Overloaded on the Argument, so I’m Out.

by Dan Barnes on January 7, 2014 · 44 comments

I think I have had my fill of the conversation. I have been part of the Calvinist/ Anti-Calvinist/ Traditionalist/ Reformed argument dialogue, and I am making my public declaration that i’I've had enough. It’s become a fruitless dialogue filled with anger and lacking in reason and civility. I am going to unpack for you exactly what I think the issue is, and then you agree or disagree, up to you.

First off, the labels are not working. If you have followed my writings, you know I call myself a Wovenist. Yes, Wovenism incorporates much of Reformed soteriology. Being so, most non-Calvinists just say “this is just repackaged Calvinism”. News flash, most SBC doctrine is some level of Calvinism. Traditionalists, you are 2 ½ pointers. You are good with Total Depravity and Perseverance of the Saints, you know Predestination is in the Bible, but we are not gonna agree on what it really means. Now many will get mad and argue that I called you a 2 ½ point Calvinist, but it’s pretty much a simple fact. You are not Arminian, the Arminian’s get upset when you are called that. You have been called Pelagians, but don’t like that title. Simply put, you are 2 ½ pointers, so I could call Traditionalist doctrine a repackaging of nominal Calvinist. Don’t like that label? Ya, see, the labels don’t work. The labels are making things worse.

The reason I say I’m a Wovenist is that the word Calvinist doesn’t mean anything anymore. It all depends on how many points you affirm, or as Danny Akin said, redefine and then affirm. There are all these definitions and interpretations floating around that I just went to the scripture and searched for truth. What I found I pieced together and it looked like things wove to make a beautiful picture, so I called it Wovenism. Does it have similarities to other soteriology? Of course, we are all using the same book, the same verses, the same sayings of the same Savior, of course it looks similar to much of what is already out there. I called it Wovenism for the same reason many are now called Traditionalists.

Another reason I am leaving the discussion is the lack of logic incorporated. One of the things I really focus on in Wovenism is God’s relationship with time, specifically that God is outside of time. I get argued with all the time about God being in time and in the time line. Much of Traditionalist arguments and many Calvinist arguments make the assumption that God knows what will happen, but it hasn’t happened yet. In Wovenism, my statement is that God is outside of time and everything is going to happen, is happening and has already happened, making much of the argument about predestination a null point. This makes people mad and I get “how do you know God is outside time”. Here is my final answer for that question. God has eternally existed. He never had a beginning. If He never began, He can’t be waiting. To wait for something to happen, there has to be a point you start waiting, so when would God start waiting if He’s always existed. If he started waiting at eternity, wouldn’t He always be waiting in eternity for creation? If there is no beginning, how do you move forward in time? To move forward, there must be a starting point, which means at some point for God to be in time, He either started outside of time or had a beginning. I am not ok with the idea that God created time and is now stuck in time, and I know He had no beginning. It’s nonsense to argue that God is trapped in time, yet people do it to protect their theology.

Here is another issue, there is no concern about preserving doctrinal or Biblical purity. Let me give you a logical issue. Bible teaches that God has numbered the days of man, that He has set for him a number for his days. This means that God chooses which day you will die, doesn’t it? Free will says God can’t possibly do that, because if we murder or commit suicide, we have “gone out of God’s will” and therefore trumped God and He would be wrong on the number of days, since He can’t control out free will. How do you reconcile that God numbered days, yet we trump God with free will? I am sure there is plenty of Biblical acrobatics that people come up with to preserve their doctrine, but it often makes the box that we stuff God into smaller and smaller. We cram God into our theological limits, wrap it up and put a bow on it.

