Predestined to Punch

I know it’s the Christmas season, but recently having read once again the claim that all Baptists are Calvinists, I must now draw this line in the sand and, of my own free will, form a covenant with my Calvinist brothers that I will “slap upside the head” the next person who tells me I’m a Calvinist!

Of course, God already possesses the foreknowledge that I will do this thing.  He has given me free will, a functioning right arm and a right hand fully capable of an open-faced slap.  I will not make a fist.  I will not break any bones.  I will probably not miss you unless you duck.  Your skin may be slightly red for a short while.  But I fully intend to unleash my wrath, in an unlimited manner, extending to whosoever maketh this outrageous claim, because I refuse to be called by such a name.

Stop it!  Stop it right now!  I’m not a Calvinist–not in the usual sense of the word.  The fact that I share with Calvinists a couple of the tulip petals does not make me one of them.  To paraphrase the old yarn, going to the Southern Baptist Convention does not make me a Calvinist any more than being in a garage makes me a car.

Let me share a few caveats.  First, if someone of the fairer gender calls me a Calvinist, I will overlook the transgression, which it is a man’s glory to do.  Second, if a minor calls me a Calvinist, I will overlook the transgression.  They may not have reached the age of accountability and it’s just plain wrong.  Third, if someone is preaching the Word and they claim that all Baptists are Calvinists, I will wait until the sermon is over so I can fulfill this prophecy in the parking lot after the service.   Fourth, I will not slap a man in the presence of his wife and children.  Fifth, out of respect for their service, I will not slap a seminary president or elected convention officer unless granted permission first.   Sixth, out of courtesy to the Greatest Generation, I will not slap a senior citizen.  Seventh, out of gratitude for their sacrifice,  I will not slap a military veteran, police officer, fireman or other community helper.  Eighth, if someone trains their parrot to say, “All Baptists are Calvinists,” I will harm no animals in the fulfillment of this pledge.  Finally, if someone looks really mean and appears to work out a lot, they won’t get slapped either.  So mostly I guess this is just for wimpy middle-aged guys who call me names.

Friends, SBC may stand for Slowly Becoming Calvinist, but every Baptist is not on board with that understanding and we do not appreciate the name calling.  We no more accept that moniker than most Baptist ministers would accept being called a Liberal.  I realize we may be “liberal” in the sense of being generous in our gifts to the poor, but the usual sense of that word theologically is an insult to those with conservative beliefs.

Because I have told you in advance that this is going to happen, and because God in His sovereignty knows it is going to happen, then He either wills it or He allows it, a moot point really, since in either case, the sting will feel the same upon your cheek.  After receiving the blow, you are encouraged to turn the other cheek, which I promise not to strike unless you (a) bring my mother into the conversation, or (b) reiterate your claim that all Baptists are Calvinists.

Let me say that I am generally a very mild mannered person, but I have come to accept the axiom that the difference between a Calvinist and a Terrorist is that you can negotiate with a Terrorist.  All of my reasons for disputing the title of Calvinist will only be rejected, point by point, by the Calvinist, probably with an annotated outline and footnotes attributing long quotations to Piper and Spurgeon.  Regardless, I should be allowed to define what I am and what I am not.

I believe the only way to stop this annoying practice is for somebody to shout, “Stop it!”  “No” means “no.”  Quit doing it!  We don’t like the label. It carries far too much baggage.  It offends us.  We understand you like the label.  You probably think you’re building bridges by including us in your broadly defined term.  But you’re not.  It’s insulting, condescending and unfair.

I am a Baptist who is not a Calvinist.  Stop calling me one or suffer the consequences that God, before the foundation of the world, knew would be yours, at the hand of a pastor (with a tongue firmly planted in his cheek) who is unapologetically predestined to punch.


  1. Bruce H says

    Good read. It reads almost like an Arminian Dr. Seuss. :-)

    I would like to point out one thing; the will is not free. It is bound to sin and short comings and thus a slave to sin. If a person is a Christian, it is a will that is moved, influenced and empowered by grace away from the will of the flesh and is obedient toward the will of the Father. If that be the case, our will is not technically our own when doing the will of the Father. If it was it would be considered a work of the flesh and we could take credit for it (i.e. Salvation, good works, etc).

