Frank Page is “God’s Man” for THIS Moment (and…the Calvinism Committee is here!)

by Dave Miller on August 15, 2012 · 236 comments

WARNING: Having just declared my intent to steer away from discussions of Calvinism, I’m going back to the subject less that 48 hours later, now that Frank Page has named his Calvinism Committee (or whatever they are calling it).

There is a certain irony intended in the title of this post. I have written forcefully about my disdain for the “God’s Man” rhetoric that has been employed by search committee chairs. You can read one of my rants here. I may have mellowed a little, but I still agree with what I said two years ago. I think it is a dangerous tactic to label someone “God’s Man” to enlist others to vote for his nomination.

But, there is another side to this. Sometimes, a man gets elected and as he carries out his job you become more and more convinced that he was, in fact, GOD’S MAN for that particular job. That is how I feel when I think of Frank Page and the job he is doing at the Executive Committee. I’m sure he will do some things I disagree with (and hence, be wrong!) from time to time, but I am convinced that his election as the President of the EC is a sign of God’s continuing grace to the SBC in this day.

Can you imagine where we would be if we had a more combative, partisan man in the SBC Oval Office? We would be in deep trouble.

Dr. Page is not a Calvinist. We know this – he wrote a book called, “Trouble with the Tulip” which was not about gardening. But he is willing to partner and work with Calvinists in accomplishing the work of the SBC. There is no rancor on the subject with Dr. Page. He’s not a drawer of lines, an “us against them” kind of man.  That makes him perfect for the time. He is someone non-Calvinists and Calvinists alike can trust and work with.

At the time that the Calvinism wars were coming to a head, God in his grace arranged that Dr. Page would be our leader; a voice for unity, for Christlikeness, a voice that every Southern Baptist can trust! (There is no truth to the rumor that I am about to write a letter asking Dr. Page for a loan.  No truth at ALL.) I am thankful that we have a man like him at a moment like this.

Enough of this hagiography, I guess. Dr. Page is still alive and healthy.  But I think the world of him and I see his appointment as a sign of God’s mercy and grace.  So, let’s talk about the advisory committee.

The Calvinism Advisory Committee

Dr. Page has appointed 16 people to an advisory committee to study the issue of Calvinism in the SBC and craft a strategic plan by which the disparate elements of the SBC can work together. Dr. Page said,

“My goal is to develop a strategy whereby people of various theological persuasions can purposely work together in missions and evangelism.”

The committee seems to be fairly representative of the theological spectrum. Seven of the sixteen are academics and seven are pastors. There is a state executive (way to go, Leo!) and a homemaker (and writer).  There are some noted Calvinists on the list. There are some of the more noted and forceful opponents of Calvinism on the list. And there are quite a few people who have not really been involved in the battle on either side.  There is even a very close friend of mine on the list! If any advisory committee can make something like this happen, this might be the committee.

Dr. Page has made it clear he is not going to try to rewrite the BF&M. It would be foolhardy to think that an advisory committee such as this will solve all the theological issues that the church has argued for millennia and the SBC has been arguing since its inception. It would seem that this committee is about finding a template for cooperation and understanding for the purpose of missions, not about trying to enforce some kind of theological conformity.

Here is the list from Baptist Press of the members of the committee, with their information.

– Daniel Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.
– Mark Dever, senior pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington D.C.
– David Dockery, president, Union University, Jackson, Tenn.
– Leo Endel, executive director, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention.
– Ken Fentress, senior pastor, Montrose Baptist Church, Rockville, Md.
– Timothy George, dean, Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, Ala.
– Eric Hankins, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Oxford, Miss.
– Johnny Hunt, pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga.
– Tammi Ledbetter, homemaker and layperson, Inglewood Baptist Church, Grand Prairie, Texas.
– Steve Lemke, provost, director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
– Fred Luter, senior pastor, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, New Orleans; president, Southern Baptist Convention.
– R. Albert Mohler Jr., president, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.
– Paige Patterson, president, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
– Stephen Rummage, senior pastor, Bell Shoals Baptist Church, Brandon, Fla.
– Daniel Sanchez, professor of missions, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
– Jimmy Scroggins, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Nothing real surprising here.

So, now they go to work. We pray that God will give them wisdom.

A Suggestion

So, here is my thought, for whatever it is worth.  Why don’t we just declare a cease-fire while they do their work?  One of the objections to suggestions of a cease-fire has come from those who believe that there is an organized Calvinist attempt to takeover the SBC.  The committee is on it, aren’t they? Calvinists who feel like you are being misrepresented and treated unfairly, the committee is on it, right? There are Calvinists on the panel who will not let anyone run roughshod over SBC’s Calvinist minority. And there are some non-Calvinists who will not let the Calvinists put anything over on anyone.

Why don’t we just let them do their work and then when they bring back their report, we can analyse it and see what it says.  We can always go back to war in the future, can we not?

That’s my suggestion. Let’s get about the work of God, stop the bickering that has marked so much blogging on this topic, pray for Dr. Page and the advisory committee as they begin their work and see what God can do.

What say you?


1 Joshua Breland August 15, 2012 at 9:39 pm


I’m a little confused about the goal of this project. The purpose seems to center around unity in missions. I’ve been following this issue for a couple of years now and have not seen missions being an issue as much as seminaries, colleges, and churches. Is “missions” being used as an umbrella term which includes these other issues?

Lemke recently advocated for “proportionality” during the Kentucky Baptist Convention Calvinism Conference. This “proportionality” would include terminating Calvinists from SBC seminaries and colleges and instituting hiring freezes of any future Calvinist profs until a quota or proper “proportionality” is met. This method is already being used in at least one SBC affiliated state college.

I look forward to what these men can agree on and publish.

2 dr. james willingham August 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Sounds good to me, and the members of the Committee appear to reflect the theological diversity in the SBC at the present time. If they can work out a practical solution that is truly biblical and open to all participants being able to express themselves without fear of reprisal, then we shall be able to go forward in a new burst of freedom that will be both attractive, engaging, and challenging.

3 mike white August 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm

It should never be a war.
And those who desire to discuss properly should do so where there is opportunity.

4 John K August 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I think Dr. Page in his press release has done a good job in laying out his purpose, scope, and goals. I pray that he and the committee is able to accomplish his stated objectives and we all get back to doing Gods assignment.

At some point I do think the committee should be open to meetings being broadcast over the internet.

5 Dale Pugh August 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm

I’m on board with your suggestion. Let’s see what happens.

6 Bill Mac August 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm

I’m not usually this cynical but seriously, what are we expecting this committee to do? We have the BFM. I hope they surprise me, but I cannot see what the outcome of this committee can possibly be. They’ll talk about unity. They’ll tell people to be upfront with their doctrines. They’ll tell people not to fight. They’ll tell people not to misrepresent the views of others. They’ll tell us to put aside our differences for the sake of the Gospel. Can anyone hazard a guess as to what else there might be? I’m not saying we should keep fighting. I’m saying we ought to be able to figure this out without a committee.

7 Clark Dunlap August 15, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Bill, don’t know your theology/soteriology, but your reasoning sounds reasonable. I’m hoping for something of constructive substance and maybe ‘truly’ help put bickering to rest.

But…. I think you may be right.

8 Leslie Puryear August 17, 2012 at 11:25 am


We’re Baptist. We can’t do anything without a committee. :)

9 Darryl Hill August 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I agree completely that Frank Page is an excellent choice for the job. What we definitely don’t want here is a person with a major bias or, as Scripture puts it, has an unhealthy interest in controversies and arguments about words, which are unprofitable. There is enough balance on this committee that I am not worried about it at all. The thing that frustrates me about the current discussion most is the underlying idea that all calvinists are secretly working some scheme to calvinize the convention. Truly, there may be some who have this agenda, but I’ve never encountered anyone who did.

And one of the best things about this group is that they will work face to face, at least I assume they will meet face to face often, while they are working on this. And I just don’t think it’s possible for genuine brothers to remain combative, bitter, and suspicious toward one another while working closely and seeing each other’s heart on the matter. That is what has been missing on these blogs.

I’m all in favor of the cease fire while they do their work.

10 Clark Dunlap August 15, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I like Frank Page but I didn’t like his book. Well, I liked his book, the bits I saw of it, I just disagreed with it. But I still appreciated Dr. Page!
That’s the difference between what he wrote and the so-called traditionalist’s document. Page was respectful and addressed His points. The traditionalist’s document was condescending, marginalizing, and well, misrepresenting. That’s why I wish that so many people I respect wouldn’t have signed it.
So, glad that, if there HAS to be a committee like this, Page is in charge. There are only a couple on the committee I wouldn’t have put there.
BUT, whats this about a Ceasefire? Were we shooting at each other?
I wasn’t.

11 Jared Moore August 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm

I think this group will produce a unity document that all entity heads will sign, and the SBC will vote to affirm in 2013.

12 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 12:14 am

I think that is a likely scenario.

Hope the document has teeth.

13 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 9:05 am


On this we both agree, friend. I, too, hope the document has teeth.

However, I do not hope for a Unity Document that tells us to get along, but rather a “Check and Balance Against the Quiet Revolution” proposal that would restore the accountability of our institutions in supporting the prevailing doctrinal views of our convention, which are not Calvinist.

14 Jared Moore August 16, 2012 at 10:16 am

Rick, are you suggesting some sort of quota system?

15 Bennett Willis August 16, 2012 at 11:00 am


16 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I am proposing real solutions, starting with a few more Trads on this committee so it will not be lampooned as the Second Council of Dort!

17 Chris Roberts August 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm


On the quiet revolution, has any evidence been found for this yet? The mission statement of Founder’s remains no evidence of any organized attempt to reform the SBC via leadership positions, etc. The Gospel Project has been claimed to be part of this, but as we see, SBC Today has failed to turn up any evidence that it contains any Calvinist indoctrination. So what’s left? Where is the quiet revolution? Why are you so eager to put handcuffs on the Calvinists ministering within the SBC?

18 Randall Cofield August 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Speaking of SBC Today’s treatment of the Gospel Project….it seems they may have rolled the canon hastily into place and then realized nobody brought powder or balls….Two weeks and counting…

Excellent material, that Gospel Project. My “non-Calvinistic” church has previewed it and gave it a major “thumbs up.” I don’t think any of our seniors will be sleeping through Sunday School anymore.

19 Todd August 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Our entity heads have signed documents before. They agreed not to dabble in another entity’s business. Not sure signing it was the same as following it.

I think we need something else. Not sure what. Just something else.

20 William Carpenter August 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm

I agree about Dr. Page as President of the EC. I have always had a respect for the man, even when I disagree with him. My respect has only grown as time has progressed. If any one can lead us in this charge, Dr. Page can.

My concern is whether the two sides are willing to come to an agreement on the way forward. I am not concerned if they can, Baptists of both persuasions have long agreed to work together, but if they are willing to do so. Sometimes I feel like the two sides of this issue are like Democrats and Republicans in Congress. It matters not what one side puts forward, the other side will be against it simply because of who proposed it. Surely we are not that way, but sometimes I wonder.

21 Bruce H. August 16, 2012 at 6:44 am

I know I’m going to get hit for pointing this out, but this doesn’t make sense. This lady is on the committee:

“Tammi Ledbetter, homemaker and layperson, Inglewood Baptist Church, Grand Prairie, Texas.”

All the rest of the participants are men with degrees behind their names like halos. Just one layperson? Come on! Grant it, she is from Texas and may be the deciding vote, but where are the other men laypeople?

22 Bob Cleveland August 16, 2012 at 6:56 am

For what it’s worth, I personally volunteered to Frank Page, and am crushed that I wasn’t included.

Tammi does seem to be a sometimes writer for the Baptist Press and I’ve seen her articles in several other publications. They didn’t seem to mention that.

23 David R. Brumbelow August 16, 2012 at 9:13 am

Tammi Ledbetter is a longtime writer for the Southern Baptist Texan ( and Baptist Press.
David R. Brumbelow

24 William Thornton August 16, 2012 at 7:28 am

I like Frank Page and am OK with the group, think it was a good idea, but am unsure of what exactly they can do.

Missing from the committee:

Tom Ascol, arguably the most important calvinist in the SBC.

Any blogger of either side. Is Page aware that most of the discussion and disputation on the subject takes place on independent blogs? Is he aware that support or lack there of of his committee’s work will be in large part based on how blogs like this one view it? Many SBC entities recognize this and take steps to include bloggers in their publicity efforts.

The single female is about what one expects on SBC committees. Tami L, a journalist, is a good choice.

We will see…

25 Bill Mac August 16, 2012 at 9:17 am

I wouldn’t mind seeing Allen and Ascol added to the committee, since Founders is seen as the driving force behind the Calvinist takeover conspiracy theory. I think Allen is reasonable.

26 John Wylie August 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

William and Bill Mac,

I agree totally.

27 Leslie Puryear August 17, 2012 at 11:32 am

Personally, I think Ascol is too controversial as I would be or many others. His organization is the genesis of the “Quiet Revolution,” which many of you can’t seem to find but we see here in North Carolina. Personally, I like the makeup of the committee. It seems balanced to me.

Sorry but I’ll be doing out of town for the next few days so I won’t be able to answer any questions you may have on my comments. Blessings to you all.

