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Feb 12, 2012

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Jason

Peter,

I do not see the consistency with Harris posting his opinion about Calvinism and Breland posting his opinion about Dr. Vines' statement made in the interview by SBC Today. You call foul on others for criticizing Harris, but you (and others) did the same thing to Breland. I do not desire to engage in an argument, only to point out what I notice.

Have a restful Lord's Day.

Mary

Peter, the only thing missing here is a "whiskey for my men and beer for my hosses" line - the PLNTD ad at SBC Voices lists Miller's Ale House as a recommended restaurant. Maybe that's where the posse will end their day of huntin' down those antiCalvinists varmints.

Jason, the problem is that Calvinists refuse over and over and it's demonstrated nicely in this lil' fiasco, to address any actual points or facts. Just emotional knee jerk responses with lots of namecalling. How many words have been written about Harris' piece without one of the facts he presented in his editorial being addressed?

selahV

Well, Peter, if the Calvinists and the non-Calvinists can't agree on the "facts" in evidence, maybe they can agree on religious liberty and stand shoulder to shoulder against the assault the POTUS has now waged against us. Would be nice to unite on something we need to unite upon before we have no voice at all to debate such issues as faith, liberty, moral conscience, freedom to practice religion in our country, let alone Calvinism and non-Calvinism. selahV

Les Puryear

Thank God for the courage of Gerald Harris and The Christian Index. Keep telling the truth.

Max

Dead or Alive?! Peter's blog tag-line answers that question: "Truth is Unkillable."

Les

Thank God for the courage of Tom Ascol and The Founders and Billy Birch and Dave Miller.

Mary

Why is it not suprising that Skippy is thankful for the ministry that has caused untold division and discord in the SBC by "reforming" one church at a time - whether they wanted to be reformed or not.

Isn't it funny the number of people who wail and gnash teeth over "antiCalvinist" who alledgely want to get rid of all Calvinists in the SBC, but they are silent over a ministry who for thirty years has worked toward getting rid of all the nonCalvinists in the SBC? If you really wanted to cooperate and get along wouldn't you have to denounce Founder's just as loudly and vehemently? Oh! I forget! Yesmen syndrome!

Aaron O'Kelley

I'm all for spirited theological debate. I think Roger Olson, for example, is an example of one who opposes Calvinism and has done a good job of making a theological case for his position. I like to see rational, coherent defenses of positions, even if I don't ultimately agree with them. I have recommended Olson's book on Arminian theology to others.

What Gerald Harris wrote, however, was not anything close to the level of fair, spirited theological debate. It was an incoherent rant of random observations, largely employing guilt-by-association tactics. It had no unifying argument. It was a complete rhetorical and logical mess. It's the kind of thing I assign a failing grade when I receive it from students. If a Calvinist had written something similar from the other perspective, I would be saying the same thing. (And I have seen Calvinists do that kind of thing before, mostly on blogs).

The fact that a large number of people notice a terribly written piece when they see it does not a lynch mob make.

Mary

OH NOES! Aaron O'Kelley's opinion on Gerald Harris's opinions is that Harris's opinions get an F!

No lynch mob there! And of course no one has addressed any of the actual points that Harris made - were there lies, inaccuracies? Anything proven untrue? Harris's points are deemed not even worthy of consideration because the elites have spoken - Harris don't write so good!

Les

Hello Mary. I suppose if you're going to stay with the nickname thing I'll have to go along. I'm a yesman after all. That's ok, right Peter? So I think I'll go with MMQC for you.

Anyway MMQC. You, "Isn't it funny the number of people who wail and gnash teeth over "antiCalvinist" who alledgely want to get rid of all Calvinists in the SBC, but they are silent over a ministry who for thirty years has worked toward getting rid of all the nonCalvinists in the SBC?" I don't know who you're referring to, but rest assured there is no wailing and gnashing of teeth going on here. The "antiCalvinists" as you call them will not get rid of all the Calvinists even if they wanted to.

You: "If you really wanted to cooperate and get along wouldn't you have to denounce Founder's just as loudly and vehemently?" Nope. I haven't denounced anyone on this matter.

CASEY

"REFLECTIONS of a DISENCHANTED CALVINIST
(the disquieting REALITIES of Calvinism)

AUTHOR: RONNIE W. ROGERS, pastor Trinity
Baptist Church, Norman, Okl.
Criswell grad
His testimony having been a 'strong 4 point Calvinist' should be on everybody's reading list. It's just out and available from the church or on AMAZON.COM.
I urge you, regardless of your position on Calvinism, to read it. Ronnie is now a 'clear Biblicist'.......

