Dr. Bart Barber weighs in on this issue that has been our main topic this week – the nomination of Dr. Jason Allen as the president of Midwestern Seminary. He raises several important issues and the article is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the topic.
Go read it.
He asks and gives informative answers to these five questions.
- Are you sure Dr. Allen is a Calvinist?
- Are you sure that Dr. Mohler is behind Dr. Allen’s candidacy at MBTS?
- Is Dr. Allen’s performance at his seminary church really the right measure of his candidacy?
- Is Dr. Allen a member / leader / Manchurian Candidate from the “Founders movement”?
- I wonder whether all of the YRR supporters of Dr. Allen know what he believes about beverage alcohol?
This post is just meant as an advertisement for Bart’s post. It is well-worth your time.
And he makes a point I think we need to remember on both sides. Bart a point about non-Calvinists that I would like to apply to this entire debate.
And I like to speak for myself rather than to be defined by being lumped into some group.
An uninvolved onlooker might think that the SBC has two groups – Calvinists and Traditionalists. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
If you pin me to the ground and ask me to choose or reject the label, I would probably say, “Yes, I am a Calvinist.” But I am not a Calvinist like a lot of Calvinists are Calvinists. I have a great deal of respect for Tom Ascol, Dr. Nettles, and the Founders, but I am not a Founder and there is a reason for that. I do not share all their aims and goals. The Founders have a (legitimate) voice in SBC affairs, but they do not speak for me, nor for the majority of Calvinists. The majority of Calvinists in the SBC are not members of the Founders. Assuming that Ascol and his friends are pulling all the strings among Southern Baptists is just not accurate or fair.
Those of us on the Calvinist side of the aisle are anything but monolithic.
As Bart points out, the same can be said for those who do not follow the fellow from Geneva. There is a group that has taken the label Traditionalist. But as most Calvinists have chosen not to join the Founders, most non-Calvinists in the SBC have chosen not to identify themselves as Traditionalists. Those who signed the document should be identified as Traditionalists. But no one should assume that their document speaks for all non-Calvinists any more than the Founders speak for all Calvinists.
Those of us on the non-Calvinist side of the aisle are anything but monolithic.
Baptists range from modified Arminians to Traditionalists to undefined non-Calvinists (probably the majority group) to soft-Calvinists (4 pointers, Amyraldians, Antinomists – a designation some of us have used to describe our view) to 5-pointers to passionate 5-pointers, and there are even probably a few hypers hiding in the weeds somewhere.
We do not have two views, we have 20!
We would do well to avoid sweeping generalizations (an almost impossible task, I know). We should not say, “Calvinists think this” or “Non-Calvinists think that.” We should not assume that the “Reformed” all have one goal and one strategy or that all who reject the Reformed system share a common strategy.
Something to think about.