Do we believe that God is in this?

Today (8.27.2014) the IMB trustees announced that they had selected David Platt to be the next president of our International Mission Board. Concerns were raised before hand, and upon the announcement came both expressions of praise and concern: praise for his passion for missions and the glory of God in the salvation of the lost; concern over potential polarization, theological nuances, and cooperative program giving.

No doubt, like we often do, we will continue to debate the pros and cons of such a hire for months (if not years) to come.

But I want to ask a question transcending our feelings of agreement or disagreement with David Platt himself. The question is simply this: Do we believe that God is in this?

In his announcement on Brook Hill’s website, Platt said:

Over these past months, God has made it abundantly clear to both Heather and me that He is filling in that blank check in our lives and family with a different assignment. Along the way, God has used the elders of our church to affirm His call, and today He used the leadership of the IMB to confirm it. (http://www.brookhills.org/new/davidmessage.htm)

Platt says that he believes this is God’s leading for his life. The trustees in extending to Platt the call to the position believe that this is God’s direction for our cooperative foreign missions’ organization.

Do we believe this as well?

I guess this is the question: do we trust that David Platt and the men and women of the trustees are people of integrity, people who love Jesus and his church, and people who truly sought God’s will through prayer, thought, and discussion. If that answer is yes, then we need to rally behind our new IMB president despite our feelings or disagreements by praying, encouraging, and, yes, even challenging any decisions we believe are not in the best interest of reaching the world for Christ (but doing so in love and grace).

If that answer is no, then, Nashville, we have a problem that is bigger than the personality or beliefs of a single man. If these have said they have sought God’s will and this they believe is God’s will, and we don’t trust this, then we have an issue with the integrity and character of Platt and a whole bunch of trustees. They would be none other than self-deceived or deceivers, and the alarm should be pulsating.

Personally I believe it is the former and not the latter. I believe these are sincere when they tell us they have sought for God.

But…I will also admit my own personal difficulty with such trust in a more general sense.

In my opinion, we see a lot of human desire passing under the verbiage of God’s will. We’ve all seen it even in the walls of our own church buildings: churches calling pastors and pastors going to churches saying with a smile, “This is God’s will for us!” Yet sometimes a mere 2-to-5 years later, God’s will seems to have changed and the reason behind the reason usually seems to be a bigger paycheck or a sense of buyer’s remorse. We see it in church business meetings on divisive votes: two sides, both claiming that their view is what God wants for the church. (I often wonder how much either side has actually prayed through the issue?)

We see it in charlatan “preachers” who claim that it’s God’s will for you to send them your money and five months later they’re cruising around on a personal jet. Or they have some insight into God’s will behind a disaster hitting a city. Or…the list is almost endless.

There is so much abuse of the idea of “God’s will,” that, honestly, I tend towards skepticism. Being jaded is never healthy, but neither is being taken advantage of by wolves in sheep’s clothing.

I guess why I see this as different is because I have followed Platt’s ministry at Brook Hills for a while. Is he perfect in all he says and does? No…and I think he’d be the first to admit that. But I have seen over and over a passion and sincerity in his teaching and work. I believe the man truly does love Jesus and wants to make his glory known and see sinners saved the whole world over.

Also, I don’t have personal experience with many of the trustees of the IMB; but with the names on the list that I have: I know them to be people who love Jesus, people passionate about the gospel, and people who want to see the knowledge of the glory of the Lord fill the earth like the waters cover the sea.

And so I choose to trust. I choose to believe the best. I don’t doubt that Platt will make some mistakes along the way. I don’t believe he is the perfect candidate for the job, simply because he’s not Jesus. But I believe that he is the candidate of God’s will at this moment. So, with hope I look forward to the leadership he will bring to our International Missions Board.

Comments

  1. Andy Williams says

    If I am reading this article correctly, I would say I think you are too quick to attribute lack of trust in God’s providence to those who express concerns and even opposition to the decision.

    Simply expressing concerns about the appointment, before or after, does not betray a lack of trust in God, but simply raises the concern about the wisdom of a certain decision. And it has nothing to do with one’s theological framework:

    -A Strong Calvinist who thought David Platt was not a wise choice could easily believe that God allowed/guided such a decision to teach the trustees, or the SBC, or David, something they could not have learned without making that mistaken choice (Example only…I’m not saying it was a mistaken choice).

    -A strong non-calvinist who though David Platt was not a wise choice can easily believe that the trustees simply made a mistake, and God in his sovereignty chose not to prevent them from making it.

    Neither is expressing lack of trust in God by expressing their concerns. Any orthodox view of God’s providence understands that people make poor choices, sometime based on sinful motives, sometimes simply based on wrong information or lack of experience. Sometimes God allows those choices bring immediate bad consequences…sometimes God works those choices to bring much better results than we could have hoped.

    I think where you would be correct is that if an individual, based on this IMB decision, loses all hope that God can work in the world, or through the IMB anymore…at that point they would be betraying a very weak faith in the God who rules the cosmos.

    Thanks,
    -Andy
    (DISCLOSURE: Moderately Calvinistic Music/Yth pastor at a Baptist Church that partners with the SBC through CP, LM, & AA giving. )

    • Mike Bergman says

      Andy, more the point of my article is this: both Platt and York (didn’t link his comments, forgot where I saw them), claim they (Platt and the trustees) made this decision after a lot of seeking God in prayer, combined with thought and discussion.

      I don’t think we really see a biblical case of people truly seeking God and finding they have been mistaken or are simply being used by God to teach a lesson in more the negative sense. Those seem to be more the case when people act brashly, without prayer, or just go through the motions as lip-service, or have a heart set on idolatry, etc.

      These say they have sought God and this is God’s leading. If that is true, and I believe it is, then they have probably put more prayer and thought into it than the rest of us–so can we not simply trust and hope for the best, believing God is in this as they say, and not wring our hands and keep pushing our concerns?

      • Andy Williams says

        Point taken, I suppose that I myself am never so quick to be sure I made the right decision in a matter, because I don’t trust myself that much. For example, I lead music every week at my church. I’m sure that I have selected songs that were not helpful to many people, sometimes with good motives, sometimes probably with less-than-pure motives.

        However, I agree that from God’s perspective, each choice I made was within his providence to use for the good of his people.

        Perhaps the other good example is Marriage. I put much thought and prayer into my spouse, and decided to marry her. The fact that I am now married to her means it was God’s will for me to marry her, and it is now God’s will for me to love and serve her until one of us dies. God guided both our lives to that point, and will continue to guide us.

        I think we agree on much here…I would simply caution against attributing motives and/or lack of faith, to those we know only from blog comments.

        • Mike Bergman says

          My intent is not to attack motives, but to get us to pause. I’ve been on both ends: complaining because I didn’t like something or agree with someone, yet looking back I know I did not address the issue or my side with much if any prayer…i was being more reactionary out of a preconceived view rather than considering the actions and integrity of others involved (which would have led me to be more happily accepting)…

          I have also deeply prayed through an issue and thought about it only to be faced with opposition.

          at the core, we all have a natural bent to equate our feelings and opinions with God’s will. We also have reasons to feel skeptical of people who just say whatever they desire is “God’s will”.

          So, my aim is simply: let’s set that all that aside, look at what Platt and the trustees have said about the process, consider their integrity and character, and then determine whether or not we believe this was favorably directed by God and not the whims of man; and if so, then lay aside whatever disagreements we had before and look hopefully to the future (while understanding this does not equate to an uncritical free pass).

  2. says

    I have no reason to distrust David. He will work hard at the IMB; and we should all acknowledge that the IMB is not David Platt, the work is much larger than David. My prayer is that he will obey God in sharing the Gospel around the world. He is a young man,…so he will need much assistance. I’ll encourage him to use the wisdom that God will provide.

  3. Dale Pugh says

    Maybe “God’s will” and the issue of “sovereignty” is a little more open ended and “choice driven” than some of us like to admit. Does anyone here espouse the view that David Platt, and only David Platt, was God’s sovereignly chosen person for the IMB presidency? Does that mean that no other choice could have been made for this position? Does that mean I have no right to say that I disagree with the choice? If so, then I think we have a bigger problem than who was chosen to be the IMB president.

    • says

      Dale,….I don’t believe that David Platt is mentioned anywhere in scripture as sovereignly being assigned to the IMB. In fact, the IMB is not mentioned in scripture either. So, it appears you are safe to agree or disagree. :)

        • says

          Some folks major in art of disagreement, or least enjoy working on it their PhD thesis. At least it has lots of footnote material :)

          “Many plans are in a man’s heart,
          But the counsel of the LORD will stand.”

          The IMB has a lot of good folks,…. so we can trust the Lord to use them effectively.

          • Dale Pugh says

            I agree. However, I’m not of the opinion that I have to just sit down, shut up, and hang on because I’m told that it’s been prayed over and everything is going to be okay.

            :-)

          • says

            Oh,…I agree with you Dale. Even disagreement can be very helpful! Just ask any of my two good friends :) The other 400 guys are just acquaintances ….that I love of course!

          • Mike Bergman says

            I’m not of the opinion that I have to just sit down, shut up, and hang on because I’m told that it’s been prayed over and everything is going to be okay.

            hey, dale, just to be clear: that ain’t what I argued. I argued that we have a sense of trust, and respond in a supportive way yet graciously challenging what we see as potentially bad decisions.

            It’s “let’s set aside our differences and concerns over the person because we trust they sought God and God guided” which is not “let’s shut up and follow uncritically or blindly.” Unless we don’t believe they sought God or ge guided–which is a bigger issue about the whole thing…

          • Dale Pugh says

            Hey, Mike–did I say that you did argue that? No.

            I’m not even saying that the IMB trustees didn’t seek God in the decision. I’m certain that hundreds of hours of prayer went into the decision.

            What I am saying is that it came down to a choice. It was a choice made by human beings. It can be put in whatever spiritual terms you want.

          • Dale Pugh says

            And let me add for clarity–I will continue to support the IMB, the Cooperative Program, and our cooperative SBC mission efforts.

  4. says

    Mike, It’s also important, I think, to acknowledge what Platt said about the elders of BH. He says they “along the way” affirmed this new call. In other words – there were lots of people seeking the will of God .

    Also, baptist polity has been clearly honored in this process. Those who disagreed, cautioned, etc….were heard. Votes were taken. The decision has been made.

    Now is the time for pastors to do as we’d expect the members of our Chuch to do when a congregational decision is made that he/she may not completely Agree with or expressed opposition to. Honor the decision and move on in unity.

    Also, dont we as pastors sometimes find ourselves in disagreement with church decisions but in setting the example we move toward on unity with the will of the church.

    I Know the SBC is not a local church and the trustees aren’t a congregation but I think the analogies should be at least thought provoking.

    • Pastor Jack says

      Tarheel. You say we should do what we expect our church members to do: just trust the decision made in secret.

      I don’t think that would fly well in my church. The leaders in my church ARE the people. We are not a Catholic Church run by Cardinals or a Presbyterian church run by elders.

      Some are comfortable with the change from congregational government to a reformed model. This is especially true of those in power positions in our denomination.

      Nobody asked my opinion. I am OK with that. Bit to suggest I should just fall in line seems a bit presumptuous. The CP will die if an elder rule mentality takes hold.

      The CP is a grass roots movement. That is cumbersome at times but the broader the base of decision makers the deeper the wells for fund raising. The CP is a tradion based movement. If the sea change is too large the ship will capsize.

      I for one see the sea change coming–or here. I am not “reformed” and this top down takeover of the agencies raises concerns.

      Just yesterday Moore did a piece in regard to his “friend” (his word) Platt. Basically it said, “just trust Platt in regard to the CP. Do as he says not as he does.” Moore admitted what everyone knows–Platt gave to missions, just not through the CP.

      I see two problems (at least). 1. A donle standard. 2. A theology that shifts decisions from traditional grass roots based assumptions to an elder based theology.

      I have my concerns so I am not going to tow the party line just yet

      • Mike Bergman says

        Except in a way, this is how we have worked for a long time: messengers elect the president, the prez appoints the committee to nominate the trustees, the trustees hire the officers.

        In the CR, that’s how the schools were taken back: conservative presidents eventually leading to conservative trustee boards.

        Now, I’ve not seen anyone argue the presidents we’ve been electing are reformed, in fact it’s quite the opposite, so unless they’re not paying attention to the guys they appoint, this is not some top down takeover. And if it was, Ezell would not be at NAMB (not reformed).

        I think a case might be able to be made for a new sort of “good ol’ boys club” influence… I disagree there as well, but could see a case… But the pieces just aren’t in place starting with SBC prez for this to be a reformed takeover…

        • Pastor Jack says

          Mike. That is a reasoned answer. You seem to be saying it is right because we have always done it that way.

          And. You may be right. But it looks odd that the most significant position in SB life goes to someone that by passed the CP for the most part.

          That simply does not seem to matter. I am pretty certain if the vote were taken at a grass roots level there would be some serious debate about Platt.

          And. Just because the manipulation of the trustee system worked out in your favor in regard to th CR does not make it right. The same tactic can be used by persons of a different persuasion.

          I do not know what manipulation stool place at the trustee meetings. They were secret.

          I do know of the battles in trustee meetings during the CR. They were well publicized. I don’t think your comparison applies unless you are saying Platt is part of a new Resurgence of some type.

          As you say in conclusion. You don’t see any evidence for that.

          You don’t address how someone who bypassed CP giving for the most part is going to be a chief spokesman. Or how is it such a person is anything like the BEST candidate.

          Does Platt have a career of mission field experience? I find that hard to believe at his age? I just see Platt as one of the most troublesome of candidates and wonder how this came about.

          I am trying to process this. This would be like a community organizer with almost no elected experience being elected as president of the United States. People would be shocked if that ever happened :)

          • Mike Bergman says

            Platt’s not a career missionary, but he has spent a lot of time out in the mission fields home and abroad, from New Orleans at MG when he was at NOBTS, to third world and closed countries. His “secret church” program was built out of missions experiences doing secret gatherings with pastors in countries where the church is not legal.

            So a career missionary, no, but someone with a passion for it and has been boots on the ground, yes.

        • Tarheel says

          “I am pretty certain if the vote were taken at a grass roots level there would be some serious debate about Platt. Just because the manipulation of the trustee system worked out in your favor in regard to th CR does not make it right. … I do not know what manipulation stool place at the trustee meetings.”

          Grass roots vote?

          But using your argumentation, we would not know what “manipulative stool” is in place in the local churches to influence the votes of the grassroots. Would we?

          Just sayin’ it is a little concerning to me that you hold such disdain for presumably godly men (mostly pastors and state denom. leaders) who sit on these boards.