    By the authority vested in me, you are not a Calvinist as you have said willingly.

    Merry Christmas

    • Rick Patrick says

      “If I’m an Arminian Dr. Seuss,
      Perhaps it’s time for a Christmas truce.
      So Merry Christmas to my friend, Bruce.”

      Whether I was “bound” to write that or “free” to write that is a subject I must contemplate further.

    • says

      Thanks for the post. I have a strong distaste for this argument. I hear it over and over again. The general notion from some is that anyone who is NOT Calvinist does not correctly understand it for if they DID understand it, they would BE Calvinist.

      There are a couple other terms I would like to pitch into this bucket as well…

      Merry Christmas sir!


  2. Bill Mac says

    Rick, can you point out where you read this? I’ve seen lots of stuff about how Baptists have always had Calvinists among them. I’ve seen lots of stuff about how Baptists were historically Calvinist. I’ve seen stuff claiming Baptists can’t be Calvinists. But I don’t think I’ve seen anything about how all Baptists are Calvinists. That’s a new one, at least for me.

    • Matt says

      I second this request. Where has anyone called all Baptists Calvinists?

      It kinda sounds like something my uncle would say (he’s a Nazarene preacher who thinks such things)

    • Rick Patrick says

      Gladly, Bill.

      (1) Most recently it was in this first comment on Bob Hadley’s blogpost “The Problem With Calvinism in the SBC” written by Randy Davis: “The truth of the matter is that Baptists have always been Calvinists, or more precisely, particular in their view of the atonement.” Really? Then why all the fuss?

      (2) The second example is a quote of Dr. Al Mohler by Errol Hulse in Chapter Eight of “Ministry By His Grace and For His Glory: Essays in Honor of Thomas J. Nettles”: “Even the opponents of Calvinism must admit, if historically informed, that Calvinism is the theological tradition into which the Baptist movement was born. The same is true of the Southern Baptist Convention. The most influential churches, leaders, confessions of faith and theologians of the founding era were Calvinists—it was not until well into the twentieth century that any knowledgeable person could claim that Southern Baptists were anything but Calvinists.”

      I’ve been watching the History Channel a lot lately. We need to get Brad Meltzer, host of “Decoded,” to sort out the various versions of Southern Baptist history being promoted today. I believe there were TWO strains of belief prominent both then and now, which according to Mohler, must imply that I am not a “knowledgeable” person. (See the work of Peter Lumpkins on this subject at SBC Tomorrow.)

      For that matter, at the 2006 Patterson-Mohler SBC debate, Mohler mentioned several ways that all Southern Baptists were Calvinists. I simply believe this is an unfortunate and misleading equivocation that needs to stop.

      • says

        I can’t speak for the comment on the Hadley post, but hey, it was responding to Hadley. That requires special grace.

        On Mohler’s comment, there I think he is right. He did not say all Baptists are Calvinists, but that many of the significant figures in early Baptist history were Calvinist. Important distinction there. But even if he is wrong about the origins of the SBC, he still isn’t saying SBCers today are all Calvinist.

        As for Lumpkins’ work on this or any subject, well…

        • Rick Patrick says

          So we excuse Randy since he was responding to Hadley. We avoid Peter since he, too, must be marginalized. Do you realize how dismissive that sounds toward non-Calvinists?

          Also, you must think Al Mohler playing “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” because you have seriously spinned him around and around. In those quotes, he said a great deal more than simply, “…many of the significant figures in early Baptist history were Calvinist.” If that was all that he and others were saying, I would never have written my little rebuke.

          There really are SBC voices (lower case “v”) who are seeking to establish Calvinism as the default theological and historical position of Southern Baptists. I believe one way they are seeking to do that is through revisionist history and a form of equivocation in which all Baptists are considered to be Calvinists.

          I simply resist such a redefinition, believing it is both inaccurate and unfair to the majority position of Southern Baptists, both historically and theologically.

          • Dave Miller says

            The issue here is defining Calvinism. Are most Baptists today more in the general Calvinist sphere than in the Arminian sphere? I would say so. Generally, if you believe in some form of eternal security, you are generally in the Calvinist realm. I think that is what Mohler is saying.

