What is a non-calvinist SBC church?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Jensen, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. Jensen

    Jensen
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    Someone indicated in another section on this board that their church was a non-calvinist SBC church? What is that?

    - Is that a church that believes you can lose your salvation?
    - Is that a church that believes that a person can choose to save themselves... coming to Jesus without the Father drawing them?
    - Is that a church that believes that God did not choose His sheep before the creation of the world to be Holy and blameless...and to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ?
    - Is that a church that celieves that Christ didn't lay down His life for His sheep?
    - Is that a church that says that NOT all of those that the Father gives to Christ will come to Him?

    Can someone help me???? What does a church mean when they say they are non-calvinist?
     
  2. BobRyan

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    I am neither SBC nor Baptist - but I have known a few, and your post is far off the mark.

    First of all - it fails to address the Arminian position. You need to at least "get close".

    Arminians believe that they only way that mankind responds to God is via the fact that "God draws ALL to Himself" John 12:32.

    Calvinists on the other hand ALSO believe that this is what enables the lost to respond they just deny the text when it says "ALL" and they insert "ALL of those living next door who have brown hair and green eyes and eat soup on Tuesdays"... They have a lot of "qualifiers" that they need to "insert" into the unqualified area of that text.

    Second - you pretend that SBC members do not believe in OSAS if they are not Calvinists.

    Well they do -- "anyway".

    However - I would agree that they are not being consistent by holding to two opposing opinions at the same time.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  3. dianetavegia

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    The majority of SBC's are non-Calvinists. Do a search off the SBC home page for more information about HOW few.

    ... A church that believes that God did not choose His sheep before the creation of the world to be Holy and blameless...and to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ?

    We believe God created us with a free will. The rest of your statements are off the wall!

    Diane
    Jer 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
     
  4. koreahog2005

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    I am an SBC foreign missionary (IMB) in South Korea. I was a pastor in the SBC before I was a missionary. There is room under our current confession of faith (the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message) for both five-point Calvinists and non-five-pointers. There is no room, however, for the belief that one can lose his salvation. Here's an analysis of the five points according to our most recent confession:

    First, both groups can agree with the most recent confession’s description of depravity: “Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin.”

    Second, both groups can agree with the most recent confession’s description of election: “Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end.” (Five-point Calvinists see free agency as different from free will.)

    Third, both groups can agree with the most recent confession’s description of the atonement of Christ: “He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.” The description of the atonement in the 1925 Baptist Faith and Message would be unacceptable to some five-point Calvinists: “The blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the duty of all to accept them by penitent and obedient faith. Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Jesus Christ as teacher, Saviour, and Lord.”

    Fourth, both groups can agree with the most recent confession’s description of saving grace: “Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” In this case many non-five-pointers would say the sinner’s response is to “conviction of sin,” and the five-point Calvinist would say the sinner’s response is to the “change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit.” The 1925 Baptist Faith and Message has a description of regeneration that is unacceptable to five-point Calvinists because it says that faith is a requirement for regeneration: “Regeneration or the new birth is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit, whereby we become partakers of the divine nature and a holy disposition is given, leading to the love and practice of righteousness. It is a work of God's free grace conditioned upon faith in Christ and made manifest by the fruit which we bring forth to the glory of God.” Notice in the 1925 version that regeneration is “wrought by the Holy Spirit” but is “conditioned upon faith in Christ.” Thus, in logical order, faith precedes regeneration in the 1925 version, an order that conflicts with the order espoused by five-point Calvinists.

    Finally, both groups can agree with the most recent confession’s description of perseverance: “All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end.”

    Five-point Calvinism is making a comeback these days in the SBC, but I think most SBC folks are still non-five-pointers.
     
  5. Jensen

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    Thanks for your responses. They help to clearify some things, however, is a non-5-point calvinist not still a calvinist? (Unless he is only a 2-pointer which would make him arminian. ???)

    Also, I thought that the SBC (historically) belived in the doctrines of grace as according to:

    http://www.founders.org/

    Diane,
    You posted that most SBC churches are not calvinists. Then quoted a statement of mine. So you don't believe what Ephesians 1 says? I am not sure what you are trying to say to me? I'm just trying to learn and I am a little slow...so please forgive me.
     
  6. JGrubbs

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    I have never been to a SBC church that was "calvinistic". I personally don't think either calvinism or armininism are 100% right, they both have some good and some bad doctrine in my opinion.
     
  7. dianetavegia

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    Jensen, I quote: A church that believes that God did not choose His sheep before the creation of the world to be Holy and blameless...and to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ?