          • Pastor Jack says

            Tarheel. Discernment is not disdain. Your statement is called a weak ad hominem argument.

            Mans heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. I believe that applies to pastors, trustees, or well … Everyone.

            I do not accept your attack that I am disdaining leaders by seeking further information. In my opinion from the two books I have read and numerous articles , along with the now published recor concerning the CP, Platt is an unlikely candidate at best.

            I don’t believe I am the only one that notices this.

            Rather than attack my ignorance, enlighten me. We know why Platt was NOT considered–that is CP support for missions and support of traditional approaches to evangelism for two–so what’s the real reason that overshadowed these two or thee problem areas

            I have to go. I appreciate you response.

    • Tarheel says

      Jack,

      The decision was not made in secret…it was made under the process we all embrace…the trustee system.

      If you think that system is broken or not trustworthy, please feel free to make a motion that the bylaws of the convention be changed to reflect the way you think it ought be….

      I am not being jerky…just saying…your contention that the decision was secret is not fair as it was as open as any ever made by our trustee system…including the one that hired Frank Page at the EC, Paige Patterson at SEBTS and then SWBTS, Chuck Kelly at NOBTS, etc….are you going to deride those decisions as secretive and inappropriate?

      • Pastor Jack says

        Tarheel. I knew Page was being considered so I don’t see how they are the same.

        Also. I have never been to a national convention and don’t intend to start now. You commit a logical fallacy of bifurcation by only giving me two options–fall in line or fight.

        There is a third that your side is dismissing. Flight. I am under no obligation biblically to “go along to get along.”

        See a previous post. Southern Baptists are not the only horse in God’s stable. For many pastors this may be a watershed issue because there is nothing in Platt’s situation that shoes unreserved support for the CP–show me where I am mistaken.

        Therefore it logically follows that some other reason accounts for his election. That other reason then trumps CP as the basis for guiding the IMB.

        Maybe that reason is a good one. Maybe not. I would like to know what it is. If you know please enlighten me. All I know now is Platt’s views on traditional evangelism and his practice of non–support of the CP and his views on Calvinism or sovereignty.

        Tell me the real reaso he got the most significant CP position in SB life. I will listen. I want to know so I can make a free will decision on how to support missions going forward

        • Tarheel says

          Jack,

          Platt’s name has been floating for some time….it was not a complete surprise…although many, including myself, desired a different direction. The point I was making was that these decisions are always made in the way this one was made…if this one is called manipulative then mustn’t the other be so as well?

          (That is unless your opinion/preference of election outcome is the determining factor of whether the process is nefarious?)

          You are right…you can fight, you can flight, or you can cooperate.

          I hope you choose the later option for the sake of gospel proclamation, rather than either of the former.

          • Pastor Jack says

            Tarheel. You seem quite willing to ignore the elephant in the room. You are under no obligation to answer my questions.

            What’s done is done. My opinion is a pebble in the ocean. I will go where my heart leads me. I respect your opinion and pray God’s blessing on His Kingdom work.

        • Scott Shaver says

          I guess if we’re directed by the basic premise of this article which is “all” or “nothing” (i.e. do we believe God is in this), I’d have to say no.

          However, since nothing escapes God’s attention, I’d also have to say circumstances created by men and cultural religious mores (both positive and negative) do not ultimately thwart the truth about God’s nature and His ongoing power in the work of redemption.

          Gods offer to mankind and His plans for the world mankind inhabits are not tied to the sinking or swimming of the Southern Baptist Convention.

          The historical and collective sense of identity and purpose once shared among the strain of American baptists called “Southern” is ALL THAT’S AT STAKE HERE….regardless of the extent to which God is or is not involved in any associated dramatics.

          He’s got other tools, other vessels, and unlimited resources with which He can continue until He’s finished and until He decides it’s time for Him to draw the curtain on history.

          Is God in this? …. perhaps only to the extent we allow Him room.

  5. says

    Our default position is that God wants to bless our efforts, bless our churches, bless our denomination, bless the IMB, bless the missionaries, and on & on & on. Thus when we see an action that some may not agree with, we think somehow that God isn’t in it. That God is not in control.

    If God’s dealing with Job doesn’t lead us to trust Him, then all we’ve got to go on is how “well” He has dealt in our lives. And that’s as wrong as it can be.

    God’s on the throne. Let’s act like it. He’s the same God who raised up the Babylonians to enforce some judgment on Israel, and the same God Who raised up the only Savior anyone will ever had. I think we can trust Him with all the stuff in between.

    • Pastor Jack says

      Bob. Could not a sovereign God also be saying that I am going in another direction, come follow Me?

      I don’t operate on the assumption that God is in every decision Southern Baptist leaders make in secret behind closed doors.

      I guess you might feel I just don’t have enough faith in the sovereignty of God. After all He gets some good licks with some crooked stocks.

      I just think sovereignty should not be a cover for shoddiness.

      I confess. I don’t know if Platt is God’s man. I am just reluctant having this sprung upon me out of the smoke of the back room. Why the secrecy? God has nothing to hide.

      It is at this point I see the trustee system break down. Apparently Russell Moore knew about Platt’s candidacy. He is not a trustee. He is a friend of Platt.

      Is that how we choose leaders now? Secrecy always leads to suspicion. This is especially true given the history of Platt. Maybe people know something I don’t know. I only know what Platt has preached, written and done in regard to theology and CP giving.

      My sovereign God has given me a mind and free will to evaluate my continuing cooperation. Trust but verify.

  6. says

    Come to think of it, I believe I saw a video last week where Platt and Page had a good debate over if “God’s Will” can be tharted or not. It was good. Direct but respectful.

  7. D.L. Payton says

    It is in a preachers DNA to discuss things like this until the cows come home (I was raised in the inner city of St. Louis, have no idea what that means). However I was struck with a stern reality in the wake of Platt’s election. My Pastor/Son (young, restless, but not reformed) is elated by this choice. Me? Not so much. From this I conclude that we are seeing a paradigm shift in the SBC of great proportion. I conclude: I add my voice to those saying it is time to more on. I do not know the men involved except by reputation. Are their hearts pure in this election? I will accept that they are and that God is in this.

    However, I am not sure this is the issue. I see here many opinions but i see no violation of scripture in the process or the man selected. Hence I say again, we must accept the decision and move on. All other discussion at this point is academic. I know you are saying “DL you are beating this drum to death”. Perhaps I am. However, what are the other options. None that see that are good.

    • says

      DL,

      I thought you were going to rethink your position on a Calvinist takeover taking place in the SBC if another Calvinist was appointed to head up another SBC Entity? Well, it happened. Platt was appointed as IMB President. Are you rethinking?

      David :)

      • D.L. Payton says

        David
        Yes I am. I admit that I am conflicted. I am also disappointed quite honestly. I feel we have put ourselves into a needless divisive posture. Obviously there is some reason to say that something is going on. I have questions. Is this the kind of conspiracy where three or four men are in a cigar smoke filled room making decisions? Is the election, as my son says, Platt was elected because of his popularity and his soteriology had nothing to do with it (keep in mind my son is not a Cal.)? Is it the fact that Mohler et. al. has such great positive influence that people follow him, especially young pastors? What was the board vote? How many Cals/Trads on the board? Were they divided along soteriological lines? Did the board Trads feel there was a conspiracy? I don’t know. These questions haunt me.

        I am not at the point yet that I can say,” yes conspiracy”. However, I cannot deny that something unnerving has taken place. So I am rethinking and trying to do so with some rational judgement.

        However, at this point I will not pull out, nor will I bypass the IMB in giving. When the liberals were in control I stay connected. I will stay connected now. When and if it is apparent that there is “something rotten in Denmark” I will join the ranks of those who will seek to reverse the trend. Until such time I will stay the course and do what I can to reach the nations.

        I do not know what else to do. I am open to suggestions. Anyone?

    • D.L. Payton says

      As a follow up to my comment, why don’t one of you sharp, astute writer/blogers do a post on how we all can get behind Platt and support his election?

      • Tarheel says

        I think Bart has “paved” a path forward….as did Paige Patterson.

        We can only pray that their leadership is followed. I think it will be.

  8. Kevin says

    When the majority of our seminaries are headed by men that are “mostly” Calvinistic, and both of our missions organizations(NAMB, IMB) are headed by men that are “mostly” Calvinistic, would it not be reasonable to assume that, at the very least, there will be a trickle down effect on the field of this theology? If one does not embrace the reformed doctrine, and believes said theology to be in error in regards to the nature of the atonement and the responsibility of man to make a volitional choice to choose Christ, is it theologically honest to seek to propagate that which one doesn’t embrace through giving to these mission agencies? There is no doubt a great body of similarity between many Protestant groups, but yet there are differences as well. It seems to me we are coming closer and closer to the Presbyterian theology. If there are other mission agencies that would represent a theological model which was more closely aligned to what I believe(such as, but not limited to, Samaritan’s Purse), would it not be more theologically honest to seek to propagate what I believe is the truth of Who God is, and how man can know Him? I have been Southern Baptist my whole life, but the direction that we are going now is troubling to me as a non-Calvinist. Our church’s mission dollars won’t make a blip on the screen in the big picture, but honestly considering what I will recommend to our church as far as missions giving.

    • Tyler says

      “It seems to me we are coming closer and closer to Presbyterian theology.” Actually I would say its coming closer to what SOME (key word there) of our founders believed. (And no, I do not think we came from Anabaptists)

    • Jason Gray says

      Kevin,

      The SBC has long been a convention with a wide range of views on soteriology hemmed in by doctrinal parameters set forth in the BFM. The viewpoint of the men you mentioned all fit squarely within the boundaries of the BFM. So, BFM-wise they are thoroughly Baptist. Hostorically-speaking, there is nothing that these men believe that would be out of step with Baptist theology ever. I have now seen you and others make similar comments about becoming Presbyterian or leading others that way. Such an accusation is without merit and demonstrably false. The beliefs of these men are clearly Baptist. The soteriology and ecclesiology of the more reformed among the SBC has always been present (and at times dominant) within Baptist life, even a cursory study of Baptist history (both SBC and global) would show that to be true.

      If you want to disagree with their theology, you have every right to do so. If their theology makes you uncomfortable about the trickle down from their entities, that is fine. But what is not fine is painting those men as bringing in some sort of outside doctrine that does not fit within the BFM (the accusation of being Presbyterian or even leaning that way) . That is not only unfair, it is simply untrue.

      • Pastor Jack says

        Can you point to a time in the last 75 years where elder rule was a typical practice in SB life? I don’t mean it existed as atypical. Can you point to one IMB leader who practiced the mission model of Platt in the last 100 years?

        Can you point to a prolonged period in SB history where Calvinistic theology and it’s grandchild contempt for the sinner’s prayer led the day?

        I don’t have all those answers but I suspect that your charge against those seeing a trend away from traditional Baptist expressions are simply empty cries of alarmists.

        • says

          Most southern baptists don’t support elder rule at all.

          (I will point out though that many SBC churches , like I said the other day, are a single elder rule – as in dominating Sr. pastors)

          Also, there’s no contempt from DP OR anyone I know -for the sinners prayer-only for its misuse.

          Mission model? How do you define Platt’s mission model?

        • Jason Gray says

          Pastor Jack,

          The accusation made by Kevin was that these men were introducing Presbyterian theology/ecclesiology, or at the very least their leadership would lead to Presbyterianism becoming more prevalent in the SBC.

          My point was that the views those men hold are thoroughly Baptist and NOT Presbyterian. Those men are not Presbyterians and their soteriology/ecclesiology/methodology is CLEARLY within historic Baptist and BFM parameters.

          Accusations to the contrary are unfair.

          All that said…your post is changing the subject. You can respond to my post, if you would like. In fact, I would love to hear someone defend Kevin’s points or back off them completely. But I don’t really care if their positions were/are the majority position in the SBC. That is irrelevant to my post. Don’t make my post more or less than it was…which was a very specific response to what Kevin posted. The accusation that their theology is not Baptist, but Presbyterian, is a lie. Such statements need to stop being made on here by people that should know better.

          • Pastor Jack says

            Jason,

            Feel free not to respond to my questions. No problem with that.

            However, I agree wholeheartedly with the issue that reformed theology is “on the rise” in our Convention. The fact that you “don’t care” doesn’t change the fact.

            The fact is: “majority rules, period.” As Tarheel (I think it was his post but might have been someone else) pointed out, the strategy to change the Convention is to control the actions of the trustees.

            Like another brother pointed out, perhaps it was D.L., it is unclear if there is such a movement at this time, but there is increasing evidence to push us more and more toward a presbyterian model of rule by elders which will trickle up to our entities.

            I think that is a legitimate point in Kevin’s post. I’ve been in Southern Baptist ministry for over 40 years. I went to a SB college during the “charismatic scare,” a SB seminary during the “liberal era,” and another SB seminary during the CR.

            I’ve had many discussion involving many issues, but it was not until just about five years ago that I had my first discussion regarding the place of Reformed Theology in our Convention–not counting courses on Reformed Theology in college and seminary.

            I sense–but cannot pinpoint–a sea change in that regard. I do not think it is unfair to suggest that a person’s view of soteriology may have an impact on his leadership of a mission agency.

            This is especially true when that person has written articles and given interviews that bring up the topic of “hyper-Calvinism” in blog discussions.

            So, though you don’t care what the “majority” view is, I do. Where I may differ with Kevin is in intensity and specifics. I did not capitalize presbyterian for a reason. I have not followed the ministries Kevin suggests. I have listened to and read works of Platt. I have heard him speak in a sermon very disparagingly of anybody who has ever used the “Sinner’s Prayer.”

            Again, if you don’t care about this and you don’t see any problem with the theology and actions of Platt, that is your privilege.

            Given time, I may come to your same point of view . . . or, not.

            I hope I have been fair to your point of view and to Kevin’s.

          • Jason Gray says

            Jack,

            I’ll try and explain my thinking for you. Kevin made comments, I responded to Kevin. You then responded to my response by changing the subject. It is not that your questions are bad questions, they just muddy the waters and I had a very specific response to Kevin…which you completely ignored in your response. Is that not clear? I’m not being evasive, I am trying to make sure that the focus of my post (to which you initially responded) stays the focus.