            Those who disdain Calvinism often associate it with “Five-point, Reformed-system, all-in Calvinism.” Most Baptists today do not support that. I have read Calvinists who say that you aren’t really a Calvinist unless you support the WHOLE system (including paedobaptism, covenant eschatology, etc).

            So, I will be glad to answer the question, “Are you a Calvinist?” only after you define what you mean by the term.

            Not to go all “group hug” on everyone, but I suspect that this is all a matter of definitions.

          • says

            Dave and others,
            I have also heard, off and on for years, that in a sense all Baptists are Calvinists; that we all at least agree on eternal security. And, depending on how they are defined, most Southern Baptists also agree with some, though not all, other of the 5 points of Calvinism.

            So I’ve seen some “non-5-point Calvinists” claim to be “non-Calvinists,” and some claim to be “Moderate Calvinists.”

            You all have a great Christmas and Lord’s Day today! Even the Calvinists and Yankees fans :-).
            David R. Brumbelow

  3. cb scott says

    Rick Patrick,

    After having read this post, I conclude, in the words of the famous A-TEAM tough guy, Mr.T:

    “I pity the fool” who calls you a Hindu or a Mormon.

    Merry Christmas to you brother. I trust you did not get any damage to your home or neighborhood from the storms yesterday. We, here in my neighborhood, were without power for a greater part of the afternoon, night and throughout the morning today, but we are now up and running.

    Thankfully to our Lord, no damage was done around here. Obviously, these storms were, in the words of Papa George Bush, “Kinder and Gentler” to us than those of April. For that I praise the Lord for His mercy.

    • Rick Patrick says

      Christmas Greetings, CB. We survived the storm just fine. May you and yours enjoy a wonderful celebration this Christmas!

  4. says

    The will is, indeed, free, but only to do things which are consistent with one’s nature. You are not free, for instance, to breathe water like a fish, or hover (in and of yourself) in the air like a hummingbird.

    Nor are you free to drain all your blood and fill your veins with, say, lemonade. Or spin yourself a cocoon and then emerge later as a butterfly.

    Oh. The only folks I ever hear saying all baptists are Calvinists are the ones who are saying that other people are saying it and it’s not true. Maybe I live under a rock or something, but I just don’t see folks claiming that.

    ps: I think you’re a 5-pointer, myself.

    • Rick Patrick says

      Thanks, Bob. You saved me a lot of time. Now, I won’t try to do any of that stuff. The hummingbird thing was a real temptation.

      Out of curiosity, and for no particular reason, may I ask if you are a senior citizen or have ever served in the military?

      • says

        I am old. And no I never served in the military.

        I figured you guessed I’m a senior citizen because of my incisive conclusions, my extreme knowledge of most topics, or you saw that YouTube of me picking my nose.

    • Rick Patrick says

      Ooh, don’t you call them reformed. They hate that!

      And when you call on me to “Give myself” to that viewpoint, I must ask: “Is it really within my power to do so? Could I do it if I wanted to? If God wanted me to, could I resist doing it?”

      Do Calvinists believe that the authority of God’s Sovereignty over against Man’s Responsibility extends not only to their salvation itself but also to their soteriological view? Has God predestined some to be Calvinists and others to be non-Calvinists?

      • Chase says

        Do Calvinists believe that the authority of God’s Sovereignty over against Man’s Responsibility extends not only to their salvation itself but also to their soteriological view? Has God predestined some to be Calvinists and others to be non-Calvinists?

        God’s sovereignty is not “over against” man’s responsibility. Man is fully responsible for his foreordained actions, by virtue of being the second cause of these actions, which fall out from his own will. If Calvinism is true, then you are fully responsible for not submitting to true doctrine, even if your actions have been foreordained otherwise.

        • Rick Patrick says

          Granted, I am fully responsible, but do you believe God predestines not only those who will be saved but also those who will believe in Calvinism? Do I have a choice or is the insight to believe in Calvinism irresistible?

          • Chase says

            Predestination is not a good term to use here. In scripture, predestination refers to God’s decree of man’s ultimate destiny; this contrary to God’s general decrees, or his foreordination of events. Predestination is personal, and refers to the elect and their salvation, whereas foreordination is impersonal, and refers to the reprobate and normal human actions and events. I don’t mean to be pedantic, but predestination implies God’s special interest and care which he holds toward his elect, and the use of the term can imply incorrect things about God’s general decrees of human actions.

