The Problem With Calvinism in the SBC

There are a number of issues that the SBC is going to have to deal with concerning the issue of Calvinism in the SBC. The issue is not one of co-existing. It is an issue of control and influence. For years, the liberals and conservatives co-existed in the SBC. However, in the 60’s the liberal faction managed to make their way, under the radar so to speak, into the colleges and seminaries that were supported in part with Cooperative Fund monies. They began turning out preachers and graduates who saw the Bible from a more liberal stance than most traditional Southern Baptists did. This influence rooted in the seminaries was having an impact on the perceived future of the SBC. So, men like Paul Presslar, a Houston judge and Paige Patterson, then President of Criswell College and W.A. Criswell, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas and Adrian Rogers, Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee put together a plan to elect a President of the convention who could help turn the tide and the threat of liberalism in the convention. The President of the Convention was responsible for appointing people to serve on committees who would be responsible for choosing individuals to serve on various trustee boards and in various positions of leadership within the convention’s organizational entities. In this way, this group would be able to gain control of trustee appointees who in turn would be able to make sure the various entities held to the appropriate theological positions of the conservatively elected leadership. Adrian Rogers was elected President of the SBC and the conservative resurgence was begun and it continued for a number of years.

Today the SBC is facing another challenge posed by Calvinism in much the same way it did with liberalism in the 60’s and 70’s. The Calvinists will scream bloody murder at being cast in the same light as the liberals of the past generation. The point however, is unfortunately the same. The truth is, the Calvinist theological position is decidedly different from the theological position of the person in the pew today and the question must be addressed, “How much of a Calvinist influence in the SBC is enough or too much?” If the people in the pew do not make that determination, the people in power most certainly will and that tide is swiftly turning in favor of the Calvinist camp.

There is another problem that is prevalent in Calvinist pulpits and that is a message that is theologically inconsistent. The following statement that is a part of the chapter titled, “Walking Without Slipping”, which appears on the Founders Website in of all things, a “quiet” file.

“Along with the doctrines of grace, human responsibility to believe is another foundational doctrine, a hill on which to die. We must proclaim to every single person: All are sinners. All are dead in trespasses and sins. They are not sick and simply in need of help. Rather, they are dead and in need of life.

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is a perfect, able and willing Savior of sinners, even the worst, yea, even the chief.

The Father and the Son have promised that all who know themselves to be sinners and who put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior shall be received into favor, and none shall be cast out.

God has made faith and repentance a duty, requiring of every man who hears the gospel a serious and full casting of the soul upon Christ as an all-sufficient Savior. He is ready, willing and able to save all who come to God by Christ.

To the question the article “Walking Without Slipping” states, “What must I do to be saved?” we must respond to all who ask, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” What does that mean? It means: (a) knowing that you are a sinner, (b) knowing that Christ has died for sinners, (c) abandoning all self-righteousness, self-confidence and self-effort as a means of salvation, (d) casting yourself wholly upon Christ for pardon and peace, (e) exchanging your natural enmity and rebellion against Christ for a spirit of grateful submission to the will of Christ through the renewing of your heart by the Holy Spirit.”

In all fairness, the Calvinist must accept the fact that this answer requires some forethought. While this statement is technically correct from a strict theological position, Calvinist’s must admit “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” is understood to be qualified by the statement, “if that is God’s will.” In fact, to the Calvinist, it is not even possible to be saved if God’s effectual call is not present in the heart of the one asking the question. The Calvinist’s position must be understood that regeneration MUST be the initial step in any move toward God. While it is understood that the since no one knows who is the elect or not, it is fair to make the aforementioned offer and leave it to God to reap the harvest. This out to be true of everyone who extends such an invitation, Calvinist or not. However, from a theological standpoint, the following statement is still true for the Calvinist: “If it is God’s will for someone to be saved, then that person will be saved. If it is not God’s will for an individual to be saved, then that individual will not be saved.”

This introduces the next problem that Calvinism presents and that is the concept of “double-predestination.” If the Calvinist is correct in his assessment of salvation and God’s responsibility in the salvific process, then not only is God singularly and solely responsible for every person that comes to Christ and goes to heaven, He is also singularly and solely responsible for every person who dies without Christ and goes to hell. John Frame in his book, Salvation Belongs to the Lord speaks directly to this issue and its implications related to Calvinism.

“Now the question comes up, if God chooses us eternally for salvation, does He also choose who will be lost? God’s choice of who will be lost is called reprobation. So we know God elected; does he also reprobate? It seems logical to say that if God chooses some to be saved; he automatically chooses the rest not to be saved. This doctrine is sometimes called ‘double predestination’.”

“But this is a hard pill to swallow. It is hard to believe that a loving God could, before the beginning of time, send some to eternal punishment, accusing them before they could do anything about it. Although reprobation is a particularly hard problem, I believe the best answers are the answers I gave earlier: God brings good out of evil even when we can’t imagine how He could possibly do it; and He reserved to Himself the right to do that, to His own honor and glory. Remember, too, that if God does not reprobate, He does not elect to salvation either. So, the alternative to election and reprobation is for us to try to save ourselves by our own resources, I would not want to try to do that. What settles the matter is that the doctrine of reprobation is biblical and not just an implication from the doctrine of election. In other words, He uses His sovereignty negatively rather than positively.”

There is another problem that Calvinism presents. This problem centers on the issue of “invitational evangelism and false converts in the church.” A number of present day Calvinists have written and preached sermons criticizing invitational evangelism and giving lost people a false sense of hope. It is almost as if Calvinists are saying that this makes evangelizing the elect more difficult. This whole argument is an illogical one and completely inconsistent with the tenets of Calvinism. There are two basic problems. First according to Calvinistic doctrine, unregenerate church members are just that, dead in their sin. They are no worse off than the unregenerate person of the world. To the Calvinist, regeneration is a lost person’s only hope, church member or not. If Calvinism is correct, the fact that someone has made a false profession of faith at an altar call should have no consequence at all on the individual who is efficaciously called by God to salvation. There is simply no merit whatsoever to this argument.

The other problem with this theologically as it relates to Calvinism is, just because someone is not regenerate today does not mean that his time will not come tomorrow or next year or any time before he passes from this life. There really is no justification to move this person out of the fellowship of the church if in fact God is sovereign and in complete control and nothing happens by accident. The fact that this person is even at a particular church is in and of itself at least partly because of God’s doing or one could argue, he would not be there in the first place. Again, an unregenerate person whether he is in church or not or whether he is in a church that has unregenerate members is not going to hinder the providential work of God in salvation for the Calvinist. John Frame alludes to this as he notes, “A lot of people in the world are the elect but not yet saved. Before you believed in Jesus you were in that position. You were the elect, chosen of God before the foundation of the world, but you lived as an unbeliever, without any faith in Christ. How did God change you? The first phase, the first event, is effectual calling… it is then that God opens your heart to receive the truth.”

A final issue with the Calvinist position with regard to unregenerate membership can be seen in the Calvinist’s efforts to exercise church discipline as elders so that members who do not agree with the “new reformed way” can be shown the door. Elders in many cases do not have to get congregational authority or permission to see that the church is run “orderly.” Calvinist pastors have been seen by some as promoting the age old philosophy, “It’s my way or the highway. If my way does not suit you, don’t go away mad; just go away.” In the last decade, as churches have started using membership classes to help new members learn what it means to be part of a particular church, many of those churches are now limiting leadership positions to those individuals who have completed “Membership 101, 102 – 105.” There is an argument that these classes are being used to help the church leadership weed out dissenting individuals by disqualifying them for leadership in the church. It is a very effective way to gain control of a congregation.

These issues that Calvinism present are not going to go away. Calvinism can continue to make its way into every facet of Southern Baptist life and can eventually take control of the convention if something is not done to limit its influence. Calvinism today covers a broad scope of individuals and ideas. However, those who are “real Calvinists” will tolerate those who are only Calvinistic until the day comes when they will not have to do so and then there is always the possibility that they will cut ties with the three and four-point Calvinists and people will begin to wonder, “How on earth did all this ever happen?” If there is any doubt as to the reality of that possibility, just take a good look at what has happened in Washington DC over the past few decades. If the SBC does not make a move and soon, this convention will continue to move in the Calvinist direction and this convention will be left suffering with more than an identity crisis being examined by a name change committee.

Grateful to be in His Grip!

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73 responses to this post.

  1. Bob, there is far too much to replay to here, especially at Christmas time. But you are wrong at every point. The fact is, most Baptists are Calvinistic even if they don’t know it. You have created a false divide and as I understand it, you have been on this hunt for a long time. The truth of the matter is that Baptists have always been Calvinists, or more precisely, particular in their view of the atonement. This was true of both the Particular Baptist and the Separate Baptists which formed the majority of what we call Southern Baptists. And the fact is they tolerated Arminians among their ranks and fellowshipped with them.

    Calvinists believe in free will and human responsibility. They believe in whoever may come. Expect for the hypers, no Calvinist would ever refuse to call the sinner to Christ. What goes on in the mind of God (the doctrine of election like many other doctrines) is not our business and they will admit that. The Bible affirms that we cannot come to Christ unless the Holy Spirit calls us. We cannot have faith unless the Holy Spirit gives it to us. So, you can call it whatever you want but no one comes to the Father through the Son except that when Holy Spirit calls him out of his or her sin.

    You continue to confuse Reformed with Calvinism. Most Baptist Calvinists that I know do not accept elders. We just made it a rule in our Association that no church will ruling elders will be a part of our Association. In fact, I wrote the the credentials requirements for new churches. And I would say that most of the Baptist pastors are pretty Calvinistic. The ones most likely to lean toward elders here are Arminians.

    In my area, I knew very few pastors who are not basic Calvinists. They are modified as most have been since William Cary. They are in the vein of Charles Spurgeon. The younger ones sometimes are too influenced by the Dutch Calvinism that is popular today but they seem to moderate as they mature. I have a long view on this here since I have been here for almost 24 years.

    Let me say a word about invitations. I offer an invitation as a means for a proper response to the Word of God. It is an opportunity for people to confess Jesus before men and join the Church. It is a means to repent of sin and ask for forgiveness but it is all it is. It is a means for us to accept members. But the invitation is a modern invention. I did some research on it in Seminary. The first that I could find was at at the beginning of the Second Great Awakening at Cane Ridge, KY in the brush harbor meetings. It was not popularized until Charles Finney and I would not want to take anything from Finney. Most Churches, including Baptists invited people to meet with the pastor or sometimes, as Spurgeon did, to go to an inquiry room. There is just cause to be concerned about the invitation. It really make more since to have an in depth discussion with the inquirer where things can be explained and explored. Most of the time when someone comes to make a profession of faith, I know they are coming. Those that just pop up are almost always unfaithful to that moment of confession.

    As to evangelistic practices. I have never used and evangelist and probably never will. I do not think the Bible permits high pressure sales techniques to convince a person to become a Christian. The Bible is clear that we present the Gospel, we tell what Christ has done for us, but it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convince the world of Sin and call them out of their darkness. The Pews of Baptist churches are full of lost people because we have pressured people to “walk the isle” and we inoculated them to the real Gospel. They think they are saved when they remain lost in their sins. Most of the Evangelists I have seen did not take the Bible seriously. Now, I am considering a revivalist to do a revival service at our church but that is to awaken the church which is much a sleep.

    My opinion is that articles like yours are harmful to the Body of Christ. It is divisive. You accord motivations to those evil Calvinists that doesn’t exist. They are not trying to take over the convention or waiting to get into the majority so they can run off all the Arminians. You present, at best a spinned view of Calvinism, but most the time an inadequate view of Calvinism. We have bigger fish to fry. The mega church mentality is far more deadly to Baptists. The seeker service and the church growth movement have left us with a weakened church. Even Bill Hybels, who invented the seek service, says it was a great mistake. Our loose morality is far more dangerous that Calvinism. Sexual abuse in church is far too common. Divorce is destroying Baptist families, sports is destroying our youth who have no time for church. Leisure time has become the great god of Baptists, an idol displeasing to God. We have had scandalous leadership in the SBC, misuse of funds and power. The whole Southern Baptist culture is burning down around us and it is doubtful that there will be any SBC in 20 years if things do not church. We have way too many things to worry about than to be engaged in this false debate about Calvinism.

    Reply

    • Dear Randy Davis,

      These three statements are all quoted from your replies on this blog site:

      From this page,

      Most of the Evangelists I have seen did not take the Bible seriously.

      From the “My Perspective vs….” page,

      I grow weary of all positions when the person is more interested in preserving their own position rather than being truthful with the Biblical text.

      And from the “To Tithe or Not to Tithe” page,

      Many argue that tithing went out when we were freed from the Law by grace. However Abraham and Isaac both tithed.

      Considering the nature of those first two statements, I would like to ask you this one small question. Would you please show me from scripture where Isaac ever tithed on anything or to anyone?

      I have been wondering about that, since we’re talking about taking the Bible seriously, and about being concerned with truth rather than simply preserving our own positions.

      Thanks.

      Reply

      • It was Jacob who tithed, or promised to tithe to God. Genesis 28: 20-22.

        I have never met a Calvinist who would not wish mercy on individuals. No one know who the elect are, only God. God loves the elect and the non elect. And Christians are called to show mercy to all men.

        But neither is the analysis true that in the answer to what must I do to be saved. Anyone who would ask that question in seriousness should be answered simply trust in the Lord and you will be saved. Any extension made as in this above quote is false, not biblical, and I know of no one but those trying to be sarcastic who would say such things.

    • Randy,

      “The fact is, most Baptists are Calvinistic even if they don’t know it.” Says who??? I know Dr. Mohler and others WANT everyone to believe that. It is fair to say, and I did, that Calvinists are a part of the heritage and history of the SBC… but you go way too far. I will challenge anyone’s assertion that Total Depravity as illustrated by the following statement, which by the way is not mine, as being Baptist. Here is the illustration that describes what Total Depravity means… “Man is dead and laying on the bottom of the ocean floor. He cannot respond to God unless and until God reaches down and picks him up off the floor and breathes “new life into him”… which is what God does in regeneration that THEN repentance and faith follow, “irresistibly”; not quite sure how that falls into the “free will of man” that you seem to say Calvinist believe in… The notion that it is in the “mind of God” (and not our business… I liked that comment) as if that explains the confusion is equally interesting… but to say that God gives man the opportunity to respond to HIs initiative of revelation and reconciliation is not in the mind of God is really interesting, since that is what the Bible says God is doing! It NEVER says ANYTHING about regeneration prior to repentance and saving faith in conversion in the New or Old Testaments…

      You wrote, “Calvinists believe in free will and human responsibility. They believe in whoever may come.” I beg to differ. That is what they SAY they believe. They admit they do not know who WILL come so they offer the invitation to ALL… and ALL that God chooses WILL come. BIG difference. I understand WHY Calvinists preach it that way because if they preached what they claim the believe as laid out in the Doctrines of Grace, most SB’s would leave that day or send the messenger packing.