28 dr. james willingham August 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Brother Puryear: Your column in the Biblical Recorder has been duly noted. It is quite clear that you are not aware of the Sovereign Grace Southern Baptists who owe nothing to Ascol, Reisinger or any Reformed movement. When I was a child in Arkansas, my pastor who was then in his sixties and who had been preaching for many years preached Sovereign Grace. Then in Missouri in the late fifties and early sixties, my ordaining pastor, a supralapsarian hyper calvinist, and the only man named by Dr. R.G. Lee as the minister to preach the latter’s funeral, preached the same Gospel of Sovereign Grace. He also founded the American Race Track Chaplaincy (cf. Who’s Who in Religion, 2nd edn. Chicago: Marquis Pubs., 1977 for Dr. Ernest R. Campbell), one of the most earnest soul winners I ever met. He once preached a revival in Georgia in a country church and had over 100 conversions. He also had many preacher boys in South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, and elsewhere. As for the folks you mention, I think Dr. Mohler was probably about 4-5 years old, when I preached my first Sovereign Grace sermon. And I met Mr. Reisinger and we had a run-in. As to the matter of church government, I am a congregationalist. Period! You might want to know that I had some ancestors who were preaching Sovereign Grace back in the 1800s and 1700s. And they were all Southern Baptists. The Reformed Baptists are but some folks who have been impressed by Reformed and Puritan theological literature, and they have yet to make the acquaintance with the Baptists and their writings on Sovereign Grace. Did you ever read John Gano on Effectual Grace, a circular letter in the Philadelphia Baptist Assn. Minutes…or John Gill’s Body of Divinity or his commentaries, works recommended by the Charleston Baptist Assn. to its ministers in the late 1700s early 1800s or Luther Rice’s Memoirs, the father of missions among Southern Baptists, who said Predestination and God’s Sovereignty are in the Bible and you had better preach it or J.L. Dagg’s Manual of Theology or J.P. Boyce’s Abstract of Systematic Theology or B.H. Carroll and his comments on Acts 13:48 or his other remarks in his Interpretation of the English Bible on Election and Predestination? The original effort to allow for differences came from the Sovereign Grace believers of the Separate and Regular Baptists in 1787 in the Union of Separate and Regular Baptists where they said that preaching that Christ tasted death for every man should be no bar to communion…which meant that most of them believed He died only for the elect. And you might be interested in knowing that Matthew T. Yates, the first SBC missionary to China, came from a church, Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, which in its original article of faith stated that Christ died for the church. Nothing was said about Him dying for everybody. The Reformed effort is not the real cause of the renewal of the original theology; it is not the result of the Reformers effort (though they do make a contribution). No, the real reason is that prayer has been going on for longer than I have been alive for a Third Great Awakening (I have been praying for one for it will be 39 years this Fall). I addressed the Pastors’ Prayer Meeting of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association in the Fall of ’73, and that was when I began praying for such a visitation. Sandy Creek Assn. was established by Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall, men who had been converted in the First Great Awakening under George Whitefield. The Association then experienced the Second Great Awakening in 1801, and it also participated under the leadership of Luther Rice in the launching of the Great Century of Missions in 1816 while adopting a Confession of Faith that is at the basis of the Abstract of Principles of Southern and Southeastern Seminary. All of this while uniting Separate and Regular Baptists, persuading General Baptists who were neither very evangelist nor missionary to become Regular Baptists who were both, using educated and uneducated men together in the great work of preaching, and making the South a Baptist kingdom. There is more, but the point I would make is that theology that produced the First and Second Great Awakenings, the launching of the Great Century of Missions and the calvinistic republic that we call the United States of America is Sovereign Grace. Just think what seems so ill-liberal produced the greatest nation with the most freedoms the world has ever seen. Brother Puryear do you know about paradoxical interventions or therapeutic paradoxes? Have you ever considered that predestination could be a truth of invitation to trust God, to begin one’s spiritual pilgrimage, and that total depravity/inability, unconditional election, particular redemption/limited atonement, irresistible grace, perseverance/preservation of the saints, and, yes, even reprobation are all invitations to be saved? What transformed protestantism from being a contentious, combative, conflicted gospel recovery effort into an outgoing, missionary minded, we will persuade you with the truth effort?

29 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 8:35 am

If the committee were to be balanced, it would have to add Vines, Allen, Gaines and a few more. The “proportionality” mentioned by Dr. Lemke is certainly not reflected on this strongly Calvinist leaning committee.

Previously, I had hopes that it would be possible for this group to address the issues in a significant and substantial way, with clear proposals and action plans, rather than just a resolution to be nice to each other. I’m afraid that, given the composition of this group, we are likely to get the latter.

Unless there is genuine “reformation reform” proposed by this committee, I think it will only foster the formation of a true Traditionalist Caucus and the creation of the very tribalism Mohler claims he does not want.

How I wish we would go back to forming committees the old-fashioned way, with a Committee on Committees picking evenly, and an entire convention approving the selection. I think Johnny Hunt, Bryant Wright and Frank Page are all good men, but I don’t think one man should pick a committee.

30 Jared Moore August 16, 2012 at 10:25 am

Rick, how is the committee not proportionately balanced?

31 Smuschany August 16, 2012 at 11:21 am

It is not proportionally balanced because it is not 90% “traditionalist” and 10% Calvinist as most “traditionalists” claim the SBC truly is. Anything short of that ratio, and people like Rick will complain. It is this that points to the fact that there never can be true Unity in the SBC as for one loud minority, nothing short of complete capitulation to their way of doing things will ever be good enough for them.

32 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 11:41 am

Actually, Smuschany overstates a bit. I could live with a 65/35 blend of Traditionalists to Calvinists. I think we pretty much have the reverse. Replace Dever, George and Dockery with Allen, Gaines and Vines and I would be fine with the balance on this list. That’s not a slam on those three men, by the way, just their viewpoint representation.

33 Jared Moore August 16, 2012 at 11:51 am

Rick, you’ve got to prove that your percentage is legitimate, don’t you?

Also, since you’re suggesting some sort of proportionality in the entities, doesn’t this mean that people would lose their jobs as the SBC changes? So, in 10 years when there’s more Calvinists, more Calvinists would then replace Traditionalists in SBC entities? It’s an impractical argument.

34 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm


It’s interesting that you think there will be more Calvinists in ten years. That might be a very good topic for the Second Council of Dort to explain.

35 Chris Roberts August 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm


The entire point of the group is to open dialogue and seek solutions between Calvinists and non-Calvinists, yet you want to remove three of the most significant Calvinist voices present and you want Calvinists to have a small presence?? I don’t know the theological persuasion of most of those in the group so I don’t know how balanced it is, but from the names I do recognize it seems a good mix. I am surprised that you would complain of the group’s composition when it was put together by someone who is clearly a non-Calvinist and certainly has no agenda to Calvinize the SBC. As others have noted, your attitude does not seem to be one that seeks real solutions for unity. What you want is a solution that silences Calvinists.

36 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Dear Mr. Unity,

I think the committee is balanced in favor of the Calvinist side. I suppose instead of replacing three Cals with three Trads, we could leave those three Cals that you want to remain and just add six Trads to make the sides even.

The committee was put together by Dr. Page, a man I greatly admire. I cannot imagine all that went through his mind as he made his selections. While I agree with you that he has no agenda to Calvinize the SBC, I do think it is his desire to pacify the concerned Traditionalists, like a mother who places a pacifier in a baby’s mouth to stop them from crying. Frankly, I get that impression from you and Dave as well. In contrast with your view of me, I believe you are honestly trying to seek unity. I simply believe we are way past the pacifier in the mouth approach.

We need to sit down and have a talk. We need to listen to Dr. Vines, whose absence is inexplicable. You wrote that you think what I want is a solution that silences Calvinists. Brother, I’ve only had a few psychology classes, but that right there is what you call “projection.” You are projecting onto me what you yourself want. Your solution is for Traditionalists to be silent so we can have unity.

But I’m telling you, it is time to talk about the Elephant in the Room.

37 Chris Roberts August 17, 2012 at 1:32 am


I am amused that you think it takes six trads to equal three cals. I can’t really argue with that math.

38 Chris Roberts August 17, 2012 at 1:36 am


“Your solution is for Traditionalists to be silent so we can have unity.”

I will confess to a small element of truth to this. There is one way that I want non-Calvinists to be silent; I want them to stop misrepresenting Calvinists. I want them to stop teaching people that Calvinism is the enemy and Calvinists will destroy churches. I want them to stop inventing conspiracies that do not exist. Yes, in those areas, I would greatly appreciate silence from non-Calvinists.

39 Rick Patrick August 17, 2012 at 6:41 am

Mr. Unity,

You need to listen to us. We have real concerns. I think we not only have a different understanding of salvation. I think we have a different conception of God as a result. But more germane to our denominational struggle than the theological differences are the practical differences. In our mutually shared institutions, both views, which cannot be reconciled, are competing with one another. We need to find a way to make sure that the views of all Southern Baptists are fairly represented and promoted in these institutions that everyone financially supports.

There is a difference between inventing a conspiracy and identifying an agenda. For what it’s worth, I’m not impugning motives, just saying that we have a bunch of Calvinists who want to promote Calvinism. I don’t blame them for that. If I were one, I would want to do the same. The problem comes when it appears that a minority group within our convention is using the resources of the majority to promote the minority view, thus bringing about a gradual reform of the denomination. Can you not see why those holding the majority view might feel used and abused?

40 Chris Roberts August 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm


Except that isn’t happening.

41 Roy August 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm

“Except that isn’t happening”

Chris Roberts

Once again you show why nobody should pay you any attention. Your Unity proposal bears no resemblance to your revealed attitudes. Your comments to a reporter before the convention bears no resemblance to your expressed beliefs since. You toss around accusations without merit and like to play rhetorical games (note how many times you write about how you are amused at what others have to say in order to get some type of “upper hand”).

This country boy ain’t fooled.

42 Joe Blackmon August 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm


I’m more concerned that the majority of them are SBC bigwigs from larger churches or denominational employees. Does that lack of smaller church representation concern you?

43 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Certainly, it does. This committee does not look like our convention as a whole, either soteriologically, or demographically.

44 Todd August 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm


Soon the sun will stand still.

I think you stated a poignant observation.

Now, back to regularly programming.

45 Joe Blackmon August 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm


It was Thursday. :-)

46 Darryl Hill August 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm

And with that, Bro. Rick Patrick has summarily dismissed any statements or solutions of this committee as illegitimate. This is the same basis upon which many traditionalists have dismissed the legitimacy of the Gospel Project as a solid biblical curriculum option. It has nothing to do with the content but everything to do with the theological leanings of the contributors. Why wait until this committee actually produces something? Condemn it now and cut out the middle man.

Rick, I’m not going to try to talk you out of your position or attempt to point out our commonalities, because that approach has failed, so I will just say this. So long as you believe you can’t trust reformed brothers to hear and speak in a way that is inspired by God just as well as He can do the same through you, you’ll never be satisfied until “calvinists” are either removed from any leadership or marginalized until their opinions no longer matter. That seems to be what you’re after here. You don’t care for reformed folks to speak. You just don’t intend to ever listen to them or take into account their opinions because their opinions are illegitimate based on their belief in sovereign grace.

47 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm


I don’t want Calvinists removed or marginalized. I do want them “proportionalized,” which is simply to say that their influence should be equal to their population in Southern Baptist life, but no greater.

48 Joshua Breland August 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm


How do you do that without firing them?

49 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm


Patiently. It starts with a philosophy that we will not have an agenda-driven seminary, for example. Instead of having a seminary that looks like we want our denomination to be, we will have one that looks like our denomination actually is.

Then, by attrition, as Calvinists retire and resign, you replace them with outstanding theologians whose soteriological commitments are actually similar to those of the people in our churches whose Cooperative Program funds support the seminary.

However, although I prefer to handle such matters with grace, if you prefer the firing method and require the services of a Southern Baptist capable of firing people, we could always invite Kevin Ezell to lend us a hand for a while until the job is finished.

50 Darryl Hill August 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Rick, do you believe that God can speak to and through your reformed brothers just as well as He can through you?

51 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 8:35 pm


I’ve invited more Calvinists to speak at our church than you would believe. I honestly don’t have any idea where you get such an idea, except for the fact that I’m a Traditionalist who is concerned about the institutionalization of Calvinism in Southern Baptist life. In some of our institutions, we are a bit out of balance with the rest of the denomination. I believe that should be corrected. I believe we should discern whether or not anyone is intentionally seeking to Calvinize the convention. If they are, they should be invited to stop, in the interest of unity, or a contrary organization should be encouraged in order to bring about balance. For each exciting new Calvinistic thing we promote, we should give equal time to the other side. Again, it’s not about removing Calvinism. It’s about balancing it properly in a convention of mostly non-Calvinists. It is very easy for the other side to feel marginalized, disenfranchised, a stranger in our own denomination.

Not long ago, Southern Baptists were Rogers, Criswell, Vines and Patterson. Now, we’re Mohler, Dever, Platt and Piper–yes, even though he’s not SBC. If you were wearing my moccasins, you’d know how weird that feels.

So no, this does not at all mean that God cannot speak through Calvinists.

52 darryl hill August 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Rick I only know you from your posts on these blogs in the last few months. You have said that your church screens out Calvinists for pastoral staff positions and for church planting positions. So honestly if you’ve invited even 1 Calvinist to speak at your church I would be surprised. You have made your position perfectly clear here. You don’t trust a person who believes in sovereign grace.

But the point of my question should be clear. If you believe that God can speak to and through calvinists, then you should have no trouble with the composition of that committee and you certainly shouldn’t publicly offer doubts regarding their ability to find real solutions here before they even have one meeting. Just trust God to speak to His people regarding His ail in this. And when they present their findings and solutions if it is clear they’re skewed, then offer a critique. Being critical now comes off as petty and as mere grandstanding. Can we let them meet before invalidating their solutions?

53 Rick Patrick August 17, 2012 at 11:08 pm


We screen for youth pastors because there was an imbroglio in which we discovered we do not want to teach our youth doctrines their parents have made clear that they disaffirm. This does not mean we will not invite a Calvinist guest speaker from time to time. Timothy George is probably the best known. David Nasser. Pretty sure about Matt, Lane, Buddy and Greg.

If all you know of me is from this blog, you’ll get a distorted view. I’m usually responding to ten at once. I love Calvinists. I just don’t believe their Calvinism. And I have concerns about how it affects our denomination’s entities. I believe it is a conversation we must have. My college roommate was a Calvinist. I’ve gone on missions trips with Calvinists. Mine is not a battle cry, but an invitation to the table.

