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Apr 04, 2011

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Rick Patrick

Peter,

What an excellent, informative and convincing post! The overreaction to Brad's article should force all of us to wonder: "WHY are SBC leaders so concerned that Brad's ideas might gain traction that they feel they must marginalize him?" Perhaps, from their perspective, it is necessary to convince all Southern Baptists that there is only one "descriptive profile" for all younger Southern Baptists. In this manner, they can sell denominational changes they support by appealing to our desire for denominational self-preservation.

It sounds like this: "We must do ____ or we will lose this next generation!" Brad Whitt called their bluff. We won't lose Brad and many others like him. What does it say that so many Baptists have been willing to believe, over the past couple of years, that the ENTIRE younger generation fits neatly in the hipster mold?

One last thing: I'm not sure it's really about ties and pulpits versus jeans and stools. I think it's really about those on the one hand demanding change or threatening to leave and those on the other hand promising cooperation, especially through the Cooperative Program. The clothing and ministry styles are the outward expressions of identity. The underlying substance is a question of loyalty and cooperation.

We must give those offering ultimatums and threatening to leave if they do not get their way the opportunity to make such a choice.

darryl brunson

I would love to know of all those disagreeing with Brad's articles, how many are Calvinist and/or hold a position that depends on CP funds?

chadwick

Peter,


I have addressed Whitt openly. My response in the Baptist Courier was abstract due to the word cap. Here is the rest of my response: http://web.me.com/chadwickivester/chadwickivester/Blog/Entries/2011/3/4_an_open_letter_to_dr.html

Cordially,
--chadwick

Tim Rogers

Brother Peter,

Great analysis. I have a post scheduled to release this week concerning the positions of those who have spoken out.

Blessings,
Tim

A. Price

Bro. Peter, When you 'posted' Bro. Whitts paper, I sent it on to our Youth pastor , and, our Minister of Music (both young; one is a 5 'pointer'). They promptly emailed back with replies! You would've thought I'd commited 'blasphamy'! One 'reminded' me of a Bible study we've been doing in Acts, asking, "what did that paper have to do with unity in the body"?
Well, I do see 'where' all this going eventually; toward the Emergent/Acts29 folks view on church/theology for the 'future'. As to the 'secondary' issues of clothes/ties/stools, and, call me an 'ole' fuddy, duddy, but would these young fellas' 'dress' like that to do a 'funeral'? No, why, lets say it together, OUT OF RESPECT! I rest my case!

adam

A. Price

with all due respect, and as one that wears a suit and tie gladly, I don't think you want to to start comparing Sunday morning services to a funeral. That may be more reason to not wear a suit on Sunday.

Eric Opsahl

Peter,
You wrote:
"Even so, a Calvinistic resurgence is not the single woe we face".
Do you have an older post where you list the reasons for your concern over a Calvinistic Resurgence?
As one who is Reformed, I'm curious what those Concerns might be.

Eric

Tim Rogers

Brother Eric,

You write;

Do you have an older post where you list the reasons for your concern over a Calvinistic Resurgence?
As one who is Reformed, I'm curious what those Concerns might be.

Would you help me out? What is the difference in Reformed and Calvinistic?

Blessings,
Tim

peter lumpkins

Eric,

No particular post comes to mind. If you will do a site "search" or go to 'old stuff' and click on 'Founders' or 'Calvinism' you'll get a ton of stuff.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Rick,

Thanks brother. Brad is a much-needed strong voice, an alternative voice...

Chad,

Thanks. I'll take a lookie-lookie

With that, I am...
Peter

John

I always enjoy reading your posts, even if I don't always agree, and this one is no exception. While I have never served as a pastor, I have served in various church positions in SBC churches for over 40 years. I can definitely empathize with Brad. I have been a member in over a dozen churches and have attended countless others (lost of military moves over the years) and have never found any two to be identical. While they all share a broad belief in one or another of the BFM iterations, the one thing that all of them shared and continue to share is a belief in the authority of scripture and the usefulness of the CP. We have no denominational hierarchy, and each free church is run by itself under Christ, so I have never looked beyond the local church as far as faith and practice were concerned. The SBC has no say-so over the local church (other than to decide whether or not a certain church can actually cooperate with the SBC) so I have never seen any SBC action that affected the way the local church was operated. Which brings me to my point: how can a local pastor feel ostracized from a convention that has no say-so over his congregation? I have been around long enough to see the convention as a whole be led by evangelicals, moderates, fundamentalists, and perhaps now by Calvinists. The only things I have seen change is who we send to the mission field and how we train pastors in seminaries. So if that's how we feel left on the sidelines, then I can understand it. But as far as how the local church operates, I haven't seen how the SBC has much effect. I have never called myself Calvinist, but that label is very close to my beliefs. Even though many fellow church members don't share my beliefs in this matter, we do agree on evangelism and the Great Commission. And while never personally being attacked for my beliefs in what Scripture says about God's sovereignty in salvation or even end times beliefs, I have seen those beliefs attacked, so if that is how Brad feels, then I do understand that. However, I have never and will never make those beliefs a basis on fellowship. I have always felt that the BFM accurately reflects my views on God, the Bible, and how the church is to act in the world. That, and local church membership, make me a part of the SBC as a whole. And no one has to share my personal beliefs on matters beyond that.

