The Rest of the Story: The FULL Annual Report from SWBTS

In 1517 Halloween, when the devils are supposed to enjoy a final fling, a courageous, frightened Augustinian monk named Martin Luther, armed with hammer and nails, took on Rome and all her advocates by nailing his theses to the door of the chapel church in Wittenburg, thus inviting serious debate. For the next few years heaven’s light burst through the shroud of human darkness. But the gospel seed needed “water” to flourish, and that was provided by the Anabaptists, whose shed blood in imitation of the sufferings of Christ watered the seed of truth planted by Luther, eventually producing the modern missions movement under William Carey. These remarkably committed men and women followed the New Testament and went where neither Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, or Henry the VIII were willing to venture.

Southern Baptists have a seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, that is determined to recover the Anabaptist and New Testament vision. While appreciating the compromised theology of the Reformers, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary refuses to truncate the everlasting gospel. Confident with the Anabaptists that we can say to every man, “God loves you individually and died for your sins,” Southwestern presses on in the intensity of a campaign to get the good news of salvation in Christ to all seven billion on this globe. While allowing no discrimination against our Reformed cousins who come to us, we continue to sound the trumpet of leading people to Christ, baptizing them by immersion in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and gathering them into free churches with congregational governments.

To that end, this year Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted a Homemaking Conference that drew more than a thousand women. This continues our accentuation on biblical gender roles and on the critical importance of the home in the plan and purpose of God. Our biblical homemaking degree is growing and exercising increasing influence.

Faculty members continue to lead students into the backways of life, seeking men and women who need to know Christ. Most of our large faculty have actually led new friends to Christ this year. Imagine what it means to a student to listen to a lecture by a world-renowned scholar, have lunch, and then go to the park with the same professor and watch him share simply and beautifully the riches of Christ. That night the student may drive for an hour with the professor to a revival where he listens to the professor preach an evangelistic message and publicly draw the net. Maybe this is not happening at many schools, but at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, testimonies like this abound.

Online programs now bring Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to the world. The president offers a course each year in which people enroll from across the globe. Full degrees are now available online. These are the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Education, Master of Theological Studies, Maestría en Estudios Teológicos, and Master of Theological Studies + Missions. In addition, our hybrid PhD in world Christianity has quickly become one of the most-sought-after PhDs that we have offered. Each class boasts enrollment from four to five continents. These degrees open the seminary to all, but men and women in our residency programs do the hard pulling and find themselves uniquely prepared for the demanding assignments that they must accept in reviving old churches and planting new churches at home and abroad.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s School of Church Music continues to prepare a cadre of ministers of music for tomorrow’s church. Realizing that tomorrow’s congregations will insist on greater versatility than in the past, Dean Leo Day brings his megachurch worship background, coupled with a love for opera, into a magnificent plan of preparation of music leaders for worship in this new day.

Childhood education and youth preparation, along with biblical counseling, continue to be premier programs led by Dean Waylan Owens in the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries. Mike Wilkinson provides leadership for the flourishing College at Southwestern— the perfect place for your youth!

Denny Autrey and Ben Phillips in Houston, Texas, direct the J. Dalton Havard campus, a fully degree-granting institution, which includes our Darrington Prison program among serious offenders. God is doing an amazing work there.

The Theology School of Southwestern remains the centerpiece of all that we do. The opportunity of future pastors to study theology with Malcolm Yarnell, preaching with David Allen, New Testament with John Taylor, Archaeology with Steven Ortiz, etc. make this place unlike any other in the earth.

Every recipient (including almost everyone) of Cooperative Program funds at Southwestern knows how much he owes to the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. Each one of them joins the president in saying thank you to Southern Baptists for the incredible confidence that you thereby place in us. We WILL return these blessings to the churches. That is our pledge. May heaven smile upon all that you attempt for Him.

Paige Patterson

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Fort Worth, Texas

One section of this report received some attention this week—all the more since it was ripped out of context and eisegeted in a masterful work of demagoguery. Permit me, if you will, to offer another reading of the text, and then you can let me know which interpretation you find to be more faithful to the text in its actual context.

Southern Baptists have a seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, that is determined to recover the Anabaptist and New Testament vision.

Yes, and about this I am unapologetic. It is no secret that there is, within our convention, theological and methodological diversity among our seminaries. This diversity takes place within the boundaries of the Baptist Faith & Message. If it is horrifically offensive that SWBTS comes to the task of theological education from an Anabaptist perspective, how is it not offensive that other seminaries come to the same task from a more Calvinistic perspective?

As for me, I say that SWBTS need not apologize for its soteriological and ecclesiological perspective and neither does SBTS or any other SBC seminary.

While appreciating the compromised theology of the Reformers, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary refuses to truncate the everlasting gospel.

Now, my friends, who are “the Reformers”? Is this a slap at Al Mohler, Tom Nettles, and Tom Ascol? Or ought we not to understand this by reference to (a) the accepted and universal meaning of the term “the Reformers” and (b) the immediate context of the preceding paragraph? Mustn’t we understand this sentence to be referring to Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Henry VIII?

And with regard to them, can we not safely conclude that ALL Baptists regard their theology as being “compromised” and “truncated”? After all, did they not all retain the corpus permixtum, fail to grant religious liberty, and lack either the insight or the boldness to restore New Testament baptism? SWBTS does not, in this report, repudiate these men entirely, “appreciating” them as the document does. It’s simply that there are limits of appreciation beyond which no Baptist can go, and SWBTS thus does not go there.

Confident with the Anabaptists that we can say to every man, “God loves you individually and died for your sins,” Southwestern presses on in the intensity of a campaign to get the good news of salvation in Christ to all seven billion on this globe.

Yes, and in this I proudly support SWBTS. Although there are a variety of soteriological positions represented within both the faculty and the student body of our seminary, our seminary as a whole is rather obviously in the General Baptist tradition with regard to the atonement. This comes as news to nobody, and it certainly does not put SWBTS at odds with the majority of Southern Baptists. I mention this majoritarian concept not to browbeat those who affirm limited atonement or to suggest that they are not welcome parts of our convention, but merely to undermine any suggestion that SWBTS has somehow wronged the convention by affirming a general atonement.

Praise God, SWBTS does not merely affirm a general atonement; the seminary lives out a general offer of the benefits of the atonement!

While allowing no discrimination against our Reformed cousins who come to us, we continue to sound the trumpet of leading people to Christ, baptizing them by immersion in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and gathering them into free churches with congregational governments.

Who are the Reformed? I’ve heard a great many of my Calvinistic Baptist friends observing that although one can be a Calvinist and a Baptist simultaneously, one cannot be both Reformed and a Baptist simultaneously. “Reformed” is a word that involves more than soteriology alone.

Calvinistic Baptists are our brothers. The Reformed—as many of them as are Christians—are our brothers—as many of us as are Christians—in the sense of our common salvation, but in the tree of denominational history it is fair to refer to them as our cousins. Certainly our relationship with them is something different from our relationship with other Baptist groups, for example. The rather obvious distinction in the sentence is between free congregationalist churches on the one hand and those churches that have on their hands the blood of Christian martyrs and of others because of their histories of advocating state churches.

To that end…

The transition is a little abrupt, but rather obviously the rest of the report is programmatic rather than ideological. Of course, the programs at SWBTS flow out of the beliefs of the seminary, but it is unfair to expect this brief report to tease out all of the details of connection between the two.

Hey, I’m no longer a convention officer! Hopefully I’ll blog a little bit more now. I hope this little essay helps!

Comments

  1. andy says

    As a Calvinistic brother, I think this is an excellent explanation, especially the first part about the reformers differences from Baptists.

    I do think the reformed cousins section was weaker. Whatever the original meanings of reformed, it has recently been used to refer to the soteriology alone…there is eve a reformed Baptist association that uses the name. Surely swbts knows this. I still think the term cousins was unwise and unnecessary, but is part of what caused the earlier references to compromised theology to be taken personally by some Baptists. It simply wasn’t as clear as it could have been to say who exactly was being described…after all, who are the Presbyterian cousins who come to swbts? Not many I’d guess.

    • Bart Barber says

      I attended SWBTS with a couple of Presbyterians. I’ve never taken a survey, but our SBC seminaries all draw people from outside the SBC.

      • Andy says

        The point is why take so much bulk of your Seminary’s annual report to argue against some rare occurrence of presbyterian contact or influence? Is it really the most important thing SWBTS could think to address in their report that it takes first place to point out “We’re not presbyterian…in case you were wondering.” ?

        • Bart Barber says

          Calvinistic Southern Baptist life is not Presbyterian but is moving toward Presbyterian. I do not mean to suggest that the Calvinistic element of our convention is inexorably moving all of the way to Presbyterian (you write something like the first sentence that I put into this comments, and then you try to imagine every possible way that it can and will be misconstrued, and then you try to head all of that off at the pass). I do not mean to suggest that Calvinistic Southern Baptists are basically Presbyterian without distinction.

          I have, however, rather clearly identified ways in which I personally believe that Presbyterianism is influencing Calvinistic Southern Baptist life. See this post, for example. I think it is perhaps helpful and worthwhile for one out of our six seminaries to indicate that it is not moving in that direction.

          Such a subject matter is germane to the idea of reporting to the convention. Letting the convention know the details of the diversity among the seminaries is not an irrelevant matter. Indeed, I think that at least some portion of what each seminary is seeking to accomplish at the convention is to tout that which is distinctive about each seminary.

          • says

            Bart
            You last sentence “I think that at least…..” to me is a positive. Within the bounds of BFM2K there should be some diversity. That is the difference in education and indoctrination.

            Personally I would like to see theological diversity (within BFM2K) in all our seminaries for the same reason, but I doubt that will happen.

          • dr. james willingham says

            Mr. Barber: It seems kind of obvious that you wish to distract every one from the issue of what Dr. Patterson did which might lead to the endangerment of our missionaries. It is a propaganda ploy, meant to divert attention. However, when one is really in earnest, one goes for the facts, and, in history, that is the name of the game. Consider how you have sought to align a known and noted Calvinists, Dr. William Carey, with those whose theology leans more to the Arminian side – not that is a bad thing, but it is neither germane, relevant, nor connected to the matter of the beliefs of William Carey. If you have any doubts about the matter, you might want to read Dr. Timothy George’s biography of Carey. If memory serves correctly, he calls him a Calvinist. And then there is the inspirational reading material of that fed Carey’s soul, namely, the writings of Jonathan Edwards, hardly your everyday Arminians favored stuff. As to Calvin and Zwingli, it should be noted that some 88 missionaries are on record, circa 1558-60 as being sent out from Geneva. Within a few years they would have over a 1000 churches, two of which ran from 5,000 and 8,000 respectively in attendance. You might want to read the article by Harry Reeder, “The Churchman of the Reformation,” in John Calvin: A Heart For Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology, ed. by Burk Parsons, pp.55-70. That work also has many interesting things to say about John Calvin, evidently, not a lazy scholar. And I am no gung ho supported, believing the Baptists were believing in the doctrines of grace before the Reformation. Take, for example, the Lollards.

            In one case, a believer thought that the free will and the papacy came from the universities. His beliefs were more directed to Predestination. I refer you to John Foxe’s Acts & Monuments (his Book of Martyrs is a tract given a few salutary examples). However, Acts & Monuments is some 6-8 volumes in length with as many as 800-1200 pages per volume (this is from memory some 45 years ago). In any case, the Lollards of the Chiltern Hills must have been the progenitors of the Baptists (there is a gap of a hundred years missing), because the family names are the same.

            O yes, as to Zwingli, he died in battle with the Catholics. I would not exactly call him unwilling to go anywhere or through anything. Now please don’t misunderstand. I am no supporter of Calvin or Zwingli. Where they speak the truth, like Luther, I applaud, where they fail, like all three did in reference to the Anabaptists, I disapprove.

            Now, really, Mr. Barber was that fair to confuse the issue. After all, Dr. Patterson wrote an article on election, Eight Theses on Election, and I responded, calling it a great step in the direction which should enable Calvinists and Traditionalists to work together, which was the aim of the former in establishing the Union of Separate and Regular Baptists. And don’t forget that the Calvinists in those days were zealous for missions and evangelism. Listen to Elder Silas Mercer, the father of Jesse after whom Mercer University was named: “We believe it (the doctrine of predestination) to be a doctrine which God generally owns and blesses to the conviction and conversion of sinners, and comforting of his saints.”(Church Letter, Georgia Baptist Association, 1787; it can be found on the internet with a little effort). I could cite more, much more, but my real aim is not to anger you, but to call on you to stick to the facts and not alienate many who hold the views you are obviously using for a diversion.

  2. says

    The Mennonites and Amish are the closest groups today that represent the historical teachings/practices of anabaptism. If that is where Patterson and others want to take us, then you bet that is an issue to fight over.

    even if that is not the intention it shows a clear ignorance of history, and yes I mean that precisely as I said…pure ignorance. Lets go back in history. The SBC split off from the Triennial Convention. While that convention was by the early 1800’s farly open to accept anyone who professed believers baptism, it started as an entirely “calvinisitc” collection of churches, which adopted as a Convention the 1742 Phillidelphia Baptist Confession of Faith, which was copied and adopted from the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith. Both were extremely “reformed” as in “Calvinist”.

    Those in Baptists in America, were almost exclusively from the English baptist churches that grew out of the explosion of growth in the 1600’s. It should be noted that in the mid 1600’s, the vast majority of English Baptist churches, had as part of their governing documents, condemnations of anabaptisms. Most English Baptists resented and fought against the label anabaptists. And while men like Smyth and Helwyes (and their churches when forced into exile out of England) did associate with Dutch anabaptists in the early 1600’s, that relationship was short lived as English Baptists were able to return to England, or begin to migrate to America. The influence of anabaptism on modern Baptists is overstated by a large margin. And it causes me to wonder what is there to “get back to” if nothing there to begin with.

    • Bart Barber says

      It’s hard for me to see why, on the one hand, you don’t have a problem with the person who admires John Calvin and emulates some aspects of his theology without embracing the darker sides of his thought (infant baptism, murder of religious dissenters), while, on the other hand, you reject out-of-hand the idea that one might treat Anabaptists in the same way.

      As to your charge of historical ignorance, I’d be happy for objective observers to evaluate the credentials of those who disagree with you, starting with from Estep to Coggins, from Patterson to Yarnell. It’s possible that they know something about this subject matter.

      Your arguments demonstrate that there are Particular Baptist influences in Southern Baptist life. You are well poised to vanquish those who are arguing the negative: That there are no Particular Baptist influences in Southern Baptist life. What you have not successfully demonstrated is your own negative: That there are no non-Calvinistic influences in the history of Southern Baptists.

      And indeed, if you were able to make that case, you’d be hard-pressed to explain why groups such as Founders have a mission worth pursuing. If there is no influence other than Calvinism in Southern Baptist History, then what, precisely, is it against which the Founders are jousting?

      For my part, it strikes me how similar are the metanarratives of the two groups. Those who wish to restore a uniformly Calvinistic SBC posit a former era of Calvinistic Baptist life that was interrupted by an influx of non-Calvinism and to which Southern Baptists ought to return. Those who favor a more Anabaptist flavor for the convention go back further and see a Radical Reformation that was interrupted by an influx of Magisterial corruption and to which Southern Baptists ought to return. Both ideas have historical evidence to which they can point. Both sides must fight the temptation to choose the years that they consider to be valid for historical precedent more to suit their own argument than to be historically accurate.

      • says

        First, for the record, I did NOT say there are no non-Calvinistic baptist roots in modern Baptist life. What I said, to be clear, is the level of anabaptist influence is far less than people like you or Patterson would like the rest of the convention to believe. It couples with the arrogant and ignorant position that Baptists have no ties to the Reformation. Again, Baptists as we exist today owe the largest portion of our heritage to English Separatists, who they themselves were influenced by and proceeded from the Reformation, to a much larger degree than any heritage gained from Anabaptist roots. This is clear from history, and it baffles my mind that people as smart as you or Dr Patterson could ever argue against it.

        Second…

        SERVETUS!!! SERVETUS!!! SERVETUS!!!

        Yep…screaming that name, or simply making reference to it to make an argument is just daft. It once again shows a reliance on false history, ignorance of the facts, and basic fear mongering. You want to talk about persecution of religious decent, and how noble baptists don’t do that? I should point you to the Mormon Wars in Illinois and Missouri. Did you know many Baptists were among those leading the charge to push out the Mormons? Wait, let me guess, that is different…somehow…Right?

        • Bart Barber says

          Exactly what level of influence would I like the convention to believe that the Anabaptists had? I’ve been blogging and writing publicly for nearly a decade. Would you care to indicate where you think I crossed the line? If you would put a specific point into view, perhaps we could have a fruitful discussion. Really, if you want to have a historical debate, the best way to start would be if you would indicate a specific fact of history that you believe is being manufactured or wrongly reported by Estep or Patterson or Yarnell or Coggins or myself. At that point we could consult the sources and see who has the best evidence. These are ways of discourse that can actually solve problems and correct misunderstandings, neither of which is possible when we’re just saying, “You guys are ignorant. I’m right; you’re wrong.”

          Because, although you have alleged ignorance, at every specific point the ONLY argument you have actually brought to the table is, “Yes, your facts are correct, but I just don’t think they are very important.”

          • says

            I really have no argument getting into an argument with someone who uses a bully pulpit to tout how correct he is because of the years he has been doing something (or the number/type of degrees they have, ect). I have to put up enough with that with my liberal professors at my state school graduate program (i.e. a professor arguing that the founders of this country were proto-marxist and because I can’t come up with any sources that refute him, I am wrong). The inability, due to time, to refute every single historical error that you present, with multiple sources, is not because I am factually wrong, but simply because I just don’t have the time; seeing as I am working full time and trying to work on a thesis at the moment.

          • Volfan007 says

            Wow, SV….just wow. So, you have no real facts to dispute whist Bart is saying, you still have the gall to call him and Dr. Patterson and other SCHOLARS ignorant……and you tell them that they are wrong…..wow.

            David

          • says

            I didn’t know that just because I am working on the thesis for only my MA in history, that somehow makes me not a scholar. I assume the reason you caps locked the word scholar is because you insinuate that I am not one. And yes, I don’t have the time to review my books and the sources in those books from years past (this is actually my second masters) at the moment. Especially when I had (incorrectly I guess) assumed that the position discussed had fallen out of reputable scholarship and don’t have my library cliftnoted to confront such issues. Further, because I am living in a temporary housing situation having just moved to be closer to my research, most of my books are in storage. So no, right now I do not, and will not go through the time and effort to bring all the sources out. If that does not make me a “scholar” in your eyes, then I frankly don’t want to be what you consider a scholar. I have priorities in my life, of which defending (again what I thought to be) decided historical issues, from people who clearly have a reason to view history in their own private rose colored glasses, is not high on the list.

          • volfan007 says

            SV,

            I put scholars in caps, because the men you are calling ignorant are truly smart scholars. I’m not saying that you’re not a scholar. But, I am saying that it’s pretty arrogant for a fella, who admits that he has no proof, or evidence to back up what he’s saying, is calling a bunch of men, who are extremely intelligent, and who have studied this stuff to the Nth degree, ignorant….and telling them that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

            Again, all I can say is….wow. No, I will say, “Woweee.”

            David

          • says

            Alright Dave…I am wrong, you and everyone else is right. I should just sit down shut up, and not open my mouth simply because I do not have permanently memorized every source from every course I have read over the duration of the past 13 years of post-secondary education. And shame on me for not keeping with me my entire library of books with me in my mothers garage. How silly of me to put a priority on my cot to sleep on, a shelf to put my food, and a rack/dresser for my clothes. Shame on me…What was I thinking.

      • dr. james willingham says

        Mr. Barber: I spent six years (1963-89) doing research in Baptist History and have continued to do so every since, if not in so organized and systematic fashion. I shall be happy to recite the facts for you, the arguments and credentials of Estep, Coggins, Patterson, and Yarnell notwithstanding. The first Baptist churches in America which produced eventually the Southern Baptist Convention are Particular or Regular (another name for them) and, later, Separate Baptist. Begin with the first Baptist Churches established in Rhode Island, the First Baptist Churches of Providence and Newport (there is some debate as to when the two were established, but since they are like Faith and Order, that is not germane to our discussion). Then we have a Baptist Church in Boston, followed by the First Baptist Church of Charleston. The latter actually began in Maine and, like so many others, moved to another colony (they were being persecuted and, under the laws then, prosecuted). These are from the 1600s, anywhere from 1644-1683. The churches in Rhode Island are noted for their, ahem, excuse me, please, their Sovereign Grace or Calvinism. In England they were called Particular Baptist, and in America they were called Regular. Then we have the son of Benjamin Keach, Elias, who decides that he can support himself better by being a preacher than at other forms of employment. And the first person his first sermon converts is Elias, himself. He will found the Hopewell Baptist Church (the location is either in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, I forget which), late 1600s. Hopewell will be a member of the famed Philadelphia Baptist Association. Another church in that Association, one of the founding members of it, Welsh Tract, from which comes our Welsh Neck at Society Hill, South Carolina, organizes in Wales and moves en masse by ship to the New World. This was circa 1701. They will participate in the organizing of the Philadelphia Baptist Association and the Confession that they had in view then was the London Baptist Confession of 1689 which they will make more to their satisfaction by adding some stuff and calling it the Philadelphia Baptist Confession, 1742. There are no General Baptist which found churches until the 1700s, but there are some in the areas we are discussing. I have come across the records which indicate their presence. I looked for information about founding churches, but could not find any until the 1700s. Shall I continue and point out that the Blessing of the First and Second Great Awakenings came through the particular Baptists and the Puritans of New England, along with the Anglicans, represented by Ev. George Whitefield whose Methodist Chickens sometimes became Baptist Ducks. I did know the names of two of these. In any case, the folks who come forth for the Great Century of Missions as well as those who stand for the American Revolution and Religious Liberty are noted and known Sovereign Grace believers, and also known as Particular Baptists, Regular Baptists, and Separate Baptists.

        The latter group, the Separate Baptists, grew out of the Separatist movement which consisted of converts from the First Great Awakening which included those of the Ev. George Whitefield, akong whom we must include Shubal Stearns. There is also a fellow who will become the founder of the Free Will Baptists in the New England States (I think he was a Rev. Randell, but my notes are not readily available). He will be converted due to the death of Whitefield whom he had planned to hear, and the question which will move him to seek the Lord was something to this effect, “Who now will tell me about Christ and His salvation?”

        The Separate Baptists from which the Separatists of the Congregational New Light movement came produce one of the main writers on Calvinism in America among the Baptists. His name was Isaac Backus. The Separate Baptists will begin to include those who preach that Christ tasted death for every man (Hebs.2:9). In meetings with the Regular or Particular Baptists they will determine that such shall be no bar to fellowship. Clearly and Obviously and Evidently, the primary view is that Christ shed His blood for the Elect. In 1814 a church was organized and applied for admission to the Sandy Creek Baptist Association. The articles of faith of that church specified that Christ died for the church. Not a word was said about His dying for the world or everyone without exception. The world for which He died was the world of the elect. That church was the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church from which came the first missionary of Southern Baptists to China, Rev. Matthew Tyson Yates. Their messengers were present at the meeting of the Association in 1816, when Rev. Luther Rice chaired the committee on the Confession of Faith for the Association (the records having been lost in a fire, circa 1801 (?)) and enlisted the association in the modern missionary movement or The Great Century of Missions as the historian, Dr. Kenneth Scott Latourette termed it.