            I mean no insult by any of the following: God foreordains that we act in a manner concordant to our will. The regenerate will is still capable of, and tempted by sin, and the actions which proceed from it will reflect this. The Church, this side of glory, will (likely) not be in total doctrinal agreement due to our sinfulness. Our progress in sanctification both hinders and helps our discernment of correct doctrine, which comes through spiritual means (1 Cor. 2:14). I am not saying that, when error is afoot, one person is necessarily more sanctified than another, as different people will be prone to different errors; but that disbelieving God’s truth is sinful, and our own sinfulness is the root cause of such disbelief and error.

  5. says

    The General Baptists who got public attention first before the Particulars might resent the statement that all Baptists are Calvinists, and even the Particulars might feel like some of their ancestors died for the truths supposedly belonging to John Calvin before that fellow was ever conceived let alone converted (Yup. some folks in England got burned for believing in Predestination and not practicing infant baptism…some of them were called Lollards). My preferred term is Sovereign Grace. After all, if Grace must reign, then it follows that it must be SOVEREIGN(Roms.5:21). And nothing succeeds like success. In that First Great Awakening even John Wesley admitted that their were some chosen, that there were some who reached a state from which they would never fall (cf his letter in his journal conceding as much). He was willing to go thus far to meet the fellow with the Moxie, George Whitefield, who by the way preached in South Carolina and simply pointed at a fellow and cited his text and the fellow went flying backwards just like them soldiers did who came to arrest Jesus and He said, “I am.” O yes, and have you heard how George’s Methodist Chickens became Baptist Ducks? I once traced down two of them, one in Georgia and the other in South Carolina who pastored the Welsh Neck Baptist Church for a few years.

    Now with a Third Great Awakening coming, soon to be here we pray, even beginning in this generation and taking the whole earth for Christ…by persuasion, gentle persuasion, no less, every one will want on the band wagon. I can see it now, “all Arminian Southern Baptists admit that some might be chosen, might even reach a state from which they would never fall.” I mean if John W. could do that, surely our Arminian Southern Baptists could make a few concessions to get on the band wagon. Besides the Sovereign Grace is so easy going, so backward to compel anyone that its advocates went out and established religious liberty by law and invited the Jews to build a synagogue in the fair land of Rhode Island. Then they went on to wheel and deal and secure religious liberty in Virginia (they even agreed to persuade the young men in their community to enlist in the patriots’ cause cause they just could not stand compelling anyone to be a Christian when God in His grace alone could persuade everyone and make them willing as He chose)(frustrating even George W. and Patrick H. in their offer to make every one the state church). Finally, they got the whole thing adopted on the National Level cause even James Madison had to make a deal with John Leland.

    Like the lady said to a friend of mine named Spurgeon: “Oh! It was so wonderful that I could not resist it!” Now imagine how ever one is going to want on the band wagon, when every soul on earth gets converted and the awakening continues for a 1000 generations and thousands and thousands of worlds as man goes to the stars and colonizes the Universe so God can speak of the redeemed in Heaven as a number NO ONE CAN NUMBER (Rev.7:9). Like the old calvinist southerners use to say: “We will treat you so many good ways, that you are bound to like some of them.”

  6. Christiane says

    ” I realize we may be “liberal” in the sense of being generous in our gifts to the poor, but the usual sense of that word theologically is an insult to those with conservative beliefs.”

    not sure ‘liberal’ is the word you want here for the sense of being generous in gifts to the poor . . .
    try ‘orthodox Christian value’ instead . . . which seems to me to be more in the category of a ‘stable’ (conservative ?), unchanging teaching throughout the Body of Christ.

    just some thoughts

    • Rick Patrick says

      Yes, I too resist the label for all of its baggage and yet I have indeed heard the word “liberal” used to describe one who freely and liberally lets go of their possessions. The fact you wish to resist its connotations actually helps make my point. We should be careful not to call people by names they do not like, not only because the names may be unfair, but also because they may be the inaccurate word choice.

      Well said, and Merry Christmas!

  7. says

    I just sat on Santa’s lap and gave him my Christmas wish. I hope that everyone will realize the lighthearted nature of Rick’s post and will not get bogged down in a fight about Calvinism on Christmas Adam.