Eric Opsahl

Tim,
For the sake of semantics you would call me a Calvinist. I don't like using that term because I don't follow Calvin, I follow Christ. Calvin didn't invent "Calvinism" , It's been taught in Scripture from day one.

While it's great to acknowledge the great saints of old, I don't think we should give a simple man like Calvin so much glory. That is reserved for Christ alone. I don't get the impression that Paul, one of our greatest Apostles, would allow so much focus to be given his name like it is Calvin. He might say

10 ¶ Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.thing like:

A. Price

Bro. Adam, You "missed' my point, ---It's 'RESPECT'--- Respect for the Lord, preaching the 'Word', in His 'House of Prayer'! Cudos' to you for wearing a shirt/tie; is it the clothes--no! But, I am one who believes, the 'outer' reflects the 'inner'.
Shouldn't a pastors' appearence be at least that of 'TV Anchors' appearence.
Richard Bott, made a statement on the issue saying, how does 'looking' like a 'bum' help the bum? As always, this is just MHO. :)

Max

Leading reformed voices and their faithful following are obviously trying to silence Brad Whitt before his message and influence spreads through SBC ranks. Having followed the proliferation of "New Calvinism" in SBC churches in my area, I praise God for a young man who is standing against this current. This is not a matter of young guys vs. old guys … pulpits vs. stools … jeans vs. suits … choirs vs. bands. Reformed vs. non-reformed messages are distinctly different portrayals of the Cross of Christ. Thus, at the heart of this problem is a need for SBC leadership to focus not on methodology and missiology, but the very message that identifies us as a denomination. As Peter points out, the majority of SBC folks in the pew are becoming increasingly concerned about the rise of Calvinism in the denomination and what we now more clearly see as an agenda to effect a generational shift in SBC churches to a theology that is more distinctly reformed than not.

adam

A. Price

Yeah, I guess it doesn't hurt dressing like the Pastor of the largest church in America as well as the local anchor man.

I'd be interested to know if you advocate the same dress on Sunday evenings as you do on Sunday mornings. Do you wear the same outfits in their entirety on Sunday nights that you do on Sunday morning (assuming you are a pastor)? In my mind to do anythng different would be hypocrisy.

Ron Hale

There was a Baptist Father who had two sons.

One son and his friends had a favorite line when they wanted their way, "We're going to leave this family of faith if you don’t do what we want and meet our needs.” They seemed to enjoy their threats of imminent departure and defection.

The other son and his friends just went about expanding the Baptist family -- they gave to missions in order to support their 5,000 missionaries, they bought their Baptist Sunday School materials, and preached the same doctrine that their Father preached. They even went to the family reunions at the local associations and state conventions.

Their Father grew old and knew that he had to decide which Son he would lay his hand of blessing on to lead this family of faith into the future.

On which Son did the hand of the Father bless?

It’s been refreshing to read the words of a younger Pastor named Brad Whitt who doesn’t whine about leaving if his needs aren’t met, but is leading by example through his giving, cooperation, and doctrinal integrity. Many blessings on the journey ahead!

Howell Scott

Max,

You are getting too close to the truth, both as to the marginalization of voices like Brad Whitt and what is taking place at the new NAMB. I will have a post up tomorrow at www.fromlaw2grace.com responding to a post on B21 about a letter sent by an official at Southern Seminary to thousands of musicians. In the letter, he basically says that any expression of "patriotism" within worship services -- like on Memorial Day or Independence Day -- are wrong.

