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Dec 01, 2009

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Frank Gantz

You continue to amaze me with your attacks on Baptist Calvinists. Curious - is this a prophecy of yours?

peter lumpkins

Dear Frank,

My little post is hardly an "attack." Consider it a defensive maneuver. The Calvinist Coalition is the attack machine.

And, no: I'm peddling no prophecy here; just perhaps a bit of theo-historical insight that's all.

Have a great afternoon.

With that, I am...
Peter

Ryan

Peter-

I am sorry some Reformed guy was a jerk to you when you were in high school. Now that an apology has been made will you please get over it.

As a young, Reformed pastor I would like to remind you that the most towering figure in Baptist life was and is Charles Spurgeon, who pastored in Europe. The downfall of the church in Europe was not Reformed theology it was the loss of the Gospel, something Reformed theology never lets you get away from.

May God give you grace to cease your attacks and move on to something more edifying for the Kingdom.

peter lumpkins

Dear Ryan,

Thanks for logging on. And, thanks for the incredible clarity. Surely no one can mistake your meaning. I like that.

Perhaps, however, you need to read your President's books a bit closer. I know of no one who attacks more than him. Do you think some 'fundamentalist' jerk was mean to him? Is that why he says what he says about fundamentalists and says it so often? Maybe we can find a 'fundamentalist' to 'apologize' to him. I wonder if that would tone down the rhetoric? Ummm...

Anyways, I trust your evening well, Ryan.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Ryan,

Sorry. I almost forgot. Whether or not Spurgeon was/is the "most towering figure in Baptist life" is a subjective value judgment based on many factors.

As for the "lost gospel" I'm afraid that is precisely the issue about which Spurgeon would more than likely agree with me, not the "young, restless, Reformed" like yourself, Ryan; for he definitively did not equate the gospel with the five points of Calvinism like the Calvinist Coalition in fact does. Sorry.

With that, I am...
Peter

Barry D. Bishop

Peter,
Your post made me think about order versus ardor.
History does seem to show that the English Particular Baptists eventually fell into hyper-Calvinism due to a preoccupation with theology. Likewise the English General Baptists fell into the error of Unitarianism due to a neglect of theology. It seems these groups could have mutually benefited by pulling each other back to the center of orthodoxy, the Bible, if they had remained in partnership.

I say all this to ask the question, "Isn't there room in the SBC tent for Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike, provided that the Bible is our (inerrant, infallible) guide in all things?"

Paul Butterworth

The Gospel is the work of Jesus Christ in saving sinners, including his death, burial, and resurrection. Calvinism helps in understanding various aspects about the Gospel, but it is not the Gospel. Your state that Spurgeon "definitively did not equate the gospel with the five points of Calvinism like the Calvinist Coalition in fact does. Sorry." If by Calvinist Coalition you mean Mohler & Ascol than your statement is fallacious. Such lofty claims need documentation, not rants.

I am a deacon of a Reformed Southern Baptist/Acts 29 church. We are preaching the Gospel as hard as we can, baptizing as many people as we can, discipling as many people as we can, and starting as many churches as we can. Please stop assaulting your brothers and sisters in Christ with such vitrol. This is spiritual warfare 101, Peter. Satan desires to divide Christians.

Big Daddy Weave

I am by no means a student of Charles Spurgeon. I do know a thing or two about his efforts on behalf of peacemaking (and social Christianity) which I greatly admire.

However, I think I remember something about churches not allowing the Prince of Preachers in their pulpit because his Calvinism was not "high" enough. I also remember this telling quote from the Victorian soul-winner: "I fear I am not a very good Calvinist because I pray that the Lord will save all of the elect and then elect some more."

I know a number of fine Reformed folks. Actually, one of my favorite Reformed friends is a Barthian who most of you Act 29/Founders peeps probably don't consider Reformed in the first-place. Oh well. Based on personal experiences, I've never held the "young, restless" types who make Piper their Prophet in high regard.

Trey Shaw

Peter,

As a missionary serving in Europe I have to tell you that the proof given for your point is simply misguided. I would be a fool to deny that the Reformed tradition is flailing and failing (as is every stripe of European Christianity) in Europe but it is also experiencing renewal. At least in Hungary (though in other countries like Holland and Finland) I can point you to several Reformed Churches (an actual denomination here) which not only survived communism and the temptation to wave the national flag at the expense of Christ but stayed true to the Gospel. As a matter of fact, the largest student group in the country, which has the primary purposes of evangelism and discipleship, is overwhelmingly made up of students and leaders from the Reformed Church.