GERALD HARRIS is to be commended. He stuck to the 'beliefs and convictions' in his presentation. His opposition, besides throwing a 3 yr old tantrum, failed to address his points of concern. Hopefully the Calvinists who portray themselves as deep thinkers and studiers will stick to the issue(s) and have a real engagement of the subject.

Hobart M. Tucker

Your use of the "guilt by association" charge is a strawman objection that actually argues against a key biblical principle:
Amos 3:3 Do two walk together unless they are in agreement?
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.
Gerald was not incoherent, but in fact on point. He did not rant but with equanimity put out on the table a lot of points that are known but have not until now been pulled together in one source. You should be troubled by the deception in the answers by Mohler, Akin, King, Ebert and Wax in the BP piece.

peter lumpkins

Jason,

I appreciate your comment. Not sure what gave you the idea I called "foul" on Breland for posting critical remarks contra Vines. I most certainly did not. Rather I took issue with Breland's criticisms not with his crticizing.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Aaron,

If Harris' piece was as bad as you and others suggest, it would hardly be intelligible for human comprehension. I suggest you and others get to work on any factual inaccuracies Harris presented which led him to infer his conclusion--namely, SBs are being swarmed by an unusual colony of get-ready-to-reform-sting-you-if-you-don't Calvinists--a fairly easy proposition to prove, and given the lack of evidence to the contrary, a proposition virtually impossible to deny.

With that, I am...
Peter

Aaron O'Kelley

Here is just one example. Harris appeals to Mark Driscoll's new book, apparently in order to make us think in this direction:

Premise: Mark Driscoll is a Calvinist.
Premise 2: Mark Driscoll wrote a graphic book that approves of morally objectionable sexual practices.
Conclusion: Therefore, Calvinists approve of things that are morally objectionable.

It is not stated in so many words, but if that is NOT what Harris is trying to say, I fail to see why he would even bring up that book in an article entitled "The Calvinists Are Here".

But why couldn't Harris's argument work this way?

Premise: Mark Driscoll is a Baptist.
Premise 2: Mark Driscoll wrote a graphic book that approves of morally objectionable sexual practices.
Conclusion: Therefore, Baptists approve of things that are morally objectionable.

The second argument is just as incoherent and false as the first. This is what I mean by "guilt-by-association". Nowhere does Harris prove that it is Driscoll's Calvinistic theology that motivated him to write "Real Marriage".

Aaron O'Kelley

"SBs are being swarmed by an unusual colony of get-ready-to-reform-sting-you-if-you-don't Calvinists--a fairly easy proposition to prove,"

I want to ask you to do two things Peter: first, define exactly what you mean in the above statement, and second, prove it. You said it would be easy.

Ron

"You Sir are an anti-Calvinist!"

This seems to be the charge toward anyone that writes or speaks anything concerning the Calvinizing of the SBC.

peter lumpkins

Aaron,

"Harris appeals to Mark Driscoll's new book, apparently in order to make us think in this direction (embolden added).

Excuse me, Aaron. Please knock off the formal syllogisms. Logical syllogisms have their place but simply don't work trying to gauge what someone tries to make us think. Hence, nothing you mentioned follows. Zero. Nothing. You've constructed a completely subjective scenario which might be but does not necessarily have to be which is the purpose of syllogisms like you've constructed.

Moreover, you completely dodged my proposal, blowing smoke with intelligent-sounding but nonetheless irrelevant rhetoric containing inapplicable formal syllogisms toward someone's alleged purpose. Here's what I suggested: "I suggest you and others get to work on any factual inaccuracies Harris presented which led him to infer his conclusion." Now, when you want to dispute any factual inaccuracies Harris presented and do so by showing them false, be my guest.

Finally, as for what I wrote, Aaron, that was my interpretation of precisely what Harris wrote in the article. If you have a problem with that, I suggest you either deny Harris actually meant what I interpreted him to say, and give good reasons why I missed his meaning, or I suggest you do the above--"dispute any factual inaccuracies Harris presented and do so by showing them false." If you cannot, I'll understand. But do not come back blowing smoke our way. Deal with the facts, or don't comment.

Thanks.

With that, I am...
Peter

Hobart M. Tucker

Peter,

Please forgive my gentle correction about your immediate posting above.

You described Aaron's argument as a "formal syllogism" and a "logical syllogism."

Both are non sequitur given the nature of Aaron's comments.

The more appropriate term is "sophism" given his statements are specious.

He is not being pretentious, but a pretender.

The reality is that Aaron is blustering in an attempt to distract from the simple statements Gerald made that weren't value-laden at all but presented on face value.

