Sovereign Grace as it should be!

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by TCassidy, May 2, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,165
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    I came across an excellent article by Dr. James Willingham. A must read for both sides of the "Sovereign Grace" discussion. This is a response to an article, Southeastern (Baptist Theological Seminary) will be a Calvinist seminary over Danny Akin’s dead body (by William Thornton)

    dr. james willingham says
    October 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    All Dr. Akin appears to be trying to do is to continue the working relationship between the so-called Traditionalists and the so-called Calvinists (really should read Sovereign Grace believers) begun back in 1787 in the Union of Separate and Regular Baptists. In that Union they agreed that preaching that Christ tasted death for every man (Hebs.2:9) would be no bar to communion. The reason for this was that there were a few of the Separate Baptists who believed that way (and I mean very few as most the Separate Baptists were just as firm in their commitment to Sovereign Grace as were the Regulars), and they had proved their commitment to Christ by going to prison as had other Baptists. As to the issue, Dr. Akin has himself signed the Abstract of Principles which was drawn up by a committee headed by Basil Manly, Jr., the son of the man who had led the Southern Baptist Convention in three educational conventions (1857,1858, and 1859 in organizing and establishing Southern Seminary which he had originally suggested to Baptists at the South back in 1835. The two very Sovereign Grace doctrines of so-called Calvinism (and I say so-called due to the tendency of some to identify a doctrine that they despise with someone’s name so that they can affirm it as a human teaching and not a biblical one which would put them contrary to God), Unconditional Election and Efficacious or Irresistible Grace are stated or implied in the Abstract and have their source in the very missionary and evangelistic minded Sandy Creek Confession of 1816 which Luther Rice the Father of Missions among Southern Baptists had led the Sandy Creek Baptist Association to adopt. He was chairman of the committee that drew up that Confession, and the last named member of the Committee was the clerk of the Association. And that was Basil Manly, (later Sr.).

    Dr. Akin is honest and forthright. He does not ignore the facts. He clearly stated the truth, often overlooked by the Traditionalists today, that William Carey was a five point Calvinist. The fact that he made that statement impresses me, a lover of history and of Baptist history in particular, second only to my love for the word of God.

    We have a massive task before us, the mission of evangelizing the whole earth. One does not have to understand all of the points of theology in order to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. Even a child can point some one to Jesus, and many a child has done so. There must also be allowance for folks to develop and grow in their understanding of biblical teachings. Some have thought that the doctrines of grace are meat to be reserved for senior believers. During the long decline of this theology in the 20th century (aided and abetted by some who were determined to drive that theology out of the organization that believers in that theology had originally founded) a lot of the knowledge and know-how about preaching it was lost. Speaking out about one’s beliefs in such doctrines could get one in trouble for it. Having been taught and having learned the fear of God as the way to cope with the fear of man, I have sought to follow and preach what I believe the Bible teaches and what I believe is the original theology of Southern Baptists. I had one DOM who sought to get me fired. He also told me one day that I should stop preaching it, and I pointed to a book in his book case, Memoirs of Luther Rice, and said, “He says it's in the Bible and you had better preach it.” Later on, after he retired, he gave me that book, a rare treasure and a collector’s item.

    In any case, there are only two five point Calvinists that I know of teaching at SEBTS. There could be more, but I only know of two, and they have said so in their writings and preaching. One is Dr. Nathan Finn and the other is, in my opinion, the A.T. Robertson of our day, Dr. Maurice Robinson. I pray for the latter to be able to get his volumes published on the first century authenticity of the pericope on the woman taken in adultery. Only a person with the meticulous care to check out the thousands of Greek MSS like A.T. Robertson would check out all of the 5000 Greek MSS, the early lectionaries, and the early church fathers. Dr. Robinson has done that very thing. A hurricane, Katrina, no less, could have interrupted the slow process of checking out every reference which the community of scholars do and were doing on Dr. Robinson’s work. Hopefully, one of these days we will see that work.

    In the meanwhile we have a task at hand, and it behooves all of us to maintain the bond of unity in order to accomplish that work. I do not propose that any one change his preaching until he is persuaded otherwise. God can strike a straight blow with a crooked stick, and all of us, Sovereign Grace believers or Calvinists as some would have it and Traditionalists as well, are to some degree or other crooked sticks or as Paul said it, “I am the chief of sinners.” The term Separates and Regulars adopted in that union in 1787 was “United Baptists.” Fifty years later a church was founded in Missouri, the old Sardis United Baptist Church, which term indicated the result of that union and the articles of faith were Calvinistic without being overdone. I served as Interim for a church in Western North Carolina for 3 months, and it bore the title in its founding, Mt. Zion United Missionary Baptist Church. We are United Baptists, united in our mission to take the Gospel to the world, intending as, in my opinion, believers in grace to win the whole world (you should read Spurgeon’s Evening Devotions for August 6th and December 24th where he prays for the whole world to be converted in order to see a five point Calvinist bent on winning the whole world). I have nothing less as my aim and that for a thousand generations. Gloria in Excelsis Deo.