            But lest you think I am being evasive, I will address your comments…at least some of them.
            – I don’t dispute that reformed theology is on the rise.
            – Reformed theology being on the rise is not what I said “I don’t care” about.
            – “Majority rules” is not true – the Word of God rules.
            – Beyond that, the BFM sets the theological boundaries for the purpose of determining whether someone’s views fit within the SBC family. That is how the majority of the SBC has spoken in light of what we believe the Bible says.
            – Announcing a supposed majority of a particular viewpoint is of as little value as claiming a particular theology is the only traditional view.
            – Elder-led polity is not distinctly Presbyterian, nor does making the “P” lower-case make it a more accurate accusation. That is obvious by anyone who is willing to do a little study on Baptist history.
            – The continued claim that “elders=presbyterian” (capitalized p or not) is simply erroneous and is now bordering on vicious, purposeful misrepresentation
            – It may very well be true that these men’s soteriology/ecclesiology/methodology would have impact on other SBCers…I don’t dispute that at all. But I dispute that their theology is outside of SBC parameters and thus deny their impact would in some way damage the SBC.
            – I may be wrong, but I don’t think Platt disparaged “anyone who has ever used the sinner’s prayer”. I believe that to be a huge overstatement.

            I hope that answers your concerns.

            Now, I hope you can agree with me in my comments to Kevin that representing the viewpoint of these men as being anything other than Baptist is unfair. They are not Presbyterian (or presbyterian)…their views are thoroughly Baptist, even if they are not representative of a majority of Southern Baptists. The issue is not them holding a majority view, but holding a view that is within the BFM parameters.

          • Pastor Jack says

            “”” I may be wrong, but I don’t think Platt disparaged “anyone who has ever used the sinner’s prayer”. I believe that to be a huge overstatement.”””

            I watched the sermon. There is no doubt he was making jest. But, you don’t have to believe that.

            The BFM issue is an interesting one. It is not a static document. It can and has changed overtime. My feeling, and I could be wrong, is that if the reformed position, presbyterianism (small p is an biblically sound representation for anybody reading the New Testament), if it continues to rise will become a battle similar to the CR, but with much more devastating results. I for one will walk away before I ever do anything like the CR again.

            I get your point. There has always been a current of presbyterianism, or reformed theology. I think we may disagree as to how much that influenced SB life. I’m not a historian so others would know that better than I.

            Thank you for your opinion. God bless. I think I’ve said all that I could possibly say. I’m going to do some personal reflection.

            Thanks all for your contributions.

    • Tarheel says

      Keven,

      What about when ALL of our leaders were “mostly NOT Calvinistic” (many even anti Calvinistic)…. did that create a “trickle down”?

      It seems that the power of those who hold high SBC offices to shape every theological position of the ‘grass roots” may be greatly over exaggerated.

      • parsonsmike says

        Tarheel,
        Individual churches can’t be made to become elder led, even if all the entity heads were C’s. Even if every graduate and all the new preachers from all the seminaries were C’s.
        When I asked a prominent Traditionalist what Mohler, et al, were doing wrong, his answer was -not a thing- but -their churches just don’t look mine-
        But just how the entity heads can force changes in his own church -no answer.
        Because they can’t.
        And since he claimed that the Traditionalists were the majority in the SBC, then all they need to do is get together and elect a man who will “represent” them.

  9. Kevin says

    D.L,
    By mostly Calvinistic, I meant four or five point. Did Jesus die for all, or only the elect? Can a person truly respond to the Spirit’s conviction and the Father’s call, or does that person have to be regenerated/saved before they can then actually repent and have subsequent faith. There is no real need to get into semantics. I know good Christian brothers who hold to reformed theology, and I understand what their position is. I just don’t agree with it. There is a divide over these issues, and it is not an insignificant one. There is quite a difference to tell a person ” You can be saved if you will trust I Christ for your salvation and forgiveness” versus ” You will be saved if and only if God elected you from eternity past.”

    • Adam Blosser says

      Kevin,

      With all due respect, you either do not understand Calvinism or you have intentionally misrepresented Calvinism.

      “Can a person truly respond to the Spirit’s conviction and the Father’s call, or does that person have to be regenerated/saved before they can then actually repent and have subsequent faith.”

      I know of no Calvinist who believes that a person cannot respond to the Spirit’s conviction and the Father’s call. Romans 8:28-30 is helpful here.

      “There is quite a difference to tell a person ‘You can be saved if you will trust I Christ for your salvation and forgiveness’ versus ‘You will be saved if and only if God elected you from eternity past.’ ”

      Yes there is quite a difference, though the two are not necessarily incongruous. I know no Calvinist who uses the second statement in evangelism.

      • parsonsmike says

        I am a 5 pointer…

        That is how anyone gets saved:

        The Father calls and the Spirit convicts and the person responds in repentance, humility, and confessing that Jesus is Lord.

      • D.L. Payton says

        I realize I am being picky but there is no such thing as a two point or three point Calvinist. One either hold to Calvin’s delineation of theology or he does not. Calvinism is not in the bible nor a Bible term. Hence one may believe in two or three of the theological tenets of the TULIP acrostic but that does not make him a “three point Calvinist”. That make him one who believes in three particular theological suppositions. Yes I realize i am being picky, but i do not like determining theology by a man’s name. I believe some of the thing Martin Luther believed, but I am not a two point Lutheran. I believe one or two things that Bultmann taught, but I am not a two point Bultmannian. theology is defined by scripture not a man.

        If you agree with me on this point, then you are a one point Paytonian….I like the sound of that :-)

    • says

      Kevin,

      ” You will be saved if and only if God elected you from eternity past.”

      You get bonus points if you can show a Calvinist using this statement in evangelism.

    • says

      Kevin … the scriptures puts it this way; and this is an excellent way to explain to anyone that “righteousness” speaks this way….. “you will be saved”

      “But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” 8 But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

      It is absolutely clear that God elects some and does not elect others (thats all through the scriptures)…but that has absolutely nothing to do with Paul’s declaration about how righteousness speaks,… except that as Paul explains…it is a tell, tell sign of a person that has been chosen by God unto Salvation…. What other confession would be made?

      I’m not quite sure what you are getting at with your comment.

      • volfan007 says

        Adam,

        Let’s be honest here….

        Kevin said, “Can a person truly respond to the Spirit’s conviction and the Father’s call, or does that person have to be regenerated/saved before they can then actually repent and have subsequent faith.”

        and, you said, “I know of no Calvinist who believes that a person cannot respond to the Spirit’s conviction and the Father’s call. Romans 8:28-30 is helpful here.”

        I know of many, many Calvinists, who believe that a person has to be regenerated before they get saved. And, I know of many, many Calvinists, who believe that a person CANNOT respond to God’s invitation to be saved, until they are regenerated….because, man is dead, like a corpse, and cannot respond to the call of God, unless they’re regenerated first.

        The questions that Kevin asked are legitimate questions, but he gets the usual, Calvinist, double talk from all the answers from everyone.

        David

        • says

          Vol,

          I think the problem is many place too much weight on the wrong emphasis,…even with the question. It is obvious that God’s Salvation for man is His doing from beginning to end. Any response to God in salvation requires God’s power. It is His power that takes His children from death to life.

          1. Has God revealed to the world (in his Word) that He knows who are His elect before the foundation of the world? yes
          2. Has God revealed that we know who are God’s elect in the same way? no
          3. Does Christ rescue/make alive those that the Father has given Him? yes
          4. Does Christ rescue/make alive those that the Father has not given Him? no
          5. Are questions 3 and 4 mysteries to the creation? yes
          6. Do believers exist in the world? yes
          7. Can we know who believers are in the world? yes
          8. How do we know them? by their Spiritual fruits; confession, obedience, love, gifts, patience, kindness, gentleness, meekness, etc. etc.

          This is not rocket science by any means…..

          • volfan007 says

            Chris,

            But, Kevin’s questions do emphasize the differences in Traditional, SB Theology and Calvinism. And, a lot of Calvinists try to dance all around it when asked. Hey, if that’s what you believe, then just say it. Don’t dance around the question. Just spit out, loud and clear, so we can all hear it.

            David

          • volfan007 says

            Oh, I’ve seen a lot of dancing, Les….a lot….even thought they’re Baptists.

            David

          • says

            Vol, there are obvious differences in what folks call “Traditional” and “Calvinistic” systems…yes. The bigger question though,…is Salvation 100% God, or does man contribute some percentage of that Salvation. I believe, and correct me if I am wrong, but “Traditional” still holds to God at 100%.

          • volfan007 says

            Salvation is most certainly all the working of God. But, man must choose…..or, respond….to the working of God, or else he will not be saved. That’s the way God has ordained it to be.

            David

          • says

            Vol,

            “Salvation is most certainly all the working of God. But, man must choose…..or, respond….to the working of God, or else he will not be saved. That’s the way God has ordained it to be.”

            We agree.

          • volfan007 says

            Les,

            No, you believe God chooses a man to be saved, and he will be saved, no matter what. He doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. He has been picked before the world was formed to be saved. God predestined to save that man. He was irresistibly called to salvation. Before he was saved, he was as dead as a dear on a Southern highway that’s been hit by an 18 wheeler. And then, all of a sudden…poof…..he’s alive in Christ. He really had no choice in the matter, whatsoever.

            On the other hand, we believe that God predestined to send Jesus to the world, and die on a cross, which is sufficient to forgive all the sins of every, single person, who has ever lived on this planet. And, God predestined to save everyone, who would believe. And, God predestined to conform those Believers to His Son. Also, He chose to save people, and make a way for them to be saved. He, of course, foreknows everyone, who will be saved. His Holy Spirit calls and convicts the world(everyone in the world, not just all the people groups of the world). And, man must choose….really, truly choose….whether he wants to be saved, or not. If he responds to the calling and convicting to the Holy Spirit, then he will be saved…all because of the working of God. If he chooses to not be saved….rejects the calling and convicting of the Holy Spirit in his life….then, he will go to Hell, forever. This is the way God has chosen for it be.

            David

          • says

            Vol,

            When you said “Also, He chose to save people, and make a way for them to be saved. He, of course, foreknows everyone, who will be saved.”… that really is the point of tension for everyone that understands God is 100% of salvation. The “Traditionalist”, and the “Calvinist” agree that God, in his plan and execution, is bringing all those being saved to Himself. At a minimum the “Traditionalist and the Calvinist exist in the same camp for that very reason. There are other groups of people that agree that God is not 100% of salvation, and that man is in some part, whatever that part may be, responsible for his/her salvation. One of the main reasons I continue to participate with the SBC is that the group still believes that God is 100% of salvation. In other words, God is always sovereign, man is never sovereign; man has the great privilege to confess Jesus as Lord.

            We all come to a point of understanding why God does what He does….

            “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

            As Jesus makes it clear we do believe and find rest for our souls…..

            25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
            28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

            My greater fear for the future of the SBC would be her departure from God being 100% of salvation. Somehow making man sovereign enough to be responsible for some portion of salvation. There are many religions/denominations in that game.

  10. Kevin says

    @ Les— My point was not so much as to whether the statement was used in evangelism, but rather as to the veracity of the position. Would you dispute this as a tenet of Calvinism?

    @ Tarheel — There are certainly varying degrees of adherence to Reformed theology, as well as different definitions of the 5 points. That is why I said “mostly” :-) The atonement issues and the unconditional election are the big ones for me.

    • Jason Gray says

      Kevin,

      1. Easy answer. No one believes someone is saved before they repent and believe. It appears that when some want to criticize reformed theology they end up conflating regeneration, faith, and justification. I think it is good to discuss regeneration, justification, and the ordo salutis. But let’s represent each other’s position well.

      2. Do you think you could address my comment #43?

    • volfan007 says

      Kevin,

      Good for you….you’re trying to make them answer honestly. But, of course, a lot of Calvinists don’t like to answer such questions.

      David

      • says

        Vol,

        What questions do you want answered? As you now, I’m a full blown Calvinist (and much more) and will be happy to answer anything you want to throw out there.

        • volfan007 says

          Les,

          I know you’ll answer straight up. You’ll tell what you believe. You’re a Presbyterian, and not afraid to admit it.

          :)

          David

        • says

          Vol, I really haven’t seen Calvinists avoid answering questions. Maybe I’ve just missed it.

          Hey, your Vols may have a better shot in the east with SC going down.

    • says

      Kevin,

      ” You will be saved if and only if God elected you from eternity past.”

      Well of course that’s true. I’m pretty sure you also don’t believe that the non elect will be saved, do you?

      I was reacting to what looked like you seeming to say that people actually use that phrase in evangelism. No one does nor should they.

      You also said, “Can a person truly respond to the Spirit’s conviction and the Father’s call, or does that person have to be regenerated/saved before they can then actually repent and have subsequent faith.”

      Also, as vol has shown and others have pointed out, we need to be careful to not conflate regeneration, conversion, justification etc. It’s much too confusing and frankly uncareful to ask that question that way.

  11. says

    Unfortunately Calvin gets way too much play on this blog. Calvin has some pretty goofy stuff, well beyond this argument of his view on a system of salvation.

    The bigger issues of teaching about salvation in the SBC ranks would be:

    Does God save, or does man help God save? It appears that whether you are a “Calvinist” or “Traditionalist” the answer to that question is that salvation is 100% God. Hopefully there are no seminaries or church members that think man is part of his/her salvation.

  12. Kevin says

    @ Jason— ” Easy answer. No one believes someone is saved before they repent and believe” – That may be your position, but it is not consistent with Calvinism. From my readings on this, the order of salvation is (1)regeneration & then (2)repentance/faith. While this order may not be a big issue with some, one order offers salvation to those who would receive it, while the reformed order merely dictates what has been mandated from eternity past. IN other words, from humanity’s perspective, every person has an opportunity to respond to the Gospel in the non-Calvinistic order whereas only those who have already been regenerated by the Spirit can be saved. In my opinion, it is not an insignificant point.

    • Jason Gray says

      If you have read much on the subject then you would know within reformed theology that ordo salutis is reflecting a logical progression of something that is experienced instantaneously. You would not have people running around regenerated who have not yet believed. The events happen together. For example, how long is the lag between belief and justification? We would all say “it is instantaneous”. The discussion is over the logical progression of the events. No one is walking around believing in Jesus but not being justified or filled with the Spirit. I hope that clarifies this a bit.

      Of course, if you reject the calvinist view of the ordo salutis you have to explain how man is able to respond to the Gospel positively at all, and that is what has led many into error with regard to man’s sin nature. Roger Olson (a true Arminian) points out the necessity of a belief in prevenient grace if one rejects the calvinistic view, or else one falls into error on man’s nature. The point is that one either has to say man is naturally able or that God supernaturally enables man in order for man to believe.

      I agree this is no small issue.

      • volfan007 says

        A lot of Calvinist do believe that man is regenerated, and then he puts his faith in Jesus. That is a VERY COMMON belief amongst Calvinists.

        We don’t believe that, as Traditional SB’s. We believe that all men can respond the calling of the Holy Spirit. Every man can truly be saved….and truly has a choice. A lot of Calvinists do NOT believe that….no matter how you slice it.