You said, “If you believe God can speak…through Calvinists, then you should have no problem…” I believe God can speak through a donkey, but I don’t want even one of them on the committee.

It’s odd to me how much resistance there is here on SBC Voices to the idea of proportionality. To me, that’s just another word for equal and fair representation.

54 Darryl Hill August 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm

That sounds great Rick. The trouble is that your comments regarding the composition of the committee in question and your willingness to invite calvinists to be guest speakers in your church are at odds. If calvinists can be trusted to preach the Gospel to your people, surely they can be trusted to work in a committee to help iron out troubles in the convention.

Your comment reminds me of folks who say, “I have no problems with ________, some of my best friends are ________.” But then when you hear them speak about _________, their feelings become very evident. It seems you’re saying, “I love calvinists, I just don’t trust them.” Or perhaps, “I love calvinists, just don’t turn your back on one.”

To me, I would be more hesitant to let someone have the ear of my congregation if I questioned his soteriology than I would to let them work on a committee in a room with a bunch of seminary educated people who all know where the others stand and where they are coming from. Your logic seems backwards to me.

But hey, if you’re open to the possibility, I’d love to come speak at your church sometime. :-)

55 Alan Cross August 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Rick, I believe that your view is representative of the Traditionalist view. Because of that, I believe that this Advisory Team will not be successful in bringing real peace (unless there is repentance and humility) and the battle will only intensify until one group truly does begin to lord over the other.

Or, we could all just stop this and move along.

I vote for the latter. Somehow, I think I am in the minority here yet again.

56 Dave Miller August 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I’m in, Alan. There are two of us at least.

57 Louis August 16, 2012 at 8:50 am

This is a good group of people. I can think of several others who would have been good, too.

I predict that this group, in no particular order, will:

1. Affirm the BFM
2. Affirm that Southern Baptists have always had people of both stripes and always will.
3. Encourage charity and love toward one another and humility and discourage uncharitable actions and characterizations.
4. Encourage theological clarity on the part of applicants for jobs at churches and sbc agencies.
5. Affirm that the SBC agencies are run by their own trustees, so this document will not govern the operations and hiring practices at sbc agencies.
6. Affirm the unique traditions at various sbc institutions (e.g. Southern and Southeastern.) In other words, the Abstract is here to stay until those institutions decide to abolish it.
5. State, but not require, that sbc agencies should not use whether one is a Calvinist or not as a qualifier or disqualifier for any job.
6. Not propose, or even come close to proposing “proportionality” or anything like it at any sbc agency or institution.
7. Affirm the rights of those with similar theological affinity to meet, teach, write, try to encourage others to believe similarly, but discourage political activity by such groups around this issue. The Founders and John 3:16 groups and meetings will continue as before.

We will vote on something at the convention in 2013, and that will quell the disturbances, but nothing will really change.

58 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

I have problems with both of your 5′s and both of your 6′s. Once any of our institutions becomes more reformed than our convention as a whole, we have a problem, in that our agencies do not reflect our denomination. At that point, it is incumbent upon our denomination to organize politically and elect trustees to change the direction of our institutions so they reflect the reality of our denomination.

59 Jeff Parsons August 16, 2012 at 11:20 am

There is one clearly Calvinist SBC seminary, one that leans heavily in that direction, and four that are clearly more “traditional” baptist in their teaching…..seems like things are in proportion already……

60 Kyle Thomas August 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Yes, but the two Calvinistic seminaries are seeing record enrollments, while the others are hoping to get more students. That’s part of the rub here. The Traditionalist seminaries outnumber the others (4 Trad, 2 Calv), but there’s a lot of momentum and buzz among young guys toward the 2 Calvinistic ones.

At some level, we ought to ask the question if the agencies don’t have an agenda but are simply beginning to reflect and respond to something they are seeing in the churches, particularly in the younger generation.

61 Chris Roberts August 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm

So we’re unhappy that people are using their free will to choose to go to Calvinistic seminaries? We’re wanting to stop them from being able to make this choice?

62 Louis August 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm

What do you mean by “become?”

Southern and Southeastern were founded upon this document.


63 Bill Mac August 16, 2012 at 9:12 am


I agree. And since most of us have figured this out long ago, what is the point of the committee? Is the CP funding this effort? If so, are we not simply paying for SBC superstars to do something everyone knows how to do anyway? Is “don’t fight” going to mean more coming from people mostly “above our pay grade”?

64 Nate August 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I want to echo Louis to a degree, but first I want to say that I know and respect many on this committee.

Having said that however, is this where our CP dollars are really going? Do we need to pay, with CP money, Dr. Page to head a commitee, of the Usual Suspects (for the most part), to end up agreeing that the 2000 BF&M really does suffice, as a document that allows everyone to get along?

65 Alan Cross August 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm


That is pretty much all that they can do. And, all of that is where we are right now – THAT is the reality that the vast, vast majority of Southern Baptists live under, save some of the preachers who are upset because they are not getting a seat at the table – or their friends are not getting the positions they thought they would have.

We will go through a whole bunch of meetings and announcements and a vote at the convention and Dr. Mohler will declare “peace in our time” all to maintain the status quo. And, those who have been fighting will be quiet for a while as they recover from their slap on the wrist. But, nothing will change – not really.

Is anyone tired of this yet? The GCR Task Force and Nickname Committees were the last two groups of this kind that we had. What has come of them that has been of lasting effect? Is there any church using the new nickname? Anywhere? What of the GCR? Notice the same names on those two committees that are on this one – or at least reps from the same camps?

Could it be that we like meetings and committees but we don’t really like change? What will it take for those on different sides to actually look across the table and see a brother or a sister that they have more in common with than they can imagine? What if we recognized that we were already one in Christ and we lived from that unity? 7 billion people in the world. 6 million Southern Baptists. Do we really have time to fight about this? What if we came together and worked with other Christians as well to speak to those 7 billion?

66 Louis August 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

Forgot to mention that I did see one political flaw in the composition of this group.

Traditionalists claim that their position is much more popular among the SBC than the Reformed position. I have seen some people argue that a 80% to 20% ratio exists.

But Dr. Page’s committee appears to be equally divided.

Opponents will immediately see this as having given Calvinists too many seats at the table, and thus, more power than their numbers justify. They will say that this will keep the committee from truly addressing the issues the way they need to be addressed.

I like the committee, but I can anticipate this argument being made.

That will be the first challenge for guys like Hankins on the committee when those in his camp complain about the make up. Will he echo those complaints, or will he be silent? If he waits until the end product (see my comment above) any late coming complaint will not have much force.

67 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 8:58 am

Not only WILL we see too many Calvinists at the table, we ALREADY HAVE. (See my comment at 8:35, 21 minutes before yours.)

This is a serious, serious flaw in the committee’s composition.

68 Chris Roberts August 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm


Yes, because giving Calvinists a fair shake is a problem…

69 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm


No, because giving Calvinists the entire Southern Baptist Convention without saying a peep is a problem.

I never viewed this as a “Let’s All Get Along and Stop Fighting” Committee designed to sing Kum-ba-yah. I viewed it as a “Let’s Talk About the Real Issues Traditionalists Have with Calvinists” Committee and come up with some real answers that will satisfy everyone. In other words, address the elephant in the room.

Those are two clearly different goals. They both bring about peace, but one just makes people shut up, while the other addresses the problems so that people are satisfied. There is a difference.

70 Randall Cofield August 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm


I viewed it as a “Let’s Talk About the Real Issues Traditionalists Have with Calvinists” Committee and come up with some real answers that will satisfy everyone.

Would it be OK with you if they talked about Real Issues Calvinists Have with Traditionalists as well?

71 Kyle Thomas August 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm


“Giving Calvinists the entire Southern Baptist Convention without saying a peep is a problem.”


Do you recognize the problematic nature of this statement?

You appear to be looking at the SBC in terms of its institutions, not its churches, as if the SBC is something that can be given and taken.

Calvinists and Traditionalists ARE the SBC. The Convention does not belong to one or the other. To even think in these terms is unhelpful. Calvinists and Traditionalists are equally Southern Baptist. To try to limit or curb the influence of one or the other is unhelpful, no matter which side you’re on.

When I read your comments, I sense that this is all about power – and control of entities. 1 curriculum line out of 11 at LifeWay has a higher percentage of Calvinists involved, and that’s too much for you. 2 out of 6 seminaries have a Calvinistic-leaning confessional statement, and that is too much for you too. And now, the make-up of this council is not to your liking either.

No matter what this committee does, there will be many who are unsatisfied.

72 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Rick, am I right from your statement here that you wanted a committee that only addressed problems that non-Calvinists have with Calvinists? You did not want a committee that acts to bring the sides together, but one that corrects the Calvinist side?

73 Louis August 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Yes, Rick. I see it now.

I am not saying this in any snide or mean way, but I suspect that you will not be pleased with what happens here.

I believe that Dr. Page is trying to do the right thing, and picked people he thought would be good representatives of the particular sides.

But I do not think that proportionality entered his thinking in the make up. I think that he saw 2 sides of an issue, so he got an equal number of people on each side.

I believe that is one of the points of folks who share your perspective. Calvinists already have too much say so.

But for him to have done otherwise would have required him to make judgments about who is on what side, and by how much. That would almost be prejudging things in a way.

74 Bill Mac August 16, 2012 at 9:14 am

If this is a voting committee, I could see the point. But if this is a consensus committee, then it makes sense for it to be fairly evenly divided.

75 Randall Cofield August 16, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I’d pay good money to see Eric Hankins sit across the table from Al Mohler or Mark Dever and make the kind of statements he has made in the blogosphere….

76 volfan007 August 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm


So, your words here are peaceful? unifying?



77 Bill Mac August 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I can’t speak for Randall, but I think we all recognize that we are often far bolder (and ruder) on the internet than we are in person. I doubt very much that this committee will hear things like:

“Calvinism is the Gospel”


“There is a Calvinist conspiracy to take over the SBC”


“neoTraditionalists are semi-pelagians”


“Calvinists hate the non-elect”

The relative anonymity of the internet makes us all a little more brash that we would normally be.

78 David R. Brumbelow August 16, 2012 at 9:23 am

It is interesting that there is probably 80-90% Traditionalists or non-Calvinists, to 10-20% Calvinists in the SBC. Yet the committee is made up 50 / 50 of the two groups, or perhaps even in favor of Calvinists. Is this fair and equal?

I predict that after this committee runs its course, each side will basically continue to do what they have been doing.
David R. Brumbelow

79 Bill Mac August 16, 2012 at 9:29 am

I agree, but I don’t think that is because of the proportionality of the committee. As I said, if this is a committee to debate and discuss Calvinism, then it ought to be evenly divided. If it is a voting committee, then proportionality might be reasonable. There are some of the leading non-Calvinist voices in the SBC on the committee. I’m sure they will say all that needs to be said.

80 Jared Moore August 16, 2012 at 10:37 am

David, Traditionalists and non-Calvinists are not synonymous. Concerning proof for percentages, Traditionalists only make up less than 1% of the SBC. Prove otherwise.

If you want proportionality, you shouldn’t want any Traditionalists on this committee. I’m fine with the committee, but you’ve got to understand that there are at least 3 soteriological groups on the SBC: Calvinists, non-Calvinists, and Traditionalists. Non-Calvinists are the overall majority, not Traditionalists. For example, in every Southern Baptist church I’ve ever served in, although they were decidedly non-Calvinists, they all affirmed original sin. I’ve never been a member of a confessionally 4-point or 5-point Calvinist church, but I’ve also never been part of a Traditionalist church either. Non-Calvinists are the majority, not Calvinists or Traditionalists.

81 David Rogers August 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

Though you may call me a Non-Calvinist, I think my own view may be best described as Antinomist. If I understand him correctly, I think this is more or less the same as what Dan Barnes calls Wovenism. Some have suggested (and I think they may be right) that this is actually the majority position in the SBC.

82 David Rogers August 16, 2012 at 11:27 am

Having said that, I’m fine with the committee Dr. Page has named.

83 David R. Brumbelow August 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Bill and Jared,
So, in other words, the answer is – It is fine with Calvinists if they are over-represented on this committee by something like 3 to 5 times their true percentage in the SBC. Interesting.

I wonder what Calvinists would think if it were the other way around?
David R. Brumbelow

84 LNF August 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

Is anyone consulting SBC laypeople? I’ve been a member of SBC churches for several decades, and I’ve never known a layperson to make an issue of Calvinism/Arminianism. If the topic arises, people simply admit to not knowing which is correct and continued their fellowship and evangelism. I doubt that laypeople are driving the current debate. More likely it is driven by “leaders” who may need to reassess their priorities.

85 Louis August 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm


Good point.

86 Bruce H. August 16, 2012 at 9:44 am

I think this present committee mentioned here would be more effective if they would have previously put together separate committees of Calvinist then Non-Calvinist and then Traditional. The charge to each committee would be to seek truth and oneness for the glory of God and the good of the SBC. Then, this present committee would have talking points to consider and understand the ideals that would best work with our denomination as a whole. The single committee is the traditional way we have done things all along. We need to begin to think outside the box and let each idea have its say in seeking oneness.

87 volfan007 August 16, 2012 at 10:07 am

Dr. Page is a great man. I think very highly of him, and I sincerely hope this committee does a lot of good.

A question: How many of these people…on this committee…are from smaller Churches, which make up the majority of the SBC, BTW? I mean, how many of these people come from Churches, which have below, let’s say, 300 in attendance on a Sunday morning? I mean, if the SBC is made of 80 to 90% small Churches, then why does it seem that every committee and leadership thing, etc. tends to be made up of Denominational leaders and workers, and big and mega Church Pastors?

So anyway, I dont know all of the people on this committee; but maybe yall do? Can anyone tell me how many on this committee are actually from the rank and file, SBC Churches?