My next issue is the behavior of many. I have never seen grown men and women act like infants and middle school girls like I have on this issue. I wrote once that I thought Calvinism had more Biblical support, simply because words like Predestination, Election, Elect all appear in scripture, Free Will and accept Christ don’t appear in scripture. My entire article was virtually ignored in the light of that one comment. People doing the “really, did you really say that? Wow, gee wiz, I’m offended”. They cry and complain for a paragraph that I don’t think their theology has as much Biblical support as another. Here is a reality check, people think you are wrong. People think I’m wrong and that my exegesis is incorrect. It’s a reality, just because you hold to a teaching or idea doesn’t mean we agree. What you think is orthodoxy others think is heresy. I saw a book the other day about Calvinism being the work of the Devil. John Owens wrote “A Display of Arminianism” which was pretty harsh. In a conversation with someone, they told me that they believe that most Traditionalists are not saved, they don’t understand grace because they never experienced it. There are harsh things being said, and the response is crying and whining. It’s disgraceful and it’s not working.

At this point, the lines are drawn, the battle field is full of bodies and the argument has grown just for the sake of the argument. No one really tries to work through or reason through the entire cannon of scripture to find truth. We shoot verses at each other and try to defend our theology with one English translation of one word. If I hear someone tell me that Calvinism is wrong because of “whosoever” I may lose my mind.

Bottom line, no one will change their mind,very few will answer the hard questions or wrestle with the big issues. I proposed Wovenism as a way to dialogue about what I see are the big issues, the hard issues, the difficult to reconcile things that I poured over different scriptures and changed how I was thinking. I proposed it, thinking that it would help many of us find common ground, giving it a strong Biblical foundation. No one really cared, just enjoyed pointing out what they thought was wrong, shooting a verse or two at me and being offended at stuff. It’s nonsense people, and we are becoming Pharisees and Sadducees and I’m out of energy. When you all figure this out, then you can give me a call, until then, I’ll stick to Discipleship, Christian Education, Coaching and Teaching.

1 Lisa January 7, 2014 at 10:26 am

I am disgusted with Southern Baptist arguments about Calvinism. There are none of us worthy to know the mind of God. We might make an educated guess but that is all it will be is ‘a guess’!

2 Tarheel January 7, 2014 at 10:31 am

Dan,

For my part, I found your writings on wovenism to be helpful and interesting.

I truly hope to read more about it from you.

3 David R. Brumbelow January 7, 2014 at 10:38 am

Dan,
First, I appreciate you not calling SBC non-Calvinists by the name Arminians. To non-Calvinists or Traditionalists it is a slur. I’m amazed at those who claim to write a wonderful, conciliatory article on the subject, while at the same time calling us Arminians.

While I know it is a contradiction in terns, Traditionalists have been called both “non-Calvinists” and “Moderate Calvinists.” I’ve heard and used the term “Moderate Calvinist” years before the modern debates on Calvinism.

You say, “How do you reconcile that God numbered days, yet we trump God with free will?”
The answer is very simple. God gives us free will, yet He also knows the future and knows ahead of time the choices we will make. God can both give us free will and He still be in charge – a mystery we cannot fully grasp; yet Scripture teaches both. And yes, He knows the dates that will be on our gravestones.

You say, “Free Will and accept Christ don’t appear in scripture,” while your terms do appear in Scripture.
Well, “whosoever” appears in Scripture, but you told us we can’t use that term anymore.
Like “Trinity,” Missionary,” “Sovereign” and a multitude of other words – the word may not appear in Scripture (depending on the English translation) but the concept or teaching does.
The Bible is filled with free will.
Every time God says choose, turn, call on the name of the Lord, repent, receive, believe, trust, seek, it is speaking of free will. It is speaking of a person making a choice.

You seem to be saying you have the logical, reasonable, biblical view, and the rest of us are guilty of things like, in your words:

“lack of logic
makes people mad
no concern about preserving doctrinal or Biblical purity
act like infants and middle school girls
cry and complain
Biblical acrobatics
crying and whining
No one really cared, just enjoyed pointing out what they thought was wrong, shooting a verse or two at me and being offended at stuff. It’s nonsense people, and we are becoming Pharisees and Sadducees and I’m out of energy. When you all figure this out, then you can give me a call.”

