Must the new Baptist Calvinism divide churches, denominations?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    source: http://www.abpnews.com/www/3149.article By Ken Camp

    Published April 29, 2008


    (ABP) -- Can Calvinist and non-Calvinist Baptists work and worship together?
    It depends, some advocates of Reformed theology say, on whether Christians on both sides are willing to tiptoe through the TULIP -- the acronym for five doctrinal specifics that mark Calvinism -- without stomping on anyone’s flower bed.

    TULIP stands for total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints. Those five doctrines, delineated by the Synod of Dort in the 17th century, summarize distinctive elements of the theological system taught by reformer John Calvin -- particularly as distinguished from the teachings of James Jacobus Arminius, who emphasized free will over determinism.

    Proponents of what often is called “five-point Calvinism” emphasize the absolute sovereignty of God, typified by the doctrine of predestination. Predestination holds that God ordains a specific and finite number of human beings to be saved -- on the basis of his good pleasure alone.

    Historically, Baptists have come down on both sides of Calvinism’s fence. Many prominent Baptist figures have identified themselves as Calvinists, including 19th century British pastor and evangelist Charles Haddon Spurgeon and James Petigru Boyce, founding president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
    On the other hand, the fathers of the Baptist movement -- Englishmen John Smyth and Thomas Helwys -- rejected Calvinism.


    Calvin’s cool on campus

    After a long period of disfavor, however, full five-point Calvinism is gaining in popularity in some Baptist circles today. A study by two Southern Baptist Convention agencies -- the North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources -- showed that about 30 percent of recent graduates of Southern Baptist seminaries identify themselves as Calvinists. That figure compares to 10 percent of Southern Baptist pastors overall.
     
  2. Grasshopper

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    Roger Olson needs to get a clue.
     
  3. Martin

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    ==Can we? Yes. Will we? Probably not. There are too many bomb throwers in the non-Calvinist camp such as Ergun Caner, Jerry Vines, and Steve Gaines. These people don't discuss the issue. Instead they repeat the same talking points and misrepresentations that were published by Dave Hunt in his book "What Love Is This". There is no use in trying to "debate" these people because they have their "proof texts" and tried and tested sound bites ready to fire away without any consideration of the grammer or context of the verse. In fact they have thrown John 3:16 around so much that I wonder if they even know what it actually says verses what it does not actually say. This is the main reason why the debate at Liberty University failed to happen. The non-Calvinists wanted to stand there and give sound bites that could be put on a bumper sticker while the Calvinists wanted to get into the technical points of theology and history.

    Generally speaking, and there are certainly exceptions to this, it seems that there are two very different approaches that divide non-Calvinists from Calvinists just as much as the theology divides us. The general non-Calvinist approach is bombastic sound bites while the general Calvinist approach is long winded, technical, and boring to the average pew warmer. Sure there are exceptions to this (ex: Paige Patterson). However the exceptions are certainly not the rule.

    I think it is sad, but I do see the Southern Baptist Convention coming to blows over this issue in the near future. Will it split the Convention? Maybe. However it should not. Calvinists and non-Calvinists are both Christian and should be able to work together. However, as a Calvinist Southern Baptist, I can say that we cannot work with the type of non-Calvinist I have described in this post. They don't deal with the real issues and it is impossible to have a intelligent discussion with them on these issues. Non-Calvinists who are not like the ones I have described in this post are fine and I can, will, and do work/fellowship with them.
     
    #3 Martin, Apr 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2008
  4. Allan

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    Now Martin, you know this is not a one-sided issue as you have grosley alluded to and the 'bomb throwing' comes as much from the Calvinistic side as it does the other. In actuallity it is this kind one-sided accusation that helps keep it going. I agree we can and I think we will come together but not on the scale we used to. There are to many from both sides grabbing the proverbial arms to throw the other, either out or off to the side. Apparently however in light of your post you're one of the ones doing just what you're saying the other side is doing.