    SBC on the majority do NOT believe God created specific persons for heaven and specific persons for hell.

    Since the most important point of Calvinism is this preselection/ creation of those who are to be saved and damned, I suggest that a person who disavows THAT specific is not a Calvinist at all.

    I'm not a Calvinist or an Armenian. I'm a Christian/ Southern Baptist. No other tags please....

    Again, please check out the SBC and do a search. There's a number of papers and articles on the few 5 point Calvinists and how the majority stands.

    Diane
     
  8. koreahog2005

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    Jensen, you might be interested in what Tom Nettles said about SBC history. Dr. Nettles is a five-point Calvinist and a professor at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville.

    (Nettles, By His Grace and for His Glory: A Historical, Theological, and Practical Study of the Doctrines of Grace in Baptist Life, 2002, pages 13-14)

    I’m not a five-point Calvinist, but I agree with the Founders group (which includes Dr. Nettles) that our SBC roots are mostly five-point Calvinistic. Shubal Stearns founded the Sandy Creek Baptist Church in North Carolina in 1755, and it is considered by some to be the mother church of all separate Baptist churches in the South and all Southern Baptist churches in the South. Stearns was considered to be a Calvinist by a lot of people. From what I have read, the separate Baptists seemed less Calvinistic in general than the regular Baptists of that time. I am presently reading a history of the Free Will Baptist denomination in North Carolina. They were related to the General Baptists in England. Apparently many of the Free Will Baptist churches in North Carolina were transformed into more Calvinistic churches a couple of hundred years ago. I think, however, that most SBC churches have maintained some of that old emphasis on free will. Sometimes Charles Finney (1792-1875) is blamed (or receives credit) for the invitation system in America. Apparently, however, the invitation system came much earlier, ironically through the separate Baptists. (Some five-point Calvinists criticize the invitation system as it is used in some Southern Baptist churches.)

    The following excerpt is from a paper by Larry S. McDonald who at the time of writing was a Ph.D. candidate at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The paper is entitled, “Frontier Thunder: Principles of Evangelism and Church Growth from the Life of Shubal Stearns.” The paper was nominated for The Robert G. Torbet Prize in Baptist History from the American Baptist Historical Society, 1998 and presented at the meeting of The Evangelical Theological Society in Danvers, MA, November 1999. Also, it was supposed to be published in The Journal of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education:

    http://www.thebaptistpage.com/history/Stearns.pdf

    Like Diane, I don’t call myself a Calvinist or an Arminian. I think it’s important, however, to know where you stand in relation to the five points. I believe in three of the points: total depravity, unconditional election, and perseverance of the saints. I agree with every word of our most recent confession of faith that I mentioned earlier on this thread. I am glad that there is room for both five-point Calvinists and non-five-point Calvinists in that confession. I'm working on a manuscript that describes the three-point view. If anyone wants a copy, send me an email request at this address:

    [email protected]

    I'm still revising it, so your critiques would be helpful.
     
  9. Monergist

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    The most important point of Calvinism is that Salvation is all of God, from beginning to end, and that a sinner can do nothing to save himself. All SBC churches that I'm personally aquainted deny this one point, to varying degrees, with unbibical practices of altar calls, repeated 'sinner's prayers,' etc., upon which assurance of salvation is made. These practices are a shift from the Reformation's principle of 'Faith Alone' and are a shift back to the Roman Catholic principle of faith + works.

    A couple of years ago, upon accepting the Doctrines Of Grace as being true, I certainly found myself at odds with the beliefs and practices of my own SBC church home, and though there are few dozen other SBC congregations in my area, I found none who held to these truths. You may find that cause for rejoicing; I find it tragic.

    I doubt that I could find any SBC pastor who would come out and openly deny that salvation is "all of God," but I also find that listening closely to the message and watching closely the practice reveals an inconsistency here.
     
  10. JGrubbs

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    I believe that salvation is "all of God", but I believe that one has to repent of their sins in order to accept the free gift of salvation. I believe that it's God's will that all be saved, and that none should perish. I believe that no one will get saved unless the Holy Spirit convicts them of their sin, but I also believe that they can resist the Holy Spirit's conviction and reject salvation. I believe that once a person repents and accepts the free gift of God's salvation through grace by faith, that no one can pluck them out of God's hands, they can never loose their salvation.
     
  11. Jensen

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    Thank you Diane for answering my question. (Also, I will try and do a search)

    But your answer brings up other questions:

    I know that John Macarthur is not a strict 5-point calvinist (he is like a 4.5 or something?) and he doesn't like to be labeled a calvinist because of people's misunderstandings about the "label." He does, however, believe in God's sovereign election of His sheep (or doesn't he?). This would make him a calvinist by SBC or your terms.... right?