      You wrote, “The Bible affirms that we cannot come to Christ unless the Holy Spirit calls us.” I agree. Conviction, revelation and reconciliation are all the work of the Holy Spirit.

      “We cannot have faith unless the Holy Spirit gives it to us.” There is where MOST SB’s will not agree, especially today.

      You wrote, “You continue to confuse Reformed with Calvinism. Most Baptist Calvinists that I know do not accept elders. We just made it a rule in our Association that no church will ruling elders will be a part of our Association. In fact, I wrote the the credentials requirements for new churches. And I would say that most of the Baptist pastors are pretty Calvinistic. The ones most likely to lean toward elders here are Arminians.

      I have several comments on this post. First, I am confused with the idea of the difference between Reformed and Calvinist and Les makes the same statement. first time I have heard that statement. Seems to me that is like saying I dont have a dog, I have a doberman, It also seems to me that you are saying in your last sentence that all fall into one of two camps… C or A… yet you tell me (in previous dialogue) that you are not C? As to the move that you association made concerning elders, why did you guys feel the need to do that? Just curious.

      Let’s move on. You wrote, “I offer an invitation as a means for a proper response to the Word of God. I guess emphesis should be given to proper response… given your comments to follow. “It is an opportunity for people to confess Jesus before men and join the Church. It is a means to repent of sin and ask for forgiveness but it is all it is.” I agree… 100%… that is why I use them myself.

      “But the invitation is a modern invention.” Ok… since you use it, I am assuming that should pose no problem… are you saying that BECAUSE it is a “modern inventions” God had nothing to do with its development? I thought God was responsible for ALL events?

      Again you wrote, “There is just cause to be concerned about the invitation. It really make more since to have an in depth discussion with the inquirer where things can be explained and explored. Most of the time when someone comes to make a profession of faith, I know they are coming. Those that just pop up are almost always unfaithful to that moment of confession.” Really… THEY are unfailthful… you said earlier that you have no way of knowing WHO the elect are, but if they respond without prior counsel they are almost always “unfaithful”; that is an interesting statement.

      You wrote, “They think they are saved when they remain lost in their sins. Most of the Evangelists I have seen did not take the Bible seriously. Now, I am considering a revivalist to do a revival service at our church but that is to awaken the church which is much a sleep.” Wow… what confessions. “They think they are saved when the remain lost in their sins…” according to C, that is not the fault of the system it is the fact that God has not picked them up off the ocean floor… don’t see the relevance of the ussue. I do agree that there are a LOT of folks who are on church rolls who are not saved but that is not the result of invitations; it is because these folks went through the motions doing what seemed right in their own eyes and they thought… if I am satisfied, surely God is satisfied. That attitude permeates our society and our church today.

      Your statement concering MOST EVANGELISTS is apalling and in my opinion deserves and even demands an apology. You are considering using a “revivalist” (not an evangelist I am assuming) to wake up your church that is “much asleep.” OK.

      Finally you wrote, “My opinion is that articles like yours are harmful to the Body of Christ. It is divisive.” I am stating issues that are GOING ON TODAY… they are divisive; not my bringing them up or pointing them out. Perhaps pointing them out will make them even MORE divisive and we can do something about it. Ignoring it IS ALREADY doing something about it. I want to see that changed.

      “You accord motivations to those evil Calvinists that doesn’t exist. They are not trying to take over the convention or waiting to get into the majority so they can run off all the Arminians.” Well… there will be ramifications and repercussions if the vocal majority changes. The reformed folk do not like my theological position any more than I like theirs. How a change in theological persuasion will affect the SBC no one knows. That is not really the issue. I dont like 5-point Calvinists coming out of our seminaries… forget control… my real complaint is the influence in key places.

      I would not want prospective pastors coming out Pentecostal… no difference in my mind.

      You present, at best a spinned view of Calvinism, but most the time an inadequate view of Calvinism.” In reading your comments, I am glad I do.

      “We have bigger fish to fry.” May be true. But this one is pretty big in its own right. So, I will continue to voice my concerns.

      Les…

      Thanks for you “clearing up” the difference between a C and R… I don’t agree with either position so I will not debate the validity of either.

      Grateful to be in His Grip!

      ><>”

      Reply

      • Bob, Thanks but I don’t think I was attempting to distinguish between Calvinism and Reformed. I was trying to clarify how Calvinists typically understand double predestination and reprobation.

      • Until you start being fair with Calvinists and stop attributing to them certain attitudes and hidden motivations (explicitly in violation of Scripture) you are nothing but a bomb thrower and far more of the problem than any Calvinists.

        I knew better than to respond to you. You have not posted an honest response to anything I have said. You are not analytical, never asked why I say certain things, because you think you know. Take, for instance, your response about evangelists. We have seen such abuse from evangelists, stealing from churches, taking advantage of church members and even sex abuse. They are accountable to no one. So, yes, I am against using evangelists. Very few pastors in our area will use a vocational evangelists. Most will use other pastors who know something about church life.

        The bottom line is this, I should have never responded to you. You are not an honest debater, you make up stuff. I would like you to take my name off of your list so that I will not receive any more of your postings. I can disagree even with friends over issues and have no problems but I cannot stand a dishonest presenter. You should know better but you still tell explicit lies about Calvinists almost compulsively. So, lets drop it, stop sending me your notices, I want nothing to do with your discussions.

      • Randy,

        No problem removing you from my posts. I guess you are saying it is fair for you to speak to my statements without asking “what I mean when I say things” but when I do it, I am being unfair or dishonest and unanalytical. I am NOT putting words in your mouth… I am simply commenting on STATEMENTS THAT YOU MADE.

        Take for instance your second comment regarding evangelists… “We have seen such abuse from evangelists, stealing from churches, taking advantage of church members and even sex abuse. They are accountable to no one. So, yes, I am against using evangelists. Very few pastors in our area will use a vocational evangelists. Most will use other pastors who know something about church life.”

        If I made that same statement about Calvinists, you would come unglued! I didn’t of course. I will leave your comments to others who read them but for the record, I find your analogy written here, absolutely deplorable. As for the idea that they are “accountable to no one”, are you not speaking about God’s anointed?

        Here you go again… “Most will use other pastors who know something about church life” alluding to your opinion that evangelists do not fall into that category.

        “I cannot stand a dishonest presenter. You should know better but you still tell explicit lies about Calvinists almost compulsively.”

        Ok… Merry Christmas!

        ><>”

  2. Bob,

    For some of this post, I don’t have a dog in that hunt. I’m not currently in the SBC. But as I have time today, I’d like to address a few aspects of how you present Calvinism.

    First is the issue of double predestination (DP) and reprobation. You write,

    If the Calvinist is correct in his assessment of salvation and God’s responsibility in the salvific process, then not only is God singularly and solely responsible for every person that comes to Christ and goes to heaven, He is also singularly and solely responsible for every person who dies without Christ and goes to hell.

    That is a common misunderstanding of Calvinistic double predestination. RC Sproul sums up this erroneous view of DP.

    The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God WORKS in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity God decreed some to election and by divine initiative works faith in their hearts and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative. In the case of the elect, regeneration is the monergistic work of God. In the case of the reprobate, sin and degeneration are the monergistic work of God. Stated another way, we can establish a parallelism of foreordination and predestination by means of a positive symmetry. We can call this a positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation. In the same way God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to sin.
    This distortion of positive-positive predestination clearly makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.

    As you can see, what you said about DP is not the common view among Calvinists.

    Here is Sproul again, this time on the Reformed view of DP:

    In sharp contrast to the caricature of double predestination seen in the positive-positive schema is the classic position of Reformed theology on predestination. In this view predestination is double in that it involves both election and reprobation but is not symmetrical with respect to the mode of divine activity. A strict parallelism of operation is denied. Rather we view predestination in terms of a positive-negative relationship.
    In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives. Even in the case of the “hardening” of the sinners’ already recalcitrant hearts, God does not, as Luther stated, “work evil in us (for hardening is working evil) by creating fresh evil in us.

    I think it is very important to get this right lest you unintentionally further promote the inaccurate view of DP. Now, you most certainly can disagree with DP and predestination for that matter. But at least present the proper understanding of what it is you disagree with.

    One last thing for now. Reprobation could use a definition here, which will better represent what Reformed folk have believed about it for years. Here is Reprobation from the Canons of Dort:

    Moreover, Holy Scripture most especially highlights this eternal and undeserved grace of our election and brings it out more clearly for us, in that it further bears witness that not all people have been chosen but that some have not been chosen or have been passed by in God’s eternal election– those, that is, concerning whom God, on the basis of his entirely free, most just, irreproachable, and unchangeable good pleasure, made the following decision:

    to leave them in the common misery into which, by their own fault, they have plunged themselves; not to grant them saving faith and the grace of conversion; but finally to condemn and eternally punish them (having been left in their own ways and under his just judgment), not only for their unbelief but also for all their other sins, in order to display his justice.

    And this is the decision of reprobation, which does not at all make God the author of sin (a blasphemous thought!) but rather its fearful, irreproachable, just judge and avenger.

    More later. And, I hope my attempts at block quote worked.

    Reply

    • Les,

      Sorry… this response did not get approved BEFORE the reference earlier. Of course, I already had it.

      Seems to me you are pointing to a difference in the C view of DP and a differing view by RT… or that is the way I read your comments. No biggie though! Thanks for your comments.

      ><>”

      Reply

      • Thanks. But I’m nor distinguishing Calvinists from Reformed theologians. I’m viewing them as synonymous regarding the doctrine of salvation.

    • Regardless of the hundreds of words from Sproul, that didn’t really answer anything.

      If one believes that God has unlimited resources, and if God only chooses to grace some with the ability to repent, then God has also chosen to specifically deny the ability to repent to all others. Thus, God would have purposely predestined all others to be damned.

      The reasoning Sproul used would only be applicable if the one giving grace had limited resources. If the Titantic sunk and I only had one lifeboat that was rated to hold 12 people, I could not be blamed for purposely drowning the other 100 that could not fit in the boat. If I had unlimited power and knowledge, then I could be justly blamed for drowning those whom it was in my power to save.

      All of those words of Sproul seem like a smokescreen. It dances around the inevitable results of the doctrine. Let’s not blame on an invisible boogeyman called “Hyper Calvinism” and “supralapsarianism.” If God is all-powerful, then if he “predestines” some the ability to repent and denies this ability to others, then he has likewise “predestined” these others to damnation through his conscious choice.

      Thus, if Calvinism be true, then God would be the author of the ultimate sin of man, which is refusal to repent. How then could man be held responsible for being unable to repent? Where is this “personal responsibility” that Calvinists claim?

      Reply

      • Andrew,

        Your comments raise good questions. From my limited understanding, I’ll respond.

        You summed up, “Thus, if Calvinism be true, then God would be the author of the ultimate sin of man, which is refusal to repent. How then could man be held responsible for being unable to repent? Where is this “personal responsibility” that Calvinists claim?”

        Here is what I know the bible teaches.

        There are two classes of people: elect and non-elect. The elect ultimately believe in Christ because of the power of God graciously calling them and saving them (I’ll skip laying out the ordo salutis). The non-elect ultimately do not believe because of their sinfulness, including the sin of unbelief. Remember that “all have sinned” and all deserve damnation.

        Therefore, God saving anyone is sheer grace. From all underserving humanity God saves (graces) some. The rest He leaves in their unbelief, and they get what they (and everyone) deserves.

        now all men everywhere are called to repent and believe (Acts 17). The non-elect moral inability to repent and believe does not relieve them of their responsibility and obligation to repent and believe.

        So, why do we preach to all, which includes some who are morally unable to obey the gospel? I’ll answer with a question: Why do we preach the 10 commandments and urge them to not murder and commit adultery when in and of themselves hey are unable to obey? We do so because we are commanded to and because man’s inability does not relieve them from obedience to God.

        Next question is why? Why would God do things this way? Our only answer is “we don’t know.” God’s reasoning for not purposing to save every last sinner is really known only by Him. Look at what Jesus says in Matt. 11:

        At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
        (Matthew 11:25-26 ESV)

        None of us can go any further than that. Now, that won’t satisfy non-Calvinists. But there are really mysteries beyond our understanding.

        Les

  3. Specifically for Randy (at part 1):

    1) Abraham once gave a tithe of the spoils of war to Melchizedek, but we we have no record of Isaac or Jacob giving a tithe to anyone. In Genesis 28:20-22 (as you cited) Jacob made a vow to return a tithe on what God had promised to give him, once God had fulfilled his stated promises. Those promises were not completed in Jacob’s lifetime. Jacob (himself) did not tithe.

    So I don’t think we should be saying that Isaac and Jacob tithed… there’s no scriptural evidence for it.

    Addressed to Randy (or anyone else) from here on:

    2) If you think of yourself as a “Calvinist” and you wish mercy upon all individuals, then this presents a dilemma. According to Calvinist belief, God does not wish mercy upon a sizable lot of humanity, and has never offered it to them. Calvinists call it “LIMITED ATONEMENT.”

    You said you wish mercy upon all individuals, but according to Calvinism at least as I understand it, God does not. Are you more merciful than God?

    Would you attempt to explain this passage (below) for me?

    2Pe 3:9 KJV
    (9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    Not only does it say that God not willing that any should perish, but it also says that God is willing that all should come to repentance. It seems to me that if you are taking the scriptures seriously, that to remain Calvinist you must also become Universalist.

    If you are taking the bible seriously, I cannot be satisfied with an answer that would reply that this scripture is mistranslated or using deceptive language, or that an anti-Calvinist conspiracy edited all the original manuscripts to remove the words “the elect” from this verse.

    Mat 23:37 KJV
    (37) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

    Like the passage from Peter, these words of Christ also seem to present similar difficulties for the Calvinist. God wills one thing, and his people will another. What is the result that prevailed? Did Jesus gather Jerusalem under his wings when they would not?

    3) I have talked with a few Calvinists, and even just last year I was encountering statements like these:

    God has deliberately made this language parabolic so that those not chosen for His grace and mercy may never attain it.

    If you are saying that there are those who will depart from Christ then they are those who were not saved in the first place. They were dogs and pigs.

    Christ is the giver of the water of life and just as scriptures teach us not to throw pearls to swine do you think Christ will give this water of life to the swine to drink?

    That self-described Calvinist did not wish for mercy upon all individuals. He said that God did not desire to give them mercy, so neither did he. He was calling them them dogs and pigs.

    However, that is the natural and inevitable result of Calvinist doctrine. It’s beyond simply being an academic debate or being an extra-biblical philosophy, it also has very real damaging side-effects.

    Calvinism is a pretty big fish to fry.

