked”.

    I guess in summary I’ll say this: Read John Newton, and watch Dr. Mohler and Mark Dever in their approach to this. They do not get all hot and bothered by anti or non-Calvinist. It’s not because they do not treasure the doctrines of grace…it’s because they DO. They get it. And they understand patience and solid teaching through the years. I have a ton to learn from these men.

    I fear that I’ve been unclear. My intent in posting this is to encourage my Calvinist brothers to stop playing the “race” card…or I mean “Calvinist” card…and not have a victim mentality or an “us v. them” mentality.
    .-= Mike Leake´s last blog ..Time to Grow Up and Pray =-.

  31. Luke says

    Thumbs down on the title. It is catchy, I’ll grant you that. But it is not conducive to a constructive discussion which you apparently want to have but are unwilling to embrace. Equating those of us who disagree with n/C’s to racists will only seek to drive that wedge deeper into the split, intended or not.

    • Luke says

      There should be a “comma” after (disagree) and after (racists). Sorry about the confusion.

  32. says

    Calvinists are going to live and teach what they believe. That alone is going to cause division unless both are allowed to live and teach what they believe freely. If I have to walk on egg shells as a Calvinist, I won’t do that and I don’t know many who will. But if we allow those who do not believe in Calvinism to do the same, that to me is the answer. Not talking or being who we are or what we believe is the same ole same ole.

  33. says


    You are certainly right that it goes both ways. There is not an accusation than one side can make about the other that isnt true for both!

  34. says

    Right Matt. The answer for me is to forgive both sides, begin again, and let both be who they are and what they believe. Teaching it freely. Then going out and doing evangelism together as we both agree that Christ is the only way to a new life.

  35. says

    I think that one of the major contributing factors in this long war on Calvinism in the SBC can be traced directly to a shift over the last 40 to 50 years in how the majority of Southern Baptist view the SBC.

    For perhaps the first 100 years or so we overwhelmingly viewed the SBC as a convention of cooperating, yet strictly “autonomous” Baptist Churches. Local Church autonomy was considered one of the primary and most important marks of our Baptist Identity, leading to a diverse group of Baptist all cooperating together at the national, state and local levels.

    Over the last 50 years, particularly in this current generation, this view of the SBC as being a convention of cooperating, yet strictly autonomous Baptist Churches has been largely replaced with a view of the SBC as a “Denomination”. Conformity to the new and often greatly narrower rules for cooperation is driven by a desire to have a unified Baptist Identity; this at the expense of local church autonomy and greater cooperation among diverse groups of Baptist.

    In a “Denomination” conformity is an absolute must and, by and large, all issues are of first importance to the group, as the whole group’s identity is at stake on every single issue, no mater how small.

    In a “Convention” conformity on the foundational issues are the only ones required for cooperation, and while there is a since of identity at the convention level, there is a greater since of identity at the local church level; thereby allowing for much greater cooperation among a diversity of churches.

    So, it is my take on things that the long war on Calvinism, while not totally, can in part be traced to the loss of our understanding of how a Convention works and allows cooperation between those who might otherwise, and passionately, be at odds with one another.

    Grace Always

    • Jack says

      Very good analysis. This is always the problem of “cooperation” — the rules tend to become narrower as time goes on. The Baptist distinctive is to resist this tendency to make every issue a “fundamental” issue. Thus far, SBC’ers have been able to resist. I pray we will continue to focus on “cooperation” not Calvinism, or any other narrow doctrine. I realize that even suggesting that Calvinism is a “narrow” doctrine will upset some.

  36. says

    selahV said: What we should be asking is why some non-Calvies and Calvies are not at odds with one another…then we’ll see how to avoid the pitfalls of misunderstandings. I believe it is because true Christ-filled love binds them–rather than positions.

    There you go. Do we REALLY need to go any further than this?
    .-= Stephen Newell´s last blog ..GCR: The Gospel and Deaf Ministry =-.

  37. says

    Thus far, SBC’ers have been able to resist. I pray we will continue to focus on “cooperation” not Calvinism, or any other narrow doctrine. I realize that even suggesting that Calvinism is a “narrow” doctrine will upset some.

    Yes. It upsets me in that it tells me you are always going to have something against Calvinists which is going to block cooperation.
    .-= Debbie Kaufman´s last blog ..We Need To Begin To Wipe The Slate Clean…And Begin Again =-.

  38. says

    SelahV — Glad I could help a bit but I’m really try to stay away from this topic :-)

    I would like to ask where calvinists who are posting on this thread stand on personal responsibility. For instance, a calvinist once told me they don’t really pay attention to the abortion issue (or other strong issues like that) because the baby was predestined to die that way. I don’t get that… It just boggles my mind to imagine someone would believe that.
    .-= Sallie´s last blog ..Peacemaking =-.

    • says


      Your response #64 provides a good example of what Calvinists tend to have to combat. I don’t intend to accuse you, but to make an observation. [Emphasis mine]

      For instance, a calvinist once told me they don’t really pay attention to the abortion issue (or other strong issues like that) because the baby was predestined to die that way.

      OK, you have one proclaimed Calvinist who told you something which most Calvinists would not agree with. What I’ve seen is people would take a statement like yours and it would be the main “club of objection” against Calvinism. And those who would employ this statement as such would be wrong. This is how the ignorance spreads.

      First from the Calvinist (really hyper-Calvinist) mouth and then through the receiver who takes no time to read and understand further the ignorance displayed.

      There are numerous ignorant things folks could point out that are done and said by non-Calvinists. For some reason though, despite history, these ignorant things do not get associated with those persons theology. Why? Why is the Calvinist’s theology the blame, but the non-Calvinist’s theology not?


      P.s. Can you image if this experience in an SBC church became the defining experience? Who blames this churches underlying theology as the problem?
      .-= Mark Lamprecht´s last blog ..Gospel Coalition or Assertions? =-.

      • says

        I would also like to point out that what you have said (be it yourself or “a Calvinist”) is confusing the Calvinist concept of ‘predestination’ with the larger category of ‘providence.’ We have to make sure to keep that language clear. ‘Providence’ is God’s sovereign control over circumstances and events. ‘Predestination’ is God’s sovereign control over salvation. Therefore it would make no sense (from a biblical Calvinist standpoint) for someone to say something like, “It was predestined that I miss my bus today.” ‘Predestination’ is synonymous with ‘election’ and this is purely to salvation and nothing else, lest we mash up the whole system of God’s will revealed in Scripture.
        .-= Todd Burus´s last blog ..Choosing to Hate?- Blog Post on Reactions against Calvinism in the SBC =-.

    • says


      If a fellow calvinist ever said that to me I would want to punch them in the face.

      (not saying I would, but I would want to)


  39. says


    Read you words slowly:

    ” I will just be honest for a minute, it pisses me off when I hear someone like David Allen or Steve Lemke get up and run Calvinists into the ground with phony-baloney arguments, bad scholarship and caricatures of the truth.”

    A) While to use such mundane and provocative but entirely needless language to describe your “feelings” on a public forum is perfectly consistent with the twisted metaphor of “racism” in the original piece, it goes absolutely nowhere in real communication. In fact, for my part it destroys it.

    Were I Tony–and I’m not–you, sir, would never write another piece on this site. Period. And, I call on Tony to explain to his readership why he will allow you to stay after such a juvenile outburst.

    B). In your attempt to express yourself with “honesty” you demonstrated, quite nicely, in fact, precisely why some non-Calvinists make the charge of arrogance toward some Calvinists.

    Without the least bit of qualification, credential, or earned respect as a scholar yourself, Todd, you describe two accomplished scholars–Drs. Allen & Lemke–with “phony-baloney arguments, bad scholarship and caricatures of the truth.” If such is not a case of unbridled arrogance, no case is possible.

    In addition, how the description of Drs. Allen & Lemke as offering “phony-baloney arguments, bad scholarship and caricatures of the truth” squares with your original piece , one cannot tell: “Let me be clear, I do not believe that non-Calvinists in the SBC are ignorant. ” Well, doggie. You sure could have fooled me!

    And, if the scholars among Non-Calvinists are so obviously filled with “phony-baloney arguments, bad scholarship and caricatures of the truth,” think how ignorant all the poor souls are in the SBC who are Non-Calvinists but not scholars. Luckily for Calvinists, they have brilliant accomplished scholars such as yourself to point this out for them.

