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Dec 04, 2008

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RazorsKiss
Question: if Dr. Ascol judges he has no time to respond to Dr. Yarnell, why would he take time to insult Dr. Yarnell?
He didn't say he had no time. He said: "It so is rife with innuendo and misrepresentation that I will not take time to respond to it."

Just saying. Further, is Tony Byrne's continued misrepresentation really worth linking to? When you redefine hyper-calvinism to mean "orthodox Calvinism", misunderstand the source you use to define it in the first place, and then post a complaint that the redefinition you've adopted isn't being paid attention to - is that really relevant? Calvinists have sort of been involved in discussions concerning what hypercalvinism is for a while, so we're pretty practiced at it. High Calvinism has nothing to do with hyperism - it has to do with the logical order of God's decrees of election and reprobation. Hyperism has nothing to do with "desire" or "will" of God toward sinners. It has to do with whether the Gospel is offered to sinners, or not. It has to do with the abrogation of human responsibility to believe the gospel, not the abrogation of a "desire" in God.

It is marked by a belief that men do not have a "duty" to believe the gospel, and that therefore, preachers do not have to proclaim the gospel to all men. I think you'll find most of the debate revolves around duty-faith, and the offer of the gospel - not around whether the "desire" of God is for all men to be saved, or for all men to repent, and believe. Desire, of course, (in the historic calvinist position) being the preceptive will of God for sinners, (His command , or precept concerning them) with the decretal will of God being shown in the particular atonement for sinners, who were unconditionally elected to salvation.

Hyper-calvinism is not about the desires of God. Period. Continuing to use the term in that context, to a Calvinist, is to demonstrate that you don't understand what hyper-calvinism is. You're not going to get a division, so the conquering can ensue. Because, frankly, a very miniscule amount of 5-point calvinists are ever going to agree with any part of this redefinition - and if they do, to be perfectly frank, they don't know what they're talking about, either. If you want to have a discussion without misunderstanding, a major part of it is to stop the redefinition of terms. If we keep having to correct you, it's not going to progress further. Using resources like Dr. Byrne's, which obviously misunderstand the definition, only serve to exacerbate the problem, and kill the conversation aborning.

peter lumpkins

Razorkiss,

Just a couple of quickies and I have to be completely away for a period:

1) To make a distinction between my saying Dr. Ascol "has no time to respond" and that "[he] will not take time to respond" is absurd, Razorkiss--the old distinction without a difference assertion.

But even if your point well taken, what does such have to do with whether or not leaders should insult rather than just keep silent?

2) Concerning your query: "is Tony Byrne's continued misrepresentation really worth linking to?"

False assumption #1: That Byrne continually misrepresents.

False Assumption #2: That Tony's post to which I linked is about Hyper-Calvinism proper. It is not. It is about Ascol & White's fuzzy differences from one another

False Assumption #3: That I or the readers here would take your profile on Hyper-Calvinism as representative of scholarly treatises while dismissing Tony Byrne's

Later. With that, I am...

Peter

Timotheos

Peter,

Is the insult to which you refer Tom's use of the terms "innuendo" and "misrepresentation?" or maybe "rife?" Just wondering...

Grace,

Timotheos

Todd Burus

Peter,
I appreciate your reasoning for why you think some of the J316C reactions are overboard. There is one point that makes this a bigger issue for SBC Calvinists than just the types of meetings which you analogized it with though, and I think this has contributed to some of the misunderstanding and fervor being expressed.

The heated responses to J316C are not just about soteriology or someones system being attacked. J316Cwas a conference which was held in the church of the SBC President, led by a former SBC President, spoken at by both men, and sponsored by half of the SBC seminaries and a fourth SBC-affiliated school. This was not just a meeting of people of like mind, this was a gathering of, for all intents and purposes, the powers that be in SBC Life. I know, at least for myself, that I couldn't care less if these men disagree with my soteriological convictions (as long as those convictions are not misrepresented), but the fact that this can hardly come off as anything less than an SBC sponsored event is troubling.

Now, I know Dr. Allen as expressed, and probably yourself as well disagree with this assessment, but in the eyes of an SBC Calvinist this is more than just a partisan conference; it is a show of solidarity and force saying that Calvinism is not acceptable in the SBC. That's where the passion is coming from, at least on my end, and I would hazard to say from a lot of others as well.