    Reply

  4. If you folks would do some research and look at the documents, e.g., the Confessions of Faith 1644,1689, Philadelphia Confession 1742, Sandy Creek 1816, the minutes of Philadelphia, Sandy Creek, Charleston, Elkhorn, and many other Baptist Assns., along with the circular letters in the same (you can locate a lot of this stuff on line), the works of John Gill, J.L. Dagg, James Petigru Boyce, E.C. Dargan, P.H. Mell, Basil Manly, Sr., John A. Broadus, plus the writings of Andrew Fuller, Abraham Booth, B.H, Carroll, J.M. Frost, and host of others, you would find that they are, indeed, pretty firm in their commitments to Sovereign Grace, the doctrines of grace. Some years ago, I viewed a minister’s Bible in which his father, a noted minister had inscribed the five points as the heart of the Gospel. I have an ancestor who made it into the history of Alabama Baptists in 1840,,,about the time that Basil Manly was there preaching Sovereign Grace and serving as one of the first presidents of the University of Alabama. He is the fellow who, by the way, suggested the founding of Southern Seminary and then led the Southern Baptist Convention in three educational conventions in 1857,1858, 1859, to establish the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The first allowance for differences occurred in 1787, when the Separates and Regulars in Va. agreed to allow for the preaching that Christ tasted death for every man (Hebs.2:9). Up to that point, the General Baptists in NC, for instance, believed Christ died for everyone without exception, but they were neither very evangelistic nor missionary minded. Two ministers from the Philadelphia Assn., Peter Peterson Van Horn and Benjamin Miller, came down and persuaded some of hose General Baptists to become Regular Baptists who believed Christ died for the elect and who were both evangelistic and missionary minded. Those Baptiss went along for about 40 years baptizing 35-40 a year. Then in 1801 they baptized 872…during the Second Great Awakening.

    The reason for the increase in Sovereign Grace believers and ministers could be that we are getting ready to have a Third Great Awakening, one that, hopefully beginning in this generation, will win the whole earth to Christ and every soul on it and continue for a 1000 generations just so God can fulfil the humorous remark about the redeemed in Heaven being a number that no one can number (Rev.7:9) – even God? O yes, and if we go to the stars (if we haven’t already), it could take in thousands and thousands of planets and all the people that shall settle them during the next 20,000-100,000 years. Think of I Chronicles 16:15; Isa.11:9: Hab.2:14, and the other promises to be pleaded listed by Jonathan Edwards in his Humble Attempt which inspired William Cary and Andrew Fuller to first pray and then for Cary to go, thus becoming the Father of Modern Missions. O yes, and see one who has been accused of starting limited atonement, and from whom Fuller got his ideas for The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, I refer to John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. He suggested the possibility of thousands of worlds. And did you gentlemen ever hear of paradoxical intervention and therapeutic paradoxes. If counselors can sue such to good effect, just think what God can do. Just look at our Lord using the idea that He was sent to any but the lost sheep fo the House of israel (Mt.15:21-28) as a paradox to draw a heathen woman to worship (limited atonement? being used as an invitation to worship?) and then He used the paradox of total depravity, total inability and reprobation as a therapeutic paradox inthe form of “it is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to the little dogs.” The woman saw His words and his teaching as an invitation to respond, as having the power to help her, she paid Him the greatest compliment, a crumb that falls to the floor from the children’s table will not be fed to the children, but the dogs will be allowed to eat. That miniscule crumb will more than meet all my needs. Jesus said, “Great is your Faith.”

    God grant us all grace, O and the eldership thing is susceptible to abuse. I think you scored some points on that one. Our church government is a theocratic democracy, and the members are equals, having the right to vote on every issue.

    Reply

    • Dr. Willingham,

      Thanks for stopping by. You wrote, “If you folks would do some research and look at the documents.” Again, I am in no suggesting that Calvinists had no part in the SBC when it was founded nor at any time in our history; I am simply saying that “Baptists are NOT Calvinists”… there is a BIG difference in saying Calvinists have and are Baptists… and saying Baptists are Calvinists. I KNOW you know the difference.

      Another point that I make is that Baptists today are decidedly NOT Calvinist. I for one would like for it to stay that way. That is also not a difficult concept for anyone to understand and it is ok for me to say so.

      Now… you wrote, “The reason for the increase in Sovereign Grace believers and ministers could be that we are getting ready to have a Third Great Awakening, one that, hopefully beginning in this generation, will win the whole earth to Christ and every soul on it and continue for a 1000 generations just so God can fulfil the humorous remark about the redeemed in Heaven being a number that no one can number (Rev.7:9)”

      The “humorous remark”; guess I am missing something there. Now your comment, “will win the whole earth to Christ and every soul on it” is a very interesting one and to keep from “putting words in your mouth or making a poor analogy, I will simply ask you to “splain” yourself if you would. I can only see your response as one suggesting that “reformed believers and ministers” are the ones who will “win the WHOLE world to Christ and every soul in it.” Wow. What is going to make this third great awakenning so much better than the first two? Will the number of reformed believers and ministers help God in this “universal” acceptance of the gospel?

      You wrote, “The woman saw His words and his teaching as an invitation to respond, as having the power to help her, she paid Him the greatest compliment, a crumb that falls to the floor from the children’s table will not be fed to the children, but the dogs will be allowed to eat. That miniscule crumb will more than meet all my needs. Jesus said, “Great is your Faith.”

      Couple comments: I believe you are correct in saying “the woman saw His words and teaching as an invitation to respond… ” that is sort of one of the pillars of my whole position. The question arises, HOW did she see.. Total Depravity says she could NOT see unless Jesus actually opened her eyes or her ears… or better yet… drug her up off the floor or the ocean so she could even hear… that is the part I adamantly disagree with. I maintain she did much more than compliment Jesus in her response… since His response was “Great is your faith!” Nicodemus paid Jesus a great compliment when he first came to Him and said… Rabbi and teacher come from God… Jesus immediately dismissed his compliment and told him he needed to be born again… which by the way was a RADICAL thing to say to a Jewish Pharisee and Teacher of the Law!

      Anyway… hope you can explain this anticipated third great awakenning that the RT folk are going to “win the whole world and every soul in it.”

      Let me say for the record,if that were to happen, I would certainly be the loudest one singing “Praise the Lord for all that He is doing!”

      Greatful to be in His Grip!

      ><>”

      Reply

      • Concerning this supposed “3rd Great Awakening”:

        Anyway… hope you can explain this anticipated third great awakenning that the RT folk are going to “win the whole world and every soul in it.”

        Let me say for the record,if that were to happen, I would certainly be the loudest one singing “Praise the Lord for all that He is doing!”

        If Calvinism takes over the whole world, as Calvinists have laid out plans in such books as “The Tactics of Christian Resistance” do not expect a paradise. We already have an example of what happens when Calvinism takes control of a government. It’s called “Geneva” during Calvin’s day. It has also been argued that Calvinism had an influence on Hitler’s concept of a “Master Race.”

        There are some that might say that we cannot judge Calvinism by Geneva, as if this was an unfair comparison… which reminds me of people who defend Communism by saying that the Soviet Union was not a fair example of “real Communism.”

        Luk 6:43-45 KJV
        (43) For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
        (44) For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
        (45) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

        Observe how Calvinism treats people today when it doesn’t have as much power, read how Reformed Kingdom Theology plans to take over means of transportation, education, and economics to accomplish their goals, and remember Geneva.

        If that “taking over of the world” happens in the way Dr. Willingham described, I would probably be one of the first to be tortured and killed. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, and when I pray “thy kingdom come” I pray for His literal return, not for the return of Calvinism.

  5. One more comment as to whether we should be expecting a “Great Awakening” to take over the whole world for Christ before (or without) His return…

    2Th 2:2-3 KJV
    (2) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
    (3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    Is it not written, that we should let no man deceive us by any means, because that day shall not come except there come a falling away first?

    2Th 2:8 KJV
    (8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

    If anything attempts to take over the world before the return of Christ, it must be destroyed by the brightness of his coming. That Rock cut without hands will shatter the image at its feet and then it will fill the entire earth. Calvinism is not the Rock.

    Reply

  6. Dear Les,

    Thank you for trying to answer those questions, but as you anticipated, that was not really a satisfying answer. But if the best answer is “it is a mystery” then would it not be fair to allow others with simpler explanations to be given fair opportunity?

    First, addressing this statement:

    There are two classes of people: elect and non-elect. The elect ultimately believe in Christ because of the power of God graciously calling them and saving them…

    God (s)elects those that repent. I cannot think of any scriptural reason why one would think that God first selects the elect, and thenmakes them repent against their will.

    Why do we preach the 10 commandments and urge them to not murder and commit adultery when in and of themselves they are unable to obey? We do so because we are commanded to and because man’s inability does not relieve them from obedience to God.

    This may seem like a side issue, but I am not aware of any place where we are commanded to preach the Ten Commandments. Those were a specific law for Israel at a specific time. But, if you believe that you must preach the Ten Commandments, do you really attempt to keep the Sabbath day holy as Moses instructed?

    But this is not about obedience to a law, and going down that route is going to result in legalism. This is about whether or not God has created man with the ability to respond to Him and repent. If God did not create man with this ability, and He will not give it to them, then man cannot be held responsible for being how God made him.

    You have another dilemma. If God created man so he could not repent, then He intends for him not to repent. And if he intends for him not to repent, and man does not repent, then by definition that man is being obedient to God.

    The irony is that if this man that was not supposed to be able to repent does somehow manage to repent, he would be doing so in rebellion to the will of God. I have heard a Calvinist say that anything that a man could attempt to offer God would be sinful.

    When the logic of Calvinism turns obedience to sin, and sin to obedience, then I think it’s time to set the whole thing aside and go back to first principles. I suggest that the law of God is something far superior to the Ten Commandments, and that men will be given opportunity to choose if they will repent or be obedient to God.

    All men may be condemned already, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. If one will hear the gospel and repent and believe, shall not God select him, so that he may join the elect?

    Reply

    • Andrew,

      I didn’t think my answer would be satisfying. But oh well. I’ll try to respond as I can.

      “But if the best answer is “it is a mystery” then would it not be fair to allow others with simpler explanations to be given fair opportunity?”

      We both are getting such opportunity.

      “God (s)elects those that repent. I cannot think of any scriptural reason why one would think that God first selects the elect, and then makes them repent against their will.”

      He doesn’t make them repent against their will. He changes their will (disposition) via regeneration.

      “This may seem like a side issue, but I am not aware of any place where we are commanded to preach the Ten Commandments.”

      Really? Is the command to not murder no longer valid? Adultery? Coveting? etc.? he NT is full of such.

      “Those were a specific law for Israel at a specific time. But, if you believe that you must preach the Ten Commandments, do you really attempt to keep the Sabbath day holy as Moses instructed?”

      Yes. But, let us not get off on that trail now.

      “This is about whether or not God has created man with the ability to respond to Him and repent. If God did not create man with this ability, and He will not give it to them, then man cannot be held responsible for being how God made him.”

      Your disagreement is not with me but scripture. In Romans 9, Paul anticipated your objection:

      “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
      You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:14-24 ESV)

      “You have another dilemma. If God created man so he could not repent, then He intends for him not to repent. And if he intends for him not to repent, and man does not repent, then by definition that man is being obedient to God.”

      God created man for His own glory. Your attempt at some logical conclusion is an attempt to go further into the mysteries of god’s plan than we know. And, it won’t work. We DO know that God commands all men to repent. If man doesn’t repent he is disobedient. So your attempt to know all of God’s intentions in creation fall short.

      “The irony is that if this man that was not supposed to be able to repent does somehow manage to repent, [AN IMPOSSIBILITY] he would be doing so in rebellion to the will of God. I have heard a Calvinist say that anything that a man could attempt to offer God would be sinful.” [ALL OUR WORKS ARE A STENCH IN GOD’S NOSTRILS AND ARE FILTHY RAGS]

      “All men may be condemned already, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. If one will hear the gospel and repent and believe, shall not God select him, so that he may join the elect?”

      May I rephrase?

      All men may be condemned already, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. If one will hear the gospel and repent and believe, shall not God SAVE him, so that he may join the FAMILY OF GOD?

      Reply

      • Dear Les,

        This process will take some space, because I need you to bring forth these arguments yourself, so I am not accused of putting words in your mouth.

        First, it is important to consider whether you are Sabbatarian, because the sabbath day was one of the Ten Commandments. It is easy to prove, from scripture and in the context of those commandments, that each seventh day was a sabbath, from sunset to sunset.

        My goal is not to convince you to “keep the Sabbath” but rather to illustrate the actual law of God. If you are preaching “the Ten Commandments” as law, then you’re missing the actual law. No, we are not commanded to keep the Ten Commandments.

        Second, your application of Romans 9 has been taken completely out of context. Paul is speaking of Jew and Gentile, and when he speaks of vessels for destruction, he illustrates temporal ends. Pharaoh and his army died in the Red Sea and were destroyed, but they have not yet had the benefit of judgment before God’s throne. The judgment is in the future, after Christ’s return.

        Nothing in Paul’s speech gives any indication that he is talking about the ultimate salvation of man. Egypt was a vessel fitted for destruction, and Israel was chosen as a vessel of mercy. Egypt was destroyed and Israel passed through the Red Sea. This was never about “whether one is allowed to repent” or not.

        In fact, the Calvinist premise is disproved in just a few verses. Israel, who was formerly described as a vessel of mercy did not attain righteousness.

        Rom 9:31-32 KJV
        (31) But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
        (32) Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

        Pharaoh was an example of a vessel for destruction, and Israel was an example of a vessel of mercy. Obviously this destruction and mercy was not about ultimate faith, belief, and salvation. It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). That judgment is yet to come, and all men will have the benefit of judgment, even Pharaoh.

        So it seems that you have “read in” Calvinism to Paul’s statement. This is an example of why it seems that the entire Calvinist premise depends upon an exercise of Circular Logic. When I read the scriptures from Genesis and proceed to Revelation, and allow the words to be interpreted in their normal and everyday sense, there is no TULIP in the Bible.

        So let’s talk about first principles. Which should one believe first: the Bible, or Calvinism? If you answer “the Bible” then shouldn’t we be able to read the scriptures in their normal sense and require that the TULIP be proven and not assumed? Every argument that I hear from Calvinists about Calvinism always first assumes what it seeks to prove.

        But this “Circular Reasoning” can prove anything. When I have asked Calvinists to please attempt to persuade me and prove their doctrine from the ground up, starting at Genesis and working their way forward, that’s usually when they decide that they aren’t interested in being persuasive.

        I extend the same offer to you. Knowing that I do not presently accept your TULIP in any fashion, can you establish your position without first requiring that I already accept your doctrine as correct before we begin?

        In other words, the burden of proof lies with the Calvinist. Simply providing one or two verses that are not necessarily contrary to Calvinism is not sufficient. Our starting premise must be the exercise of free will.