    Nor Todd, given such an outburst of “honesty” could you ever expect to receive “genuine” feedback from Non-Calvinists. For not only are they “racists” in your mind, even the best advocates among them offer but phony-baloney arguments, bad scholarship and caricatures of the truth. I’d say that kinda shuts things down. What do you think?

    Good luck in your quest to get open, honest discussions from Non-Calvinists out there, since you “honestly want to know.”

    With that, I am…
    .-= peter´s last blog ..Peeping Back, Peering Forward: What the 2009 SBC Means for Southern Baptists by Peter Lumpkins =-.

    • says

      To start, I guess we need to chalk up . . . that word I said . . . as one of the things which some find acceptable and others do not. If Tony or Matt find it inappropriate I trust they will tell me and I would be happy to abide by what they say. Otherwise, unless a motion gets passed in Orlando listing everything that is a “bad word” maybe we can agree to disagree here and move on.

      Secondly, read my words slowly,

      “Let me be clear, I do not believe that non-Calvinists in the SBC are ignorant. I do however wonder why they seem so misinformed about Calvinism? My wife and I were discussing it and we drew a parallel between this and the attitude that many take towards racism.”

      Did I ever say that non-Calvinists are racists? No. I said that the thinking behind the fear of Calvinists in the SBC seems to be “parallel” to the thinking behind the fear of black/Mexican/Asian/&tc. people. Therefore the metaphor is between two lines of reasoning and not two social realities. This would be akin to saying that the rationale behind abortion is parallel to the rationale behind lying, since both are essentially done to avoid having to face certain adverse consequences. Is that saying that liars are abortionists? No. It’s saying that the thought process is similar behind the actions taken in two different situations. This is done for emphasis, not equivalence.

      Finally, the issues with Allen and Lemke have been discussed ad nauseam by many people, scholars and non, in the wake of their various comments. If I recall correctly, we even discussed this on your site in the past. It is dishonest to even suggest that these men have not tried to malign Calvinists in their public words while simultaneously propagating much of the misinformation about Calvinism that is out there. How can we ever have civil debate when the leadership of two of our seminaries are in effect going out trying to discredit the leadership of two of our other seminaries? Yes, this is frustrating, no matter what adjective is used to describe it.
      .-= Todd Burus´s last blog ..Choosing to Hate?- Blog Post on Reactions against Calvinism in the SBC =-.

      • says


        I understand Peter’s objection to your term used in frustration and anger. It could lend itself to a retaliation of words in defense of Lemke and Allen. I know how you feel.

        Let me offer something you may or may not agree with. Men like Lemke and Allen will probably not speak publicly like that of you or I. And they would get a better hearing because of it. Granted, I say this knowing that they have the bigger “stage”.

        Something to think about.


    • says


      Let me address your latest comment. Do not call on Tony, but call on me. I am the Editor here and Tony has put me in charge of the contributors and what they write. If you would like to e-mail me to dialogue about the contributors and why you feel it would be wise to remove someone I will listen. I am always open to correction, how to better this site in making it Christ honoring and Kingdom building. I pray that I am always open to rebuke and/or correction.

      Now, I think we do need to clarify that Todd is NOT calling non-calvinists racists. If he were, I would never allow it to be posted on a site that I was running, ever. He is merely saying that sometimes the attitude to the calvinism issue is the same type of attitude that was displayed in the race controversy. You and many others might disapprove of the analogy/comparison, but I dont think Todd is calling anyone a “racist.”

      Also, while I understand your complaint about Todd’s use of words I do not think it is sufficient reason to ban him from the site. If he chose to “cuss out” non-calvinists and slander them or something over-the-top like that I would happily delete his name from the contributors. He has not done that and I do not see sufficient reason to ban him from writing.

      I must admit I am a little disappointed with the comment thread. I thought Todd asked a legitimate question, “Why are so many people in the SBC afraid of Calvinism?” With that I was hoping to hear how people thought that Limited Atonement minimized Christ’s love for the nations, how it COULD lead to hyper-calvinism which would hinder missions and evangelism, etc. While I am Reformed, I would of love to of been able to discuss those types of issues rather what has taken place, for the most part.

      Again, if you would like to talk more or you just want to tell me you disapprove of my contributors go ahead and e-mail me and we will chat it out. matt _ svoboda @

    • says


      You have just inadvertently illustrated one of the problems Calvinists face. This problem is seen by conflating one Calvinists comments towards two specific individuals into one Calvinists comments about all non-Calvinists.

      And, if the scholars among Non-Calvinists are so obviously filled with “phony-baloney arguments, bad scholarship and caricatures of the truth,” think how ignorant all the poor souls are in the SBC who are Non-Calvinists but not scholars. Luckily for Calvinists, they have brilliant accomplished scholars such as yourself to point this out for them.

      Todd did not say the scholars as if to reference all, many or most. He was speaking about two men in particular. Todd also didn’t claim there are no non-Calvinist scholars who are brilliant nor Calvinist scholars who are not. This is the type of poor reasoning that folks tend to use against Calvinists.

      I say this not to defend Todd’s comments, but to make an observation that is pertinent to this topic.



    • says


      You say: “Were I Tony–and I’m not–you, sir, would never write another piece on this site. Period.”

      No greater example of the Baptist Identity Movement’s spirit toward those whom they disagree with could be asked for. Peter’s not interested in dialog at all… and heaven help us if these guys ever get into positions of leadership in the SBC.

      Then Peter you say:

      “Luckily for Calvinists, they have brilliant accomplished scholars such as yourself to point this out for them.”

      This coming from a man who has written a book to educate us ignorant Calvinist on how all the Language Scholars and Bible Translators for the last 500 years have all this time mistranslated the word “Wine” in the Bible, when they should have been using the words “Grape Juice”. If we can’t trust our Language Scholars and Bible Translators to get such a simple thing as “Wine” correct, what else can’t we trust them on?

      Then you have the audacity to come here and trash Todd with such a comment… Good grief what arrogance!
      .-= Greg Alford´s last blog ..The Rise of Passionate Missionary Calvinism in the SBC =-.

  40. says

    First of all, Calvinists (really Sovereign Grace believers) can be and often are the most liberal of people. Where in the world do you think religious liberty came from? Second, the founding fathers were Sovereign Grace Belivers and said so. And it was they who started the Great Century of Missions. Third, the real reason for the decline in Sovereign Grace believers and leaders is that it was planned by certain people outside the convention who have the means to carry out their designs. You all need to read the book by Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope. New York: Macmillan pubs., 1965. (subtitle: A History of the World in Modern Times). Somewhere around p 1237,39 (?), you will find that the folks who run the world advocate pluralism, and they are specifically opposed to Calvinism (they called it determinism). They list the theological points the advocate and the points they oppose. One of the conspirators mentioned in that book, Cecil Rhodes by name, was also mentioned in C.S. Lewis’ sci/fi work, That Hideous Strength. Was that the reason he lost his job at Oxfod? Lewis also refers to the conspiracy in his Great Divorce and Letters to An American Lady. Quigley was professor of International Relations at Georgetown U., and was mentor to William Jefferson Clinton and recommended him for the Rhodes Scholarship. This Conspiracy has been around for several hundred years, and they almost lost control in the Amerian Revolution due to the Sovereign Grace Believers and the two Great Awakenings and the Great Century of Missions so they sent in their emissaries and voila! the Sovereign Grace movement began to decline. George Bancroft, I suppose, was the last major historian to refer to the American Nation as a Calvinistic Republic (Google that for more info). But the effort took one hundred plus years to really began to take effect. Now the conspirators are working over time as they fear the coming of another Great Awakening, one which will take the whole earth for Christ in one generation and then for a 1000 more in order to assure a literal fulfilment of the promises to Abraham and the prophecies of Christ (having a multitude in Heaven that no man can number). True Sovereign Grace is not arrogant; it is in the truest sense humble, because it can’t get over God’s showing such goodness to such miserable wretches. My ordaining pastor was A SUPRALAPSARIAN, A HYPER-CALVINIST, AND HE WOULD TELL YOU SO FROM THE PULPIT AND PERSON TO PERSON. HE FOUNDED THE AMERICAN RACE TRACK CHAPLAINCY WAS THE PERSON OF CHOICE BY DR. R.G. LEE TO PREACH LEE’S FUNERAL. HE ALSO WAS A MIGHTY SOUL-WINNER AND A PREACHER OF REVIVALS, AND HE HAS MANY PEOPLE IN THE MINISTRY TODAY WHO WERE CALLED UNDER HIS MINISTRY. He could laugh, and he would treat you with such kindness in so many ways that you were bound to like some of them. I have put 50+ years into the study of the Biblical teachings, and they are Sovereign Grace teachings designed to set sinners free from sin, to make Believers balanced, flexible, creative and magnetic. You don’t have to be apologetic or defensive any more than Paul and the early saints were, when they were being persecuted to death. You just have to resolve to treat those who oppose themselves (really it is themselves – not you) with love. Just smile, and tell them you love them. Remember you don’t have to answer them every time. Dr. Campbell once said to me, when I was going to straighten him out about Calvinsm (I didn’t belive it then), “I am not going to discuss it with you . You don’t know enough about it to discuss it.” Even though I did not believe it then, he went right ahead and ordained me to the ministry, when a church called me as pastor. In that church, vey slowly, very painfully I began to come to belief in the Doctrines of Grace, a process that would last for 10+ years. Eventually, my researches (that is the one thing lacking in most of the discussions on the issues today. For example, the first doctrine of grace, Total Depravity is written into our constitution in the form of the principle of Checks and Balances. Since man is depraved, you dare not give him to much power for it will corrupt him. You set the dogs to watching one another so neither gets too much power. You also have a separation of powers. I could say more, but I am tired. Most every one whom I have read on this blog needs to do research on the Bible and History, lots of it. Take for example the idea of not having a methodology of evangelism to pass on to young people and other church members. This is patently ridiculous. Did they ever hear of the Gospel tracts, colporters, the works on soul-winning? And what about the sermons, theological works? We need people to be teaching courses in Sovereign Grace Evangelism in our schools and churches. It can be taught. It has been taught. It must be taught again. Also, we need people to go back and see why Sovereign Grace people were the leaders in freedom and liberty in the Western world. While the masons talk of the separation of church and State, the Baptists actually established by law, the practice of religious liberty. Separation of Church and State in the beginning was meant to protect the State from Church manipulations and vice versa. Hey! You Sovereign Grace believers, why did Sandy Creek Church have eldresses? How could the Separates and te Regulars unite (they were strong Calvinists) with the rule, “the preaching that Christ tasted death for every man shall be no bar to every man?” How could they start one of the early anti-slavery movements, the Friends of Humanity? How could they work with political statesmen such as Jefferson, Madison, Washington, etc? How could they hold out for religious liberty in VA,when the Presbytrans were willing to settle for being one of the groups received as the State Church?
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  41. says