So yes, many will continue to disagree with your views. And I think you can disagree in a less offensive way.
David R. Brumbelow

4 Dan Barnes January 7, 2014 at 11:52 am

I disagree with the phrase “ahead of time” because it implies God is waiting for us to choose. God can’t be eternal and wait. If He had always been, there is no way for Him to start waiting. It’s the flaw in the argument, that God knows before it happens. For God, there is no before

5 Clark Dunlap January 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

SO, on what Biblical basis do you equate Choice with Free Will? Yes the Bible says Choose you this day. But might that be a limited choice? I don’t have free will in respect to flying. (I know this is old but…) I can jump off my roof and flap my arms but I won’t fly. That is not a choice available to me. So immediately I must deal with the fact that I don’t have a unlimited free will. I can’t breathe underwater, I can’t jump like a kangaroo, I can’t tug on Superman’s cape, and I can’t seek God without His enabling me. I CAN ask God to forgive my sins, but If I don’t have the faith that He gives I cannot be saved.

6 Tarheel January 7, 2014 at 10:57 am

First of all, David…I think Dan used many those discriptors you listed to identify people on both sides…I’m not sure he meant them exclusively toward either group.

I want to address something you said;

“You say, “How do you reconcile that God numbered days, yet we trump God with free will?”
The answer is very simple. God gives us free will, yet He also knows the future and knows ahead of time the choices we will make. God can both give us free will and He still be in charge – a mystery we cannot fully grasp; yet Scripture teaches both. And yes, He knows the dates that will be on our gravestones.”

I’m not sure that your answer is as simple as you think…if Gods “foreknowledge” means that He knows ahead of time the choices we will make….then how does that explanation dispel a more Calvinist view of predestination?

If God foreknows and his knowlege is perfect and always right….then can it be that ones choice be different than God’s foreknown knowledge? How is this explanation practically different than God predetermining it?

7 Tim A. Blankenship January 7, 2014 at 10:59 am

I guess I am a Wovenist as well. The Scriptures do weave it all together. We just need to trust them and believe GOD.
T.A.

8 Clark Dunlap January 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm

OK, I guess I’m a Wovenist, too. Thank you Dan for writing a middle-ground piece to defray the argumentative nature of this. Even though some STILL want to argue with you.

9 Paul Russell January 7, 2014 at 11:32 am

David, your response is the reason Dan is getting out of the argument stream. I saw the same and got out of the stream months ago! Tarheel, yours is the argument I’ve used for years. Keep on keeping on, Dan!

10 William Thornton January 7, 2014 at 11:39 am

I understand the feeling of having had enough. I had enough 30 years ago of seminary classmates but got about a 15 year respite until New Calvinism came along in the SBC and I began to see churches damaged and split by overly agressive Calvinistic pastors.

Seems to me that this is a discussion that will continue whether or not you participate. It is an issue that has and will affect Southern Baptists at every level and in every area.

As an aside, I have always thought it odd that a non-Calvinist is presumed to be a Calvinist just one of less than 100% purity. It may be helpful to define areas on which we agree, but probably not helpful to use the label “Calvinism” as the gold standard. “Traditionalist” seems to have gained some traction in this regard.

God bless you.

11 parsonsmike January 7, 2014 at 11:44 am

Overloaded.
Many of these points of disagreement are worth discussing in a proper way, which is in gentleness and love. I disagree with another, but that does not mean they are not as sincere in their belief as I am in mine.
Personally I think wovenism is kind of far out there even though many of its points agree with my beliefs.
But here is the rub: it is not really our job to be the convincers of others as much as it is our job to be proclaimers of truth. It its the job of the Holy Spirit to convince others of truth.
We then have a responsibility to study Gods Word and seek to be led by Him in truth so we can share it with others.

12 David R. Brumbelow January 7, 2014 at 11:44 am

Tarheel,
You said, “If God foreknows and his knowlege is perfect and always right….then can it be that ones choice be different than God’s foreknown knowledge?”

I continue to believe the answer is simple.

God can both give us freedom to make choices while knowing ahead of time the free choices we will make.
Impossible for us to fully comprehend – simple with God.
David R. Brumbelow

13 Bill Mac January 7, 2014 at 11:48 am

David: Do you think it is possible for God not only to know the future, but to determine it? Can God make you choose do some something?