Scott R.

Todd,

The conclusion of your last response is wrong. You state that the j316c "is a show of solidarity and force saying that Calvinism is not acceptable in the SBC." That is not what was literally said. In fact, if you listen to Dr. Allen's presentation and read his paper, he says the exact opposite of what you attribute. In other posts, Dr. Allen has outlined how he has WELCOMED Calvinists. He has hired them, worked with them, supported them, and promoted them. Not only Dr. Allen, but Dr. Vines, Lemke, and others also specifically say the opposite of what you claim.
"In your eyes", you see the content of the conference that leads you to your conclusion. That statement should be a red flag towards a bias. You need to use your ears to hear what was actually said.

Todd Burus

Scott R.,
I would first ask if you are yourself an SBC Calvinist? If not then I think you might have trouble seeing things as one (like myself) might. If you are, then I am sorry and I do not mean for my statement to speak for you.

I am aware of my bias. I wasn't offering an objective statement right there, I was offering a reasoning for why the temperature on this has been so high aside from what I believe is the fallacious assessment of some that it is purely about soteriological rights and wrongs.

I was at the conference, unlike some of the people being criticized, and can testify full well as to the climate that was in the sanctuary those to days. It was beyond antagonistic and dangerously close to venomous (this is not an assessment of the presenters but an observation of the whole environment); just as heated towards Calvinism as Calvinists are being charged as being heated towards it.

As for Dr. Allen, I raised the question in his thread as to what I see as being incongruous statements of his regarding unity and Calvinistic convictions. I take him at his word that he wants unity and not division, but I challenge that this is the logical conclusion of some of the remarks he made.

And in regards to "others [who have said] the opposite of what [I] claim," I know that they have done this; but, in light of Peter's earlier Momma statement, my Momma always told me that "actions speak louder than words."

RazorsKiss

As I understand Pastor Lumpkins dislikes long comments, I posted my">http://razorskiss.net/wp/2008/12/04/what-is-this-debate-really-about/">my response to his last comment on my blog.

Tony Byrne

RazorsKiss and Iain Murray: Two Views in Opposition

RazorsKiss said:

"Hyper-calvinism is not about the desires of God. Period. Continuing to use the term in that context, to a Calvinist, is to demonstrate that you don't understand what hyper-calvinism is."

Iain Murray said:

"If God has chosen an elect people, then, Hyper-Calvinism argued, he can have no desire for the salvation of any others and to speak as though he had, is to deny the particularity of grace.

Iain H. Murray, Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching (Carlisle, Penn.: Banner of Truth Trust, 2000), 89.

RazorsKiss and Dr. Curt Daniel: Two Views in Opposition

Curt Daniel lists four "main Hyper-Calvinist arguments" against "free offers" along with the historic Calvinist reply. The fourth in the list says:

(4) "Free offers imply that God wishes all men to be saved. This contradicts the doctrine of election. It also implies that grace is universal." But: The Reformed doctrine of the revealed will of God is that there is a sense in which God certainly does will the salvation of all who hear the Gospel, just as He wills all who hear the Law to obey.

Curt Daniel, The History and Theology of Calvinism (Springfield, Ill.: Good Books, 2003), p. 90.

Tony Byrne

We can see Iain Murray and Curt Daniel also contradicting RazorsKiss' comment above:

Hyperism has nothing to do with "desire" or "will" of God toward sinners.

Tony Byrne

RazorsKiss and Dr. Curt Daniel: Two More Views in Opposition

Razor said:

"It has to do with whether the Gospel is offered to sinners."

Actually, offers necessarily presuppose a willingness to give what is offered on the part of the offerer, so hyper-Calvinists reject "sincere" or "well-meant" offers given by God to all for that very reason. As Dr. Daniel says:
"Hypers usually reject the idea of offers that are free, serious, sincere, or well-meant."

Curt Daniel, The History and Theology of Calvinism (Springfield, Ill.: Good Books, 2003), p. 89.

Steve Camp is over on his blog explicitly denying that the Gospel is an offer at all. Therefore, he posits the false either/or dilemma that either the gospel is an offer or it is a command.