It is an easy target to point at Europe and say, "See!", but easy is rarely correct. The picture is much more complex. The simple fact is this: God is working in Europe to save souls and He is using the Reformed church, the European Baptists (who, by the way, do not share SBC theology regarding security of the believer), Evangelical Catholics, the Greek Orthodox, Pentecostals, Calvary Chapel, Lutherans and the SBC among many, many others. I do not agree with the theology of some of these groups but I cannot deny that God is working in them and through them. They are reaping fruit in their ministry on a continent where the Gospel most always falls on concrete.

Though you and many others do not agree with Reformed theology (which is cool with me) it is a mistake to make generalizations for the sake of making a point. We know that no tradition is perfect, that is why we are not Catholics. But neither should we believe that other traditions that are not ours to be so fundamentally flawed as to be "ecclesic hulls". One of the many things God has taught me here in Europe is that He is unchanging yet multifaceted in His expression. Judgment day will be a shocking exercise in humility for all of us when it comes to our "pure" doctrines. I know I shudder at the thought.

Mark 9:40
Matthew 12:30

peter lumpkins

Barry,

Thanks for your insight pertaining to both General & Particular Baptists abroad. I would add that your provision for cooperation between the two schools of thought under discussion being the glue that binds us together is not quite sticky enough--at least from where I sit. You assert room for us all, "provided that the Bible is our (inerrant, infallible) guide in all things."

I think you're correct *if* we're speaking from whence we begin. However, while an inerrant authority--that is, inspired Scripture--is necessary to hold an ecclesiological alliance together (I assume a 'biblical' alliance), an inerrant authority is hardly sufficient to do so. Unless, of course, we add an inerrant interpreter. Thus, much more is required.

Using a high view of Scripture as the theological adhesive sufficient for a 'big tent', one would have to ask, "Since English Baptists--both Particular and General--held a high view of biblical inspiration (i.e. inerrancy)--why was the inspirational glue not sufficient to hold them together? Even more, why was inerrancy not enough to keep either from succumbing to Unitarianism on the one hand or Hyper-Calvinism on the other?" Perhaps it's because while inerrancy is necessary, inerrancy is insufficient being alone.

Indeed this is precisely the point of the Conservative Resurgence (CR) men. Contrary to pop opinion, the CR men did not crassly promise a Great Commission Resurgence if Southern Baptists would recover Biblical inerrancy (i.e. inspiration). Instead, they asserted not only other biblical doctrines were in jeopardy if biblical inspiration (i.e. inerrancy) was lost, but also church health was at stake. In other words, inerrancy was necessary. But they definitively did not wrongly argue inerrancy was also sufficient.

Concerning your question about Calvinists & Non-Calvinists having room in the SBC, I would simply respond, "Of Course!"

Personally, I think Mullins' ingenious move in Southern Baptists' first convention confession (BFM, 1925) was a brilliant document clear enough to separate Baptists from progressive theological modernity on the one hand and cloudy enough to accommodate fundamentalists, old-school Calvinists (Boyce, et al) and the new extremely moderate Calvinists (Mullins, et al) on the other.

Completely by-passing Southern's Abstract of Principles and Philadelphia's influential and still, at that time, popular Confession, and instead heading straight for New Hampshire's conspicuously diluted Calvinism as a confessional model for Southern Baptists took a heck of a lot of theological nerve in his day. But Mullins knew not only precisely where he and the Southern faculty were--not to mention B.H. Carroll, et al at SWBTS--but also the majority of Southern Baptists across the nation.

Hence, Southern Baptists do have a "big enough tent" so to speak, for Calvinists and Non-Calvinists and honestly, always have.

Unfortunately, the difficulty we face presently is an aggressive, all-or-nothing, rigid Calvinist Coalition which insists Southern Baptists' woes remain unsolvable apart from a definitive return to our "true" theological heritage--old school Calvinism...the Calvinism, they assert, is the Calvinism of Southern Baptist Founders (Boyce & Co.).

And, know as long as this type of Calvinism reigns in the SBC, as far as I am concerned, there will be no peace on this issue. To borrow our Paul's metaphor, I shall continue to "rant."