        David

        • volfan007 says

          We believe that regeneration takes place at the moment that someone repents and calls on the Lord for salvation. We do not believe that a person is regenerated, and then they repent and call on the Lord. We don’t believe that people get saved, in order to get saved.

          David

        • says

          Vol, Reformed theology teaches that regeneration precedes conversion. That’s for sure. We believe that man’s moral condition prevents him from believing before being made alive (born again).

          But for very sure we ALSO don’t believe that “people get saved in order to get saved.”

          • volfan007 says

            Well, let’s see….regeneration is being made alive to God….salvation is being made alive to God…..in order for a man to be saved, he must repent and put his faith in Jesus…..thus, a lot of Calvinists really do believe that man must be saved, in order to get saved.

            Sorry, but that’s just how I see it.

            David

          • Mike Bergman says

            Regeneration is what changes the heart to desire to receive the gospel… They are basically concurrent, but the renewed heart (good soil–Matthew 13), must be first in order for faith to come alive. It’s not like that’s saying you have a bunch of born-again people running around for days, weeks, or years without faith… They go hand in hand, we just believe the new heart comes first.

          • says

            Vol brother,

            “No, you believe God chooses a man to be saved, and he will be saved, no matter what. He doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. He has been picked before the world was formed to be saved. God predestined to save that man. He was irresistibly called to salvation. Before he was saved, he was as dead as a dear on a Southern highway that’s been hit by an 18 wheeler. And then, all of a sudden…poof…..he’s alive in Christ. He really had no choice in the matter, whatsoever.”

            I hat to say it because you non Cs love to point out that we say this a lot, but based on what you just wrote, you aren’t even close to understanding what Reformed theology teaches. No offense brother.

          • volfan007 says

            Les,

            What choice does a man have? Really? If God has predestined to save him, before the world was ever created…and, you believe in unconditional election and total depravity and irresistible grace… then, what choice does a man truly have???? The man who gets saved? or, the man who is not chosen to be saved??? What real choice does a dead man have????

          • says

            Vol, we are talking about what Calvinism (I prefer the Reformed Faith) believes (I prefer confesses). Soas to man having a real choice I refer you to WCF 3.1:

            “1. God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

            Now you disagree with that. But to tell us we believe otherwise is bad arguing.

  13. says

    Will someone please explain explicitly from where the charge of presbyterian ecclesiology in SBC life comes? Is it only from the elder-ruled position (which has yet to be shown)? Are a plurality of elders the problem?

    Should we move toward an Anabaptist model of church offices? If so, what would that look like?

    • Jason Gray says

      No, it is a very weak accusation…and it needs to stop. It shows either an ignorance of the subject or a purposeful attempt to discredit those who have elders.

      It is ok to disagree on having elders. It is not ok to try and disparage those who do have elders by using terms that knowingly incite problems (like ‘presbyterian’).

      • says

        Jason, I agree it’s a weak accusation. I mention Anabaptists because some SBC folks believe SBC heritage comes from Amabaptists. Yet, Anabaptists had a plurality of elders as well as bishops along with more than one kind of elder. IOW, having a plurality of elders, etc. is not explicitly Presbyterian. Plus, it’s tough to have Presbyterianism without a presbytery.

    • Mike Bergman says

      I think part of it has to do with the use of the word “elders”–I have experienced in my church, early on, with just the mention of the term, the reply, “that’s not Baptist”… So over the years I have taught on occasion how the biblical terms elder, overseer, and shepherd all relate to the same office.

      I also think it has to do with a couple of conflations: 1) not understanding the distinction between elder-led vs. elder-ruled; 2) not understanding that typically Baptists using the term mean a congregationally chosen group of men within the church and not a ruling board without; and 3) the pairing of a particular soteriology with a particular ecclesiology–which, let’s admit, is a particular historical norm. Though this last point is not always the case: one of my mentors is a pastor at an essentially elder-ruled Baptist church, but writes on occasion for SBC Today, usually with articles contra a reformed soteriology.

      Those are my thoughts. :)

    • says

      Gentlemen and brothers,

      I’ve been both a teaching and ruling elder in the PCA since 1992. I may be wrong, but I don’t think anyone on here knows practically and maybe even intellectually as much about Presbyterianism as I do. That’s not boasting and it’s surely no slam. I really just mean I’m thoroughly familiar with the PCA Book of Church Order and have lived among Presbyterians since 1992.

      That said, please trust me when I say that this idea that Southern Baptists are becoming Presbyterian is nonsense. Might some SB churches have elders? Of course. That’s just biblical. But Presbyterianism is way more that that ecclesiastically.

      Here is a short and reasonably good summary of Presbyterianism. http://www.theopedia.com/Presbyterian

      Blessings brothers.

      • says

        Les, stop interjecting sacks and reason and details into this. That’s just wrong. There are those would rather throw around the word Presbyterian as a pejorative attack in order to scare people so they can bring more over to their position. (after all we know that many a Baptist thinks that they’re right and that there’s no other denomination that could even be anywhere near the intellectual or location Christian scale that we are.). I’ve heard this tactic for years we’re playing wild music and raising our hands so we are becoming “charismatic” or oh we’re becoming too traditional like “Catholics”.

        Yelling “we’re becoming Presbyterians because of Al Mohler and his gaggle of Calvinist” is little more than a petty scare tactic and it’s getting rather old IMO.

    • Pastor Jack says

      Mark, let me clarify as I have before that presbyterianism is a broader term than Presbyterian. One of the fundamental tenets of a Presbyterian church is elder-rule, sense that’s what the word means.

      Forty years ago, I remember churches adopting “elder-rule” and being disfellowshipped by our association, or at least threatened with being disfellowshipped. I don’t remember all the details.

      Certainly forty years ago, “elder-rule” was nowhere near the norm. Do you dispute that?

      A key component of presbyterian theology is calvinist soteriology. Many Baptist churches now self-identify as “reformed,” which is the traditional position of Presbyterians.

      “””Sixty-six percent of pastors do not consider their church a Reformed theology congregation, while 30 percent agree (somewhat or strongly) with the statement “My church is theologically Reformed or Calvinist.”””” Thirty percent is a lot of churches. Now, LifeWay was not around forty years ago and I don’t think the Sunday School Board ever thought of even having such a survey.

      Presbyterianism involves much more than Calvinistic soteriology and elder-rule, but it contains both. To what degree there is a rise in a movement toward a more “presbyterian” approach to government and theology, I cannot say authoritatively.

      To call the discussion “nonsense” or “vicious” is simply poisoning the well and kills the conversation (which is the purpose of poisoning the well).

      For Platt to make fun of the “Sinner’s Prayer”, as he did in a recorded sermon, would have disqualified him forty years ago for the postion he now holds. Likewise, elder-rule would have kept a man from the same position forty years ago as far as I can remember.

      I am not saying whether this would be right or wrong. I am saying there is a shifting of theology and a shifting in how SB’s view cooperation.

      I think it is something that can be overcome, but not by calling people “nonsensical or vicious.”

      I personally do not think the Bible dictates what kind of government a church is required to have (though I have my preferences). I am open to discussion but it is hard if someone calls it “nonsense” or “vicious.”

      I understand that we are not going to join the Presbyterian denomination.

      • says

        Pastor Jack,

        If I offended you with my use of the nonsense word please forgive me. I’m not sure you are referring to me but I did use that word. I meant by it that as I see it from the PCA it makes no sense to me to say that the SBC is going in that direction.

        You’re right that Presbyterianism includes elder rule and Calvinism. That was the point I was making. It also is structured essentially as a series of courts…the local church session (elected elders), the ppresbytery and the general assembly. As you move from one to the other, upper courts can overrule lower court decisions. Also, pastors are searched for and voted on by congregations, but the pastor must be approved by the presbytery.

        So given these additional things, I look around and see no chance the SBC will become Presbyterian. Inn addition, as I understand it elder churches in the SBC are elder led, not elder ruled.

        Blessings.

      • says

        Elder rule is different than elder led.

        Platt did not mock the sinners prayer – he spoke out against its misuse. If you’re not willing to admit that misuse of this tool is something that needs to be addressed and corrected …well, I’m not sure what to say.

        • Pastor Jack says

          I watched him mock the sinner’s prayer and disparage its use with no qualification.

          In fact he changed to a high squeaky voice that made him look foolish. Spin it however you like. I know what I saw.

          • volfan007 says

            Pastor Jack is right. Platt made fun of the Sinner’s Prayer, and basically said that anyone using the sinner’s prayer was leading people to Hell.

            Now, you can spin that however you want, but Pastor Jack is right on this.

            David

          • Jason Gray says

            With no qualification? The entire thing was qualified and explained very carefully. He carefully defined exactly what he meant.

            Did you listen to the entire message or just see a youtube clip?

      • says

        Pastor Jack (Clegg, right?),

        I’m not sure if you are assigning the descriptions “vicious” and “nonsense” to me, but, just in case, I did not use those terms.

        If I understand your reasoning, you believe presbyterianism is sneaking into the SBC via Calvinist soteriology and elder-rule, correct? If those are the base charges, I fail to see how those prove your concerns.

        Calvinist soteriology has been part of the SBC since the beginning with most of the founding leaders hold to that theology. The authors of our current BFM2K include at least one Calvinist.

        Elder-rule has yet to be shown as a concern due to Calvinism. However, there have been elder-ruled SBC churches long before any kind of resurgence of Calvinism. The elder-ruled churches have merely had a single elder ruling rather than a presbyterian style plurality of elders.

        More recently, there is a resurgence of elder-led SBC churches with a plurality of elders. Even recent SBC president, non-Calvinist, Bryant Wright, has plural elders in his church. A plurality of elders is not exclusively presbyterian as such a set-up can be seen in Methodism, early Baptists including Free Will Baptists, as well as Anabaptists.

        Ironically, some early Calvinists were Congregationalists. Since we’re talking Calvinist influence, dispensationalism is wide-spread in the SBC, but has Calvinistic roots. Yet, no one is running from dispensationalism. I’d say we are hardly in danger of creeping presbyterianism.

        • volfan007 says

          I know of some Calvinist-Reformed SB Churches, which are elder ruled. …not just elder led. They are ruled by their elders, just like the Presbyterians.

          David

        • Pastor Jack says

          Mark. My concern is not creeping presbyterianism because it would never take root.

          My concern is a creeping nepotism or elitism reflected in rule by celebrity.

          I got a bit off track. I have no fear of Presbyterians. In fact I once played basketball in a Presbyterian gym.

          I am simply puzzled as to how someone like Platt got this position. It certainly was not his views on the CP. I did not make up this controversy out of whole cloth.

          I also am not a non-Calvinist. Platt has already proven he can be caustic and high minded. This certainly a change from what I have experienced with prior IMB leaders even one I had a few differences with.

          Platt’s Calvinism is not my biggest concern.

          • Pastor Jack says

            PS. I use the name Pastor Jack out of habit. Even my wife, children, and grandchildren call me that. I should just use my name, Jack. I know most of you are also pastors. Force of habit.
            Then again, Elder Jack has a nice ring. But there’s a Mormon church a block away.

          • says

            Jack (or Frank L.),

            I am a bit confused now with your above reply because now it seems presbyterianism is no longer a problem for you. That’s okay. Thanks for the reply.

      • Stuart says

        Is the question of elders really just a question of how many? I’m quite certain that I’ve read at least one current SBC seminary “Traditionalist” president make the case for a “single elder” system of leadership.

  14. says

    I just want to point out that plurality of elders was once seen among early Free Will Baptists. Again, this shows that plural eldership is not an exclusively Presbyterian position.

    Ruling elder? That’s Presbyterian, isn’t it? It is now, but there was a time when ruling elders were the order of the day for Free Will Baptists. Randall’s group dispensed with this third church officer by 1834, but clear evidence points to ruling elders who served in the New England churches during Randall’s lifetime. John Buzzell referred to Joseph Boody as a ruling elder and John Whitney and Benjamin Randall as teaching elders.Continue…

    • volfan007 says

      Mark,

      No one is talking about a plurality of Elders/Pastors. We all believe that that is Scriptural. And, a Church can have as many Elders/Pastors, as they feel led to have. And, no one is talking about Elder/Pastor led….every Church should be Elder led.

      Pastor Jack is speaking the truth when he says that some Churches are taking on a real Presbyterian feel to them….

      David

          • Mike Bergman says

            David, I ask the question because you all make it sound like these are some great growing presence in the SBC… I’m guessing they’re more the anomalies and don’t really play into the discussion of these SBC leaders…

          • Stuart says

            What about a church that only has 1 business meeting a year? The staff (elders?) and committees (presbyters?) make every other decision all year long, they set the budget for the next year, and then 1 Sunday each year they call the church into a business meeting for 5 minutes for 1 agenda item, to pass the budget. Is that a church that looks “Presbyterian”?

      • says

        David,

        Forgive me, but what is a “real Presbyterian feel?” You told me what you “no one is talking about” while I, and others, continue asking what you all are talking about.

        And is this something that is the norm or merely an exception that some of you are stating as a rule? Seems to me that if such a problem is so prevalent that it may easily be pointed out.

        • Jason Gray says

          This whole “presbyterian feel” and “becoming presbyterian” comments are part of the larger narrative of attacking calvinisticish people by tying them to bogeymen and undesirable terms and misrepresentations…it has no merit and is not grounded in reality. It is easy to throw it out there, much harder to define and defend it.

    • Jason Gray says

      Rather than just claiming that SBC churches are taking on a “presbyterian feel”, why don’t you show HOW this is true? This claim has been made by 2 people repeatedly but never with any clarity as to what that looks like. One claimed it was because of elders, the other denies that.

      OK, help us out.

      In what way are SBC churches becoming presbyterian?

      • Pastor Jack says

        Jason. I know I am not likely to affect your thinking much. But using the term translated from prebuteros instead of poime seems to allow for a Presbyterian feel.

        Reformed theology when emphasized certainly has a Presbyterian feel. I personally don’t know of any fellow Baptist pastors that trace their heritage back to Calvin. In fact in the old days most of my pastor friends chaffed at being called Protestant.

        Again I don’t suppose any of this carries much weight with you but it is the clay from which my ecclesiology is shaped–or mud depending on ones point of view.

        • Mike Bergman says

          Jack: the bf&m originally used the term elders and bishops, pastors didn’t come into until ’63. http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfmcomparison.asp

          plus, Baptist historically have claimed to be people of the book–for the office, the bible uses elder far more times 20+, than overseer 5, or shepherd -just once as a noun. What’s Presbyterian about wanting to use the vast-majority term of Scripture?

          not wanting to be called protestant seems to be more a mark of landmarkism than anything, and for the most part that theological stream has fallen out of favor with Baptists of all soteriological stripes; but to various degrees, the 5-points have been among the SBC tent dwellers since the beginning…

          • Pastor Jack says

            Mike, if your argument is sound about weighing Scripture by the number of appearances, then did we take a turn away from the Bible in 1963? Or, was adding the title pastor intentionally addressing some issue.