14 David R. Brumbelow January 7, 2014 at 11:53 am

Yes.

God determines the future.
Amazingly, God can both determine the future and give us free will.

But yes, at times God certainly can and does overrule our free will.
At time He says that’s as far as you’re going to go, and shuts us down.
David R. Brumbelow

15 Bill Mac January 7, 2014 at 11:56 am

Agreed.

16 Bill Mac January 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I think this is an important understanding. Free-will is not an illusion, that is where many Calvinists go wrong. But neither is free-will inviolate, that is where many non-Calvinists go wrong.

17 Ben Coleman January 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm

From my perspective, free will exists because God, in His Sovereignty, has chosen to allow our choices to have real consequences. He could have sovereignly chosen otherwise. It’s not a question, as sometimes (if unconsciously) put, of free will opposing God’s Sovereignty, it’s a question of where God has placed limits on that choice, and how He interacts with the results.

18 Bill Mac January 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Ben,

I think of Sovereignty and free will as two circles, with the free-will circle inside the sovereignty circle. Free-will is real, but it is subsumed into God’s sovereignty.

19 Ben Coleman January 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Exactly. And this fits into both a Calvinist and an Arminian framework. I’ve heard some argue (on both sides) as though Free Will and God’s Sovereignty were somehow opposed (or as though Free will could somehow exist independently of God). That’s not actually the issue – the issue is what limits did God set (both on man’s free will and on Himself) when He gave man free will.

20 Bill Mac January 7, 2014 at 11:46 am

I thought traditionalist was defunct and now savabilist was the newest non-calvinist nom de guerre.

21 parsonsmike January 7, 2014 at 11:54 am

Overloaded continued.
Obviously our sins and those of others keep us from getting everything right.This leads us to an obvious conclusion:
God is more concerned in how we interact with our brothers than if we have every jot and Tittle of doctrine perfectly down.
Otherwise God would lead us all into perfect doctrine. But He allows us to hold imperfect doctrines and thus gives us the responsibility to discuss and debate what we consider the non essentials of the faith. We already agree on the essentials for we call each other “brothers.”

22 David Rogers January 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Dan,

As you may remember, if I understand the term correctly, I am pretty much a wovenist also, though perhaps we don’t agree on all the details. Actually, from my perspective, agreeing on all the details is probably less important than it is from various other perspectives. In any case, I consider myself to support 4 1/2 points of TULIP and 3 1/2 points of non-TULIP simultaneously, and I believe the way I can do this is precisely because different perspectives of time (the eternal and the earthly) make this possible. I don’t get hung up over labels. I have used the term antinomist, but I am not on an antinomist crusade. It has the weakness of sounding a lot like antinominian.

In any case, my recommendation is: continue to search the Scripture and follow the position that makes the best sense to you regarding all this. If it remains wovenism as you describe it, so be it. If you see fit to explain and defend your position on blogs, go at it. Just don’t think you are likely going to begin a major reformation. This discussion has been going on for centuries and has not been resolved. It is good, from time to time, though, to hear other people’s perspectives and to examine our own and see if we have any blind spots.

Also, hopefully, those of us in the SBC who agree on the essentials and secondary issues in the BF&M (*with the exception of close/closed communion, which I think is an anomaly) can find ways to work with each other while continuing to disagree on the particular points in the Calvinism/non-Calvinism/Wovenism discussion. To the degree that spirit continues to be threatened, this is an issue we will likely need to continue to bring up from time to time in hope of working toward the best stewardship possible of our shared resources through the CP.

23 parsonsmike January 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Free will and salvation.
My belief is that every person who God encounters with th veracity of the Gospel willingly surrenders him or herself to the Lord Jesus. Thus salvation can only happen as God makes it happen and it happens every time God desires it to happen. Those who hear the Gospel and reject it do so because their heart is hardened against God. Those who accept the Gospel do so because God in His mercy softens the hard heart.

24 Greg Buchanan January 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Dan –

I appreciate this article for the truth that most people in this “debate” (an unfortunate by-product of Robert’s Rules… gotta have two sides; it should really be just a discussion) are really arguing from a position of fear.