    It has been my understanding than there is a difference between predestination and double predestination. Right? And calvinism, arminianism, etc.. are just terms associated with one's doctinal stance (view point) on what the Bible says. So if you believe that a Christian will perservere (or be preserved) till the end---that they cannot lose the free gift of salvation if it truely has been given to them ---then you believe in a least one point of calvinism. Right? Is not that the doctrine indicated with a "P" in T.U.L.I.P.?

    You did answer my question about a non-calvinist church...those churches who reject God's sovereign and unconditional election. But are "non-calvinist" SBC churches only those who reject the "U" in TULIP. I know some preachers who have a difficult time with the "L."


    Thanks also to koreahog2005 (?), your answer did show that the common theme in SBC churches is the "P" (perserverance of the saints).
     
  12. Jensen

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    Thank you Monergist! Amen!

    Koreahog2005, If a person is unconditionally elected then how can they refuse that invitation. Is'nt that saying that a person's will is stronger than God's Sovereign, Divine, and Perfect choice? I didn't know we were that strong?

    Also, if I can make a choice then I am not uncoditionally elected. Isn't my choice a "condition?" We are saved by grace through faith. Is our faith that gift from God?
     
  13. koreahog2005

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    JGrubbs, you said the following:

    I agree with every word you said in that quote. I agree that repentance and faith are requirements (conditions) for the regeneration/justification event (salvation). Thus, those conditions must be met before God regenerates/justifies the non-Christian. If election is unconditional, then how can regeneration/justification be conditional? Is this a contradiction? No, it is not a contradiction to say that those regenerated on the condition of faith and repentance have always been unconditionally elected by God. He has always known that the people unconditionally elected by Him would satisfy the conditions He specified for regeneration/justification. Norman Geisler commented on election:

    (Geisler, Chosen But Free, page 179)

    God’s sovereign plan—not the elect people themselves—determined which possible individuals He would create as elect people. God’s choice (election) was unconditional, but later, utilizing true free will while under the special conviction of the Holy Spirit, the elected individuals could accept His offer of salvation. Geisler said that there was no contradiction between God’s unconditional election and our free acts:

    (Geisler, Chosen But Free, page 54)

    Jensen, you asked the following:

    A person who is unconditionally elected will not refuse that invitation. It is compatibilistic freedom; i.e., their freewill choice fits into God’s foreknown, sovereign plan for the universe. I think I answered the other parts of your question above. Here’s the key point: Five-point Calvinists say that the only way God can have complete foreknowledge of the future is for Him to cause every future event, including sin. Wrong. God knew exactly what Adam and Satan would do with their free will, and God did not cause their first sins. God is obviously not the author of sin. Adam’s first sin and Satan’s first sin were both self-caused. Our faith is indeed a gift from God. We could not have faith apart from God. When we are under the special conviction of the Holy Spirit we are able to surrender our lives to Jesus in repentance and faith. Our most recent SBC confession of faith defines faith and repentance this way:

     
  14. Jensen

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    If we are totally depraved, then how will we choose God? We won't repent because we are totally depraved.
     
  15. koreahog2005

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    Jensen, you asked:

    I think that five-point Calvinists, five-point Arminians, and most between those extremes believe that total depravity must be counteracted before a non-Christian will surrender his life to Christ in repentance and faith. Five-point Calvinists believe it takes regeneration. Five-point Arminians believe it takes prevenient grace. Three-pointers like me believe it takes the special conviction of the Holy Spirit:

    “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” (John 16:7-11)

    The “Helper” is the Holy Spirit who helps those who “do not believe” during the time of conviction. The Greek word for “Helper” ( paráklētos ) can also be translated as “Advisor” or “Counselor.” He helps the non-Christians clearly understand God’s righteous standard during the time of conviction. The non-Christians then understand that they are sinners who “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). They also understand that only Jesus could meet God’s perfect standard. At this time the non-Christians can objectively look at their own sins in comparison with Christ’s righteousness. The Greek word for “convict” ( elégchō ) means “to expose as guilty” or “to convince.” Thus, the non-Christians under conviction are convinced of the truth in regard to their guilt.
     