            I really cannot speak to that. I was seven years old at the time and an American Baptist.

            Also, not one discussion in regard to Baptists not being protestants had anything to do with Landmarkism.

            It is interesting to have a discussion on this blog. I feel like every post is being graded like a paper in seminary. I wonder how many bloggers have two windows open: sbc voices and google :)

        • Jason Gray says

          So, if I am reading your post right, you are saying that the SBC is becoming presbyterian because…

          1. The word ‘presbuteros’ appears in the Greek NT and is used by some baptists
          and
          2. Some churches embrace calvinism

          Is that right?

          I almost don’t know how to respond. I mean, the word is there in the Greek. It has always been there. In 1 Timothy 5 and Titus 1, as well as 1 Peter, James 5, and all through Acts and Revelation, the word is used and it IS translated elders. If we use the word ‘episkope’ are we going to be guilty of becoming episcopal? The words are what they are and man what they mean. It isn’t about “choosing” a word over another, it is about applying the biblical words in biblical context. Ironically, the word ‘poimen’ is always translated shepherds, except some translations break their rule only on Ephesians 4:11 and translate is differently than every other occurrence in Scripture. Which is neither here nor there, but it does seem odd that you want to take 1 usage in the NT and trump all the usages of presbuteros (and episkope as well). That is not really the best methodology. But more than that, it doesn’t really prove your thesis.

          Perhaps your problem is going away from the word “pastor” in favor of “elder”. But this desire, I believe, is to use the words that the Bible uses to describe the office…elder and overseer (bishop) are MUCH more prominent than pastor. This isn’t about presbyterianism, it is about the Bible. Not just that, Baptists have a long history with the term “elder”…because it is biblical.

          As for point 2…I didn’t realize anyone still denied with a straight face that the SBC has always had at least a stream of calvinism within it. This is really easy to investigate historically.

          • volfan007 says

            Yea, Jason, you’ve outargued us, and have just put us in our place. I don’t really feel like I feel. You have straightened me out. I will no longer feel that there’s a Presbyterian feel about some of the Calvinist-Reformed, SB Churches, anymore. Even though I know of some that have Elder Rule, and have heard of others. Also, I know of one that the Pastor tried to turn them into Elder Ruled, but the Church bucked it. I know of some that will allow people to join their Church, if they were just sprinkled in their baptism…not immersed. I have even heard of some Churches that allow people to join, who were “baptized” as babies.

            But, you know better.

            Adios.

            David

          • Pastor Jack says

            Jason. By the way. I am not trying to prove anything and I did not take “just one Scripture” and ignore the others. I took the one Scripture that uses all three in the same passage.

            I applaud your command of the Greek and being able to do all this without using Google or any Greek help. I was speaking from memory–an old memory at that.

            Again, I am not trying to prove anything to you about anything. I’m just talking.

            By the way, some groups do emphasize the nomenclature of episkope. The choice of that word also reflects in their approach to church government. So, it seems you have proved your own point, one with which I agree.

          • Jason Gray says

            The passive-aggressive nonsense is beneath you, David. Have a real discussion and I will discuss with you.

            I don’t know what you want from me (us). You make points, we respond to your points, you get mad. You make points, we don’t respond, you get mad. At some point we just have to agree that if we are going to make a claim we need to back it up…and then be ready to have it evaluated. You can’t be mad when someone takes your argument seriously and responds to it.

            All that said…you actually have brought up a good point in the issue of admitting those who have not been baptized (sprinkling is NOT baptism). That would most definitely be a step away from Baptist polity. I haven’t heard of any of those leaders being a part of a church that would be guilty of that, though I certainly know churches who have done it…reformedish and not reformedish. I would join with you in saying such a practice is wrong and should be rejected.

          • Jason Gray says

            Jack,

            I am seriously just trying to understand your argument. I wasn’t denigrating your position, just putting in a way that my mind could look at, assess it, and respond. Sorry if that came off as aggressive toward you. I really just wanted to make sure I responded to all you said.

          • volfan007 says

            Jason,

            We actually had a Church, which was a Calvinist-Reformed, SB Church, which had been started by a Mother Church(SB) in a larger town in another county, and this Church accepted the sprinkling baptism of the Presbyterians, who had joined the Church….a large number(percentage) of them had joined this new, Church start. This Church wanted to join our local Association. We did not let them due to their baptism policy.

            I know of another Church in MS, which was Elder Ruled….not Elder Led. They also wanted to join our local Association, when I was down there. They didn’t join, either. But, we tried our best to encourage them to be more congregational. I’m not sure what they ever decided to do, but they were very much Elder Ruled, and they were Calvinist-Reformed and SB.

            DAvid

          • Jason Gray says

            Yep, I know it happens.

            I have been a part of SBC mega-churches that are soft of this as well. I have seen SBC churches that are far from reformed that allow methodists and episcopals join without being baptized.

            And I definitely know of reformed-ish churches that are doing what you suggest. If you remember back to when John Piper was wrestling with this issue he brought up some points that were thought-provoking to me, but that were convincing to others…though his church rejected his personal views and never implemented them (ahh, the beauty of true elder leadership in a church that kept their pastor from making a poor decision for the life of the church!).

            I think this is one of the weaknesses of SBC life, and Baptists in general, that we have not clearly written on this and explained biblically what we believe…at least not to the point that it has filtered down to the pew. The pragmatism that rules the day in many churches seeks to get people in the seats and on the rolls, and theologically are not thoughtful enough to deal with this issue. It is a mess all around.

          • Pastor Jack says

            Jason. To clarify: you are great at straw men. You take my opinions and stretch them just far enough that it has nothing to do with my argument.

            In fact, I can’t even remember what my point was myself.

            Your use of the word, “prove,” gave me a clue as to where you wish to go.

            A long time ago, in a world far, far away I had a concern about David Platt becoming the most significant figure in the Southern Baptist hierarchy.

            My feeling–just feelings based on a limited knowledge of Platt in his own words–is that this could be troublesome for our Convention.

            Beyond that, it is eye-opening for me. If Platt represents who we are as Southern Baptists and where we might be headed, then I am going to look elsewhere to lead our church into mission giving and going. That’s a serious deal for me–much more serious than proving that Calvin is the Father of Baptists.

            Only one response has given me a glimmer of hope in regard to Platt. A friend described his passion for personal soul-winning. Will that make him a statesman who can lead Southern Baptists to greater days of glory in mission giving and going? Well, it’s a good place to start in my opinion.

            But, much of my theology I learned by watching I Love Lucy. In many episodes Ricky would confront Lucy and say, “You got some ‘splaining to do!”

            I think Platt has “some ‘splaining to do” in regard to how he led his church to give around the CP and now has become spokesman for the CP. Many see absolutely no problem with this, Russell Moore being one of them. Except, Russell Moore must have thought “some ‘splaining needed to be done” because he done some ‘splaining.

            Everything else has been banter and I am guilty of jumping in with my one good foot.

            Volfan is not alone in his “feelings” of a presby wind a blowin’. If you think he is alone, or more importantly if the leadership of our Convention thinks he is alone out in left field, then I don’t think brighter days are ahead for the Convention.

            Now, mind you, I’ve been reading Voices much before I jumped into this fray. One particularly post had me thinking: “Is the SBC for You” or whatever it was titled. I want my remaining years in ministry to really count. I am not “Young, Restless, and Reformed.” I am “Old, Needing Rest, and should be in Reform School.”

            Jason, I perceive you are an “up and comer.” I’m not much of a prophet so I could be wrong. But, in any case I want to go to bed tonight right with God and the world.

            So, I say God bless you.

          • Jason Gray says

            Jack,

            I will let other readers be the judge of whether you are correct that I misrepresented you.

            I simply asked for you to explain what you meant by your statement that SBC churches were becoming presbyterian. That was all. A simple question.

            You gave a response. I summarized your response and gave my response to your main points. I even asked if my summary was right…which you could have easily said “no, this is what i meant”…instead you got huffy and shut it down.

            I do not believe I misrepresented what you posted. If so, I apologize, that was not my intention.

          • Bill Mac says

            If a church does not practice congregationalism, or is soft on credo-baptism, they should find some place besides the SBC.

            However, nor should SBC churches be Single pastor-ruled, or, as is more likely, deacon-ruled.

            And, congregationalism ought to mean more than simply voting on the budget and the pastor.

  15. John Wylie says

    Guys, I am not a reformed guy at all, but the elder form of church government certainly has viability in the scriptures, in fact, more so than what has now come to be known as congregationalism. Also, most SBC churches are either ran by deacons or committees and that certainly doesn’t fit the modern definition of congregationalism.

    • Jason Gray says

      John Wylie,

      Always good to see you comment, brother. You are exactly right about current SBC polity. Heck, the churches run by the most prominent pastors in the SBC are usually single-pastor run churches. Single-pastor run, committee run, or deacon run churches have ZERO scriptural support.

      However there are a myriad of ways to have elder-led (or call it pastor-led, if that is a hangup) churches in the SBC that are faithful to scripture.

        • Andy Williams says

          Jason & John,

          Sorry guys, you are in violation of SBC Voices policy which clearly states that no kind words may be exchanged between a reformed and non-reformed commentator.

          Thank you,
          -THE MANAGEMENT

          :-)

  16. Chris Griffin says

    “Platt made fun of the Sinner’s Prayer, and basically said that anyone using the sinner’s prayer was leading people to Hell.”

    I got saved while praying. However, isn’t true that there are many, many people who are living lives against Christ while holding onto a prayer from their childhood as security against hell? I don’t understand how anyone defends the sinner’s prayer without also admitting that Platt is right that many people are wrongly trusting in a prayer instead of Jesus.

    • volfan007 says

      Chris,

      I would agree, wholeheartedly, that just telling people to pray a prayer is wrong, bad, and will mislead people to Hell. Saying a prayer doesn’t save anybody. But, if we stress repentance and faith in our witnessing, then it’s not Easy Believism to help someone pray, and call upon the Lord. Just because someone uses a sinner’s prayer to help people call on the Lord in faith, then they’re not leading people to Hell….just because they’ve used a sinner’s prayer.

      Also, telling people to “ask Jesus into your heart” is not Easy Believism, either. Not stressing repentance and faith in our witnessing is Easy Believism. But, when I tell people to ask Jesus into your heart to be your personal Lord and Savior…after stressing repentance and faith….then, I am not leading people to Hell. Jesus does live in our hearts thru the Holy Spirit. We are in Him, and He is in us. And, at salvation, the Holy Spirit invades the heart of man, and INDWELLS him. So, that’s what the Bible teaches.

      David

      • Jason Sampler says

        David,

        Why would people want to ‘ask Jesus into their heart’? The ‘heart’ is not where King Jesus resides, since the Scriptures tell us he sits at the right hand of the Father, making intersession for us. Additionally, what value is there in the Paraclete if Jesus is actually the one taking up domicile in our hearts? If we want to be biblical, and I hope that we do, then it is wrong in all senses to employ the phrase “Ask Jesus into your heart”. For, in fact, it is the Holy Spirit and not the Second Person of the Trinity that resides within believers.

        • volfan007 says

          Are you saying that Jesus does not live in us thru the Holy Spirit?

          Ephesians 3:17…”so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,”

          Romans 8:9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is [a]alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [b]through His Spirit who dwells in you.

          Colossians 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man [a]with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

          Galatians2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and [a]the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

          • Chris Griffin says

            David,

            I understand your point, and agree with some of what you are saying especially when it comes to stressing the need for repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

            It seems that you and Platt would agree to some degree on the abuses of the sinner’s prayer. It seems that you part in that you would keep it and he would give it up while still encouraging people to cry out to God…just not by “repeat after me.” I don’t think this “sinner’s prayer” issue is as big an issue as it has been made out to be.

            Your brother in Christ,
            Chris

          • Jason Sampler says

            David,
            I’m saying the Holy Spirit lives in the “hearts” of believers, not Jesus. I read Eph 3.17, Col 1.27, and Gal 2.20 to be metaphorical, not literal. The passage in Romans confirms it is the “Spirit of Christ” (i.e., the Paraclete), and not Messiah himself, that dwells inside a believer. Concerning the Galatians passage, Timothy George rejects the idea that it is Jesus living inside believers, but the Spirit (pg 201 of the NAC commentary).

          • Volfan007 says

            “God dwells in you.”
            “If CHRIST dwells in you.”
            “Christ in you”
            “Christ lives in me.”
            I am just letting the Scriptures say it for me.

          • Volfan007 says

            Also, Jason, I believe in the Trinity, as I am sure that you do. So, Jesus does live in us since the Spirit in dwells us.

          • Jason Sampler says

            Sure David, if you want to take that approach, then all of God lives in us. But then that becomes panentheism, doesn’t it. Are you wanting to argue the Father lives inside of you? But to be more precise, the Scriptures speak (to me, at least) metaphorically about the Second Person of the Trinity dwelling inside of believers but literally about the Third Person of the Trinity living inside of believers.

          • says

            Good grief Jason,… of course Christ lives in us! He does not live in the Trees or Ford F-150s (pantheism). The angels look curiously at what Christ will do with us (the bride of Christ), even through eternity. When we are changed from death to life, Christ lives in us. You misunderstand what Jesus, and Paul have said and preached, if Christ has not replaced the death of a person, with His life.

          • Greg Harvey says

            1 Corinthians 3:16 the Holy Spirit “…kai to pneuma you theou oikei en humin” “and the Spirit of God dwells (‘homes’) in you.” Paul is making a direct comparison between God’s presence in the Temple in Jerusalem and our bodies as Temples because of God’s presence in us.

            Very difficult to render that verse differently given the comparison to the Temple. Usually prepositions have some slide in them between languages, but not really in this case. I confess to being uncomfortable with the whole concept of “in” (too much set theory, group theory, and logic over the years), but it’s biblical.

          • says

            Great point Greg!… God being tabernacled with us is a theme throughout the entire NT letters, and is revelatory in John’s final letter concerning the bride of Christ. Thanks for inserting the actual language appearance. How else can we be seated in the heavenly realms with Christ while on this earth in the present, and walking in newness of life. A great comfort indeed!

          • Andy Williams says

            I think in these discussions we must be careful to not assume we know more about the trinity than we actually do. It seems that across scriptures, the same activity is often attributed to more than one person of the trinity. Perhaps they are more inter-related than our neat boxes give them credit for. (ie, Did Jesus create the world as in John 1, or Did the Father create the world through the son as in Hebrews 1?)