Fear that they might be wrong, and if they are wrong are they really saved, is God real. I think this is true of all sides.
— the Calvinist who is unwaveringly adamant that its 5 points or nothing because their assurance is based more on the wholeness of the doctrine than on the One about whom the doctrine was devised
— the Traditionalist who is certain that predestination can ONLY mean foreknowledge of free-will choices because their assurance is based more on the certainty that they accepted the free gift rather than on the certainty of the gift giver
— the reformed soteriology minded thinker who can’t fathom the idea of free-will in any form
— the non-reformed “typical” SBC pew sitter who has been taught for years that Calvinism is a threat to evangelism with no qualifying context in reality
— the Calvinist who sees the extreme (and nothing else) end of traditional thinking as universalism because all they need is for everyone to just agree Jesus is Lord
— the Traditionalist who sees the extreme (and nothing else) end of Calvinism is the cessation of all missions and evangelism, “cause God will save the elect without us”
— The Calvinist who thinks that “traditionalists” are insulting their heros and questioning their salvation/veracity: Spurgeon, Edwards, Mohler, etc
— The Traditionalist who thinks that “calvinists” are insulting their heros and questioning their salvation/veracity: Graham, Falwell, Vines, etc
— fill-in-the-blank accusation of who they “other” will ruin our churches because they “this-and-that” and when they are done doing that, then they will also do “x, y, and z.”

I think all of this is from fear.

I thought we were supposed to be a people of faith and held up by God, not us holding Him up with this or that construct?

25 John Carpenter January 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm

The essential question — that the original article rightly said few are willing to deal with — is who has the ultimate choice in salvation: God or the sinner? Who’s choice is ultimate and who’s is consequent?

If you accept the idea of total depravity, then the other 5 points of TULIP follow logically. Most importantly, they are found in scripture. I’d suggest John Piper’s study of them.

26 volfan007 January 7, 2014 at 6:58 pm

God chooses to save those people, who choose Him. Just like in a marriage…the man chooses to marry the woman, and the woman chooses to marry the man.

David

27 Rich Starnes January 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

I think saying “traditionalists” are 2 1/2 point Calvinists is an incorrect and unfair interpretation of their positions. According to Article 2 of their statement, traditionalists reject total depravity, instead believing every man preserves enough ability to respond to the gospel without any compulsion of grace–the free will to choose God is not incapacitated by man’s inclination towards sin. By necessity, “total depravity” rejects such an innate ability and thus man requires a work of grace to free his totally depraved will from the bondage of his inherited sin nature. Arminians concepts of depravity and prevenient grace are actually closer to Calvinism than the traditionalist view is.

Further, we should stop saying that any belief predestination or election is “half a point.” Of course everyone believes that those things exist as the Bible is clear they do, but each system’s conception of them are entirely different. Calvinistic unconditional election and traditionalist election of a people and not individual persons (Art. 6) are only similar in that they claim that God elects in some manner. Again, Arminian conditional election, while the opposite of Calvinistic election, is closer in type to Calvinism than traditionalism because both espouse the election of individuals. These beliefs are different, and we shouldn’t suggest they’re not that different.

Finally, I’d agree perseverance of the saints vs. eternal security of the believer are essentially similar–the traditionalist explanation looks more like perseverance than an unfortunate “once saved always saved if you meant it regardless of what your life looks like later” view too often heard in our churches. But there are still important differences as to the source of perseverance/security (God’s sovereign choice of His adopted children vs. God’s loving nature and promises binding those that choose Him to Him).

When it comes to soteriology we are different and we likely will be different for the rest of our time on this side of eternity. We shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed to say that and should respect that the differences are different. Some of us are necessarily wrong, but all of us could be wrong (I don’t think I am, but I know there are things I’m wrong about, so this could be one too). But let’s not downplay the differences by trying to shoehorn one system into the other in our descriptions.