        It would be proper to add that Sandy Creek Association sent its letters to the Philadelphia Baptist Association, circa 1760 (I do not have my minutes of that association available right now) which, if memory serves correctly, were accepted. Letters, records, etc., like that, being accepted, meant that the churches were of the same faith and order. The problems between the Regulars of the Philadelphia and the Separates of Sandy Creek had to do with some things the former considered to be out of order (I would enumerate some of these, but my memory is not clear as to the particulars). In any case, the two associations came to accept one another, probably due to the efforts of John Gano and Shubal Stearns. Recently, someone in an article wrote of Gano with less than the respect that the Baptists of his day and later generally regarded him. After all, Gano supposedly baptized General George Washington, as the Moderate Baptist, Dr. Garland Hendricks, declared in his article on the subject. And why not? After all, there were apparently some 60 witnesses. In any case, Gano was the last person to address the Continental Army before it disbanded, and I did see a reference to Gano as a General in Kentucky, probably due to his service as a chaplain. Additionally, Gano preached in South Carolina in the presence of Ev. George Whitefield. You might want to note that Sandy Creek churches moving westward to escape the Regulator conflict some times adopted the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. A friend of mine once served a church in Tennessee which had it in their records.

        Charleston Association and Sandy Creek would also develop a close relationship, so much so that the former would be dominated by ministers from the latter for about 50 years. In 1785 FBC Charleston called Richard Furman as pastor where he served until about 1824 and was followed, in turn, by Basil Manley, Sr. 1825-1836. During Furman’s time, the Association promoted the writings of Dr. John Gill whose D.D. was awarded for his scholarship for the ministers of the association. The theology of Dr. Gill is too well known for me to comment other than to note the leaders during that period were Separate Baptists, Furman and Manley.

        As to the General Baptists in North Carolina, a number of them became Regular Baptists due tot he labors, not of John Gano as some seem to think, but of Peter Peterson Van Horn and Benjamin Miller. The problem was that the General Baptists would ask people, if they were willing to say they believed in Jesus and be baptized by immersion. If they did, they would baptize them. No experience was required. The Regular Baptists saw this kind of thing as an open door to all kinds of problems, not the least of which would be false professions of faith. They sought some evidence of an experience of grace. Thus Van Horn (I once met a descended of this minister in Missouri) and Miller invited several General Baptists to change their practices on the issue and become regular Baptists. This occurred in 1755, the same year that Stearns and Marshall were founding Sandy Creek Church. The group that changed under Van Horn and Miller continued, averaging 25-35 in Baptisms, until 1801, when they experienced the Second Great Awakening and baptized over 800 in that year.

        There is more, much more, but I must cease for now due to weariness and health.

        • Bart Barber says

          It speaks volumes about the unhealthy nature of this conversation that you presume that these are the facts at issue in this debate. I do not agree with all of your analysis, but most of these facts are sound.

          And yet, as someone else has already said, virtually all of the people whom you have listed traced their spiritual heritage through the Anabaptists. They, apparently, had no problem with saying simultaneously both, “We are indebted to Calvin,” and, “We are descended from the Anabaptists.” No problem. They had no problem with saying both.

          So, why do so many of you have such a problem with saying so? Does the answer to that question say more about US than it says about history? I think so.

          It is true that early Baptists often labored to separate themselves from the excesses of Münster. It is true that they sometimes sought to rebut the erroneous MEANING of the word “Anabaptist” (we do not RE-baptize; we baptize those who have never been baptized in any New Testament sense. We are the “baptized churches.”). But look at the histories. Look at Crosby for a Particular Baptist perspective. Look at Taylor for a General Baptist perspective. Look at Benedict for an American Baptist perspective. Look, look, look. They claimed the Anabaptists as their spiritual forefathers and predecessors.

          • dr. james willingham says

            O come on Bart. The whole point of the contention was to short-shrift the fact that the dominant group in the 1600s and 1700s and 1800s were the Sovereign Grace believers among the Baptists. They had to practically drag the General Baptists into the missionary effort in America. Saying Anabaptist does not necessarily mean looking to the folks who were primarily leaning to the Arminian side of the theological question. We could and did agree on the issue of believers immersion, but even John T. Christian (who leaned to the Traditionalist views with a definite Landmark slant) pointed out that the practice was going on among the Baptists in England who actually had baptismal pools. And he was pointing to those who were going all the way back to the Reformation and earlier, and the records of the Inquisition are quite clear. Them folks were following Wickcliffe and Hus in their views on Sovereign Grace, but then they had been following such views even earlier.

            AS to David Benedict, he wrote a two volume work on the history of Baptists, the first volume being published around 1812 and the second around 1820 (I have not checked these out, but it is in the ball park so to speak. He also re-issued the same, circa 1848, in one volume. In addition, he wrote a work, Fifty Years Among the Baptists, which highlights or, perhaps it would be better to state, underscores the theological changes in the denomination. The dominant view at the beginning was the Sovereign Grace perspective. Then, circa 1820-1840 a great change began, a move to the more Arminian or Traditional view of salvation. It seems to me to tie in with the case presented by Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope which shows the theology that the conspirators favor (a more Traditionalist view which they call pluralism) as well as that which they oppose, Calvinism or determinism (he used the latter term).

          • Bart Barber says

            When you tell me what your point is, we have dialogue. When you tell me what my point is, don’t we just have a monologue, and a dramatic one at that?

          • dr. james willingham says

            Bart: Mr. Blosser, who says he is one who has praised the thoughtfulness of your posts, sees evidence of a spin here. Seems to me that that was a point I wished to make. However, in addition, I am concerned about the diverting attention from the report to disagreements which, in this case, could have very serious consequences.

  3. Adam Blosser says

    Bart, I have often praised the thoughtfulness of your posts here. However, I can’t help but see the above as spin.

    I do not have a problem with PP or the faculty of SWBTS holding to and teaching a general atonement. Nor do I have a problem with AM or the faculty of SBTS holding to and teaching a limited atonement. I have a problem with either of them describing the opposing viewpoint in the way PP did in his report published in this year’s book of reports. Yes, I know that AM has been guilty of something similar in his statements after the TS was released. I don’t approve of that either.

    I also have a problem with either of them describing the work of the SBC seminary they lead as waiving the banner of a particular theology that goes farther than the BFM2000.

    I am saying that I don’t have a problem with SBC seminaries teaching the cessationist position or the continuationist postion, but I do have a problem with them waving either of those banners since the BFM2000 does not speak to that issue.

    You said, “all the more since it was ripped out of context and eisegeted in a masterful work of demagoguery.” This is absurd. One does not have to work very hard to interpret Patterson’s statements in the way I and many others understand them. You are the one guilty of spin and eisegesis in this post. I am also disappointed in your use of inflammatory language such as “demagoguery.”

    Certainly you understand why many of us view this report and even your statement quoted above as not keeping with the spirit of the Calvinism Advisory Task Force’s report.

    I appreciate you, and hope that you will in fact post here more often in the coming year. I regret that this was your first post after leaving office.

    • Bart Barber says

      Adam,

      I do not quite know how to respond. If you would indicate which phrase in the report you believe that I have interpreted wrongly, perhaps we could go from there.

  4. Tarheel says

    Bart, thanks for this. I have tremendous respect for you. I have missed your input in so many discussions and am excited to see that you are returning!

    I trust I will not come across too terse here…but I was and still am, quite offended by PP’s report in the book of reports.

    First off, I have no problem with the diversity. I think that is a good thing, indeed. I have no issue with SWBTS and NOBTS aiming to teach from the Anabaptist perspective….just as I have no problem with Southern being more aimed at the Reformed perspective. We can’t, and shouldn’t, have one without the other, IMO. It’s a sign not of weakness but a strength of our convention that there is “room” under the SB tent for us all.

    I will say I took offense to the wording of this report, and issued a few retorts about it here and there. I do not think though that I have demagouged PP or SWBTS in doing so….honestly, and bluntly, I think that demagoguery was brought upon PP and SWBTS by PP himself – by what he himself wrote in the book of reports.

    There is no way, currently in my mind anyway, to splice it but that the term cousins is awfully offensive. Since we all know that cousins do not have the same father.. calling fellow believers by that name certainly carries with a connotation that the writer either believes that they are not in fact brothers but cousins (again not having the same father, and therefore, due to the exclusivity of the God of salvation …. not saved) , or that the author is a really poor articular of terms. Patterson is typically not the second of those options.

    Is there a third option that I may have missed?

    Further the gospel preached by the reformed of yesterday and today is NOT a truncated gospel, nor does it preach a false view of the atonement.

    The problem is that this report needlessly STOKES the fires of dissension and does NOTHING CONSTRUCTIVE to forward the Truth and Trust that the Calvinism advisory committee spoke of. PP sat on that committee, he sat on that stage last year in Houston promising to work toward unity, then, less than a year later he writes this? To the whole convention? In his official capacity and in the book of reports? Really?

    Imagine if Mohler had done this Rick Patrick would already have 100 articles about it. Hankins, Lumpkins, and Rogers would blow a gasket…and ya know what? Rightfully so.

    The book of reports is not the place to slap at other streams of theological thought that are, as you so greatly put it, “within the boundaries of the Baptist Faith & Message”.

    • Bart Barber says

      Tarheel,

      I think you’re 100% correct that demagoguery happens on all sides of this question. I think you’re also 100% correct that not everyone who took issue to this report is a demagogue. By definition, demagoguery often involves many people who are not demagogues.

      I have no problem with the “cousin” language and see no reason why it MUST be used to imply what you are suggesting. It is only offensive if we press it to mean the most offensive thing that it might mean. But we use this kind of language constantly and without offense.

      For example, we often speak of “daughter” denominations and “mother” denominations. The Southern Baptist Convention is the “daughter denomination” of the Triennial Convention, as is the ABC. If I use that language, do I necessarily mean that the Triennial Convention was the goddess-wife to Jehovah? Of course not. Because I am not trying to describe the spiritual lineage of individual Christians; rather, I am trying to describe the historical lineage of a denomination of churches.

      • Tarheel says

        Bart can you see why I would have a problem with the cousin language?

        It’s easy for you not to be offended when he is not talking about you.

      • dr. james willingham says

        Bart: Your opening paragraph is one of your best efforts. Many of us who disagree with Paige on theological issues are not interested disparagement for the sake of disparagement. In fact, for example, I went back and read Dr. Patterson’s report, and I found that it disturbed me even more than what I had seen in SBC Voices’ discussions of the matter. First, it did not accord with what he had written in his theses on Election which was one of the really great efforts made at conciliatory mediation. My response to his effort underscored that reality. Now, we have a round house swing, and it seems out-of-character as well as out-of-synch with that effort. Since I do not know of any provocative efforts to the contrary other than those of the gentleman from Oklahoma, who, while he deserves to be heard, seems to have stuck pretty well to the facts in this case. Hi animus will not help his case which, in this instance, needs, the case that is, to be heard. Others, myself included, found the exposure of our missionaries an open door to apprehensions, but that is another matter as it affects Calvinists and Traditionalist who happen to be missionaries. I would be just as concerned, if a Dr. Mohler had done a similar thing. Maybe even more so. After all, I find it most upsetting, when folks who hold my theological position cause it to be misrepresented by their violations of the spirit and intent of the Scripture. I am sure you feel likewise. There might be more to this whole affair than meets the eye. One wonders, if Dr. Patterson has grown weary. Hopefully, the darker suspicions will not be found to have any basis in fact. If the diversionary tactic is the true reason, then we are facing some serious problems. It seems more likely that the failure to think through due to weariness might be the cause of such failure.

        As to your efforts to put in the Anabaptist view, more specifically, that view of Anabaptism which springs from a more Arminian view of salvation, in particular Baptist History, will not fly too well. After all, what do you do with the fact that none of their views were permitted by the Confessions of Faith and the Practices of the Regular Churches? And then when the Regulars evidenced their involvement in missions and evangelism, they had to practically drag the General Baptists in to the effort. As for the Separates and Regulars, the documents of their history are not at all receptive to such a view as you promulgate. Bart: I have researched the issue, and I found no evidence to support what you are trying to say until the Sovereign Grace folks, so to speak, yanked the Arminians into evangelism and missions. Pshaw! Even the strongest Calvinists were gung ho on these efforts. Behold the first missionary of Baptists to India going insane with joy over the first convert. I refer to the one who was called by others a Hyper Calvinist, Dr. John Thomas. Amazing thought, but true nevertheless.

  5. Michael Linton says

    Thank you, Bart. Accurate and thoughtful as usual. I appreciate your work for our convention and seminary. Context, and a lack of antogonistic agenda toward Patterson, prove your theses to be true.

  6. David (NAS) Rogers says

    I am most definitely not a follower of Calvinism. I believe it should be held to a most rigorous critique, however I found the SWBTS report noted above to be poorly worded and somewhat of a sucker-punch. The “cousins” reference would be offensive if Mohler had said “Anabaptist cousins.”

    • Bart Barber says

      I’m content to cal the Mennonites our Anabaptist cousins. I mean no offense by it.

      • Nathan says

        You don’t see any difference in calling fellow Southern Baptists cousin and calling a distantly related Christian denomination cousin? Do you often tell your siblings that you love them like a cousin? Or your children that they are the best nieces and nephews you could have? It does not matter that you are not trying to be offensive, because it is offensive to distance yourself from your family with that type of language.

        • Bart Barber says

          I don’t think “cousins” in the report is referring to fellow Southern Baptists. That’s one of the major points I made in the original post.

          • Nathan says

            The sentence referring to truncated gospel of the Reformers is immediately followed by a sentence that refers to a view of the atonement. This seems to show that this is the point at which the reformers gospel is truncated. The later use of Reformed cousins in that same paragraph is most naturally taken to refer to people who are Reformed in that same sense (of holding to particular atonement). Since there are SB’s who hold to particular atonement, and refer to themselves as reformed, I think it is clear that this statement is meant to refer to other Southern Baptists. I am sure that it also applies to many other people who are not Southern Baptist, and for those people I don’t think it should be offensive.

          • Bart Barber says

            Which context is more significant: Surrounding sentences or the text of the very same sentence?

            “leading people to Christ, baptizing them by immersion in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and gathering them into free churches with congregational governments”

            These are the things that “we” do in contradistinction against our “Reformed cousins who come to us.”

            So, if you lead people to Christ, immerse them, and gather them into free churches with congregational governments, then you are not among the “cousins” addressed in the statement.

          • Nathan says

            I think that I may have responded too hastily. You have convinced me that your reading of it is possible. I am still not sure that a backhanded slap at Calvinistic Southern Baptists is not intended, but it is not as clear as I thought after my first reading, which I parsed as I discussed in my previous post. I wrote right after my first reading and I may have been to quick to take offense. Thank you for the interaction.

          • Bart Barber says

            That delights me, Nathan. There is an approach to blogging that blogs in order to fight. For my part (God knows my heart), I blog in order to persuade and to build consensus. It makes my day to think that, at least in one case, I have reduced the level of tension in our convention among fellow Southern Baptists. We have plenty of people whose design in blogging seems to be to create that tension—there is no need for me to join that crew!

      • Debbie Kaufman says

        Bart: Outside of Muslims and Mormons when has Paige Patterson ever in any speech referenced another denomination outside of Southern Baptists. I just can’t buy that it was not meant for Southern Baptists.

        • Bart Barber says

          Debbie,

          I’m guessing that you mean other than the Anabaptists, Lutherans, Calvinists, and Anglicans explicitly mentioned in the first paragraph of this statement? Do you really want me to go back and catalogue every instance in his voluminous writings in which Paige Patterson has ever made reference to any other denomination or religion? Is the hard-drive at SBC Voices large enough to contain the references?

          • Chris Roberts says

            Last I checked, SBC Voices uses Bluehost and is on a shared hosting server which means it doesn’t have its own hard drive but shares with many other sites with likely many terabytes at the hard drive’s disposal. If you mean SBC Voices’ allocation of that hard drive, it is likely much smaller. But considering the amount of space the typical book occupies, you could put everything Patterson has ever written and still have plenty room to spare on the SBC Voices’ allocation of the Bluehost server they are sharing.

        • Bart Barber says

          I went back over your comment a few times, just trying to understand what you’re trying to say (since, as I suggested in my first reply, at first glance it doesn’t make much sense). I’ve decided to take as the interpretive key not the first sentence (“referenced another denomination”) but the last (“meant for Southern Baptists”).

          Of course the statement was meant for Southern Baptists. It was meant to clarify for Southern Baptists that, just as SBTS is a seminary in Southern Baptist life that espouses and promotes Calvinism within the convention, SWBTS is a seminary in Southern Baptist life that relates differently with Calvinism. The statement clarifies our approach of appreciation for the Magisterial Reformers tempered by a closer embrace of the Radical Reformation than the Magisterial Reformation. The statement REFERENCES the Magisterial Reformers and their contemporary followers in order to ADDRESS Southern Baptists and inform them as to the theological position occupied by SWBTS among our six seminaries.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            Bart: I hate to be the one who says” the Emperor has no clothes”, but say it I must. Your explanation is just as long as Paige’s report. You should have written it if this is what Paige is trying to say and yet didn’t.

            Paige is a regular wordsmith. He says what he wants to say quite clearly. I read none of what you are saying when I read this report. At least there could have been a PS on it as in PS: This is what I really mean. :)

          • Bart Barber says

            Debbie,

            Never was it my intention to attempt to persuade you that Paige Patterson is not the devil incarnate nor that Wade Burleson had ever erred. I would not voluntarily apply for Sisyphus’s job.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            Bart: It seems you are rewriting my statements. I would not even accuse Paige of being the devil incarnate.

            You and I have corresponded for about 8 years now, and even met for a couple of days at Dwight McKissic’s church a few years ago. You should know that I am simply reading the statement and I have confidence in my comprehension skills. I see it storming outside, it’s raining, it’s thundering. I say so. You say it is good weather and I am just seeing wrong.

            As for Wade. The reason I am at Emmanuel and have been for 21 or so years, is the first time I heard him speak, I thought finally someone who sees these things and speaks out. It was like a balm of Gilead. We have been members and friends of the Burlesons since. I am older than Wade by several years, so I was a rabble rouser about such things before he was. :)

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            And I think Sysyphus may be on the other foot. It’s something I don’t want to happen which is why I speak out.

  7. says

    Bart, thanks for your explanation. You have loosely defined Reformed in the report’s context. However, you’ve not defined what Anabaptist means.

    What is the connotation of Anabaptist in the above report? More specifically, what does an “Anabaptist and New Testament vision” mean?

    • says

      It seems apparent to me that members of both the Calvinist/Reformed and the non-C/R can get ther panties in a wad over any perceived slights. Obviously Brother Paige and Brother Al are the most accomplished at riling up one side or the other. Time to grow up and quit looking for slights and slams around every corner. Our primary mission is fulfilling the Great Commission. It is not fighting the eternal theological battles.
      The Conservative Resurgence and the subsequent BF&M 2000 unite us until we decide to start tearing ourselves apart. As a boy at White Oak Conference Center in the greatest state in America, the Palmetto State, I took a class that used a kid’s version of “Our Baptist Faith and Heritage” by Herschel Hobbs. We undoubtedly do owe a great deal to our Anabaptist forebears and that should be acknowledged and not attacked. We share beliefs such as:

      Bible as the sole rule of faith and practice
      Freedom of religion
      Separation of church and state
      Voluntary church membership and believer’s baptism by immersion
      Evangelism as a priority
      Priesthood of all believers

      Many if not most of us no longer hold to:
      Pacifism or nonresistance
      Separation from the world(at least not in the way we see the Amish practice it.)

      Sadly our huge numbers in the Deep South led us to muddy the issue of separation of church and state(in my view)

      I appreciate Bart’s detailed post and agree that he should give detail to what Brother Paige meant by Anabaptist and New Testament vision.

      I was greatly moved by Brother Paige’s apology and harbor zero ill will towards him. The last bit goes for Brothers, Mohler, Kelley, Akin, Iorg and Allen too. I felt the focus was where it should be in what I was able to see of the convention. The heart for the lost expressed was strong and encouraging. I have hope for the future of the SBC but only because of our common hope in the gospel. Without we are just bickering men and women.

      • says

        Mike, thanks. I’ve read Dr. Culpepper’s series in the past. I think in some sense what he addresses is where the real tension lies in this debate.

    • Bart Barber says

      For the purposes of analyzing historical influence, I’d define “Anabaptist and New Testament Vision” in terms of what that phrase meant in 1525 in contradistinction against the Magisterial Reformation. I’m not writing a dissertation here, so I hope that you’ll forgive the imprecision that comes from writing off of the top of one’s head, but…

      1. Believer’s baptism
      2. Free-church ecclesiology
      3. Religious liberty

      …all come to mind.

      • says

        Thanks, Bart. It looks like you may not be back but I will point out a few items in response that challenged many of the presuppositions I think many in this debate are overlooking.

  8. says

    Bart! Long time no see! Just got back and already feeling the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? Well, a reformed Southern Baptist here, and I think the report was a bit murky. And I appreciate your attempt. I won’t go into the debate about anabaptist influence on current SBC life, that will rage on for a long time.
    I would like to think the “cousins” remark wasn’t meant theologically. But why not ‘brothers’? Hmmm..
    Moving on, SWBTS is my alma mater and I appreciate much (not all) of what DR. Pat has done there. Of course I appreciated his predecessor too.
    But just when I think people will just let us all serve together and get along, they gotta stir the pot. Is there a point to this?
    I understand that SBC thought in general has many differences with the reformers of old. But the ‘gospel’ itself is not that different. Jesus Christ the God-man, lived a human life that qualified him to die for our sins and He proved His atonement by His resurrection, and by grace alone through faith in Christ alone one can be born again. Has that changed a lot in 500 years?
    I don’t think freedom of religion and congregationalism is really apart of that. I do understand that infant baptism can certainly make Sola Fide a mess. But, forgive me, I’m just trying to figure out where the truncation of the gospel comes in. See, Maybe its crystal to you but not to me.
    Did Dr Pat have a ghost writer for this I wonder?

    • Bart Barber says

      It is, in my opinion, a truncated gospel that misses believer’s baptism. Not so truncated as to be “another gospel,” but definitely missing something that the New Testament associates closely with the gospel.

  9. Ben Stratton says

    SVMuschany wrote: “even if that is not the intention it shows a clear ignorance of history, and yes I mean that precisely as I said…pure ignorance. Lets go back in history.”

    Yes, let’s go back in history. What did the early Southern Baptist leaders believe about the Anabaptists? Every one of them without exception believed the Baptists were descended from the Anabaptists. Show me one (just one) early Southern Baptist leader who believed the Baptists came from the English Separatists.

    As to proof of my statements:

    “Those who had the peculiar sentiments of the Baptists of the present day, have existed in all ages of the world, from apostolic times to the present, our opponents themselves being judges. Under Various names of Disciples, Christians, Montanists, Novatianists, Paulicians, Paterines, Waldenses and Albigenes, Mennonites or German Anabaptists, Petrobrussians, Henricians, Arnoldists, Leonists, Cathari, Hussites, Picards, Lollards, and Wickliffites, and Baptists, they have existed in all ages, from the Saviour unto the present time.” P.H. Mell – president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1863-71 and 1880-87. The above quote is from page 180 of his book “Baptism In Its Mode and Subjects” published in 1853 by the Southern Baptist Publication Society in Charleston, S.C.

    “I assert that the Baptist church has existed, in a state of comparative purity, connected with neither Papists nor Protestants, in every period since Christ, and that in this sense God has not left Himself without witness.” R.B.C. Howell – the second president of the Southern Baptist Convention. The above quote is from his book “The Terms of Communion At the Lord’s Table” on page 248.)