            It is undeniable that scriptures speak of God’s spirit in us.
            It is undeniable that scriptures speak of Christ in us.

            If Christ and the Holy Spirit and the Father indwell the believer, than there is no problem with saying Jesus is in our hearts.

            If, on the one hand, Christ’s presence in us is only mean to be metaphorical somehow, or is manifested or mediated to us THROUGH the holy Spirit, who literally lives in us, then there is STILL no problem with speaking of Jesus living in my heart.

            I suspect it is somewhere in between the two, either way, there is nothing un-biblical about speaking of Jesus in my heart.

          • says

            I tend to be more careful speaking about it as metaphoric, since what God has done is actual change and life. Metaphors have a difficult job of transitioning to actual in some cases. In other words, someone has brought us from death to life, and someone is living in us,..non-metaphorically.

          • Andy Williams says

            Chris, I agree, someone above mentioned that they thought all the “Christ in me” verses were metaphorical. I would not agree with him.

          • Mike Bergman says

            I’ll toss in some thoughts: I get what Jason is getting at, though I wouldn’t use “metaphorical”… Jesus himself said in John “I’m going away, but I’ll send the Spirit to be with you, then one day I’ll come back and receive you to myself forever.”

            It seems, most technically according to scripture, Jesus dwells within us vicariously through the Spirit. So it is the Spirit within us, and since he is the Spirit of Christ, he is therefore Christ in us.

            But we might be straining the gnats arguing a popular phrase that we don’t find explicitly in Scripture…

          • says

            I think I get with Jason was driving at as well… but, as the Hebrew writer in the introductory (Chapters 1 & 2) outlines. Jesus is God.

            Now if we want to go back to gnostics, or the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries and fight that battle again…then lets get it on. Even though gnosticism has been extremely creative in the past 30 years in America, lets not try to devalue what the Hebrew writer has clearly stated to us in what we have published as his second chapter. Jesus / Christ – Same. Father / Son (Jesus Christ) / Holy Spirit – God.

          • says

            This is how Jesus taught Philip the concept of God in us….

            Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

            15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

            16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

            18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” NASB

            It was hard for Philip to comprehend, and it is no easier for us today.

          • Jason Sampler says

            For those of you who disagree with my position, let me offer this Scripture for your consideration: John 14.17 “?? ?????? ??? ????????, ? ? ?????? ?? ??????? ??????, ??? ?? ?????? ???? ???? [y]????????· [z]????? ????????? ????, ??? ???’ ???? ????? ??? ?? ???? [aa]?????.” My rough translation is as follows: “The Spirit of truth, the world does not accept him, because it can neither see him nor know him, but you know him because he lives in you and will be in you.” In context, Jesus foretells that he is leaving them (v. 2, 12) and that he is sending someone in his stead (v. 16) who will now reside “in” believers (v. 17). These are Jesus’ words, a declaration that he does not live inside of people, but the Holy Spirit does.

            Additionally, if you propose the idea that Jesus lives in your heart, how do you reconcile the permanent effect of the incarnation? At a point in time, the Second Person of the Trinity unites with humanity and takes on flesh. Is that not permanent? Is he not forever now the God-man, of which a primary component is the “man” part. And by whatever means we are to understand a glorified body, I see absolutely no proof in Scripture that glorified bodies are omnipresent. That is why (I believe) Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father while the Spirit indwells within believers.

          • says

            Jason, that’s not the first time I’ve seen that kind of greek here on this site :)

            On the passage that you have remarked, as you drop down to the following verses you see Jesus explaining and unraveling this mystery even further. Since Jesus is never separated from Christ, then we would expect to hear Jesus tell Philip “in that day” will understand that Jesus does live in him (happening now). The promise of the Spirit of truth is present and is God. So, I do see what you are driving at with the incarnation and all, but it is impossible to separate Jesus and Christ, and/or Holy Spirit, and/or Father. God is Spirit, Father/Son/Holy Spirit.

            I think I understand that the flesh of Jesus is not physically located in my heart of flesh. Got that,…but, that is not what Jesus is speaking to Philip about either.

            I’m not calling you a gnostic btw!…. but the fight to separate Jesus from God is fought every day by the adversary.

  17. says

    Can I enter some context here?

    Let’s see what Dr. Platt ACTUALLY said, meant, and thinks about the sinners prayer.

    http://vimeo.com/70304249

    “There is nothing wrong with the sinners prayer in and of itself, I’m cautioning against abuse.”

    He also voted FOR the SBC resolution on NOLA Relating to the issue.

        • says

          Even if he did come accross differently than he intended…. Let’s just say you’re right.

          You’ve never missed spoken or been mischaracterized or said something in a way that you wish you had not??

          Have ever had occasion and all of your ministry where are you later came back and clarified something you may have said or may not of said but was just misunderstood?

          I wonder if that’s ever happened to you Mr. Worley and I wonder if it has happened to you where you extended grace or were you doggedly to the interpretation that the people had that may have been wrong?

          • Volfan007 says

            What he said at first….about the sinners prayer and asking Jesus into your heart is what caused a lot of angst in the hearts of Non Cals all over the SBC…his clarifications came after he heard all of the angst. If he has changed his mind, then great. I am glad.

          • Pastor Jack says

            Volfan007, I don’t think that those who oppose your views truly appreciate the ramifications of Platt’s disdain in regard to the “accepting Jesus in your heart,” or “Sinner’s Prayer” approach to salvation.

            This controversy is not knew. It is foundational to one’s view of salvation. Either salvation is of God given to anyone who verbally (“confesses Jesus is Lord) accepts the message of the gospel, or it involves some degree of works on man’s part.

            The irony to me is that Platt would appear to be in the first camp, but is actually in the latter. His insistence on some “level” of proof the person’s confession is genuine puts him in the latter–which puts him at odds with his own soteriology.

            There is no “proving” demanded in the Bible of any person or group prior to salvation, except the religious leaders (“you brood of vipers) who had ulterior motives.

            What Platt espouses is what others in the past have condemned as “Lordship salvation,” as far as I understand the history. For example, Charles Spurgeon wrote: “”You know there are degrees of faith, and yet the least faith saves; so there are degrees of repentance, and the least repentance will save the soul if it is sincere. The Bible says, “He that believeth shall be saved,” and when it says that, it includes the very smallest degree of faith. So when it says, “Repent and be saved,” it includes the man who has the lowest degree of real repentance. Repentance, moreover, is never perfect in any man in this mortal state. We never get perfect faith so as to be entirely free from doubting; and we never get repentance which is free from some hardness of heart. The most sincere penitent that you know will feel himself to be partially impenitent. “”” Notice the words the “lowest degree of real repentance.

            Am I on the same page as you? Do you object to Platt’s perspective that some form of “Lordship salvation” is at play? Is this what you are getting at?

            Fundamentalists objected to this form of “Lordship salvation” a generation ago. Ray Comfort seems to object to the objection. This seems to be at the heart of much of the discussion of Platt’s view, or perceived view, of salvation.

            I, personally have no problem with a person being guided through a “Sinner’s Prayer” because I believe it is God Who saves by grace, and no man adds anything to it–including some level of works represented by some arbitrary level of sincerity.

            By Platt’s standard, I’m not sure I am yet saved. I’m not sure I have yet made Jesus the Lord of my life in any way that I ought.

            Let me know what you think about this when you get a chance.

          • volfan007 says

            Pastor Jack,

            I believe that a true faith works. I believe that real faith is a faith that surrenders to Jesus. I believe that a real faith is a faith that repents…turns from it’s rebellious, sinful, selfish attitude…..and is willing to follow Jesus. Jesus told people to “Follow me.” In Acts 20:20-21, we see Paul telling people that “repentance towards God and faith in the LORD Jesus Christ.”

            So, I guess you could call me a Lordship salvation person, too. The book of James teaches that a real faith will result in good works….otherwise, it wasn’t a true faith.

            Where I depart from Platt’s first statements that he made about sinner’s prayer and asking Jesus into your heart, is that he said that these were EASY BELIEVISM and were leading people to Hell. After Steve Gaines and many others called his hand on it, then he clarified his views on the sinner’s prayer.

            I hope that helps, Brother.

            David

          • Tarheel says

            Vol,

            “After Steve Gaines and many others called his hand on it, then he clarified his views on the sinner’s prayer.”

            Please stop doing that…you are calling him disingenuous again….which calls into question his integrity. You are essentially saying that the clarifications he offered were simply an effort appease those who were upset with him and not really his views. That, if it is what he did is not a clarification that is a LIE.

            If you are going to do that – you need to have the kahunas to come out and say it. Call him a disingenuous liar and be done with it….but please don;t play this game you are playing…its beneath the person I know you are.

            Platt has never changed his views from the time he made the ‘controversial statements” through his MULTIPLE explanations and even, I assume, to this day. The video I submitted this AM was not a new or nuanced view of how he feels about the sinners prayer – it was literally what he had been saying all along.

            SO if you agreed with him on the video, you must agree with his statements the first time he made them – because they are EXACTLY the same.

          • Pastor Jack says

            Volfan. I am trying to get what really is the essence of my problem with those who have a problem with the “Sinners Prayer.”

            Are you saying it takes “100%” of “””I believe that a real faith is a faith that repents…turns from it’s rebellious, sinful, selfish attitude…..and is willing to follow Jesus. Jesus told people to “Follow me.”””” before a person is saved? That would definitely be “Lordship salvation.”

            By that definition, when is a person saved: 1 second after making a proposed decision, 1 minute, one hour, after memorizing the Gospel of Matthew? How do you determine when a person has given “100%”? That sounds to me like the doctrine of “sinless perfection.”

            I know you do not believe this so please don’t take it as any sort of attack. I also don’t think Platt believes this. I’m just not sure “what” we really believe.

            My son was five years old when of his own accord he asked to be excused from his seat at the pew to respond to the pastor’s invitation. He prayed a sinner’s prayer. Was he saved? Or, did he become saved at some later point after devotedly reading his Bible, etc., etc.

            These are the ramifications I see if the convention follows a “Lordship salvation”: we will become a Convention of legalists and rebaptisms will become the “new revival.” By the way, this very thing happened in the 70’s. Evangelists by the dozen were getting people to doubt their previous salvation experiences and get “really saved.”

            There’s where Platt’s position gives me pause. It would also follow that such a leader would not exhibit much of a harvest in the local church. Platt’s evangelism effectiveness (if it can be quantified) is less than 2%, or it takes 55 members one year to win one soul.

            That would be the equivalent of a typical baptist church reaching one person.

            So, my concern is that I would prefer to see a leader at the IMB who can motivate others to win souls. I am not questioning Platt’s love for souls or personal soul-winning. I am questioning whether he has the ability to lead out in a great evangelism effort.

            I long to get to the place where my soul-winning practice at least approximates my soul-winning desire. I would suspect that David Platt might say the same thing.

            I do NOT believe in “Lordship Salvation” as it was, and is, defined in discussions. I guess I believe differently from you, at least in how we would express our understanding. I believe that one preaches the gospel, one believes the gospel, one is filled with the Holy Spirit and one is saved. Lordship begins but continues as a process, if the experience was genuine. That’s why I rebel against trying to make someone doubt their salvation, which is what I see the affect (if not the intent) of Platt’s pontification to be.

            Anyway, I enjoy talking with you. You have been kind and helpful and I appreciate it.

          • volfan007 says

            Pastor Jack,

            Yes, a person has to grow in their faith, and in their understanding of what it means to serve the Lord. But, it all has to have a starting place….a place where it all begins….where one comes from an attitude of selfishly living my own life, and doing my own thing, and believing what I want to believe…to “Yes, Lord, I will follow You. I believe.”

            God bless you, Brother.

            David

          • Pastor Jack says

            Volfan. The idea of a starting place is very helpful. It gave me a picture of why Lordship Salvation is incorrect and the way most pastors I know use the Sinner’s Prayer is perfectly acceptable.

            Is that beginning place a point, or a line. I believe it is a point of crisis in which in a twinkling of an eye a man’s nature is infused with the Spirit of God through a genuine repentance.

            Those who have trouble with the Sinner’s Prayer–in my opinion–seem to think of the beginning as a line. Somewhere along that line a person may or may not “get” saved, as evidenced by good works. I don’t believe that is how the process works according to Scripture.

            I guess I better get off now or I am going to be in a line–a bread line for the unemployed.

  18. Chris Griffin says

    Pastor Jack,

    I am confused by what you are saying, but I sincerely want to understand what you mean in your 2nd-4th paragraphs. As I read and reread your comments I have thought you meant that “as long as you repeat these words and believe it, you are saved no matter what” to “no one should have to prove they are a Christian by having good works in their life” to “I think David Platt wants people to do good works before they get saved.” Could you further explain what you mean?

    • Pastor Jack says

      Chris, I’ll leave you to research Lordship Salvation for yourself. I don’t see it supported by Scripture, but I do see it implied by Platt, et. al.

      Let me restate paragraphs 2 and 4 in other words for you to evaluate:

      “””Eph. 1:13 When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”””

      Part of the confusion is that “Lordship Salvation” is not equal to “confessing Jesus as Lord.” Lordship Salvation, as I understand, requires an additional step beyond the formula that we are given unequivocally in Ephesians. Platt wants to see something “more” than is reflected in Eph. 1:13 (whether he realizes it or not). He backed off his stringent view for one, or both of these reasons: 1) he realized that if you are not the king, it is not good to insult him; 2) he intuitively realized he was adding a concept of works to salvation.

      Lordship Salvation is not the same as “confessing Jesus as Lord.” Maybe that’s part of the confusion.

      By the way, please know I am not trying to convince you or anybody else of anything but merely trying to clarify why I have a negative opinion of Platt’s negative opinion.

      This need not be a deal-breaker for cooperation, but it can be. I’ve prayed the Sinner’s Prayer (in one form or another) with many people over many years–including one mute person using pen and paper.

      I think evangelism is too important to parody and disparage a method clearly supported in Scripture and having been used effectively for many decades if not longer.

      It appears, being in the minority here, that I have an ax to grind with Platt. I really don’t. That does not mean I don’t have an opinion. I also have never said he was a liar or deceitful. I’ve only said he has been inconsistent in what he says compared to what he does. That goes to behavior, not motive.

      • says

        “I think evangelism is too important to parody and disparage a method clearly supported in Scripture and having been used effectively for many decades if not longer.”

        Where in scripture is a sinners prayer itself “clearly supported by scripture?”

        …and if it is so clearly taught in scripture wouldn’t it have been a practice much longer than “decades”? Wouldn’t we see it in church history going back to the apostles?

        • parsonsmike says

          Here is what I think is wrong with the sinner’s prayer:

          ~~the repeat after me~~ part.