That this was posted on Baptist21 last week shows where some of the younger, new Calvinists are heading. All I do is connect the dots back to who wrote the letter and his theological background. The aggressive, new Calvinism is pervasive in some of our seminaries and the generational shift is being affected not just at the senior pastor/church planter level, but with music, student, children, and Christian Education ministries. And, I say this as a Calvinistic Baptist in the stream of Spurgeon. But, I consider myself a convictional, cooperating Southern Baptist first, which is why I can cooperate with a wide variety of folks within the Convention. Thanks and God bless,

Howell

Eric Opsahl

Max,
You wrote:
"Reformed vs. non-reformed messages are distinctly different portrayals of the Cross of Christ."

It what ways are those in reformed camp portraying a different cross of Christ.

Max

Eric -

At the heart of reformed theology is a view that Christ’s death on the cross was “limited” atonement for a predestined, chosen elect who have no will of their own in the matter (a central tenet of Calvinism). The majority of Southern Baptists accept that Christ’s sacrifice was given for all and that there is an “unlimited” entrance His way for those who exercise their free will to believe. While not all those who have a reformed leaning hold such a “hyper” view of the work of the cross, many do. The co-existence of these two views in a single denomination is a paradox to me.

-Max

Max

Howell –

With all the focus on these young, restless and reformed (YRR) “New Calvinists”, we should not forget about the “Old Calvinists” who have equipped them for such a time as this. They include presidents and professors at certain SBC seminaries and colleges, senior leadership in various SBC entities, prominent SBC mega-church pastors with reformed church planting agendas, and non-SBC reformed “influencers” with popular followings (Piper, Driscoll, Keller, etc.). I truly believe that Baptist21 exists, with old guard endorsement, to effect a generational shift in SBC churches to a theology that is more distinctly reformed than not. We must not let YRR methodology and missiology distract us from message. Can two walk together except they be agreed?

-Max

A. Price

Bro. Adam, The other 'times' of church gatherings are 'man-made', I guess is my answer. But, just in case you don't 'buy' that, I would give 'grace and liberty' to you and others', (including myself), to dress in a more casual way at other times.

Eric Opsahl

Howdy Max,
Help me understand the danger or aberrant non-biblical view that arises out of my reformed understanding. Those are my words not yours. As a reformed believer, When I evangelize, I call all men to repentance and faith in Christ. I don't worry about who the elect are because I don't know who they are.

If I had the magical ability to talk with every single person in the world, I would tell every single one of them that if they bow there knee to Christ, repent of their sin and believe that they will be saved, according to God's word.

I give a friendly challenge for you, give me one way in which you think my evangelistic message is different than any other mainline Baptist. I don't think you can give me one. Now you will find different means. For instance I don't ask people to pray a prayer, I walk them thru the Scripture and show them what salvation is. When they are ready to repent they will repent. I don't want to lead someone into a false prayer that is so prevalent in the Baptist church (that comment requires more of an explanation for another time) . While you may lead them to pray, I think we would probably give them the same evangelistic message.

Do you think that the reformed view keeps some folks out of heaven? whether your view or mine is correct, the end result is exactly the same. there is nothing you or I can do about it. We both believe in passionately evangelizing those we come in contact with, but the fact is, only a percentage of them will be saved. Let me make up a number in order to make my point (which is an old point having been made long ago).

Let's say up to today 20 million people have been saved and 20 million go to hell. Whatever the number it is an exact number which can't be changed. I believe those 20 million were of the Elect. You say no, those 20 million are from another means. The fact is we both praise God for those 20 million. it's not as though reformed doctrine wants to keep out another 10.

SO, I challenge you to find the real contention you have with me.

peter lumpkins

Eric,

Baptists are definitively not Reformed; Baptists are free church congregationalists. If you *want* to be "Reformed," go for it. I have "Reformed" friends. But this nonsense about Southern Baptists and "Reformed" theology is ecclesiologically absurd. That's why many of us have stiff reservations concerning it.

With that, I am...
Peter

Eric Opsahl

Peter,

So, would you say that folks who say that Baptist roots do have reformed leanings are lying or misinformed?

What of those early Baptist that taught Gods Sovereignty in salvation?

peter lumpkins

Eric,

Baptists have never—nor do I suspect (perhaps ‘hope’ is better) they ever will deny God’s sovereignty in salvation.

With that, I am…

Peter

Don Johnson

Eric,

When you witness, do you tell people that God loves them and that Christ died for their sins? Or do you wait to see if they get saved before telling them Christ died for them?