    [The original article to which Dr. Willingham was responding can be found here:
    http://sbcvoices.com/southeastern-w...er-danny-akins-dead-body-by-william-thornton/ ]
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Internet Theologian

    Internet Theologian
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,224
    Likes Received:
    986
    Good article.

    I believe Paul sums it up best in 2 Timothy 2:8-10, he himself being a Sovereign Grace preacher, apostle, otherwise known today as a Calvinist.

    Concerning preaching the Gospel he stated:

    Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 2 Timothy 2:8-10

    Only God knows who are the elect, we should preach as if all people are elect.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  3. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,179
    Likes Received:
    226
    I think you may get some flak there IT... Whereas I also I believe Paul was a Sovereign Grace preacher, apostle but to link him with John Calvin is stretching it... He is connected to Jesus Christ and I also believe TULIP that Calvin coined is biblical truth not that Calvin borrowed that from Paul but based the doctrine on the Word of God that came from Jesus Christ to Paul... There are some on the BB who disagree but I will let them wrestle with it... Those are my thoughts!... Brother Glen
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Internet Theologian

    Internet Theologian
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,224
    Likes Received:
    986
    I hear you!

    Here's the thing (and I know you know this brother tyndale1946) Paul wasn't linked to Calvin. Calvin was linked to Paul.

    If any person thinks Paul was linked to Calvin they need a short history lesson: Paul preceded Calvin, and Calvin got his theology straight from Paul. :)
     
    #4 Internet Theologian, May 2, 2016
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,179
    Likes Received:
    226
    Again I agree I know and understand what you know!... To keep the chain going Paul got his theology or doctrine from Jesus Christ... That is the chain Jesus Christ to Paul to Calvin and the criteria is only and only if it is biblical truth... Nothing else is acceptable!... Let those who disagree wrestle with it... As it is intended in scripture so it is and even though we don't understand it the biblical truth still stands and does not change even though men determined it is not so!... Those are my thoughts... Brother Glen
     
    #5 tyndale1946, May 2, 2016
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
  6. JonC

    JonC
    Expand Collapse
    Lifelong Disciple
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    6,941
    Likes Received:
    370
    Please correct me if I am mistaken on my timeline, but John Calvin died in 1564, James Arminius was born in 1560 and died in 1609. The Synod of Dort was 1618-19 ( 55 years after John Calvin died and about a decade after Arminius). “TULIP” came to represent or summarize the five points of Calvinism as put forth at the Synod of Dort, it’s earliest use being at the start of the 20th Century. Calvin didn't coin "TULIP" (Calvin also did not formulate the doctrines as presented at Dort, or as represented by TULIP).
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,179
    Likes Received:
    226
    What you say is true I've never really checked out the history of it but when brethren who are called Calvinist say they are, the TULIP doctrine is associated with what they claim and believe!... Thank you for clearing that up... The Primitive Baptist brethren are also associated with TULIP but as a preacher friend of mine who has been in the ministry over 50 years said we may embrace TULIP but we do not consider our selves Calvinist... Even though some would say we are!... Go figure!... All I know is I believe in biblical truth of TULIP!... And as the OP T.C. states Sovereign Grace as it should be!... Brother Glen
     
    #7 tyndale1946, May 2, 2016
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
  8. JonC

    JonC
    Expand Collapse
    Lifelong Disciple
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    6,941
    Likes Received:
    370
    I have met some primitive Baptists who get offended if you call them Calvinists (and I know a couple of Calvinists who get offended if you call a Baptist a Calvinist). As I recall, a Lutheran (Joachim Westphal) introduced the label "Calvinism" as descriptive of differing sacramental views. Labels can get confusing. Frown

    Some of the issue is in the development of theology. We do not know, for example, the extent to which John Calvin would have affirmed Limited Atonement (depending on one’s definition of the doctrine) as he did not develop a doctrine detailing the scope of the Atonement. Many assume that he would have been a five point Calvinist (by their definition of the phrase), but many argue that his teachings fall into the category of moderate Calvinism (again, depending on definitions). There are many who were considered fully Calvinists in the 17th century who would be considered moderate Calvinists today.