I’d like to go on to say “and let’s not let our differences get in the way of our work as brothers and sisters in Christ or as Southern Baptists.” But I understand that there are those who think purity of identity and/ortho soteriology of who runs and staffs our convention and entities is more important than remaining traditionalists-and-Calvinists-united-as-Southern-Baptists. So these conversations and disagreements will continue. I only pray that they can do so with more Christian love, humility, and patience than they typically have.

28 Dee Stover January 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Issue is many don’t know how to honor one another and God.

29 Dee Stover January 7, 2014 at 1:18 pm

I regularly fellowship and worship with those I disagree with. If I don’t honor my brother I dishonor God.

30 Jim Pemberton January 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I’m with you, and I agree with much of what you say about your Wovenism.

Something I would add about why I don’t engage much in the debate is that it’s the same arguments over and over as though people haven’t studied what the other side actually says about the argument they are making. When people have determined to stop growing in their understanding, debate is pointless. I’ll teach people about the debate as much as people want to learn and I’ll listen to people explain the debate as long as they accurately represent both sides. But when someone starts misrepresenting the side they don’t agree with and putting forth arguments that have already been answered countless times over, I’m done.

31 Ben Coleman January 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Dan:

I can identify with having had enough of the argument. I’ve been there for a while, though I haven’t yet bowed entirely out of the conversation. I’ll throw what little insights I have out there, and I’ll gladly participate in a discussion, but I’m utterly uninterested in an argument. Mostly I find arguments going on, not discussions (or discussions that have been turned into arguments).

32 Greg Buchanan January 7, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Ben -

Agreed. There are few discussions, mostly arguments, fort-building, and mud-slinging.

Trying to have an honest discussion (i.e. you consider my thoughts as fact and true to you for your understanding and I’ll do the same for your thoughts and maybe we will grow together) is like trying to convince a 4y.o. that the pain of the shot will fade while sitting in the waiting room:

NOOOOOOOO! It’ll hurt forever!!!! then comes the screaming and crying (yes been there done that).

Too many are AFRAID of giving weight and consideration to another’s view; and I mean SERIOUS thought to the extent that you honestly question your views and consider the other person might hold some truth.

What would it be like if they are right and I’m wrong?
How does it change my understanding of God?
How does it grow my understanding of His love and grace?
How does it increase my love of Jesus?

This level of honest and humble consideration takes a faith that has seldom been seen in this blog on this topic…. EVER.

33 Tarheel January 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Greg, you are right.

Pride (which I contend often-of not always- manifests as a coping mechanism for fear) and blogging the co-equal enemy of civil discourse.

34 Alan January 7, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Thanks for your note regarding time and God’s existence outside time. Since time is a dimension of this universe (ie: part of the creation as all the other dimensions. Would we really argue that God is bound by the limitations of height or weight?) it would seem God is beyond what he has created.

Perhaps our inability to grasp the nature of so many of these concepts comes from our limited understanding. Since God transcends our dimensions, he is much much more. I think back to a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where two-dimensional creatures are pushing the Enterprise toward ultimate destruction. Why was the ship in danger? Because the two-dimensional creatures could not even perceive the three-dimensional ship. In much the same way, we are products of our four-dimensional universe unable to perceive of God beyond what he has revealed to us and even now we still perceive it as through a glass darkly.

35 Dave Miller January 7, 2014 at 6:11 pm

I overloaded on the petty pro- and anti-Calvinist rhetoric about 2 years ago. I have a solution – I’ve tried it and it works.

Don’t write about Calvinism. Don’t read articles about it. Don’t comment on articles about it.

There have been some deep, biblical and helpful articles on this quarrel, but most of them are best ignored.

36 Dave Miller January 7, 2014 at 6:13 pm

And to those who say, “we have to have this conversation” I say, fine! But not now and not the way we currently discuss it. Give it a rest and serve Jesus together. Come back to it later when the firebrands on both sides have burned out and moved on to some other controversy.

37 volfan007 January 7, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Dave,

I tried to leave it, and move on….back in 1988, after I got out of Seminary, after having some very aggressive Calvinists tell me that I was not preaching the true Gospel, unless I was a Calvinist….and, they tried to convert me….and, they basically said that anyone, who was not a Calvinist, was spiritually and intellectually inferior…and, not really following God.