    Both of these men were Calvinistic, yet both looked to the Anabaptists as our forefathers. Yes, there is an ignorance of our history, but you are not pointing the finger in the right direction.

    • says

      I was a History major in college. I love and appreciate history. However for the life of me I cannot understand the historical argument in this context. what difference does it make if our forefathers were Calvinist, Anabaptist or whatever. Is not the question before us, How do we reach a lost world with the gospel. When I think of this I really don’t give two hoots and a howler what B.H. Carroll’s (sp) soteriological views were.

      Why are we so concerned to say the SBC historically believed as I believe? How does settling that issue spread the gospel?

      It is time to Cowboy Up brothers. While we debate and fight people are going to hell. I can just see it now. I am standing before my God and I say “yes people went to hell but I sure defended my soteriological views.”

      Jesus is coming soon. It is time to stop fussing and start preaching!

      OK OK I went to preaching, but I am growing tired of all of this!

      • dr. james willingham says

        D.L. : Loved preaching and pastoring so much, he married my sister so that he could have links to a historian to handle his research for him. (Sorry, brother-in-law, I simply could not resist the temptation)(to all the Traditionalists: he is a great brother-in-law even if he is a Traditionalist) (when their in the family, you have to learn to live with them). Contrary to any popular opinion that my only concern is for history and the theology I hold, let it be said that I have been praying for a Third Great Awakening since 1973. And my eschatology during those years moved from pre-trib, pre-mil to post mil.(a version of Carroll’s). You fellows ought to look at the Bible from the perspective of its being inspired by the Omniscient God and that it must therefore reflect the wisdom commensurate with such a source, and it does. I think the Third Great Awakening is near, and that it will reach every soul on earth and continue to do so for a thousand generations. It will also reach quadrillions of planets as mankind appears to be on the verge of going to the stars. The most mature, balanced, flexible, creative, constant, and magnetic folks in that venture will be those Bible believing saints who came to look at the Book through the lens of depth and appreciation for its profundity, etc.

  10. Debbie Kaufman says

    Louis Cooke: The present Anabaptists are nothing like the Anabaptists of history. Apparently freedom of religion among Christians is not held by them or why would they be fighting so hard to get rid of those who do not follow lock and step such as Calvinists. Let’s do look to history. The recent history of exclusion, destruction of character and other things done. Let’s look at the Traditionalist statement and intent. You can look back 20 years up to the present or you can look in the past 8 years to the present. To compare the Anabaptist of now in the SBC to those in the past is like comparing night to day. So yeah, that gets me in a little bit wad.

    I think any reasonable person can read that statement and have doubt as to the intent.

  11. says

    From the puritan board, a reformed sight, in answering why Anabaptists then were considered heretics, but Baptist now are not.

    “There were many more problems that just baptism with the Anabaptists, often amounting a a denial of justification by faith, a denial of a substitutionary atonement, a denial of the validity of the Old Testament and its teachings, of civil authority, carnal institution, etc. They also typically emphasized an immediate working of the Holy Spirit in believers. ”

    http://www.puritanboard.com/f57/why-anabaptist-heretic-baptist-not-50439/

  12. says

    (1) Delineating correct soteriology is of little value if it is not preached to a lost
    world
    (2) SB through the CP spreads the gospel to a lost world, to do that we must
    be in harmony an fellowship with each other.
    (3) In the SBC there are good men some of whom are Cals and some who are
    Trads
    (4) Both Cals and Trads deserve a chance for theological education
    (5) SBTS has a leaning toward Calvinism…SWBTS toward non Calvinism
    (6) Hence what would be the problem is recognizing each seminary for what it
    teaches and letting students decide where their theology lies?

  13. says

    From that same site:

    A history and comparison of the beliefs of the Anabaptists, the Magisterial Reformation, and the spiritual fathers of modern day Reformed Baptists are provided here:

    The Anabaptists and the Reformation

    The article says that the Anabaptist errors include,

    1. Practical denial of original sin (Christ’s sacrifice removes it for all)
    2. Free-will in salvation (Semi-Pelagianism)
    3. Soul sleep until resurrection

    These and others are rejected by Reformed Baptists.

  14. says

    Bart,

    As a Calvinist I read this report much the same way that you are. Unlike you, I disagree with the recovering of the Anabaptist vision. I disagree with a good deal of Anabaptism. However, I didn’t take the report as intending to mock Calvinists. It might be a tad sloppily worded and maybe even a bit irresponsible given our climate.

    I don’t think Calvinists should be offended or outraged by this anymore than Trads should have been outraged by Dr. Mohler’s saying that “Reformed is the only option”. You can disagree with SWBTS’ push to recover Anabaptism and you can disagree with Mohler’s take on the Reformed tradition. But I don’t think we ought to follow our culture of outrage.

    Even if I’m reading this wrongly and it is meant to call me a “cousin” or following a truncated gospel. I’m really not offended. I disagree, but I’m not outraged. No need to be.

  15. Tarheel says

    “I don’t think Calvinists should be offended or outraged by this anymore than Trads should have been outraged by Dr. Mohler’s saying that “Reformed is the only option”. You can disagree with SWBTS’ push to recover Anabaptism and you can disagree with Mohler’s take on the Reformed tradition. ”

    I’ve heard if thus statement allegedly made by Mohler but I’ve never seen evidence of it. Let’s presume it’s what he said. Let me ask three questions that might differentiate between the two.

    1. Was it in his official capacity is seminary president written in an official document given to the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention or an official body thereof? If not… That certainly makes a difference.

    2. Was it prior to or after the calvinism advisory board statement and corporate promise to work toward unity? If it was before then While still not right for him to say it is a little different because he had ot yet made a promise to work toward unity…. There’s a lot of water under the bridge.

    3. Did he imply, state or infer, that those who do not agree with Calvinism are not saved? If not then it’s different than Patterson report.

    • Volfan007 says

      Mohler also said that the Trads were Semi Pelagians, or heretics. Tarheel, do you think a Seminary Pres. should have said that? He also said something to the effect of…that anybody who is intelligent and studies the Bible will become a Calvinist.

      Where was the Calvinist outrage then?

      David

      • says

        That’s actually my point, David. I don’t think there should have been outrage in what Mohler said (on either occasion). Nor do I think we Calvinists ought to be in an outrage now over what is written in this report.

        Tarheel, I imagine that those who are not Calvinistic believe that we follow a truncated gospel. A truncated gospel is different than a false gospel. I believe that the Trads, Anbaptists, etc. believe in a truncated gospel. (At least in as much as one throws more nuanced aspects of soteriology into the word ‘gospel’. If one means by “gospel” the same as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 15–then I believe we preach and believe the same gospel).

        Let’s not be outraged that we have differing views of soteriology. If we (Calvinists) start calling for heads and are offended by these statements then we have no right to complain and we have no defense whenever non-Calvinists start calling for heads and are offended by these types of statements that we make. The way forward, I believe, is to stop being offended by the fact that we have differences. Put on your big boy pants and acknowledge that there are differences and that people have strongly held beliefs. No need for the outrage. Just say you disagree with the statement and move on.

        • says

          Mike
          I agree with the spirit of this comment. However because we do have heartfelt beliefs and because we do need to work together in unity, it is equally important that we guard our tongue. All of us can find a way to hold to our beliefs and still keep our speech from being inflammatory. I would think this is especially true for our leaders.

        • Tarheel says

          I’m NOT calling for anyone’s head.

          I hate to see anything like ths happen.

          I just think he should clarify – and abide by his promise to work and speak toward unity in our diversity.

          I agree with DL…in this environment a leader (whether Mohler of Patterson) should make extra effort to be unifying.

          A blind man should have seen the “trouble” with this wording.

  16. Jason says

    Thank you Dr. Barber. I must say that I am much more “reformed” in my soteriological position than you or Dr. Patterson. It is interesting that I came to that position while studying at SWBTS. I came into seminary very much anti-calvinistic. It was the teaching of 3 SWBTS professors (2 are deans and 1 is now at another SBC Seminary) that helped my understand and cement my current understanding of the process of salvation. I never once felt like there was movement through teaching or otherwise to turn me into a Calvinist hating separatist, nor did I ever feel threatened because I held a different view than the president. I vividly remember hearing Dr. Patterson teach in his classes that students were freely permitted to submit papers with differing positions and the grade would not suffer, the only stipulation is that they must argue their position well.

    I appreciate Dr. Patterson’s apology and statement at the SBC this year. Unfortunately, many times a pastor apologizes to a congregation and it’s too late. Minds are made up and the witch hunt is full operation. Nothing he can say at that point will change their minds. I fear that this has happened to Dr. Patterson. Nothing he can say at this point will change the minds or hearts of his detractors. They have been waiting for something they could come after him with, and they (at least for now) think they have found it.

  17. Jeff says

    I became a Calvinist about 22 years ago and at first embraced a version of Baptist Calvinism that emphasized covenant theology – covenant of works, covenant of grace, 3rd use of the law, sabbatharianism, etc. I loved the Reformers, particularly Calvin, and despised the Anabaptists.

    But in more recent years, I have moved towards New Covenant Theology (NCT) – particularly as advocated by men like D. A. Carson, Thomas Schreiner, Douglas Moo, and Jason Meyer. In fact, a lot of the faculty at Southern and Southeastern is NCT. I no longer think that new covenant Christians are under the Mosaic law, and I reject theologically constructed covenants like covenant of works and covenant of grace. As I have embraced NCT, I have become more interested in the Anabaptists, because NCT is very similar to the Anabaptist view of the relationship between the OT and the NT, particularly that of Pilgrim Marpeck (Read William Estep’s “The Anabaptist Story” for a brief description of Marpeck’s view). On the relationship of the NT and the OT on the Christian’s relationship to the OT law: Anabaptists > Luther > Calvin > English Puritans.

  18. Jeff says

    One thing that I think is weird about identification with Anabaptists by Patterson and SWBTS. The Anabaptists were PACIFICISTS. And their pacification was not something that was unimportant to them or incidental to their theology. Pacificism was at the heart of what it meant to be an Anabaptist. But Paige Patterson and the SWBTS faculty are definitely NOT pacificists, but rather tend to be nationalist warmongers. Therefore, their claim to be the true heirs of the Anabaptists is false.

    • Bart Barber says

      I think that’s ironic, too. I have mentioned it many times among friends.

      I don’t think that anyone at SWBTS is claiming to be IDENTICAL to the Anabaptists in every way (any more than anyone at SBTS is claiming to be identical to the Genevan Calvinists). It is possible to draw selectively from one’s predecessors. I have perhaps roughly 50% of my father’s DNA in me, but I nonetheless claim to be his son.

      • Stephen says

        Bart, I think what is hanging some up is that the words “calvinism” and “reformed” have mostly been stripped of their historical context to only refer to a soteriological position, perhaps because of the influence and popularity of these views among otherwise diverse groups throughout Protestant history. “Anabaptist” as a label still mostly refers to a specific group of people, perhaps because they were snuffed out quickly by the Magisterial reformers and have left a smaller legacy.

        To the one who said the early English Baptists disavowed themselves of Anabaptist influence, I am not sure if their testimony can be completely trusted because of their desire to not enjoy the same persecution as the earlier credobaptists.

    • Ben Stratton says

      One of the reasons the Anabaptists were pacifists is because they lived in countries with extreme persecution. The Anabaptists were assaulted by Catholics and Protestants alike. Multitudes of them were killed, while many more were forced to flee their homes. If you lived in a country like that you would be hesitant about serving in the army (you might have to kill a fellow Anabaptists) or testifying in court (you might after to testify against a fellow Anabaptist). If we lived in those countries at that time we would have probably been pacifists as well.

      • Chris Roberts says

        Ben,

        I’m not sure if that factored in. They were pacifists due to theological convictions.

        • Ben Stratton says

          Chris,

          Read a book like Martyrs Mirror and you see the extreme persecution the Anabaptists served. Their environment influenced them, just like all of us are influenced by our environment. If you lived back then, you would have either been a pacifistic or joined the Reformers or Catholics.

          • Jeff says

            The Anabaptists were pacifists because of their interpretation of Matthew 5:21-48. Seventeenth century Baptists also faced severe persecution, but most of them were not pacifists. They preferred to emphasize Romans 13:1-7 and followed the Just War tradition.

          • Ben Stratton says

            Jeff,

            Indeed the Anabaptists believed Matthew 5:21-48 taught pacifism. My point is they came to hold that particular interpretation mainly due to the fact that they were so bad persecuted by Protestants and Catholics alike. Like modern Baptists, their understanding of scripture was shaped by their surroundings.

            Your comparison to 17th century Baptists does not hold up for several reasons:

            1. The levels of persecution are no where near the same. The Anabaptists were burned alive, drowned, and beheaded for their beliefs. While Bunyan was imprisoned and Obadiah Holmes was beaten, I don’t know of any 17th Baptist (General or Particular) who was killed for their faith.

            2. The 17th Century Baptists had fellow believers such as the Puritans who were also being persecuted for their faith. These non-Baptists influenced the beliefs of the 17th Century Baptists. The Anabaptists were all alone and were persecuted on all sides.

            3. The 17th Century Baptists experienced a short period of religious liberty under Oliver Cromwell. This shaped their understanding of government. The Anabaptists never had any advantage like that.

            My point is simply this. Many modern Christians criticize the Anabaptists for their pacifism. However when you understand the time period and places where they lived, it is much easily to understand why they were pacifists.

          • Jeff says

            I think that it might be more accurate to say that the Anabaptists were persecuted because of their persecution rather than that they were pacificists because they were persecuted. In other words, the pacificism was one of the Anabaptist beliefs that made them seem odd and contrary to the received orthodoxy of that time. It was often feared that Anabaptist beliefs would lead to anarchy, and pacificism was a good example of one.

          • Jeff says

            Although I am not a pacificist, I wish I could find a conservative Southern Baptist who would apply Just War theory consistently. It seems like conservative Southern Baptists that I am around are very eager to excuse, defend, and celebrate every action ever done by the U.S. military – even dropping atomic bombs on Japanese civilians. That is one reason why I find it odd that SWBTS is referring to itself as the Anabaptist seminary.

  19. Dean Stewart says

    If you are a theological minded person who is serious about winning the nations to Christ then your theology will be traditional as in the Hobbs tradition.

    • says

      Dean
      My brother, no one has a greater respect for Dr. Hobbs than I. I am in that tradition theologically very strongly. Hence you and I would would agree on most everything theological. However, unless this is said tongue in cheek and I missed something here, this is the kind of statement that divides and thwarts the progress of the SBC in preaching the gospel. Please retract that statement.

    • Tarheel says

      Careful dean….I used a similar sarcastic retortical tactic a while back and the place went crazy. ;-)

        • Volfan007 says

          Dean was turning Mohler’s statement around…..setting a nice, little trap that caught some people….lol.

          • says

            Volfann
            It looks as if I was the only one that did not catch on. However I was not “trapped” because as I said wrong is wrong regardless of who says it. I am not defending Mohler. His statement was not only incorrect but it was arrogant.

            There is an underlying attitude here of “hero worship”. I learned a longt ime ago that that will always disappoint.

        • Tarheel says

          Volfan explained it…

          However no one today at least not on this form has ever shown premolar said all smart people are Calvinist that’s what they’re implying he said but they’ve never demonstrated one – that he actually said it and two, if he did the context in which it was spoken.

          Still confident…. If he said it- that it was not in his official capacity as president of the seminary and certainly not in the context of official documentation to messengers at the convention.

          I also can’t help but notice no one answered my questions regarding that particular alleged quote.

          • Tarheel says

            Edit *However no one today, at least not on this forum, has ever shown where Mohler said “all smart people are Calvinists”….

          • Volfan007 says

            Mohler did say it…I can’t remember his exact words, but he did say something to that effect.

            David

    • Chris Roberts says

      It occurs to me that you might be taking a jab at what Mohler said a while back

    • Volfan007 says

      Dean, lol…..and where were some of these peace loving Calvinist when Mohler made such a similar statement? Debbie?

  20. Dean Stewart says

    Just setting a little trap. I am sure if I were to be patient I would have a quarry. I better give it up before Dr. J writes me a volume about the first two Great Awakenings and I care for him too much for him to spend time when I didn’t mean the comment. To all who were offended by comment this is for your viewing pleasure. Please tune in to about the six minute mark. Now, I will invite you all who are offended by Patterson’s truncated Gospel remark to join this discussion below and share about the unfairness of Mohler and his only option comment.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jscdlO1BUj0

    By the way, good job Mr. France. :)

      • Dean Stewart says

        It has been said great minds think alike. If that is true then simple, slow and devious minds think alike as well.

    • Chris Roberts says

      As far as Mohler’s comment, you evidently didn’t catch his meaning so your attempt at a trap falls apart for want of nails.

      • Dean Stewart says

        Chris, Jared Moore told me a long time ago over an issue that I was offended because I choose to be offended. My whole point of the Mohler video is Jared was right. Most of the time over these issues we can choose to be offended or not. Along those lines I choose not to be offended by Patterson’s report. :)

        • says

          Dean
          You are right we can choose to be offended. No doubt about it. However taken at face value no tongue in cheek that statement was wrong on many levels. It is not a matter of being offended it is a matter of being correct and logical. For something to be offensive one has to take it personally. When people disagree with me it is not a personal affront. But when one speaks that which is not true it needs to be challenged.

        • Chris Roberts says

          Dean,

          Mohler’s comment came in a particular context and with a number of attached statements that made clear what he was saying. Yours was a standalone comment meant only to incite and entrap through distortion and deceit. Keep trying, though. I continue to admire your Christian, Spirit-filled demeanor.

          • volfan007 says

            Mohler said what he said, Chris. Try to sweeten it up all you want, but he still said it….just like he said that the Traditional Statement was Semi Pelagian….and, I haven’t heard an apology for that, yet. I mean, he called a huge number of people in the SBC “Heretics.” Were was all of yall’s outrage at that?

            David

          • Chris Roberts says

            David,

            Like it or not, the statement remains semi-pelagian (as I argued many times and demonstrated over and over again), but I doubt that’s a discussion we need to have again, particularly since my allegiances are somewhat different than they once were, though this new perspective does make it somewhat easier to understand why such confusion exists about the Bible.

          • Chris Roberts says

            David,

            Well on the plus side I’m not a Calvinist, so that might score me a few points with you, but on the downside I’m also neither semi-Pelagian nor Arminian so I’m kept out of your camp on both counts, which I guess will cost me some points.

          • Volfan007 says

            Then, what are you? BTW, I am not an Arminian, nor am I a Semi Pelagian. Also, I am not Anti Calvinist.

            David

          • Chris Roberts says

            David,

            A convinced atheist as of a few months ago, with a fair amount of regret over the things I once believed, things I said, things I did, time I spent, and money I wasted as a consequence. But since I still have no life to speak of, I continue to hang around here and stir up my usual trouble.

          • Volfan007 says

            Chris, I am truly sorry to hear that you have become an atheist. I truly am…and I plead with you to turn to Christ. BTW, what happened to make you turn this way? If you don’t want to talk about it…I’ll understand…..but it must have been something really bad.

            David

          • Chris Roberts says

            David,

            “…it must have been something really bad…”

            How did you know? It was perhaps the worst thing that could happen to a person… I started thinking critically about my beliefs and about common responses Christians raise to doubts and objections, and I realized that all the ways I had dealt with my doubts were terribly shallow and full of holes. I stopped glossing over issues in the Bible and started looking at them for what they were. Etc, etc. It didn’t take long for the whole thing to fall apart.

            Beyond that, no other terrible circumstances. I realize it’s a common Christian narrative to say that people only reject God due to serious sin or serious pain, but I’m afraid the answer is not quite so convenient in my case.

            And while I’d be happy to talk about it more, this is not the place. :) Although my shift rears its head often enough in my comments, I’m quite content to continue slugging things out about Baptist issues (I may not be one anymore, but I haven’t suddenly forgotten all that I have known) while trying to stay away from direct challenges to the faith. Eventually I’ll migrate to a new corner of the web and leave you fine folks to fight the good fight of “who is right” in peace.

          • volfan007 says

            Chris,

            Even though Calvinists and Trads and Arminians disagree on minor points of theology, we are all still Brothers in Christ. And, even though I might disagree with an Assembly of God Christian to not be able to join their Church, still I appreciate their love and devotion to the Lord. And, I love them. I love Calvinists, as well. And, it is just regrettable that you apparently never knew the joy and the love and the peace of Jesus….and instead, focused on doctrine and theology….and religion. Chris, to walk with God is a great blessing. And, to know His love and joy is…well, it goes beyond words…..what an incredible joy it is to know the Lord. And again, I plead with you to reconsider your decision.

            I know that you don’t want to talk about this, here…..but, I hope you’ll think more about this.

            David

          • Chris Roberts says

            David,

            I could have written that response for you. Almost exactly what I expected you to say.

          • volfan007 says

            Chris,

            I can’t help but think that we’re seeing 1 John 2:19 play out before our very eyes, here. I truly hope not.

            David

          • Chris Roberts says

            David,

            Well, in fairness, the concern there was people who seemed to still claim the faith but turned to what was considered unacceptable theological teaching, and were thus branded unbelievers, so that doesn’t apply in my case. They were branded false sheep and false shepherds for their claim to still be among the fold. I make no such claim. Granted, that was hardly your point.

          • Dale Pugh says

            Well, I’m gobsmacked!

            “I started thinking critically about my beliefs and about common responses Christians raise to doubts and objections, and I realized that all the ways I had dealt with my doubts were terribly shallow and full of holes. I stopped glossing over issues in the Bible and started looking at them for what they were. Etc, etc. It didn’t take long for the whole thing to fall apart.”

            Chris, no doubt, then, you now consider the faith and reasoning that we Christians follow to be somewhat inferior to your own viewpoint. Our “family arguments” probably seem a bit puerile and pointless. While I had noticed your lack of attention to things around here over the past year or so, I never anticipated this revelation of your newly professed atheism. While I have no reason to think that you remain anything but a good man, it saddens me to know that you have chosen godlessness. I mourn that emptiness and hopelessness for you and your family, while at the same time recognizing that you could not care less what I think.

            While it may be true that this is not the place for such a discussion, I personally would like to hear your story. Not that it matters all that much to you, but I had considered you to be a quite capable young voice in our conversations here. I’m sure many of us felt the same way. That being the case, maybe this IS the place for such a discussion. Maybe it would turn our thoughts from some of the silliness that goes on in the comments of these posts to weightier matters of faith, doubt, reason, and relationship.

            I appreciate your honesty to speak your conviction publicly. I respect your forthright and matter-of-fact approach to the topic of your move away from Christian faith. I remain interested in what you have to say. I do hope that one day you will share your journey with us.

          • Chris Roberts says

            “no doubt, then, you now consider the faith and reasoning that we Christians follow to be somewhat inferior to your own viewpoint.”

            Two thoughts in reply.

            First, no more so than Christians who assert that the atheist worldview brings “emptiness and hopelessness”. It has been eye-opening to recognize the myriad of double standards that exist within Christianity. Challengers to Christianity are called arrogant and elitist (Mohler loves these words, and people love to hear them) while Christians challenging secularism are merely humble servants of the Lord. Or not.

            Second, it isn’t even the case that I find the reasoning of Christians inferior to my viewpoint. Not as such, at least. What I have come to see is that Christianity is loaded with defense mechanisms to keep people from leaving. The doubts that ultimately led to my exit were nothing new; they had been around since childhood. But I had for years employed those various defense mechanisms to keep them at bay. It’s not that the ability for Christians to reason is faulty, it’s that Christianity prevents the kind of reasoning that leads to the realization that the whole thing is a sham.