PS. I do not want to be on this committee. That’s not the reason for me writing this. I absolutely do NOT want to serve on this one. But, I know a few, small Church Pastors, who could serve, and serve well.

88 Bill Mac August 16, 2012 at 10:40 am

Agreed. Another top down solution from SBC superstars. Bigger is always better.

89 Dale Pugh August 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

I wonder this every time the SBC puts together a committee. But the fact is that if a guy is in a smaller church and becomes a part of the denominational leadership, he is soon “called” to move to a larger church. No condemnation intended. It is what it is. By this time I guess I should be used to it.

90 Max August 16, 2012 at 11:56 am

David (volfan),

I agree re: small church representation on the committee. As you note, the majority of Southern Baptists have membership in small churches, many of which have bi-vocational pastors serving them. I’m sure that SBC’s Bivocational and Small Church Leadership Network (BSCLN) would be pleased to have a representative on the committee

SBC itinerant evangelists could also add a valuable perspective to the committee effort. Perhaps the committee should consider a representative from the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists (COSBE)

91 Frank L. August 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm


You will notice, I’m sure, that some of the names have been sitting at the “committee” table for many years.

That diminishes a good bit of my enthusiasm.

92 Alan Cross August 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm

We agree, Frank. Some of the people on this team have not had time to unpack their suitcases from the last SBC-wide committee that they were on. Nothing against them, but I would love to have a committee that did not have some of the same names on it so we can know that we are getting a fresh perspective.

93 David R. Brumbelow August 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Max & David,
Good points.

Small church pastors and vocational evangelists would be good additions to this committee.
David R. Brumbelow

94 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I know at least one who is a member of a church that runs well less than 100 on Sunday morning.

95 Max August 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Then it’s settled! Southern Baptists have adequate voices on the committee representing: micro, mega, “C”, “non-C”, “new-C”, whippersnappers, and curmudgeons. Perhaps, not in the proportion that any of us would prefer, but let them get at it!

96 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

There might be a few curmudgeons, but there are no whippersnappers that I am aware of.

97 volfan007 August 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm

So, there’s 1 out of the 16, who are from a small Church. Wow, that’s a good representation of the small churches. lol. Now, I’m not saying that the rest of these people are bad. They’re all good folks. But, only 1?

Dave, who is the 1 from a small Church?


98 Alan Cross August 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm

There is one woman on the team.

Is this proportional for the SBC?

99 Joe Blackmon August 17, 2012 at 1:33 pm

No. And I’m ok with that.

100 Louis August 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm


That is a really good question. The SBC worships at the feet of “big” in my opinion.

Rural versus urban is another large divide that explains many issues.

101 Greg Harvey August 16, 2012 at 10:37 am

The cynic in me notes that one of the key motivations for the CR was to re-establish control over the invested dollars in the national Convention’s assets. We won that war and the result is the opportunity to look at every other disagreement in terms of controlling the money we supposedly gave to God.

102 Mike Leake August 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm


103 William Thornton August 16, 2012 at 11:09 am

This discussion illustrates the difficulty Page faces. I have confidence that he will strike the right balance.

104 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I’m not planning to engage in a lot of debate here, but I need to point something out that is way too often forgotten.

The SBC cannot (and should not either, but I am working on the possible, not the desirable) impose any kind of proportionality or quota system. Cannot be done.

The esteemed Dr. Bart Barber schooled me a few years back when I was complaining about the fact that entities were ignoring the Garner motion. The entities of the SBC are governed by their boards of trustees, and the SBC does not rule over them.

We could cut their funding if we so wished (try passing that motion!).

But the Executive Committee of the SBC cannot, nor can the SBC meeting in its annual convention, impose any kind of hiring quota of any kind.

It’s a terrible idea for other reasons, but I’m going to ignore that aspect of it. It is a non-starter, not within the scope of SBC polity.

105 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm

By the way, if Bart is lurking silently in the background, I am always open to more instruction.

106 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm


Trustees can be replaced, who can then replace officers, who can then hire professors more representative of the denomination. Right?

107 Chris Roberts August 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm

That sounds familiar. Seems like some of the people who were behind that once before are now active in another movement. Perhaps there really is some sort of reform attempt in the works, though not from the Calvinist side.

108 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

It would have to be counter-reform, Chris. This is in RESPONSE to the Quiet Revolution.

109 Chris Roberts August 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm

You mean the quiet revolution that doesn’t exist and isn’t taking place?

110 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Ultimately, Chris, that is the issue. There are some who are convinced that there is a takeover effort by Calvinists, thus justifying the efforts to combat it.

Does such a takeover effort exist? Well, I guess that is the question.

I see no evidence of it. Rick does.

111 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Yes. But you have to have grass roots support for that kind of war. When the CR took place, we (SBC Conservatives) were convinced there was a genuine threat that would destroy us and were willing to take painful, uncomfortable steps to eliminate the threat. Does that kind of support exist among non-Calvinists in the SBC? While Calvinists are a minority, I don’t think the majority of Baptists see them as the threat that you perceive them as, nor is the majority willing to enter into the kind of war that you suggest.

At least I hope not.

112 Joe Blackmon August 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I think there is a lunatic fringe element on both side of the debate that think this is a life or death struggle and won’t be happy until the other side is gone. But I agree that the majority of us do not perceive it as a threat to the level that moderates were in the CR.

113 Frank L. August 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Also, I think the fact that the C/Non-C debate is a debate between “conservative views” Biblical interpretation makes it a much different type of debate.

The debate is based upon how to view the inerrant message of the Bible, not whether the Bible is inerrant.

I look for this debate to slow down in the future.

114 Frank L. August 16, 2012 at 2:17 pm

PS–I am wondering if Page’s attempt at reconciliation or unity is going to cause more heat than light. I hope not, but I don’t know how it is going to be possible to make any kind of “unity” statement, without making it look like an addendum to the BFM, as Page said they desired to do.

That is not going to be easy.

115 Max August 16, 2012 at 4:57 pm

“The debate is based upon how to view the inerrant message of the Bible, not whether the Bible is inerrant.”

Frank L., that is an excellent way to frame the SBC theological rift. On inerrancy, majority Southern Baptists would shout AMEN! It’s the difference in “C “vs. “non-C” grid in viewing and delivering that message which has us at odds … and that must rise to the top in committee deliberations.

116 Mark August 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I am looking forward to what this group reports.

There are 16 members on the committee. If they are to be representative of the SBC at large, maybe each represents 1 million for the often touted 16 million SBC members. However, does this mean there are really only 6 members on the committee? ;)

117 Bill Mac August 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I don’t know why people don’t get this. This is not a Senate budget committee or a House armed services committee. This committee will not have any official power, or be able to implement policy. It will probably not even vote. It is a committee to discuss the issue of Calvinism. It is nonsensical to think that this committee ought to have 9 non-Calvinists and 1 Calvinist (or some other proportional ratio). If Calvinism is the issue, then the committee needs to be split roughly evenly between C and NC.

If there were a round table discussion about any other topic: dispensationalism, alcohol, etc, we would expect equal representation from both sides of the issue.

118 Bill Mac August 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I would be greatly surprised of any of the non-Calvinists on the committee complain about the makeup of the committee.

119 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm

You are exactly right.

120 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm

We hear this “small-church” issue every time there is a task force of any sort. I don’t completely disagree, but we must realize it is just not going to happen. They are not going to put the convention’s business in the hands of a bunch of us small to medium sized churches that no one has heard of.

And, on this one, it was important that the “players” in the Calvinist/non-Calvinist debate be on the committee. It is a pretty balanced (about evenly Calvinist and non-Calvinist) – as a “peace” committee should be. If the committee were weighted one way or another, it wouldn’t have much clout.

This advisory committee had to be a balanced, “blue-ribbon” committee to have any chance of making a difference.

121 Bruce H. August 16, 2012 at 4:23 pm

It seems that everyone keeps saying that Calvinist are trying to take over. That would be a Kingdom OXYMORON. If Calvinist were purposely “trying” to take over it would go totally against what is believed about the sovereignty of God. Who has it now? How did they get it?

When I was still a non-Calvinist I was teaching about grace to my class because grace was a word I became passionate about. For some reason. (wink wink) It was then I was accused of being a Calvinist and I denied it. But when I looked at what was being said about Irresistible Grace I was hooked. Calvinist do not need to take over anything because it is not a learned doctrine. Also, not all 5 points are Divinely inspired either.

122 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 4:48 pm


You asked for evidence of the Founders actually doing their mission statement and seeking to reform the convention. Here, in Tom Ascol’s own words, are the efforts of reform, which include (1) reformed publishing, (2) organizing reformed conferences, (3) developing a reformed website and online study center, (4) promoting internships for reformed pastors, and (5) launching a church planting network to start reformed churches:

“Seven men—all Southern Baptists who had come to this ‘new’ understanding— met to consider what could be done to encourage this movement. After hours of prayer, singing, reading Scripture, and talking, we decided to host a conference where the teaching would be based on the doctrines of grace. From that initial effort, Founders has sought to serve the church further by publishing a theological journal and books, encouraging pastoral fraternals and regional conferences, providing online resources (, developing an online study center, providing pastoral counsel and internships, encouraging international, crosscultural mission work, and, most recently, launching a church-planting network (”

This is straight from the horse’s mouth. The purpose of Founders is to reform the convention, and they are actively fulfilling their purpose. Here’s the link for the whole interview:

123 Ryan August 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Summary: we cherish these doctrines we believe to be true in the Bible and figure we may as well write and talk about them so like-minded pastors and lay people can freely associate with us as we worship and teach.

124 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 9:10 pm

AND…as we seek to increase the number of such like-minded pastors by promoting them to the exclusion of the other kind, hoping to reform the churches to our way of thinking.

125 Ryan August 18, 2012 at 7:10 am

I fail to see your point. Founders should work to promote doctrines other than the ones they’re organized around? In the sense of fairness? Should we all spend our time equally promoting every contending viewpoint?

But hey, maybe that’ll work. I’ll see if we can get the CBMW to start promoting more egalitarian teaching and authors. I’d appreciate Answers in Genesis promoting more Old Earthers and maybe some Theistic Evolitionists, too.

126 Rick Patrick August 18, 2012 at 7:33 am

Of course not, Ryan. That would be ridiculous. I’ve previously said here and elsewhere that if I believed Calvinism were the true gospel, I would seek to promote it as well. I’ve also said in this very comment thread that I do not blame them for that.

Issue A being discussed was whether or not an organization within Southern Baptist life was actively seeking the reform of the churches and institutions of the convention, a proposition that was being denied by Chris Roberts.

Issue B is the “So what” response I pick up from you and others. Why should they not promote what they believe? Traditionalists should feel free to do the same.

I’m simply trying to get us all on the same page, recognizing that Issue B creates a serious tension within the convention as the Calvinist Reform Movement runs up against the Traditionalist Counter-reform Movement.

To put it simply, there is a difference between Chris saying, “This is not happening” and you saying “This is happening, but so what.”

127 Ryan August 18, 2012 at 11:21 am

Agreed, traditionalists should feel free to do the same, and as far as I can tell, they are. But by championing soteriological affirmative action you don’t appear to desire a group of traditionalists inside the denomination to promote their understanding of Scripture but would prefer the denomination itself be the advocacy group.

If the argument is that Calvinists are using the denomination itself to advocate Calvinism, thus requiring affirmative action to combat a minority leading the majority, pointing to a group operating as a subset of the denomination as evidence for said denominational advocacy does not substantiate your claim.

128 Ron Hale August 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Looks pretty convincing to me! Yes, there has been an agenda at work.

129 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm


“Rick, am I right from your statement here that you wanted a committee that only addressed problems that non-Calvinists have with Calvinists? You did not want a committee that acts to bring the sides together, but one that corrects the Calvinist side?”

The primary concern I hear from the Calvinists is, “Would you people just shut up about your concerns already, rally around the BFM 2000, promote unity and move on cooperating together hand in hand?” If there are other concerns, then of course, the Calvinist side should feel free to share them.

Primarily, however, it seems to me that the Traditionalist side is the one feeling marginalized by a minority that has been leading the majority. Before Jared even chimes in with, “Prove it, Rick,” let me say that this may be where all this is headed. If we Traditionalists are going to claim that we are in the majority in the Southern Baptist Convention, we may just have to get ourselves in the ballroom. That means we would have to get as organized as the Calvinists are, and believe me, we are far from it.

130 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I think what I said above (or below, I don’t know) is key. If the takeover effort exists on the Calvinist side, it is a problem. If it doesn’t, then efforts of Traditionalists (which I see as a more aggressive subset of the non-Calvinist SBC majority) are unnecessary. I just don’t think you are right that there is an organized “Quiet Revolution.” You give Tom Ascol and the Founders too much credit. They are a small organization. I have no problem with Tom or what he is doing. You have the right to organize a group and so do I. But I think you credit them with way too much influence.

I just don’t think the Quiet Revolution you see is real. But if we are going to work out whatever issues separate us as Baptists, then we have to work to bring both sides together, Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike.