Thanks again for a great contribution.

With that, I am...
Peter

Ryan Abernathy

Peter-

I'm not sure what you mean by "my president." I'm not a seminary student and not a member of any kind of "Calvinist Coalition." In all seriousness, what is that? Something you made up? Or something that truly exists? If it exists, who are the members?

Further, your comment from 9am this morning makes a lot more sense than your initial post. See it's okay to disagree without being disagreeable. I also think there is room in the tent for both sides of the Calvinist debate. To be honest, most of the guys in my neck of the woods don't sit around fighting about Reformed doctrines and perceived heresy. We leave that to our "older, wiser" associational and denominational leaders. We're just trying to reach people. Maybe it's different where you are and that's the reason for your angst. If so, I'm sorry.

Finally, let me say that I and my brothers here in the heartland don't consider Piper, or Driscoll, or Keller to be prophets or leaders of some kind of "revolution." They are just older brothers who we are learning from. And I thank God for them, because they are among the few older pastors willing to invest in young guys. Everyone else is too busy defending their rapidly diminishing "turf" or criticizing "methods" without paying attention to the people whose lives are being transformed by the Gospel.

Grace to you Peter. I pray that God will continue to work on both our hearts so that both there can be a commitment to fight the enemy instead of each other.

Ryan

peter lumpkins

Paul,

It's quite obvious to me your newness here. Most of the readers are very much aware of my record of documenting my propositions. My personal policy is, I just don't throw things out without a certain measure of confidence I've got the goods.

Nevertheless, had it registered in your mind I mentioned in the OP I've just hit 500 posts & 9,000 comments--a very large chunk of which deals with Southern Baptist Calvinism, both documenting my case and subsequently defending my case--the probability is, "rant" or "vitrol" would hardly describe accurately this site.

I suggest, if you want to seriously converse about a particular issue I write about here, you at least know a wee bit more of what you're dubbing "rant" and "vitrol" before you log on and publicly make such a sappy assertion.

Know my blogging time does not allow redundant documentation of those issues I've thoroughly documented already over the past three years. But you're welcome to comb through the archives all you wish.

And, while the comments are closed on the majority of my past posts, if you have a question on any documentation I've offered or a potential non sequitur from the evidence I've cited, drop me an email. I'd be glad to respond.

Grace.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

BDW,

Thanks for your contribution. I, too, have some 'Reformed' friends. Unfortunately, for them, they rarely openly say so because they do not desire to be connected with the largest SBC network of Calvinists, Founders. What an irony...

And, as you rightly imply about Spurgeon, he was precisely subtle enough (some would say, 'paradoxical enough') in his mammoth works for strict Calvinists to claim him on the one hand and more moderately Calvinistic believers to claim him on the other. One thing I think your contribution makes clear--Spurgeon would hardly fit the Calvinist Coalition alive in the SBC today.

Interestingly, while I obviously have dissenting views from many of the positions in his book, former Moderate Baptist professor (SWBTS), Dr. Jeff Pool, may have offered the most thorough expose to date of the Calvinist Coalition to calvinize the SBC in his book-long critique of the Conservative Resurgence entitled, "Against Returning to Egypt."

Thanks again, BDW.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Ryan,

Thanks for the response. And, I'm glad the discourse brought out more salient points.

As for the 'President' remark, I based such on an assumption on my part. I assumed you were A29N. If you are not, then I sincerely beg pardon. Forgive me. If you are A29N, of course, the comment links to the President of A29N.

I hope you day well spent in servant ministry for His glory. And, thank you very much for the blessing.

With that, I am...
Peter

chadwick

Peter (Van Winkle),

Did you just wake up? Where have you been sleeping the last 50 years?

You stated: "The SBC would, under such a scenario, remain but an empty ecclesic hull, a living reminder of the theological, ecclesiological devastation "Reformed" bodies in Europe continue to exhibit."

The last 50 years of SBC "scenario" have been shaped by Pragmatism & Arminianism. Combine the two together and you have "Pragminianism."

Thanks to the "Pragminian" movement, the SBC roll swells to over 16 million members; the 'scenario' is obvious: The large majority of our denominational "ecclesic hulls" (uh . . . maybe "ecclesic rolls" is a better description) ARE FULL, cups running over, over-capacity, cannot be contained, etc. . . . with unregenerate worldlings who are strangers to the new-birth.