      • Andrew I am uninterested in gong down the sabbath with you here. That is way off topic. I only brought in the ten commandments as illustrative of a point the subject which is aout this post. Suffice it to say that if you are not preaching the law of God you are not really preaching grace.

        Now to Romans. I’m afraid you’ve brought your own bias to the text. Of course Paul is talking about election. He says so plainly:

        “This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

        What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!”
        (Romans 9:8-14 ESV)

        Re-read the first three chapters of Romans again. His point is that neither Jews nor Gentiles…nor ANYONE is righteous. You know, “all have sinned.” He says explicitly that a true Jew is not one of the ethnic type but one whose heart has been circumcised.

        What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
        (Romans 3:9 ESV)

        and…

        For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
        (Romans 2:28-29 ESV)

        I don’t understand what point you are trying to make with 9:31-32. But here is the entire sentence:

        What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,
        (Romans 9:30-32 ESV)

        Paul’s answer to his own question is that Gentiles demonstrated faith and Jews pursued righteousness by works. Of course. How does that refute Calvinism? Is every Jew condemned? No. I know Jewish people who are Christians. Is every Gentile saved? Surely not. He’s still making the same point he has been making throughout Romans. Righteousness comes by faith. Simple.

        “When I read the scriptures from Genesis and proceed to Revelation, and allow the words to be interpreted in their normal and everyday sense, there is no TULIP in the Bible.”

        Well, that’s the first I’ve ever heard of someone doing that. Just kidding. Reminds me of a pastor I once heard preaching say, “If people would just read their bibles they would be premillennial.” I heard him say that even as a very distinguished professor and author of several weighty theology texts who is Amil sitting there and I thought, “I suspect Dr. XXX has read his bible too.”

        Look, we all have some degree of bias when we approach the text. You as well. We must just try to faithfully approach the text humbly and prayerfully. Non of us will get it right this side of glory.

        I will say this. I cannot understand how people can read the bible and NOT see God’s sovereignty in salvation all over the place.

        “So let’s talk about first principles. Which should one believe first: the Bible, or Calvinism? If you answer “the Bible” then shouldn’t we be able to read the scriptures in their normal sense and require that the TULIP be proven and not assumed?”

        The bible. And I believe it is proven from start to finish.

        “When I have asked Calvinists to please attempt to persuade me and prove their doctrine from the ground up, starting at Genesis and working their way forward, that’s usually when they decide that they aren’t interested in being persuasive.”

        I am not trying to prove my theology to you. You seem like a smart enough fellow. There are many better pastors and theologians out there and so much written online that you can keep searching it for yourself if you desire. I don’t have the time not the inclination to try to persuade you. Check our monergism.com and thirdmil.com for a plethora of Calvinist articles, old and newer.

        And the free will thing? I’ve never had anyone show me free will in the scriptures either. Maybe you can.

        God bless.

  7. Bob,

    Now to a little more. You wrote:

    “To the question, “What must I do to be saved?” we must respond to all who ask, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” What does that mean? It means: (a) knowing that you are a sinner, (b) knowing that Christ has died for sinners, (c) abandoning all self-righteousness, self-confidence and self-effort as a means of salvation, (d) casting yourself wholly upon Christ for pardon and peace, (e) exchanging your natural enmity and rebellion against Christ for a spirit of grateful submission to the will of Christ through the renewing of your heart by the Holy Spirit.””

    I agree wholeheartedly! Yippee. A Calvinist (me) and a non-Calvinist (you) agree. But then you wrote:

    “This statement is totally inconsistent with the tenets of Calvinism. While it may be argued that this response is technically correct from a strict theological position, it is intentionally misleading. To the Calvinist, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” is understood to be qualified by the statement, “if that is God’s will.””

    To which I say, no it is not inconsistent. Perhaps for a hyper-Calvinist. But not for any Calvinist I know or have read. But then, you call into question our motives when you say it is “intentionally misleading.”

    Bob, I feel like I know you since we’ve been conversing over the internet. Do you really believe we Calvinists intentionally are misleading? Com on brother.

    Next to last, you say…”To the Calvinist, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” is understood to be qualified by the statement, “if that is God’s will.””

    Well of course. Isn’t that what our Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray? “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We should always desire and believe that whatever we do or happens is in accordance with His will.

    Last, of course we Calvinists can recite and urge upon hearers “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,” with full confidence that a) we do not know if any hearer is numbered among the elect and b) therefore we proclaim and trust God for the increase.

    Blessings to you,

    Les

    Reply

    • Les,

      We have butted heads “lovingly” a number of times and hopefully in the right spirit of “butting!” LOL. As I haev said before, I appreciate the effort. This is a LOT of work!

      You wrote, “to which I say, no it is not inconsistent. Perhaps for a hyper-Calvinist. But not for any Calvinist I know or have read. But then, you call into question our motives when you say it is “intentionally misleading.”

      Here is my point. The Doctrines of Grace, the TD, UE, LA and IG ALL taken to their logical conclusions demand the qualifying statement, “You can only be saved IF and ONLY IF God has chosen to extend His grace to you.” Now… I went overboard in my original statement of the Calvinist’s logical response to C taken to its logical conclusion… but I am afraid it is still painfully accurate.

      I maintain that the C’s presentation of the gospel as a “whosoever will” invitation, whether it is intentionally or unintentionally misleading, is WRONG since that is NOT what you are really saying. This caveat that you do not know who is and who is not the elect is a side-step to the basics of your belief system. That is all I am saying… and I can actually and have sit and listenned to one of the best C preachers in the SBC and if he did not preach on the DoG I would not really know that He was a 5-point C.

      I think that is deplorable and misleading. You want the hearer to hear it the “whosoever will” way so they will respond but then you turn around and say… you can only hear if God wakes you up from the dead state that you are in… and THEN and ONLY Then can you believe.

      So… I am saying come on brother back at ya!!!!!!! In love of course.!

      ><>”

      Reply

  8. Bob,

    All in good Christian enjoyment.

    “I maintain that the C’s presentation of the gospel as a “whosoever will” invitation, whether it is intentionally or unintentionally misleading, is WRONG since that is NOT what you are really saying. ”

    Here’s the bottom line for me. I’m an unabashed Calvinists, or a Reformed Christian if you will. I have understood the doctrines of grace as consistent with my thinking for 24 years…since I was in a Baptist seminary in the mid-1980s and since graduating from a Presbyterian seminary as well. Since that time I’ve been more and less faithful to share the gospel in many venues; as a pastor, an elder, a layman, etc. I’ve been involved with Evangelism Explosion for many years and am a certified trainer and workshop leader in EE. I don’t say that to toot my own horn, but to demonstrate that as a Calvinist I believe in evangelism and have tried to consistently practice it.

    NEVER once in all these years of one on one and large group settings have I hesitated to declare to people that according to the bible they are sinners in need of a Savior. And that Jesus came to save sinners and that if they will repent of their sins and trust in the risen Lord they can be saved. Not once have I ever felt the need to add something like “if that is God’s will.”

    Why would anyone think I would need to do that? Whether you are a Calvinist or an Arminian or something in between, we all agree that it is God who saves sinners. We declare with Jonah that “salvation is of the Lord.”

    Is how I described (albeit in abbreviated form) above how I talk to people unacceptable? Could you not also say the same things to people?

    Just wondering.

    Reply

    • Dear Les,

      I think what Bob is trying to say that you may be a Calvinist that believes Calvinism, but you’re not preaching Calvinism, and your message (which is not wrong) actually stands in contradiction of Calvinism.

      Once in college I had a talk with a friend. I had to demonstrate to him that he could not consistently call himself a “Wiccan” and a “Christian” at the same time. He decided that he was more truthfully Wiccan, and later on he became a Wiccan-Bhuddist. Some things might mix, like Wicca and Bhuddism, but others are contradictory.

      If you really believed Calvinism, it seems to me that you wouldn’t need to preach to anyone, because nothing that you could do (or not do) could help or prevent someone from being saved. People would be “saved from before they existed” regardless.

      However, I predict that this tenet of Calvinism, if practiced consistently, would lead to a decrease in church membership and a failing of revenue.

      Reply

      • [I am inserting 5 end-bold tags.] It’s OK to delete this specific comment if it doesn’t fix the boldfacing problem above.

      • Andrew, thank you for your characterization of my preaching. You know what they say about opinions…everyone has one. The message I stated I have used is unequivocally NOT in contradiction with Calvinism. You may declare it to be so. But thankfully you are not the final say. Neither am I on what your theology and practice is.

        I do think it just rubs non-Calvinists really raw when they come across someone like me who can demonstrate evangelistic fervor AND hold to the doctrines of grace. It doesn’t fit your idea of a Calvinist.

        “If you really believed Calvinism, it seems to me that you wouldn’t need to preach to anyone, because nothing that you could do (or not do) could help or prevent someone from being saved. People would be “saved from before they existed” regardless.”

        Brother, you have bought into a caricature of Calvinism. If you think that statement is what Calvinism leads to then you don’t really understand Calvinism.

        Let me ask you something. Was Charles Spurgeon a Calvinist? Was he wildly evangelistic?

        How about Jonathan Edwards? Same questions. How about George Whitfield?

        Your caricature of Calvinism is like a house of cards and Spurgeon and Edwards and Whitfield to name a few blow it away.

    • Les,

      I agree with the first PART of what Andrew said. i understand the issue of “preaching the gospel message” but I also think that it needs to give with the overall theological foundation operating in the background.

      You are not alone and that is one of the problems I have with the application of what I see as serious inconsistencies in the preaching of Calvinists and what the DoG actually say. I mean… the DoG clearly say that God chooses who will and will not come to Christ in repentance and saving faith. Regeneration is the sole responsibility of God and repentance and faith are the irresistible response of the new believer.

      Now… with that in mind… it does not seem fair to get up in front of a group of unregenerate individuals and say… let whosoever will come… I understand the invitation is to all and only those that you deem as “the elect” will respond. Everyone else will cry crocodile tears and not repent.

      I understand that. Here I guess is the real point of contention that I have… the person in the pew does not know the difference… and so there are a number of folks who think you are saying one thing when in reality what they understand you to be saying is the same thing I would be saying and in reality it is not.

      So… let me say this… my problem is more philosophical that it may be practical. I am not trying to impune the messenger and his motives as much as I am disagreeing with the application of those principles that are looming large in my mind working in the background.

      As I have said, my problem is really with the theology and not those who hold to it; with the possible exception of those leading the influence charge to greater heights… and I am understanding of their right to do so; I also maintain the right to seek to curb that level of influence.

      These forums certainly help bring these issues to light and help people become informed as to what is happening and what the perceived ramifications of this actions will be.

      ><>”

      Reply

      • Bob, dear brother.

        “Now… with that in mind… it does not seem fair to get up in front of a group of unregenerate individuals and say… let whosoever will come… ”

        Why is getting up and proclaiming God’s message not fair? I really don’t understand why you have a problem with that for me as a Calvinist?

        My task is not to try and single people out. God has not called us to do that. He has called us to preach Christ! We all know that He is the one who mysteriously and in His time calls people to Himself. Heck, I heard MANY sermons before God saved me.

        “I understand that. Here I guess is the real point of contention that I have… the person in the pew does not know the difference… and so there are a number of folks who think you are saying one thing when in reality what they understand you to be saying is the same thing I would be saying and in reality it is not.”

        No, no, no. The people in the pew should hear Christ proclaimed and that salvation is only found in Him and that by faith! You and I can use the same words. In fact, come to Haiti with me and preach Christ! I would no be afraid at all to stand next to you and we both call people to repentance and faith. Let’s go brother. God will give the fruit!!

        Peace!

  9. All,

    Here’s a question for any of you non-Calvinists.

    If I, a confirmed Calvinist, tell someone:

    1. God made you and all things for His glory. Romans 11:36
    2. You and all people have failed to glorify God. You have sinned. Rom. 3:23
    3. Because of your sin, God’s condemnation is upon you. Rom. 5:16; 6;23
    4. But there is hope in God’s Son Jesus who came into the world to save sinners just like you. Rom. 6:23
    5. If you will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved. Rom 10:9,10
    6. Will you repent (Acts 17:30) and trust Christ to save you?

    Biblical language. What do you care whether I am a Calvinist or not? Do you trust God to save people with and through words similar to the above?

    Please explain.

    Reply

    • Explaining:

      5. If you will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved. Rom 10:9,10
      6. Will you repent (Acts 17:30) and trust Christ to save you?

      Biblical language. What do you care whether I am a Calvinist or not? Do you trust God to save people with and through words similar to the above?

      Please explain.

      I don’t want this to seem picky, but there is a huge difference in meaning concealed beneath tiny elements of grammar here.

      It would be correct to say “If you will believe” and “will repent” because it is the person that decides if they will believe and if they will repent. Their will is the deciding factor of the belief, and God responds to faith with salvation. God may even help our faith, but we must do something. That is the essence.

      It is incorrect to say that they “will be saved” because their will has nothing to do with the actual saving. It is proper to say “shall” because it shall happen regardless of their own power.

      Act 16:30-31 KJV
      (30) And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
      (31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

      Belief is a commandment, and it is something that we must do, not something that we had better hope is being done for us.

      Mar 9:23-24 KJV
      (23) Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
      (24) And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

      These statements of Jesus make no sense from a Calvinist perspective. Jesus says that the man himself must believe, and he did not say “If I give you the ability to believe in the first place…” The man was right to say that he had a mixture of belief and unbelief, and he did right to ask for help. He had the faith to ask for more faith.

      Back to the beginning of your question, it is vital that people are willing to repent and believe, but Calvinism teaches that man is not really willing, but that God forces certain people to believe against their will.

      And it is simply a matter of semantics to say that it is their will because they have been brainwashed against their will. God can help our unbelief, but is it not written, that we must first have faith even as small as a grain of mustard seed? (see Luke 17:6?)

      Repentance must be of our own will or it is worthless. Repentance cannot be forced, tricked, or coerced. Repentance is most vital for without it we cannot be saved.

      The point is, if you were preaching points 5 and 6 as you gave above, you were not preaching Calvinism. Calvinism would demand:

      5. If you shall believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved. Rom 10:9,10
      6. Shall you repent (Acts 17:30) and trust Christ to save you?

      The word “shall” is used above because the question is really if God has decreed that the person shall believe and repent, and their will would have nothing to do with it.

      And even then the questions are meaningless, because their answers wouldn’t matter. If God was going to save them, he would do so even if they didn’t want to be saved. You are holding two different (contradictory) doctrines, one of which your preach at first, and the other of which you preach later.

      So why not keep the first gospel and set aside the other gospel (see 2 Corinthians 11:4). Paul did not preach the TULIP – it’s a construction of John Calvin. Even if Calvinism were true, by its own measure its knowledge is completely unnecessary for faith and salvation. If it is false, then it is misleading and damaging. At best it’s unnecessary but at worst it’s accursed.