    I suggest you own up to the implications of your metaphor. It’s yours. You pulled the “race card.” There is no unringing the bell, dude. Sorry.

    Nor Todd did you get the point concerning Drs. Lemke and Allen. You’re merely begging the question, assuming past discussions were in any way conclusive. My comment concerned your unmitigated arrogance, proclaiming two accomplished scholars little more than theological imbeciles via your description.

    Now, again: I wish you the best in your quest to solicit genuine dialog from non-Calvinists whom you’ve implicated with a racist metaphor, not to mention your low-level description of their intellectual acumen, all in the context of your juvenile anger.

    With that, I am…
    .-= peter´s last blog ..Peeping Back, Peering Forward: What the 2009 SBC Means for Southern Baptists by Peter Lumpkins =-.

  42. says


    Thanks for the correction. I had no idea. Nonetheless, you’ve made yourself quite clear. It wasn’t at all what I anticipated but, hey, that’s life.

    With that, I am…

  43. Owen Wells says


    reading this blog catches me right in the middle of a study of Calvinism! I’ve never even known who he was before, so I suppose that puts me in the non-Calvinist camp. Now, the things I’ve learned about Calvin’s beliefs have led me to reject probably three of the five points…however, for myself, I still don’t see any reason why I couldn’t work alongside a Calvinist for the kingdom. I’ve been reading several blogs by Calvinists, and I don’t have to agree with their theology to hear the love of Christ in their hearts. Upon reading some of the other comments here, I find it quite sad that there are some of them that get so caught up in their doctrine that they feel it necessary to cause division. But I would like to believe they are the exception.

  44. says

    The point I was trying to make is those kinds of things DO get said. I didn’t say I based my whole view of calvinism on thoughts coming from people like that. That was only one example BUT crazy things like that get said to me all the time. My answer is not to argue at all but to turn around and walk off or change the subject when possible because I’ve learned it does no good to argue over these issues, especially when I can’t even make sense of how they got to that understanding in the first place.

    By the same token, as to what you said Mark, don’t 4 or 5 point Calvinists automatically tend to lump “everyone else” into the TOTAL arminian camp, or is that just my experience? Isn’t this the same thing you guys are complaining about (theologically discriminating)? Do you ask individually what a person believes or do you ask “So, are you a Calvinist or an Arminian?”
    .-= Sallie´s last blog ..Peacemaking =-.

    • says


      I didn’t mean to claim you were doing the lumping together. I was just trying to point out that it is often that type of comment that gets used in a general sense.

      I don’t think, and I HOPE, that 4/5 pointers don’t assume Arminianism automatically. That’s much better than the assertions made towards Calvinists from the ignorant though. :) That is the same or very similar to what Calvinists get charged with. I could probably find some Arminian quotes though that some SBCers would label Calvinist.

      Funny, I have this friend who is a true Wesleyan-Arminian, 5 point Arminian. He says that most SBCers are confused as they try to balance between the two camps. He doesn’t think it’s logically possible.

      I don’t normally ask which camp one falls into. If anything every came up in Sunday School or whatever, I still don’t assume. What I’ve come to find out is that many folks have no idea. And some of those folks *think* they know Calvinism, but really all they do is associate the word with what they *think* it is. Normally, they have very wrong ideas.

      Most of these folks have minimal study of formal theologies. I’ve come in contact with many who simply don’t like Calvinism based on what they’ve heard though they’ve never studied it. These same folks haven’t a clue of Arminianism either.

      OK, enough rambling. :)
      .-= Mark Lamprecht´s last blog ..Gospel Coalition or Assertions? =-.

  45. says

    You make a very good point.

    Todd Burus,
    In the continuing interest of facilitating understanding between Calvinists and non-5 point Calvinists: A few thoughts.

    1. Every time someone points out an inappropriate comment by a Calvinist, you guys say that person is not a Calvinist. Therefore, according to your view, only those who perfectly exemplify Calvinism are Calvinists. Therefore, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Calvinism. That is not fair and does not add up.
    2. On the other hand, you revel in pointing out real and supposed errors of non-Calvinists. To use your argument, I guess we could just pass them all off as not being true non-Calvinists.
    3. Some of your words are highly offensive and in the interest of facilitating understanding (as well as other reasons), you should apologize. Sincerely apologize. Ministers on any side lose credibility when they use such crude words.
    4. You have repeatedly used offensive comments (not just offensive words) and insinuations against non-Calvinists. Do you really believe you are coming off as being anything close to objective?
    5. Explaining and giving a defense for what non-Calvinists believe is not an all out attack on Calvinism. Some of you guys seem to think that you can have your conferences, defenses, and explanations of Calvinism; and the other side had better just sit down, shut up, and take it. Kind of like we should be embarrassed for our existence. If 5 point Calvinists can have their conferences, why can’t non-5 point Calvinists have theirs? Without being mercilessly attacked.
    David R. Brumbelow
    .-= David R. Brumbelow´s last blog ..R. L. Sumner and the Biblical Evangelist =-.

    • says

      Did you go to the John 3:16 Conference? I went to both it and Desiring God last year. One never mentioned Calvinism, the other used it for target practice. This was not a conference in defense of non-Calvinism, it was a conference about why Calvinism is unacceptable, which yes, is offensive.

      Please see my earlier comment (#41) about the difference b/w Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism. Calvinists deflect the criticisms which belong to hyper-Calvinist thought in the same way non-Calvinists do not stand to be compared with Arminians because of the issue of eternal security. I don’t blame non-C’s for wanting to not be called ‘Arminians’ for this reason. Similarly, Calvinists don’t want to be called hyper-Calvinists.
      .-= Todd Burus´s last blog ..Choosing to Hate?- Blog Post on Reactions against Calvinism in the SBC =-.

      • Luke says

        If you find offensive a conference where Calvinism is viewed as unacceptable, then how in the world do you NOT expect to have non-Calvies view your “parallel” to racism as unacceptable? The two sir are miles apart.

  46. Bill says

    Note that most of the comments on this post are about Calvinists and not about Calvinism. Also note that most comments (including mine) are stand alone statements and not dialog. We’ve also seen that “you’re not smart enough to criticize me (or someone in my camp)” comes floating in from both sides of the aisle.