131 dr. james willingham August 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm

David: Thanks for your remarks. The Reformers are not the only calvinists in this ball game. There are the originals, the descendants of founders, the successors to pastors who never heard of the Reformed movement, who were preaching Sovereign Grace before most of that group were born. There is also the problem of the fact that Southern Baptists have simply left one free to think one’s way through the whole tangle of theological mysteries. There are those who hold one point or two or three or four or five. I remember seeing in the Bible of a fellow whose father was a noted preacher back in the forties, fifties, and sixties. I use to read his sermons in a few publications like The Sword of the Lord. That father had written in the flyleaf of his son’s Bible (it might have been his ordination Bible, but I am not sure after 20 plus years) the outline of TULIP as the heart of the Gospel. My pastor who ordained me asked me during that ordination, “What do you belief about the Fall of Man?” I answered, “Which theory do you want? There are six views.” I was thinking of the notes I had taken on A.H. Strong’s Systematic Theology. It took about a year into my first pastorate to come to the conclusion that the Fall was true and real and that man was not only depraved; he was disabled…and that Jesus actually taught that in Jn.6:44,65 in these words, “No man can come to me,” meaning no man is able to come to me, no man has the power to come to me, except God the Father in Heaven gives it to the person. Being disabled man is helpless. It requires Sovereign, Irresistible grace to give man the ability to respond, and that requires a choice on God’s part. It took a few more years to get it straight that the way in which the Gospel is irresistible is that it is so wonderful that a person being drawn cannot and does not and will not resist it in the ultimate sense. O yes, they do resist, like a trout caught on a hook, but, in this case, it is the hook of pleasure, of joy, of happiness, of something so wonderful that one cannot and does not want to resist it. There are many Southern Baptists who have some inkling of these truths. And then there are some that realize that the purpose of God is expressed in Particular Redemption, or, in other words, THERE IS POWER IN THE BLOOD. As the hymn says. And by implication that is where the power really is. All faith is is the uniting power like the high line that brings electricity to my house. Now all of these doctrines, and this theology, is coming back, because prayer is being made for a Third Great Awakening, the one in which we see the whole world won to Christ and every soul in it by persuasion of truth and not the least manipulation or force by man. So called limited atonement is found in the theory of a General Atonement preached by our friends the General Baptists who were not the initiators of the Great Century of Missions; it was initiate by your standard five point calvinists, and specifically by Jonathan Edwards in his Humble Attempt which exhorted Protestants of all faith to unite in praying for the Gospel in foreign lands. His effort was met by the kindred prayer effort of folks like Andrew Fuller and William Carey who were noted for being five point Cavlinists. And then there were folks like Adoniram Judson and Luther Rice, the latter getting all us Southern Baptists to enlist in the missionary effort and who very specifically tells his correspondents that they better preach Sovereign Grace. A DOM once said to me, “You ought to stop preaching that stuff.” I replied, pointing at the Memoirs of Rice setting on his book shelf behind his head in his office, “He says it is in the Bible and you had better preach it.” When he retired, that DOM gave that work to me. Now I do not propose to stop anyone from preaching whatever God lays on his heart. Sometimes the most calvinistic preacher can sound like the most arminian and vice versa. A preacher can sound very inconsistent, while he is seeking to be consistent.

The committee Bro. Page has appointed seems well balanced. I mean, after all, one can easily identify who is and who is not calvinistic. A real heavy weight on the non-calvinist or traditional side is Dr. Paige Patterson. Now I don’t really think any one is going to slip anything past him. Dr. Frank Page has chosen his committee members very carefully, with an eye to balance and fairness. What shall come out of the committee, I can’t imagine. But I will guarantee this: They will each one of them do their own thinking for themselves, Thank you. They are all people with firm convictions and views. Some are moaning and groaning over the thing, but I suggest that we wait until we see how the committee responds. Freedom in this area for both groups, the calvinists and the traditionalists, seems to be the preferred and right way. We all need room to grow in our theology, to change, to adjust, as we come into more light from the written word of God. John Robinson pastor of the Pilgrims said, “Who knows what new light is getting ready to break forth from God’s word.” Look at it from this perspective: I am a believer in Sovereign Grace and I am egalitarian and congregational in my view of church government. Most of the older Sovereign Grace folks that I have known are more of that persuasion that they are complementarians or elder governance people. Baptist churches are originally and biblically congregational in church government. PERIOD. Brethren, it is written in the history books, in the church records, and in the confessions. Now and then there might be a tendency to stray toward eldership government, but you will be wanting for evidence in Baptist history that that is the dominant view of church government. On the contrary, the study of ekklesia and its meaning is clearly established in biblical practices and precepts. And Baptist preachers/pastors have been quite clear on the issue. By the way you might want to note Thomas Jefferson’s remarks on the Buck Run Baptist Church (I think that was its name, but I could be wrong after 45 years) near to Monticello and its being a school and an example of democracy in action.

132 john August 16, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Just curious. Who appointed all those Calvinist Trustees to SBC Entities who have “taken control. If we go back to 98-2000 we have Patterson, Merritt, Welch, Page, Hunt,Wright etc, who appointed Trustees. So, Rick is saying that Ascol had an influence over all these trustees? I find it strange that Burleson claimed the opposite and that it was Patterson who was vetting Trustees no matter who was President of the SBC at the time

Rick, could you tell me just how this takeover functioned at the Entities that you and Hadley always seem so worried about. How did the Trustees get their “Proportions ” so unbalanced having been appointed by those Presidents?

133 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm


I’m just as curious as you are. How did we get a seminary (or two–SEBTS denies it leans Calvinistic) whose faculty and leadership is not at all representative or proportional to “the views in the pews.”

I never said Ascol had influence over the trustee process, although he’s an active part of Calvinism in the convention. I suspect there is only one man in the convention with the intelligence, political savvy, ambition and reformed theological viewpoint to pull off this Calvinist Resurgence.

134 dr. james willingham August 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Wow! John! You sure scored by mentioning who vetted the trustees. And Paige is noted for his being a traditionalist. Which also says something else about his being fair. Now Rick and Bob and CB need to take notice of the fact and tell us about how good Paige did. I think he might have done what he did, because he recognized who and what theology founded the SBC and he was respecting it. And that increases my respect for him. Now do you fellows want to undo his efforts or do we all want to give every one all the freedom possible to advance in the Kingdom, depending on God for leadership and guidance while being willing to listen to the various perspectives being presented without rancor or bitterness?

135 Doug Hibbard August 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm

If we want to fuss about “proportional” representation on the committee, one might observe that the committee would indicate that men outnumber women in the SBC 15 to 1.

Or that the ratio of pastors to seminary professors is approximately 2 to 1, indicating that we either have not enough pastors or too many professors.

Or that we have four seminaries and not six. Or perhaps that we have no international missionaries (or retired ones) that are competent theologians.

In all: we can either see what this committee brings back and then consider it, or we can all find fault with the makeup of the committee in some manner. I would find the biggest fault in that this makes 4 major issue convention-wide committees in 15 years: BFM2K, GCR, Name-Change, and this one. And all four feature the president of one particular seminary, and it seems like a lot of influence to grant that one individual.

However: we have had a conglomeration of bloggers on this issue for several months, perhaps years, now and we haven’t solved it, have we? So maybe we could wait and see what comes. True, we might accurately predict the outcome, but we might also be surprised to find there are some suggestions that have not been offered and have not been considered before now. We might also take the near-balance between Calvinists and not-Calvinists as the opportunity to evaluate just the idea rather than judging it false just because of its source.

After all, even a few good thoughts might come from that one guy, and coming from a committee I’ll be more likely to listen than just coming from him.

136 BDW August 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Y’all might want to remember that historically talk about “parity” turned into a movement for “purity.” Patterson and Pressler started out talking about just wanting parity….

Some here will nuance that history, say the 80s was about the nature of the Bible this current fight is about something less serious. That’s fine. But all movements are to some degree about power. The powers that can achieve proportionality will ultimately desire purity.

As to the committee, the debate is about Calvinism. Wouldn’t it be just a bit odd to have any balance other than 50-50?? By some of the line of thinking I’ve read, a 10-member committee on ethnic diversity would need to have to have 8 whites. That’d be a little silly.

137 Bill Mac August 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm

That’s what I’ve been saying, but yours is a better example.

138 Joe Blackmon August 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm


How would we determine what percentage to use in proportionally representing Calvinists in the SBC on various boards/seminaries/commiittees?

139 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Carefully, and with independent research coming from outside of Lifeway. (No offense intended to frequent SBC Voices reader Ed Stetzer.)

140 Jared Moore August 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Rick, WOW! You’re far out in left field brother.

141 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm

I actually played left field one season–sixth grade.

Seriously, though, I hear so many different figures about the prevalence of Calvinism in the convention I don’t know what to believe. We often compare different stats, like seminary graduates to pastors. No real study, that I know about, has ever surveyed the actual laypeople of our denomination. I have also heard conflicting reports about Calvinism at our various seminaries which are hard to believe.

So yes, I think it would be good to have an “external audit” in this particular case. Find some people, with no dog in this fight, who can do a very thorough job of telling us exactly what we’re dealing with when it comes to Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention.

142 Jared Moore August 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Rick, So long as the pole includes the 10 points of Traditionalism as well, to see how many SBC laity agree with them.

143 Joe Blackmon August 17, 2012 at 6:33 am

See, I think actually getting a for real number that you could “stick” and say “THIS is the answer” would be very, very complicated. Do you count 5 pointers only? What about people who affirm “P” even if they call it “Once saved, always saved”? Do you send a questionaire to every member of every chuch? If you don’t, but you “sample” then how could you possibly know for sure that your sample is representative of your population. I mean, having a gut feeling like I do that Calvinism is a minority in the SBC is one thing, but putting a number on that so you can decide proportions is an entirely different kind of flying….altogether.

“It’s an entirely different kind of flying.”

144 Doug Hibbard August 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm

“It’s an entirely different kind of flying.”

Surely, you can’t be serious.

145 Howell Scott August 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Perhaps because I can identify with certain beliefs of the Traditionalist camp and the Calvinist camp, I find myself both stuck in the middle and at the same time somewhat uninterested in this committee. I think that Dr. Page is doing a great job as President of the EC and I do not have any objections to his forming a committee to study a problem that, if history is any guide, will not be “fixed” by a committee, no matter how many advanced degrees the members of said committee might have earned.

If there was one aspect of the committee that I would critique, it would be that the members who were selected by Dr. Page to serve on the committee, while Godly men (and a woman) and well-respected, are not very diverse. I’m not so concerned about proportionality between Calvinists and non-Calvinists, but I do think that David Worley has a good point about the lack of representation of folks from small and medium-sized churches. This is just another example of what appears to be a top-down, non-grassroots effort at solving a problem in a convention of 42,000+ autonomous churches, most of which are not impacted or concerned by this issue. I think that this argument is being driven by outliers in both camps, but the vast majority of Southern Baptist churches and pastors will not be impacted (or bound) one iota by whatever good and reasonable recommendations that this committee proposes. I do have a more cynical take on why there has been such fighting on this issue, but that’s probably best left unsaid. Thanks and God bless,


146 Kyle Thomas August 16, 2012 at 8:35 pm


This is just some food for thought.

We are often told that the SBC is a convention of small churches. That is undoubtedly true.

But there is another factor that is often forgotten. According to the latest research, the majority of SBC churches have less than 100 in Average Worship Attendance but the majority of Southern Baptists are in churches with Average Worship Attendance of 250 or more.

In other words, most Southern Baptist churches are small (under 100) while most Southern Baptists are in big churches (250+).

Not to contradict you or anything, I just think it’s an interesting fact that rarely gets brought up in these discussions. Makes for interesting fodder.

147 Howell Scott August 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm


Thanks for the food for thought. I would agree with your statistics that most Southern Baptists are in big churches (250+), although I would probably characterize churches in the 250-500 range as medium-sized and not large. I think that this movement will continue, which does make for interesting fodder. I’m not sure how this will impact the SBC long-term, but I suspect that there will be fewer and fewer truly small churches (under 100) that will survive, especially those small churches in non-rural areas that are one among many other choices.


I don’t necessarily disagree with you on your observations. I do wonder what the “end game” really is and what constitutes a “better chance” of success at the end of the day. Apart from some specific and concrete recommendations regarding trustee and/or professor appointment and apportionment (which will not happen), what could this committee tell us that we shouldn’t already know?

That being said, I’m not against the formation of the committee. I do think that this “discussion” tends to take place in arenas far removed from the average, grassroots Southern Baptist. Even as someone “in the know,” if I were to ask the folks at my church whether there was a Calvinist/non-Calvinist controversy in the Convention, they wouldn’t have a clue as to what I was talking about and probably wouldn’t really care. My cynical side says this is more about control — of entities and money — than anything else, but I could be wrong about that as well. Thanks and God bless,


148 Dave Miller August 17, 2012 at 12:33 am

“Even as someone “in the know,” if I were to ask the folks at my church whether there was a Calvinist/non-Calvinist controversy in the Convention, they wouldn’t have a clue as to what I was talking about and probably wouldn’t really care.”

That is wise. The only people who know anything about this in my church are the few who read this blog.

149 Dave Miller August 16, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Since this is a more specific committee, I think the key here was not to be representative of the SBC in general, but to balance the two sides (well, perhaps, the points on the continuum). The committee seems to do this. There are five people about whose positions I know nothing. The others split 5 Calvinist and 6 non-Calvinist. The split on the committee is right at about 50-50 and big-name representatives on all sides.

I think the committee has a better chance with folks like Mohler and Patterson on it than if it had a more representative small church flavor.

150 Doug Hibbard August 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Certainly, had you left Mohler or Patterson out of this, a good explanation would have been needed for why you left them off.

The thing about this: the SBC as a whole will decide whether or not anything this committee does has a true effect. First, any attempt to make policy changes will need votes at the actual meetings, then any changes will be either approved by churches in continuing their CP giving or declined by church cutting off the money.

It really is that simple, isn’t it? All of this fuss about committees and trustees and control, but the churches of the SBC have elected the messengers that have approved the trustees over the years. The churches have then endorsed those decisions by continuing to fund the SBC’s operations.

We have the Convention that we have chosen to have as a group. If the small churches, one of which I pastor, truly feel left out and feel disagreement, we can always choose to reduce the money we put into the system. I know that this has been suggested by a few of the deacons because they read Baptist Press articles that disturb them about where CP money seems to be wasted–but as yet, we have not taken that step.

Eventually, if the decisions are truly bad, our church and other churches will find other places to spend the 10-30% that is going into the CP. But we will not do so simply because a committee seems stilted one way or another, or because Al Mohler got invited and I didn’t. Now, if the committee convinces the SBC to abandon Scripture or local church autonomy, we’re done.

But that will have to be seen in what the committee recommends to the Southern Convention of Great Commission Baptists. We can wait and see, can we not?