      Reply

  10. Dear Les,

    Since you have stated that you do not have the inclination to prove your doctrine from the Bible for me, or to attempt to persuade me, I shall try to answer both posts as concisely as possible.

    First, I am somewhat familiar with Charles Spurgeon and Jonathan Edwards, but I do not know George Whitefield. Whether they were “wildly evangelistic” or not makes little difference to me. Their actions were inconsistent with their private doctrines, and I am not impressed by these men for other reasons besides.

    You must understand, that illustrating more examples of inconsistency doesn’t answer the original question of whether evangelism is inconsistent with Calvinism. Is it not true that the Calvinist believes that nothing that a man can do can change whether he or any other man shall be saved? Ergo, preaching would be unnecessary.

    Second, I speak of the law of God, not the law of Moses. If one does not know the law of God, then how can one know how to explain grace with respect to law? I will ask you to please consider and accept this question: what is the law of God?

    As a starting point, what did Jesus say when he was asked as to what was the greatest commandment of the law? Did he recite one of the Ten Commandments? The word “law” may be used in many different ways, even including the books of Moses or the law of Moses, but I am speaking of God’s unchanging law.

    Third, in this passage of Romans 9, your proof once again depends upon Circular Logic. The word “election” has a normal and common meaning that does not require the Calvinistic Definition of “Election.” In my bible, the word is in lower case, not used as a proper noun.

    ek-log-ay’
    From G1586; (divine) selection (abstractly or concretely): – chosen, election.

    When one makes a selection, one now has an election, and this election that Paul speaks of is not in determination of salvation, but rather the line of Israel through Isaac’s seed. Your explanation only works if one has unquestionably accepted Calvin and all his Definitions, but it does not work when the biblical text stands alone.

    Fourth, is it not ironic that you have fulfilled my prediction? I have offered you an opportunity to prove your doctrine from scripture from the beginning, to please try to convince me fairly without presumption (so as to avoid circular logic) and you have declined.

    Fifth, and finally, concerning this claim of yours:

    And the free will thing? I’ve never had anyone show me free will in the scriptures either. Maybe you can.

    I shouldn’t have to prove anything so basic. Free will is assumed. Calvinism bears the burden of proof, not free will. Do you buy a mathematics textbook and require a proof on every page that ZERO equals ZERO?

    But I already have given a proof. Jesus spoke of Jerusalem, saying that he would have gathered them together, but they would not. Obviously, Jesus had a will, and Jerusalem had a will. See Luke 13:34. Either the Jews had free will, or Jesus was a liar, take your pick. Point proved.

    And I shall give another proof. God commanded Adam and Eve to stay away from the fruit, and Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve had free will. See Genesis 3. Point proved.

    And because I know that Calvinists like to claim that Adam and Eve were exceptions to the rule, Abel and Cain offered sacrifices. Abel was accepted, and Cain was rejected. Cain was rejected because of his heart, because of what he did, for is it not written,

    Gen 4:6-7 KJV
    (6) And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
    (7) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

    According to the words of the LORD in Genesis to Cain, whether or not Cain was accepted or not depended on what he did, whether he were to do well, or whether he were not to do well. When asked to choose between Calvin and the LORD, I will choose the LORD. Either Cain had free will and the possibility of being accepted, or the LORD lied. Take your pick. See Genesis 4, above. Point proved.

    The Psalmist had free will, for is it not written,

    Psa 119:108 KJV
    (108) Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.

    How does one give a freewill offering without free will? Is a freewill offering “filthy rags” before God? Is a freewill offering sinful because it is offered of our own heart? There should be no question as to the inspiration of the Psalms. See Psalms 119, above. Point proved.

    And I shall give another proof. Lucifer had free will, for it is written that he saith:

    Isa 14:13-14 KJV
    (13) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
    (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

    Five times Lucifer has said “I will” therefore, if we believe the scripture, Lucifer has free will. Lucifer decided to try to overthrow God on his own.

    The noble man had free will. Read the account below:

    Joh 4:48-50 KJV
    (48) Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
    (49) The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
    (50) Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.

    I wonder how a Calvinist would answer that, because Jesus himself predicted that the man would not believe except by signs and wonders, but the man proved that he could believe without signs and wonders. That flies in the face of Calvinism itself, so how can you say that you’ve read the bible but never seen free will?

    The example of the nobleman is such that it proves that man’s will to believe can even exceed God’s expectations, and when this happens, God blesses that faith.

    What type of explanation would you have for this, that Jesus was speaking deceptively? That Jesus was not God? If this man could not believe without receiving a gift of believing, then why did Jesus falsely say that the man would not believe?

    How many hundreds of times would I need to prove free will to you, when this is already something that ought to be taken for granted? I shouldn’t have to argue against a crazy backwards logic of everything that we observe is a lie.

    When God gives a commandment, he is stating his will for us to obey. When the people disobey the commandment, they prove that they have a will of their own, a different will from God. See the Bible. Over and over God commands and the people disobey. Point proved times ONE THOUSAND.

    However, I don’t think you are interested in persuading or being persuaded, so I shall cease this exercise in futility. I have asked for proof and you have declined, and when you have asked for proof I am anxious to provide it. If you so will, I’ll leave it like that.

    But if you say that Calvinism is a true doctrine, but cannot (or will not) prove your doctrine when asked, granted that I already accept the scripture, then why do you continue to defend it? It seems that Calvinism is only accepted by those that are less discerning that don’t ask difficult questions or require proof.

    So I have trouble believing that this is really about whether the doctrine is scriptural or not. If you have read the entire bible and never seen free will once, there must be something else involved here.

    Reply

    • Andrew,

      Need to be a little more gracious here brother…

      I think the following statement is a little unfair.. “However, I don’t think you are interested in persuading or being persuaded, so I shall cease this exercise in futility. I have asked for proof and you have declined, and when you have asked for proof I am anxious to provide it. If you so will, I’ll leave it like that.”

      Your “asking for proof and you have declined” sounds a lot like some of the criticism I have received from others who have seemed less than gracious to me.

      Determining whether something is “Scriptural or not” is obviously up for interpretation… and we all seek to use the Scriptures responsibly… even when we do so with pre-conceived notions etc.. and we all are going to have some of those…

      I do appreciate your contributions.

      LES

      The points you mention are absolutely right on!

      My only point of contention would be with the following:

      4. But there is hope in God’s Son Jesus who came into the world to save sinners just like you. Rom. 6:23
      5. If you will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved. Rom 10:9,10
      6. Will you repent (Acts 17:30) and trust Christ to save you?

      Knowing what C teaches… you are asking people to do something they have no control over… that man at the bottom of the ocean cannot respond to your invitation…. the whole notion of Total Depravity puts the lost man in a very difficult position. His lost condition is obviously the wrong place to be… but to contend that God is the One who determines who does and does not or can or cannot respond in faith is where I have a BIG problem.

      I am sorry that is just a major issue to me. I read the following statement somewhere last week and made note of it…

      God has given us the responsibility to make choices with understanding that our choices make us. I like that statement because it is so accurate. My choices make me who and what I am and my relationship with the Lord is no exception… and that includes the inception of that relationship or regeneration!

      ><>”

      Reply

      • Acknowledging Bob and addressing Les,

        I apologize if that sounded unkind. What I really meant was,

        * “I cannot persuade someone who is not trying to persuade me.”
        * “I cannot be persuaded by someone who is not trying to persuade me.”
        * “I don’t want to leave things like that. I am willing to continue.”

        I could probably pull up specific quotes to technically justify what I said, but the truth is that the overall effect seemed too harsh to me anyways. I was just looking through the Haiti Orphan Project website to see if I could contact Les directly (it seems that I cannot, but now I have seen a picture.)

        Please accept my apology. I did not mean to be unfair.

        * I do want Les to examine this subject from the approach of trying to prove what he has says he believes to someone that does not automatically accept his assumptions.
        * I do want us to be willing to go back to to scripture on any subject. This should help to counter bias and assumption. This is also generally about the “love of truth” (my 5th commandment.)
        * I do not want to be given the “someone else has the proof instead” argument. Would these people who have written before be ready to answer if they I can prove they are mistaken? They are usually unavailable for comment.

        Thanks,
        -Andrew

      • Andrew,

        My thing is this. I spent about 5 years with a personal blog and much of that time I sent debating with other Christians ecclesiology and Reformed theology. There was a lot of heat and not much light. I don’t mind a good debate. I’m a poor typist and I’m pretty busy with my ministry and a large family. In fact, I don’t know what part of the country you are in, but if you’re in the midwest or Miami (I fly frequently thru there) I would be very pleased to sit and discuss theology for hours over a beer. Oops. I’m on a Baptist blog. Coffee.

        I enjoy a little of this electronically. But then it gets laborious and I don’t feel compelled to try and prove my theology. Nothing personal.

        My site has a contact form. It’s under Resources and comes to me.

        Blessings.

        Les

      • Bob,

        I appreciate the demeanor with which you handle discussions.

        “Knowing what C teaches… you are asking people to do something they have no control over”

        First, I’m not asking them to do anything, except as God’s spokesman. God commands all men everywhere to repent and obey the gospel. Besides, neither I nor the hearers knows who God’s elect are. Again. we preach to all men Christ crucified. God does the spiritual work when and where He chooses.

        I can rest in that. I do not have to worry that my words will be unclear or my speech not lofty enough. Perhaps in a small way I can follow Paul,

        “and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,”

        God bless.

        Les

      • Les,

        I get your position… it is just difficult FOR ME to reconcile what you say with what you believe in the tenets of C. That is my sole point.

        I am glad you preach WHAT you do given the fact that you believe that God chooses who will and will not be saved.

        So, we are finished with this one. Don’t want to blow my demeanor that you appreciate! JK.

        A pastor friend of mine here in Daytona has an active work in Haiti as well. Not sure where or what… I am thinking they built a hospital there maybe?

        I have been to Brazil 5 times… have not been on a mission trip in a while! Well… other than in the communities and churches I have been in during that time! Talking about a mission field!

        Have a good evening. Will check in tomorrow but am probably going to go play golf… supposed to be a beautiful day tomorrow. Oh… I mean going on visitation to visit the green family. That is the joke at Westside.

        Grateful to be in His Grip!

        ><>”

      • Bob,

        It’s been fun.

        “I have been to Brazil 5 times… have not been on a mission trip in a while! ”

        We have openings for four trips next year. I’m certain I could get you in the pulpit. We leave Thursday morning and return Monday afternoon. Have your church send you. Serious offer.

        Golf. Hmm. Rainy and cold here in St. Louis. How long did you have to pay over a call to Daytona?!

    • Andrew,

      “Since you have stated that you do not have the inclination to prove your doctrine from the Bible for me, or to attempt to persuade me…”

      I have been down that road far too much. I’ve moved past that. That’s not my calling. I’ve got my hands plenty full with my Haiti ministry.

      In fact, interestingly, the pastors I partner with in Haiti have never once even brought up the subject. The are godly, evangelical pastors who have their hands full preaching Christ and feeding hungry children, so they’re too busy to debate theology.

      “Is it not true that the Calvinist believes that nothing that a man can do can change whether he or any other man shall be saved?” CORRECT. BIBLICAL. Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?
      Then also you can do good
      who are accustomed to do evil.
      (Jeremiah 13:23 ESV)

      ” Ergo, preaching would be unnecessary.” WRONG. GOD COMMANDED IT. YOU TOTALLY MISUNDERSTAND REFORMED THEOLOGY.

      “As a starting point, what did Jesus say when he was asked as to what was the greatest commandment of the law? Did he recite one of the Ten Commandments?”

      YUP. And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
      (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV) FIRST AND SECOND TABLE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. PERHAPS SOME STUDY IN HERMENEUTICS WOULD HELOP YOU OUT.

      ELECT. I DIDN’T TAKE THE TIME TO PULL DOWN MY TEXTS OFF THE SHELF. BUT THESE WILL DO:

      “Thayer’s – the act of picking out, choosing; of the act of God’s free will by which before the foundation of the world he decreed his blessings to certain persons: the decree made from choice by which he determined to bless certain persons through Christ by grace alone; a thing or person chosen; of persons: God’s elect

      Webster’s – In theology, divine choice; predetermination of God, by which persons are distinguished as objects of mercy, become subjects of grace, are sanctified and prepared for heaven.”

      YOU USED STRONG’S DEFINITION. THAYERS GREEK LEXICON IS COMMONLY USED IN NT GREEK.

      “Fourth, is it not ironic that you have fulfilled my prediction?” FUNNY. I PREDICTED YOU WOULD EMPLOY THIS. FRANKLY, DOESN’T BOTHER ME IN THE LEAST. AS I SAID ABOVE, I MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO. HAITI AND FAMILY.

      “I shouldn’t have to prove anything so basic. Free will is assumed.” HMMM. YOU EARLIER, “Every argument that I hear from Calvinists about Calvinism always first assumes what it seeks to prove.” SO, BECAUSE YOU DON’T SEE CALVINISM, CALVINISTS MUST PROVE IT AND NOT ASSUME IT.

      BUT YOU GET TO ASSUME FREE WILL AND NOT HAVE TO PROVE IT. THE ONLY VERSE WHICH PROVES FREE WILL IS ADAM AND EVE PRIOR TO THE FALL. I SHOULD HAVE SAID NO ONE CAN PROVE FREE WILL POST FALL. NONE OF THE VERSES YOU CITE PROVES FREE WILL. YOU’RE READING YOUR ASSUMPTIONS INTO THEM.

      “It seems that Calvinism is only accepted by those that are less discerning that don’t ask difficult questions or require proof.”

      HMMM. I’VE BEEN ACCUSED OF WORSE.

      GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU SEEK THE TRUTH.

      Reply

      • Dear Les,

        1. The word “repent” means a change of heart. Yes, men can change. You’re “proof texting” the Jeremiah 13:23 passage beyond the intended meaning. If you read the context, Jeremiah is prophesying to an unrepentant people.

        Eze 33:11 KJV
        (11) Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

        The pleasure of the Lord God is that the wicked will turn from his way and live. In other words, God wills that the wicked repent, of their own will. If God could simply order genuine repentance, and it would happen, he would.

        There is another moral consideration. If God could simply create men that were perfect or if he could mandate (force) sincere repentance, and he does not… that has some pretty bad implications against God’s character, and makes him the author of evil.

        Therefore, concerning this statement:

        “Is it not true that the Calvinist believes that nothing that a man can do can change whether he or any other man shall be saved?” CORRECT. BIBLICAL.

        WHAT BIBLICAL? I don’t see a book, chapter, and verse there.

        I must protest that the conclusion is false, because the scriptures already answer that question. What must I do to be saved? Believe and repent. That is biblical, that is the gospel, and anything that disagrees with that is another gospel. I at least have a book, chapter, and verse… Acts 16:30-31.

        2. Jesus was not reciting the Ten Commandments.

        You answered:

        ) FIRST AND SECOND TABLE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. PERHAPS SOME STUDY IN HERMENEUTICS WOULD HELOP YOU OUT.