    So in the spirit of true dialog, let me pose an honest question to our non-Calvinist brethren, and hopefully generate a respectful thread of conversation.

    Is it wrong for a pastor who is a Calvinist to teach and preach scripture from a Calvinistic perspective? Let’s assume that his main mission is not to convert the congregation to Calvinism, but when preaching the scriptures which form the foundation of Calvinist thought, he teaches them as he believes them. Let’s also assume that he did not enter into his post under false pretenses, such as hiding his views until he was on board.

    And a followup: If you say no, it is not wrong, then what should that pastor do if people threaten to leave because of his Calvinism?

    • Bill says

      By the way, if someone hides a particular theological viewpoint that they know is controversial until they are hired, like Calvinism, then your problem isn’t that you’ve hired a Calvinist, but that you’ve hired a deceiver.

      • says

        If he was open and honest about his position, and he was hired, then I assume most of the church also leaned towards calvinism and were open to that line of strict preaching. Anyone who feels the need to leave has that option. I would pray they do so without doing it negatively (ie bashing the pastor). IF the pastor was not open about his leanings then as Bill said, him being a calvinist is the least of the churchs worry, in my opinion.

        I think, too, after he is hired, that he also has the duty of telling visitors who are considering joining the church that his view is towards calvinism. Before we joined our current church we had our pastor over and grilled him with several really hard questions because we wanted to know what his “theology” is. He in turned grilled us :-) I think we all ended up with good opinions of each other because of being open and honest with each other. Many times we (meaning people in general) keep quiet, and in turn hold grudges or become bitter, because we don’t open up to each other when we have questions. Instead of honest dialogue, we have presumed interpretations. Does that make sense?
        .-= Sallie´s last blog ..Peacemaking =-.

    • says

      Is it wrong for a pastor to preach from his convictions (Calvinistic or otherwise)?

      Absolutely not! I would doubt any pastor could divorce his beliefs from his message and would seriously question their honesty and call to preach if they did.

      What about the people who wish to leave after learning their preacher’s convictions don’t line up with their own?

      I would recommend that they leave like I and my family, and extended family did when a previous pastor we sat under for several years decided to become more and more “reformed” (a rather arrogant statement btw, imo) which DID cause problems within our family as I attempted to follow him down the reformed path while my wife (and rest of my family) did not. However, our decision to leave had more to do with the pastor’s arrogance and maliciousness in turning the congregation against us (we were evil because we were not reformed and dared to argue about it) than it was the theological position (though we also found the theological position to be untenable as well).

      I don’t think we should demonize the pastor for preaching his convictions, but we also shouldn’t expect members to blindly accept everything they are taught or to pursue unity within a particular organization of believers at all cost or to stay in a church where they are wholly unwelcome (and treated as unregenerate sinners).

  47. says

    Since you logged a comment “pertinent” to the topic, I’ll be glad to oblige.
    You write:

    “You have just inadvertently illustrated one of the problems Calvinists face. This problem is seen by conflating one Calvinists comments towards two specific individuals into one Calvinists comments about all non-Calvinists…Todd did not say the scholars as if to reference all, many or most. He was speaking about two men in particular. Todd also didn’t claim there are no non-Calvinist scholars who are brilliant nor Calvinist scholars who are not. This is the type of poor reasoning that folks tend to use against Calvinists” (italics added).

    While I’m happy to be an illustration, Mark, it would be more meaningful, especially to me, if you’d be particularly careful in stating what I’m suppose to be illustrating.

    For example, I’m allegedly accused of “conflating” one Calvinist’s comments toward two into one Calvinist’s comments toward all. Really? And just how is my “poor reasoning” illustrated? According to you, ” Todd did not say the scholars as if to reference all, many or most.” I agree. Could you please inform me where I said he did?

    Perhaps in your hurry in logging a “non-defense” of Todd’s words, you failed to read what I specifically wrote about Todd’s words:

    —“[Todd]…demonstrated, quite nicely, in fact, precisely why some non-Calvinists make the charge of arrogance toward some Calvinists….
    —“Todd, you describe two accomplished scholars–Drs. Allen & Lemke–with “phony-baloney arguments, bad scholarship and caricatures of the truth.”
    —“how the description of Drs. Allen & Lemke as offering “phony-baloney arguments…” squares with your original piece , one cannot tell: “Let me be clear, I do not believe that non-Calvinists in the SBC are ignorant. ” Well, doggie. You sure could have fooled me!”
    —“And, if the scholars among Non-Calvinists are so obviously filled with “phony-baloney…” think how ignorant all the poor souls are in the SBC who are Non-Calvinists but not scholars.”
    —“even the best advocates among [Non-Calvinists] offer but phony-baloney…”

    Consistently, Mark, I made it clear concerning about whom I was referring. Thus, your point about convolution is simply moot.

    In addition, what you mean by citing as evidence of “poor reasoning” on my part, something neither he nor I mentioned is thoroughly odd: “Todd also didn’t claim there are no non-Calvinist scholars who are brilliant nor Calvinist scholars who are not.” So? Neither did I mention them. Why would that illustrate “poor reasoning” on my part?

    I’m afraid, Mark, in the end, whether I illustrated “poor reasoning” may need to be reevaluated in light of what I actually wrote.

    Toodle do.

    With that, I am…
    .-= peter´s last blog ..Peeping Back, Peering Forward: What the 2009 SBC Means for Southern Baptists by Peter Lumpkins =-.

    • says


      I was working from one quote from your response. The original quote that I was replying to.

      And, if the scholars among Non-Calvinists are so obviously filled with “phony-baloney arguments, bad scholarship and caricatures of the truth,” think how ignorant all the poor souls are in the SBC who are Non-Calvinists but not scholars. Luckily for Calvinists, they have brilliant accomplished scholars such as yourself to point this out for them.

      Notice the bold text. I certainly could have misunderstood you and you didn’t mean many or most scholars among non-Calvinists. What did you mean then? You go on to show me how you spoke of Lemke and Allen earlier in your comment. Fine, I never disagreed.

      However, when you say the scholars among Non-Calvinists I could not tell that you were simply referencing Lemke and Allen. If so, it seems like they are the only scholars among non-Calvinists. I hope you can understand my confusion and forgive me if I misunderstood.

      Briefly, I will touch on my “brilliant” comment. This again goes back to just who you were referencing with the the scholars among Non-Calvinists who make “phony-baloney arguments, bad scholarship and caricatures of the truth”. Combined with Luckily for Calvinists, they have brilliant accomplished scholars such as yourself to point this out for them. The implications here seem to divide scholar into two camps: brilliant/Calvinists vs. not-so-brilliant/non-Calvinists. Again, forgive me if I misunderstood and wrongly implied.

      .-= Mark Lamprecht´s last blog ..Gospel Coalition or Assertions? =-.

  48. says

    In light of the comments generated since yesterday morning, I would like to apologize for the language that I chose to use in comment #42. I have struggled with how to approach this and want to be honest, I do not find that word offensive and know that several others are of this conviction as well, but I do see that what I have said has offended some here and so in respect to them and what the Scripture teaches about reproach and honoring your brother I would like to apologize for having spoken in such a manner on this board.

    If you have any further concerns or comments please direct them to me personally in email so that we are not straying further from the subject at hand here. Thank you.
    .-= Todd Burus´s last blog ..Choosing to Hate?- Blog Post on Reactions against Calvinism in the SBC =-.

  49. says

    So……what are we talking about again?

    Would you be so kind as to check out
    this article
    I wrote. It’s concerning the dialogue not only on this particular thread but the blogosphere in general. Does anyone else see this tendency in your own heart…or is it just me?
    .-= Mike Leake´s last blog ..Time to Grow Up and Pray =-.

  50. William Eastwood says

    Mr Burus,

    If I am understanding you corrrectly then kudos to you. And thanks. I will therefore modify my objections.

    You are correct sir that if someone wants to reject Calvinism they should be sure that they are rejecting the real thing and not just the caricature.

    My other point is simply that Calvinism by nature excludes and will result in a smaller tent for Southern Bapists.. with that I bow out of your discussion as a former Southern Baptist.

  51. says

    Well, Todd, like I said before, “What we should be asking is why some non-Calvies and Calvies are not at odds with one another…then we’ll see how to avoid the pitfalls of misunderstandings. I believe it is because true Christ-filled love binds them–rather than positions.”