It's akin to Tom Ascol stuttering "It is riduculous" because he can't intelligently argue the points.

-- HMT

lmalone

"What Gerald Harris wrote, however, was not anything close to the level of fair, spirited theological debate. It was an incoherent rant of random observations, largely employing guilt-by-association tactics. It had no unifying argument. It was a complete rhetorical and logical mess."

I don't think the rise of "New Calvinism" is really a "theological" debate at all and perhaps Harris knows that, too. Whose "theology" are we going to debate? The strange brand coming out of SGM which Mohler and Dever and support...Mohler even claiming the SGM bloggers just don't like Mahaney's strong leadership. SGM is a cult! Or, how about Driscoll's brand of theology where sex is a primary salvic issue and his DNA is implanted in Acts 29 churches we fund? Or how about James McDonald who wrote that congregationalism is satanic? All of these people have had influence in the SBC with many of our leaders supporting. And if they don't, they sure are silent!

Personally, I would rather see a 10 part series where he expands on his "scattershot" points as some have deemed them. I agree, it needed more.

In fact, he could do a 10 part series on Driscoll alone and connect dots from Driscoll/Mars Hill methods/teaching and the SBC's support of Acts 29.

I have noticed subtle tries from several in the Reformed wing of the SBC to say that Acts 29 is not really all Driscoll but do your homework....his brand...his DNA is all over it. We are funding little Driscoll clones for the SBC and that should be a chilling prospect.

Harris could go in depth about Driscoll methods and even put some of his teaching in there (would have to be blacked out) and really make the point of our leadership supporting Driscoll's type of methods and teaching. There IS guilt by association here. And Driscoll type of thinking and methods has found a home in the SBC whether people want to admit it or not.

What I have found amusing lately is the 'silence' from some concerning Driscoll's book. It screams. Where is our prolific culture warrior, Mohler, on it?

Or, how about part of the series analyzing Mohler's words on the GC video?

There is plenty of material.

lmalone

"You should be troubled by the deception in the answers by Mohler, Akin, King, Ebert and Wax in the BP piece."

Well, lets analyze this. The Index did indepth reporting on NAMB and from that....is one of the reasons we were given any indication of how bad things really were there. I respect them for that. A far cry from BP!

BP is a puff PR rag for the SBC. It has NO credibility at all and does not even report it when molesting SBC pastors are caught and convicted until some other baptist oriented press releases it first. Their mission seems to be more: "protect" with good PR and only report negative stuff if we have to because not doing so will be too obvious.

The BP is a huge waste of money and not to be trusted, IMO.

How is BP funded, btw? Anyone know the breakdowns?


Ryan

I don't understand why people are getting upset over this article. I am a Calvinist, and I actually agreed and was pleased that Gerald Harris wrote this article. I have quite a disdain for my Refromed brothers who come into churches and force their theology on a church that doesn't have roots in Calvinism. This destroys worship, divides a church, and in no way glorifies Christ.

Mary

Skippy, if you're gonna come in here with your snarky little comments you should at least know the player's in the drama. But you ain't really that dumb.

Rick Patrick

At least part of this conflict, it seems to me, stems from the audience to whom Harris wrote the editorial--your basic Southern Baptist church member in Georgia who may, in fact, be largely unaware of the existence of the New Calvinism, but subscribes to the state paper.
Contrast that audience with the Calvinists themselves who, of course, already knew of their own existence and that they have, in fact, been here for quite a while.

As the different audiences read the article, the Calvinists may be mystified by his insinuations and may even consider the content disjointed and unclear, but the basic Southern Baptists are raising their eyebrows and finally beginning to understand that we are dealing with the first major denominational controversy since the Conservative Resurgence.

Fortunately for the city of New Orleans, attendance should be up at the convention this year.

lmalone

"At least part of this conflict, it seems to me, stems from the audience to whom Harris wrote the editorial--your basic Southern Baptist church member in Georgia who may, in fact, be largely unaware of the existence of the New Calvinism, but subscribes to the state paper. "

I totally agree with this. And one reason I would love to see a series done in the Index analyzing our ties with Acts 29/Driscoll (and what Driscoll teaches and his behavior such as the I See Things video and other bizarre behavior) and analyzing Mohler's words in the GC video. It does not have to be 'anti Calvinist' at all. Just the facts alone speak volumes. I think it would be a huge wake up call for the rank and file.

Les

MMQC, thanks. You said, "Skippy, if you're gonna come in here with your snarky little comments you should at least know the player's in the drama. But you ain't really that dumb."

Me snarky? Where was I snarky? I surely meant no snark. Please accept my apologies if I offended you. Players? I know a few...enough. Dumb? Well maybe.