Eric Opsahl

Don,
Reformed Baptist (no offence to those who think that's an oxymoron), are and should be passionate about evangelizing, this includes giving the gospel call to faith and repentance to EVERYONE without exception. We are not like some Presbyterians who don't think evangelism is needed because God will save who he will save regardless.

So, of course I and all Christians should tell the lost that God died for their sins. As i said before, i dont know who the elect are. I call ALL men to faith and repentance. that faith includes believing that Christ died for our sins.
Perhaps you would have a problem with my believing that Christ only died for the elect. What I mean by that is that his saving grace is only applied to those who believe and are saved. He is the perfect lamb of God who saves perfectly, everyone who believes. We are only saved thru him taking on our sins, thus we are declared righteous by the Blood of Christ.

You agree that come judgment day, only those in Christ will be saved. those without Christ are lost, his death will not save them.

How can someone get saved if they dont know Christ died for them?

Don Johnson

Eric,

Most Reformed folk are 5 Point Calvinists. As such, they would not tell an unsaved person that Christ died for them. Because according to them Christ only died for the "elect". It's good to see you are not a 5 pointer.

Eric Opsahl

Don,
I'm sorry I wasn't clear. I do believe that scripture teaches that " Christ only died for the elect".your opposition is an old and common one which I've never really studied or understood why you believe it.

My definition of "Christ died for man" is the same thing as saying "As the perfect lamb of God, Christ takes on our sins, washes them from us and we are no longer guilty before God).

Don't we agree that In the end there will be those who are in heaven and those who are in hell?

Don't we agree that those in heaven are those who put their faith in Christ and those in Hell are those who reject Christ?

Don't we agree that those who are saved are only saved because Christ's death washes away our sins (Christ died for us)?

Don't we agree that those who are not saved, don't have their sins washed away (Christ didn't die for them).

Even though I know that not everyone will be saved, that God will not forgive the sins of those, that Christ death didn't remove their sins, I can still tell ALL MEN that Christ Died for their sins, because I don't know who the elect are.

Would you tell an unrepentant man on his deathbed not to worry, because Christ died for him. Or would you say, friend you are on your deathbed, you remain unrepentant and reject Christ, you need to know that Christ died so that you may be forgiven of your sins, but without Christ you are lost forever, I implore you to repent and live.

You will not find (never say never) a reformed Baptist who will sit at his unrepentant friends deathbed and say, well it's been good knowing you, I'm sorry that you are not of the elect and will not be saved, Christ didn't die for you, nothing you can do about it. NO, that reformed Baptist will tell his friend that the day is here and implore him to put his faith in Christ, that Christ died for his sins and will wash him white as snow.

Where is my thinking off base?

Perhaps I've hit the halfway mark in life and remain clueless and naive on what reformed folks think. I'm telling you that in South Carolina, within the multitude of reformed Churches and among the multitude of reformed folks I know, (five pointers) we most certainly do tell men that Christ died for their sins. As I said before, how can the gospel be proclaimed without telling folks who Christ is and why he died. That is, through faith in Christ, his death on the cross will wash away your sins.

peter lumpkins

Eric,

I'm afraid pleading ignorance about who the elect are misses the question entirely. If Christ died *only* for the elect, and one doesn't know who the elect are, why does it not follow one would not be dishonest to tell an individual person, "Christ died for your sin?" How can one look another person in the eye and say, "Christ died for *your* sin" if it is unknown whether the person is elect or not?

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Chadwick,

I read your "full" response to Whitt. What did you say in it not in the small piece I quoted? You mentioned your only real point that the BF&M was ignored by Whitt, a point I acknowledged above. However, you ruined it as well in your "full" response by reducing Whitt's lament to "personal preferences" being absent in the BF&M, a connection just a pint shy of nonsense. Whitt did no such thing.

With that, I am...
Peter

Eric Opsahl

Peter,
you read what I wrote:
My definition of "Christ died for man" is the same thing as saying "As the perfect lamb of God, Christ takes on our sins, washes them from us and we are no longer guilty before God.

AS I'm sitting here trying to get this building designed, I'm having a disconnect with your reply. Is my definition o.k.?

What is the proper def. of the term "Christ died for your sin"

peter lumpkins

Eric,

If there is a disconnect, please consider once again:

If Christ died *only* for the elect (as you maintain), and one doesn't know who the elect are (as you maintain), why does it not follow one would be dishonest to tell an individual person, "Christ died for *your* sin?" How can one look another person in the eye and say, "Christ died for *your* sin" if it is unknown whether the person is elect or not?