    We can all tell our war-stories, but how many of us are willing to tell our communion stories? Some of my war stories I will never ever tell, because all it would do is dig up bones of an already buried and forgiven grievance. We learn from the grievance times. We grow from them. And God would have us love one another so that others would know Him because of the love we show one another.

    I’m learning to take most of the comments I find irritating, arrogant and divisive (from either side), and overlook them and pray for the parties involved. I am trying to be more tolerant of others because of the differences we all have and I want to “know” more about the people I begin talking with before I converse. That’s not always possible because not everyone provides a profile where we can get to know one another. I didn’t know anything about Calvinism till about 3 years ago. And when I tried to understand it, I was continually sent to websites with long theological words, words, words imprinted. Yet there was no person to engage with. Kinda like trying to get information on the phone and getting a computer. And I found the only thing I could ascertain from various Calvie and non-Calvie’s is that they each believed differently and just about everything.

    So I decided to love them all and love them in Christ (calvies and non-calvies) and the ones who gravitated in kindness and bore the fruit of the Spirit…well, they became fast friends. Others, I walked away from, or ignored. selahV
    .-= selahV´s last blog ..PROTECTED FROM GOD’S GLORY, LEST…. =-.

  52. says

    Ten years down the road, all of you might well be singing a different tune. If we must err, let us err on the side of love. I am glad I spent two yrs. research on the agape pericope in I Cors.112:31b-14:1a. It will really do something for your spirit. Since Sovereign Grace believers are on the winning side, even when they seem to loose, why get upset with those who berate and misuse us? As Jacob said to his brothers, Gen.50:20, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Yup, there are those who are false Grace believers. Jesus had Judas and even his true disciples deserted Him (and we would have, too, had we been there). Instead of all this moaning nd groaning about how bad the other side is doing, let us rejoice like Paul in this opportunity to suffer for the Lord’s sake. did it ever occur to any of you, when the other side gets the meanest, it is becaue they are about to lose? The darkest hour is just before the dawn. Could it be that we are about to have the Third Great Awakening? Many have been praying for such for yrs. Sooner or later, God will answer those prayers, especially, if they have been pleading His promises to that end. Can’t you hear the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, a refreshing breeze beginning to blow, like the smell of rain coming after a long dry spell in farm country in Arkansas? Think of it the whole earth converted to Christ in one generation. Doesn’t He deserve such? Should we not only be praying for it, but doing every thing we can to promote it and wi nothers to it? God bless.
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  53. says

    I agree with Wes that a pastor should preach his theological convictions.

    As to the “disclose you’re a Calvinist” approach, I say no. I have a better idea. Pull out the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. Then, have the search committee go through any concerns they might have with the pastor’s position using it.

    The pastor, Calvinist or otherwise, could then point out that he agrees with the BFM2K. A Calvinist might actually be able to use this document to question whether or not the search committee member(s) actually believe what the document they cooperate around says.

    I think this approach would challenge and possibly silence those who question the pastors theology. My guess is that many in our SBC pews don’t really know the BFM2K anyways. Though I’m just guessing…
    .-= Mark Lamprecht´s last blog ..Fourth of July Note and Blog Agenda =-.

    • says


      That is an excellent comment!

      Kind of like putting the shoe on the other foot… and then after the pastor has the pulpit committee on record concerning the BFM perhaps he then needs to put the whole congregation on record by letting them know that if they call him they can expect him to preach “the whole council of the BFM”. (Smile…. that one was for my friend David)
      .-= Greg Alford´s last blog ..The Rise of Passionate Missionary Calvinism in the SBC =-.

    • Gordan Runyan says

      None of the three SBC congregations that have voted to call me as pastor ever asked me as much as single theological question prior to that vote. The one I am currently serving specifies the BFM and the New Hampshire confession in its covenant.

      Now, when nobody cares enough to formulate and ask a theological question in the entire congregation, and the statement of faith is Calvinistic, I confess I see no obligation to blurt out, “Watch out! I’m a Calvinist!” Neither do I feel the need to draw a Trinitarian sword and prepare to defend that doctrine either. Or Substitutionary Atonement, or a belief in the Second Coming of Christ, and on and on.

      This entire thread misses the point. The question is not so much, Why is Calvinism misunderstood and misrepresented? The larger question is, How did the SBC become such a theologically apathetic and Biblically ignorant organization in its mainstream? I’m not talking about the scholars; I’m saying my own experience is that the average, baptized member in SBC churches is woefully ignorant, not of Calvinism first, but of the content of the Scripture.

  54. says

    Let them who peach the whole counsel of the BFM 2000 know that it is chicken when it comes o admitting the truth concerning Sandy Creek and eldresses! I think the whole deal is funny and the Third Great Awakening is daily drawing nearer and nearer, like a tsunami where the water is flowing in silently as in the night, like the St. Francis flood in the 30s(?) or 20s(?) where my Grandpa found it out, when his arm dropped off his bed and his hand went into the arm (a rather wet awakening I suspect). He said it really woke him up. The overwhelming grace that is so wonderful can sneak up on you like thedrug dealer who was driving across one of our American cities and said he felt the grace rising from the floor of his auto which converted him on the spot and changed his whole life. God is getting very impatient; He wants what He wants when He wants it, and there ain’t no telling how much awesomeness He is willing to display of His goodness, love, mercy, grace, kindness, and, yes, even His justice. I remember seeing some photos taken in Hawaii of flowers and sunsets that were breathtaking in their beauty (the lady who took them is a genius). God is like those photos only more so. Like the lady who told a friend of mine named Spurgeon when he won her to Christ back in the 60s why she responded so readily, “Oh! It was so wonderful that I could not resist it!” Forty yrs or so later, he came to the conclusion that she was right and joined his more famous relative in believing that God really can and does win the day by His goodness, kindness, grace, and love, and, yes, even by His justice (as fearful as that is).
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  55. Rev. John Mueller says

    One of the reasons (besides believer’s baptism) that I chose to become a Baptist after already being a Christian for five years is that I deeply believe in congregational autonomy, and the corollary of that is that each Baptist church has an absolute New Testament right to be Calvinist or non-Calvinist.
    This overall debate, including this blog’s discussion so far, would resonate better with me if it were framed strongly in terms of John 17:11(b).
    That said, perhaps a reminder about our recent denominational order is in order. I rejoiced when our denomination took a strong stand on biblical inerrancy in a remarkable reversal of the SBC’s drift toward flagrant theological liberalism. And God bless the people who helped engineer that particular reversal for having done so.
    However, after reclaiming a high view of Scripture for the SBC, once firmly entrenched in power those folks have shown a marked tendency to keep pushing the envelope on issues about which there can and should be considerably more room for freedom of conscience than there should be about inspiration.
    Several examples: the BFM revision about the role of women that talks about wives “graciously submitting” to their husbands based on Eph 5:22 but is strangely silent on Eph 5:21, which talks about “submitting to one another.” Likewise the push to control how exactly folks are supposed to pray in their private devotions. Likewise the push to boot out longtime missionaries simply for the “crime” of having been biblically divorced and remarried many years ago along the lines of Matt 19 and 1 cor 7:15. Likewise the recent neo-Catholic fertility theology popular among at least several Southern professors.
    And then along comes the push for Calvinism coming primarily from 2800 Lexington Road. If that were solely a debate based on Calvinism alone, I’m guessing there might be more receptiveness to a calm discussion of the issue, especially if it were clear it was being done in the “that they may be one” spirit of John 17:11(b)–if both sides were willing to acknowledge that dating back to the 1600s, with the General and Particular Baptists, there have always been these two competing, conflicting strands of Baptist thought and probably always will. If the debate were solely about Calvinism, to answer the brother’s original blog question, it might contain considerably more light and considerably less heat.
    However, there is a perception among many, many Baptist churches, especially in Kentucky, that every year or two the folks now in power in the SBC come up with a new litmus test to try to draw their circle ever smaller and tighter for who’s really a good Christian and who’s not (see examples above). That it’s as much about keeping and wielding political power as it is about doctrinal fidelity. And that Calvinism is just the latest in the series of these litmus tests and that since it really should be a matter of congregational autonomy, quit trying to make the General Baptists more Particular (and of course the reverse could be said as well).
    It is certainly anyone’s right to argue how fair that perception may or not be, but it is a perception nonetheless and one that Calvinists will want to peacefully deal with if they truly wish to be heard at what amount to the General Baptist churches of the SBC. This assessment is not intended to overlook or justify the inaccurate caricatures of Calvinism sometimes put forth by its opponents, but if the Particular Baptists honestly want to know why some General Baptist churches are so upset with them, they may want to offer some reassurances that this is not merely the latest in a growing number of litmus tests intended as de facto political loyalty oaths, rather than a clear-cut reading of God’s Word.