    (Christmas Adam is the day before Christmas Eve.)

  8. volfan007 says


    Also, unless I’m mistaken…and if I am mistaken, it will be pointed out by about 14 or 15 people in a matter of minutes…the Founders organization is all about “SBC being Calvinists, and trying to return the SBC BACK to it’s roots.” I’d say that they believe that Baptists are Calvinists, or should be….and, not just any ole Calvinists either…but instead, full fledged, 5 pointers who believe in regeneration before faith kind.

    So, you definitely had no “straw man” arguement in this post…..”Straw man” is another feller them Calvinists like to bring up all the time. I think he’s kin to Snow Man, but he’s not as cold.


    • cb scott says


      I once shot a 5 Point Buck.

      We stood around lookin’ at ‘im for a while trying to figure out how he got in such a mess and ruined his rack that way.

      Finally, one of the boys said, “Let, just keep the body and throw the head away. There ain’t no meat in it anyhow.”

    • Rick Patrick says


      Thanks for buttressing my argument. (My buttress was starting to get sore from all the critics.)

      And a Tender Tennessee Christmas to you and yours!

      • volfan007 says

        thanks Rick. Its been really, really good so far. Merry Christmas to you and yours, as well.


  9. says

    Rick Patrick – I’m already late to get ready to go to the eastern shore of Virginia to eat in The Island House which is owned by a retired , combat wounded U.S Navy Seal. This is a country place out of the way that you would fit right in to . If I’m correct you are in N. Dakota not far from an old town of German Wolfords and only a little bit away from Teddy Roosevelts home in Medora where he went after both his Mother & Wife died on the same Valentines Day. It looks like N. Dakota attracts honest , outspoken men with a sense of humor and your being a Pastor give you the authority to better speak in these circles better than I can. YOU HAVE MADE MY DAY – and I’m even later yet. I’ll call and move the reservation as it takes me two hours to drive there. I’m no ” Club” member either – only a Christian who really has had to slap a few around and I’ve been slapped back and gotten up 8 feet away without taking a step backward. I don’t harbor any ill will against very many. I’ll join your crowd any day as someone has to keep the image. Merry Christmas to Rick Patrick and to everyone that writes on this Blog – even cb scott & blackmon . Best Blog I’ve ever read and if I die from a wreck driving in the dark you “made” me do it.

    • cb scott says

      Jack Wolford,

      Have you ever noticed how much more nutty the fruitcakes are that people give you at Christmas time? Subliminal message maybe?

      Nonetheless, Merry Christmas to you also Jack Ole Friend, even if you are nuttier than any fruitcake that ever graced a holiday table.

      Merry Christmas Jack and God bless that Seal who owns the Island House. Enjoy your time there.

      • volfan007 says


        Jack’s middle name may be “Planters.” I bet he wears one of them one eyed, eyeglasses thangs, too.


      • Christiane says

        I put pecans, walnuts, and even shredded coconuts in my fruitcakes. I also load them with assorted very rich ‘flavorings’ that Southern Baptists may not approve of,
        so instead of one of my fruitcakes, I would everyone a happy Christmas with their families gathered around them. May the blessings of this season be on all of you who shelter in His Peace.

        • says

          Christiane – I call the process you have for Fruitcakes embalming which keeps them fresher longer . Your the only one that makes sense on this Blog with pertinent stories and information. Merry Christmas and I still punch up the VW Passat commerical you posted. It even gets funnier with a piece of embalmed fruit cake.

      • Lydia says

        Uh, CB. Rule #1: Friends don’t give friends fruitcake for Christmas. Only your mortal enemies give you a fruitcake.

    • Rick Patrick says


      I appreciate your greetings and hope you enjoy a terrific meal in Virginia, the state of my birth in Norfolk 47 years and three days ago. After living two years in Virginia, I spent three years in Hawaii, thirty years in Texas and eleven in Alabama, where I currently reside.

      I have never been to North Dakota. I have never been to South Dakota. And I don’t really understand why we need them both.

      But I do wish you safe travels and a Merry Christmas!!