Now, go to the year 2006….all of a sudden, I start hearing those things, again. And, for several years afterwards, it’s growing in the SBC. And, I start hearing those same kinds of things more often. So, I started challenging that kind of thinking, again. Then, I get labeled as an Anti Calvinists….just because I refuse to sit back, and listen to the New Calvinists say such things, without saying, “Wait a doggone minute.”

So, like you, I’m very tired of it, again. I wish it wasn’t such a big deal in the SBC. But alas, it is. But, like you, I try to stay out of these conversations….but, somehow I just can’t…..even though I want to stay out. Well, anyway, I’m gonna try to stay out of it, again.

bye,

David

38 Tarheel January 7, 2014 at 9:50 pm

VolFan,

So your answer to “having some very aggressive Calvinists tell you that You was not preaching the true Gospel, unless you were a Calvinist….and, their trying to convert you and, basically saying that anyone, who was not a Calvinist, was spiritually and intellectually inferior…and, not really following God.”

is to;

Become a very aggressive anti Calvinist telling others that they are not preaching the true Gospel, unless they do so in non Calvinist ways….and try to convert them…..and basically say that anyone, who was is a Calvinist is spiritually and intellectually inferior…and, not really following God?

39 volfan007 January 7, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Tarheel,

I never said that anyone, who is a Calvinist, is not preaching a true Gospel. I believe they do preach the true Gospel. Also, I never said that they were spiritually and intellectually inferior, and I never said that a Calvinist was not following God.

Please don’t put words in my mouth.

The fact is….I believe that Arminians and Calvinists and Traditionalists are preaching a true Gospel, if they’re preaching the Gospel…..even though we might disagree on some of the finer points of theology. You see, I can appreciate John Wesley, as much as I can appreciate John McArthur. I can amen Charles Spurgeon, and I can amen Billy Graham.

David

40 Tarheel January 7, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Ok…i apologize. I was attempting to make a point that anti calvinists do as “new calvinists” are accused.

Has anyone here said those things of you? You seemed to indicate that all “new Calvinists” (whatever you mean by that) do exactly that. When I asked you to define that term you really didn’t and CB immediatly identified me as a “new Calvinist”….I know I’ve not said those things that were said to you over 25 years ago.

BTW, I too can and do “amen” the people you named at times, while I also disagree with each of them at times.

41 cb scott January 8, 2014 at 12:09 am

“CB immediatly identified me as a “new Calvinist” . . . . and an anony coward to boot.

42 cb scott January 8, 2014 at 12:15 am

You also place a spin on peoples words that is nothing less than lying.

I have been knowing Vol and reading his comments for several years and he has never said of anyone, at anytime the following”

“Become a very aggressive anti Calvinist telling others that they are not preaching the true Gospel, unless they do so in non Calvinist ways….and try to convert them…..and basically say that anyone, who was is a Calvinist is spiritually and intellectually inferior…and, not really following God?”

That is just a bare-faced lie, spoken behind a mask by a person who does not have the sand to own his own words.

43 dr. james willingham January 7, 2014 at 10:58 pm

What is really making Satan nervous is the thought that a Great Awakening might well be in the offing, and, since the theology that produced such visitations as the First and Second Great Awakenings and the launching of the Great Century of Mission, it follows that a renewal of such a belief system could be the forerunner of the greatest awakening of all, the one the Devil really fears. Those who are ‘agin it’ find the static unbearable, while others are fearful that it will bring out the fatalism observable in certain groups even today, and still more are concerned to get it exactly right (as they understand the right and heaven help those who don’t understand it that way). The truth is we are dealing with a powerfully subtle and transformative theology, one that only God controls (after all, His belief system, the one He has revealed, suffers not from murkiness but from clarity). Just consider what I discovered and think carefully about it: Predestination is invitation. In fact, every doctrine involved in the discussion is an invitation to be saved on God’s terms. Our Lord even used the doctrines in His evangelistic practices. Just note how He used unconditional election in His sermon to His neighbors in Nazareth; it is the use of opposites, therapeutic paradoxes, apparent contradictions, “Elijah was not sent to any widow in Israel, but unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.”(Lk.4:26,27). The response of His neighbors was terrible to behold; they hated the very ideas that He set forth. However, His aim was the same as it was in the case of another woman of Sidon. She heard Jesus say very plainly, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Her response was one of worship; she treated His negative saying as an invitation to worship Him. She worshipped Him, saying, “Lord, help me.”(Mt.15:24,25).