  56. says

    None of this is as it seems. The present Baptists who brought about the changes were not adept at being in positions of leadership. They also did not know the Founders and their Theology (and I use the term Founders not in the sense that the present day organization with that name uses it) which must take into account the various influences on it from the 1700s (among which is this issue of eldresses and a better view of women and their position in the church). The present day Reformed Baptist theologians have little understanding of the more liberal perspectives of the earlier founders. They also lack the appreciation for how the Separates and Regulars could allow for a difference on the atonement to exist due to the fact that advocates of Christ tasting death for every man had suffered for the cause of Christ and they had called these men brethren and now both had resorted to unChristian like conduct and that made them feel ashamed. After the sense of shame for such conduct came upon them they adopted the rule that the preaching that Christ tasted death for every man should be no bar to communion. The normal vew would be He tasted death for the elect alone. And then thereis the matter of John Gano taking communion with George Whitefield, and various ministers of various denominations having part in the installation of Basil Manly Sr. as pastor of the FBC of Charleston. J.R. Graves knew little and understood less about the issues than most people imagine. It is true that he produced one of the most insighful analyses of Acts 19 on ochlos and ekklesia (in his work on Intercommunion), proving conclusively, I think, that the two are not to be equated and, thus, limiting the value of K. Schmidt’s article on ekklesia in Kittel’s as he had never seen that writing. But other than that most of Graves’ work is not worth reading, and does his life leave even more to be desired (is he the model for the preacher in Twain’s Huck Finn as one implied to me recently?)? How could the early Baptists work with Thomas Jefferson? And why did he finance a Baptist Preacher named John Lemon to go to Illinois and campaign against the expansion of slavery in that state? And by the wqy I had a Hemmings in one of my classes at South Carolina State College, a very beautiful young lady. The story of Jefferson as one of their ancestors has been consistent over the years, and I have heard that it was one of his relatives but a close examination of his presence at Monticello and other factors seems to point rather decisively to him. Richard Furman declared in one writing that Baptists would fight in defense of slavery. A cannon ball from Fort Sumpter buried its metal in his grave in 1861 so I have read. One thing is sure Boyce was opposed to the War as he thought it might be God’s retribution upon the South for the way they had treated the negro family, and Basil Sr. apparently did not favor the national division in 1830 when the issue first arose. Though we have many things wrong in our history (as well as many good things), we have enough of the latter in the way of visitations from God to warrant our seeking His favor upon our efforts to expand His kingdom upon the earth. The efforts of the 1700s and early 1800s with the Awakenings, American Freedoms, and the origins of missions are sufficient to encourage us to hope and labor for further advancements and blessings in this generation. More could undoubtedly be said, but the gentleman in the preceeding comment has already indicated why we need to continue and to develop that sense of freedom in which liberty is exercised in things that are not absolutely critical in the sense that the inspiration of scriptures or the nature of the Gospel is to the ongoing of Kingdom service. In fact liberty and freedom should grow out of truths fully understood as they did in times past, times in which Baptists won the respect of others so that 200 plus congregational churches became Baptist, because they became convinced that the Baptist position was right, the only true reason for being a Baptist under any consideration. Our future might be brighter than we think or imagine. God grant us a Third Great Awakening, the one that wins the whole earth to the Lord Jesus Christ by the truth in persuasion alone backed up by commitments that match what we have received.
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  57. says

    To little surprise, Calvinism has been reduced to having become a caricuture in the mind of Arminian influenced believers, whose soteriology confuseses God’s sovereignty in salvation with hyper-Calvinism. This is an interesting notion since I have yet to find a Calvinist who opposed evangelism, including the ‘Prince of Preachers’, Spurgeon himself, a fairly competent soul-winner if there ever was one.

    In lieu of the clear understanding of the Baptist Faith and Message (co-authored by Calvinist Al Mohler), the Doctrines of Grace supported by ‘mainline’ Calvinists, merely acknowledge the obvious truths of scripture which support the notion of God’s initiating salvation in the lives of sinners who are “dead in the their tresspasses and sins (Eph.2).”

    Being a Southern Baptist myself, who understands the sovereignty of God in all of His kingdom, human responsibility in no way contradicts sovereignty in salvation and mere research- even curosory research could help dispel such misunderstandings and bias.

  58. BISHOP MARK says

    Why can’t those with a Calvinists view simply join the PCA? The docterine is ever present and no one is upset about it?

      • BISHOP MARK says

        Evidently there are many more members of the SBC that do not believe the doctrine of Calvinism than do. Otherwise a fear of infiltration would not exist. My point is, why would you try to create chaos by pushing a different doctrine(through Semminary grads in the name of “being more educated”) within an established denomination when there are other denominations(PCA) that hold true to the doctrine you believe with NO QUESTIONS, CONFUSION, etc.? GOD is not the author of confusion and this battle is not much different than Christ addressing the disciples in Matt. 18 concerning who is the Greatest.
        I think the focus should shift back to Christ and if your focus must be on the docterine of Calvinism the PCA would probably be a better fit for you.

      • says

        I am pretty moderate on this issue. I believe in God’s sovereign choice (therefore out of favor with anti-Calvinists) and I have issues about the scope of the atonement (thus rejected by the more virulent Calvinists).

        But, Mark, you exhibit NO understanding of the nature of Baptist work. Your idea that being Calvinist is somehow inimical to being Calvinist demonstrates ignorance of Baptist history and theology.

        Most of us are trying to bridge the gap and cooperate in the interests of the Great Commission. I hope your divisiveness is as rare as I think it is.
        .-= Dave Miller´s last blog ..Significant Servant, October 4, 2009 Essential Reproducble Quality 1 =-.

        • BISHOP MARK says

          My point is why is this such a hot button issue now? It is creating a division in the church.

          please enlighten me on the nature of Baptist work.

          Please clarify this:
          Your idea that being Calvinist is somehow inimical to being Calvinist demonstrates ignorance of Baptist history and theology.

        • says

          Mark, this has always been an issue in the SBC – since the founding. Many of those who founded our denom were Calvinists; many were not.

          There have always been Calvinists in the SBC, though in the last 100 years (150??) they have always been a minority.

          The recent rise of Calvinists in the SBC is more of a return to history – the pendulum swings again.

          Telling the Calvinists to go to the PCA evidences a misunderstanding of Baptist theology and practyice. Baptist Calvinists are Baptists by conviction, believing that baptism by immersion of believers is biblical. They are NOT presbyterian (which describes a different form of church government). They ARE Baptist. They are just Baptists who believe in sovereign grace.

          Why ask them to leave the convention?

          Some want everyone who doesn’t agree about Calvinism to leave (like you).
          Some want anyone who sips a glass of wine to leave.
          Some want anyone who prays in a private prayer language to leave.
          Some want anyone who uses new methods to leave.
          Some want…

          If all of you have your way, the SBC will be 12 people meeting in a garage somewhere.

          If we just work together, in spite of our minor differences, we can have a great impact.

          But we have to resist people who tell us to exclude anyone who doesn’t agree with their narrow theology.
          .-= Dave Miller´s last blog ..Significant Servant, October 4, 2009 Essential Reproducble Quality 1 =-.

          • says

            Amen Dave…

            As your co-moderate I fully commend everything you said. I think it is safe to say that most of the SBC’s founding fathers were Calvinistic and the noncalvinists more clearly the minority and then the pendulum swung and now it’s swinging back.

            The pendulum is going to continue to swing back and forth and every time it swings we cant have one camp trying to kick the other camp out. I assure you that if the Calvinists were the majority right now I would not be calling for the removal of Arminians.

  59. says

    There were people in England being tried and executed for holding to the teachings of so-called calvinism before John Calvin was ever born and before his conversion. I remember one in particular where the person before the ourt was charged with believing that out of the universities we have free will and the papacy. Clearly that individual dd not believe in free will or the pope. Clearly, he was on the verge of gettng burned for such heresies. Most people have little conception of what the so-called calvinists did for the cause of freedom in the long run. A little history might help a little, and a lot might help a whole lot. But why worry. Here we are on the verge of the Third Great Awakening, and the proof of it is in the fussing. That’s what the Baptists were doing in North Carolina just before the Second Great Awakening. I love it when God turns arguments into love fests. Don’t you hear the train a-comin? er rain?
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  60. John Mueller says

    Just a point of historical clarification about someone’s previous recent post–the Baptist Faith and Message was *not* co-authored by our current Southern Seminary president, other than having a role in the most recent modifications, e.g. the role of women in the church. The Baptist Faith and Message of 1963 is used in many Kentucky Baptist churches and Dr. Mohler, like me, was a bit too young back then to have been theologizing in 1963! It is my understanding that the now-retired Dr. Wayne Ward, one of the finest professors Southern has ever had, had at least a private role in the shaping of BFM ’63.