    My point in all of this is that if someone says that they are a Calvinist…well, that actually says very little about what they believe. Most do not mean just the five points (which were a response to the five articles….nothing to build an entire theology upon). TULIP is a bit more specific, but not very helpful anymore. If you were to ask, you would find that Sproul (obviously) is a Calvinist. But so is J.I. Packer and John Piper (and a 7 pointer to boot ;)). And….if you were to ask….Norman Geisler lays claim to that label (how I don’t know, but he does).

    Looking at the development of theologies, and particularly the development of more contemporary theologies (like that of the Reformation), I cannot help but find it a bit presumptuous to assume that understandings are completely uninfluenced by our environment. Paul, for example, did not lean on theology to provide answers for 16th and 17th century questions. His understanding was not influenced by the emerging intellectual movement or a movement away from the dominance of the Catholic Church. Just as the Reformers did not completely agree on doctrine, and just as Calvinism encompasses a wide array of views, I believe that there is at least a reasonable chance that John Calvin did not completely corner the market on divine truth. While we need systems of theologies to make sense of our beliefs, we also need to be aware of the difference between Scripture and theology (we need to take care that we do not lean too hard on that understanding we hold).

    And as timely (and ironic) proof of the conclusions I've made on this post, there are two Calvinists validating what I am saying by disagreeing with and disliking this post. Thumbsup
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  9. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,179
    Likes Received:
    226
    Yeah some Primitive Baptist get a little touchy call them a Calvinist and btw I give up what is a 7 pointer?... I've been in the church nearly 50 years and I've never to my recollection heard of anything but a 5 pointer... I'm interested what two point does one add to TULIP?... Educate me am I missing something?... Brother Glen
     
  10. JonC

    JonC
    Expand Collapse
    Lifelong Disciple
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    6,941
    Likes Received:
    370
    I think he puts it that way as a bit of a joke, but what he means is that Calvinism includes double predestination in that God saves out of fallen man a people, but not all people (God chooses both to save and not to save) and the best-of-all-possible worlds in that the world exists for God’s glory so it is the best possible world (taken as a whole) to demonstrate the glory of God.
     
  11. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,179
    Likes Received:
    226
    In other words TULIP doublespeak!... Gottcha!... Brother Glen
     
  12. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,165
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    Which, of course, it doesn't. That is Hyper-Calvinism.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  13. JonC

    JonC
    Expand Collapse
    Lifelong Disciple
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    6,941
    Likes Received:
    370
    Yes, of course. Those who perish do so outside of God's decree.

    To me it seems that Piper is stating a “double predestination” in terms of infralapsarianism, which takes on a different meaning (I believe) than within supralapsarianism. I always viewed election and reprobation as the base decree (insofar as "logical order") within supralapsarianism. I have not really considered Piper's definition, but if taken to mean that God saves a people for Himself out of fallen man and intentionally refrains from saving all men, then I really do not see much room for objection. I don't think that those who are condemned (those Paul calls "vessels of wrath") are unintended consequences of God's plan to elect. But again, that has not been my typical understanding of "double predestination".
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  14. JonC

    JonC
    Expand Collapse
    Lifelong Disciple
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    6,941
    Likes Received:
    370
    It is interesting that Calvinism going into the 17th century comprised itself of varying opinion about the scope of the Atonement and yet held together. This is even true earlier with James Arminius as he was not outright rejected as unorthodox (he died a “proper” Calvinist, although his teachings were later rejected).

    Reading many comments and commentary today, I think we can see how far Calvinism is shrinking in the minds of some. Statements now ring loud that a lapse in one point is a rejection of the whole. And that one point is constantly at the mercy of another’s subjective definition. It seems that many today like to pretend that Calvinism has always held to the "five points," but in truth they have never agreed completely as a whole on many issues.

    For example, Edward Polhill (1622-1694) wrote “But if Christ in no way died for all men, how came the minister’s commission to be so large. They command men to repent that their sins may be blotted out for whom Christ was not made sin? They beseech men to be reconciled to God, but how shall they be reconciled for whom Christ paid no price at all? They call and cry out to men to come to Christ that they may have life, but how can they have life, for who Christ was no surety in his death? If then Christ died for all men, the ministry is a true ministry as to all; but If Christ died only for the elect, what is the ministry as to the rest?...I conclude that Christ died for all men, so far as to found the truth of the ministry towards them.” (Extent of the Gospel Commission and the Death of Christ)

    And of course, I realize that a hyper few dislike going back to people like Edward Polhill, John Owen, and Cotton Mather simply because their position can't stand up to history. But the fact remains that Calvinism is a systematic theology and not Scripture itself. It developed, and it did not develop with complete agreement within.
     