          • Dale Pugh says

            Hmmmmm……….I find it interesting that you home in on that statement while ignoring everything else I said. Peace to you in your journeys, Chris, but it won’t be me to whom you have to stand and give an account on that final day. The Hod Whom you deny will hardly be impressed with your quick wit and sharp tongue. I would pray that He grants mercy to you, but that would hardly fit your belief system as a Calvinist or an atheist.

          • says

            Chris,
            I echo Dale’s post.
            If i met a little green alien, you might say that my belief that there are little green aliens is absurd, since you have never seen one.

            Now i may be crazy, but I have had an experience with God, and obviously you have not. [Though i thought you did]. Thus my faith in Him is not built on mere words, either preached or read from the Bible, but on these and on my experience.

            Now imagine such a God as Christians proclaim who makes himself known to an individual in a most wonderful and personal way, but in a way that mere words and ideas of man can not adequately describe. In a spiritual way. I know you don’t believe me, but I am a witness to the event, and you are not.

            Think of a movie where one witnesses a murder [and we see as the audience get to see it as well] but in returning with the cops, the body is gone along with all traces of the crime. We, as the audience know it happened. The witness knows it happened, but the cops are rightfully skeptical.

            True believers in Jesus Christ have had an encounter with the Creator God. their language tends to reflect their confidence, which of course would seem arrogant to you. But we shouldn’t use our words to disdain you, for we have had this experience not because we deserve it, but because God is being merciful to us. We, just like you, still EARN hell every day.

            Chris, i hope and pray, that someday God will grace you with His awesome presence, and when He does, you will never walk away from Him.

            email me anytime…
            bygrace4012@yahoo.com

            mike

          • Chris Roberts says

            Mike,

            Christians claim the exclusivity of Christ, and yet the experience you describe turns up in religions all over the world. As it happens, there are much better alternative explanations for the events you describe, ones which do not include the reality of those experiences.

            I stand as someone who has been on both sides of the aisle. I realize that your theology will not allow you to consider my claim that I was once where you are (one of those Christian defense mechanisms I mentioned), but I know the experiences you speak of, and I now have a much better understanding of where they actually originated and why they are simply not trustworthy.

            We are masters of self-deception and perhaps no illusion is more powerful than that of supposed religious experience. Certainly religion provides a powerful framework for keeping adherents in check and filtering all experience through a lense of religious interpretation so that suddenly everything becomes evidence for God, even if it is actually evidence of the opposite.

          • says

            Chris,
            You said that you have stood where I now stand.
            I believe you say that with all sincerity.
            And you look to the world to find answers for your experience, and you have found better ones.
            Again, i don’t doubt your sincerity.

            But consider this one thing:
            IF there is a God who came and died and I am right, than your experience, whatever it was, was not the same as mine. In other words, you can not know what I have experienced. So if, and for conversation, I am saying IF, Jesus is the crucified risen Lord of all, then you have not yet met Him.

            And you can discard my witness, and probably will do so. But IF I am right, one of two things will happen.
            1] You will die in your sins and receive your justly gained condemnation and wrath with all that goes with it. Or…
            2] God will have mercy on you and save your soul even as He has saved me.

            And if there is no god, someday we will die and perish, dust in the wind, or in the ground. Thus you may pity me for living and suffering for the Lord who isn’t there, and i will live out the rest of my days with a peace that passes all understanding, a purpose that not only is greater than myself, but one that leads me to treat others with dignity and love. And, at least so far, a strength that gives me power to live and to die in those very ways.

            May He open your blind eyes and fill you with eternal peace,
            mike

          • Chris Roberts says

            Mike,

            I’m restraining myself here, having deleted a longer response, but in brief I’ll note that your variation of Pascal’s wager shares the fault of Pascal’s wager: it is a fundamentally selfish consideration. Christians who claim selflessness nonetheless tell people to think about themselves (at least Piper is honest with his Christian hedonism). What you have not considered are the consequences to the whole world if Christians and other religious folks are wrong about God and thus not protected from all the calamities they otherwise are sure cannot happen because God didn’t say things would end that way; or all the money wasted to churches, prayers, and ministries which could otherwise go to truly beneficial causes for humanity. Not that religion has done no good, it certainly has (as well as a planetload of bad), but it’s time to move on.

            And with that I’ll back out. Back to munching popcorn while watching Trads and Cals continue trading blows and remembering my own squandered time in such things. I could have been learning more of the fascinating intricacies of evolution but instead I gave my time to that. Pity.

          • Adam G. in NC says

            Chris, I kinda see what you’re saying here. It’s kinda like all those people who buy into that global warming alarmist stuff…while never actually seeing clear, irrefutable evidence of it with their own eyes, following some guy with muddled statistics and a media pulpit demanding they had over their money and property.

          • John Fariss says

            Chris & Parsonsmike,

            I have long said (and been criticized heavily on this board for it) that there are two poles or foci around which the Christian exists: one is the objective pole (or focus, if you prefer a mathematical image) of the Bible, and the other is the subjective pole of the experience of Christ. Mike, like you, I have had that subjective experience, and Chris, I will concede that it could be explained other ways, possibly even through other religions. Indeed, the most that could be said of mine is that it does not contradict the Biblical record. But that does not make it invalid; indeed, does not God (if, Chris, there is one) expect us to use the minds with which we have been gifted? Hence, my conclusion is that this experience is not only consistent with Christianity, but is a part of it.

            As to what I am calling the “objective” pole, I have seen others, especially those whose church background was very rigid and fundamentalist, and where such things as the age of the earth, dinosaurs, and evolution were made into articles of faith, abandon the faith when confronted with objective scientific information. Mind you, I am not saying this fits you–I do not know you well enough nor do I know what your thought process was. But given that my background had nothing other than a rather vague deep-south, civil religion aspect, I had no such conflict when I majored in Physics in college. Consequently, I immediately saw the errors when Christians tried to use the 2nd law of thermodynamics to disprove evolution, and things like that. I am content to accept a dynamic theory of inspiration (rather than one of the more rigid ones), and find as my outlook that the Bible does not address all things, but that it is infalliable (and inerrant if one must use that term) only in matters of faith and practice. It is not a textbook for mathematics, biology, geography, geology, cosmology, astronomy, and so on.

            I recognize that I have been rambling in this, and apologize for it. But my point is that the objections such as you hint at do not contradict all Christianity, only a subset of it. I hope you will consider this.

            John

          • says

            John,

            Thanks for the reply.
            I too see the Bible as infallible for faith and doctrine, and that many theories of science do seem to contradict the truths in the Bible.

            But they are theories and they but SEEM to contradict.
            Science rewrites its rules as it makes new discoveries. It is not content to say the earth is flat when it finds out it is more like a ball. neither would it stand pat with the idea that the sun and planets revolve around the earth when it discovered the earth revolves around the sun.

            In that way, science is not proud and is willing to change.
            But on the other hand, scientists are fallen humans [some redeemed] and they can’t help to interject their rebellion into their work and make statements intended to be factual but are only opinion, especially when it comes to God and origins.

            By the way, this same thing happens to a lot of atheists in a slightly different way. For example, Chris said he regrets the money he used, and the money others used on religion for that money could have went to bettering humans. But the atheistic position is evolution, and the survival of the fittest. If true, then morals are all artificial, derived, and subjective, changing as to the whims of each person, group, and culture. The idea of helping others is foreign to its base. the need for helping others is foreign to its base.

            Back to science. Science changes as it gains new evidence of how the world works. Sometimes the changes are minor or subtle. Sometimes they are dramatic. But they are changing, and will change again and again. So the story isn’t finished yet. i will keep my faith and my perspective, knowing that how atoms split or come together will eventually prove God. In the end, science will spout the praises of the Great Creator and Sustainer.

            peace,
            -mike

          • cbscott says

            I have been away from reading Voices for a while. I usually enjoy reading the posts and comments. However, upon reading this thread I am greatly saddened.

            I have met Chris Roberts. He is a real person to me-Far more than just a blog personality. I am praying for him and his family.

          • Tom Stowe says

            Being “saddened” may help someone look good, but it takes action to truly help someone. James 2:1-26 deals with this in a straightforward manner.

          • Bart Barber says

            Chris,

            I don’t quite know what to say, other than that I think that you have made a grave mistake and are committing a disastrous act of rebellion. And I don’t even know to say that, because you already know that I believe that, and I dare to hope that something within you already knows that it is true.

    • says

      Dean
      Thank you for clearing that up. I retract my words and offer an apology. I like you my brother, I am glad this is what it is rather than what I thought it was.

      BTW regardless of who makes a statement like that it is divisive and wrong, so I am not defending or criticizing any camp. Wrong is wrong regardless of what camp it is in.

  21. John Wylie says

    Although there are Baptists like those affiliated with ARBCA and even some Southern Baptists who have appropriated the name “Reformed” when I hear or read the specific term “Reformers” I do not think of Baptists. I think of Calvin, Zwingli, Luther and their respective movements. And I do not believe for a moment that Dr. Patterson was referring to fellow SBC folks as “our Reformed cousins” or as the “Reformers”. The fact is that people are going to believe what they want to believe about this, but if everyone would just take a breath and set your personal feelings about Dr. Patterson aside and take an honest look here you would know what he meant. I would bet if you asked Dr. Mohler what Dr. Patterson meant he wouldn’t think that he was referring to fellow Southern Baptists.

    I will save my opinions about Reformed versus Anabaptist influence for a later comment.

  22. says

    hey C’s,
    I’m a 5 pointer probably closer to hyper than most of you. Please don’t get upset every time you think you are being offended.
    First, our goal is to be like Jesus, who opened not his mouth in defense.
    so if and I mean IF IF IF you are being attacked, trust God and give it to Jesus, for you know it is His to repay.
    Second, instead of replying negatively back, simply use your time to patiently witness to the truth.
    Third, since you think you are right, remember that your understanding is not of yourself, but from the Lord, so no need to do anything but uplift your brother by being humble and gentle in your reply.
    Dr. Pat, Bart, you, and me all have to answer to the Lord for our every word. MAKE them count for Jesus.

    mike

  23. Tarheel says

    Okay I just saw the video.

    I saw and heard that

    1. Dr. Mohler was not speaking in any SBC official capacity whatsoever.

    2. That predated any statement of cooperation that was made and signed and agreed to… And to say that Mohler did not apologize to Eric Hannigan’s for referring to his statement is semi play gym is patently false he did so verbally (and I think on his blog) in front of everyone who was standing at the executive committee booth at the Southern Baptist convention in Houston just last year.

    3. Dr. Mohler did not say imply or assert that those who differ from him in soteriology are unsaved.

    Patterson

    1. Wrote in official capacity.
    2. Did so AFTER he promised to work for unity in disagreement.
    3. And implied that those who hold to limited atonement preach a false gospel and are cousins…ie…not from the the same father…ie unsaved.

    So these comments are profoundly different.

    Dean – where is that Grace for one “simply answering a question” that you demanded so heavily for yesterday? ;-)

    • Volfan007 says

      Tarheel, who cares if Mohler said it in official capacity or not? He still said it, and when he said it he was the Pres. of Southern.

      David

      • Volfan007 says

        In other words, he dogged all of us in the SBC, who are not Calvinists. And, when I think of all the smart men and women down thru the years, who were not Calvinist, and who great students of the Word, I just have to shake my head….and his statement was just insulting.

      • Tarheel says

        Come on David Surely you see the difference in an official statement and an off-the-cuff answer during a panel discussion.

        Even if I give you that Mohler said what you’re trying to say he said…. It’s still not on the same level of what Patterson did PP called those who disagree with him unbelievers who preach a false gospel. He did it after he committed to work toward unity in disagreement, and he did it in an official capacity as president of the seminary in a report to the convention.

          • Tarheel says

            I do not disagree with you DL.

            I wish Mohler had not phrased his comment is such a way that it let people to believe that he was implying that people who aren’t Calvinist aren’t smart.

            Whether he meant it that way or not phrasing it that way is problematic and divisive he should’ve phrased it that way. He should’ve known that since it was being recorded that it would come back about him he should’ve phrased it better.

            While I still contend the circumstances are more than a little different one was in a panel discussion that has nothing to do with the Southern Baptist convention and the other was in a book of reports for the Southern Baptist convention.

            I also point out that whatever one thinks Moulder meant by that comment no one can reasonably think that he meant that non-Calvinist are not believers and that they preach a false gospel…. Hey playing raining of Patterson statement certainly does imply those things about Calvinists.

          • says

            Tarheel

            I see your point. PP had time to reread and reread again his report, so, one can assume that it does say what he intended. PP is just plain wrong in saying such, and is given to such statements and actions historically.

            AM’s statement, while it was off the cuff, and maybe he wished he could restate it, and regardless of how he would rephrase it, it is somewhere between demeaning and an insult.

            I guess what I am saying is that these men are seminary presidents. They are leaders in the convention. They each represent different theological views which has produced great controversy and division. They both have influence and a following. THEY NEED TO BE CAREFUL.

            When one views the history of each it seems that they are both interested in having their opinions prevail and guys like us get caught in the middle.

            I do not see either trying hard to be agents of unity. this is problematic.

            Am i overstating my position?

      • John Wylie says

        Tarheel,

        Calling other believers our cousins is in no way an implication that they are unbelievers. I refer to Anabaptists as our cousins. What it means is that we did not come from the same DENOMINATIONAL line but that we were influenced by them.

        • Tarheel says

          Do cousins have the same father? Yes or no?

          Given the climate of mistrust and sensitivity around this issue…can we at least agree it was insensitive and asking for discord to phrase it that way?

          Bart, Vol, and Dean…y’all really can’t see the offense here?

          You might not be, but I am.

          • Dean Stewart says

            Tarheel, your interpretation of what cousins means is the most unfortunate interpretation available. You seem to despise Paige Patterson and use every word he says in the worst possible light. He is speaking of denominational family and not our spiritual heritage as individual children of God. Cousins do come from the same patriarch. Our denomination is different from all others yet many denominations can trace there heritage back to a common patriarch. You are struggling to create conflict on this matter when it is not necessary.

          • Tarheel says

            Dean – why must it always go there?!

            I do NOT hate Paige Patterson – I have great respect for the man. He has done so many great things for our convention and 2 seminaries….that’s part of what’s so troubling about this to me.

          • John Fariss says

            Tarheel, you might want to remember: the “cousin” thing is an analogy, and all analogies break down at some point. Personally, I have no dog in this hunt, but if someone uses the analogy and says they did not mean it this way, why can you not accept it?

            John

          • John Wylie says

            Tarheel,

            PP doesn’t need to clarify his remarks on the cousin thing. Everyone knows that he 1.) wasn’t calling any SBC folks cousins and 2). he wasn’t using the term cousin to imply that the Reformers were lost.

          • Tarheel says

            Of course not…I’ve seen abundantly in the thread that PP should never, ever, be questioned or challenged in any shape or form.

            He’s never wrong nor his words insensitive or ill concieved. Ever.

          • John Wylie says

            Actually no I never said he should never be questioned. What I’m trying to tell you is that the cousin thing is a wasted lost cause. Given the fact that he holds the Anabaptist view of things tells me that he doesn’t believe that Baptists are Reformers.

            The truncated Gospel thing I can certainly see what someone would want clarity on that.

    • Dean Stewart says

      Tarheel, you are making a false assumption that I am offended by Al Mohler’s comments on the video. I used to be offended by this video and have saved it just for when someone acts as if it doesn’t exist. You seemed to express doubt so I linked it for you. I did want to trap someone and have a little fun at their expense with my Hobbs comment. I am no longer offended. I simply don’t care what Al Mohler thinks about reform theology. What he says will never change my belief system. PP and AM have both made comments (in and out of official capacities) that can be offensive to both sides in this debate, however, no one has to be offended.

      My anger yesterday had nothing to do reform/trad. It was over people who have a relationship with God because of grace extending no grace to another. I find comfort that Jesus was angered over the same thing.

      • Tarheel says

        Dean,

        I agree – The conversation yesterday had nothing to do with reformed theology or traditionalist theology the one today does.

  24. says

    I was unaware that what Patterson writes in an official report is contingent upon what Mohler has said in one capacity or another. Am I missing part of Patterson’s report on this issue?

  25. says

    Tarheel,
    So he called you a cousin.
    I fail to see what gain there in getting all riled up about it.

    Even IF you think he believes you as a rascally reformed dude is unsaved [just a cuz, not a bro] so what?

      • says

        John,
        What he actually said or meant and the perception of what he said may be two different things. Either way i fail to understand why there needs to be a hubbub.

        • John Wylie says

          In my view they are accusing Dr. Patterson of saying something he didn’t say. Further, when q commenter introduced the implication that Dr. Patterson was calling Calvinists unbelievers that is just too much.

          • Tarheel says

            Until I hear directly from Patterson or read something directly written by him clarifying that he was not implying (nor does he believe) that Calvinist are unbelievers, who preach a false or truncated gospel. I will continue to believe that is what you meant because that is the way the document reads.

          • Todd Benkert says

            Come on, Tarheel. It seems pretty plain in context that Dr. Patterson was referring to the Reformers not to Calvinistic Southern Baptists. No explanation is needed in my book. Bart has it right in his post.

  26. says

    John,
    you said, “In my view they are”, and in their view it is something different. Obviously both views can not be right. Therefore the perception of what is said or meant and what is actually said or meant do not have to be the same, right?

    So here is how to arrive at unity: the one side in perceiving, should trust the Lord and give the benefit of the doubt; while the other side, who was speaking, trusts the Lord and clarifies.

    So all we need is patience and a person to ask for clarification. We need not be Sunnis and Shias.

  27. Tarheel says

    I’ve asked for clarification.

    Others have asked for clarification.

    Nothing personal guys but surrogates won’t work here – we need to hear from Patterson directly.

    • John Wylie says

      You have never heard preachers when referring to other denominations call them our cousins? I’m sorry Tarheel but you are reading something that is not there.

      • Tarheel says

        It’s not just the cousins remark it’s that coupled with the truncated gospel comment…..

        I’m not the only one who sees it this way – i’m not some weirdo here with some off-the-wall interpretTion no one else has…..

        PP’s whole statement in context seems to disparage those who believe in limited atonement and those were Calvinist he clearly classes cousins and he says that we preach a truncated gospel taken into context I don’t see how I can be interpreted any other way …. You do to see it because you’re not offended because you agree with him.

        You guys want even admit it was insensitive you won’t even admit he should’ve phrased a different Patterson is sone golden boy to y’all and he can do absolutely no wrong in your eyes.

        Will yall at least admit that the comments were off color and insensitive given the atmosphere?

        • John Wylie says

          Actually no, he wasn’t referring to you at all Tarheel. I am certain that Dr. Patterson was not referring to any SBC folks as the Reformers.

          Now I can certainly see why you would take offense to the whole truncated gospel comment, but I don’t believe for a minute that Dr. Patterson thinks that Calvinists are lost people. The first place I ever heard Dr. Bryan Chappell was at a conference at Southwestern. I highly doubt that Dr. Patterson would have allowed someone he perceived to be as an unbeliever speak at the seminary he presides over.

          • Tarheel says

            Thanks John…finally someone admits that there is legitimate basis for offense in his comments!

          • John Wylie says

            You’re welcome Tarheel. I do think that there is legitimate criticism of the whole truncated gospel comment, but with all due respect brother the whole cousin aspect really is just a distraction from that discussion. I have learned on these comment boards that the most specific comment is necessary to ever get anyone to engage in the conversation that you really wish to have.

        • Tom Stowe says

          Tarheel, you are looking for a fight that doesn’t exist. And given the fact that the blogosphere is full of off-color Calvinists who spew hateful rhetoric and uncomfortably narrow theology, you better decide if you want to be lumped with those guys or with a beautiful, manifold denomination that appreciates all perspectives that fall within appropriately-defined orthodoxy and Baptist doctrine. All you do is comment on this blog all day everyday about the theological and denominational minutiae pertaining to other people who are actually making a difference in God’s kingdom. How about joining them instead of being a Pharisee?

          • Tarheel says

            Tom,

            Ignore. I’d rather not get into a mean-spirited hateful name-calling diatribe with you…. I’m woefully unarmed for it.

          • Tarheel says

            Actually Stowe,

            I am not being mean-spirited I am simply standing firm on how I interpreted what he said until he clarifies I have no choice but to stand firm and what I believe.

            BTW, I’ve never seen you post ANYTHING unless it is a strike against a Calvinist in some way – in other words it you who act as a blog troll….not me.

          • Tom Stowe says

            Yeah, we really need PP to interrupt his fruitful ministry to answer a blogger who’s genuinely concerned that he considers reformed folks to be lost.

            Incredible.

          • says

            Guys
            C,mon now! I am not in Tarheel’s camp, but surely you can see his point. Regardless of word selection PP,s report was too close to the edge given our situation. PP can and should do better than that. Again I am not a Cal but I can see offense. PP wrote some things he should not have written. That does not mean I dislike the man. It means he is human.

            Admitting that someone says something out of line does not mean you do not love them, my wife does that all the time. :-)

          • Tarheel says

            Forget it DL it’s pointless.

            They think that because I see offense I hate the man….

            And it also appears that they fear that if they admit he was in anyway in sensitive or wrong that it somehow lets “the haters” win or something I don’t know.

            I’m just going to walk away from this discussion.

          • Tom Stowe says

            D.L., if we are looking for fault, we are should check ourselves first and be slow to judge. But if you wanna play this game, let’s examine Mohler’s EXPLICIT – NOT IMPLIED!!! – proclamation that Trads are semi-Pelagians.

            What a double standard!

          • says

            Tom you just demonstrated DL’s point exactly. Nice job! My memory may be full of mush, but I seem to remember DL was one of the ones questioning Mohler’s choice of words. Now he comes in and defends Tarheel, and gets attacked for it. Only going to prove the very point he was making. Again, NICE JOB there!

          • says

            Tom

            Oh No! Don’t say that to me. Do some reading on this post. I have said that BOTH men are causing a problem. I am a Trad, that does not mean I will accept everything that comes out of PP,s month or AM,s. Learn to think for yourself my brother.

          • Tom Stowe says

            SVMuschany, I’m not offended by Mohler and wasn’t when he made those statements. But MY point is that anyone offended by PP better be offended by Mohler as well!

          • says

            So Tom the question remains why you targeted DL in your diatribe? All he did was defend Tarheel by seeing he understood why people could be upset. You attacked, and you did so with you having an ounce of knowledge about DL or his past. All you did was attack someone who you perceived was disagreed with you, and in doing so proved DL’s argument. To which again I say, GOOD JOB! BRAVO!

          • Tarheel says

            Thanks though, as always DL – I appreciate your reasonableness. You’re a good man.

            Miller talks of SBCvoices Heroes and says he wants to you like David Rogers when “he grows up”.

            Me? I wanna be like you. ;-)

          • Tom Stowe says

            Oh, I get it. I’m supposed to listen to people attack PP, but making my position known is an attack? I did not attack D.L., but simply compared similar scenarios.

            But go ahead and be offended by PP. I will remain supportive of Mohler. Because ya see, D.L., I do think for myself.

          • Tarheel says

            For the record I think Mohler went too far I think he was wrong to call the trad crowd semi pelagians and I think that that’s why he apologized that’s why he wrote a blog clarifing it and apologized publicly in Houston last year…..and I think again when he had Eric Hankins preach at SBTS and held a panel discussion with him….my recollection might be off but I am pretty sure.

            At any rate he went to far. I also said that in the video Dean posted Mohler phrased his answer badly and left room for offense …. Which I have never faulted anyone for being offended by it.

            Now I’m really walking away. ;-).