RazorsKiss

Ah, Dr. Byrne has arrived! As I doubt the length of the necessary responses to this would be welcomed here, I've already spoken concerning your point of view in a post linked in the comments above. I will, of course, respond to you as soon as work allows - I'm on my way out the door right now.

I see you're willing to dialogue, though! I'll look forward to the conversation, although I'd hate to clutter Pastor Lunmpkins' blog meta with our conversation :D We both have blogs, so it would be quite apropo to do so there, would it not?

~ RK

Scott R.

Todd,
You seem to be putting a lot of emphasis on the "environment" of the conference over the content. Of course you can have that opinion, but how can you really measure "environment"? How do you respond to Dr. Allen's track record of working closely with people of other persuasions? I think at the least you should be willing to acknowledge that your assessment of the "environment" is completely contrary to the actual content. The reason I bring this up is because your assessment is tantamount to calling them disingenious and hypocritical - which would need much more substantiation than simply 'that's how I felt'.
By the way, my observations of your remarks would stand regardless of which particular position I hold.

Tony Byrne

Razor,

Before we begin any dialogue, I would like to know if you believe that God, in his revealed will, desires the salvation of any of those who ultimately perish (i.e. the non-elect)?

Thanks,
Tony

Bill

As has been said, if God's desire for all to be saved is the same as His desire for all men to be perfect, then I don't think anyone has a problem with that. If by desire, one means that God is hoping that all men will be saved or trying to get all men saved, then one could conclude that God has eternally decreed His own disappointment and failure. Now I suspect that stated this way, no one would own this statement. But some of the arguments I've heard (not necessarily here, I can't remember where I've read everything on this issue) are essentially saying that, at least from my perspective.

I think perhaps an appeal to common usage might be helpful. There appears to be nuances to various definitions of hyper-Calvinism. But I think if you ask most people what hyper-Calvinism is (assuming they knew anything about it) you would probably hear something about them not seeing the need for or doing evangelism. That's why I would consider publicly naming James White and Steve Camp, who so obviously believe in and practice Gospel evangelism, as hyper-Calvinists unwise and unnecessarily provocative even if you can find someone's definition of hyper-Calvinism to somewhat support your claim.

If hyper-Calvinism is truly a threat to the SBC, then I would like someone to tell us where it can be found.

RazorsKiss

Sir, please define what you mean by "desires" for me, and what you are defining "His revealed will" as, so I can know what you mean when you ask it?

peter lumpkins

Timotheos,

Actually, it was the entire highlighted parts I emphasized. For my part, leaders at that level should portray themselves as leaders, not a juvenile game where one indicates he will not respond but really does respond through the cellar crawl space. That's all.

With that, I am...

Peter

Todd Burus

Scott R.,
It seems that you are not following your own advice and "us[ing] your ears to hear what was actually said." What I am offering is an assessment of why many SBC Calvinists are responding in such a heated manner, not an objective statement of the intentions of the presenters and/or conference sponsors (though I stand by my statement that the environment of the sanctuary was pep rally-esque and not one which was consistent with an academic, well meaning assessment of Calvinism like it seems it wanted to be billed and its supporters have suggested).

Again, what I perceive as an issue, based on Dr. Yarnell's, Dr. Allen's, Peter's et al. commentary, is this: Non-Calvinist commentators think that SBC Calvinists are upset because Calvinism is being questioned. This is not wholly the case. In fact, I would offer, the only reason why SBC Calvinists are defending Calvinism at all in this is because we feel it has been misrepresented in certain respects (I mean, it's not like we were under the impression that all Southern Baptist's were Calvinists). The real issue, the reason I wrote Dr. Vines and Dr. Hunt, and I believe the reason Dr. Ascol initially raised his voice, was because we feel that the appearance of so many prominent SBC leaders and so many SBC institutions backing such a partisan (and what I feel turned into vitriolic) conference is a dangerous sign for the many people in our churches who are committed to both their Calvinist soteriology and their Southern Baptist heritage. What we are responding against is a feeling that SBC Calvinists are being ostracized, and that without a fair hearing.

