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Mar 03, 2012

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Tim Rogers

Brother Peter,

Am I to understand that from Dr. Mohler's perspective of one outside looking in the defining of one who is Calvinist is:

We’re talking about card-carrying five-star Calvinists, and those who don’t want to be Calvinists of any stripe that still believe you can’t lose your salvation, and that God keeps those whom he has redeemed to the end
?

Isn't that a bit simplistic?

Blessings,
Tim

Rick Patrick

"...And even from those who don’t identify that way, even some of those who resist that kind of designation, that’s still who they are."

Well, then, for crying out loud, I guess I'm a Calvinist after all. But by the same logic, we can take any spectrum of thought and, by degrees, assign labels to those who would resist them.

For example, we have all been, at one point in our lives or another, to some degree or another, something of an idiot. We have made foolish mistakes and unwise decisions based on mental lapses we later regret. We have all had our share of embarrassing moments.

Frankly, whether you want to embrace the term or not, in large measure, if we are being completely honest here, we are all just a bunch of idiots. Some of us may wear that label more proudly than others, but if we trace the historical evidence of our individual lives, we have no other place to go in terms of classifying our intellectual capabilities.

We are all idiots, and Baptist journalists should report so with complete honesty.

lmalone

"In terms of how to cover it [Calvinism], I’d prepared an entire session, but quite frankly I’m speaking to the converted here."

So, he spends a lot of time telling them that they are really Calvinists even if they did not know that before. The BFM proves they are Calvinist. Then he lectures on how to cover Calvinism and then he ends up telling them he is speaking to the "converted" here.

So, who are these Baptist Editors? Am I to now assume they are all Calvinists?

Oh and I love the part about the CR being Calvinistic in root because of inerrancy. I am sure Adrian Rogers would agree. he he.

The real problem is that Mohler thinks he is brilliant and we are idiots that must be informed and taught.

JohnD

"Deal with it honestly." OK. The young are drawn to Calvinism because it operates, on many levels, like a cult. I don't mean that in a non-Christian sense, of course. Calvinists are saved (although, ironically, they themselves can't be sure of that!) But it's the arrogant, pseudo intellectual brass of the pop-Calvinist subculture that attracts the young. They lack the wisdom of experience. That's one of the marks of being young, and its the demo cults go after. Some will stay in the cult, but I predict a massive drifting away in about 10 years. It's happened historically every time Calvinism has taken hold somewhere (see the early 1800s for example, in New England).

The sad part is they will be wasted years for so many in so many ways.

Ron

Peter,

In reading the full manuscript of Dr. Mohler’s speech, I noticed his disdain for anything Arminian in SBC history. At least three times he slammed Arminianism – even saying Southern Baptists have rejected it as heresy. Is he referring to the Synod of Dordt or some other council that Baptists held on New World soil? Is he rejecting the notion that the two streams of Calvinism and Arminianism have always run through SBC life? Is it alright for Dr. Mohler to say negative things about Arminian Baptists in the SBC, and our editors not pick up the importance of those remarks?

Jim G.

Hi Peter,

I honestly don't know whether to get mad or shake my head in disbelief.

The president of the SBC's...um, I mean the GCB's "flagship" seminary, holding a PhD in systematic theology from that very institution, is either grossly misinformed about historical theology and Baptist history or he is trying to pull a fast one. I don't see a third option.

I will agree with him that Baptists have strong roots in the broadly-Reformed tradition (as well as the Anabaptist tradition). But to call Baptists varying degrees of Calvinists is patently ridiculous. What I expect from Mohler (a man who has obviously studied and read these things and is responsible for teaching them) is the ability to articulate these finer points of doctrine clearly and precisely so that those without his expertise can understand them better. I am sorely disappointed.

Notice to whom he applies the "H" word (heresy) - Arminianism! I assume, because Mohler holds a PhD in "systematic" theology, he rightly understands the historical teachings of Arminianism. Of the treasured 5 points, Arminians agree with total depravity and can agree with perseverance. Arminians certainly agree that salvation is a work of God. So the real differences lie in election, extent, and resistibility (U, L, and I).

This is a wake-up call to all general baptists - we are now heretics. Perhaps this is why the more vocal non-Calvinists in the SBC (at least the ones on blogs anyway) are vigorously opposing the nickname. If a nickname can be used to accomplish the agenda of the group of leaders to which Mohler belongs, then the same type of tactics can be used in the (likely not-too-distant) future to remove doctrinal heretics like general (Arminian) baptists. The convention needs "reformed," ya know.

Also, see the brilliant political move going on here? Mohler is pulling a Bill Clinton by "moving the center." Historically, Arminianism has served a a kind of middle ground between the real heresies of full- and semi-Pelagianism and a deterministic Calvinism/Augustinianism. But by stating Arminianism as heresy, the center has now shifted. Calvinism becomes THE only game in town. We're pumping out several hundred newly-minted preachers and church planters every year with this same skewed theological outlook. We are welcoming Acts 29 with open arms and SGM may not be too far behind, given the Mohler-Mahaney connection. It's not hard to connect the dots from here. My prediction is this: if the SBC fails to stop the name change at New Orleans this year, all general baptists had better be looking for a new home. The die will be cast and the clock will be ticking for us.

Jim G.

Mary

So you're really just to dumb and are a Calvinist and don't actually know it OR you are a full blown heretic?

Isn't this the same things he's been saying that the Calvinsts have jumped through semantical hoops to deny he's been saying?