  61. Rev Dr. Karl Benson says

    What Calvinist in the SBC are affraid to state and what the Non-Calvinist in the SBC can so clearly see is at the heart and center of Clavinism is racism. Non-Calvinist sees and understands not only the history of Calvinism, but also the results that which was produced by its teaching and concepts. Calvinism’s far reaching doctrines has cause the robbery of Native Americans, and the rape of Africa. Non-Calvinist, at least the ones I know, are not afraid of Calvinism, they just understand Calvinism very well and that is where their concerns are.

  62. says

    The idea that Calvinism is the cause of racism is phoney baloney. I graduated from a Black University, taught in Black State college (now university), wrote a prospectus for a doctoral dissertation in Black History at Columbia Univ, and did my doctor of ministry project on Christian Love and Race Relations at SEBTS. I studied Black History for years. I found where a Methodist preacher sold the baby out of his slave woman’s arms and slugged her with hi fist, when she screamed in protest. Do I blame the Methodists and Arminians for racism? How absurd! Neither do I blame the Baptists and Calvnists which most of our founding fathers actually were. In fact, all of the Presidents of th SBC from the first one, William B. Johnson, down to the mid-20th century were sovereign grace believers. In fact, one of the early anti-slavery movements of the South was Southern Baptist, namely, the Friends of Humanity which began in Va. and spread to Ky. The evil of racism lies in man”s fallen nature, in culture, in economic situations, namely, greed. One of the sources of this evil grew out of the Renaissance’s view of man, where Renaissance Man is willing to use anyone to advance his cause. See Dr. John Hope Franklin’s work, From Slavery to Freedom (which studied in undergraduate school, in my M.A. program, and in my work toward the Ph.D.). Also the Puritans in New England began to see the evils of slavery and eventually of racism. Not many people know it, but John Brown was a strong Calvinist in this theological viewpoint. In the light of the comment preceeding this one, one wonders how that individual would interpret Brown’s theology and actions. It helps to study and be informed.
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  63. Rev Dr. Karl Benson says

    It is so nice to know that you are so well educated. Let’s look at history and see the racist heart of Calvinism. Let us look at South Africa and the Calvinist view that was express by Aparteid which came thru the Church of England, let us look at the Baptist Church that President Jimmy Carter was a member; that church was calvinistic and refuse to permitt blacks as members. Let us look at Bob Jones University in South Carolina, a Calvinist institution that would not for years permit black students to attend there. This is the concerns of the non-calvinist in the SBC. Col. Custer was a Calvinist, who thought it was part of GOD’s plan to kill the american native in order to take their land. It was John Brown, the Christian
    Calvinist, that was killed by other Christian Calvinist. Answer that one. Am sure, as educated as you are, you know that there are different types of Calvinist. Some are not as committed to John Calvin as they are to GOD and His Word. Yes indeed, it does help to study and be truly informed.

  64. says

    Let’s see what you agenda is and here you are coming from. You seem to have one and it is extremely hostile. Talk of being implacable. You comment on what you wish and ignore what you please. That there are calvinists who were and might still be racists, I have no doubt. That thee are Arminians who were and might still be racistst, I also do no doubt. However, I note you rather superficial overlook that matter. Culture plays a big part in the so-called racism. More specifically, greed also does. Tell us, dear sir, what are you trying to prove? I hold to Sovereign Grace, but I guess I could be classified as a Black Historian (seeing how I was trained in it by a numnber of great African American Historians). I do not see any African Americans as inferior or second class or any thing of that nature…any more than I would any one else. According to you, by definition one holding to Sovereign Grace (I reject the term Calvinist – simply due to the fact that plenty of people believed these truths before Calvin was even born, Augustine, a African for one) has to be a racists. I dare say you will get a lot of folks in these columns who would reject your classification of them as such with rather stinging rebukes.
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  65. Rev Dr. Karl Benson says

    I see you are one of those well educated Calvinist who love to insult other people. That seem to be the nature of you Calvinist. We all have an agenda and we all desire to be heard. I don’t consider myself hostile against any one, and as a Professor of Theology, Hermeneutics, and Christian History I know that the historic facts concerning Calvinism will speak for itself. This is one of the concerns of some of the Non-Calvinist in the SBC. History even shows us that members of the KKK consider themselves to be Christian Calvinist. Answer this one question: Is being a Calvinist the same as being Christ-like??? I truly don’t think so….what is your answer???

  66. says

    Dear Brother: Your knowledge sounds like papal infallibility. You make these statements which history does not necessarily support. Yes, John Brown was a calvinist, and he was seeking to free a people enslaved. Yes, there were calvinists who dealt with him. But so were there Arminians, and so were there people involved in the whole process designed to bring about the Civil War to get rid of all believers of supernatural faith. You respond to what you please and ignore what you please. If Calvinists are all racists, then explain my love for Black History and appreciation for them as a people with a culture worthy of study. Some of the finest Christians who ever lived were African Americans who understood and believed and preached Sovereign Grace. You might be a teacher of theology and hermenuetics, but if it is calvinism why did the NAZIS do what they did to the Jews in the Holacaust? Why did Indian Tribes also make war on each other? As far as Custer is concerned some of my relatives were descendants of Sitting Bull. You never replied to the issue of Dr. Franklin’s laying some of the blame at the feet of the Renaissance view of man which would use any one to advance his cause. You talk a good game, but the SBC was founded by calvinists and maintaind by calvinists and they opened the doors to folks of views that were not as strict or as well-founded. How in the world could they do that? And why did the noted historian, Dr. George Bancroft, call the USA a calvinistic republic? Why did real libery and the greatest nation on earth originate out of a calvinistic milieu. According to your perspective, it should have come out of the Arminian, I suppose. You have said, yet, You have only said, non-calvinist. I do know some of the history of South Africa and Apartheid, and for years I prayed for an end to Apartheid. I am thankful that God ended that great evil even though it might have been in answer to the prayers of others. It is interesting that I have observed that one of the greatest events in recent world history was the reconciliation commission efforts seeking to face the truth and pray for forgiveness. I don’t know of aother instance comparable to that undertaking on a national scale. Since you make one-sided judgments on the basis of superficial knowledge, you might want to reconsider as a person with education. Research opens the door to insights and understanding. Where do you come from, brother? Where do you teach? What areas have you really studied? Being Christ-like is easy talk, especially when a person gets to decide what he wants to be Christ-like. What areas have you done research in? One of the areas I researched was I Cors.13 which scholars of virtually every persuasion agree was based upon the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Two years of research in the Greek on that passage is sure enlightening about Jesus and what He wants us to do. Have you read the primary sources in Black History and had nightmares from them? Have you read the sources on the Inquisition of the Midle Ages and the Spanish Inquisition and had nightmares from them. Have you viewed photographs of a German Concentration Camp taken by a church member and sufered nightmares from them. Have you lived in Hell on a sharecroppers farm in Arkansas where the adults in charge of your well-being were, due to their depraved cndition, threatening murder of one another and then the Gospel came into that house and it became a Gospel-believing home? And the pastor of the nearby Southern Baptist Church was a calvinist who loved people to Christ and who fulfilled a Methodists historian’s description of the Farmer Preacher of the Baptists (I refer to Dr. W.W. Sweet’s The Story of Relgion in America and his work on the Baptists). My ordaining pastor had his Ph.D. from Bob Jones and he was one of the pastors of Columbia, South Carolina who welcomed Billy Graham to preach his first crusade after the first Los Angeles Crusade. Have you persuaded people to give up or, at least ameliorate their racism, or been in harm’s way due to your support for what you believed to be right? Have you suffered insults from your own family member due to yourbelieving and seeking to bring to an end such an evil as racial prejudice? Dear Brother, I do not hate you any ore than I hated my Uncle who used a well-know epithet for me. I won him to Christ, and he said, “I am just a poor ignorant white man.” His words broke my heart, because I loved him. God grant you grace to see that their are believers in Sovereign Grace who care just as much about these issues as you, if not more. Personally, I do not care for the term calvinist due to Calvin’s part in the death of Servetus, but I recognize that he was a part of that milieu that held to a state church. We don’t. Roger Williams was a calvnist and he established religious freedom in Rhode Island which example was imitated in the establishing of the American Republican. Let us remember that Jesus did not die for us due to anything in us or for any thing that we do. He chose to love us, and that is the absolute mystery of the ages. I can well understand why He would not love me, a depraved sinner. Even the secularists sometimes see the value in being made aware of the heart of darkness in all of us. Eliot seem to get closer to the truth, the deadness of hollow men leaning together with heads stuffed with straw.
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  67. Rev Dr. Karl Benson says