Maybe this is not the intention of the men involved, as I said I grant them their words that it was not, but please grant to me the empathy to see why it is that SBC Calvinists might feel this way.

peter lumpkins

Todd,

Thanks Todd. You've already taken a look at Scott R's comment, concerning which, by the way, I could add really nothing substantial to his contribution, except a word about who was invited as platform participants and why.

Easily, your concern may vanish if we recall that the J316C platform reflected the views of approximately 9/10 Southern Baptists. And, even further, if the conference in fact was a conference as promoted--a theo-biblical assessment of and response to 5P Calvinism--please instruct us how a 5P Calvinist would nicely fit into that framework?

Granted, some may say, "Well, he could be there to present his view." However,
presenting a point/counter-point forum on 5Point Calvinism was definitively not what the conference was about.

It may be what many Calvinists and even Non-Calvinists desired. Well, have one! Go for it!

What seems to me most ridiculous, is to criticize and/or demand a conference either be or should have been something, from the very beginning, the conference was never intended or promoted to be.

Again, the apparent expectation that anytime a conference is held to address a particular subject, the only "fair" thing to do is "debate" the issue with representatives from both sides, qualifies, in my view, as downright loony. I do not understand the skewed logic of such.

Were a group of Southern Baptists hosting a conference for strategic evangelism of the Muslim world and invited our best IMB missionaries to lead us in understanding Muslim faith, culture, and society, what pig would oink because we did not have Muslims on the platform to make sure a counter-point was made? After all, that's only "fair" and it's the best way to "learn."

As a side note--which could be hilarious were it not such a tragedy--on one of James White's videos assessing J316, he says something like (paraphrase) "this is why at meetings like this [J316C] you need someone like me to be there to ask these questions. It doesn't have to be me. But you need someone."

Excuse me? Southern Baptists need James White or someone like James White to monitor our conferences to make sure we deal with the "right" questions?

Talk like that boils my Baptist blood. I personally feel a sampling of David's rage: 'Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?"

That has got to be one of the most anti-Baptist statements I have ever encountered. Southern Baptists need James White (or one like him) to monitor for them what the important questions are? My, my, my...

That actually stands indicative of my own confusion as to exactly why throngs of Southern Baptist Calvinists link up with contentious Calvinists, of which James White appears, in my view, to be an exceptional example.

Furthermore, if somehow that linkage does not abate, I personally expect little hope for peaceful existence.

Our Lord bless us with His grace and Presence, I pray.

With that, I am...

Peter

Scott R.

Todd,
How can I argue with your "feelings". I guess you win on that basis.
I do have another issue that comes to mind from your last comment. The accusation of misrepresentation seems to be common among critics of j316c. I listened to the presentations and for the most part was inundated with direct source quotations. In Dr. Allen's presentation in particular, he accurately quoted a plethora of primary sources - all Calvinists. So, you have to demonstrate that all of his references were mistakes, ie. out of context, or your problem of misrepresentation is with Calvinists themselves - like Calvin, Luther, Edwards, etc.
If you do take the angle that every single one of the quotes used by Dr. Allen were taken out of context, you better be ready to back that up.

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Peter:

You made some very good points. The reason for the spewings from White and associates about the conference is because THIS IS THEIR WHOLE FOCUS! He and many of them live for debate and confrontation. They show how they are more interested in winning converts to Calvinism than to the gospel.

Certainly the non-Calvinists have a perfect right to hold conferences and not have to have the Calvinists there to rebut.

Why the need for a debate? Will anything new be said? Is there something that can be said in a formal debate that can't be said in a blog?

Blessings,

Stephen

Todd Burus

Scott R.,
If you would like to read through my comments on the Dr. Yarnell thread or the posts I constructed reviewing and responding at my site ToddOnGod.com, you will see that I have already listed misrepresentations that I saw at the conference. I agree with you, Dr. Allen cited himself well. This cannot be said about all there, particularly Dr. Lemke. That said, I still did find issue with one of Dr. Allen's quotations which I believe was misused in light of its surrounding context, so even citing is not a fail proof against misrepresentation.

Todd Burus

Peter,
I agree with your comments for the most part, and admit myself that I would not want James White representing SBC Calvinists (not because he may be a "hyper-Calvinist," but because he's not SBC), however I think your own posited example shows where the rub is.