    Your reason for the debate at Liberty not taking place is not the reason the debate didn't take place nor is it the reason most of the debates don't take place. Most times it is due to the vitrol and hated both debaters have toward the other side. Everything, and I mean everything you set forth as what the non-cal side is or desires (as if you really know) can be said and is said of the Calvinist side.

    Just simply state that until we desire to love one another and encourage each other unto holiness and righteousness, we will never come to a place where good and profitable debates can play out for our good. Right now, the only two who have debated this in a Christ like Spirit is Patterson and Mohler.
     
    #4 Allan, Apr 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2008
  5. ReformedBaptist

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    FAIL. Methinks we can all guess where Ken's biases lay...
     
  6. ReformedBaptist

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    Oh, woe is me, whatever shall those poor ignornant university students do?
     
  7. ReformedBaptist

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    How dare they hunger for theology and rigorously study the Bible! If students keep that up they all might end of calvinists!!! O the horror of it all!!!!!
     
  8. ReformedBaptist

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    Those rasically students...that actually want to be clear, precise, and unadulterated in their theology, even on difficult matters! Where will it end!!!!!!!
     
  9. ReformedBaptist

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    Last post, I promise...


    Gee, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now...and a little slimed by liberal thinking...
     
  10. Tom Bryant

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    Reformed Baptist,
    I am not a Calvinist, but your comments are right on.

    People lose their minds (not to mention their Christian civility) when they start arguing about Cal/non-Cal.
     
  11. Martin

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    ==Well, Alan, I call them as I see them. As I pointed out my post was based on generalities and there are certain exceptions. However as I scan over the out spoken non-Calvinists I see very few who are not bomb throwers. Sure there are bomb throwers on the Calvinist side, I never said there were not, but from my perspective there are more on the non-Calvinist side.


    ==Actually, I am not. I have not, and would, accuse non-Calvinists of preaching heresy nor would I accuse them of painting a perverted picture of God. Those are the type of things that get thrown at Calvinists from people like the late Jerry Falwell, Liberty Seminary President Ergun Caner, Joseph Chambers, Dave Hunt, Jerry Vines, and others. When I talk about bomb throwing, that is what I am talking about.


    ==The immediant reason the debate was cancelled was that Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church, under the leadership of Jerry Falwell and Ergun Caner, tried to change the rules at the last minute. However if one examines the year long saga that preceded that one will see the reason why Liberty wanted to change the rules. They did not want a three hour debate that would give each side a fair chance to set forward their respective positions. What Liberty wanted was a short "debate" where Ergun Caner could get up on the stage and throw out a bunch of one liners without having time for serious debate/rebuttal, etc. The reason I gave was the real reason the debate was cancelled.


    ==I don't believe that is true. Listen to the sermons by men like Caner, Vines, and Falwell and compare those to the messages by men like MacArthur, Piper, Ascol, and Sproul. There is a world of difference.


    ==With that, I agree.
     
    #11 Martin, Apr 30, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2008
  12. jcjordan

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    I think Martin is right. From my experience in the SBC, it's not the non-calvinists who have to be careful what they say in the typical SBC church....it's just calvinists. I've heard countless stories of pastors and other staff members who's jobs are threatened when it is found out that they are calvinist. In my own church, I've got to watch what I say ever so carefully...trying not to use any of the hot button words like "predestination", "election" or "limited atonement". Not because I don't believe any of that stuff, but rather my views have been turned into something they are not by those like Caner and Vines.
     
  13. Allan

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    Then you need some new glasses. :) For a minor example, just look at the BB to see both sides flinging apples.

    Your assumption is that the exception is a small minority. Please tell us exactly who constitutes the majority view or are you actaully refering to a small group with a larger microphone? Undoubtedly the later. You do realize you can google just about any Baptist Calvinist pastor and listen to 'bomb throwing'. The problem I'm bringing to your attention is that your 'perspective' is largely one sided. From my perspective all I hear is; another gospel, watered down faith, serving a distorted and or man made God, et.. et al. That is from most of the Calvinistic Baptist preacher I have found currently on the net, in books, and not to mention my own friends!
    So to speak of your perspective as though it is the right one is not only misleading but misguided as well.