          • says

            Tom…you directed a post at DL by suggesting he look at Mohler’s statements. You did so because DL dared to recognize that while he disagreed with Tarheel’s conclusion, he recognized why he made such a conclusion. You just could not handle that someone would defend another person who was questioning the word choice of Dr Patterson so you attacked DL, demanding that he look at Mohler’s choice of words. As I pointed out, and as DL has affirmed, he was one of the ones who DID JUST THAT! And now you continue with your attacks against DL even though you have absolutely NO credibility in this matter. DL stated that just because you disagree with a person’s statement does not mean you hate or are attacking that person. Conversely, just because you like a person, does not mean you can disagree with how they said something. But yet you are attacking anyone who dares to question the way Patterson phrased what he said. You are doing so by attacking someone you likely agree with when it comes to the actual theological arguments that undergird this whole issue. You are committing friendly fire in your over-zealous attempt to defend Patterson at all costs. And that is just sad.

          • Tom Stowe says

            You’re wrong. I can see how someone COULD possibly interpret PP’s words offensively, but I think a mature Christian SHOULD interpret them without offense.

            Since I have no credibility, though, I will leave the issue in the capable hands of the scholars here on the blog.

          • says

            And yet again, you were including DL in your attack when he said exactly what you just did. He saw how some people COULD be offended by Patterson’s comments, even though HE WAS NOT! And yet you attacked HIM! That is what I just find simply incomprehensible. Why not just admit you were wrong to target DL with your comments, and be done with it? You want to talk about Christian maturity? Perhaps it is you who should first look in the mirror.

          • says

            SMV
            I am not sure at this point a logical well documented statement will make much difference. It seems we are dealing with “don’t confuse me with the facts my mind is made up”.

          • says

            Tarheel
            Thank you for your kind words. However, I think you should set your sights a little higher unless you want to become a redneck 4X pickup driver with a black Lab in the bed.

      • Tarheel says

        John I don’t think so but if I did hear that that from anyone speaking of another believer in the way that PP did it I would not like it I don’t care who it is.

        Cousins do not have the same father….that moniker carries a connotation maybe not intended but it carries a connotation that someone is not a believer.

        • John Wylie says

          I can tell you that I have personally used the term to refer to folks from other denominations that we have close ties of lineage to. For instance, I would refer to and actually have referred to the American Baptist Association and the Baptist Missionary Association as cousins. I have told my church that Mennonites and Amish and Puritans are all our cousins. When I do so I am not referring to the idea of them having another father. You’re simply taking the metaphor too far.

          • Bart Barber says

            Bingo. Exactly. Metaphors are METAPHORS. No, they do not perfectly correspond to reality in every way. When they break down because they have been pushed too far, this does not necessarily reveal a fault on the part of the speaker. Most often, it reveals a fault on the part of the listener.

          • Tarheel says

            Bart, are you saying; Patterson always right everybody else always wrong.

            Fault is on the listener/reader it could never be on PP now could it?

          • says

            Bart, some people are not happy unless they can interpret another person’s metaphor and add molecules that would take a perfectly healthy cell and create a tumor filled with malignant cancerous tumors. People for the most part, believe what they want to believe based upon, either their own presuppositions and vindictive hearts and minds, or a heart willing to see another person’s attempt to explain a thought with a pure motive. When people suspect another person’s motive, there is little one can say to change that person’s views. Even if the truth were proven in a court of law with a stack of evidence and various documents presented to a dozen jurors and a few alternates who agree with them and exonerate him–some people would choose to disagree. For instance, I suspect by the reading of this thread, that there is little Dr. P could say himself that would satisfy the minds of those who have already made up their minds that he is saying something they don’t like. Some people can’t even stand it when he shares his heart with all humility on the convention floor. Great post, btw. selahV

          • Tarheel says

            Thanks Harriette ….it appears you’re right that some people aren’t happy till they judge the motives and hearts of others….oh wait.

            #youjustdidit. ;-)

  28. Tarheel says

    Okay I’m in a have to get off my phone and stop speaking these posts…and get to a computer so my posts make sense. Lol. Apparently Siri doesn’t translate Clinese well. ;-)

  29. Tarheel says

    In fact that is exactly what Ligon Duncan was saying in that panel discussion.

    Something to the effect of “brothers and sisters in other denominations are friends – yes we differ over theological things, important theological matters, but that’s my brother that’s my sister”

    I say a hearty amen to that. If we be in Christ we’re not cousins we’re brothers and sisters.

  30. Tim Overton says

    Excellent article Bart! I think we should rejoice in what Dr. Patterson has said. SBTS is obviously a Calvinist seminary and proudly so. SWBTS will take the Anabaptist route. Calvinists have been making much headway in our convention because the Sandy Creek wing of the SBC has been asleep theologically. John Wesley clearly bested the Calvinists in his day. For those of you who are struggling with Calvinism, please read Wesley and discover Prevenient Grace. The 3:16 group is another sign of health among non-Calvinists. I have been in literal pain as I have watched non-Calvinists debate our reformed brethren with philosophy rather than the Bible. Is anyone surprised that Paige Patterson has found solid ground on which to theologically stand? Anabaptists provide a fine history and a clear foil to the reformed Southern Baptists who cling to medieval theologians with many unBaptist views.

    The Calvinists of the convention should rejoice rather than be easily offended. The Sandy Creek wing of the SBC has identified its champion, seminary, and historical foundation. Now they must go on to the larger task of writing theology books! If you believe diversity in the SBC is a good thing, then celebrate. Our convention is blessed when faith is based upon the Bible and rich traditions. The Sandy Creek Baptists have found their footing, and we will all be better for it!

    As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17

    Remember that Biblical Non-Calvinist make for better Calvinist. Rich theology on both sides will help everyone rub off our many dull edges.

    • Chris Roberts says

      “Anabaptists provide a fine history and a clear foil to the reformed Southern Baptists who cling to medieval theologians with many unBaptist views.”

      That may be the funniest line of this whole comment. Just when do you think the Anabaptists originated?

      • Greg Harvey says

        Even better: who is the key Southern Baptist professor that pushed the Anabaptist position? Dr. William “inerrancy is bibliolatry” Estep. I was there…heard it with my own ears.

        • Ben Stratton says

          Southern Baptist professors were publishing the Anabaptist position long before William Estep. The New Orleans Seminary library is named the “John T. Christian library” in honor of their first church history professor. Or better yet, read William Williams, the first professor of church history at Southern’s book “Lectures on Baptist History.” Many other examples could be given.

        • Jeff says

          Different kinds of Baptists like or dislike Anabaptists for different reasons:

          (1) Some moderate/liberal Southern Baptists like the Anabaptists because of their pacificism and because their “community of goods” concept seems to support economic redistribution.

          (2) Some moderate/liberal Southern Baptists dislike the Anabaptists because Anabaptism seems to lead to a more sectarian identity that is contrary to the ecumenism they favor.

          (3) Some conservative Southern Baptists like the Anabaptists because of their sectarianism and synergistic soteriology, and some because the Anabaptists fit into the Landmarkist “Trail of Blood” view of Baptist history.

          (4) Other conservative Southern Baptists dislike the Anabaptists because of their synergistic soteriology, sectarianism, pacificism, and refusal to participate in secular government or work for the transformation of culture.

        • says

          Greg
          If I am not mistaken Dr. Estep’s reference was to what some referred to as “political inerrancy”, not canonicity. During the CR days there were those who said they were inerrantist but would not align themselves with the CR and some not all, dubbed the group Political Inerrantist. His meaning was there were some who valued the origin and transmission of scripture more than the teachings of scripture. I have heard him say that there were those who spent more time arguing about the Bible than preaching the Bible.

      • says

        Chris
        C,mon my bother. You know full well what he was saying. Why must there always be a fight? Good debate helps everyone. Picking at things is childish.

        • Chris Roberts says

          D.L.,

          I responded to his snark with my own. He was attempting a low blow, but he missed because of a rather obvious historical inaccuracy.

          • Chris Roberts says

            1. Associating Calvinism with medieval individuals – that’s either much too late, since it can date back to Augustine or even farther to the writers of the New Testament, or it’s too early since Calvin and others were in the enlightenment;

            2. Failing to recognize that Patterson was referring to Anabaptists who emerged from the same period as the enlightenment reformers, placing “his folk” within the same time period.

            The low blow bit was obvious; his reference to them as medieval theologians is intended to convey what it is always intended to convey when people refer to something in that way: old-fashioned, outdated, ignorant, etc, etc. You chastised me but must have missed that bit.

          • Jeff says

            “since Calvin and others were in the enlightenment;”

            Most intellectual historians say that the Enlightenment began in the late 1600s, over a 100 years after Calvin’s death. Maybe you meant “Renaissance.” Calvin did come right after the Medieval era, so he was definitely influenced by it many ways. His view of baptism was probably much influenced by the medieval church/state structure. At the same time, Calvin was very well read in the church fathers and often appealed to the fathers against late medieval theologians.

            The Anabaptists slightly preceded Calvin – they began to emerge in the mid 1520s, while Calvin did not become a protestant until 1533-34 (if memory serves me correctly). He wrote his first theological work against the “soul sleep” view advocated by some Anabaptists.

          • Chris Roberts says

            Jeff,

            Good catch, Renaissance indeed. Now I’m the one making mistakes.

            D.L.,

            No, but I wasn’t looking to trace the whole historical development, merely pointing to some common anchor points. People often reference either the New Testament, or Augustine, or Calvin for Reformed theology. None of those were medieval, though I’ll concede to Jeff that Calvin came close. But my point should be plain enough: whatever period Calvin belonged to, the Anabaptists were there too.

    • says

      Sandy Creek Baptists where Separate Baptists who originated out of the congregational churches during the 1st Great Awakening. They were called separate because they separated from the congregationalists over the issue of believer’s baptism. They were also a part of the new light movement of congregationalists. The whole group were thoroughly Calvinist in their beliefs and were able to unite later with the other Calvinist baptists. So what party of the Sandy Creek group has anything to do with traditionalists? And further more many of the original anabaptists held that Christians could not be political leaders and denied the full humanity and divinity of Christ through an idea called Celestrial flesh. I have no clue why anyone would try to label the calvinist Sandy Creek baptists as Anabaptist.

      • says

        Joseph, I agree with your comment wondering why anyone would try to put Sandy Creekers in the Anabaptist camp. Nor why anyone would put William Carey there.

        Or maybe they the camps can be paralleled because they both had elders. :)

  31. Adam Blosser says

    For when one says, “I follow Mohler,” or “I follow Patterson,” are you not being merely human?

    This isn’t directed at any person or side in particular. It does add a little perspective for all of us I think.

    • says

      Adam
      You make a salient point. Perhaps Pauline writings might be applicable.

      There is an inherent danger when we say we follow the teachings of a particular man. My pastor says at least once a month “don’t quote me, if I am right Biblically quote the scripture”. I like that.

  32. says

    from another site:
    http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/anabaptists.htm
    What did the Anabaptists believe in? In general they believed in:

    Adult baptism (learned repentance)
    Mass to be a memorial service for the baptised
    Free will
    Pacifism; Anabaptists refused to do military service
    Secular laws and oaths were not recognised
    Pastors supported by their congregation
    Tendency towards equality

    Again, nothing that separates SWBTS from Southern.

  33. says

    In a Mennonite website, noted below, the beliefs of the Anabaptists were a mixed bag, kind of like the SBC.

    http://www.directionjournal.org/30/2/atonement-in-anabaptist-theology.html
    A few quotes:

    As noted above, there was much common ground on theological issues such as the atonement between Anabaptists and the other Reformers. Norman Kraus notes that Peter Ridemann’s statements on the work of Christ in Account of Our Religion, Doctrine and Faith sound almost Augustinian. 26 Even Hans Denk occasionally used the language of the satisfaction view of the atonement. He calls Jesus’ suffering a sacrifice which would have satisfied the Father for the guilt of all even if there had been a thousand times as many worlds. 27

    Most Anabaptists agreed with the other Reformers that Christ’s work {126} was sufficient for the salvation of all humankind and that salvation is by grace alone. Some representative quotes from Anabaptist writers follow:

    Hans Denk: The Suffering of Christ is sufficient for the sins of all men even if no man were ever saved. 28

    Melchior Hoffman: All are created for salvation, and the Son of God suffered for all. As the whole seed of Adam without their own fault was condemned in Adam so also they are again made blessed, redeemed, and purchased from death through Jesus Christ freely and without any merit of their own. . . . . . . [H]e is an atoner not only for the sins of the believers, but for the sins of the whole world, that is, for the whole seed of Adam. 29

    Dirk Philips: He has justified us out of grace without merit through the redemption that has taken place in him, Rom. 3:21-25. He has set before us the selfsame one as a mercy seat through faith in his blood, Eph. 1:5-8, and has included all those under sin in order that he alone may be justified and in turn justify all who have faith in Jesus Christ, Rom. 3:19-26. 30

    Menno Simons: Through the merits of Thy blood we receive the remission of our sins according to the riches of Thy grace. Yea through this blood on the Cross He reconciled all upon earth and in heaven above. Therefore, dear Lord, I confess that I have or know no remedy for my sins, no works nor merits, neither baptism nor the Lord’s supper (although all sincere Christians use these as a sign of Thy Word and hold them in respect), but the precious blood of Thy beloved Son alone which is bestowed upon me by Thee and has graciously redeemed me, a poor sinner, through mere grace and love, from my former walk. 31

    Michael Sattler: Paul says to the Romans in the third chapter that they are all together sinners and come short of the glory which God should have from them, yet apart from merit, they shall be justified by his grace through the redemption which Christ accomplished. 32 {127}

    This demonstration—that Anabaptists believed that salvation is by grace alone—is chosen here to represent an area of agreement with the other Reformers.

  34. says

    From this light reading, it may be a wee bit overstated that the SWBTS is representative of all Anabaptist theology. While certainly it seems that much of what they believe could be FOUND in the diverse views of the Anabaptists, the same could be said of the C wing of the SBC.

    The C wing of the SBC seems closer to the Anabaptist position in many areas than they are to the Magisterial Reformers. One reason this is true is because the C wing are believers in adult baptism and congregation led churches.

    His peace overflow to each of you,
    mike

  35. Mark Terry says

    When I was a student at SWBTS 40 years ago, both Dr. William Estep and Dr. Leon McBeth taught church history there. Dr. Estep taught that Baptists primarily descended from the Anabaptists and were influenced by the English Separatists. Dr. McBeth taught that Baptists descended from the Separatists, but they were influenced by the continental Anabaptists. It makes a fascinating study and engenders a lot of debate. I’m inclined to agree with Dr. McBeth, but I believe the influence of the Anabaptists is often understated. I would like for Dr. Barber to comment on a theory of mine. Clearly, the early Southern Baptists were strongly influenced by Calvinism, This influence is revealed in the early statements of faith, like the New Hampshire Confession. It is also clear that Southern Baptists moved away from Calvinism in the nineteenth century. My theory is that Southern Baptists changed their theology to make it conform with their revivalism. What do you think?

  36. says

    PasronsMike, thanks for sharing some of that information. I was reading the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online where it states the following.

    Nevertheless, the close ties and similarities between the two groups have generated a long debate among Baptists, particularly in the United States, over whether Baptists are Anabaptists or Protestants.

    There are more challenges today to Baptist successionism from authors like James Edward McGoldrick. Since PP wrote he wanted to “recover the Anabaptist and New Testament vision,” I wonder if there is proof showing SWBTS was founded with such a vision.

    So often what gets confused (whether on purpose or not) in these discussions is the terms used for the parties in question. Historically speaking, American Baptists in general are referenced when speaking about Southern Baptists. Yet, these two groups are not the same. Then, instead of talking about Calvinistic Southern Baptist positions, Reformers and/or Genevan Calvinist beliefs are often brought up as targets to address. Ironically, Methodist George Whitefield’s influence is never addressed.

    I’m not sure how an Anabaptist vision is distinct from that of early, Calvinistic Southern Baptists. It seems some may just be looking for a baptistic theology that is not Calvinistic upon which to set their anchor. I make this observation because it seems that an Anabaptist Vision pulls very little from Anabaptist theology and practice.

  37. says

    I don’t think anyone should be offended by Patterson’s cousin comment. He was probably using it metaphorically to refer to those still in the family of Christ, but in a different extension. (However, since we are all adopted children of God, the term “brother/sister” should work just fine with no need to use terms for extended family.)

    I am a little confused why the Reformers and other non-Baptists were referred to in the report. I don’t understand the necessity. Maybe it would have been more difficult to distinguish an Anabaptist vision from that of another kind of Baptist – I don’t know.

  38. Jeff says

    “I think there is just cause for war with Iraq right now,” Paige Patterson, 2003.

    A true Anabaptist would NEVER say anything like this. Nothing is more antithetical to Anabaptist theology than what Paige Patterson said here.

  39. Rick Patrick says

    “Cousins” and “truncated” were not references to our current Calvinist *brothers.*

    Like brothers, we sometimes squabble–and even tattle on each other. We love each other, but see things very, very differently. We like to pretend that we see them pretty much the same, but we really don’t.

    I think our Calvinist friends are unwise to go after Paige Patterson like they have. Any unbiased observer would tell you that most of the complainers are Calvinists and most of the Forgivers are Traditionalists.

    Let me remind you that pendulums swing. The same smear tactics used to remove men like Patterson and derail nominations like that of Rogers can and probably will be used by others in the future. What goes around comes around.

    This is not Southern Baptist Calvinism’s finest hour. If the next IMB Prez is a Calvinist, it might just split the convention–7 of 11 entity heads would be Calvinistic. The SBC will be destabilized if we become a Calvinist Led Traditionalist Funded denomination. This could collapse the convention!

    • Tarheel says

      Oh brother….

      Wow.

      And again it’s it has to be about someone going after him it could not possibly be that PP did something unwise….it could not possibly be that he did something wrong they could not possibly be that he did something amiss…..it absolutely must be the people are out to get him!

      yeah good thoughts, Rick.

      By the way several people in my church today come up to me (without provocation and they don’t read this or any other blog) in sheer and utter disbelief at the arrogance displayed in the justification that you’re so intent on defending…. They, like myself, accept that he is remorseful, but reject his attempt at justification of his action. Not a one of them are Calvinist. They watched on stream.

      Also, I asked privately 3 very strong non Calvinists I know to read the report from PP….and all three of them said, again without provocation … “That it did not contribute to unity”.

      So maybe the defend PP at all cost tactics will be what backfires.

    • says

      Rick,

      As I stated above, I don’t think using the word cousins as big deal. Beyond using that word your own comment admits that it is not all Calvinists on one side and all non-Calvinists on the other side in regards to disagreements over Patterson’s words. Ironically, you ultimately frame the disagreements as if all cabinets to run one side in non-Calvinists on the other. Why? Is that your desire to provoke further Baptist infighting?

      What specific smear tactics were used against Patterson and Rogers? (Speaking of smear tactics, and I’m not sure if matters to you, just go and read Rogers’ recent blog about yours truly.)

      • Rick Patrick says

        Forgiving Christians accept apologies like those given by Rogers and Patterson. Attacking, persecuting Christians, like the reformed persecutors who went after the Anabaptists and killed them a few hundred years ago, do not forgive and accept. They continue to persecute and attack. It is their modus operandi.

        I don’t desire infighting. Lately, Cals have attacked Caner, Rogers and Patterson, while Trads have not made a public spectacle of Southern’s offensive and ridiculous ties with Mahaney and the scandal ridden SGM. We could have challenged appointments from the floor. Cals attack, and when Trads defend, we are asked, “Why are you being divisive?”

        • says

          “Trads have not made a public spectacle of Southern’s offensive and ridiculous ties with Mahaney and the scandal ridden SGM.”

          Are you joking? I mean seriously are you trying to make a joke here?

          • Tarheel says

            Lol….SV – If he is serious – the term selective memory falls woefully short doesn’t it.

          • Rick Patrick says

            No one threatened to discuss it at a mic which would embarrass the convention, thus forcing someone to withdraw. These tactics are not conducive to unity. Anyway, what’s done is done.

          • says

            No Rick, Trads (just like Calvinists too), create topics and blogs that that do nothing but demean the concept of Christian civility of which you are now trying to claim protection under. I count no less than 2 dozen posts by Peter Lumpkins in the past 2 years (averaging a post a month) on the topic of Mohler/Akin/other SBC folk and their relationships to SGM. And if you go into those 2 dozen posts, you have several instances of people, who are on the traditional side of things, all but calling men like Mohler demonic and non-Christian for their continued support.

            Further, if I recall, Peter DID make a motion (which passed) on the convention floor that he admits was to target men like Mohler, and lamented when the wording he wanted was slightly changed to make it more generalized.

            Tell me Rick, how is that not a double standard you have set yourself up on? Trads don’t “threaten to discuss at mic which would embarrass the convention”? Again I ask, are you seriously joking? As Tarheel said, your selective (and may I add biased) memory falls very very short.

          • says

            And whose fault is that? You and other Trads complain over and over again that too many Calvinist leaning folk are being appointed to key positions. So why are you not opposing trustees that you feel are allowing this to continue? Seems to me you want to complain but don’t want to do a practical thing about it. And when someone does do something about a nominee that you don’t like, you complain! Double standard. Hypocrisy.

          • Tarheel says

            Rick, yes…Tim was opposed. But many, many other non cals were not. Come on dude.

            In fact there’s one very strong anticalvinist I think of who was reappointed to be on the SBTS board that was not challenged nor even considered. I saw it and was like wow….talk about balance. I actually think it’s a good thing.

            Tim was a special case and it transcended the debate over Calvinism. Come on.

            There could have been almost any other non cal nominated and it wouldn’t have been a problem. In fact others were and went through without objection.

        • says

          May I add that apologies, and the acceptance there of, does not negate the need for or the consequences of those actions. If we “forgave and forgot” every action when the person genuinely apologized, we would have jails completely empty as no one would ever be persecuted. I don’t think anyone here is denying that Patterson’s apology was heart felt, or that no one here is not forgiving in a Christ like spirit. But just because one apologized, and people have forgiven him, that does NOT mean there could not be just consequences for his original actions. The Trustees at SWBTS have a responsibility to examine the situation, and report back if there should be any punishments handed out for the way this situation was handled. I tell you that when Roberts was asked to resign as President of MBTS he was genuinely apologetic for the financial mismanagement that occurred under his administration. But that apology did not negate that he needed to be removed from that office. If SWBTS trustees find that while making a mistake, Patterson’s actions are not deserving of dismissal, great! If they find that his actions are deserving of dismissal, than that is needed. Apology and forgiveness have nothing to do with consequences for those actions.

        • says

          Rick,

          I’m not sure there’s a whole group of people not forgiving Patterson but you totally ignored how it is not just Calvinists versus non-Calvinists concerning Patterson. Yet you continue to put it all on Calvinists. Why? (This is why I asked you about infighting.)

          The inquiry into Pattersons apology came after the apology with folks trying to understand. Can you at least see why they might question it? Other non-Calvinists (as well as Calvinists) understand.

          Would you mind giving me a link to Rogers’ public apology that may have been seen by the nominating committee in order to forgive him? Is it accurate that you think it was just one tweet that the nominating committee had problems with? If you think it was just one tweet, based on first hand sources, you are sadly mistaken. (Again, do you even care that he recently smeared me?)

          I think the issue with Rogers gets back to a larger picture of handling some of your complaints as to who is appointed in the SBC. If you don’t think someone has a reputation worthy of serving in an SBC office then by all means let the nominating committee know or let someone know before that person can be voted on. But if anyone complained that so-and-so wasn’t qualified because they are a Calvinist, non-Calvinist, or a traditionalist I don’t think that should fly.