    Greetings Debbie Kaufman, One of my best childhood friends is a professor at Bob Jones University. He a sures me that BJU is Calvinistic. After all, “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, kicks and swims like a duck, it is a DUCK.” History wise, you may like to read “Irony of Apartheid,” by Irving Hersham and “The Christian Afrikanas,” by Rev. Dr. Frances Nigel Lee, and you may want to read a paper by Professor William Anderson of North Greenville College in South Carolina titled “George Bush, Bob Jones and the real missed Opportunity.” Dr. James Williamson wrote a interesting book titled “A Second Look: The Errors of Clavinism. You may also want to read a well written book by a Calvinist name James Oliver Buswell: “Slavery, Segregation and Scripture.”

  68. Rev Dr. Karl Benson says

    Like I stated before, “If it walks like a duck…it is a duck,” it is what it is. My friend attended and received his degree from BJU in the class of 1972 and now he is a Professor of Christian and Church History there. One would think he would know since he is teaching there. If one conducts themselves like a Calvinist, they are Calvinist. Have BJU ever conducted itself like a Calvinist would??? Look at BJU’s history and there you may see what my friend sees. Have BJU ever kepts African Americans from attending there? Have BJU ever practiced Segregation or any other Calvinistic concept whereby people of color are hindered or kept away from that institution? I would be interested in knowing at what age did you first heard the term “Calvinism?”

  69. says

    Dear Debbie: Dr, Benson seems to have an agenda that is not amenable to any amount of reason. Thee are undoubtedly some Sovereign Grace faculty members at Bob Jones, but it is likely that there are Arminians there as well. After all, the school was founded by a Methodist Evangelist,Dr Bob Jones, Sr. That calvinists wrote in defense of slavery; I know from having read the primary sources. Consider for example, Richard Furman’ defense of slavery and saying Baptists would fight for it (circa 1823-24). God’s answer to the folly of that dear man (a member of the convention which would adopt the US constitution and a preacher on whose head the British put a huge reward) might well have been a cannon ball that buried itself in his grave in 1861. But the person of God can and often is wrong about many things in life. Paul as wrong about John Mark, and, though he said love does not become provoked (I Cors.13), he did (Acts 15), and yet later called John Mark profitable to him in the ministry.
    Our dear Rev. Dr. Benson seems to forget things like that in his crusade to get rid of the calvinist. One wonders what in the world he is doing in the SBC which was founded by calvinists in order to missionize and evangelize the world to reach the elect while accepting folks whose views did not accord on the atonement. He seems very willing to over look the fact that Arminians wrote in defense of slavery as well as Calvinists, and that Calvinists wrote against slavery as well as Arminians. He also seems to suffer from a problem of methodology. Could he be suffering from the problem of our present flawed Scientific method. As Dr. Jess Moody said in the 60s we are suffering from the paralysis of analysis, and Dr. Benson has read his prejudices into history. He has also failed to take account of culture and man’s fallen nature as sources of prejudice. One ignores other sources at his or her own peril. Having studied Abolitionist History with one of the noted scholars in the field, I think I can reasonably say that the people whom Dr. Benson cites in his crusade to clear the SBC of calvinism must have forgot that Arminians defended the garbage of racism. And, according to Dr. Benson, anomalies like yours truly should not exist. What Dr. Benson might really fear is what this theology might well produce again as it did in 1704 and 1801, namely, another Great Awakening. After all, the folks in Carroll Quigley’s tragedy and Hope really hated what they called determinism as the sought to steal this calvinistic republic (George Bancroft’s term – not mine. Google it sometime.) from those who founded it and fought for it – among whom were not only my predecessors in the Baptist ministry but many of my ancestors). I dare say they fear another great awakening which might well take the whole earth from their grasp for 1001 generations.
    Tell us, Dr. Benson, where are you coming from?
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  70. Rev Dr. Karl Benson says

    It was you Dr. Willington that is afraid of using the term “Calvinist,” in referance to yourself, for what ever reason. I mean no insult to you or any one else, but you are still quacking like the duck you are. If your belief is clearly seen by your conduct. then that term “Calvinist” applies to you also. If you believe what John Calvin taught, my Brother are a Calvinist. I realize that you are a Calvinist, and most likely, you will remain so until our GOD so move to take you home with him. This non-calvinist sees very clearly the racism that is deeply rooted in Calvinism and I will continue to teach and preach that truth. Why talk about the new racism when the old racism is still rooted deep inside of it. Well, until we all come unto the unity of the faith, GOD bless you all and have a good night.

  71. says

    My dear Dr. Benson: Your assumptions and views leave a great deal to be desired. It seems rather evident that you have done little study on either calvinism or racism. I noticed that you did not respond to my remarks on Dr. John Hope Franklin’s discussion concerning Renaissance man and his aggressive behaviors which rather lent itself to the mentality of enslaving and abusing people for one’s own selfish purposes. Also I might observe what do you do with the fact that the Methodists split over slavery just like the
    Baptists, and thye defended it too? As to calvinism, I think it is rather humorous that you should use the duck idea as George Whitefield complained about his Methodist Chickens becoming Baptist Ducks. The doctrines of grace were truths that many died for before John Calvin was ever born, let alone converted. In the first 17 years of the 1500s before Martin Luther posted his 95 theses, there were 350 prosecutions for heresy in England alone. A number of these involved the truths of Sovereign Grace, .i.e, one said free will and the papacy came out of the universities. Fortunately, England was not as closely tied to the inquisition as say Spain; they did not enforce Rome’s dictums as rigorously. The fact that Calvin had a hand in the death of Servetus is one of the reasons why I do not care much for the term calvinism. That was a result of Calvin’s views on the state church. Baptists do not believe the state should compel faith. Roger Williams whose views on Sovereign Grace are recorded in his works along with the fact that he still held his Baptist views was the person (along with Dr. John Clarke) to establish religious liberty by law, and te Jews built their first synagogue in the New World in Rhode Island which still stands and is still in use. Since Southern Baptist founders were Sovereign Grace believers and even used the term calvinist to describe their theological and soteriological positions, tell, my dear sir, where you are coming from – unless your afraid to do it? Why are you in rebellion against the theology of the founders? I refer to Boyce, Manly, Furman, Gano, Stears, Rice, Mercer, the Craigs, Middletons. Sir, I know my history and I became acquainted with Racism and its causes a long time ago. I was trained in it by African American Scholars in a number of fields. I also know the history of our theology and churches and leaders. I ask again, where are you coming from? You use language in a manner that smacks of proganda techniques. Scholars, normally, do not use such approaches as they do not conduce to objectivity and, hence, to understanding. If you were right, then I should be a racist, a view of people I utterly reject.
    .-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

  72. Rev Dr. Karl Benson says

    I gave Debbie Kaufman a list of books to read. Dear Dr. Willingham, you would do well to obtain that list from her and read. Then, may be then, you will understand where I am coming from. After reading these books, if you still do not see or understand that at the heart of Calvinism there is racism, then there is no reason for us to continue this disscusion. Praise GOD we are in a country where we have freedom of speech. You, Dr. Willingham, may continue to quack like the Calvinist you are, and I will continue to teach and preach the Word of GOD, in a Christ-like manner to the best of my ability. GOD bless you and have a good safe night.

  73. says

    Oh ! Bravo, Bravo, two intellectual theologens who wont influence racism in any way. First because most that practice racism have ever heard either one of you, and secondly because they wouldn’t understand you or how people who lived 400 years ago could cause them to do anything. So you two guys just jump from precipice to precipice and back again while us commoners greet, meet and eat away at the remains of racism most of which is practiced by mentally ill white people and expoused by high hat professors with “doctorates from somewhere” in front of their names. I would draw a crowd to watch you both throw your computers at one another if either had the nerve. Hello east texas willingham et al.