      • says

        Rick – Thank you for your reply and Christmas wishes . I took a chance and missed – Your thinking will ” save the South ” again since you now reside in Alabama that has a flag for both hands. Only one Person was ever right all the time and we crucified Him . Obviously I haven’t left yet but the destination is called Wachapreague , VA – an Indian name and a whole different story. People come in with their hunting clothes still on after a hunt and some wear ties . A good hunting , well manered dog would be allowed in as well – which is the way my wife gets me in . Peace

  10. says

    Dave: your Christmas Adam the day before Christmas Eve was funny :), I really think we should adopt as our motto that poem by Markham (was it Edwin?):
    Heretic and lout, he drew a circle,
    and shut me out.
    But love and I had the wit to win, we drew a circle,
    and took him in.

  11. Bruce H says

    As far as predestination (God’s foundational design) and/or foreknowledge (God looking through time to see who would choose Him) the end results are the same. The same amount of people were saved (elected before the foundation of the world) and the same amout of people were damned (predestined for destruction). Baptist have to believe that there are a certain amount either way. Why is there controversy? Because no one likes God choosing before or after. That is the fallen nature of man. We want to choose but that creates the problem. If we have any part of it we have infected God’s eternal, perfect and holy design. Matthew 25:31 ff. Either way, it is the same result.

  12. says

    The greatest things I ever learned in all of my researches were: 1. Predestination is an invitation to begin one’s spiritual pilgrimage. 2. The doctrines of grace are all therapeutic paradoxes. 3. That John Flavel, David Clarkson, and yours truly did and do not agree with CHS about Rev.3:20 not being an evangelistic text. 4. Bob Hadley does not appreciate Baptist History. That volfan must be a fan of the Tenn. Volunteers, a rabid follower of the U. of Tn. My Great Great Grandfather was a grad. of that same institution (so I was told). My friend’s son is a grad. of that same school and had his baseball Jersey retired by Tn about two years ago. My friend’s last name is Garner, and his son was a noted player and manager in the Big Leagues.

    As to predestination, it is a wonder that any one would even dream of trying to make do with out it. Such act is comparable to trying to build the Empire State Building or such such structure without a blueprint. The fellow with the best blueprint/plan/logistics is the one who gets the contract, wins, delivers the goods. Our real problem comes with our readig of the blueprints, thinking we can improve on the plan or we misunderstant the originals, and our sense of logistics is lousy causing us to mess up the delivery system and throw things out of kilter. And as to liberal, the greatest liberals of all time are the most conservative, orthodox, Bible-believing, etc., folks. I mean who devised religious liberty, why the most liberal calvinistic folks of name, Williams and Clarke and Craig and Leland (three pinches of c and two of a). I like to think our greatest times are before us. We are waiting on the Lord to show His logistics for this little economic set-to devised by the folks who want to collapse things and cause chaos and consequently get rid of 5.5 billion people, but God draws people on His ground (they think it is theirs), like the cross and let them think they win only to findout they have made things worse by far for themselves and their evil ways. I mean, when everone is getting converted the few remaining unbleievers really develop a case of bein forlorn.

    I went and listened to some of Piper’s Pipings and found out that his momma proved my case of functional complementarianism which fully establishes that we are equals as brothers and sisters. My sister was my equal the day she bit me so many years ago in our childhood.

    Surely, the Third Great Awakening is just around the corner; it is looming over us like a gigantic wave. Heaven is coming down upon us, and God is establishing His very throne in the midst of each of His churches (Hebs.12:22ff). I mean if the center of heaven, Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, a lamb as it had been slain in the midst of the throne, is in the very heart of each congregation of believers, then Heaven has come and is here and is in power. Once Whitefield and Wesley were praying with some of their preacher boys and the presence of the Lord in that place was so great that for three hours they could not rise from the floor. Think of God’s presence in His house, among His people, being so great that you are held down as if by a mighty hand. In Zeph.2:10-11 the exposure of God in all of His fulness is terrible and awesome to the point of utterly overwhelming and extinguishing the gods of this world, winning away every last one of their followers and that by a persuasion as gentle as a summer shower on mown grass.

  13. Greg Harvey says

    The problem with mysteries is that when we try to wrap our little heads around them, we jumble the word “wrap” and it becomes “warp”.

    • says


      Me thinks you get a golden star for the comment of the day on such a special day!

      Merry Christmas to ALL!

      Guys… it is now 364 days to Christmas Eve 2012… if we get started TODAY we might actually be ready for Christmas next year!