    Then you must also acknowledge those of your side doing the same things with just as many people involved. The only real distinction isn't one side having more poeple saying more things but that one side has a louder mic to speak with. Not that that is a good thing in this instance. However, can you deny that those of your view wish to remove the non-cal view as predominant and replace it with your theological view instead (not along side). If so, the question is why? Do you consider it less than, a distortion of, or possibly even a perversion of the truth? IF so, then you ARE just as guilty as those throwing 'bombs' you just don't have pull to say it as loudly as the opposing side is. However, the few you listed are not the majority and therefore to lump them into a catagory which is to represent a large mass of people doing this is completely bogus or better misinformation.

    Your assumption is incorrect sir. You begin with what is truth and then end in pure speculation and biased assumption. Stay with the facts. Your conclusion (which is not based on facts but assumption) stands exactly to what I am refering to in the above. Your reason is a fabricated one and one that does not hold up to the facts in the end but concludes in 'your' speculation as to why it didn't occur.

    Yes, PLEASE do. But of course it depends on the sermon you wish to listen to now doesn't it? Take a sermon on limited atonment, or the soveriegnty of God in salvation, irresistable grace, predestination, et.. and listen to how they contend against the non-cal view. These men (to my knowledge) haven't specifically set up a particular sermon about the non-cal view but have preached against it many times with vigor in various sermons of diverse subjects. However, I will make the exception regarding MacArthur because I can't remember him doing it at all, and place in there James White, Paul David Washer, and John Hendrix as other viable 'bomb throwers". Their rhetoric is just as spiteful and degrading depending on the topic at hand they are expounding.

    That is why I am stating both sides are equal in their wrong and just as equal in the players contending in such a manner. I find both to be a disgrace to Christ and Christian unity.
     
    #13 Allan, May 1, 2008
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  14. Allan

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    Unless of course you're in a Calvinistic Baptist church and then who must watch their toes?? The Calvinist? I didn't think so.

    If the SBC were Calvinistic in the main at this moment (instead of Non-Cal) who would have to be watching their toes?? Who would have to watch what they say? It would be the non-cal would it not? The real problem is that there are three sides in this issue. The two opposing sides and the one in the middle that can work with the other. The problem is that the middle group is quite and doing the Lords work but the other two are making all the noise, as if they (either one) were speaking for what would be presumably only two sides because they are the only ones heard.

    Yes, I'm sure you have. Thousands upon thousands of them (sarcaism)
    And how many stories have you heard regarding those in Calvinistic churches finding someone on their 'church' staff were of the non-cal view and remained.
    I know of some stories where members of church staff at a church with a non-cal view 'have' those of Calvinistic views in position there. However the fact is that most (of either side will not) because of the theological position or stance they take and would have those in authority with in the church agreeing with them.

    Is your view a minority view (not belittling it but making a point), then switch it and tell me if you think it would be any different for the non-cal if Calvinism was in the majority. Personally I think it would be worse because of the tendencies for absolutism.

    Then in all honesty I must ask, why even be there? That would make me nuts personally.

    Let me give you a current example of one of many problems. This happened about two weeks ago.
    There is a church in North Dakota that was looking a pastor, it was a friend of mines parents church (his old one). A pastor from Texas came up did the whole song and dance for the pastor search committee. They thought he would be great. Then his first sunday there as Pastor stated he was a Calvinist and he was going to make some theological changes. He lasted a week. He decieved them on purpose by not saying his true beliefs in order to be their pastor and try to change them. This is something that I can (much like you) give numerous stories on (3 of which I know personally including this one).

    The fact is this: Both sides agree with and hold to the immutable truths, but we do not disagree on the truths themselves but the mechanics of how those truths operate. It is nothing more than secondary issues regarding our beliefs and therefore should not affect our christian unity with one another but some want to make them primary issues.
     