  15. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,165
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    Edward Polhill (1622-1694) on Christ’s General and Special Intercession (With Reference to John 17)

    Polhill:
    1) Object. 3. If Christ died for all men, then he intercedes for all; but he intercedes only for the elect, therefore he died for them only. I answer that Christ doth in some sort intercede for all men; and this I shall clear several ways.

    Wherefore, as to this objection, I answer thus:–Christ intercedes for all men in such sort as he died for them; I say in such sort, for there is a vast difference between his general intercession, for all, and his special intercession for the elect. For as Christ by his blood shed on the cross, merited for all in general, that they might be saved on gospel terms, and merited for the elect in special, that they should believe and be saved, so by the same blood presented in heaven, he intercedes for all, that they may be saved on gospel terms, and intercedes for the elect that that they may believe and be saved. And thus he is the complete mediator of the covenant; as the general promises extend to all, so answerably he intercedes for all; and as the special promises point only at the elect, so proportionably he intercedes for the elect.

    Edward Polhill, The Divine Will Considered in its Eternal Decrees and Holy Execution of Them (London: Printed for Henry Euerson, at the Sign of the Crown in Corn-hill, near the Great Class-shop, 1673), 303-307

    1 Timothy 4:10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we have set our trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. JonC

    JonC
    Expand Collapse
    Lifelong Disciple
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    6,941
    Likes Received:
    370
    I agree with Polhill and appreciate his writings. I also like John Owen (who seemed to appreciate Polhill except for an issue which I can't recall at this moment). But that was not my point. I was arguing neither for or against a general intercession purposed at the Cross. Polhill did teach a special purpose for the elect. But he also taught that Christ died for all men (my point being that not all of Calvinism agrees with Polhill...and others like John Calvin, Cotton Mather, and John Owen...on this issue).

    My point is that while all Calvinists affirm that Christ's death was a special intercession for the elect, not all Calvinists agree that on the Cross Christ made a general intercession for all. This was but an example of many possible choices, which I chose for Mather's approval of the author. Calvinism has never existed as one single doctrine and to suggest that Paul was, in fact, a Calvinist is to miss the fact that Calvinism is a theological system and an understanding of Scripture rather than Scripture itself. We need not elevate our understanding to that degree.

    This was, IMHO, a strength of Spurgeon. He recognized the finite nature of his own understanding, and while understanding the gospel in a Calvinistic context he also recognized the fingerprint of man woven into the tapestry. The problem comes not when a man believes his theological view to be true (I would not expect us to hold views we believed false) but when a man believes his view is Scripture (that, for example, Paul was a Calvinist instead of Calvinism being an understanding or interpretation of Paul). I believe many have elevated their theology above it's proper place and indeed lean on their own understanding. And many have not and don't.
     
  17. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,926
    Likes Received:
    95
    Glen, if one was to embrace all things Calvinistic then you should also join the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. But you know that! :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,179
    Likes Received:
    226
    I do?... I'm a died in the wool PB over 50 years how would I know that?... Never heard of the OPC till you brought it up but then never heard of a lot of things till I got here... Getting quite an education historical and spiritual and otherwise!... Some post I shine in others I'm ignorant and not ashamed to say so... Still learning!... Brother Glen
     
  19. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,179
    Likes Received:
    226
    I also wanted to bring up these point from a link that TC gave in the OP... I found these two points especially interesting from Dr James Wellingham and I can relate to both of them... I find it interesting looking back over the years in my church that the senior members wanted preachers to preach Sovereign Grace... Start preaching duty and you might not be invited back. I think that the message they were conveying is that I'm at the sunset of my years and the Lord knows I'm been doing my duty all the years that I've been following him now I want to hear what he has done for me!... Is that preaching the whole counsel of God?... No!... If there is grace there must be duty and if there is duty there must be grace!... So have you preach brethren ever had to deal with a situation like that?... When I say that I am Sovereign Grace I know of where I speak... The other I added just to clarify what has already been said... Brother Glen

    The two very Sovereign Grace doctrines of so-called Calvinism (and I say so-called due to the tendency of some to identify a doctrine that they despise with someone’s name so that they can affirm it as a human teaching and not a biblical one which would put them contrary to God), Unconditional Election and Efficacious or Irresistible Grace

    Some have thought that the doctrines of grace are meat to be reserved for senior believers.
     
    #19 tyndale1946, May 3, 2016
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  20. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,165
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    I spent over 40 years in vocational ministry, and 27 years as senior pastor of the same church, and in all that time I never preached on Sovereign Grace. I preached Sovereign Grace, but I did not preach on Sovereign Grace. :)
     
    • Like Like x 3
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Loading...