You said that


"Were a group of Southern Baptists hosting a conference for strategic evangelism of the Muslim world and invited our best IMB missionaries to lead us in understanding Muslim faith, culture, and society, what pig would oink because we did not have Muslims on the platform to make sure a counter-point was made?"

Do you understand where this runs afowl? Who, sitting on the platform at an "Evangelism to Muslims" conference would say that they hope for unity with Muslims? No one. That is because we would not consider someone holding Muslim beliefs a brother in the faith.

But, that is supposedly what these presenters feel about their fellow SBC Calvinists; that they are brothers in the faith. If that is the case, if they truly believe we are brothers, then it seems, at least to me as an SBC Calvinist, that they would be more interested in dialog and would be more careful not to bear false witness against their brothers beliefs. If they truly see us as brothers, why the seeming circling of the wagons against us? That is what's concerning here.

Also, if the exit survey of seminary grads is accurate, the ratio of 5-pointers to non in the SBC is more 30-70 now, which I think is what's scaring the hard line non-Calvinists (but, if that survey is correct, it shouldn't since those 30% of 5-point Calvinists tend to be more evangelistic than the 70% of non-Calvinists).

Scott R.

Todd,
One mistake in all of the myriad of references Dr. Allen used in his presentation? Wow. That's pretty good. I think that illustrates the point that I am trying to make. The cries of beleaguered critics of the j316c seem to be more overreaction and overexaggeration than based on actual facts.
It seems like a lot of gnat straining and camel swallowing.

By the way, I do agree with your critique of Peter's muslim analogy. Peter, you need to rework the analogy. I get the point being made, but that analogy fails.

peter lumpkins

Stephen,

Thanks, my brother. I could not agree more. And, while it is granted that the Apostles employed marketplace dialogs--say, Mars Hill, etc--to exchange ideas, there seems to be little, if any, concentration on what we presently know as public "debates"--especially between brothers--in the New Testament.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Todd & Scott

As for the analogy, I am unsure how you think the analogy "runs afowl." And, even more confusing is our brother Scott's explicit affirmation "I get the point being made" with a mysterious denial on its heel: "but that analogy fails."

With all due respect, Scott, if my analogy failed, you did not get my point. At best, you could have merely guessed my point :^)

Now, let me clear the debris: my analogy had absolutely nothing to do with hope for unity. The analogy had nothing to do with whether or not a person on the platform was a brother or not. Why would you think my analogy depended on such as that, Todd?

My analogy was simple. I set the analogy up as follows:

"Again, the apparent expectation that anytime a conference is held to address a particular subject, the only "fair" thing to do is "debate" the issue with representatives from both sides, qualifies, in my view, as downright loony. I do not understand the skewed logic of such."

The singular issue I raise with the analogy of IMB Missionaries is whether or not participants can reasonably expect truth to be presented by only one side. That's it.

To pooh-pooh the analogy by suggesting that "unity" or some other element's presence/absence disqualifies is absurd.

You further bring up some more issues: "if they truly believe we are brothers...that they would be more interested in dialog and would be more careful not to bear false witness against their brothers beliefs. If they truly see us as brothers, why the seeming circling of the wagons against us?"

a) Dialog was not the purpose of the J316C. Did you not read the comment? As much as you want it to have been it was never intended to be such. You're going to have to let that go, Todd. You cannot dictate what anothers conference will be. Have your own and put it together like you want to.

b) You insinuate they "would be more careful not to bear false witness against their brothers beliefs." Are you suggesting they carelessly bore false witness? Are you saying they lied? Frankly, Todd I am not going to go down that road with you.

c) You also query "If they truly see us as brothers, why the seeming circling of the wagons against us?" The unproven assumption is, the J316C platform was apparently little more than a conspiracy against those that may not "truly" be their brothers.

Todd, the problem with such reasoning is, it is not only patently false, it is driven by an obvious distrust. In addition, that ax slings both ways: If you truly see them as brothers in Christ, why do you insist on assuming they possess uncharitable motives? Why do you not give them the benefit of a doubt if you truly see them as brothers?

This is really beyond where I want to go with this conversation.

With that, I am...

Peter

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