151 Jared Moore August 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Just to be fair, some of the people ya’ll are suggesting who “should have been on the committee” may have been asked, but declined.

152 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I agree with Jared Moore.

Universe, you win.

153 Jared Moore August 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Rick, you and I agree most the time. The problem is we major on what we don’t agree on. We’re too concerned with what we don’t agree on than to actually enjoy one another, fellowship, and unite over what we do agree on.

154 Rick Patrick August 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm

There you go making sense again. :-)

155 Jared Moore August 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Good frienemies, eh?

156 Jim G. August 17, 2012 at 12:35 am

Just some thoughts….

I appreciate the people who agreed to serve on this commission. And I understand it is futile to wish what “might have been.” (I am fully aware that some of the below may have been asked and declined, but a guy can wish!) But I would have loved to see some researching experts on this panel – people who have been writing and discussing the issue in the past few years, such as:

David Allen – perhaps the best there is in the SBC on general atonement
Ken Keathley – one who has published a monograph on soteriology that attempts to sail a “middle path” between the two sides
Bruce Little – perhaps the SBC’s most thoughtful thinker on theodicy

Tom Ascol – the leader of Founders and the foresight behind the group’s many interests
Tom Nettles – the premier historical theologian in SBC life and expert on Calvinism and SBC history
Tom (see a pattern here? Maybe all Calvinists are named “Tom”) Schreiner – the NT scholar and Romans expert

I think these six men would add a LOT to the conversation. They are intelligent and committed. They would have ensured the conversation stays on topic rather than my fear that a political solution will be sought.

Jim G.

157 Bill Mac August 17, 2012 at 8:32 am

Jim: I’m inclined to agree with you, since I said something similar a little further up. But on reflection, do you really think this committee is going to talk theology? It would surprise me if this committee spends much time debating Calvinism. I assume they are going to discuss practice.

158 Jim G. August 17, 2012 at 8:47 am

Hi Bill,

100% agree. I think it will be an exercise in conflict management, which is why I don’t think anything substantial will be accomplished.

Until we do talk theology, the elephant won’t go away.

Jim G.

159 Bill Mac August 17, 2012 at 10:10 am

Jim: Elephants are fast becoming extinct. Perhaps instead of making the elephant leave, we just accept that it is there.

Seriously, even with an elaborate theological discussion, how will it go away?

160 Alan Cross August 17, 2012 at 12:47 am

Has there been a task force that Al Mohler has NOT been on in the past 15 years or so? He is on every single committee, task force, carpool, and fantasy football team in the SBC. Nothing against him, per se, but at some point maybe we could ask if he is helping solve problems or is part of the problem?

I’d say the same thing about Paige Patterson, too. Of course, if they were not on the task force/committees, they would still have influence through people who are from their camps, so I guess it makes sense to go ahead and have them in the room. I would just be interested to see what would happen in an SBC task force without those guys in the room.

I am glad that Jimmy Scroggins is there. He did a good job as chair of the Resolutions Cmte. this year, I thought, overall.

161 Dave Miller August 17, 2012 at 2:15 am

Again, Rick, trying to understand here.
Are you saying that there are more Calvinists than non-Calvinists on this committee?

From what I can tell, there are 8 non-Calvinists on the committee. There are 7 who are Calvinists and there is one about whom I do not know.

So, either the panel is split 50-50 or it is weighted slightly to the non-Calvinist side.

162 Rick Patrick August 17, 2012 at 6:53 am


Is the convention split 50-50 on Calvinism? My argument is that this committee, and all committees, should look like the convention. I confess it is a difficult number to determine, but let’s just say we’re 80-20, and that’s being generous, I think.

Same thing for the Pastor’s Conference a few years ago. Why would we have 5 Calvinists and 5 Traditionalists on the speaking panel if our denomination is composed of about 20% Calvinists?

I would like our leadership to look like our followership.

163 Randall Cofield August 17, 2012 at 7:56 am


Using your insistence on “proportionality,” lets assume for argument’s sake that 10% of SBC members are African-American. To ensure that “all committees should look like the convention,” would you have us strictly limit African-American representation on all committees to 10%?

Additionally, to ensure that “our leadership looks like our followership,” would you have us strictly limit African-American representation in our leadership to 10%?

164 Rick Patrick August 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Uh, wouldn’t that be more than we have right now? Suppose I took your bait here. My prospective proportionality would clearly result in more fairness than your existing disproportionality.

That’s like asking, “Rick, do you want things to be more fair and representative of the entire denomination?”

Is this a trick question?

165 Randall Cofield August 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm


Not a trick question, but one that you clearly dodged….

166 Randall Cofield August 17, 2012 at 10:49 pm

So I’ll rephrase it…

Replace 10% with .00001%. Same question.

167 Rick Patrick August 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm


Your number, with the percent, I think, translates to one out of ten million. Rounding up, let’s say we have twenty million Southern Baptists. Thus, if there were only two African Americans (or two Calvinists or two Non-Calvinists or two Yankee fans) in the entire Southern Baptist Convention, then I would feel no compulsion to include them in any committee that sought to reflect the identity of our denomination.

168 john August 17, 2012 at 8:02 am

But Rick
That would still not mean 80% Traditionalists because they are only about 1% of those in the pews. The vast majority would have to be committee members who are totally ignorant of what Calvinism means. And, don’t forget, you would have to have a substantial number of members who will be absent for each meeting. These would represent the ten million or so members who never show up at local churches on Sunday morning.
I mean if you want true proportionality, lets accurately represent the local churches, right?

Of course Les (below) gives the
Scriptural reason for never doing it the proportional way. I guess it comes down then to a “Roberts Rules of Order” attitude versus Scriptural Christian Love. There is no room for “proportionality” rules and I find it difficult to believe that any one would suggest such a divisive measure. Spiritual qualification is the only thing that works and to institute any other method is Carnality.

169 Debbie Kaufman August 17, 2012 at 8:45 am

Rick: You keep using the word “Traditionalists” to describe all non-Calvinists. I would not say that “Traditionalists” comprise most of the SBC, not according to the response on the “Traditionalists” statement. I would say “Traditionalists” comprise a minority of the SBC even lower than both Calvinists or non-Calvinists. Most want to be united. I would simply not put all non-Calvinists in the “Traditionalist” label. There is a huge difference both in total belief and in the area of unity.

170 Dave Miller August 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Two things:

1) No one really has an accurate idea about this whole continuum – on both sides. How many Calvinists are there? Depends on the definition. Five-pointers? That usually produces the 10% number (more or less). Include 4-pointers, Amyraldians, Molinists, Compatabilists, and Antinomists (a word David Rogers used which probably best describes my position)? The number then climbs much higher (70-30? 65-35? Who knows).

Non-Calvinists? I don’t think anyone would argue against the idea that there is a majority in the SBC that would not self-describe as Calvinists. A small number of those signed on to the Traditionalist document. Some of those could be described as modified Arminians, perhaps. There are some pretty ardent anti-Calvinists out there.

The labels are pretty squishy and the lines are squiggly. So, figuring out who is who ain’t easy.

2) The stated purpose of this committee is to find a way for those who ascribe to Calvinism and those who do not (in their various iterations) to find a way to go forward in cooperation in the SBC.

For a committee like that, it seems that a 50-50 split is absolutely necessary. Let’s say the committee was weighted 10 to 6 in the Calvinist direction. Would you be a little more suspicious of whatever findings the committee comes up with? If it was weights 10 to 6 to the non-Calvinist side, there might be a few of our Calvinist contributors and commenters that would bark their disapproval.

A 50-50 split is fair and best.

Will this committee make a difference? That remains to be seen. But a 50-50 split was absolutely essential to its chances.

171 Les Prouty August 17, 2012 at 6:57 am

Seems to me that the ones appointed to this committee should be people of “good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” and they “must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.”

According to Dr. Page, “My goal is to develop a strategy whereby people of various theological persuasions can purposely work together in missions and evangelism.”

Assuming that these people are such qualifications as above the Page quote, then a prayerful wait and see attitude seems to be the best approach. The goal is to figure out the best way forward to be able to “purposely work together in missions and evangelism.” The purpose is not to come up with an impossible parity proposal. IMHO.


172 Randall Cofield August 17, 2012 at 8:03 am

Seems to me that the ones appointed to this committee should be people of “good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” and they “must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.”

Now there is a novel idea! (emoticon inserted, then expurgated in deference to Dave)

Soli Deo Gloria

173 Greg Harvey August 17, 2012 at 11:29 am

I found your emoticon –> ;)

174 Randall Cofield August 17, 2012 at 8:28 am

If this thread proves anything, I think it proves that the anti-Calvinist contingency of the SBC will not abide by the recommendations of Dr. Page’s committee. Clearly, anti-Calvinists are a minority, both in our leadership and in the pew.

Given the divisiveness of this minority contingency and the threat it possess to the continued propagation of Gospel by the SBC, I think Dr. Mohler hit the nail on the head:

The SBC should marginalize those who need to be marginalized.

Ro 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.

175 Randall Cofield August 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

typo: “poses”…not “possess”

176 dr. james willingham August 17, 2012 at 11:46 am

Dear Bro. Colfield: Marginalization of people is an unwise method for any true believers to be using. It sort reminds me of when Southern White folks marginalized Southern Black folks. The results has been the mess we call slavery and segregation with all of their attendant evils. The Sovereign Grace folks of Virginia Separate and Regular Baptists in 1787 entered on the right track, when, for various reasons, they allowed that preaching that Christ tasted death for every man should be no bar to communion. Anyone who spends several years of study on I Cors.13 and agape love will realize that believers need opportunties to think, grow, to make mistakes, to learn to see what is good in what is seemingly not good. We need a better understanding of how Sovereign Grace works to persuade people, to allow for differences and for the time to work through those differences. Believers also need to be able to put themselves in other peoples’ places in order to understand where they are coming from. What enable this kind of approach is an understanding that there is usually some key element of truth involved in disputes and that generally there are two elements involved, both seemingly antithetical. Great biblical doctrines are usually two-sided and apparently contradictory, designed to create a tension in the mind of a believer which enables that person to be flexible and balanced. Believers with such doctrines are not only balanced, flexible, they are also creative, magnetic, and constant. Take trinity and unity, the humanity and deity of Christ, the human and divine elements in verbal inspiration, education and illumination in ministerial qualifications, human responsibility and Divine Sovereignty. There is more, but I call attention to the reality that freedom to think, reflect, investigate, and decide is germane to the issue of what to believe and preach. Baptists had been those who reflect the idea of freedom, but some took advantage of it to introduce heresy. But the two sidedness of biblical orthodoxy will ensure the continuation of truth and the arousal of concern.

177 Chris Roberts August 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm


“If this thread proves anything, I think it proves that the anti-Calvinist contingency of the SBC will not abide by the recommendations of Dr. Page’s committee.”

The irony is the same anti-Calvinists were initially excited by Page’s panel, acting as though it would provide the deliverance necessary for the SBC. Now that it seems Page really is interested in unity and cooperation, those same voices are suddenly less sure.

178 Randall Cofield August 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm


Indeed. And the further this mess goes the more I am convinced of this: The anti-Calvinists are a distinct minority in both the leadership and the pews of the SBC. The large cloud of dust is being stirred up by a minuscule band of individuals. And we all know who they are.

179 Les Prouty August 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Randall, agree. And Im really pleased that the sort of designated mouthpiece for anti-Calvinism, that other SBC website, is garnering less and less activity…which means less and less arguing and “grousing” over the same old tired ground. Maybe it is the fact that the curriculum dustup has turned people away since the August 1 post about Pastor Ralph Green’s Calvinism concerns has still not been posted after 17 days. So, less “fighting” is going on over there. That’s a good thing.

180 Randall Cofield August 17, 2012 at 10:54 pm


Yeah, the promise of Ralph Green’s dismantling of the Gospel Project turned out to be quite a fiasco. If something like that happened in a local church it would be grounds for discipline.

181 Les Prouty August 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Randall, I see that you hitched up your courage and actually asked about it over there. Pretty brave of you brother. But you might not get an answer, you know folks being indisposed and such. (no emoticon, or however it’s spelled).

182 Kyle Thomas August 18, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Tried to post this elsewhere, but it didn’t go through.

Is there any Calvinist website that is hosting interviews with people leaving Truett McConnell after having had a dissatisfying experience (like SBCToday is doing with Gospel project)? Would it be helpful for a pastor who has a bad experience at SWBTS to share all his concerns on a blog?

Do we have any other blogs run by SBC-affiliated organizations launching critiques of other entities and other Southern Baptists?

What do we learn from trad blogs that constantly call out and critique (and interview disgruntled people)? I think we learn that the future of the SBC may be one in which entities are seizing opportunities to discredit and malign the work of other entities.

Not a good trend IMO.

183 David R. Brumbelow August 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Randall & Chris,
You speak of “anti-Calvinists.”

Do you believe there are any “anti non-Calvinists,” or “anti -Traditionalists” in the SBC?
David R. Brumbelow

184 Chris Roberts August 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm


I’m sure they exist, but offhand I’m not aware of anyone launching attack after attack against non-Calvinists, nor anyone trying to limit the influence non-Calvinists are allowed to have in the SBC.

185 volfan007 August 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm


186 Chris Roberts August 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm


Do you know of anyone calling for the removal of non-Calvinists from boards and entities because they are non-Calvinists? Do you know anyone with a website posting almost daily attacks against non-Calvinist theology? Etc, etc.

187 Mark August 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Chris, it’s easier to ‘lol’ dontcha know?

188 volfan007 August 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm


First of all, I have nothing to do with what SBC Today posts. I’m not affliated with them, anymore; and I havent been for a long, long time. So, I have nothing….absolutely nothing to do with what SBC Today posts. I’m guessing you wont believe that one, either. lol.