          Jesus told us that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
          Certainly many have sincerely repeated the same words spoken to them and were saved.
          And just as certain, many were not.

          What the mind grasps that is also what the hurt believes needs no one to coach out of them an appropriate prayer.

          Explain the Gospel to them, focus on Jesus as Lord and Savior and what that means. Include their sinful and condemned state. Let them then tell you what they understand and believe. They do not have to actually pray to be saved, although there is never anything wrong with praying. God already knows their heart but they need to profess their belief to others.This profession assures them, and to a great degree, us, that they have passed from death to life. [It doesn't prove it of course to us as there is always false professions, sinners prayer or not].

          A computer program can repeat the sinners prayer back to you.
          The convert may not understand a few things but still obediently repeat them as if he or she knows exactly what they mean.

          But if the convert can from his or her own heart, in their own words, make a profession of faith, I think it would mean more to them in the long run.

          • Dale Pugh says

            His disciples also asked him: “Teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples to pray.”

            His response? “Whenever you pray, say…….”

            You know the rest.

            When we help someone in praying to confess sin, repent of them, and profess Jesus as Lord we are beginning the process of teaching them. I am just as concerned with the abuses of the whole “pray this prayer and you will get saved” approach. That’s what Joel Osteen teaches.

            I do believe that we need to carefully guide the person through the Gospel message, and help them understand what it is to pray in such a way as to meaningfully express their confession, repentance and profession of faith to God. It is my understanding that this is what you’re saying Mike. I hope I got that correct.

            The kickback against the “Sinner’s Prayer” is overstated and usually has to be nuanced, just as Platt has had to nuance his statements about it. Blanket statements of superstition and easy believe-ism are misrepresentations and straw man arguments. Anything can be abused, and the “Sinner’s Prayer” is no different. But if my opposition to something has to be qualified or explained in some nuanced way, then maybe I need to not be so dogmatic in my opposition to it.

            Those of the Reformed ilk like to kick and scream about being misrepresented and that their opponents are setting up straw man arguments. I’d think that the Reformed would be a little more careful in their critiques of others to not do what they accuse others of doing to them.

          • Dean Stewart says

            Duckman, if pulling for Oregon would help me be as insightful and articulate as you I would buy me one of those hideous green and yellow hats to wear right now.

            I have read several problems people have with the sinner’s prayer. I now offer the most over simplification of all time. The real problem some have with the sinner’s prayer is that it challenges the belief of regeneration preceding faith. If one believes that God has changed and indwells a person before faith then it stands to reason they would argue the sinner’s prayer invalid and unnecessary.

          • says

            Dean, you wrote,

            “he real problem some have with the sinner’s prayer is that it challenges the belief of regeneration preceding faith. If one believes that God has changed and indwells a person before faith then it stands to reason they would argue the sinner’s prayer invalid and unnecessary.”

            I think that is part of it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s invalid. But as one who believes that the bible teaches new birth then repentance/faith in that logical order, I don’t see it as necessary.

            Blessings.

          • Dean Stewart says

            Les, thanks for replying. The challenge for some of us is overcoming the need to attack another’s practice if it infringes upon our beliefs. I have failed in this challenge as much as any. Some take shots at the sinner’s prayer, I have taken shots at those who choose not to give an invitation. When we allow others to practice what they believe without being threatened ourselves it will make for a better SBC but it will make for lousy blogging.

            A tiger may devour a hog but is no match for an elephant.

          • Dale Pugh says

            Dean, I was going to get you one of those hats for Christmas, but your recent disparagements of the #3 team in the nation have put your place on my list in jeopardy, remember?

          • parsonsmike says

            Dale,
            You got me right.
            It is not the prayer that I see as the problem, not at all. It is what I have seen in various churches that lead up to the prayer. It is what I have heard in the field that leads up to the prayer.

            Many churches [in my experience] seek to draw people through emotional appeals to come forward, and then a quick sinners prayer without much, if any instruction, and then pronounce the person saved.
            Many crusades, including Billy’s, did the same, and many of the ‘saved’ ones never made their way to a church.
            When i was a young believer, I was taught to use the 4 spiritual laws which included at the end, the sinners prayer, and well God can’t lie, so you are saved now and forever.

            But I have read many accounts, some here at Voices, of pastors and co workers for Christ visiting people on the church roll who never come to church anymore and also those who have made decisions through their ministry but were not in church, and a whole lot of them said they did not need to come to church, they got saved and baptized, and now they are going to Heaven… God can’t lie!

            So kudos to each of you who use the sinners prayer along with other sound evangelistic practices and do the follow up every good under shepherd should do.

            But in my, albeit limited as compared to the number of churches, experience, there are a lot of abuses of the prayer.

          • says

            Dean,

            “The challenge for some of us is overcoming the need to attack another’s practice if it infringes upon our beliefs.”

            Amen brother. There is no need for us to attack each other. I’m guilty sometimes of letting my feelings get too much involved in a discussion and then rhetoric gets heated and there we go.

            In my view, the sinner’s prayer is not a make or break issue. Many godly men I know have used it for years and honored God with it. I think everyone who uses it has the best of intentions. So I see it as one of those things we can talk about sometimes and learn from each other.

            The older I get and the more I experience and involvement with other believers of several evangelical denominations I have, the less dogmatic I am about non essentials of the faith.

            Blessings brother,

            Les

          • parsonsmike says

            Dean,

            you said:
            ~~~I have read several problems people have with the sinner’s prayer. I now offer the most over simplification of all time. The real problem some have with the sinner’s prayer is that it challenges the belief of regeneration preceding faith. If one believes that God has changed and indwells a person before faith then it stands to reason they would argue the sinner’s prayer invalid and unnecessary.~~~~~

            I am a 5 pointer but one who believes that regeneration is a process that isn’t complete until confession. But Biblically speaking, the sinners prayer is NOT necessary. What is necessary is the confession of faith.

            Romans 10 tells us:
            ~~~ that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. ~~~

            Confession follows justification. This is because confession follows belief. The sinners prayer is like a confession, although again, I think it is not the best way for converts to confess. Now to those who believe that regeneration happens before confession, they can look at this and say regeneration happens at justification, which is before confession. To those who think regeneration happens at or after confession can also gather that from these verses.

            But no where in sight is a sinners prayer. It is not necessary no matter which idea of the timing of regeneration you ascribe to.

            No where in Acts, not at Pentecost, not later in Jerusalem, not with Peter and Cornelius, not anywhere is there a hint of a sinners prayer. Faith confessed = salvation.

            I repeat.
            Faith confessed = salvation.

        • Jack says

          Tarheel. I am not sure what you mean. In what evangelism encounter in Scripture is it not stated or implied that the convert prayed to receive salvation.

          I am assuming that what Jesus said is true of all prayer, including the prayer for salvation: “ask and you shall receive.”

          I also believe I could stack up Scriptures till they hit the ceiling and you would not accept my premise. I guess I am not qualified to be a Calvinist. I believe the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation teaches God uses means to affect grace.

          I always considered myself Calvinistic, but maybe I don’t qualify for your camp.

          Quite frankly, your question goes to the heart to my problem with Platt. Maybe it does matter that he is a Calvinist more than I suspected.

          As to the exact wording of the various prayers for penitence in the Bible, not one was in English so I guess we must limit our evangelism to Greeks, Hebrews and perhaps an Aramaen or two.

          Yes. That is foolish. But no less foolish than some gnostic quest for the secret formula.

          In the thousands of times I have prayed with sinners I don’t think any was exactly the same, though similar. In fact I believe every person I prayed with was saved when they took the first step to accept the gospel, not when they said Amen with me.

          I am not trying to convince you my evangelistic methods are as good as yours but they seem far superior to those who remain silent.

          • parsonsmike says

            Jack,
            God does use means to affect grace.
            The means He uses to affect the grace of salvation is the preached Gospel.
            The substance of it comes through the physical, usually the ears or the eyes, and the truth of it comes to the spirit and heart by the Spirit of God.

            And what does the Word of God tell us about salvation?
            It says ~believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved~

            It doesn’t say ~ask God to be saved~
            It says ~believe God and be saved~
            It says ~ call upon Him and be saved~
            It says ~trust in Him and be saved~

            Do those who say the sinners prayer trust God, believe God and trust God?

            Some of them.
            But the “prayer” is not necessary to be saved,
            ~faith is.

          • Jack says

            Isn’t calling and asking the same thing. I don’t want to parse words. You do evangelism any way you want and God will save those He elected to save according to their free wills

            You will get no argument from me. I absolutely agree with preaching the full gospel and letting God save whomever he chooses.

          • says

            Jack,
            Yes, calling and asking are the same almost.
            The difference is that asking implies salvation comes as an answer to the praying.
            Calling implies a faith already present, and thus an already believing in the heart, which means one is already justified. Thus calling on God means you are already saved.

            Asking for what you already have doesn’t seem to me as the best route to encourage others to take.

            But since it seems to me that you like to argue, consider this my last post to you on this subject.

          • Jack says

            Mike. How is my responding to you arguing but yours is something else?

            Don’t respond. No big deal.

  19. Dean Stewart says

    Are we really going to argue the presence of Jesus with the believer? From section B on God the Son from the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, ” He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.”

    I ask anyone to handle Matthew 28:20, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

    Matthew 18:20 Jesus taught us He would be in our midst when gathered to deal with discipline.

    If I understand Jason correctly he believes the permanent affect of the incarnation means Jesus is not omnipresent. I assume this means he also believes a man can’t be omnipotent or omniscient. I hope that Jason is not rendering a belief that Jesus is not omnipresent, omnipotent or omniscient just to defend David Platt’s rejection of the sinner’s prayer. One can reject the sinner’s prayer and not throw away 2000 years of Christian understanding of the nature of Christ.

    The kindest thing I can say is Jason’s teachings are not in agreement with the BF&M.

  20. Chris Griffin says

    Pastor Jack,

    I believe Platt holds to some form of Lordship salvation, but I don’t think it’s the form you are thinking of.

    I hold to Lordship Salvation. Let me explain my view like you did yours.

    “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?” James 2:18-20

    Ephesians 2 and Titus 3 describe our conversion from walking in our sinful ways to God saving us to our new life in Christ. If someone prays a prayer, but never stops walking in their old, sinful ways, they are not converted. James 2 clearly asks the person with a profession to prove their profession with works.

    • Jack says

      Chris. So to what degree must they successfully stop walking in old ways? Are you fully walking in the Spirit not the flesh? Are you the standard? Is Billy Graham? If you say Jesus is the standard, are you fully representing Him perfectly in your life?

      The demons believing in James is not applicable to my examples. Are you saying people who pray a siiner’s prayer after the presentation of the gospel are demons?

      Sorry that dog just don’t hunt for me.

      • Adam G. in NC says

        Hey Jack, I think you have a misunderstanding of so-called “lordship salvation”. It’s not about “success” or “degree”, but direction. Turning from love of sin and self-rule toward love of Jesus and His rule. Also, as we have a different relationship with Jesus after we are saved, we also have a different relationship with sin. We hate the sin we once loved and love the righteousness we one hated. This change in nature will result in the bearing of observable fruit…to the glory of God.

        It would not be accurate to say that that “everyone” who says the sinner’s prayer after a presentation of the gospel is “a demon” or unregenerate. I don’t think many people who hold to “lordship salvation” even believe this. What would be true is someone who says the sinner’s prayer and continues on with a life unchanged and without growing into repentance and the likeness of Christ has every reason to doubt their salvation. The problem that many have with the sinner’s prayer would be the element of false assurance that it would give when emphasis is placed on the sincerity of words said from a deceitful heart. Trust Christ not the heart.

      • Chris Griffin says

        Pastor Jack,

        Adam’s explanation is right and helpful.

        I am not espousing a perfectionism with a “specific degree” of holiness, but every true believers life should reflect the change that Ephesians 2 and Titus 3 speak of. Jesus and God the Father (Matt 5:20) are the standard of righteousness. Again, I am not teaching perfectionism, but that Christians imperfectly strive to be like their Savior. Do you think the sort of changes Ephesians 2 and Titus 3 speak of in a converted life are optional?

        James 2 is speaking of two types of faith. A false faith that does not produce good works, and a true faith that is evidenced by works. So someone who prays a sinner’s prayer, but does not thereafter produce good works has a false, dead faith. James 2 is perfectly applicable to what you are talking about. I am not saying they are demons. They have a similar faith to demons. How would you understand that section of James 2 differently?

      • says

        Pastor Jack/Frank L.,

        Even the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 does not separate salvation in Christ with His lordship. Under IV. Salvation, it states the following about Christ as Lord.

        Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour…There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord…Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

        • Jack says

          Mark. I am not sure what your infatuation with my name is or why it matters. I only refer to myself as Jack because Mom used to call me that a lot.

          If you are trying to make some statement, insult, accusation, or such just do it.

          By the way I don’t respond to requests from people trying to get me to join Google Friends. Facebook messaging or the ALS ice challenge.
          So don’t take it personally if I don’t respond to your request.

          I just am not that tech savvy.

          • says

            What request did I send?

            Anyway, I am not infatuated with your name. I thought some folks may appreciate knowing that you are the same poster here who used to post under “Frank L.” so they might know that they have some familiarity with you.

            I believe at one time folks commenting here using more than one name were not allowed.

          • Jack says

            Mark. Frank is not my name it was a joke. I am sorry it troubles you I am using my name. It troubled some others when I didn’t. I feel like I am in a business meeting trying to settle on the color of draperies :)

          • Jack says

            PS. Mark. If you are ever in town and want to become more familiar with me I will buy you lunch or dinner and we can chat.

          • Pastor Jack says

            Dave, that is funnier than you think.

            My family is always teasing me because I won’t go on the water rides. I only live a short drive from Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm.

            They also tease me because they wonder how someone who hates water so much ended up in the Navy. I point out to them that I was on a submarine. If we were getting wet–we were in big trouble!

  21. says

    Dean,

    Your commentary in a few of the posts brought to mind a very recent confession, about two weeks ago, by a seven year old girl. Macy Grace, a neat little gal, belongs to Godly parents and an older sister that loves Jesus. In the midst of the seven years, Macy had followed the rules…for the most part. She was cute, mimicked her big sister at home school, and went to all the children’s activities of a typical Baptist. You would think she was following Jesus, in fact she acted better than many deacons that I’ve known over my past 35 years in ministry.

    Macy came down from her upstairs room the other night and tapped on her dads shoulder. Macy explained she needed to talk to him. He was a bit busy, so he said give me a few minutes….. and she said no, I really need to speak with you daddy. So, he said ok, and turned from what he was working on and focused on his little girl. She said, Daddy I need to be baptized, I love Jesus and I want to be baptized. Macy’s Dad, and Mom, then spent the next hour talking to their little girl, and from what she was confessing realized that this was different. She was confessing Christ, something had changed. Macy was no longer mimicking big Sister, or just following the rules. Her desire was for Christ.