        • Debbie Kaufman says

          Rick: I am a forgiving Christian. But I won’t forgive when one does not apologize or turn around. I am human not superhuman. You throw the word forgiveness around, but it really means nothing. Forgivenenss is Christianese for shutting up, not asking questions. Seeing the obvious. As for me that is just not going to happen.

          It’s divisive to have said what Patterson said in the above report. It is divisive to be secretive and going beyond the rules when bringing a non-Christian to a seminary and then skirting it with an apology that ends with no blood on hands and God is on my side. It’s divisive when Tim writes a post entitled ” It Is, I Repeat, It Is All About Calvinism and the tweet which I have not seen an apology addressing the tweet, but skirting around it. He apologized for other things not the tweet.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            As for attacking Caner, the reasons are so obvious that I don’t even know how to reply to that one.

  40. Bart Barber says

    Just an added thought as I head out of my office to go preach:

    There’s no way on earth I would call a congregation of unbelievers “cousins” or any other word that suggested a familial connection. Mormons are not our cousins. Moslems are not our cousins. They are not a part of the family at all. And yet, Tarheel, you seem to be suggesting that the word “cousins” necessarily implies that one is speaking about unbelievers. I say that you’re 180° wrong. Would any of us actually use such a familial word to refer to a Buddhist congregation?

    • says

      Bart,
      I agree. I see no insult whatsoever in using the word “cousins.”
      It certainly does not imply that Dr. Patterson believes those “cousins” are unbelievers.
      Just not quite as close in theology as some denominations.

      As for your article – great article and great comments defending your view.

      And, Happy Father’s Day all.
      David R. Brumbelow

  41. Tarheel says

    And Rick are you saying that good qualified candidates should be disqualified because the Calvinist?

    See Mike this is the point …people like Rick do not believe the Calvinist preach the gospel as they do… because if they did they wouldn’t care that the head of our mission sending organization might be Calvinist if we preach and proclaim the same gosp.

    It’s rather obvious that they don’t think we preach the same gospel.

    • Rick Patrick says

      Dave,

      We preach the same gospel…sort of. I could not sign The Gospel Coalition doctrinal statement. Same with Founders, A29 and 9 Marks. As Tullian observed, it’s really only Baptists and Presbyterians. As others have observed, it’s really just Together 4 Calvinism. Same gospel–but different conception of God and different understanding of the offer.

      And my concern is not with one entity head out of eleven being Calvinist…or even two. It’s with the last seven entity vacancies all going Cal while Trads pay the bills. This is not one isolated Cal appointment. It’s a pattern. It’s the straw that may break the camel’s back, I am afraid.

      • says

        Rick, who established this alleged pattern? What is the theology of those who put these folks in place? If it were not Calvinists who put these folks in their current positions then it is not the fault of Calvinists.

        One point you could make, if it is your position, is that certain Calvinists are not qualified for the positions they have attained. If they are qualified, again, it would not be their fault for merely trying to work hard and advance and serve in the way the Lord would have then. I’m not sure which theological camp you’re blaming but I hope my words help you adjust your aim.

        For someone who talks about changing the way things are done all the time or at least disagreeing with current SBC appointments made, I did not see you speak from the floor this year. Why don’t you start writing to and about the specific people who put these Calvinists in place? Start writing to the trustees and make your case for a theological quota system. Speak from the floor and make your case for theological quota system.

      • says

        Tarheel and Rick,

        The mechanics of how God saves is not the Gospel itself. The mechanics are not the Gospel. So because one believes that God regenerates before confession and another believes He does so after confession, does not mean they preach a different Gospel.

        That one believes God is trying to save everyone while another believes that he is only saving the chosen ones is not a different Gospel. They may still preach the same Gospel.

        RICK: a doctrinal statement is not the Gospel.
        So is it the same Gospel or not?
        If it is, then why say, “sort of”?
        If it is not, then why say it is?

        Don’t be a divider and a cause for division UNLESS the Gospel the other preaches is no gospel at all.

        TARHEEL: you said: “…people like Rick do not believe the Calvinist preach the gospel as they do… because if they did they wouldn’t care that the head of our mission sending organization might be Calvinist if we preach and proclaim the same gospel.”
        Maybe and maybe not. Did you ask him why and if so, what was his reply?

        RICK: maybe most of the SBC doesn’t care who pays the bills and runs the shows as long as the Gospel is proclaimed?
        So ask God if the fight that might lead to a separate SBC is worth it?

        • Tarheel says

          Yes, I’ve asked Rick if one being a Calvinist is cause to pass over a qualified candidate for denominational office.

          He’s yet to answer.

          The “sort of preaching the gospel” comment he made about Calvinist speaks volumes and shoud explain why Cals are sensitive to the divisive and marginalizing language PP used in his report.

          Concerning the report – I’m still amazed that given this climate no one a) saw this coming and; b) that so mant can’t (or won’t) see why offense was likely with that language?

          • says

            Tarheel,

            I am sorry you are offended.
            Here is a truth:
            Either we suffer for the sake of Jesus, or we suffer because we are being chastised by the Lord. Everything God is working in our lives for good. Everything.

            So instead of complaining when you are slighted, praise God.
            if you are not in error, praise God that you are being counted worthy to suffer for Him.
            If you are in error, praise God for His discipline because He only disciplines those He loves.

            His church is in His hands. He is a much capable God.
            State your case [as you have done] and let it go.

            Its not doctrine. So need to bear arms and fight.

            His peace,
            mike

          • Rick Patrick says

            Answer: One Calvinist in office? No problemo! EVERY SINGLE OPENING IN SBC LIFE??? *That* is the problem. The convention grows daily more Cal Led and Trad Funded. All I’m saying is that this is an unstable situation that can’t last long term.

          • Tarheel says

            You’re right, mike.

            I wasn’t and still not wanting to fight….I don’t see Trads and non cals as enemies – I see them as brothers.

            I’m too stubborn for my own good sometimes….being right (and proving it) is too important to me sometimes.

          • Tarheel says

            Trad funded?

            Non Calvinistic funded maybe…..but the small group known as Trads are not a majority. Trads are a specific group of non cals that have formed a particular group….it’s only fair to identify those who signed your statement as “Trads”.

            cals survived when non cals held EVERY SINGLE office in the not too distant past. Not to worry Rick – I predict non cals will likewise survive what you are perceiving.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Survive? I don’t think you’re going to kill us…just poorly represent us in a disproportionate manner.

          • Tarheel says

            So Al Mohler, and Russ Moore and whomever else you identify as a Cal are “poorly representing” the SBC?

            Wow….

          • Rick Patrick says

            Note: “poorly representing” in this sense is not about a job evaluation. If the leadership of an organization *inadequately* represents the membership by excluding a large segment from leadership posts, it is *scarcely* representing them.

      • Adam Blosser says

        Rick, you seem to be throwing around some pretty threatening language. Could you write a detailed post explaining exactly what you plan to do if the IMB trustees don’t care what the next president’s soteriology is choose a Calvinist? You are saying this could split the convention. You are saying it may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I am interested to know exactly what you mean by those statements. They sound like threats to me. I just want to make sure we both understand what it is you are saying with these threats.

        • Rick Patrick says

          Not threats, Adam. Analytical conjecture. I am operating from the assumption that one wing of a denomination will not support financially the goals of another wing if the second one does not include the first in a proportional way. Again, no threats. Just commentary.

          • Adam Blosser says

            Maybe I am out of touch with the convention, but I get the impression that most SBs really don’t care if the next IMB president is a Calvinist or Traditionalist. So when I read statements like your’s above, they sound like threats rather than observations.

            What will you, Rick Patrick, lead your church to do if the next president of the IMB is a Calvinist?

          • Chris Roberts says

            Rick,

            Have you heard from anyone outside your small circle of compatriots who really share any of your concerns?

            Didn’t think so.

          • says

            Rick, there are words that describe the acts of doing what you are suggesting, withholding money until you get your way. One that comes to mind is coercion. In many places, coercion is a crime.

            Secondly, I want to point to the Conservative Resurgance. What did the conservatives in the convention do when they felt they were being mitigated by the liberals/moderates in the convention? Did they withhold their money? NOPE! They fought by electing presidents and supporting trustees that would represent them. Rather the ones who started withholding money because they were not getting their way were the liberal/moderates. If history is any lesson, the threat of withholding money to get your way is NOT the side you want to be on.

            That is unless you actually want to explain to the convention and to missionaries why you won’t support the missionary cause for reasons they could not care less about. Last time I checked, when it came it issues like missions, Calvinists, Traditionalists, and everyone in-between were all on the same side. Sharing the gospel with a lost world. What does it say when a group begins to throw temper tantrums and threatening to withhold money from those missionaries sharing the gosple simply because they are not getting their way.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Adam,
            I honestly don’t know.

            Chris,
            There are hundreds who share at least some of my concerns. (Side note: a “Chris Roberts” from NC sat next to me for part of the convention. I did a double take!)

            SVM,
            I don’t know that I would withhold money. I’d rather faithfully work within to address matters that need addressing while continuing to pay. I didn’t like it when Kevin Ezell’s church gave $0 to Annie Armstrong in 2008. That’s just not my style. The electing Presidents and trustees sounds much more democratic and congregational. If we want to have a say, we will have to earn it at the ballot box.

        • says

          Adam/Rick

          This is an academic discussion. I am not claiming prophecy status, just a prediction. The new IMB president will NOT be a Calvinist. Why? Given the climate of the convention as it relates to this debate the trustees all know how divisive that would be. So, I have a chocolate donut that says that will not happen.

          • Tarheel says

            Well, I would agree but I also thought given the climate that SWBT seminary president would be More sensitive and careful in his official, prepared stAtements go the convention….so there’s that too.

          • says

            Tarheel
            You are right and that is the fly in the ointment of my statement. I guess I want to hope that the collective wisdom of the IMB board will trump the wisdom of PP. Time will tell.

          • Rick Patrick says

            DL,
            I thought it would end before Jason Allen and Russ Moore, but it didn’t. I just don’t know if anything can stop this Calvinist Train.

          • says

            Rick
            Again I make no claim to prophetic knowledge. I am just trying to exegete the climate. One could argue that the conversation is much more tense and wide spread than it was even two or three years ago. This Cal/Trad discussion will weigh heavy on the minds of the IMB board. Unless the board has a majority of Cals as members, and unless there is a conscious effort to “take over” the convention, the next President will not be a calvinist.

            If the next President is a Calvinist, then I would be forced to rethink my position as it relates to a take over.

  42. says

    Cals leading while Trads pay the bills….

    The question should be is…. who does God want in these positions?

    And do we as a convention have the proper procedures to discern His will so as we or our representatives vote on either these men or those who select these men, we can be as faithful as possible to His will?

    Or we could ask, is God in charge of who is established as the leaders of His faithful church?

    He sets up kings and rulers and removes them. He brings armies to wars and decides the victors. Certainly God can establish SBC entity heads and remove them as He sees fit.

    If the problem is in the procedures, then change them.
    But what IF, and I mean IF it is God’s will that most or even all the entity heads are C’s? or T’s? or Dave Miller’s A’s?

    What I see is a lack of trust in God and instead of trusting Him to make us right, a campaign to cause division and disunity [even if division and disunity are not its goals.]

    The Gospel is this:
    Jesus is the crucified and risen Lord of all, who suffered and died for others sins and that EVERYONE who calls upon His name and places their hope and trust in His person will be saved from the condemnation they themselves have earned.

    That one might say it a little different or emphasis one point somewhat more than another does not mean it is a different Gospel.

    if you think I have a different Gospel then it is your DUTY to call me on it and if I do not conform ,to disfellowship from me. That is a unity the church does not want [a unity that has different Gospels].

    Otherwise you are a divider and a troublemaker.

    Do I thinks Trads preach a different Gospel than I do?
    No.
    I simply emphasis the truth of it somewhat differently than they do.
    And they emphasis a different part of it more than I.

    They preach a Gospel that proclaims that Jesus is indeed the crucified and risen Lord of all who saves ANYONE who calls upon Him in faith and trust.
    We are therefore family: brother, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, mothers, and so on.

    My ex wife got saved. My daughter’s parents are now brother and sister.
    Aint God good!

  43. says

    Rick, Brent all ready explained that he would not go to the floor and state anything embarrassing. I’ll let him explain again if desires.

    Regardless, the committee made their decision which had nothing to do with anyone threatening to speak publicly. Why don’t you blame the nominating committee and ask what concerned them?

    • Rick Patrick says

      You don’t see? Tim would not have been forced to withdraw if Brent had not made an issue out of it. Still, Brent did what he thought was right. I just think Tim could have already been forgiven and restored, thereby becoming a recipient of grace. I’m ready to extend it. I’ve heard his repentant heart. He is a good man and a godly pastor who would have served well on the IMB. This was an unnecessary challenge IMHO.

      • says

        If Tim really wants to demonstrate his apology and change of ways, why does he continue to hide behind a privatized Twitter account, there by preventing people from seeing and recording what he currently is saying? It is easy to say someone has repented and changed their ways when it is impossible for people to see if that is the case.

        • Rick Patrick says

          We encouraged Tim to step away from Twitter. This is part of the process. Don’t blame him for using less social media. Good grief!

          • says

            He did not step away from Twitter, he is still active. Just today he “followed” someone, and during the Convention he made a comment that one of his followers copied and pasted where he made a comment about the “Twitter Calvinistas”. What he did was take his twitter feed private so those who are not his followers, of whom he can select, cannot see what he says. There is a big difference between quitting Twitter, not using it and allowing people to see that you are not using it, and making it private so there is no accountability. He has done the latter. Good grief indeed.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Note: I hate Twitter. I just can’t believe you’re picking on his selection of Twitter privacy settings. If it’s private and you still know what he says, and choose to tweet about it, how exactly is Twitter Calvinistas inaccurate? What do you think that term means other than Calvinists who are out to get Tim on Twitter?

            You do realize Tim and others feel Calvinists attacked his nomination, don’t you?

          • Tarheel says

            Wait. He was pretty intense about calling me out for anonymity and he’s doing that? Rick you as I remember we’re too…

            Seems that’s ok for some and a travesty of all that is sacred for others.

          • says

            Someone else who has access to his feed tweeted what he said. I am simply pointing out he is NOT avoiding twitter like you falsely claim, rather he simply is doing his best to only allow people (he wrongly thought) would not highlight what he says to the rest of the SBC blog/tweet/ect-sphere. He is still doing the very same thing he has always done, only now no one will stop him from spewing hate like he did with the James White incident. Now, with the exception of 1 tweet I have seen, no one will know when he crosses the line again. If he really wanted to show that he has learned from his past mistake, that he is trying to change, than he would either give up twitter totally (which he clearly has not), or he would get rid of the privatized account, allow anyone who wants to see what he writes. This is entirely analogous to the “sin” of anonymity on line. If he won’t allow people to post on his blog with out using a real name, why can he hide behind a privatized account?

          • Rick Patrick says

            I really don’t understand the discussion about Twitter, y’all. Just barking up the wrong tree since I consider it of the devil.

            But it just seems to me like not identifying yourself when you write is one thing, and choosing not to talk to someone and instead to keep your account private is something else.

            There is a difference between privacy and anonymity. Regardless, if you want to add this to his list of sins, feel free. I saw “Wicked” this week. I’m not going to referee a witch hunt any longer. Too many other things to do.

      • says

        Rick,

        My point above in asking for his apology was to show that it is online. So why was that not enough for the committee? Why not simply show the apology and move on?

        The issue was not about Brent’s potential actions. Rather, folks went directly to the nominating committee with some of Tim’s public comments.

  44. says

    I’m glad we have a seminary (SWBTS) that can say to anyone,
    “God loves you individually and died for your sins.”

    Sounds biblical to me:
    Who takes away the sin of the world! -John 1:29

    For God so loved the world… For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. -John 3:16-17.

    I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. -John 12:47.

    Christ died for the ungodly. -Romans 5:6.

    If One died for all, then all died; and He died for all…God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. -2 Corinthians 5:14-16, 19.

    Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. -1 Timothy 2:4.

    Who gave Himself a ransom for all. -1 Timothy 2:6

    Who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. -1 Timothy 4:10.

    [That Jesus] might taste death for everyone. -Hebrews 2:9.

    Not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. -2 Peter 3:9.

    He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. -1 John 2:2.
    David R. Brumbelow

    • says

      What makes you think the other 5 seminaries can’t or don’t say this? I have had the pleasure of attending two Easter services preached by Dr Jeff Iorg of GGBTS and nothing he preached made me think he could not proclaim that God’s salvation is available to all who believe in Christ. Best to leave the broad brush in the box unless you know without a doubt that ther other 5 seminaries do not believe in the gospel.
      For Easter 2013 he preached on 1 Corinthians 15:12. He preached the cross and the resurrection and that it is the blood of Jesus that wipes away our sins. The SBC is well-served by the work of Dr Iorg and his fellow Presidents.

    • says

      Louis Cook,
      There is a significant difference in saying, as you said,
      “God’s salvation is available to all who believe in Christ,”
      and saying,
      “God loves you individually and died for your sins.”

      All our seminary presidents would affirm your statement quoted above.
      Not all would affirm the statement from the SWBTS report.
      Not all believe Jesus died for the sins of every person on earth.

      By the way, I imagine Dr. Jeff Iorg would affirm both statements.
      David R. Brumbelow

      • says

        David,
        I agree with you that there is a difference between the two statements. But within the scope of what constitutes the Gospel neither are unorthodox and therefore neither should be a cause for separation between brothers.
        God made the world knowing who would go to Hell and knowing that there was nothing He could do to change it and still be true to Himself. He has always known these Hell bound people INDIVIDUALLY.
        Yet He still created. Where you and I differ is that I don’t call His love for them salvific in any way, and you do.

      • says

        parsonmike,
        I agree with you that neither statement is unorthodox
        and both are preaching the Gospel.

        But one believes the Gospel is Good News for everyone,
        the other believes the Gospel is Good News only for the elect.

        I continue to be glad we have a seminary (SWBTS) that can say to anyone, “God loves you individually and died for your sins.”
        David R. Brumbelow

        • says

          David,
          In one sense it is good news for everyone. From a human perspective, we know that everyone needs the Gospel, and if they would but believe it, they would be saved.

          But in another respect,
          It is good news to ONLY those who believe it.
          For in 1st Cor. 1:18 we read:
          For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

          Thus for those who ultimately perish, they never see it as good news.
          They see it as foolishness.

          Now neither you nor I can discern which is which when the Gospel is preached.
          That you tell them God loves them doesn’t mean squat to those who think you are spouting foolishness.
          The Gospel itself does NOT need that idea to be effective in bringing salvation to those who hear it.

          For we both agree that those who hear it and believe also experience the outpouring of God’s love.
          To those who perish, they do not know, nor recognize, nor experience His saving love.
          And as i said, which you decided not to address, God KNEW when He created that those who would perish would perish and there was nothing He would or could do to stop it. You can call that love on His part, but I fail to see how you can defend it as salvific love.
          Peace brother, may you be filled with His peace.
          And Happy Father’s Day!

          mike

        • says

          parsonmike,
          You said,
          “In one sense it is good news for everyone. From a human perspective, we know that everyone needs the Gospel, and if they would but believe it, they would be saved.”

          But if one believes in Limited Atonement, that is not true.

          If Jesus did not die for a certain individual, that person has nothing to believe in.
          What is he supposed to believe? That Jesus died for others?
          If Jesus did not die for a man, then he does not need the Gospel; it is of no relevance to him.
          If Jesus did not die for some, they do not have a chance or opportunity to ever be saved.
          If Jesus did not die for you, the Gospel is in no way Good News for you, for you are going to Hell no matter what.
          If Jesus did not die for you, you do not have a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever being saved.

          I’m glad the Bible says,
          He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. -1 John 2:2.
          David R. Brumbelow

        • says

          David,
          Thanks for your response brother. May His mercy and grace ever keep you close to Him.

          It seems that in your disagreement with me, that you are mixing up different perspectives. The Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, proclaims that ANY, or WHOSOEVER, would trust in and believe on Jesus as the Christ, will be saved. That truth has no direct bearing on whether the Atonement is limited or general.
          Not a single C that I have heard or read disagrees with what I just said of the Gospel.

          What your response indicates is a misunderstanding on your part in some way, either of what Calvinism preaches, or what actually constitutes the Gospel. The Gospel does not include either theory of Atonement. The Gospel doesn’t include one must believe that a person is elect. The Gospel DOES include that a person must recognize him or herself as a sinner, condemned before God, and that Jesus is both the ONLY Lord and the ONLY savior of one’s soul. That if in believing that truth, such a belief includes as its following actions: repentance from sin and a profession of faith.

          Unbelievers never experience or know or grasp the love of God. But if one believes, the love of God is present in a real and conscious way -it is experienced at belief. One doesn’t get saved because they think God loves them, but because they believe in and trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And because they believe, they willingly repent and profess Him as Lord.

          **If Jesus did not die for a certain individual, that person has nothing to believe in.**
          Jesus is the Lord of all. Our Gospel is a witness of Him to be taken to all people. We proclaim to all that either they surrender to the Lord or suffer His righteous judgment. If they believe, they surrender. If they reject the truth that Jesus is the crucified risen Lord, they can not surrender.
          From our perspective, seeing how we are only witnesses, anyone, anyone at all can be saved.
          From an eternal perspective, God already knows who will and who will not be saved. From that perspective, no one who God knows won’t be saved can be saved. This is true for all who believe in God’s infallible foreknowledge.

          **If Jesus did not die for a man, then he does not need the Gospel; it is of no relevance to him.**
          The Gospel proclamation is not JUST about saving people. Acts 1 tells us:
          But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

          When we read the Gospels we see that His own witness included the coming Judgment. So also our witness should include His Lordship which includes Jesus being Judge. Though a man may not believe the truth of the Gospel, its truth includes everyman: ++Either surrender to Jesus and receive eternal life or continue to reject Him and reap eternal death.++

          **If Jesus did not die for some, they do not have a chance or opportunity to ever be saved.**
          Salvation is ONLY through the Gospel. Romans 10 tells us:
          How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

          Thus all those who NEVER hear the Gospel, die in their sins: “they do not have a chance or opportunity to ever be saved.”
          Thus the salvation of God has not been given to all people. Thus it has been given to a limited amount of people. We disagree on how it is limited, but our disagreement on that is NOT PART of the Gospel proclamation.

          **If Jesus did not die for you, the Gospel is in no way Good News for you, for you are going to Hell no matter what.**
          Again you mix up perspectives. Our job as ministers of the Gospel is to proclaim it to all. It is ONLY Good News to those who believe it. As i already explained, those who see the Gospel as foolishness dont believe it when you tell them it is good news, but by the grace of God, they, even as we who were once in their shoes did, they, by His grace, may see the truth of the Gospel and be saved.

          From the other perspective, if God, in His foreknowledge, knows one will go to Hell, then they “are going to Hell no matter what.”
          How we differ on the Atonement isn’t part of the Gospel.

          So David, while we disagree on certain aspects of the Atonement, there is no reason for us to split because we agree on the Gospel. And since we are simply witnesses for Jesus Christ, we need not feel threatened by each other.

          -mike

  45. says

    Chris,
    Thanks for your restrained reply.
    If there is no god, then morals are decided by individuals and societies. And in that vein individuals and societies have chosen to spend money and time and resources on religion.
    The idea of harm is then relative and subjective. And though I am not practiced at debating atheists, as i hardly ever do, it does seem that you, like many of them, have not yet escaped the religious framework in which most cultures think and act. If there is no god, then right and wrong are whatever. rape and child abuse is okay if the individual and the society agree that it is okay. Since most of the world is doing nothing to stop the rapes and child abuse happening in Africa, in that one place where the children have been abducted, then what is the harm? None unless there is a standard set and maintained,
    Will you simply settle for being an inconsistent atheist?
    Almost all do.
    And to that end lies the righteous judgment of God. For you will want standards in your life, and in the lives of your children in which will stand opposed to your beliefs.