I have given example after example in the past. I’ve seen others give example after example in the past. I do not want to give actual names of the Churches and people, because I dont want to be in the middle of anything, for one thing. For another, I’m not sure if some of these people involved would want to be “outed” on the internet.

So, I could tell of you 2 of my friends, one you might know, the other I’m almost certain you dont know….who were turned down from being DOM’s….one because of a New Calvinist, who was on the DOM Search Committee, said that he would not vote for anyone, who was not a Calvinist. The rest of the Committee wanted my friend. They eventually had to kick the New Calvinist off the committee, because he would not budge on this position. By the time they’d kicked this fella off the committee, my friend was not interested in going there, anymore. Another friend was well on his way to being selected as a DOM, whenever 2 New Calvinists Pastors in that Association, went to the Search Committee and said that they’d fight his approval as DOM, BECAUSE he was not a Calvinist. The Search Committee backed off of him.

You want me to tell you about the 6 Churches I can think of… right now….right off the bat….who had a staunch Calvinist come in….whenever the Church did not know they were such strong Calvinist….and they came in and tried to convert the Church and caused major troubles in those churches? All due to thier trying to convert the Churches? And, I could think of a lot more of them, if you want me to really start trying to remember all of them.

But Chris, you just go ahead, and keep denying all of these things. And, you just go ahead and keep calling BROTHERS in Christ “Semi Pelagians” and “Liars” and such….while all the time talking about how much you’re for “UNITY.”

It’s kind of hard to be united with someone, who keeps saying that you’re a heretic and a liar.


189 Chris Roberts August 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm


Do you not understand why, simply from a biblical perspective, I would be more than reluctant to accept accusations based solely on a single person’s word? Particularly when you seem to have been an outside party in those events, telling me of things you heard from others? No evidence, nothing but friend-of-a-friend report. But hey, it’s against Calvinists, so it must be true! And it’s your story, so it would be wrong of my to ask for more evidence! …you don’t see why I want more than your side of the story, which isn’t really your side anyway but someone else’s side told to you?

190 David R. Brumbelow August 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm

David W.,
I must confess I see some humor in that too.

How biased we can be.
David R. Brumbelow

191 Kyle August 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Here’s another question to add, Chris:

Is there any Calvinist website that is hosting interviews with people leaving Truett McConnell after having had a dissatisfying experience (like SBCToday is doing with Gospel project)? Would it be helpful for a pastor who has a bad experience at SWBTS to share all his concerns on a blog?

Do we have any other blogs run by SBC-affiliated organizations launching critiques of other entities and other Southern Baptists?

What do we learn from trad blogs that constantly call out and critique (and interview disgruntled people)? I think we learn that the future of the SBC may be one in which entities are seizing opportunities to discredit and malign the work of other entities.

Not a good trend IMO.

192 Chris Roberts August 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm


Good! Then you can cite me examples of Calvinists who are showing the same attitude and intention as many non-Calvinists who frequent anti-Calvinism sites such as SBC Today?

193 Debbie Kaufman August 18, 2012 at 9:25 pm

David and David: I see the same people coming forward and launching attacks with a few missing from the original group because it is their beliefs you are attacking or they don’t agree with this cause. You may pick up a few people along the way who love a good battle and think they are the only belief that should be present, but it is small in number when compared to how many are in the SBC. It’s the same basic voices. For example, David W. how many battles have you been involved in just the six years I’ve been on the scene and blogging?

Emir Caner is famous for his anti-Calvinist stance as his Gaines, and Dr. Vines. But it is the same ole same ole. Even Johnny Hunt is now absent from this squabble as he and Tom Ascol are friends. Johnny Hunt is not Calvinist.

194 Debbie Kaufman August 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm

So you guys can LOL but a smokescreen is in the guise of LOL. Most want unity. Most do not mind Calvinists being aboard. I do know of emails behind the scenes that are being sent to all Baptists regardless if they are SBC or not giving tall tales of Calvinism as are on SBCToday and adding even more tales to that, a scare tactic, trying to get people on board. That was happening before the Convention. Phone calls. All in the guise of educating the church, but it was spreading anti-Calvinist propaganda.

195 Joe Blackmon August 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Debbie, how’s that any different than you being on here, foaming at the mouth to defend your precious Calvinism?

196 Debbie Kaufman August 19, 2012 at 1:06 am

Joe: Explaining Calvinism is not defending it. It doesn’t need defending. Getting along however is something I hope we can achieve. It won’t be done however, as long as some want to demonize it or any other belief. That is what I hope to get across here.

197 volfan007 August 19, 2012 at 10:22 am

Debbie and Chris,

My sincere desire is unity in the SBC, as well. I really do hope that God’s people in the SBC can serve together without “cutting” out people, who disagree on non-essential issues. I really do hope that there wont be any New Calvinists, out there, who look at anyone, who’s not a Calvinist, as a Semi Pelagian, or a preacher of a false Gospel…..who wont make their Calvinism a matter of fellowship….who wont have a litmus test of being Calvinistic enough to be put on boards and committees, or to teach in a Seminary, or to be a DOM, or to be a missionary, etc.

I really do hope that we’ll see unity…true unity.


198 Dave Miller August 19, 2012 at 10:57 am

Not trying to pile on you, here, David. This is more of a general observation that your post brings to mind. The same point can be made from several comments on the other side.

One of the fundamental problems we have is perspective. “Yes, I want peace, but ‘they’ have to change if we are going to have it.”

We all tend to see the other side as the problem. Look at Kyle’s comment above. The problem is all those anti-Calvinists who are hounding and harassing the sweet, innocent Calvinists.

There are other comments about how those evil Calvinists are hounding and harassing the innocent non-Calvinists or advocates of the Trad Doc.

Each of us needs to look at ourselves, not just at what the other is doing. And we also need to hold our own side accountable.

199 Chris Roberts August 19, 2012 at 11:24 am


“I really do hope that there wont be any New Calvinists, out there, who look at anyone, who’s not a Calvinist, as a Semi Pelagian, or a preacher of a false Gospel…..who wont make their Calvinism a matter of fellowship….who wont have a litmus test of being Calvinistic enough to be put on boards and committees, or to teach in a Seminary, or to be a DOM, or to be a missionary, etc.”

Can you identify any Calvinists who match that description, and give evidence behind your claim? Because I can easily name non-Calvinists who match several of your points, only in the other direction. Do you long for a day in the SBC when Calvinists won’t have doors closed from entities, boards, committees, seminaries, associations, etc, simply because they are Calvinists? Or do you back the belief of Rick and Bob that the SBC should work to restrict the presence of Calvinists? Does your desire only go one way?

200 volfan007 August 19, 2012 at 11:39 am


You know not what you say. I got along with Calvinists, and get along with Calvinists, and have done so for a long time. I could take the time to give you example after example after example of New Calvinists excluding non Calvinists, and of going into Churches in a stealth manner and trying to convert them. But, what’s the use? You shrug off every example given to you.

Dave, I understand what you’re saying. All I can speak for is myself. I can get along with regular, ole, Spurgeon type Calvinists all day long and tomorrow.


201 Chris Roberts August 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm


Another thing I long for: the day when folks like you provide actual evidence rather than just claims. Without evidence, your words are nothing but slander. It is astonishing how some get insulted when asked for evidence, as though it is unreasonable to seek proof when terrible things are being claimed. And in your last comment you mention churches. I’d be curious to hear about some of those, but that’s not what we were talking about. We were talking about those who seek to restrict access to entities, boards, etc, based on theology. Some clearly want to restrict Calvinists. Who wants to restrict non-Calvinists? Any evidence? Any?

202 volfan007 August 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm


I’ve given the facts many times. I will not give the names of these people. I do not have their permission to do so. I do know these people and Churches. If you choose to not believe me, then so be it.

BTW, I’m for unity….true unity.


203 Chris Roberts August 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm


I don’t believe you.


204 volfan007 August 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm


So, you’re calling me a liar? Wow. And, you’re the one, who proposed the unity resolution….


205 Chris Roberts August 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm


Unity does not demand that we cast aside biblical standards. The Bible calls for evidence behind accusation. You have alluded to the existence of Calvinists who want to exclude non-Calvinists from entities, agencies, boards, etc – denominational seats – because they are non-Calvinists. Then you have specifically claimed to know of “example after example” of Calvinists going stealthily into churches with the intention of Calvinising them. Then you say on the one hand that you have given examples, but on the other hand say you will not give examples. What is a person to make of this? You have yet to give a single solitary solid example. You don’t want to mention specifics? Fine. But why should I believe you? You make too many nebulous accusations and too much is at stake. You want to paint Calvinism as an enemy yet you refuse to say where or who the problems are. You are not dealing in the truth, you are dealing in shadows and deception. That hardly demonstrates a desire for unity. You are not alone in this. It’s the modus operandi of SBC Today. Launch accusations, but never back them up with evidence. Claim evidence exists, then refuse to show it (still waiting on the Gospel Project interview!) Why should I believe anything any of you have to say when you refuse to offer a shred of actual evidence?

206 Les Prouty August 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm


“You shrug off every example given to you.”

So David, have you given actual examples? How many are there?

I think Chris is right. I know the curriculum claim on SBC Today is not you, but is telling of the claims about Calvinists. An accusation on August 1 and here we are August 19, 17 days past the promise of evidence and…nothing. It is irresponsible at the least to engage in such. Surely they are not still out of town and indisposed.

But to your claims, It would be helpful for others to see how vast or not these things are.


207 volfan007 August 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm


AS I said to Chris, I have nothing to do with what SBC Today posts, and dont posts. lol. Wow, I’m not on thier team. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Also, a lot of us just wondered why EVERY advisor for the new Gospel Project was a Calvinist….every one of them. And, it made some of us wonder about it….

I’m still waiting for the product to come out, so we can see what it’s like. I hope it’s great. But, the advisors thing did make me wonder what was going on.


208 Chris Roberts August 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm


The product is out. We’ve received it, as have many others. Need a book? I can send you one.

209 Les Prouty August 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm


Your examples given here seem second hand and sort of hearsay.

Here’s AR real example of such that happened to me some years ago. A guy asked me, “Hey, aren’t you the one that said xxxxand did yyyyy when you were at xxxx church? And even after you left for another church you said xxxxx about the sr. pastor that remained?” this conversation really happened to me.

The guy asking me was about misinformed as one could be? He even said he had witnesses and such. I challenged him to bring them to meet in person with my current church leaders. He never would or did fact is he had it all wrong because of what someone had told him in their own jaded view.

So we must be careful in forming opinions and repeating the way things went down when we weren’t actually there.

As to SBC Today, I realize you are not in charge. But please tell me you are as outraged as I and others are that that accusation has lingered out there for almost three weeks with no evidence. Evidence which was promised. Evidence which was supposedly delayed because of urgent. Out of town business by all at SBC Today and them being indisposed. Please tell me you are outraged by that.


210 volfan007 August 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm


First of all, the DOM’s, whom I told you about, are both personal friends of mine. It was no story handed down from one person to the next, until it got to me. I heard it from their mouths.

Secondly, the Churches, which I told you about, were also not just some stories handed down to me…..I know people, personally, who were in these Churches…..a few of these Churches had my family members in them. So, I know of these situations first hand and personal.

But, you keep digging that hole in the sand for your head. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Also, I hope the Gospel Project is as good as you say it is. I really do. I still dont know why EVERY advisor had to be a Calvinists.


211 volfan007 August 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm


Just read my latest comment to Chris.

I’m always amazed at how people can know your motives and intent when they dont even know a person. I’m also amazed at how people think they can know what REALLY happened, whenever they werent there.



212 Les Prouty August 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm

David, forgive me if I came across as knowing your motive and intents. I don’t pretent to know those for you are anyone else.

I was simply pointing out how stories of what happened tend to be skewed depending on one’s viewpoint. That’s all.

As to the SBC Today accusation on the Gospel Project, so are you outraged about they way they have handled that?

213 Chris Roberts August 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm


When someone tells you about events, even if it is events they have themselves experienced, then when you speak of those events, you are not sharing from firsthand experience. You are still telling what someone told you. That is still hearsay, no matter how close you are to the people involved…

214 mike white August 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Davis [volfan], Chris, and Les,

First off, it is not slander since no one’s name is mentioned.
That’s in defense of David.

But every story gets filtered through a person’s understanding of it. Thus the story could change as it is told to David and could change when he retells it.

Could. Could not.
And because it could, and/or because of the bias of the those telling the story and retelling it, is why it is hearsay, and nor necessarily believable.

That doesn’t mean that David is lying, or those who told him the story are lying, but that the story is being told from a perspective that MAY be incomplete, or that the story is only partially being told because the tellers know not the whole story.

So unless it can be verified, it is just a story.
And with what, 40000 SBC churches, a few bad Calvinistic apples could be expected. It doesn’t make it a movement, nor should it be thrust into the overall debate as if it were a trend and a bad omen of the future.

215 Chris Roberts August 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm


Fairish points, but…

On slander, individuals have not been slandered, per se, but an entire movement has. Calvinism and Calvinists in general. SBC officials. Pastors. Entity heads. Because of accusations like this, people are being taught to look at all Calvinists with suspicion.

And yes, I agree, I have no doubt there have been Calvinist pastors who have caused trouble in their churches. But I feel a fair degree of confidence that they are no more frequent than problem pastors in any church. The problem does not occur uniquely among Calvinists. Of the two Calvinist pastors in my association, zero of them have had conflicts in their churches or the association due to Calvinism (yes, I’m one of the two). From my own personal experience, Calvinism has not been at all divisive. Other Calvinist pastors I know report similar experiences. The problems are the exception, not the norm, yet people are being warned that Calvinists are doing all sorts of nefarious deeds. No evidence is given, and the accusers react with offense when asked for that evidence, pushing aside biblical standards for truth.

216 Debbie August 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

“So unless it can be verified, it is just a story. And with what, 40000 SBC churches, a few bad Calvinistic apples could be expected. It doesn’t make it a movement, nor should it be thrust into the overall debate as if it were a trend and a bad omen of the future.”