        It is plainly obvious that Jesus was not reciting the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments (with the exception of one) all follow the format of “Thou shalt not…”

        If we are being specific, those exact commandments that Jesus gave are found in Deuteronomy 6:5 & 10:12 and Leviticus 19:18. But if we stop there we miss the point. What do these commandments of Jesus have in common? They don’t follow the “Thou shalt not” formula, but they both begin with “Love…”

        All of God’s law falls beneath these two commandments. The Law of Moses was subservient to these commandments. Any further commandments of God will fall under these two commandments. Let’s test it.

        Joh 13:34 KJV
        (34) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

        The law of Moses is obsolete, faded and waxed away. It only had jurisdiction in Israel and it was never given to the Gentiles. You and I were never subject to the Ten Commandments, the dietary laws, the sacrifices, the circumcision, or the annual sabbaths. We do not have to observe land sabbaths, abstain from harvesting the corners of our fields, or to make sure that we don’t mix flax and linen. ALL OF THOSE were laws (commandments) under Moses.

        But we are subject to the law of God and we are obligated to keep his commandments, no matter what he commands us. So, when you read the New Testament, considering our First and Second commandments, and adding a Third commandment (John 13:34) how many more commandments can we find that fit this same formula?

        There’s no more imagined conflict between “law” and “grace” once it’s cleared up which law and which commandments are being talked about in any given instance.

        3. You are STILL using circular logic to define “elect.” I did not ask for a “theological definition” that has been created in reference to “Reformed Theology.” I asked for the plain English meaning.

        And the plain English meaning simply means “selected.”

        4. Of course I am allowed to assume Free Will as a starting point. Everything around us in nature proves free will. Calvinism is the NEW DOCTRINE and it is Calvinism that bears the burden of proof.

        When proving a doctrine, one starts with what they observe in nature, and then proceeds with divine revelation. Calvinism seems to skip both steps and jumps straight to the Revelation of Augustine and Calvin.

        I am not using an unfair standard. I am insisting that we follow proper procedure. Common sense and experimentation tells us that we have free will. That’s the starting point. We cannot start off by claiming that there is a divine conspiracy theory to fool us into thinking that we have free will.

        Additionally, I think it is a little absurd that you’re accusing me of using circular logic to prove free will. How many examples of scriptural proofs did I use above? Quite a few. Why did you reject them all? You won’t say!

        For that matter, I have to wonder why you accept Adam and Eve as an example of free will… because the same measure proves everyone else. Adam and Eve were told the will of God and they disobeyed. That proves free will apart from God.

        But when everyone else is told the will of God and disobeys, you say this is not a proof of free will? At this point I’d have to say that you’re not making any sense. I gave six specific examples and made allusion to a great many more.

        * 0. Calvinism bears the burden of proof, not free will.
        * 1. Luke 13:34 – Jesus would, but the Jews would not.
        * 2. Genesis 3 – Adam and Eve disobeyed
        * 3. Genesis 4 – Cain was told that he would be accepted if he did well
        * 4. Psalm 119 – the Psalmist gives freewill offerings
        * 5. Isaiah 14 – Lucifer rebelled by exercising his will
        * 6. John 4:48 – the nobleman exceeded Christ’s expectations of belief
        * 7. “a thousand” more proofs of disobedience of man before God

        I’m not going to retype everything. If you are going to claim that nothing proves anything, then please answer the original points. And even then, you haven’t even tried to satisfy the burden of proof against Calvinism.

        Without meaning this like a jab, do you understand what is meant by “burden of proof?” It’s a legal term used to indicate which side must put forth evidence, and which side will be otherwise assumed.

        The entire world operates on the presumption of free will. Why should anyone who picks up the scriptures for the first time start with a different assumption?
        So if you want to claim that “free will” bears the burden of proof (as it seems that you are claiming) then please ‘splain yourself.

        You’ve got some ‘splaining to do.

        Sincerely,
        -Andrew

      • Andrew,

        I don’t know you and I certainly don’t know your background. Nevertheless, I have to say that you are bordering on embarrassing yourself publicly with your interpretations. I really don’t mean to offend you. One example and then I’m done.

        You say I am proof texting the Jer. 13 passage. And I will anticipate that you will say something like, “I don’t care what mere mortal men say. I just believe what the bible says.” But here is Baptist John Gill (I could quote many others) on the Jer. 13.23 passage:

        “signifying that they were naturally sinners, as blackness is natural to the Ethiopian, and spots to the leopard; and were from their birth and infancy such, and had been so long habituated to sin, by custom founded upon nature, that there was no hope of them; they were obstinate in sin, bent upon it, and incorrigible in it; and this is another reason given why the above calamities came upon them. The metaphors used in this text fitly express the state and condition of men by nature; they are like the Ethiopian or blackamoor; very black, both with original and actual sin; very guilty, and very uncomely; and their blackness is natural to them; they have it from their parents, and by birth; it is with them from their infancy, and youth upwards; and very hard and difficult to be removed; it cannot be washed off by ceremonial ablutions, moral duties, evangelical ordinances, or outward humiliations; yea, it is impossible to be removed but by the grace of God and blood of Christ. Their sins are aptly compared to the leopard’s spots, which are many and natural, and difficult to get clear off. What is figuratively expressed in the above metaphors is more plainly signified by being “accustomed” or “taught to do evil” {t}; which denotes a series and course of sinning; a settled habit and custom in it, founded on nature, and arising from it; which a man learns and acquires naturally, and of himself, whereby he becomes void of fear and shame; and there is a good deal of difficulty, and indeed a moral impossibility, that such persons should “do good”: nothing short of the powerful and efficacious grace of God can put a man into a state and capacity of doing good aright, from right principles to right ends, and of continuing in it; for there is no good in such men; nor have they any true notion of doing good, nor inclination to it, nor any ability to perform it: in order to it, it is absolutely necessary that they should first be made good men by the grace of God; that they should be regenerated and quickened by the Spirit of God; that they should be created in Christ Jesus unto good works, and have faith in him; all which is by the grace of God, and not of themselves.”

        I suppose Gill and I both could be proof texting. And scores of other theologians seeing this passage similarly as I. Yes we could ALL be proof texting the passage and YOU alone could have it right. I suppose.

        God bless you as you seek the truth.

        Les

  11. The replies to my comments were almost hilarious. And the lack of knowledge concerning calvinism is appalling. For example, consider how this nation use to be called the Calvinistic Republic. Cf. Bancroft;s Hist. of the United States pub. in the 1800s or how one writer in England said, King George’s American Colonies ran off with a presbyterian parson, or how it was calvinists (I really pefer the term Sovereign Grace, because there were people dying for the truths of Tulip before John Calvin was born, let alone converted.) who established religious liberty by law. Read Roger Williams and follow that fellow who was quite clear about his belief in the doctrines of Grace and his fellow laborer in the effort to secure religious liberty, Dr. John Clarke. And then there was Elijah Craig, who led the committee of Baptists in Va. who met with the Colonial legislators and made the agreement that in return for the freedom to practice their fatih, the Baptists would encourage the young men in thir community to enlist in the Patriots’ Cause (read enlist in a Civil War against a duly established governemtn. And Craig was noted for this commitment to the doctrines of grace. You all need to realize that John Calvin’s name was a mere adaptation to doctrines already taught and believed. BEfore him they were called Augustinianism among other things.

    There is more, but I thought I would quote the father of missions among Southern Baptists, the minister who got us to enlist in launching the Great Century of Missions. I refer to Rev. Luther Rice. He stated: “How absurd it is, therefore, to contend against the doctrine of election, or decrees, or divine sovereignty. Let us not, however, become bitter against those who view this matter in a differenct light, nor treat them in a superciilious manner; rather let us be gentle toward all men. For who has made us to differ from what we once were? Who has removed the scales from our eyes? or who has disposed us to embrace the truth? (Memoir of Rev. Luther Rice. Baltimore: Armstrong aand Berry.1840. pp.332,333.

    The dear brother who argues that Baptists are not Calvinists is right; the Calvinists simply adopted the soteriology of our forbearers (i say this with out being a Landmarker). Sovereign Grace is perhaps the best term to describe the theology of salvation that obtained among the Lollards (I found instances among them of their being burned at the state for believing in predestination. However, if Brother Hadley wants to argue that the Baptists did not hold Sovereign Grace and that that was not our founding soteriology, he argues what cannot be substantiated from history…unless he is a General Baptist…and they were as I have pointed out – not noted for being very evangelistic or missionary…that was the specialty of Sofvereign Grace Baptists, specifically William Cary, Fuller, Spurgeon, and others. TO this I can add the Congregationalist Puritan, Jonathan Edwards, and the Anglicans, John Newton and George Whitefield. Even Wesley in his Journal admits that some are elected and moved to be saved and who reach a point from which they will never fall.. Spurgeon, somewhere, says he would not use as strong a language as Wesley used in some of his messages about God moving sinners to be saved. Now that was interesting. Regardless of what most Baptists of today believe, I prefer to follow the founding theology, and the documents of confessions, circular letters, minutes, theological works, and biographical writings of Baptists from the beginning shows the theology to be that of Sovereign Grace.

    As to the Awakenings, I preached a sermon on the subject, A Great Awakening to the Pastors’ Prayer Meeting of the Sandy Creek Baptist Assn. in ’73 and then I preached the 5th and the 10th anniversary messages of that meeting in ’78 and 83 on the subject, A Third Great Awakening. Sandy Creek was the scene of one of the events of the Second Great Awakening plus it had been founded by people (Stearns & Marshall) who had been converted in the First Great Awakening. The assn. also was led by Luther Rice to enlist in the effort tolaunch The Great Century of Missions in 1816. The theology of the Awakenings was the truths of Sovereign Grace which transformed Protestantism from an contenious, conbative, conflicted Gospel Recovery effort into an outgoing, we will win you with persuasion effort well expressed in the Missionary movement in the beginning…except certain powers were fearful tht the awakening and its theology would take the world from under the control (You might want to read Carrioll Quigley;’s Tragedy and Hope. Macmillan Pubs., 1965 which outlines the pluralistic theology supposedly held by the real rulers). The forces of evil have come into the church, upon the Holy Mount (Mt. Zion, Hebs.12:22, and the Great War of Armageddon is well under way. The end is not in doubt; the coming down of Heaven to earth, such a powerful presence of God as caused Jacob to say, Surely the Lord was in this place, and I knew it not. Jesus said twice that He is coming to us, present tense (Jn.14), in the process of coming to us everyday..and the church is actually the Holy of Holies (I COrs.6:19) where the presence of God is utterly overwhelming….and God can present His case for the Gospel so wonderfully that none will or can ever resist it…like Lazarus could not resist the call to come forth from the grace and like no one can resist to whom the Lord says now.(Jn.5:25). There is more, but a 1000 generations is not hard to grasp, if you want your Lord to be honored….And yes, as one, Dr. Eusden in his introduction to his translation of William Ames’ Marrow of Divinity, the first text book in theology used at Harvard, “Predestination is an invitation to begin one’s spiritual pilgrimage….” Research, gentlemen, Research is the necessary thing in order to make statements that more aptly reflect the truth….not feeling, not our prejudice, but research of facts and evidence and proof and data. God grant you the grace to see what I say….

    Reply

  12. Thanks for the history lesson. Once again, I do NOT dispute the fact that Calvinist have played a significant role in SBC life. I have no problem with that. All I am saying is that Baptists are not Calvinists… And you made no comment on my MAJOR position which I will reiterate:

    Another point that I make is that Baptists today are decidedly NOT Calvinist. I for one would like for it to stay that way. That is also not a difficult concept for anyone to understand and it is ok for me to say so.

    Now… the rest of my comment had to do with your statement that a Third Awakening which apparently will be led by RT folk will “win the whole world and every soul on it.”

    Guess you missed that request for an explanation.

    I actually re-read your post… do I understand you correctly in that you are suggesting the Great War of Armageddon is well under way? Like as in RIGHT NOW? Almost missed that important nugget of info. OK.

    Oh well… the great joys of bloggin.

    ><>”

    Reply

  13. One note of caution about that “history” is that some Calvinist historians have a tendency to “edit” or “revise” history in their favor. For example, let’s compare the original Foxe’s Book of Martyrs with the Calvinists reprint.

    So tell me, does John Calvin deserve his own chapter in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs? He died of natural causes, and he martyred many other Christians for unproved dissent against his doctrine and rule. He even burnt one guy at the stake that traveled to Geneva to talk to him… it was even premeditated (and we have the letters to prove it.)

    But the Calvinist counted John Calvin as a martyr. Why? The irony is overwhelming…

    Reply

  14. Dear Les,

    Is this really the strength of your argument?

    suppose Gill and I both could be proof texting. And scores of other theologians seeing this passage similarly as I. Yes we could ALL be proof texting the passage and YOU alone could have it right. I suppose.

    John Gill is famous for being a flaming Calvinist. Quoting John Gill in an attempt to prove a Calvinist interpretation of a Calvinist proof text is a CIRCULAR REASONING. Why would you even attempt to provide a Calvinist theologian as a proof anyway?

    Also, why does it matter if John Gill is considered Baptist or not? All Things Baptist is not a measure of truth, and I am not bound by the Southern Baptist Convention. It is my understanding that we are discussing things as Christians.

    This isn’t about brand names. I would support the Roman Catholic Erasmus when he properly stood against Luther with respect to free will, because in that respect Erasmus was siding with the scriptures, and Luther was not.

    So you can copy and paste John Gill… so what? I could copy and paste Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, and Matthew Henry, and they would agree with me and disagree with your Calvinist champion. But I do not consider commentaries as proper proofs of scripture, so I’m not going to bother.

    However, I think the proper name for the John Gill quote you provided is called “eisegesis.”

    John Gill on Jeremiah 13:23 sample below:

    …that they should be regenerated and quickened by the Spirit of God; that they should be created in Christ Jesus unto good works, and have faith in him; all which is by the grace of God, and not of themselves.

    Where God uses 23 words, Gill feels it necessary to “explain” using 923+ of his own. Yet it should be obvious that Jeremiah is not talking about being regenerated and quickened by the Spirit of God.

    Concerning your concerns:

    I don’t know you and I certainly don’t know your background. Nevertheless, I have to say that you are bordering on embarrassing yourself publicly with your interpretations. I really don’t mean to offend you. One example and then I’m done.

    So I guess you’re sticking with your story that “nothing you say proves anything” without using scripture. You asked for proofs, and so I provided some proofs, but you have rejected the proofs without explanation. I’m not being unfriendly, I’m being honest. You haven’t stated any reasons, let alone any scriptural reasons.

    So I don’t think that I’m the one being embarrassed. The same style of proof texting that you employed in Jeremiah also can “prove” that Jesus is not God, and even that God is not God (does God slumber and sleep, does God repent, etc…)

    So I guess I can’t expect any explanation of why you rejected those numbered reasons… since as you have said, now you’re “done.”

