How is SBTS received now in SBC life?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by mjohnson7, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. mjohnson7

    mjohnson7
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    From another board which many here frequent:



    Anyone here have any first-hand experience with anti-calvinistic retribution toward SBTS grads? Have you heard of such?
     
  2. Baptist Believer

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    At first take, I was very surprised by the thought that there would be an anti-SBTS bias in SBC churches. Upon reflection, I can see why some would be terribly afraid of Calvinism because of all the negative propoganda about it by some SBC leadership.

    I'm personally not a 5-point Calvinist for what I believe are biblical reasons, but I understand and appreciate the emphasis on God's sovereignty and a proper perspective on God's unmerited favor toward us (grace) embodied in the doctrines.

    I assume that many SBC churches believe graduates of SBTS are, of necessity and indoctrination, 5-point Calvinists in their theology. This assumes that students don't think for themselves and that everything that is said in the classroom is automatically believed and accepted without question. While there are certainly seminary students who do not think for themselves, I think the assumption that seminary students are mindless automatons is a leftover from the days of the fight against moderate and occasional "liberal" seminary professors in the seminaries where seminary students were presented as empty vessels that unquestioningly received everything said in the classroom as gospel truth.

    Beyond that, I think many SBC churches believe 5-point Calvinists are necessarily unevangelistic since non-Calvinistic churches tend to be very pragmatic in their ministries. The widespread misconception that the message of the New Testament is essentially about 'getting to Heaven' instead of the Kingdom of God (which includes eternal life with Christ, but much more), has caused SBC churches to assume if God is the one chosing who will 'go to Heaven', then there is no point in evangelism. To be sure, there are disobedient Calvinistic Christians who refuse to honor Christ in their lives through sharing the gospel in word and deed, that is not part of Calvinist theology. (FWIW, the Evangelism Explosion program, as much as I personally dislike some aspects of it, was created by D. James Kennedy, a five-point Calvinist.)

    If there is a strong anti-SBTS bias in SBC life that is being supported by leadership, I'm guessing Calvinism is going to become the next scapegoat for the problem of declining conversions in the SBC.
     
  3. glfredrick

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    Yup...

    I've been rejected by several associations and churches simply because of my SBTS education, without them ever taking the opportunity to know me, hear me teach, etc.

    I'm a double grad of SBTS. Of note, I have NOT been indoctrinated into 5-point Calvinism. That simply is not possible. SBTS does not operate in that fashion. Classes are now rather large (20-100 students per class), professors are many, with varying points of view, and no one "indoctrinates" anyone. They simply teach, fairly, the various points of view on the theological spectrum. In my classes, both graduate and undergrad, I've seen every possible point of view expressed, often side-by-side in clear fashion. No one tells anyone else what they must believe.

    Case in point, most of the leadership of the very Arminian General Conference of General Baptists have attended SBTS for their higher education. I've also seen Methodists, Presbyterians, and others in classes over the years. We are not a legalistic closed-house type campus. Not at all!

    Oh, by the way, anyone that wishes can simply pop in and visit a class any time they like. Happens all the time, and profs generally enjoy it.
     
    #3 glfredrick, Nov 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2010
  4. glfredrick

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    Where does that thought come from?
     
  5. Tom Bryant

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    Sorry you've been blackballed. It's unfortunate and wrong. I think it is because of the perception that any grad of Southern will be aggressively Calvinistic. At the SBC meetings I have spoken with a number of staff and profs from there and have found them to be top notch in terms of abilities and love for the Lord. I am not Reformed in my theology but I appreciate the preparation that SBTS gives to their grads.
     
  6. Havensdad

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    Yes, I have heard this concept expressed. However, I have heard an equal number of people being blackballed (although it is not as organized), due to degrees from Southwestern. Southwestern has a rep of being "anti-reformed" and sensationalistic, and thus a lot of serious teaching/preaching congregations won't consider its graduates.

    My 2 cents: the churches that are going to reject someone because of a degree from Southern, would probably not be a good place for those graduates anyway. Southern is by far the most respected of the 6 in terms of academia (despite, ironically, its conservatism) outside Southern Baptist circles. So if you would ever consider pastoring a non-denominational or Bible church, a degree from Southern would be a plus!
     
  7. Baptist Believer

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    That's very good to hear. My estimation of SBTS just went up a notch.
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    I'm not sure which part you are referring to...

    The idea that 5-pointers aren't evangelistic has been going around for decades, if not longer.

    The "pragmatic" part comes from my observation of non-Calvinistic churches (of which I have been a part all my life) in that most churches do whatever puts backsides in the pews instead of starting with a strong theology which focuses the ministries of the church.
     
  9. Baptist Believer

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    I have to agree with this... especially in recent years.

    Yes, lots of practical wisdom in your words.

    From my admittedly limited experience with non-denominational churches, DTS, SBTS, and undergraduate/graduate theology degrees from Christian universities are more respected than most.
     
  10. glfredrick

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    I know that it is "around" what I'm asking is where it comes from, and as a corollary, is it accurate?

    Pragmatism, I get... We recently left a church that focused on pragmatism. I was black-balled there also. I was not allowed to teach in that church because of my seminary. Pastor goes out of his way to avoid SBTS.
     
  11. Tom Bryant

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    Most of my pastor friends are not reformed. But I have found that one's view on these doctrines are not the cause of someone being evangelistic. I know men who are evangelistic who are both. I know men who are not evangelistic who are both. So I don't think it's an accurate statement.

    Spurgeon could never be seen as anything other than evangelistic. Kennedy developed EE as a Calvinist.