    No need to respond, but my email address is always open to you.

  46. Bart Barber says

    I propose that this should be the case:

    1. All Southern Baptists should be free to own, describe, and promote their soteriological views, including the freedom to articulate what shortcomings they see in other competing soteriological viewpoints.

    2. Southern Baptists should resolve not to take offense when those Southern Baptist who disagree with them engage in #1. It’s not personal; it’s theology. Leave the gun, take the cannoli, and get on with it.

    3. Southern Baptists should recognize humbly that soteriological questions involve matters that have perplexed believers and engendered debate for centuries. For this reason, we ought to make room in our hearts and in our convention for one another within the soteriological boundaries defined by our confession of faith.

    If I were King of the SBC, I would declare this to be so.

    • says

      Well stated Bart. This would work in the future because it seemed to work in the past. Has not this been the MO for the convention for decades as it relates to soteriology, millennial issues, and a host of other discussions.

    • Dave Miller says

      I’ve got no problem with that.

      I have a big problem with a lot of the discussion here. I’ve been away, but honestly people, we can do better!

      Bart for King.

  47. Bill Mac says

    I’ve been hesitant to jump in, but what the heck?

    By far the best course of action, IMO, is to take Bart at his word and read the report in the most generous light. I think Bart’s explanations are perfectly reasonable and although I haven’t been a fan of Patterson, I doubt he is dumb or arrogant enough to publish a report that says what you think it says. But even if he is, and did: Get over it. He hasn’t harmed you in any way. Your family still loves you (assuming they did before), you still have a job, the sun still shines and your spouse still thinks you are moderately good looking. This issue is the smallest of the smallest of an infinitesimal part of your life. Find something else to do, or to get upset about.

    • Tarheel says

      As much as I trust and like Bart…he’s speaking second hand….unless he’s speaking for Patterson??

  48. says

    Guys
    During the CR days the moderates said that if the fundamentalists (that’s me) ever get in control they will soon begin to fight among themselves because they just like tonight. I am beginning to fear that they prove to be correct. And that I cannot abide.

      • says

        SVM
        Drats!!! this new fangled devil lovin technology is just too much for an old cooger like me :-)

        should be “like to fight”……………..a lot of the old man words are floating in my head right now.

    • says

      D. L.

      That statement was not about the fundamentalists fighting fundamentalists. It was about fundamentalists finding out about the Calvinists. It was Bill Leonard that said in 1993:

      Bringing Reformed theology back into mainstream SBC life may be a battle which will make the fundamentalist-moderate confrontation seem like a minor skirmish. A great many very conservative Southern Baptists are shocked when they learn that the founders believed that only an elect group of sinners, chosen before the foundation of the world will be saved.

      • says

        Tim
        I sm sure your quote from Leonard is correct. However “that statement” can hardly be attributed to any one man. “That statement” was uttered as far back as 1979. I have heard many people make statements like that. I said it myself as early as 1979 until I finally grasped what the CR was really about. In fact during the John R. Rice and J. Frank Norris days it was a common utterance among many SB.

      • William Thornton says

        This is one way the moderates, Leonard in this case, were right. It just took a couple of decades for it to gain critical mass and show itself. The road ahead looks rocky, even if Mohler, head Calvinist, did nominate Floyd for the presidency.

        For the record, I think Tim R would have been a very good IMB trustee.

        • Bart Barber says

          Of course Leonard was right. It’s always a safe bet to suggest that Baptists will argue over something. And yet…

          1. Look at the squabbling at Baylor (alumni association vs. administration) in the past decade, the struggles for power within the Baptist General Convention of Texas, recent David Gushee articles about the future of the CBF, and realize that liberal Southern Baptists have ALSO fought with one another since the Conservative Resurgence.

          2. Look back across Baptist history and find me a decade (just one!) in four hundred years in which a Baptist group has not been fighting. Do so successfully and I’ll nominate you for a Ph.D. in Baptist History. Because of our congregational polity, we have our disputes out in the open for all to see.

          3. In this sense, Leonard is dead wrong: The Southern Baptist Convention is nowhere close—absolutely nowhere close, I tell you—to experiencing any major purge or split over Calvinism. Look at the amicable relationship that has developed between Eric Hankins and Al Mohler, for crying out loud! THAT is the future of the Southern Baptist Convention.

          • says

            Dr. Barber
            I merely pointed out that little tid-bit of history. I personally do not hold to that position. As you observed some left leaning people fight as well as some right leaning. The vast majority on both sides of the aisle are cool headed thinking people.

            I pray that you are correct in your assessment of the future of our convention. Here in Montana I do not have the advantage of “coffee shop” talk with other pastors to determine the climate of discussions. I am dependent upon what I read on blogs etc. That may or may not be reliable.

          • William Thornton says

            A material split, a la CBF? No. But every significant nomination, appointment, hire, etc. is viewed through C/T lenses. This is not healthy. Seminaries are categorized as C or T. This is not healthy. Church planting by NAMB is judged, wrongly in my view, to be either C or T. This is not healthy. Grads of seminaries judged to be too C are looked at askance by some Trads. This is not healthy. In my state, at least two, perhaps three, Baptist Colleges are seen as bulwarks against Calvinist influence. This is not healthy.

            There’s a lot of unhealthy stuff in SBC life besides fried chicken.

          • Tarheel says

            Bart, there’s some agreement!

            As I’ve said before, I have tremendous respect for you – your intellect and writing ability is second to none in the SBC blog world. I’m glad we’re in the same convention and I glad we pool our funds in cooperation with each other to reach the nations. Further, I feel certan that I would, if we lived and served in the same community, partner with you and your church without reservation in spreading the gospel to our community and globally! I think I’d probably seek a friendship with you – just as I have non cals in my area.

            I think it’s like that…in the real world.

            You and I butt heads here….but I consider you a partner in the gospel – and I’m pretty sure (i know im presuming) you view me likewise.

            Most people in the pew when presented with the perhaps the defining question of Calvinism vs non Calvinism “does God save people because they choose to believe – or – do people choose to believe because God calls them to belief”…. IMO might very likely answer “both”.

            I’ve got a pastor friend whose father in law in also a pastor. His father in law – who is a blogger himself – often quips about us bloggers and commenters that we often “spend lots of time talking to each other striving at answering questions no one else is even asking.”

            He’s probably right more often than not.

            Yet I disagree with you strongly at times

          • Tarheel says

            William, agreed.

            You forgot two though…

            1. There’s automatic assumption that very action, thought, or comment made by someone “in the other camp” is viewed as based in Cal/NonCal agenda….this is not always true and the automatic assumption is not healthy.

            2. Both “camps” are intent they are the innocent, aggrieved ones constantly attacked by those who disagree. That’s not healthy either.

            (I certainly include myself as engaging in these unhealthy behaviors). I need to repent. I need to draw that revival circle around myself.

          • Dave Miller says

            William, I think your analysis is skewed. Among the CalvOCD bloggers every office and appointment is viewed in C/non-C terms. I don’t know that the split among bloggers represents the general sentiment among average Baptists.

          • Tarheel says

            Bart, I didn’t finish that last sentence in my post
            June 16, 2014 at 9:40 am

            Yet, I disagree with you strongly at times and while that ain’t the end if the world, Mean we aren’t brothers, or spell doom for the convention….but it does create some blogging tension from time to time doesn’t it?

          • says

            William T
            Yes much unhealthy stuff in the convention. My real hope for the future lies within the church. The convention does not have to be healthy for the church to flourish. I think this is one reason that participation in the denomination has declined.

          • Doug Hibbard says

            D.L.

            do you think that, perhaps, there is a renewed local church health focus that has affected denominational participation?

            For example, pastors realizing that there are unhealthy behaviors at the state or national level, and so they avoid participation to put their effort into health at the church level?

            Just wondering if that’s part of the spiral of non-participation in annual meetings and the like.

          • Bart Barber says

            Dave is right. Although it is true that SOME PEOPLE view everything through C/T lenses, I absolutely reject the notion that the entire convention—or even necessarily the majority of it—use that as their primary filter through which they view the world. It factors in more than it ought, in my opinion, but less than a lot of people suppose.

            I’m saying so and Dave is saying so. We’ve both been officers in the SBC in the recent past. I serve on the board for a convention entity and for a state convention at present. On occasion I actually get to see the decisions being made as they are being made in the inner workings of the convention. What do I see? Not the same people making the same decisions according to the same motivations (“Kill the Calvinists!” vs “The Galactic Calvinist Empire Is At Hand!”). Not at all.

            The convention is far more complicated than any dichotomy can appropriately describe. Alongside soteriology there are a dozen other questions upon which people differ. Pioneer vs Old South? How ought CP to be allocated? Methodological pragmatists vs. Theologues? Each succeeding question realigns the parties based upon these complex factors.

          • says

            Doug
            Yes, I think you make a valid point. There is a sense in which there is renewed effort in the area of church health. That is good. While NAMB has talked about it some I would like to see a little more “umph” in that area.

            I value church planting. However I also value church health efforts. It does little good to start a church and lose two.

  49. Dean Stewart says

    I will make a prediction. In about 30 minutes the Spurs will hoist the NBA championship and Dave is going to be in a foul mood. This thread is on life support and Dr Kevorkian is about to pull the plug.

    • Dave Miller says

      I’ve been a Spurs fan for many years. Tim D. winning does n I think cause me pain. I cheered for the Heat but if OK had won I’d be really upset.

  50. Dave Miller says

    I am so thankful that the tone of the SBC Annual meeting was so much more peaceful and Christlike than many of the comments on this thread. There has been some good discussion, but a lot of pettiness as well.

    I will go to my grave wondering why people who love Christ and serve Christ talk to each other on blogs the way some of us talk to each other.

    Anyway, unless there is a productive comment pretty soon, I think the “they started it” food fight will be ended in the only way I know how. Comments will be closed.

    I’m on vacation this week, so I’ll be out of touch, but you guys behave yourselves!

  51. Roger Simpson says

    I think this whole discussion is going over the head of 99% of “rank and file” SBC church members like myself.

    Looking at all the present entity heads, I know that some of them do have a historical ties to Louisville which I guess ostensibly puts them in the Calvinist camp. But I don’t think that a nuanced soteriological view is a major component of the person’s effectiveness as an agency president.

    Personally, I think the trajectory of the six seminaries, the IMB and NAMB is on the right track. I don’t think whatever is going on at any of these entities correlates with whether or not they have leaders who are (or supposedly are) either Calvinist or non-Calvinist.

    We don’t have a system where entity heads are up for re-election every two or four years. But if we did I’d vote for the current slate of agency heads we have because they are all doing a good job.

    The search committee for the IMB back in 2006 / 2007 did an excellent job in recruiting Dr Eliff. I believe that the current IMB presidential search committee will be equally as effective.

    I don’t believe in a quota system for agency head appointments.

    As Shakespeare said, “You protesteth [sp] too much”.

    Roger Simpson Oklahoma City OK

  52. Roger Simpson says

    The text as received with my exegesis in brackets:

    “To be or not to be [Calvinist], that is the question” Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1

    • dr. james willingham says

      There is no doubt as to his being a Calvinist (probably an Augustinian). After all, he wrote of man as “the insensible rock and the unsoluble clod” in the Tempest.

  53. Stuart says

    Just a few thoughts:
    1. I thought the report was somewhat bizarre, but it seems to have have its intended effect.
    2. We’re Baptists. We developed from a confluence of streams. Therefore, see #1.
    3. This thread has run its course and needs to be locked.
    4. Go USA! USA! USA!

    • Bart Barber says

      Regarding #4, are you talking about the conflict in Iraq? I can’t think of anything else meaningful in which the USA is presently competing.

      • Chris Roberts says

        He probably means the current competition taking place in Brazil involving the import/export of US trade goods.

      • Stuart says

        Conflict in Iraq, World Cup, World Baseball Classic, Track & Field, Swimming, Skiing, Curling, Moot Court, UIL Lincoln-Douglas Debates…you name it. USA all the way!

  54. Roger Simpson says

    Bart:

    Re #4: It is not preordained from the beginning of time that the USA will loose tonight against Ghana. Along with Stuart I say, “GO USA”.

  55. says

    Wow. What was I doing all weekend? I log on to SBCVoices and find 323 comments on Bart’s post. Wow. I wonder what the record is? In hopes of keeping this momentum going, just who were the Nephilim?

    • volfan007 says

      The Nephilim were Semi Pelagian, Amillenial, Biscuit Eaters, who turned Calvinists, once they saw the Full Moon on a Thursday night in May. Then, they migrated into Canada, and became known as the Lost Tribe of Israel. After several years, they moved to New York City, and lived in the Bronx. Once in the Bronx, after eating a lot of hot dogs, they invented the game of baseball. They later became known as the New York Yankees. Once they became NY Yankees, they became so depressed that they joined the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir…..well, this cheered them up, and they became Arminians.

      Today, we can see the Nephilim strolling the streets of NYC selling “watches,” and “purses,” and “jewelry.”

      Well, that’s what I was told, anyway.

      David :)

    • Dave Miller says

      The record is in the neighborhood of 1400. I seldom let them go that long anymore, because the discussion goes so far astray.

      This debate is good and there have been enough good comments that I have kept them open. I’ve been tempted to shut it down from time to time, but then a helpful comment pops up and I keep it going.

  56. says

    #227
    SVMuschany

    Let’s see. You couldn’t offer Dr. Barber any historical specifics which you allege make ignorant those of us who see more of an Anabaptist influence on Baptist origins than typical Calvinists like you do. Now you make blanket statements about people creating blogs which, according to you, “do nothing but demean the concept of Christian civility.”

    In case you have not learned this yet, may I remind you that what others claim on comment threads may or may not reflect the author of the original post, my good SVMuschany. Just ask your esteemed general editor, Dave Miller, if the all comments on these threads accurately reflect his views on any particular topic under discussion. Now, I suggest you put up or shut up: show me a single line I’ve personally written where I’ve attributed Mohler’s et al words to demonic influence, a lying tongue, a heretical belief, or any other morally punitive motive, and I’ll not only publicly and privately apologize, I’ll buy you a week’s worth of Starbucks. Deal?

    If you find you don’t have time, SVMuschany, not to worry. This will be a standing challenge to you. And, it will remain in force not only for all I’ve written in the past, but what I intend to write in the future! Now search to your heart’s desire. Find where I’ve called Mohler, et al a liar, a moral scoundrel, a heretic, a morally unworthy human being in those “2 dozen posts” you mentioned.

    Furthermore, you most certainly did not recall correctly. If I may: A) I initially submitted a resolution not “made a motion.” B) I submitted the resolution to the Resolutions Committee not the convention floor. C) The Resolutions Committee accepted the draft almost in it’s entirety (a few key phrases were edited and a couple web links were added. Only one exception exists. See below. Here’s a link to the passed resolution with the appropriate changes marked– http://goo.gl/DwvHvz ). D) The wording was not “slightly changed to make it more generalized” as you wrongly recall. Instead a key paragraph was deleted altogether. E) I stood to amend the resolution reinserting another paragraph altogether different from the one deleted. F) My amendment passed overwhelmingly contra the Resolutions Committee’s wishes. G) Lamented? Why would I lament a proposed change to the Resolutions Committee’s resolution that I myself was offering in the amendment? An amendment which I personally penned, and a resolution which overwhelmingly passed verbatim as I presented it? H) Nor have I the slightest idea to what you’re referring when you state I presented “a motion… that he [Peter] admits was to target men like Mohler…” Excuse me? You claim you’re a trained historian, SVMuschany; perhaps even a scholar. Could you point us to some tangible evidence we might examine where I admit I was targeting Mohler?

    Thanks.

    With that, I am…
    Peter

  57. Louis says

    I believe Mark Terry’s comment was spot on about this debate and particularly the influence of revivalism in the SBC.

  58. Louis says

    I appreciate Dr. P whom I have known since 1981 or so.

    But I do not care for this year’s report.

    I am not offended by it. It is not meant to be offensive.

    I believe is not a good communications piece.

  59. Louis says

    It was good to see William Thornton mention Gushee’s pieces in ABP about the future of the moderates and the CBF.

    I thought that Gushee asked some good questions, particularly about whether the CBF should have some doctrinal confession.

    Bill Leonard’s response to Gushee was really hostile.

    I don’t recommend that you guys take the time to go and read that now, but let me just tell you, the SBC has no problems compared with what those guys are going to face. The SBC a doctrinal confession, which seems to me to be an absolute in Christian church life.

  60. Louis says

    Finally, since we are on the topic of SWBTS, Bart, did SWBTS really paint over the cigar in B.H. Carroll’s hand?

    Say it ain’t so!!!

    Please!!!!

    • Bart Barber says

      That legend has been around for a long time. I asked Dr. James Leo Garrett (aka smartest Southern Baptist presently living), and he said that this was not correct.

      • Stuart says

        Far be it from me to argue with Dr. Garrett, but if you look very closely at Carroll’s hand, there is a black circle where a cigar would be if indeed there had been a cigar. While it’s possible that the painter just did something odd with his brush strokes there, it certainly lends credence to the theory that a cigar was painted over. Still, the legend has been around since at least as long as the Dilday presidency, if not Naylor…so it’s hardly something that can be lain at the feet of Dr. P.

  61. Louis says

    Bart:

    I am so glad to know that is your understanding.

    You know what SWBTS should do is have a painting restoration company, an expert in the field, examine the painting and confirm that. If it was done, I don’t know when it would have been done. Could have been 80 years ago.

    But it would sure be good to confirm that.

    Not that I don’t trust you, or what Garrett told you. But scientific proof would be great, and I bet it would not cost that much.

    • Doug Hibbard says

      It would cost too much for something that insignificant.

      Every college, seminary, grad school, whatever that’s been around for more a couple of decades has its odd stories. Let this be one of SWBTS’ stories and let it go. Start a creative writing contest about what was *really* there.

      Imagine if we found it was something truly embarrassing, which given the founding history of the SBC wouldn’t be surprising. Maybe we’re all better off just accepting it as it is and moving on.

      I mean, imagine if he was originally holding a copy of Heaven is For Real?

      That would be awful.

  62. Chris Johnson says

    Wow, I go away a couple of days and miss the action.

    My question is why does Paige write these things before the convention? The exercise seems to tie up a lot of resources. He might be better served to pen these types of things just shortly after the convention, since it appears the commentary is more about a “brand” than a “calling”. There is plenty of time for branding. Its too bad that Bart has to rescue parts and pieces of the things Paige wrote; yet I am glad he tries.

    It also appears that the atonement thing always surfaces this time of year. Atonement is never limited or unlimited. God’s atoning work is complete and in motion, and contains everyone that He calls to himself; even all things. John 3 is crystal clear to teach us that an individual cannot be born again without a Heavenly Father. Certainly the actions of the Father are not only initial, but necessary to the birth, and sustaining of the child. And in this case through eternity. Frankly, arguments for general or limited atonement are so short sighted in the activity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to the ends of the earth and beyond, that the little spattering over brands of atonement get a bit boring and counterproductive in the whole scheme of things. I would hope all the SBC seminaries would be quite more comprehensive in their approach to the work of God in atonement, and stay away from the business of branding.

    Blessings,
    Chris

    • Chris Johnson says

      Parsonmike,

      I would answer it this way,

      John 6,
      35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
      36 “But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.
      37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
      38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who dsent Me.
      39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
      40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (NASB)

      Can’t go wrong with that truth. The Father has given the Son “all” that will come to him.

      Blessings,
      Chris

    • Chris Roberts says

      David,

      Playing the game of “which belief system has led to the most bad stuff” isn’t particularly wise, nor does it really accomplish anything. And arguing that people should believe in God because not believing in God would create anarchy is problematic for multiple reasons. Among them, the simple fact that it does nothing to demonstrate whether or not there really is a God. It’s essentially telling people, “It doesn’t matter whether or not there is a God, it’s only important that you believe in him.”

      As for reading the Bible, I doubled down on the Bible and prayer during my period of wavering, and we see where that got me.

      • volfan007 says

        Chris,

        I say this…not to be mean, or snarky….but, Hell is real. And, people, who aren’t saved, will go to Hell. So, it’s not just about “which belief system has led to the most bad stuff,” or creating anarchy. It is really about your soul, and your eternal destiny.

        David

        • Chris Roberts says

          David,

          I understand you’re not being mean or snarky. I know the concern that goes with a belief in eternal judgment. I was responding to the particular point that was raised. Hell was never mentioned by the other David. But it is ironic that you mention a place of unending torment for the majority of humanity when the topic had been which religion leads to the most bad stuff.

          • volfan007 says

            Chris,

            Sadly, the majority of people will go to Hell. Broad is the road that leads to eternal destruction. The road to Heaven is very narrow. And, it is sad that so many people will suffer in the fires of Hell forever….very sad. And, Chris, I’m concerned that you may be one of them.

            David

          • volfan007 says

            Chris,

            I’m guessing you don’t believe there really is a Hell, anymore.

            smh

            Chris, if I can ever help you to turn from this….please let me know. I will drive to Nashville to meet you, if you want to talk to someone about coming to Christ. My email is volfan007@bellsouth.net.

            David

    • says

      Chris,
      Aren’t you the one I met last year at the Houston SBC?
      The one who took a copy of a booklet by Jerry Vines?
      I’m now reading his new autobiography; it is very interesting and well worth reading.

      I really did not write my comment for you, but for anyone considering walking down the road you’ve gone.
      There is yet hope for them.
      Frankly, there is probably no hope for you.
      I’ve never seen anyone do what you’ve done and come back. Never.
      One of my best friends in college did the same thing you’ve done, and I’ve known others who have done the same.
      No one is harder or colder than someone inoculated to the Gospel.
      Someone who once had the truth, or claimed they had the truth, then rejected it all.
      One who knows the answer to every question and even the questions, yet remains unmoved by the Spirit.
      Of course, I wish you would prove me wrong.
      And whether you believe it or not, my heart really aches for you.

      To the others – beware.
      There is great danger and ruin ahead.
      Stay very close to Jesus, the Word of God, and those who follow God’s Word.
      Never, never turn your back on Jesus.
      David R. Brumbelow

      • Chris Roberts says

        We probably did meet in Houston, and I do remember getting the Vines booklet.

  63. Chris Johnson says

    Hey Chris, this is Chris,

    Just got back online from a couple of days ago and read through the string. Sounds like you got a bad piece of meat somewhere along the path.

    Also, I see your a coder. I saw your TradingPub work,….pretty good. From the previous comments, I have realized and I’m glad you’ve figured out that believing in a “system” will not bring you into a relationship with God.

    The better piece of meat, is that God has given a clear and unambiguous call to those that believe. Such a call is only glory to Him and is evident to the one giving glory to Him. God is never mocked by the atheist or the Christ follower.

    Blessings,
    Chris

  64. Chris Johnson says

    vol,

    I think I’m your Chris in Nashville… The Chris out of Florida that attended Samford may be the one you want to visit with.

    Feel free to come to Nashville though,…we can have some good brisket over at Texas BBQ!

    Blessings,
    Chris

    • Chris Roberts says

      Really? You’re in Nashville? The company I work for is in Franklin. I’ll be up there next week. Moving there as soon as we can sell the house.

    • Chris Roberts says

      And technically I went to Beeson, not Samford. Beeson is part of Samford but still maintains a distinct identity.