    Reply

    • Andrew,

      I am hard to embarrass but you are getting close brother. Sort of like a Chihuahua going after my English Bulldog here… startin to be too much yappin.

      I love participation as much as anyone but debating has never really changed anyone’s mind on much… I prefer to see it as iron sharpening iron. Have to be careful there because too much sharpening does not leave enough iron to do any work with! I believe you have just about sharpened this one enough!!!

      And if i were to take sides on weighing in on the argument, I would favor your position, at least generally and I must admit I have not read all of this dialogue back and forth… which really makes my point that much more pertinent.

      ><>”

      Reply

    • Andrew,

      Ok, maybe one more comment. Yes, Gill was a Calvinist. Most earlier Christians were.

      I think I have Matthew Henry. You can have Clarke and Barnes.

      “However, I think the proper name for the John Gill quote you provided is called “eisegesis.”
      And…

      “Where God uses 23 words, Gill feels it necessary to “explain” using 923+ of his own.

      I don’t think that is eisegesis. As I’ve said elsewhere with Bob, that is just good Puritan style preaching/commentary.

      So, as I said. I’m done debating what looks like to be an endless back and forth on this post. We can continue to dialogue via my email since you did contact me, as we each have time. Maybe that can be fruitful.

      Blessings.

      Reply

  15. Why should I buy your major position? I define the position as one of Sovereign Grace, based upon biblical position, held before Calvin was ever thought of, and that it was the basis of our Southern Baptists, that the prototype for your kind of viewpoint is to be found in one vey good example of a fellow who was won to Christ by Sovereign Grace Southern Baptists and whose funeral was preached by the same. Southern Baptists are Sovereign Grace in their theological foundation, and it is the holders of that position who made room for those who differ as a person can be very much crossed up in his or her theology and still be a child of the King and a servant of God. Since both my ancestors and predecessors are closely connected with Soutehern Baptists and since I bit the bullet and did the research, why should i even consider the arguments of one who cites no sources and does no research and does not reason ont he facts? I do not say this to irritate you, I say it to get you to think enough to do the research. After all, I quoted the father of missions among Southern Baptists, Luther Rice. It would seem that a person of his influence would get your attention. Even so, room was made for your brand of theology. So why not meet us halfway and permit those who follow in the paths of the fathers, sometimes by connection and sometimes by actual lineal descent to preach the original Faith? We still have the General Baptists and Free Will Baptists, and I have actually preached in a few of their churches. Why is it that they have no put forth the mission program that the “calvinists” did…and established the educational institutions to support such an effort? Brother, I am not trying to embarrass you (I could care less for such tactics). I am trying to get you to make the effort to see what was the theology actually preached in the Great Awakenings and who called for the prayer meetings that led to the launching of the Great Century of Missions. With best wishes for your health and happiness and your labors in behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Reply

  16. Dr. Willingham,

    Once again I am grateful for your participation. I understand that it takes time to read and respond. I am well aware of those constraints, as I try to respond to most if not all who take the time to participate.

    You said, “Why should I buy your major position?” First of all, I am not ‘selling my position by any means… so there is nothing for you to buy… bite on or whatever. I am looking for criticisms based on WHAT I am writing so I can better understand how what I may have written is viewed by others and if their objections square with my positions. It also challenges me to make sure my positions are what they should be or stated correctly. This primarily concerns my proposed theological positions in other posts… but even in this one, understand my sole issue is the level of influence that Calvinism enjoys today in the SBC… which I contend is not shared by the vast majority of folks in the pew.

    Now… as to your statement: “I define the position as one of Sovereign Grace, based upon biblical position.” Clearly… I do not. It is also interesting that you make the statement that your position is based on Scripture but the whole of your argument is that your position is historically held by all these folks of the past. Well… I am not interested in learning what Carey may or may not have meant as he discusses certain texts. I am sorry. I would rather deal with the texts themselves. Some people can work with that and some seem to be unable to do that. To each his own I guess but that is not really my problem nor my focus.

    I am not going to get into a debate as to HOW Calvinistic the SBC may or may not have been in the past. It is really immaterial to me today. i am not sure WHY that is such a major issue. If i were trying to assert that the SBC was not nor never has been influenced by Calvinism or Calvinists, THEN I could see that argument and the complaint. I have not done that. I openly acknowledge the fact that Calvinists have always been an influential part of the SBC. We may differ in the degree or extent that their influence was in shaping our convention but I really do not care about that discussion. It would not matter to me if it was clear that the SBC was 100% Calvinistic for MOST of its history.

    The facts are clear today to me anyway, that the SBC is TODAY decidedly not Calvinist. The notion that the SBC is Calvinist and just does not know it is ridiculous (as made by someone earlier.)

    If you have problems with some of the statements that I have made with reference to the problems I see that the influence of Calvinism in the SBC poses, I would love to discuss those. I am not interested in this line of debate over issues that have no relevance as far as I am concerned. Sorry… this is MY blog post.

    Grateful to be in His Grip;

    ><>”

    Reply

  17. Bob: The SBC is both Calvinist and non-Calvinist. Always will be. I am wondering if you are part of the team that mailed anti-Calvinist material full of false information to other SBC affiliated ministers in Florida.. You are fighting a losing battle. Just a warning.

    Reply

    • Debbie,

      I agree that the SBC is BOTH Calvinist and non-Calvinist. My point is that the non-Calvinists out number the Calvinists by an 85% margin but 1 in 3 seminary grads are self professing 5 point Calvinists. I find that alarming and I am sorry that you do not see my point.

      As for the anti-Calvinist literature being sent out in Florida I am not only NOT a part of that nor do I know anything about it as a Pastor in Florida.

      So if you are casting false accusations here, you are sadly the one fighting a losing battle. Here is a warning for you; change your tone on my site or do not bother posting here again. I CAN make my warning stick.

      Grateful to be in His Grip!

      ><>”

      Reply

  18. Ms. Kaufman’s comment is correct, and the decision that resulted in that situation came in the union of Separate and Regular Baptists in Va. in 1787, when they stated in their terms of union that “the preaching that Christ tasted death for every man shall be no bar to communion.” And from the best that my research could find, it came about because a few of those who held to that due to Hebs.2:9 had been willing to go to jail for preaching the Gospel along with the limited atonement folks uring the time that the Church of England was the established church. In the Union the Separates and Regulars agreed to drop the terms Separate and Regulars and be henceforth called United Baptists. 50 years later a church in Mo.(then called Sardis United Baptist Church was organized) adopted much the same principles, allowing for variance on the extent of the atonement while holding to the inability of man and God’s unconditional election of sinners to be saved along with efficacious grace.

    Reply

    • Dr. James, I’ve a question about this:

      the decision that resulted in that situation came in the union of Separate and Regular Baptists in Va. in 1787, when they stated in their terms of union that “the preaching that Christ tasted death for every man shall be no bar to communion.”

      And from the best that my research could find, it came about because a few of those who held to that due to Hebs.2:9 had been willing to go to jail for preaching the Gospel along with the limited atonement folks uring the time that the Church of England was the established church

      I want to make sure that I properly understand what you just said. Are you saying that before 1787 that some people were barring others from communion if those others were preaching that Jesus tasted death for every man?

      Heb 2:9 KJV
      (9) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

      It sounds like you just said that prior to 1787 some Calvinistic Baptists were barring others from communion if they believed the words of Hebrews 2:9. Where do the “limited atonement folks” that you mentioned fit into this? Who was jailing whom?

      Reply

    • It looks like the writer of Hebrews explains himself later in the book. For whom did Jesus taste death?

      “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” Heb. 9:15

      The called…

      and

      “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear sa second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Heb 9:28

      The many, not the all.

      Reply

      • But Les, your quote of Hebrews 9:15 doesn’t come anywhere close to demonstrating “Limited Atonement.” Notice that even in your chosen translation, it uses the word “may” which is permissive, not “shall” or “decreed.” Likewise, “calling” is no guarantee of salvation either (see Matthew 20:16). That promise of inheritance is offered to all whether they will receive it or not.

        Likewise, Hebrews 9;28 doesn’t prove what you intend. Just because Christ tasted death for all men does not mean that all are going to eagerly await him when he returns. If you read Revelation, it is obvious that it is not the “many” that are eagerly awaiting for him, but it is the “many” that are gathered together against him.

        Heb 9:28 KJV
        (28) So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

        So when Hebrews 2:9 says that Christ tasted death for every man, it seems that you are claiming that this verse somehow “doesn’t count?” No, I must disagree with you, because when Hebrews 9:28 says that Christ was offered to bear the sins of many, the context of this very book requires that this instance of “many” (as in a very large amount without number) is synonymous with the previously stated “all men” (a more precise term that usually means all.)

        Can Many Mean All?

        In fact, it should be plainly obvious from scripture that “many” can indeed mean all, and this can even be demonstrated from the book of Romans in the precise chapter that is speaking against Limited Atonement.

        Rom 5:17-19 KJV
        (17) For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
        (18) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
        (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

        So, Les, unless you’re willing to say that it was not all men that came into condemnation by one man’s offense, you must therefore also admit that that “many” can mean “all” in the context of verse 19, where it says that “for as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.”

        The reading of Romans 5:18 seems to squelch “Limited Atonement” before it has had a chance to start, for it says that even as all men came to condemnation, even so the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. I cannot imagine how anyone would attempt to argue that the word “all” is used with opposite meaning within this same verse.

        Joh 3:16 KJV
        (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

        The totality of scripture preaches that God so loved the world, and that Christ tasted death for every man. “Limited Atonement” is an artificial construction that is required for Calvinism that first requires Calvinist assumptions, but it is not scripturally derived.

        Heb 2:9 KJV
        (9) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

        Why should we be trying to reason our way around what this verse so plainly seems to say? I cannot imagine that our apostle and author of this book was a Calvinist, for if so then he would never have said such a thing to begin with.

      • Andrew, I don’t know why I keep doing this. Most Christians (and even non-Christians) can see how foolishly you use scripture. Your idea of “may” in the English translations has an unintended consequence. To use your “may” explanation, then John 3.16 becomes not a guarantee of eternal life to those who believe, but something less than certain.

        “that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” ESV

        You: “So when Hebrews 2:9 says that Christ tasted death for every man, it seems that you are claiming that this verse somehow “doesn’t count?” No, I must disagree with you, because when Hebrews 9:28 says that Christ was offered to bear the sins of many, the context of this very book requires that this instance of “many” (as in a very large amount without number) is synonymous with the previously stated “all men” (a more precise term that usually means all.)”

        Nice try in scripture gymnastics. If one verse says “all” and another says “many” what shall we do? Deduce that the fewer number actually means the “all” number? Nay. The fewer (many) must govern the “all.” All negates the many. If many is true, and it must be, then “all” must not mean “all without exception.” You must keep studying to better understand what the “all” means since both can’t be true. “All kinds” will help you out and still allows “many” to be true. Bt if you insist in “all without exception,” you’ve just negated “many.”

        On the Romans 5 passage, you have it backwards. It obliterates your attempt to say that Jesus died for all men. Even in this passage it it YOU who is forced to say that if Jesus died for all as you say, then you are a universalist.

        “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

        (Romans 5:18 ESV)

        Are all men justified? If you say, welcome to universalism.

        Calvinists on the other hand understand that universalism is not an option. All must mean something other than “all without exception.”

      • Les, I don’t know why you keep doing this either. That word “may” that you are objecting to was from the English Standard Version that you yourself quoted. You were the one providing the verse, and now you’re objecting to your own translation.

        But yes, the logical implications of that “may” continue to prove themselves by scripture. Yes, it is true that John 3:16 does not guarantee eternal life to one who believes and then turns away.

        1. Is it not written, that “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God?” (Luke 9:62)
        2. Did not Paul himself say that even he, after having preached to others, might become a castaway? (1 Corinthians 9:27).
        3. Does not Jesus speak to the churches in Revelation, and say that it is to him that overcomes, and keeps his words unto the end, that he will give power over all nations? (See Revelation 2:26)

        Rev 3:21 KJV
        (21) To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

        Perhaps this might be easier for you if you were to think of it as “effectual” belief. People may believe and then turn back or become a castaway. Look also to the parable of the sower and the seed in Luke 8. Some of those received the word of God but did not endure. I must insist that we read this passage.

        Luk 8:11-13 KJV
        (11) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
        (12) Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
        (13) They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

        So apparently it’s possible for people to hear the word, receive it with joy, and believe for a while, but in time of temptation to fall away. These are not the seeds that survive to bear fruit. That may be little hard on Calvin’s “Perseverance of the Saints” but that’s not my problem. You see, I am not a Calvinist.

        So while you may claim “gymnastics” with Romans 5, your claim still defies the basic rules of mathematics. The concept of all is inclusive of the concept of many. All does not exclude many as you have claimed. You don’t need a mathematics minor to figure this out… I think this is even taught in high schools.

        Am I Universalist? Not in the least, but I believe that the words of my bible actually mean what they say, and were chosen with precision.

        Rom 5:18 KJV
        (18) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

        1. It says that the free gift came upon all men.
        2. It says that this gift is unto justification of life.
        3. There is no guarantee that all men will accept this gift or endure to the end to be justified of life. That’s why it says “unto justification of life” instead of “and are justified of life.”

        I anticipate that you will mock me for reading the King James, so let’s look again at your own translation which you have already quoted, because you weren’t reading your own translation very carefully either.

        Rom 5:18 ESV
        (18) Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

        The phrase in question is “leads to justification and life.” It did not say “which justified all men to life.” All roads may lead to Rome, but that doesn’t mean that I must go to Rome if I start out on that road. This is basic elementary logic. Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary.

        Your ESV is a rather new translation, but there are others out there. Would you prefer the Geneva translation instead? That was even produced by Calvinists so you wouldn’t be able to object to “biased translators.” I’d even be willing to show you the translation of William Tyndale. None of these speak in the way that you are claiming the verse should read.

        Or will you claim that none of these translations are correct, and that it really should have been translated as “one act of righteousness justified and gave life to all of the elect?” Because that’s where your argument leads…

        And to prove my point, even if one starts down a path that leads to a certain destination, one does not have to arrive there. If you will accept the text, you will not have to argue that you alone have the ability to translate this passage to save Calvinism. Turn back from that path and you will not arrive at the destination.

      • Andrew, the reason I keep coming back must be similar to the way some people can’t stop looking at a wreck. For your theology is truly a wreck.

        I did not object to my preferred translation. I object to your misunderstanding of and misapplication of it.

        And believe it or not, I did go to high school. Absolutely the all includes the many. But the many does not include the all. If all without exception was what the writer meant, it would have been easy enough to use it every time.