One big difference is that there is guidance for Calvinist ( to avoid calling themselves Calvinist in order to “Reform” local churches (i.e. make them Calvinist). They are taught to avoid theological terms that would give them away since “Most people will not know what you are talking about.”

With their main goal being “reforming” the church, they should not “…try any reformation until you have earned some spiritual credibility with the church.”

And, instead of letting everyone know who you are and what you want to do, you need to not “…tackle the whole church at one time. Choose a few men who are sincere, teachable and spiritually minded and spend time with them in study and prayer. They will help you to reform.”

In other words, sneak in avoiding tell-tell terms like Calvinism, hide your intention to make the church Calvinist, and then find you own little tribe to start with, getting pliable followers to help you sneak in your hidden beliefs over time. Being sure to use pragmatic “priorities as needed” to produce your pre-chosen result.

And, less we forget, “The principle of two churches must be before us at all times!”, so you can have your little “true” church inside this “other” church that is paying your salary and is ignorant of your beliefs and intentions; because you hid it from them!

And if all this fails, at least you’ll have your “true” church to split off and start away from all of us, never-mind the hurt and damage that you caused.

This is what happened to my church. It is not “just a story”.

217 Les Prouty August 21, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Mike White,

“First off, it is not slander since no one’s name is mentioned.
That’s in defense of David.”

Thanks for your reply. But as to this part, I don’t think I referred to slander. If I did I can’t find it.


218 Ken Rucker August 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

So much for the “cease fire”!

Dave, your reasonable suggestion was for a “cease fire” while this committee went to work. With 165 comments (166 now) in two days, I don’t think your advice is being heeded. Instead, I hear paranoia that “this committee might not resolve things to my satisfaction…it’s got too many Calvinists…it’s led by an author of an anti-Calvinist book, etc.”

But I have to say, my expectations of how people would respond to the news of this committee have been met…they were pretty low.

As for me (and I challenge every person who has commented on this post thus far to do the same), is to spend twice as much time in prayer (praying for God to bring a unity of gospel-mission to this convention through this committee), as I spend whining about the current state of disunity. Admittedly, that ratio is reversed in my life right now, but by His grace, that will change.

Lord, please do what You do, and may You be glorified in all of us as You do it.

219 Dave Miller August 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Ken said: As for me (and I challenge every person who has commented on this post thus far to do the same), is to spend twice as much time in prayer (praying for God to bring a unity of gospel-mission to this convention through this committee), as I spend whining about the current state of disunity.

Dave says: Amen.

220 Dave Miller August 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

And, for me, the cease fire begins. I felt like I needed to address (and open a forum for discussion) the committee’s appointment. Now, I’m going back into Calvinism hibernation.

Honestly, if we will commit to pray as much as we have groused, things may actually begin to change.

221 dr. james willingham August 18, 2012 at 1:24 pm

correcto Daniel Marshall was Shubal Stearns’ brother-in-law

222 dr. james willingham August 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Funny, how this site manipulates things. I clicked on reply to Rick, and it went at the end of the whole shebang. Then I clicked on the reply of my comment to correct the mistake about Daniel and Shubal Stearns, and it appeared before my reply to Rick. Now I wonder where this one will appear.

223 Doug Hibbard August 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm

As a quick note, this is a consistent problem and it’s program-related, not agenda-related manipulation.

It ain’t us that screws up the comment connections. It’s something in the programming.

224 cb scott August 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Hello Sports Fans!!

Let’s talk about a truly “important” committee for a moment.

That is the Committee of FOOTBALL Dominance (CFD) known as the SABANATION.

On 09/01/12 they have their first meeting called to order down at the Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas. They are meeting to determine the status of Michigan’s little league FOOTBALL team as to its worthiness to be in the “BIG Tent” of FOOTBALL Big Boy Schools.

So lay down your swords all ye Cals and Trads! FOOTBALL is in the air and I smell National Title Number 15 in the air!

Can you hear it? I can! It is ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!! and the rest of you…..well just stay on the porch and eat your hearts out!!!!

225 Dave Miller August 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I agree that Tide is one of the best laundry detergents in the nation.

226 Frank August 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I notices quite a few posts giving the point/counterpoint for the respective percentages of those who are C or are not C, and a few advocating for “D” (none of the above).

I wonder if anyone has done a statistical analysis of the number of arguments for or against C–or Non-C, or even “D”–as it relates to the number of times someone said, “I for Christ?”

I have to say, as someone known for having strong opinions on many subjects, I find this “C, Non-C, and D” discussion wearisome. Surely there is noone arguing that “C’s” love Jesus more than “Non-C’s,” or even “D’s.”

And one person points out that the number of “C’s” in the Convention are too statistically insignificant to generate a movement. So, how’s this “C, Non-C, and D” discussion get the momentum it seems to have?

Where do you all get the energy?

227 Dave Miller August 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I deleted several comments that discussed an article at SBC Today. If you want to discuss an article at SBC Today, please go there and discuss it. If you want to call someone to account for questioning SBC Today and its articles, please go to their sites to do so.

I know that this post has nothing to do with any kerfuffle at SBC Today. And, to my knowledge, none of our contributors has posted about the interview listed there.

So, anyone can feel free to go to SBC Today and discuss their feelings. If you have a blog, feel free to write about it.

Here, could you please address the topic of the post?

228 Dave Miller August 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Let me explain a little more. I have come to a point where I really don’t want to hold discussions here about another blog. If you have a problem with another blog, either go to that blog and say so, or post it on your own blog.

There is a blog (well, more than one perhaps) where the regular commenters have called me just about every name in the book. I will admit that it does not feel good to know that the author of that blog encourages people in questioning my character and behavior – people who will not come here or talk to me, but will say things about me on another “safer” forum.

It annoys me. That is why I basically stopped reading that particular blog.

But if I don’t like that blog giving a safe haven for people to bash me, I’ve got to be fair. I’m not going to let SBC Voices be a safe haven for people to bash others – at least to the extent that I have that authority.

So, for the most part, I’m not interested in hosting arguments about the merits of other blogs here. Go there or go to your personal blog to hold arguments like that.

Obviously, if we address something on another blog here in a post, you are free to join in.

229 Dave Miller August 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I am available at if you want to discuss this issue any further.

230 mike white August 21, 2012 at 6:14 pm

My reply was addressed to others besides yourself.

You did not use the word slander.

I’m sorry for any miscommunication.

231 dr. james willingham August 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Rick: It would sure help, if you were more knowledgeable about the history of Southern Baptists. And as to your present concerns, it isn’t just the Reformed Baptists that are seeking a return of doctrinal truth. I am not and have never been a member of that group. If it is any help, I even had a run-in with Ernest Reisinger when I found out that he was so concerned with Reform that he would by-pass a Sovereign Grace Southern Baptists and get a fellow as pastor for a standard type Southern Baptist Church who really cooked his own goose by trying to make the church Presbyterian!!!!! That being said, what do you say to a Southern Baptist minister whose ordaining pastor was a self-professed supralapsarian hyper-calvinist (his words from the pulpit and person to person), whose pastor in childhood was a firm believer in the doctrines of grace, and whose ancestors were connected with those Southern Baptists who were strong believers in Sovereign grace? One of my ancestors is noted in a history of Alabama Baptists in 1840 and, if the info. on the internet is to be considered dependable, he was one of the two executors appointed by the court in Georgia in 1781 to execute the will of Daniel Marshall Whose Separate Baptist calvinistic theology is well expressed in the confession of faith of the Georgia Baptist Assn. (Daniel, you might remember, was Shubal Stearns and was helpful in founding the Sandy Creek Baptist Assn. and its churches). In addition, to that relative (Elder Holland Middleton) and background, I have family connections to the Scotch clan of Craigs, my maternal grandmother’s maiden name (she raised me and she named our son Craig before he was born). Now, the direct descendant of Elijah Craig, the fellow who helped to secure religious liberty for us in Va., Rev. Dr. Donald Lee Craig, who died in ’96, was a personal friend. Elijah chaired the committee that met with the colonial legislators and made the agreement with them that in exchange for the Baptists freedom to practice their faith, the Baptist ministers would encourage the young men in their communities to enlist in the Patriots’ Cause (read enlist in a Civil War against a duly constituted government). And there were so many Craigs back then, that one whole regiment of the Virginia Militia was composed of Craigs. Every last member of the regiment was a Craig, according to a volume of DAR. Now these Craigs, great numbers of them, were converted in the First or Second Great Awakenings and assisted in the launching of the Great Century of Missions. They were Sovereign Grace evangelists like Jonathan Edwards (yes, I know he was a pastor, but he did more for evangelism and missions that virtually anyone else in the 18th century by his theological, homiletical, and other works than anyone else, with the exception of George Whitefield, counting William Carey belonging to the 19th century, his main era of influence. The Sovereign Grace views we now have come from Dr. John Clarke, Isaac Backus, Richard Furman, William Screven (founder and first pastor of the FBC of Charleston), the Craigs (Elijah, James, and Lewis), Stearns, Marshall, Gano, Leland, Oliver Hart, Luther Rice (the father of missions among Southern Baptists, the chairman of the committee that drew up Sandy Creek Assn’s. 1816 Confession, and who advised ministers that they had better preach the doctrines of grace as they are in the Bible along with the responsibility of man), Basil Manley, Sr., J.P. Boyce, and a host too numerous to be listed here. What do you say to one who believes he is not only a successor to those folks, who knows he is also a descendant of two lines of ministers connected with that great era that secured religious liberty, started missions, and united Baptists? Shall I give up my faith and/or, at least, shut my mouth and efforts to propagate that which I believe is the main spring of theology for another Great Awakening for which I have been praying for 39 years? Come on, Rick, you speak of Timothy George as one you might have, why not one who knows the history of Baptists and is actually connected to it in many ways? Rick, when I began to pray for a visitation, a revival, a Third Great Awakening, after I had preached to the Pastors’ Prayer Meeting of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association on the subject, A Great Awakening, I wasn’t thinking of the theology. Only of the blessing. Then as the years rolled past, and I saw the theology coming back into vogue, I realized that I knew that that theology had been the key belief system in the First and Second Great Awakenings and in the launching of the Great Century of Missions. After all, I had done 6 years of research in Baptist and Church History and had written a thesis in American Social and Intellectual History on the subject, “The Baptists & Ministerial Qualifications: 1750-1850.” Anyway, the theology is necessary for an Awakening; there is a depth to it that reaches the depth of man’s problems. And as to what I pray for and expect, I pray for the whole earth to be converted and every soul on it, by persuasion, beginning in this century and continuing for a 1000 generations and reaching perhaps thousands of planets as mankind spreads to stars. The folks who inspired me were, no less, a bunch of calvinists, including, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, C.H. Spurgeon (he gave me the idea of praying for every soul from his Evening by Evening devotions for April 6th and Dec. 24th), Dr. John Owen’s Death of Death in The Death of Christ (the man and the work some tried to blame for limited atonement), Andrew Fuller’s The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, John Leland’s Memoirs, John Gano’s Memoirs, Luther Rice’s Memoirs, the Circular Letters, Minutes, etc. of many associations as well as the theological writings of our own Baptists forebearers. There is more I could say, but let my 39 years of prayer for the Awakening of the whole earth stand as mute witness of my desire for the salvation of the lost, for the advancement of the glory of Christ Jesus my Lord, not counting my efforts to do thus as worthy of mention. Rick, leave it alone. No one is going to run you out. (A few foolish people try such things, but in the end all they do is being judgment on their heads for such folly). The Calvinistic Baptists (and I do not like the word Calvinistic, preferring the term, Sovereign Grace as Baptists were suffering for these truths before John Calvin was ever born, let alone born again. That is, if one counts the Lollards as Baptists, and I think some of them were. After all, though the connections cannot be found, the same family names among the Lollards of the Chiltern Hills in England in a century previous to the Reformation were the same family names among the Baptists after the Reformation. Seeing as how we aim to win the whole earth for Christ, and that not by force of arms or by manipulation but by truth and commending it to the hearts and consciences of our hearers, surely, you ought to forget about getting upset. After all, the Reformed Baptists are going to run into the old line Sovereign Grace Southern Baptists and find out that we are a bunch of egalitarians who take complementarianism as functional…not fixed. Even Dr. Piper revealed such in telling about his mother acting in the place of his father, when the latter was on the road preaching revivals. Don’t know what that sharp minded fellow could see the evidence right before his eyes, but I suspect it has something to do with the nature of our scientific method which we all get trained in to some degree or other. That method suffers from the problem of being too analytical and in not knowing how to handle the situation when the Null Hypothesis is also true along with the original hypothesis.

232 William Thornton August 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Well, doc, you have got the record for longest paragraph. Faulkner would be envious.

Have a great Lord’s Day tomorrow.

233 dr. james willingham August 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm

William Thornton: One of my aims in early life was to be a novelist. Strange you should mention Faulkner. I used him as an illustration in a paper I wrote in high school back around ’56-57, in reply to a Comp. teacher, Mr. LaCroix. Having read about everything on how to write fiction, etc. in the main St. Louis City Library in the Downtown Central Library, I wrote a critical pqper of what the dear man was teaching, taking extreme care to follow his express statements about how one should write a paper, while citing everything to the contrary, one of them being the fact of Faulkner’s long windedness. The paper earned me an A for midterm, and the teacher about had conniption kitties of delight, reading the paper to the whole class. E.g., he said use short, very short sentences, and I wrote a one word sentence which I used several times after citing his views. It was the word, Bah! Clearly an exclamation of disgust. God apparently gifted me with some degree of literary ability, for which I am very thankful and hope to use only in His service.

234 dr. james willingham August 18, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Oh, and by the way, my Daddy’s country lawyer was an old drinking buddy with Faulkner, but I did not know this until 2003 when Dad died.

235 dr. james willingham August 18, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Joe: Why are you whacking Debbie? I thought you held the same beliefs?

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