    Can I possibly put forth an hypotheses about why it's out there. (Please remember that I am not Reformed) I am speakking in generalizations here. I am not trying to accurately portray either side. Just a simple hypothesis

    If I think that reformed theology taught that only the elect are going to be saved and that the Holy Spirit's called is effectual to the point that it is irresistible, then I might think that reformed preachers simply present the gospel but make no real effort to convince people that they need to be saved.

    On the other hand, if I believe that anyone (whosoever will) than I might pour my heart and soul into convincing my listeners to believe in Christ.

    Could this rather simplistic view of both sides in the issue be a cause of the faulty view of Reformed preachers?

    ok, have at me.
     
  12. Baptist Believer

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    I think that's exactly right.

    I have had people tell me that there's "no point to evangelism" if people don't have a choice about whether or not they are saved. Of course, those people generally have the view that 'getting to Heaven' when we die is the entire gospel and the whole point of the scripture, God's eternal purpose, and the ministry of Christ and the church.
     
  13. preachinjesus

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    I haven't personally seen it but I think there are some lingering vestiges of antipathy towards SBTS around. Most of it is due to unfounded presuppositions.

    Most SBTS grads I know are fine additions to a staff culture. Sadly not all churches see it that way.
     
  14. glfredrick

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    I'm asking exactly that question... The ones I often hear tell me such drivel are the ones who do not hold Reformed theology. I don't hear Calvinists or Reformed (whatever) saying such stupid stuff. Nor do I see a lack of evangelism in Reformed circles. In fact, many of the chief agencies pressing for world missions and evangelism are in fact Reformed.

    Spurgeon certainly did, and no one doubts it. What about Jonathan Edwards, instigator of the First Great Awakening? John Piper anyone? I'd cite myself, but that would be an argument from authority, but in any case, I'm both reformed and evangelistic. My degree is in Missiology with a North American emphasis and I believe that God ordains church planting as the single greatest evangelistic practice under heaven. Then, there are people like Ed Stetzer, Thom Rainer, and on we can go -- all Reformed in theology, yet evangelistic to the ends of the earth.

    Who is spreading the falsehood that Calvinists are not evangelistic and why do they not wish to stop?
     
  15. Havensdad

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    Amen!

    I hang out with a lot of "Way of the Master" folks (Ray Comforts Evangelism ministry), and talk to them in person, via forums, etc. (not to mention being one!) Almost all of them are reformed (even though Ray is not a 5 pointer). In fact, we did a survey recently, and found that more than 3/4 of the ones hitting the streets were Calvinists, while nearly 100 percent of the "seeker sensitive" church members, that want to trick people into church, and are against public evangelism, were "Arminian" (holding to 4 or less "points" of Calvinism).

    Of the 1/4 who believed in public evangelism, but were not "5 point" Calvinists, most were were 4 point, denying only limited atonement.

    So actually the facts seem to say the more Calvinist you are, the more you evangelize (although I am certainly not making any definitive statements here, so don't jump down my throat!)
     
  16. Baptist Believer

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    I think you have it right, in a general sense.

    I suspect it has to do with a more defined and considered theology, where a strong theology provides a framework and motivation for expressing the gospel in word and deed instead of simple guilt/manipulation tactics.

    As I mentioned before, I'm not a 5-pointer, but I I've worked through the issues carefully and that affects my attitude toward sharing the gospel.

    For various reasons, I don't do the door-to-door thing anymore or "intentional" street evangelism, but I do evangelize on the street as the Lord gives opportunity (it actually happens a fair amount) and with the many unchurched/post-churched people I work and associate with every day. Not making my living by the gospel opens up more opportunities for sharing my faith than I ever had as a pastor.

    The most evangelistic friend of mine is a hardcore 5-pointer. (He's actually a conservative Presbyterian who became a Baptist after he married his Baptist wife.)
     
  17. glfredrick

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    I've been fairly clear about the direction of my theology here on the board. I do not prefer the common handles -- on either side of the aisle -- because I find them mostly divisive and no longer accurate as to what they describe, but if I have to pick a label, I'll choose "Reformed".

    Yet, I've started two churches, helped with another 3 starts, and have probably knocked on 10,000+ doors in cold-call evangelism.

    I share the gospel continually because I KNOW that where God has elect people SOME will come to Christ. That is something the Arminian can never understand.

    I also share the gospel continually because that is exactly what God said for me (us!) to do. We are to "go into all the world, making disciples..." We are to go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world..." We are to preach in season and out..." We are to be "workmen, rightly handling the Word of Truth..." We are to go, for "how can they believe if they do not hear..." And yet, I hold to a sovereign God who draws men (people) to Himself, and a sovereign God who has, before time began, selected the elect.

    That should not be possible according to many on this site, so someone has to be wrong. I don't think it is me, but I'm willing to stand corrected. Just make sure that the correcting factor is as effective and used by God... :thumbsup:
     
  18. glfredrick

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    What if I do not care a wit about the 5 points, they being merely a theological construct or framework wrapped around the actual text of Scripture? But neither do I care a wit about the free will of mankind, for I cannot find it in Scripture the way it is commonly expressed by many here and elsewhere.

    BTW, I have read Jacob Arminius, and modern Arminianism is not the same as what he taught -- but neither is modern Calvinism what Calvin taught. Both came later by followers who sought to distill their very complicated and nuanced theology into a tidy little package. My what fun the enemy has had with that little exercise in futility over the past almost 5 centuries... :BangHead:
     

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