As Vance Havner [prophetically] stated about the Million More in '54 'goat-herding': "If we get a million more like we've got, we're sunk!"

Current Scenario: We're sunk TIMES 16.

Mr. Van Winkle, I beseech you, brother, it's time for you to wake up & smell the coffee (of Pragminianism!)!

Cordially,
chadwick


Tom Parker

Chadwick:

You said--"Thanks to the "Pragminian" movement, the SBC roll swells to over 16 million members; the 'scenario' is obvious: The large majority of our denominational "ecclesic hulls" (uh . . . maybe "ecclesic rolls" is a better description) ARE FULL, cups running over, over-capacity, cannot be contained, etc. . . . with unregenerate worldlings who are strangers to the new-birth."

The above sounds unduly harsh and beyond actual proof.

David R. Brumbelow

Chadwick,
Now you've gotten me and Tom Parker on the same side. Vance Havner is one of my favorite preachers, but your overall assessment does seem to be "unduly harsh and beyond actual proof." There is plenty to criticise in the SBC, there is also plenty to praise.

What's happened in the SBC in the last 50 years? Well, for one thing, as a result of their ministry I trusted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I suspect many more have as well.
David R. Brumbelow

peter

Chadwick,

Thanks for the alarm bell. But I think your ring stirred others instead of me. Spraying "Pragmatism"--not to mention "Arminianism"--like so much whip cream, as if either has a cozy place in the SBC is presumptuous at best.

As for the 'regenerate-church-membership' hatchet, you'd be better off quizzing our Brother Tom Ascol where he last buried it.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter

Trey,

My deepest apologies to you. For some reason your comment was placed in the 'spam' bucket. And, I would not have even caught it had not I checked the logs for another comment a fellow blogger accused me of "deleting" because of "facts hurting [my] cause." As I suspected, her comment rightly went to the 'spam bucket'. I've warned her far too often about the constant attacks on people rather than dealing with ideas.

Anyways, your contribution is appreciation. When I get a few extra minutes to read it thoroughly, I'll respond more appropriately. I just thought I needed to explain.

With that, I am...
Peter

Christiane

Hi PETER,

I am not a Calvinist, but I do know that Spurgeon felt this way:

"“The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox’s gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.”—C. H. Spurgeon

I have read Augustine quite a bit, and I really don't see direct correlation to him in the writings of John Calvin, but apparently, Spurgeon did think there was a connection.

Pax Christi

peter

Christiane,

Thanks for logging on. And thanks for rehearsing Spurgeon.

You do appear to make a connection I'm not quite grasping: "I have read Augustine quite a bit, and I really don't see direct correlation to him in the writings of John Calvin, but apparently, Spurgeon did think there was a connection."

I've no idea the point you seem to be making. I may have unknowingly implied a denial that Spurgeon theologically connected Calvin with Augustine, but for the life of me I cannot see how. I mentioned neither Calvin nor Augustine in the thread.

Hence, if you could tease it out, I'd be happy to respond further.

Grace for this evening.
With that, I am...
Peter

Barry D. Bishop

Peter,
thank you for taking the time to give a well thought-out response. I understand your position on Calvinism and the SBC better now and I would say that my own position is similar.

peter

Trey,

Thank you again for your contribution. And, know I am fully aware any number of points I make may be misguided. I always hope not and attempt to stay informed enough so that they will not. Thus, I hear and respect your perspective.

On the other hand Trey, while the snapshot you offer solicits praise to our God for the good things happening in extraordinary pockets of Europe--and praise our Lord God we rightly do!--in the end, when less than 5% of say, Western Europe is affiliated with a biblical church, I do not see how my generalization is, in any significant way at least, misguided.

Furthermore, my 'dig' so to speak at 'Reformed' bodies in Europe was not meant, by way of contrast, to exalt 'non-Reformed' bodies in the point you're making.

Rather, my point, in general, was more directed to the naive notion if the SBC would only 'find the lost gospel' (that's code for return to 5 Point Calvinism), then the SBC would experience the ultimate--Southern Baptist nirvana.

In light of this, my allusion to 'Reformed' Europe is, at least in my mind, hardly a misguided consideration.

Thanks again.

And know I thank our Lord for your service to Him there.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter

Barry,

You're very welcome. I trust your evening well.
With that, I am...
Peter

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