    Her confession and testimony reminded me of the Ethiopian, and those guys that realized they had only been baptized into John. She was looking for water, and completely understood the washing that had already taken place, without getting wet. Praise God,…amazing! It was a great privilege to worship with her in baptism.

    The story is important because:

    1 A “Sinners Prayer” is formed in many ways.
    2. Macy’s prayer followed her confession. God had changed her, and she confessed that fact.
    3. The context of “Lordship Salvation” is a view from the flesh, and a distraction from the reality of what God is doing in the heart.
    4. Praying a “Sinners Prayer” should be preceded by demonstrating the faith that led to the confession. Believers should pray without ceasing, so praying a “Sinners Prayer” is encouraged.

    Obviously, just quoting words, means nothing. But, when Jesus taught the disciples to pray…He meant it.

    The theory based around “Lordship Salvation” is a distraction. Following Christ means everything! Salvation belongs to the Lord and is maintained by Him, ….we can trust Him.

  22. Jack says

    I agree with those who preach confessing Jesus as Lord for salvation. It is unfortunate and confusing that the argument I am describing is referred to as Lordship Salvation.

    The term must be understood in the historic use of the fundamentalist movement of the 70’s. In that context it was used to describe those skeptical that children could be saved or that people were truly saved in revivals (as someone mentioned above).

    I don’t disagree that many pray a prayer of repentance who are not really saved. I just don’t know how to prove who is saved and who isn’t. I don’t think that is my responsibility. I preach the gospel and ask for a response. I ask people what is they want to do. I pray with those that say they want to forsake their sin and follow Jesus as The Lord (boss, CEO, or whatever language seems appropriate to the person).

    I just did this with a young lady last week. I believe she is saved. I don’t know how I can prove it.

    What I just described is NOT Lordship Salvation

    I think many people criticize the efforts of others but do not show much of a harvest in their own lives. I have been guilty of this. I think Platt’s attacks on the Sinner’s Prayer flows from such an attitude.

    I also agree that formulas don’t say. But I don’t think they necessarily prevent salvation. Salvation is a formula that has components. How many and exactly what they are many debate.

    I am for anyone who tries in any way to present the gospel and ask people to respond. I believe people can even get saved at a Benny Hinn crusade or even a Billy Graham crusade. The power to save is in the gospel not the presentation

    The only method guaranteed to fail is silence.

    If Platt can agree with me on this, we can be partners in mission. If not, I going elsewhere for the remainder of my days. Trouble is: I will have to decide without ever speaking to anyone at the IMB.

    Good conversation. Thanks for helping clarify the source of my discontent in regard to these recent developments at the IMB. I think it has removed some blind spots in my thinking.

    • Adam G. in NC says

      Jack, if you think the gospel is being presented at a Benny Hinn crusade then we have much less in common that some quibble over the sinner’s prayer.

      • Pastor Jack says

        Adam, I’ve heard Benny Hinn read the gospel from the Bible on more than one occasion. Either it is the gospel that has the power unto salvation or it is Benny Hinn–but it cannot be both.

        Also, the Prophet’s Donkey spoke the word of God it seems that God can used a two-legged version just as well.

        But, that was not my point. My point is that the power is either in the gospel or somewhere else. I am going with gospel.

    • D.L. Payton says

      Jack

      I can understand and even appreciate you misgivings about recent events. However i would like to encourage you to not let the IMB be defined y one man. The missionaries on the field are the ones doing the work. They are the ones sharing the Gospel. They have not changed, they are still there. Whatever their belief and way of presenting the gospel will not change because of a new hire.

      Granted who knows what the future holds. What will Platt lead the Board to require as belief and presentation in this area in the future? These are at this point unanswered questions. I would encourage you to hang in and continue to work to spread the gospel. Until and if there are some drastic changes that are unacceptable, then will be the time to act.

      • Pastor Jack says

        D.L. Thanks for your words of encouragement. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am not letting this one man define my participation in missions. He just took the lid off a boiling pot.

        It is more likely I will abandon my support for the Association and the State before I would abandon my support for the IMB and NAMB. In fact, I see that as the model Brook Hills proposes.

        I see some value in that model. However, I realize that it would ultimately lead to the death of the CP as we know it. So, the choice is a difficult one.

        Unfortunately, my church does not have many people that have a clue as to what the CP is or how it works beyond Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. They dig deep for these two ladies.

        It would be easy to lead our church to follow the Brook Hills model and I believe actually increase our giving to Lottie and Annie significantly.

        I admit that the Platt appointment has created an internal conflict, but not for any single reason.

  23. Jess says

    I would love to throw in my opinion of what the scripture teaches. I think first of all, children already belong to the Lord as in the case of the seven year old mentioned above. Jesus said allow the little children to come to me. The meaning, I think is that children as well as adults should hear Christ’s teaching. Jesus said the Kindom of Heaven belong to little children, meaning they already belong to God by way of Grace.

    Children ask questions and are extremely impressionable. There will come a time in the child’s life that God will truly speak to their hearts and call them to him. But in the meantime we should answer children’s questions and not read into it more than we should.

    With what goes on in many churches today with children is a good way to fill it with lost people. Why do you think many people walk away from church never to return. Look at the divorce rate in the church, adultery, fornication, drug and alcohol abuse, pornography, chat lines, and only the Lord knows what else.

    I think many of us preachers aren’t helping the case any.

    • says

      Wow Jess,… lots to think and comment on in that post. I think I’ll wait for future posts to dive into what entails with that kind of teaching. I’ll just say…that the reason people walk away is because the Word is not preached. Instead we see too many lists and not a lot of love portrayed from the pulpit or the pews. If I were young, and viewing that type of mess,…. it may be best to run.

      Btw,…The divorce rate in the church is much lower than outside of the church. You have to dig at the statistics to see that reality. The world likes to equate themselves as the same as the church, when actually it is quite different.

    • Pastor Jack says

      85% or more of my congregation became believer’a as children–the national statistic actually.

      Are they all lost? I don’t think so. Are some? Yes, but I don’t think age was the issue.

  24. parsonsmike says

    Pastor Jack,
    Is that national stat for SBC churches or eveagelical churches or what?
    I am glad most of your church is not lost.

    • Pastor Jack says

      It has been a statistic I’ve read many times over the last 40 years. It is sort of like the 80/20 stat: 20 percent of the church members give 80 percent of the budget. That has been true for my entire ministry.

      I’m sure it would be easy to find the research. I know I’ve read it from Barna. About 83% of respondents indicated they received Jesus before the age of 13. It goes downhill from there the longer a person lives without Christ.

      This has been my experience this is true from 40 years of ministry. As a rule, over half of the last 400 or so people I can remember baptizing, well over half have been over the age of 13–perhaps even more but I am relying on memory which often gets misplaced at my age.

      Both my children were saved and baptized before they were 8 years old. I understand the problem with giving an invitation during VBS for all those who do not want to go to hell to raise their hands. That’s problematic. That’s why we do not do it that way. That’s also why we don’t baptize as many kids in June, July, or August as some churches.

      So, I recognize the potential for abuse. However, I don’t think silence is the remedy. 1 out of 4 southern baptist churches did not baptize one convert last year. I don’t think abuse of the Sinner’s Prayer was a big problem in those churches.

  25. Pastor Jack says

    I want to go back to Mike’s original question. It is certainly clear God is in this to the degree a vibrant discussion of what’s crucial is taking place. That has value in itself.

    Also, we are questioning whether Platt’s approach to mission giving is better than what most of us have practiced in the past–that is, give through the CP.

    Platt raises the question of “getting more money to the unreached people.” That was his theme in his message to the trustees at his installment. The CP has become bloated and almost unrecognizable from its initial form.

    The CP, if I understand it, was birthed in an atmosphere of reaching the world for Christ, hence Bold Mission Thrust and other initiatives. What if every church practiced mission giving like Brook Hills? Would we eliminate the unreached people groups (6000 or so) in one year? Two years?

    There would be a cost to such a movement. State Conventions as we know them now would likely disappear. Would we be ready to make such a sacrifice to reach the unreached people? Would we even reach all the unreached people if we used the Brook Hills model?

    As a Southern Baptist pastor I have never known anything but what we have now: Associations, State Conventions, Entities, etc. The death of the CP as I know it would be like the death of a family member. But, everything has a lifespan. Has the CP as we know it today come to the end of it’s life?

    I think this is a question that Platt’s practice and subsequent call to lead the mission agency has raised.

    Do I believe God is in this? Absolutely. But not necessarily in the way that others might think.

    Someone wisely has said, “When you come to a fork in the road . . . take it.”

    • D.L. Payton says

      Pastor Jack
      Your paragraph re. Associations and state conventions is of particular interest. Much of what we see happening today marginalizes these two entities. When we are looking at mission expenditure and CP efficiency comments we hear are perhaps useful and need to be heard. However, these entities provide more that just ministry and missions. One of the reasons for the strength of SB is in the strength of our fellowship. The strength of our fellowship lies in the associations and state conventions. Other groups do not have the encouragement and fellowship that we enjoy as SB. Associations and state conventions, not national entities are responsible for this.

      • Pastor Jack says

        D.L. That is a good point. I think you are saying that the Associations help keep missions close to home–or, at least that is an important aspect deriving from what you said.

        I don’t think Platt’s model supports your contention of the value of such things as Associations–which are really at the heart of CP giving, though not as much as they once were.

        Platt’s model of giving around the CP would eliminate the Associations to get more money to the unreached people. That is not a good idea or a bad idea (at this point) but it is something to consider.

        I take it you would say this would be a bad idea in the long run.

        This is not the first time in recent history that the national level of SB life has been at odds with the State and Associational level. Is a pattern forming?

        Some would at least think these matters should be discussed. Others will protect their sacred cows. I am trying to process my involvement in SB life in the latter years of my ministry.

        Personally, I have had near zero contact with either the Association or the State Convention for over five years (other than sending in money). Part of the issue is I have two jobs that take more time than I have in a day. Another part is: the Associational fellowship is not what it once was. All pastors seem to be busier than at any time in a long time.

        • D.L. Payton says

          Jack
          certainly Associations and SC are not what they once were. As a DOM I would be the first to say that the Association has lost a lot of relevance in the past 20 or so years. Whose fault this is would be an exercise in frustration. The question is, can the Assoc make a come back. Some say yes others no. Personally I am not sure. I do know that people like to be able to control what they support. the closer one is to the entity the more easy it is to control. Hence if Assocs can find relevance I think there is a new day for them. If nor they re doomed.

          • Pastor Jack says

            D.L. I don’t know if you are currently receiving a salary as a DOM, so I don’t want to trap you into saying something that would bring you unemployment :)

            My DOM and I are good friends–not so much so with previous relationships between our church and the association. But, that was then. My DOM has been a good friend. When I had my heart attack, he stepped in to help. He is trying his level best to reengineer a dinosaur from ancient DNA. I love him and respect him. We don’t always agree.

            The difference is, we can disagree over a burrito–face to face, man to man.

            I think the deck is stacked against the Association. Hence, my comments about Platt in regard to Associations. In all I’ve read, the Association has not even been a blip on the mission team radar.

            I have led our church to increase giving to the Association. I want to do more, but I can only spend a dime once. To do more in the Association, something else has to go.

            Herein lies my dilemma. My reasoning is: if it is good enough for Platt to pick and choose the recipients of his mission dollars–and be rewarded for it–then it should be a consideration for other also.

            Thanks for your service. When it comes to DOM’s, I like the song from Toy Story (two or three): “You’ve Got a Friend In Me.”

  26. parsonsmike says

    Pastor Jack,
    Some are called to be pastors, others teachers, others givers and so on. Each part of the body is different in some way than any other part and each part is needed.
    So maybe the organism called the SBC has different parts, doing different things, and giving in different ways.
    And just like one part of the body is not greater than another part, and one servant of the Lord is not better than other servants, could it be that one church that gives in a different way than another is not better, but just fills a different role in God’s plan.
    Blessings,
    mike

    • Pastor Jack says

      Mike, good words. See D.L.’s post above (or below). I am not sure that Platt’s model of mission participation supports what you just outlined. That is a key issue for me.

      At least at the National level (IMB Trustees for example), the pattern of giving around the CP (which is based on your model of the body) was not a concern.

      If you believe what you state above–and of course you do–then you should be concerned about what might be a trend in SB life at the national level. I know I am.

      Now, either the trend I fear may (notice my equivocation) be taking place fundamentally changes the game. That only is not “good” or “bad” but it is change. I don’t think the CP as I have known it all my ministry can survive the trend I see reflected in recent national leadership changes.

      Presidents come and go–entity heads stay forever it seems. As someone mentioned in another post, all it takes to takeover (change) the SBC is to control the trustees. Again, that is neither good nor bad in itself, but just a fact.

      This process worked to the delight of conservatives as we have seen. I don’t even know one IMB trustee, much less have any influence on any. Now, part of this is my own fault because I do not participate in State or National Conventions (other than send money from a very gracious church).

      But, part of the distance between the pew and the entities is because that’s the way people in power want it. The SBC is structured formally like a democracy. It operates realistically as an oligarchy. However, unless those in power have authority over those they rule, the whole organizational structure collapses.

      The CP is vulnerable. It is not eternal. Platt’s election makes a difference. It has created waves for whatever reason. Many SB pastors I have talked to (which is actually a small number compared to the total) feel an increasing distance between their church and the place they send their money.

      If this rift is anything like real, the CP is in trouble. The appointment of Platt is but one pebble in the pond. The ripples are real even if the reasonings are fuzzy.

      We are still not over the discussions (in our State) of issues created by the appointment of Ezell. They did not just fizzle out. They are still there. The issues D.L. mentions are real issues. The issues raised by the appointment of Platt are real issues.

      “Go along to get along” is a strategy that seems to be stretched to the breaking point.

      God bless.

  27. Jack says

    This has been interesting for me. I always considered myself as one who leaned toward Calvinism.

    I think this New Calvinism has plucked up some of the flowers in my garden. For example I believe in sovereign grace but apparently not as some believe.

    I am glad that Platt was appointed to lead the IMB if for no other reason than to help me clarify grace as a basis for missions. As Calvinist voices get louder and more stringent as they seem to be then Platt’s appointment may prove a watershed moment for Southern Baptists.

  28. says

    Is David Platt a 5-point Calvinist?
    Does he believe in Limited Atonement?
    Does he believe Jesus died, not for all, but only for the elect?
    I’d like to know some particulars about his Calvinism.
    David R. Brumbelow

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