Then our Lord proceeded to also teach what the folks of Nazareth never gave Him the opportunity to teach, namely, about their depravity, inability, and reprobation. In fact, they tried to murder him even as the image of a beast without a conscience might do. Our Lord answered the woman, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”(Mt.21:26). Her response was one of agreement and argument: “Truth, Lord.” She agrees that she is all that the image our Lord uses implies, a dog is an image of uncleanness, of reprobation (returns to its own vomit as Peter notes), and of a lack of conscience (the dogs licked the blood of Jezebel). Then she proceeds to argue, “yet the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”(Mt.15:27). She paid Him the highest honor: a crumb of His mercy and grace would more than meet her need.”

One of the sources of the renascence of so-called Calvinism in the 20th century, the Evangelist Rolfe Barnard, preached a sermon on the subject, “A Great Revival Is Coming.” It is ironic that we should get all bent out of shape about the use of theological terms and those who hold more or less of the truths than others. The fellow from whom Barnard began his journey to such theology was Dr. W.T. Conner at SWBTS who wanted Barnard to be his successor. Not all of Conner’s theology was full fledged Calvinism, but Barnard preached more of it than most preachers. However, he preached it to reach souls, not to stir up controversy although it did just that. From personal knowledge of the effects of that man’s ministry (meaning the effects of it on people whom I know), I can say that the aim is souls and the glory of God in Christ, not the incessant whopping of someone over the head. It is true at times that the truth will provoke one to anger, a fact borne out in the history of all awakenings and revivals. I could point to my childhood pastor, George Washington Gray, who never had any controversy and who preached the doctrines of grace. My ordaining pastor had few, if any, controversies even though he announced what he was, a Supralapsarian Hyper Calvinist. He was a soul winner par excellence. He ordained folks to the minister who did not agree with him (when I was ordained, I did not believe what I had heard most of my life). I know of one fellow who was won to Christ by Calvinistic youth pastor, ordained by Dr. Campbell and who sat under Curtis Vaughan at SWBTS and who to this day is not Calvinist. He even made a survey in his area and found that the Calvinists did a few percentage points better than their Traditionalists, However, he also found that they had their tare hairs just like the latter.

Leave a fellow to preach the message God lays on his heart. If it is too unbearable, say so. But be careful. You might find yourself fighting against God, and like the pastor who baptized and licensed me and who refused to say anything about it and who said, “You can’t fight against God, little man. Your arms are too short.”

Consider how Whitefield and Wesley worked their way through their differences in order to work together. I know folks on both sides of the issue who are good, and I know folks on both sides of the issue who are mean. Some folks get upset at the idea that the Calvinists were the first in the Southern Baptist background and even insist that it cannot be proved which is funny in view of the records that leave no doubt. On the other hand, the records also establish the fact that after they got over their anger and realized that they were dealing with brothers, they worked out their differences in the Union of Separates and Regulars in 1787-1800 which allowed for both camps to preach their differences as members of one and the same camp.

All of this is a long way to say, that what we really want is that visitation, that Third Great Awakening, The Great Revival Is Coming. Let us be patient with one another. Let us not play the one-ups-manship game. Remember we are of those that believe every man ought to be fully persuaded in his heart and mind. It is called religious liberty, a truth first established by the Baptists in law and practice in the 17th century in a place called Providence by two men who were strict Calvinists.

44 Dave Miller January 8, 2014 at 3:12 am

As invariably happens, these Calvinism discussions devolve into mudslinging. I think we’ve probably beat this one about the head and shoulders quite enough.

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