      • Chris Johnson says

        Chris,

        Yes, I am very familiar with Samford and Beeson, as I am consulting with them on several projects at the moment. Glad to hear you are coming to Nashville,…I’ve been there about 27 years now. Great place to live.

        Look me up sometime. I think we have could have some good discussions surrounding the type of work you are involved in. Here is my Linkedin address; http://www.linkedin.com/pub/chris-johnson/5/746/64/

        Blessings,
        Chris

        • Chris Roberts says

          I liked it well enough. Good professors on the whole, with a few in the mix I’d prefer to have left before I got there.

    • volfan007 says

      OOOOHHH….I thought Chris Roberts lived in the Nashville area. So, Chris, you’re moving to Franklin….a good town….a busy, busy, congested town…but a good town. My wife’s brother and his children and grandchildren live in the next town over…in Fairview.

      Chris Johnson, what part of the Nashville area do you live in? And, I prefer Witt’s pork BBQ!!

      David

  65. says

    Have any of you seen the baptist press article about a panel at the convention sponsored by lifeway and the Gospel project? In the article and at the panel Frank Page defends his book “The Trouble with Tulip”. He said this in attacking Calvinism and talking about evangelism: “I believe there are people in hell today who should not be in hell.” Is this really what the non-calvinists believe? That is blasphemy. It implies that God unjustly sends people to hell. It also implies that there are people in hell who do not deserve to be in hell. It paints God as someone in need of pity who could not save people who don’t deserve to be in hell. Or it makes God into a moral monster who sends people to hell who do not deserve it. I can’t believe someone who is a leader in our convention would make that statement.

    • volfan007 says

      Spurgeon,

      I was not at this panel discussion. I think it met at the same time as the Connect 316 breakfast, which I did attend, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, BTW. But, I would imagine what Frank Page meant, here….although I can certainly not speak for him…but, I’d imagine what he meant here was that there were some people in Hell, who wouldn’t be there, if only Christians had done more to reach out to the lost. I don’t think he means that some people are in Hell, who don’t deserve Hell. I think he would agree that with us that everyone deserves to be in Hell. But, he was just simply saying that if we would do more to evangelize the lost, then there would be fewer people, who are going to Hell.

      David

      • Todd Benkert says

        We’d all do well if we interpreted people’s remarks in the best light rather than the worst. That goes back to the original point of Bart’s post — we are too easily offended and read into things what often is not there.

      • Tarheel says

        Volfan is correct.

        I don’t agree with FP here, but he was not arguing that sinners don’t deserve to go go hell…he was maintaining his position of the general atonement and that people are in hell because we weren’t / aren’t faithful in witnessing to them.

    • Todd Benkert says

      I was there and thought the discussion was great! It’s unfortunate to me that such a positive panel discussion at the Gospel Project breakfast, where Calvinist and Traditionist leaders had a candid and brotherly discussion and found common ground even in their real and distinct differences, could now be the launching point for us to start calling one another blasphemers.

      What was encouraging about the panel was that Stetzer asked very pointed questions and not only did the panelists answer candidly, the fellow-panelists really sought to understand what each other were really arguing. We would do well to do that in our discussions online.

      • Tarheel says

        Todd, agreed!

        I tweeted after that event a sincere thanks to Dr page and others for doing that.

        It truly was beautiful to watch….4 guys all strongly willed .. And each serious students….lovingly and with appropriate banter debating a controversial topic.

        I have always respected dr. Page as he is strongly convicted about his beliefs but is NOT a flame thrower. He works, I think very hard at fostering unity.

        He’s, I think, the right man, at the right time, in the right position, for our convention.

        I disagree with almost everything he said in that panel discussion on the topic of Calvinism but he’s a good man and he is not a blasphemer. He’s just wrong on some things. ;-)

    • Adam Blosser says

      Did you attend the panel? Have you heard Page’s statements in the context in which they were spoken. If not, you should be ashamed of yourself for accusing a brother of blasphemy. As others have noted, you wrongly interpreted the statements made by Frank Page after reading about them in BP. He intended to communicate that there are people in hell who would not be there had someone taken the gospel to them and they repented and believed.

      • parsonsmike says

        I think Joseph Spurgeon has brother Page wrong.
        And that Tarheel, Volfan, and Todd have him right.

        But that doctrine stinks.
        God couldn’t save some people because of fallen not yet perfect Christians are unfaithful. Poor God, so frustrated by man. He can’t even love/save some people because His own children are not yet perfect.
        I guess God and ourselves can blame every Christian who ever lived for those gross mistakes. But then we must also blame God as well, for it was His plan from the beginning, which He foresaw, and knew EXACTLY that would happen. Yet He created anyhow.

        Yep, God knew each and every person, by name, of who would end up in Hell because His children are not perfect.

        Wow, it sure stinks, don’t it?

        • volfan007 says

          Parson,

          No one said that God COULDN’T save someone….we’re saying that more people could be saved, if Christians would do more to win them. So, you’re twisting what Frank Page said, and what I mean, when we make such a statement. It’s not that God CAN’T save them….no one said that.

          David

        • Dean Stewart says

          Parson, You state that former president of the SBC, Frank Page’s teaching stinks. Frank Page, the man who earned a M Div and a PH.D in Christian Ethics at the age of 28 from SWBTS, his doctrine stinks! I assume the aroma of the teaching that God decides one infant will be sent to hell for the sin of Adam while choosing the next child in the maternity ward is destined for heaven is more pleasurable to your olfactory? I am not up to an argument, to elect some is to reprobate the rest just as Calvin states. I submit that such teaching leaves an offensive odor.

          You assert below that God is not dependent upon humans to accomplish His will. When it comes to matters of salvation such is an unfounded claim because the Bible clearly teaches that it is God’s very will to use humans to accomplish His will in this matter. In His sovereignty He has made it so that without the human proclamation of the Gospel no one can be saved. Plainly the Word of God says, “How can they call on whom they have not heard?” Some believe salvation may be obtained through general revelation. If that is your teaching, it stinks. Salvation is available to all who call on the name of the Lord. Only those exposed to the Gospel can be saved.

          Your words remind me of John Ryland, “Young man, sit down; when God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid and mine.”

          • says

            Dean,
            I never heard brother Page preach or teach.
            I was speaking about doctrine, not about personalities.

            I said the doctrine that says that there are those in Hell who never heard the Gospel because the children of God are imperfect stinks.

            Now, if you were one of those people, who could have been saved, and weren’t because I failed to witness to you, wouldn’t that just stink to you?

            Neither did I say that we should not go into all the world and witness of Jesus, His Lordship and His Gospel. In fact, we should, we are commanded to do so. And since we also had someone to witness to us, we should also seek to witness to others.

            Now Scripturally, God once used an ASS to get His Word out. So while God chooses to use humans, He does not have to. A man could open up a Gideon Bible in a hotel room, and be saved. But to be more precise, I meant that God does not need to use willing humans to preach His Word. Paul said that some preach the Gospel to further his pain, but that he rejoiced simply in the idea that Gospel was being spread.

            Jumping to conclusions isn’t right.
            But I appreciate your response anyway, it allows me to witness for the truth.

            peace in Jesus my brother,
            mike

          • John Wylie says

            Mike,

            Would going to hell simply because God neglected to choose you stink any less?

          • Dean Stewart says

            Parson, no one said you claimed that Dr Page had body odor. Yet, you made it very clear you thought what he was teaching stunk.

            Secondly, my interaction was with what the New Testament says about proclamation of the Gospel. You made the claim that God can accomplish salvation of souls without human efforts. I submit that is contrary to the New Testament. There is not one passage that teaches what you claim. The NT teaches that God in His sovereignty has made humans the way the Good News will be shared. Paul said, “How can they believe in whom they have not heard?” You reach to the Old Testament for Balaam’s Donkey to show God can speak through an animal. If you have a dog who can preach I will book him for my next revival. Balaam’s donkey has nothing to with the New Testament proclamation of the Gospel. You refer to Gideon Bibles being placed. Do you not see Gideons who happen to be humans print and place the Bible for the proclamation of the Gospel? As a matter of fact, hundreds of thousands of humans are involved in the placing of Gideon Bibles.

            Finally, you need to reread what I said. I made no comment about your mission practices or teaching. I said your words remind me of John Ryland. They do. He told Carey God can save without human effort. You say the same thing. No one has jumped to conclusions. I interacted with your thoughts which in this case are not New Testament thoughts and yes it would stink for me to be one who went to hell because no one came to share the Gospel. However, that would not be God’s fault it would be your fault, Vols fault, Dave Miller’s fault for not getting the Gospel to me. I do not sit in judgment of God about how the Gospel is shared but He sits in judgment of us. I hope you have a better answer than I trusted you would send a donkey.

      • parsonsmike says

        Adam,
        Maybe there is no one in Hell who would not be there if they had heard the Gospel.
        Maybe everyone is in Hell because they rejected or would have rejected the Gospel.
        That is what I believe:
        No one is hell who would have believed if they heard the Gospel.

        God uses us humans but is not dependent on us to accomplish His will. When Joseph’s brothers meant to do evil, God used it for good. God can and does use our unfaithfulness to accomplish His every goal.
        God is NOT frustrated by man.

        peace brother,
        mike

        • Adam Blosser says

          You are preaching to the choir. I didn’t say that I agree with Page’s statement, simply that Joseph is wrongly accusing a brother while clearly misunderstanding what he said.

          • says

            No I understand what Page meant and I still think it is impugning God with injustice. I have no where condemned Page or said that he intended to blaspheme God. However this view that there are people in hell who shouldn’t be is misguided and it borders on blaspheming God. I have in the past appreciated Frank Page and still consider him a brother in Christ. I asked him on his facebook to clarify and he said that the statement was about evangelism and went on to give the same reason that some of you noted above. I still find that highly problematic.

          • Dave Miller says

            Is there anything, short of converting to Calvinism, that Frank can do to satisfy you?

            He is a man who shows in reality the grace that some only champion as a doctrine.

          • volfan007 says

            Blasphemes God? Seriously? By just stating that more people could be in Heaven, if Christians would do more to win people to Jesus.

            smh

            David

    • says

      Good grief is right. If we really believe that there are people in hell who shouldn’t be there because God was not able to save them because we didn’t evangelize that we should grieve. I grieve that this view is even acceptable. John 6:37 All that the father gives to me will come to me. should be changed to John 6:37 All that the father gives to me who are lucky enough to have someone tell them about me will come to me.

      • volfan007 says

        Spurgeon,

        Again, you are misrepresenting what Page said, and what I’m saying. No one….and, I mean, NO ONE is saying that God is weak, or somehow unable to save some people, who went to Hell. That is only in your own mind.

        Will you please stop misrepresenting the viewpoint of Non Calvinist, SB’s? Or, is this deliberate?

        David

          • John Wylie says

            Act 20:26-27 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. (27) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

          • volfan007 says

            Ezekiel 3:18, “When I say to the wicked, You shall surely die; and you give him not warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand.”

          • John Wylie says

            Exactly right Vol. Paul was innocent of the blood of all men because he had declared the whole counsel of God to them.

          • volfan007 says

            Jude 22-23,”22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”

          • John Wylie says

            Yes Sir,

            Nothing better than just letting the Bible speak and accepting the obvious meaning of it.

          • volfan007 says

            Matthew 13:54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

            He did not do many mighty works there because of THEIR UNBELIEF.

            DAvid

          • says

            Yes those verses are correct we will answer for how we obeyed the great commission however those verses do not indicate that those people would have been saved nor that they would not have been in hell if otherwise. In fact just prior to Ezekiel 3 :18, God tells Ezekiel that the people of Israel will not listen to him.

          • John Wylie says

            They indicate that when we fail to warn folks we are responsible not only for not obeying the Great Commission but we are actually accountable for their blood.

          • Tarheel says

            I agree….let the bible speak and accept the obvious meaning.

            And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were APPOINTED to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:46-48 ESV)

          • Tarheel says

            But the obvious reading says those appointed believed – no?

            I’m just playing with ya, btw.

          • says

            Joseph is wrong to accuse Brother Page of Blasphemy.

            But…
            How many people do you guys pass by in the grocery store, at the park, with the kids at the zoo, etc, and fail to share the Gospel with?
            Only Paul is pure from the blood of all men?
            Are you?
            Do you stand in line at the DMV and witness to everyone?
            At the bank?

            So what is the penalty required of us who fail to be like Paul, and be pure from the blood of all men?

            Those verses in NO WAY support the premise that some will be in Hell because Christians fail to do their jobs faithfully 100%.

            Joseph is still completely wrong for calling brother page a blasphemer.

          • volfan007 says

            Parson,

            Paul’s life was about preaching the Gospel, so that all the people around him knew what his message was; and whenever he had opportunity, he proclaimed to the Gospel. It doesn’t mean that you have to witness to every, single person you meet on the street. Maybe they’re not open to a witness? Maybe the door is not open to witness to a person? Maybe all we can do is try to be a witness to them by treating them good? or, developing a relationship with some people, so that we can share the Gospel with them?

            We should preach the Gospel to as many people as we can, and we should be ready to share the Gospel with people, as the opportunities arise.

            I know that I’ve missed too many opportunities, and I’ve asked God to forgive me for not caring for their souls as I should have, or for not having my heart ready and prepared by loving Jesus as I should, or for just being plain ole lazy.

            David

        • Tarheel says

          Volfan,

          It sucks to have your theology misrepresented doesn’t it? I feel your pain. ;-)

          • volfan007 says

            Tarheel,

            Unless someone’s beliefs are like trying to nail jello to the wall, and they’re dodging what they really believe, or refuse to see the logical end of their philosophy.

            David ;)

          • says

            His philosophy is not misrepresented:

            He was asked:
            “Are you saying that there are people in hell who would not be there if someone would have evangelized them?”

            He answered, “Yes.”

          • says

            David,
            You said,
            “Again, you are misrepresenting what Page said, and what I’m saying. No one….and, I mean, NO ONE is saying that God is weak, or somehow unable to save some people, who went to Hell. That is only in your own mind.”

            So then, the people in Hell no one witnessed to, why didn’t God save them?
            You said He was able to.
            And yet he did not? Why?

            mike

          • volfan007 says

            Parson,

            Why did they not get saved? Well, obviously it’s because they chose to not be saved. God could have saved them. God wanted to save them. But, God has given man free will….to make choices…. real choices….and, if man rejects God’s offer of salvation, then God lets him remain lost.

            David

          • says

            Don and David,
            We are talking about those in Hell who NEVER heard the Gospel.
            David said God was able to save them, but since they are in Hell, He must have chose not to. So i asked why?

            So since they never heard the Gospel, how could they exercise their free will and accept it?

          • volfan007 says

            Parson,

            Those people, who have never heard the Gospel, will go to Hell, because they’re sinners. Right now, they have the light of creation and conscious. And, the Holy Spirit uses what light a person has to draw them…to convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. And, if any of those people truly wanted to know this Creator God, and be forgiven of their sins, then God would move Heaven and Earth to get a missionary to them. And, if we would do more to get the Gospel to those people, then more of them would be saved.

            David

          • John Wylie says

            They couldn’t accept it. But nonetheless they are still accountable. Read Romans 1.

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            I misread your question. I should have stated they did not believe the Everlasting Gospel.

          • says

            John and David,

            Thanks brothers for your responses.

            Yes John, they deserve it. They are there because they sinned. PERIOD. and not because someone failed to witness to them.

            David,
            So then they are not in Hell because someone failed to witness to them. So you also disagree with brother Page’s belief?

          • John Wylie says

            With all due respect Brother Mike,

            They are not there because they have sinned, they are there because they have not believed. Believing sinners go to heaven and unbelieving sinners go to hell.

          • says

            Don,
            Well it does weird that you differentiate between the Gospel and the Everlasting Gospel.
            Orthodox Christianity, as per Galatians 1, believes in JUST ONE Gospel.

            Care to explain?

          • volfan007 says

            Parson,

            As I have said….yes, I agree with Page….there will be people in HEll, who would not be there, if God’s people would be more faithful and committed to getting the Gospel out to the world. Now, people go to Hell, because of their unbelief…..and, all people deserve Hell, because of their sinful lives…..but, if Believers would just be more faithful and more committed to preaching the Gospel, then more of those people would not be in Hell.

            David

          • says

            John,
            Isn’t unbelief a sin?
            Or does one go to Hell simply by not believing?
            So in that vein, children who are aborted go to hell since they never believed?

            Rather John the Bible over and over and over, in both Testaments, in numerous places tells us that the wages of sin is eternal death, that the soul who sins will die, that if you eat of the wrong tree, you will surely die this day.
            Romans 1, where you directed me says:

            For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

            and

            And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of DEATH, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

            Romans 2 tells us quite plainly:
            But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.

            and…

            For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

            John there is much more in Romans and the rest of the Bible to make this truth easy to grasp.
            Ask me, and I will dig them up for you.

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            The Gospel Paul was referring to in Gal. 1 was the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by which people are born again if they believe it. However, the Gospel of Christ didn’t begin until after the resurrection of Christ. We preach the Gospel of Christ and have been for nearly 2000 years.

          • says

            David,
            How do you know there would be more in Heaven if you were more faithful? Does everyone you witness the Gospel to, get saved? Therefore it is possible that those you have failed to witness to, would have rejected it, every last one of them, RIGHT?

            So what you mean, and i am asking, is that God is able to save them IF we would witness to them, but is UNABLE to save them otherwise, correct?

            But even when we do witness to some people, God remains UNABLE to save them because of their free will?

            So God is UNABLE to save some folks.
            Just admit it, no need to hem and haw about it.

            God is unable to save some folks because you and I are unfaithful.
            And God is unable to save some folks because they are too hard-hearted against Him.

          • volfan007 says

            Parsons,

            God offers them salvation. Whether a person receives this gift from God, or not, is up to them. Could God save them? Of course. Will God save them? Yes, if they’ll repent and put their faith in Jesus.
            And, of course, everyone that I witness to, or that someone else might witness to, might reject the message. And, they’ll go to Hell, because of their unbelief and sinful life and for rejecting the Gospel.

            But, the more Gospel is preached, then the more people will get saved…..not everyone we witness to will get saved…but, MORE will get saved.

            I like the way Jerry Falwell used to say it, when he was talking about how he used to be a strong Calvinist, but then became less of one as he got older in his faith…..he said that he begin to realize that the more people he witnessed to, then the more people God seemed to elect!!

            :)

            David

          • Don Johnson says

            David,

            Yes. It’s called sowing and reaping. The more we sow the more “elect” seem to pop up.

  66. Tarheel says

    Dave miller,

    We know that ain’t happening. I agree with you about Dr. Page. He really appears from a distance anyway – my vantage point – to be a man of grace and humility and one who seeks unity. He ain’t caving on his conviction but he don’t poke the bears or stoke the fires either.

    I’m actually glad this came up as it, I think casts light on this comment stream. The reason FP gets deference here from most, IMO, is the facts I just mentioned.

    PP doesn’t get that deference because he is and has been a bear poker and a flame thrower. His statement was read in the spirit of his well known demeanor.

    Honestly, If frank page had said “cousins” – I wouldn’t like it – but he’d get more deference in my mind.

  67. says

    People go to hell for punishment for their sins of which not believing the gospel is one sin, but not the only one. It is like the person who has a deadly disease (sin), but rejects the cure (gospel). While the person would have lived had he accepted the cure (gospel); what killed him was the disease (sin).

    • Don Johnson says

      Mark,

      No. People do not go to Hell for punishment of their sins. Christ took their punishment on the cross. They go to Hell because they chose not to believe and therefore stand condemned (John 3:18). If people when to Hell as punishment for their sins eventually they would get out, because eventually the payment would be made. It’s true sin causes death, but most people continue to live physically after sinning though they have died spiritually. Those that believe the Gospel are saved and those that don’t are damned (Mark 16:16).

          • says

            Don,
            Rev. 14:6-7
            6 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; 7 and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”

            So people who have died before Christ’s Gospel, and those who have died since His Resurrection, but have not heard Christ’s Gospel could and cab get saved by this other Gospel, delivered to them by an angel?

            So then they do not need Christ’s Gospel to be saved, correct?

          • says

            Don,
            Fair enough.
            People got saved the same way they do now.
            They heard the Word of the Lord and believed it.
            Jesus is the Everlasting Word. He is the Word of God.
            They didn’t get saved because an angel preached from the sky.

            Now the Word of God that saves is His promise. To be saved, one believes the promise of God.

            But they who do not hear His Word of promise can not be saved.
            And today, since Jesus, the Word of promise is the Gospel, which you call the Gospel of Christ.

            Thus when the angel speaks the Word to the people in Rev. 14, it will be the Gospel. We know this because we read in Gal. 1:

            I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

            So today, all those who die with out hearing the Gospel of Christ, DIE IN THEIR SINS, and are condemned because they are sinners.

            John 3
            For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

            No one is condemned by the first coming of Christ. That was not the purpose. Those who are not believers, and that would include those who never hear, are already under judgment, The only escape from judgment is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

            All people have chosen darkness [sin and selfishness] over Light [obedience] and thus stand condemned. if you have been following this thread, I have already given 4 verses that show this as true. And i can give you many more. here is a few from Ezekiel 18:

            Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.

            When the son has practiced justice and righteousness and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. The person who sins will die.

            some more, but not exhaustive… Rom. 2:7, Ps 2:12, Prov. 24:12, Matt. 16:2, Rom. 6:23

      • Tarheel says

        But Don, Dean, Volfan, John

        I assume with your determinative free will positions that you all also believe in God’s perfect foreknowledge … and yet He’s still creating some who will choose Him (and have reward) and those who will choose to rebel (and recieve damnation). Honesty compels most of us to admit that a bit of divine determinism is present in our theology.

        As for personal salvation ; It’s a both/and not an either/or…. God’s elective sovereignty reigns supreme in calling sinners to salvation alvation while at the same time – man chooses to follow or reject the gospel. The method of biblical evangelism is the proclamation and calling (imploring) the lost toward an affirmative response to the gospel (Great commission passages; Romans 10; Etc.)

        As we’ve talked about before-Scripture teaches both divine election and human will. They’re not biblically taught to the exclusion of one another…..somehow they work in perfect harmony. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours.

        • Dean Stewart says

          Heel, I did mention determinism at the be beginning of my first comment tonight. That was because of the shock of reading Parsonmike state that what Dr. Page was teaching stunk. Such a comment about the doctrine of the CEO of SBC kind of stunned me.

          It was your second paragraph that I chose to discuss. Parson seem to claim that proclamation of the Gospel is not necessary for salvation for “God is not dependent on man.” I thought such a claim was unusual for five point Calvinists and we all have been accused of misrepresenting you guys. I didn’t want to do that. Thank you for a clear paragraph stating proclamation of the Gospel is necessary for salvation of souls. I am sure that is the historical position of the church. I am making peach jelly with my wife and two sons. I got to get back to work. I wish you all could have a pint. Blessings on all.

  68. says

    Don,
    Thanks for your answer….
    but you failed to explain what the Everlasting Gospel is.
    And also how it is different that what you call Christ’s Gospel.
    Could you explain what you are talking about, please?
    Thanks,
    mike

  69. says

    Dave,
    We are talking about those who never heard.
    They don’t hear the Gospel, so God is unable to save them, right?
    And you said that IF we witness more, more will be saved…

    Why, Does God make more be saved due to our greater amount of witnessing?

    Please explain how that works.

    • Don Johnson says

      Mike,

      Yes, God is able to save those who have never heard. In fact the Bible let’s us know that He does indeed save some that have never heard. How many of them I don’t know. but it’s at least some.

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