Ken

Actually your post is quite clever and creative. Even though I don't agree with your impression of Harris' article, I had to chuckle at the mental images of gun-slinging.

That being said, my concern is with the overall tone of Harris' article, and the timing of it. It comes just a few short months after a GBC annual meeting where both presidential candidates campaigned under the rhetoric of uniting Georgia Baptists of all types and styles in order to address the problem of lostness in our state. This appeared to be a clear extension of an olive branch to pastors like myself who tend to lean toward a Reformed theology. I appreciated this, though I was skeptical, understanding it to be part of campaigning for a position. Still, I was hopeful that this would spell an end to the impression that I have perceived in recent years that the leadership establishment (atleast in my state), would just rather those Calvinists just disappear (from the SBC).

I'm still hopeful that this sentiment is waning, but articles like Harris' still give me reason to wonder: "Am I not wanted in the SBC?"

Please understand, I am a local pastor of a small church who desires nothing more than to be involved in accomplishing the Great Commission. I have no grand scheme to take over the SBC. I don't doubt that there are extremists (I use that word carefully) on both sides of this issue that would gladly participate in a scheme to rid the SBC of their "opponent". To BOTH of these parties I would appeal: "Please, let's lay down our arms, unify under the Gospel, and get back to the work of fulfilling the Great Commission".

If we can't do that, then where will we be as a denomination in 50 more years?

Grace,
Ken

peter lumpkins

Hobart,

No problem, brother. And, you're exactly correct. Whatever, Aaron's point was, it did not address fairly either my suggestion or Harris' factual observations.

Grace.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Ken,

Thanks for taking the images I injected into the piece in the lighthearted way they were intended. For those who imagine I just posted to ridicule Calvinists or those with whom I disagree, I was self-portrayed as the mule-riding bimbo who lives in an abandoned chicken-house in redneck Georgia.

And, I do not dispute your observation that this article coming on the heels of a convention whose theme was "unity" is to be lightly dismissed. You may have the only legitimate point contra Harris' piece I've read, Ken. Again, I think if people will factor in Harris' clear focus on resurging what presumably for Harris is an unhealthy imbalance in the direction of rigid Calvinism, it assists in clearing up some false impressions.

Grace.

With that, I am...
Peter

Max

It's increasingly clear to me that there are two fronts of Calvinism within the SBC: (1) the "old guard" Founders folks, and (2) "new" Calvinists who are young, restless & reformed. Under normal circumstances, these groups wouldn't mix well. However, the old guys have become more emboldened by the fresh energy that the YRR bring to their cause.

To date, the Founders, with their estimated 10% representation in SBC ranks and fairly few Founder-friendly churches, really haven't scared much. We should be more concerned that our seminaries are producing 30% (and growing) young pastors who are reformed and mobilized. This group has the greater potential to disrupt the SBC theological landscape over the next generation, while the old guard (both Calvinist and non-Calvinist) fades away.

Brother Harris' piece largely dealt with the manifestations of out-in-the-open YRR activities, rather than the Founders' silent revolution ... even though there are some dots which connect both. Aggressive Driscollites, and the Mohlerites who support them, should be of more concern to majority Southern Baptists, than the Ascolites. We should not be distracted by who initiated, but who is determined to finish, this movement.

As a long-time Southern Baptist, I'll be glad when this noise is behind us and we are once again humbling ourselves, repenting, seeking God's face, and reaching the lost for Christ. There is no doubt that the prayerlessness and complacency of majority Southern Baptists helped prepare the field for New Calvinism to flourish. May Peter's blog soon be filled with reports of unity, widespread revival and spiritual awakening, and fewer articles about brothers in conflict with each other.

Aaron O'Kelley

Peter,

If I have misunderstood Harris's purpose in bringing up the Driscoll book, would you please explain to me why he brought it up? If it was not to smear Calvinists by associating them with him, what place did it have in the article at all?

peter lumpkins

Aaron,

Excuse me? Smear Calvinists by associating them with Mark Driscoll? Sorry, Aaron. LOL

With that, I am...
Peter

Aaron O'Kelley

Peter, it's a serious question.

Aaron O'Kelley

I don't see what is funny about that. It is clear that many people have a low view of Mark Driscoll's book, or at least parts of it. What was Harris trying to do if it was not an attempt to say: "Mark Driscoll, a Calvinist, wrote a dirty book, so Calvinists are bad."

It would be just as easy to say, "Mark Driscoll, a Baptist, wrote a dirty book, so Baptists are bad."

peter lumpkins

Aaron,

If you think that somehow non-Calvinists have to "try" and "associate" resurgent Calvinism in the SBC with Mark Driscoll, I'm sorry, Aaron. I do not have the time to catch you up. And, that's a serious response.