        If, let’s suppose there is/was a finite number of people in the world. Let’s suppose that number is 1,000. Now if he said jesus came to dies for 1,000, there’s not much debate there. Bt if he said that Jesus came to die for 700…

        Well, that’s a different matter. 700 cannot include the other 300. But 1,000 can include the 700 and the 300.

        So we must use our God given brains and the Holy Spirit to see whether he really meant ALL or MANY. It doesn’t take much to see that it must mean many (given the totality of scripture) and not every single person who would ever live.

        Oops. You didn’t really respond to that. Maybe it’s even clearer for you.

        You: “But yes, the logical implications of that “may” continue to prove themselves by scripture. Yes, it is true that John 3:16 does not guarantee eternal life to one who believes and then turns away.”

        Here you go again. The passage says nothing about turning away. Are you seriously denying the promise of John 3:16? Bob, are you reading this?

        Elementary, my friend. Keep trying though. You may yet come to a knowledge of the truth.

      • Les, did they ever teach set theory in your high school?

        When considering a promise to 1000 and a promise to 700, then you’re not limited to only 1000 or only 700. Just from that problem alone, you could have been referencing as many as 1700.

        If I said that I promised to bring 1000 people to the zoo, and later I said that I promised to bring 700 people to the zoo, I could be speaking of 1000 or 1700, and you never even heard about all my other promises.

        And in this application, “all” would be analogous to the 1000, and “many” would be like the 700. Just as 700 does not neutralize the 1000, neither does many neutralize the all as you have claimed. Nice attempt at that sleight of hand, but it didn’t work.

        Now that we’ve exercised our God-given brains, I have to wonder about something here. You claim the argument of “totality of scripture” but you didn’t use one scripture. That’s sort of … interesting.

        But then after claiming that you had the “totality of scripture” you rejected my argument of totality of scripture proving that according to Christ’s own words, men will believe and then fall away from the kingdom of God. This is beyond the parable itself, these are the words of Christ’s explanation of the parable.

        Your argument seems to be thus summarized in your thesis statement:

        Andrew, the reason I keep coming back must be similar to the way some people can’t stop looking at a wreck. For your theology is truly a wreck.

        Talk is cheap, Les. You’re always making claims like that, but your proof seems to be lacking. If I have made a mistake, then bring forth scriptures and evidence, preferably something that doesn’t first require that I accept unproven assumptions of so-called “Reformed Theology.”

      • Andrew,

        Yes. But that was a long time ago. But I limited it. Your “1700” could not be. I put a finite number of 1,000.You can never get 1700 out of 1000. Nice try as well.

        You: “You claim the argument of “totality of scripture” but you didn’t use one scripture. That’s sort of … interesting.”

        I’ve use many. Do I need to go slower for you to keep up?

        You: “you rejected my argument of totality of scripture proving that according to Christ’s own words, men will believe and then fall away from the kingdom of God.”

        You “proved” nothing. I take that back. You did prove that your human bias toward free will and a denial of God’s sovereignty in the salvation of man is deeply embedded. Perhaps George Whitfield was right when he said,

        “”We are all born Arminians.” It is grace that turns us into Calvinists.” (Sermons, Vol. 2, p. 124)

        You: “my argument of totality of scripture proving that according to Christ’s own words, men will believe and then fall away from the kingdom of God.”

        Of course men may “believe” and fall away. They prove what John said in 1 John,

        “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” (1 John 2:19 ESV)

        John 3.16 is a standing promise, tough you make it provisional.

        Ah, but you will probably say John was talking there about anitchrists. And you would be correct. And you would demonstrate the folly of your so-called interpretative abilities.

        You: ” bring forth scriptures and evidence…’

        I have done so far too many times so far. Look back. And let me know if I need to write more slowly so you can understand.

        But all kidding aside, I implore you to turn to Christ while he may be found by you. You are, in all sincerity, a self-deceived man. Not a personal attack. But your lack of understanding of scripture (notice I did not say knowledge) is sad.

      • By the way Andrew, I’m likely moving on from this post. Maybe someone else will take up your challenge. I have other things to do.

    • Hey guys. I have glanced at this thread and could make a number of issues raised here articulated by you both.

      First of all, Andrew I am not in agreement with the contention that people can be “born again” today and then unregenerate tomorrow, ie eternal security of the Believer. I actually believe Arminians AND Calvinists believe basically the same thing in their concept of perseverance. The emphasis is a little different but very very similar. I believe in the eternal security of the believer, which most Calvinists actually adhere today… they just don’t realize it is NOT the same thing as Perseverance of the Saint. I believe in Perseverance of the Savior.

      Les, the issue of all and many as you are presenting, I would agree with your argument. However, I am not sure the Bible would support your argument because it appears that Paul uses many and all sort of interchangeably. I would agree that this would be highly irregular as far as our task of communicating today but it you will look at Romans 5:12-19 Paul uses the two almost interchangeably.

      Look at the following verses “15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

      What is Paul actually saying here? I am not really sure. I do not know HOW he could say, “by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners. We all know that ALL were made sinners. Same in verse 15… “for by one man;s offense many died.

      And the word “many” is used as a “great many” which is closely akin to “all” as opposed to a “few.” I am not so sure that Paul is intentionally using the two terms interchangeably in a concerted effort to avoid the argument of universalism.

      I do think you have been a little over critical of Andrew especially in this last charge that he “is a self-deceived man” and needs Christ. I really do despise your statement, “I implore you to turn to Christ while he may be found by you” on two grounds…

      First, you have made yourself judge… and if I understand anything about the Bible, that is not our place, whatsoever. Second, your own theology says that Andrew “cannot turn to Christ” unless and until Christ turns him. Your assertion that his “misunderstanding of scripture” surely is not the basis for your determining that he is still lost and unregenerated.

      This is NOT characteristic of you, as I have observed your writing. I certainly hope this is the exception and not the rule in your attitude toward those who do not agree with you.

      ><>”

      Reply

      • Bob,

        “I do think you have been a little over critical of Andrew especially in this last charge that he “is a self-deceived man” and needs Christ. I really do despise your statement, “I implore you to turn to Christ while he may be found by you” on two grounds…”

        Perhaps you are right that I’ve been too critical. Andrew has shall we say a peculiar approach to using scripture to try and prove his points. What put me over the edge was his statement elsewhere, “Christ dying on the cross didn’t save anyone.”

        That comment was in the context of talking about the atonement.

        You’re right. I’m not the judge. That is not my usual way of addressing differences.

        Andrew, I apologize. Please forgive me.

        I’ll no longer put myself in a situation where I might lapse into another such address to Andrew. I’ll leave his comments alone.

      • Les,

        I certainly do understand the frustrations that blogging can cause! can make us all a little “mad” at times!

        While I have glanced at some of the comments that you guys have tossed at one another… I think i remember this statement made… but I have to agree with the statement, “Christ’s death on the cross did not save anyone.”

        Not sure what the context of his statement was, but just looking at THAT atatement, as it stands by itself, his death itself did not save anyone. The atonement has to be applied or appropriated to the recipient, however that needs to be done.

        If you or I were saved on the cross when Jesus said “it is finished” then that causes some serious theological problems with respect to repentance and faith, which I have alluded to earlier. I am sure there may have been some other conversation that went with the statement, but that is my take on what I just read.

        Appreciate your humility Les… and your participation! We have butted heads as well… here and SBC Today…

        I try to remember that we all have different perspectives and we all have a LOT invested in our theological positions. However, I myself just want to be challenged to make sure I believe what I believe and why.

        Sometimes, the real frustration is a lot of the debate is so superficial and elementary and even too general to be of any real significance. However, sometimes something that someone says turns on a light bulb and that makes the exercise worth the effort…. at least to me!

        Grateful to be in His Grip!

        ><>”

      • Bb,

        Well ok. But I do reiterate here what I said on SBC. A great book on the atonement is Redemption: Accomplished and Applied.

        Maybe we are just using different words. I think of:

        “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
        (Romans 5:10 ESV)

        The ESV SB notes say (yes, I know full well that notes are just commentary from a bunch of scholars):

        As in v. 9, Paul argues from the greater to the lesser. Since Christians are now reconciled to God through Christ’s death, they can be assured that they will be saved on the day to come. Here “saved” includes initial justification, completed sanctification, glorification, and future rewards. Salvation is based on his life, that is, Christ’s resurrection (see 4:25; 6:1–23).

        The death of Christ was propitiation for our sins. They were put away, right? Removed as far as the east from the west. Hurled into the depths of the sea to be remembered no more. If the cross did anything it saved us (not to mention all those OT believers).

        Sure there is the application for those of us following after. I do think it is a dangerous thing to say that His death didn’t save anyone.

        But anyway, Merry Christmas. Jesus saves!

      • I think you are correct in saying “we are just using different words.” It is certainly not that salvation is accomplished apart from the cross. So from that perspective, yes of course we are saved by Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.

        This passage in Romans does NOT speak to the timing of the propitiation for our sins. That is where I think the biggest problem is coming in. What I am speaking of is the event itself… my sins were NOT expiated when Jesus cried it is finished.

        The expiation is accomplished at conversion… for me individually. It can be argued that Jesus’ sacrificial death accomplished the atonement for sin corporately on the cross… but its application for me individually takes place when I pass from death to life… when conversion actually takes place.

        To try to say that the expiation or even propitiation took place completely at Calvary… would mean that the elect are not unregenerate at any point… for if their sin was forgiven and forgotten from the cross forward… then as I have maintained that would seem to me to create some very serious theological problems…

        Let me ask you a couple questions. For the Calvinist… is there a time when the elect is ever “lost” or unregenerate? If you answer is yes, how does this square with your statement earlier that our salvation was completed on the cross?

        If the elect are unregenerate from the beginning…. I assume the Holy Spirit touches the heart of the unregenerate and he is regenerated and he repents and exercises faith… and he is at that time, born again; correct?

        One may be 13 or 93… when ever the Spirit touches that individual’s heart? the question now is… if a person’s time is lets say at 53 that he comes to Christ, he was still the elect right, even though he did not know it?

        Never really thought about some of these questions but am trying to get an idea how all this really works and applies to the individual.

        ><>”

      • Bob,

        You attributed to me thus: “how does this square with your statement earlier that our salvation was completed on the cross?”

        Go back and read me again. I don’t think I ever said “salvation was completed” on the cross. Salvation has a past (Jesus paying for our sins and enduring God’s wrath in our stead), present (the application of that redemption via faith and all that is entailed in conversion as well as life long sanctification) and glorification when we will be fully and finally saved.

        Blessings.

      • Perhaps I misinterpreted the following statement.

        The death of Christ was propitiation for our sins. They were put away, right? Removed as far as the east from the west. Hurled into the depths of the sea to be remembered no more. If the cross did anything it saved us (not to mention all those OT believers).

        Seems to me when you say, If the cross did ANYTHING it SAVED US, that would qualify as salvation being completed on the cross.

        I am simply saying that there is a profound difference in saying the provisions of our salvation were completed on the cross but not our salvation itself. Justification comes individually at conversion and until that takes place, I am not a child of the Most High.

        ><>”

  19. The rules prior to 1787 was communion for particular redemptionists..due to the fact of the General Baptists who held to Jesus dying for everyone. Within the ranks of the Sovereign Grace believers some with more relaxed views arose (I am not sure now, but I think one of those was John Waller..) . In any case, he began preaching and went to Jail for preaching and later his views re: the atonement became known and the Particulars evidently did not feel right about denying communion to one who had suffered for Christ’ sake though he did not have the right view on atonement. Even as late as 1814 the Mt. Pisgah Church in the Sandy Creek Assn. area was organized with articles of faith acknowledging that Christ died for the church; they knew nothing of his dying for all with out exception, that being a General Baptist doctrine. They would participate in the 1816 annual meeting and evidently accept the adoption of the 1816 Sandy Creek Confession of Faith under the leadership of the Father of missions among Southern Baptists. Rev. Luther Rice (along with Basil Manly, Sr., the father of Southern Seminary and all the rest).

    Reply

  20. I wish to thank you Bob for your courtesy. Why some folks think that disagreement gives an open door to act in a discourteous fashion is beyond me. I think your conduct if becoming to your profession and ministry. Would that some who hold my views would be and do likewise. God bless.

    Reply

  21. Posted by Ben Lovelace on June 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I have a few questions that I believe sum up the whole debate.
    Is God HOLY and RIGHTEOUS?
    Answer: Yes
    Is God omnipotent?
    Answer: Yes.
    Is God omiscient, knowing the end from the beginning?
    Answer: Yes.
    Did he create all things?
    Answer: Yes
    Could God have created the world differently and without sin or the possibility of it? Answer:Yes.
    Does anything catch God by suprise?
    Answer: No
    Given that the above questions are basic sunday school orthodoxy. Can anything be said to happen that are outside of his good sovereign plan; including death and evil?
    Answer: No
    How awesome and wonderful would God have to be to justify the existance of sin and evil in the world he made and is in control of?
    You answer
    What kind of glorious eternity must he have planned if evil and sin are to be justified?
    You answer
    Can anything not ultimately be predestined?
    Answer: No; he knew what would happen before he made it, yet he did. Why?
    Now you may not like what I just said but to deny any of it would be to deny truth you already believe. Would you please stop doing that?
    Answer:?

    Reply

    • Ben,

      I must say you seem to think you have done something that no one has affectively been able to do in 400 years… I am impressed. Well, maybe not. I am not a any more a believer in calvinism now than I was before I read your series of statements and questions.

      Your two questions dealing with the awesomeness of God and His plans for a glorious eternity in light of the fact that God created a world with sin and evil in it… have absolutely nothing to do with the simple SS statements you opened with… and with the issue of calvinism and its theological adherence to what the Scriptures teach about the character of God and His activity in the salvific process of conversion.

      Your last question and answer are I guess a conclusion of the statements you introduced this comment with… you asked, “Can anything not ultimately be predestined?”

      Your Answer is: No; he knew what would happen before he made it, yet he did.

      If the means was predestined that being the provisions and conditions of salvation for anyone who would believe, then I will agree with you, no… everything must ultimately be predestined because God has indeed made provision for man to be saved if he will repent and beleive.

      Now… if by predestined you mean each individual… and God knows who will be saved and becasue He knows who will be saved, those are the ones Jesus died for on the cross and those are the ones and the only ones He will effectually call and regenerate their totally depraved hearts and regenerate them and give them repentance and saving faith, then I am going to say…

      NO… that is not at all what the Bible teaches about the conversion process.

      IN concluding your brilliantly crafted statement, you said, “Now you may not like what I just said but to deny any of it would be to deny truth you already believe. Would you please stop doing that?”

      Let me assure you, I fully understand what I believe and the implications of my belief system as well as the implications of the believe system you are attempting to suggest here. I would dare to argue that I can make a much stronger argument for calvinism that you ever thought of making… and most certainly the one you espouse here.

      I promise you, I have no intention of denying the theology I believe is true to what I believe.

      ><>”

      Reply

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