  16. koreahog2005

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    The Bible says the gospel presentation occurs with power: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

    Robert H. Mounce, president emeritus of Whitworth College, Spokane, Washington, commented on verse 16 in our newest SBC commentary series:

    (Mounce, “Romans,” The New American Commentary, vol. 27, 1995, page 71)

    The power of the gospel presentation is also described in 1 Thessalonians 1:5: “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” This type of spiritual power is necessary to counteract the effects of total depravity on the human will. The human will is put in equipoise (neutrality) when the power is applied, and the non-Christian can then form a bias from a 50-50 type of equipoise, as Adam and Satan did from a 0-0 type of equipoise.

    The Bible says the proper responses to the Holy Spirit’s special conviction are the willingness to repent of sin and surrender all to Christ (true faith), which are requirements for receiving salvation. Because this is such an important statement, I have included many passages to illustrate the point. Clearly, repentance and faith are not the results of salvation; rather, they are requirements for it. Notice these passages:

    “If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” And when they heard this, they quieted down, and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” (Acts 11:17-18)

    For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

    And he called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:29-31)

    And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)

    “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

    “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40)

    Jesus illustrated the order of events with the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32):

    1. The prodigal son sinned (v. 13), and he was considered by his father to be dead and lost (v. 24, 32).
    2. The prodigal son realized his need (v. 14), “came to his senses” (v. 17), and was willing to admit his sin and be a servant to his father (v. 18-19).
    3. At the time the prodigal son was returning to the father with an attitude of repentance and surrender, the father embraced him as a son who had new life (v. 20-24).

    The father could have rescued the son when the son first “began to be in need” (v. 14), but the father waited until the son “came to his senses” and was on his way back to the father. Again, we see that the willingness to repent and surrender precedes salvation.

    Five-point Calvinists say regeneration (the new birth) is a precursor to faith/repentance. They say faith/repentance is a precursor to justification (God’s full acquittal—salvation from the penalty of sin). In contrast, Arminians and three-point Baptists say that regeneration and justification occur at the same moment when God saves people. How does He save people? God does it by regenerating, renewing, justifying, and adopting them. We can see all four of these aspects of salvation in Titus 3:5-7:

    “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
     
  17. Monergist

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    Repentance is certainly a part of salvation, yet it too is a gift from God.
     
  18. BobRyan

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    4 and 5 point calvinists argue that this is a flaw in the Arminian view. Holding to OSAS and still being Arminian. (It is liking claiming that the only people that lose their free will are the saved).

    But you are right - this is the one thing that the SBC always hold to - even if they are Arminian.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  19. Southern

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    Bob,
    You said:
    Holding to OSAS and still being Arminian. (It is liking claiming that the only people that lose their free will are the saved).

    Me:Amen (in a sense)! [​IMG]
     
  20. koreahog2005

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    A good discussion point:

    To me, this is what mainly distinguishes my three-point view (TUP, not TULIP) from classic Arminianism and five-point Calvinism.

    Three possible theological positions can be taken in regard to human free will:

    First, classic Arminians believe that human beings always can utilize true free will to make decisions. Those advocating this position say that there is never a time when a non-Christian cannot decide to become a Christian, and they also say that there is never a time when a Christian cannot decide to become a non-Christian. In other words, human beings are never like puppets or robots.

    Second, five-point Calvinists believe that human beings never have true free will. Those advocating this position say that both non-Christians and Christians are always free agents (inclined one way or the other). Free agents can only act as freely as their dispositions allow them to act. Thus, if non-Christians are always free agents with a disposition toward sin and never have true free will, they will never desire to become Christians by surrendering control of their lives to Jesus in repentance and faith. Similarly, if Christians are always free agents with a disposition to obey God and never have true free will, they will never desire to become non-Christians. In other words, in this view human beings are always like puppets or robots—either good or evil is pulling them in a certain direction.

    Third, three-pointers like me believe some human beings sometimes have free will. Those taking this third position say that non-Christians are free agents with no free will until a special period of time for each of them when they are given true free will. During that period of time their depravity is counteracted, and they can form a bias and make an ultimate, final decision to accept or reject Him after being placed in an initial position of moral neutrality (equipoise).

    According to this third view, if non-Christians make an ultimate, final decision to surrender to Christ as their Lord, they become permanent Christian free agents with no true free will. Similarly, if they make an ultimate, final decision to reject Christ as their Lord, they return to being non-Christian free agents with no true free will and remain in that state permanently. A temporary option during that special time is for them to procrastinate about making an ultimate, final decision. In this third view, humans sometimes are like passive puppets or robots, but at times they can become like Pinocchio—a puppet whose actions were not all directly caused by an inner or outer puppeteer. At times, Pinocchio apparently was able to generate a bias from a neutral position (equipoise).
     

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