With that, I am...
Peter

Aaron O'Kelley

I'm not talking about Driscoll himself so much as I'm talking about his book.

Harris himself points out that Denny Burk was one particularly vocal critic of Driscoll. But Harris did not point out, that I can remember, that Burk is a Calvinist.

Nor did he point out that other critics who have responded to Driscoll publicly were Calvinists: Tim Challies, Carl Trueman, Jeremy Pierre, Douglas Wilson. In fact, even Danny Akin's endorsement of the book comes with a major disclaimer, which affirms that Akin doesn't agree with everything in it.

So, in light of the fact that so many Calvinists have publicly criticized some of the objectionable materials in Driscoll's book, what purpose does it serve to mention the book in an article sounding the alarm about the arrival of the Calvinists?

peter lumpkins

Aaron,

Look you're not dealing with what Gerald Harris actually wrote. You're trying to suggest Harris is somehow "wrong" because he didn't inform people Burk was a Calvinist. Please.

Concerning Driscoll, there's is a two-way connection--his book which has little to do with his Reformed leanings, and Acts 29 concerning which Driscoll is president and in fact has everything to do with his Reformed leanings.

Try as you desperately may, Aaron, you're just not going to usurp Harris' factual basis from which he infers his conclusion--the resurging Calvinism in the SBC. The best you're going to be able to do is question whether or not the Calvinist Resurgence in the SBC is a good thing or a bad thing. Harris seems to question whether it is a good thing. You obviously do not think it's a bad thing. But your third attempt now to question Harris' factual basis for his proposition has ended in failure. Time to move on...

With that, I am...
Peter

lmalone

"If I have misunderstood Harris's purpose in bringing up the Driscoll book, would you please explain to me why he brought it up? If it was not to smear Calvinists by associating them with him, what place did it have in the article at all?"

Aaron,

So, we seperate Driscoll's book from Acts 29, Akin being a promoter of Driscoll and all the young Driscoll wannabes at SBTS? I live at ground zero for YRR and let me tell you from Baptist 21 to you name it, Driscoll is the guy.

I have noticed AFTER the book was published the screaming silence from many of them. It is a bit embarassing, I grant you that. But to try and say mentioning the book was wrong and has nothing to do with the brand of Calvinism the YRR is promoting is a laugh a minute.

Mr. Harris could take Driscoll or even CJ Mahaney (formerly of People of Destiny and now the reinstated boss of the SGM shepherding cult) and do a 10 part series connecting the dots to their influence on the young minds full of mush in the SBC and our seminaries and it still would not cover the problems inherent with both.

With CJ, he could start with the large donations from SGM and from CJ personally to SBTS. SGM is a cult and both Mohler and Dever support it totally.

Aaron O'Kelley

Meaning is not merely a matter of "facts." In fact (pun intended), facts on their own have no meaning. They only have meaning as they are interpreted and related to one another. It's not the facts that are really up for dispute here, I wouldn't think. It is how they are interpreted.

The mere fact that Mark Driscoll published a controversial book doesn't have any meaning until Harris implies that it represents a smear upon all Calvinists. I have asked you repeatedly to explain what other meaning Harris could have intended by bringing up that book, but to this point you have not offered any other suggestion. You keep making this discussion about what you say I am dodging, but you have not answered my question.

Hobart M. Tucker

"The mere fact" is that Mark Driscoll is one of a half dozen prominent figures in the Calvinist movement (that strangely enough is only growing in the SBC). He is a featured platform personality in nearly every national and regional DOG-ma event (T4G, TGC, Resurgence, etc.) and if he is a black mark against all Calvinists, it's because they fail to discipline him properly to let the world know that even pastors must live regenerate lives.

Ken

To reiterate my point, I would not argue that anything that Harris wrote is factually incorrect or wrong. I would just question whether or not it's helpful. Since it's an editorial piece, I guess he has the right to publish any opinion he wants, I just wonder if he should have in this case. Especially in light of the theme in the Georgia Baptist Convention this year of "uniting Baptists to impact lostness", at best this seems distracting.

Hobart M. Tucker

The point is that largely the YRR crowd have made it known that they are not convictional Southern Baptists -- they are convictional Calvinists. They are convenient Southern Baptists because of the access they now have to Southern Baptists' CP funds. Until this point, they have been "wishful" church planters (meaning a 20-something with no life experience or practical ministry work, most of whom churches wouldn't hire because the only qualification listed on a CV was the theology in a box issued by SBTS or SEBTS after being recruited out of high school).

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