    #14 Allan, May 1, 2008
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  15. sag38

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    Recently I read MarK Dever's 9 Marks book. It was right on for the most part. But, in it he basically stated that if a church did not believe reform theology, he could not see how that church could be effective in evangelism. (The book is in my office. I'll add the quote when I can) Insinuations like this turn me off and lead me to believe that a split is coming. I've heard on numerous occasions that I'm denying the Biblical truth, questioning God's sovereignty, and ignoring my Baptist heritage, when I disagree with Calvinism. There is also the glaring insinuation that non-Calvinist are guilty of creating false conversions. Wow! That's a strong accusation and a slap in the face as far as I'm concerned. One of my best friends is Calvinist. We have witnessed together, shared pulpits, etc but he's never accused me of being an ineffective witness, of denying my Baptist heritage, or questioning what some believe is clearly taught in the Bible (personally I see both truths clearly taught and therefore have no problem with the contradiction). You see? We both believe the Great Commission far outweighs petty arguments over things like TULIP. Who cares if Spurgeon was a Calvinist? I don't. And, I don't care if every Baptist in our history was a Calvinist. While I value my Baptist heritage, I live in the now, not in the past. Here's what's important to me and I believe is to most of us out there who aren't trying to make this an issue to split over. I'm used of God to lead people to Christ just like my TULIP believing friend is and that's good enough for both of us and it should be good enough for everyone else.
     
  16. Allan

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    Good post, and good point as well.
     
  17. exscentric

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    A small church asked me to candidate. In my looking at the church one of the area folks mentioned that one of the two deacons was a five pointer and that the other was as far to the other end as he could get.

    Since both were still in the church I assumed that they must have decided to get along.

    On the day I was to candidate we sat down in Sunday school (taught by the 5 pointer). He read the text for the morning and BINGO here we go - a strong divisive text for the cal/arm folks.

    The teacher laid out his take on the text, the other entered in and gave his take on the text and then we discussed the text and made some good application. Nothing bitter, nothing argumentitive and nothing but respect from both sides.

    Sure the two can get along if they want to and apply a little effort.

    (By the way "Reform/reformed" often means amillennialism and covenant theology along with the calvinism.)
     
  18. reformedbeliever

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    The problem as I see it is that there are way too many who foam at the mouth when the doctrines of sovereign grace are taught. Oklahoma Baptist University curriculum is very Calvinistic. Many (most) of the authors of the text books are full five point Calvinists.
    We have people in a local association who have actually had a phone campaign to have the DOM removed because he taught OBU curriculum. The DOM happens to be a five point Calvinist also.
    Our church was not voted into the association because of my Calvinistic teaching (five point).
    If you could have witnessed the vitriol being spewed at the last anual meeting of this association, I'm sure you would have been ashamed, even if you were non-calvinist. Read John 17 and tell me you would not have been ashamed.
    I'm as certain as I can be, from experience, that there will either be the Calvinistic pastors leaving the SBC, or the convention will remain fractured and Jesus' prayer would have been in vain for this convention. How can an organization continue to thrive with such division? Maybe its God's providence that such an organization be brought to its knees........ literally.
     
  19. Allan

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    I think it is coming to that time (of our knees) and I believe it is the Lords Providence drawing toward it. But I think the purpose will remove the extremists and allow unity to once again thrive. Maybe I'm just an optomist or maybe I just believe judgment is coming to the House of God as a refiner's fire that they might offer up acceptable sacrifices once again (Mal 3). God uses both views to bring balance back to his people as we (in our human nature) swing to far as group in certain directions that need tempering. But there are many on both sides of the issue who do not understand the 'actual' views and beliefs of the other side. Thus we get the constant mischaracterization and from there we degrade to the usage of demeaning caricaturizations.
     
  20. sag38

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    When one goes to web site like the Founder's website it is very clear where their agenda is going. Or, at least that's the way it appears to me. They have lists of chruchs that are Founder Friendly. They clearly state that they want to move the Convention back to it's supposed heritage. They clearly state that Calvinism is the correct view thus saying that the other view is wrong. So, in my mind that leaves us non-reformers out. How else can one view this as not headed toward a split as long as these type of activities continue in the SBC?
     

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