Suppose there are three people standing in a room. I walk in to share the gospel. If I embrace Christ died and paid for the sin elect people only, I don't know whether any of the three are elect. Hence, I cannot honestly say, "Christ died for your sins. Receive Him today." If I did say such, I'd be at best guessing and at worst, misrepresenting Christ Who may not have died for any of them.

This is why the more nuanced strict Calvinists will say the generic, "Christ died for sinners." Yes, that's true. And, it's honest--so far as it goes. Because if one of the three people came up and asked, "Wow! Jesus died for sinners. Well I am a sinner. Did Jesus die for me?" the Calvinist who believes Jesus died for the *elect only* and appeals to ignorance of the elect would have to either say, "I don't know," remain silent, or walk away. Just repeating to the inquirer, "Christ died for sinners" would hardly satisfy.

With that, I am...
Peter

Don Johnson

Eric,

A true Reformed person would never say "Christ died for your sin". He wouldn't say it because he "knows" he may very well be lying. In Reformed theology Christ died only for the "elect". R C Sproul and James White would never say "Christ died for your sin" before a the person was saved. They could say "repent and believe" but never "Christ died for your sin". It seems your turning into an Arminian.

Eric Opsahl

If my definition of the term is correct. That is, to say Christ died for you is the same as saying, You are saved by the blood of Christ thru faith. The disconnect is that I don't understand how you can define it another way.

I would argue that the one who dies without faith cannot come before the judgment seat and say something to the effect of: God I must be admitted to heaven because Christ died for me. It doesn't matter that I never believed....Christ died for me.

Eric Opsahl

Hey Don,
My profession is Architecture and Construction, I'm not a theologian. Which doesn't mean I get a pass for being sloppy or imprecise with how I choose my words.

I replied to Peter and said that Technically I would agree that I can't say Christ died for all men. Because I think he only died for those who believe.

I just haven't worried about being that technical. That maybe sinful on my part.

That said, I can't remember every simply telling someone that Christ died for their sins. It's always framed with the Gospel call to faith and repentance. That is, put your faith in Christ and your sins will be forgiven.

Arminian, guess I'd have to pack my bags :)

peter lumpkins

So is that your answer to the question I raised?
With that, I am...
Peter

Eric Opsahl

I'll take some time to think thru it.
I'm on the drawing board today which has allowed me to go back and forth.
I'm brain locked on this design problem and will give more thought to an answer later.

Thanks

Eric Opsahl

Morning Peter,
A direct answer is: No I can't tell a person that Christ died for their sins.

Let me ask you a direct question: If the definition of "Christ died for your sins" Means that Christ forgives your sins. How can I think otherwise?

I do not have a problem with the statement: In order to have eternal life in Christ, you must put your faith in Christ who died for your sins.

What do you think I am misunderstanding?

This is why I previously asked how you define the term "Christ died for your sins"
What is the Biblical definition?

I do reject your argument: Wow! Jesus died for sinners. Well I am a sinner. Did Jesus die for me?" the Calvinist who believes Jesus died for the *elect only* and appeals to ignorance of the elect would have to either say, "I don't know," remain silent, or walk away. Just repeating to the inquirer, "Christ died for sinners" would hardly satisfy.

If someone asks: Well I am a sinner. Did Jesus die for me. I reject your options for a reply (I don't know," remain silent, or walk away). One of the proper responses would be to show that as a sinner they need to be saved from their sin. part of the discussion might include the "Romans Road", showing him that Christ died for the forgiveness of his sin.

peter lumpkins

Eric,

You're going to have to explain to me how these two propositions may be held together:

A) one can't tell a person 'Christ died for *your* sins'
and
B) one can tell a person he/she must 'put faith in Christ who died for *your sins*'

Eric, this is a blatant contradiction.

With that, I am...
Peter

Eric Opsahl

Peter,
It may not be a Blatant contradiction if I were a better communicator.

I don't see a contradiction, forgiveness for sins thru Christ is given to those who have faith, not to those without faith.

Look, you are obviously trying to make a point here that I don't understand.

As you are one who was a Baptist Preacher I assume we agree that those who die without Christ will not have sins forgiven, those who die with faith in Christ will have their sins forgiven.

If as I've said numerous times, the definition of the phrase "Christ died for your sins" is that Christ forgives your sins.

Call me a knucklehead, I really don't understand our disagreement.

I've asked several times for you to give me the proper definition of the phrase to help me understand our difference. Please help me understand by giving me that definition.

Thanks

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