Bob Hadley

Peter,

Dr. Mohler's comment in the first paragraph is indeed interesting: Prior to the CR, the SBC lacked the doctrinal attentiveness needed to have a Calvinist debate. Interesting. Were SBC theologians too narrow minded to notice the theological implications of Calvinism prior to the CR? I think not! This statement in and of itself is contradictory to Mohler’s entire premise here; according to him and others, Baptists are and always have been Calvinists. How is it that Mohler can say the SBC lacked the doctrinal attentiveness to have a Calvinist debate prior to the CR?

If Mohler is correct, I am certainly grateful for the Anglican and Presbyterian scholars who helped the SBC clear up its issues on Biblical inerrancy. I guess his comment on the “conservative others that came in” is a reference to a couple of Southern Baptists who somehow managed to come to an understanding of what Biblical inerrancy meant, like Adrian Rogers and Paige Patterson and a number of others. Funny thing is, these guys are not “card carrying” Calvinists. Interesting. He continues by referencing the fact that the whole inerrancy debate was one “meted out in the debates of the Reformation and the post-Reformation period. Which is to say that Baptists were all of a sudden reconnecting with a lot of our roots...” It is fine to say that inerrancy was an issue in the reformation but it is another thing to say we owe the validity of the issue today to them, as if had it not been debated in the 1600’s we would not have the sense to debate it today. I understand the argument that no one is an “island unto ourselves” and we are all indebted to our past, both good and bad.

“Calvinism is the shape of the future, because the options otherwise don’t very much exist. Now if you just quote me on that and put that in the paper it’s going to make people mad.” Really? Mohler continues, “Now if you’re offended by that just realize that any outside observer looking at the SBC, looking at our confessions of faith, would put us on the Calvinist side of the ledger.” Since this the same is the grand argument behind the now infamous name change initiative, perhaps the same outside observers looking at the SBC will see us as proponents of slavery as well as Calvinism. Maybe the SBC needs to move away from both.

Mohler continues, “the Baptist Faith & Message excludes Arminianism. The SBCs founders identified Arminianism as a heresy they sought to confront.” One must understand that to a 5-point Calvinist, Arminianism is anything that is outside Calvinism. This is the most egregious statement in Mohler’s comments here. Basically, he has alienated himself from the majority of folks in the pews today who are the ones chiefly responsible for paying his salary. I suppose we all owe Mohler a debt of gratitude because he understands Southern Baptists better than we understand ourselves as he says, “...And even from those who don’t identify that way (being Calvinists), even some of those who resist that kind of designation, that’s still who they are.”

Dr. Mohler’s comments were being made to the editors of Denominational papers across the US. He is right. They must be willing to present these issues. He comments, “One of the problems in the SBC is that we still have a reflex against dealing with theological issues directly... Don’t be afraid of it. Don’t be afraid that you’re going to make somebody angry, because, well you guys make enough people angry anyway. Make ‘em angry for good reasons... deal with it honestly; you know that. But in a theological context to deal with it honestly means you don’t just cover the most obvious things that someone says that might make the news… Obviously you want to use the best authorities...”

I agree with Dr. Mohler. It is certainly time for this issue to be dealt with and let the chips fall where they may. For the record; I l know who I am and I know what I am. While I may owe a debt of gratitude to some who have no doubt gone before me, I am no more a Calvinist because they were than I am pro-slavery because they were. I am no more an Arminian than I am a Calvinist. I am unashamedly a Baptist and proud to be so because of one thing and that is the Cooperative Program. I am proud of the fact that the Southern Baptist Convention has been a cooperating entity to carry the gospel to a lost and dying world and we have been able to do together what no church could do on its own and that is still true today, even in the age of the mega church. The real problem today is not the diversity of the SBC. That has been a part of the convention since its founding. The real problem is the fight for supremacy and dominance in the direction of the SBC of the future.

What is increasingly interesting is that this cry for toleration and unanimity is an all too common cry. It seems that in every sociological setting this is the cry of the minority party that is seeking to become the majority party. We will see. Time will certainly tell the final story unless Jesus comes before this current track has time to play itself out.

lmalone

"In reading the full manuscript of Dr. Mohler’s speech, I noticed his disdain for anything Arminian in SBC history. At least three times he slammed Arminianism – even saying Southern Baptists have rejected it as heresy."

Calling William Birch.

JohnD, I think you are on to something. On the various NC-type blogs I have been perusing, there is a dearth of very basic logical thinking. It is as if an indoctrination has taken hold and they cannot think outside that view at all. So their only defense evolves to ad hominem.

Maybe we should take another look at our seminaries and what they are churning out. I see this with their take on Peter. Peter is bad. Why is Peter bad? Peter is arrogant. Ok, perhaps Peter is arrogant...but what about his content? Does your view of his arrogance automatically make his content incorrect? These are not people who can really engage in ideas and defend their beliefs. This is why they take the ad hominem road. The bigger problem is they think they are "smart" but they really are not.

Bob Hadley

One other thing,

Since Jerod Moore is such a stickler on chiding people for statements they make about other people, charging that they "indeed know them better than they know themselves," maybe he will chide Dr. Mohler for his catgorizing Southern Baptists as Calvinist, whether they are or not.

yea, right; when donkeys fly.


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lmalone

"The president of the SBC's...um, I mean the GCB's "flagship" seminary, holding a PhD in systematic theology from that very institution, is either grossly misinformed about historical theology and Baptist history or he is trying to pull a fast one. I don't see a third option"

Yes, I agree. I vote for "fast one". But to add to your descriptors, he is also an "employee" of the SBC. I think many forget that part and see him as something akin to a pope. I am totally amazed at the chuzpah of an employee making such remarks about the people who pay his salary and give him the freedom to do many non SBC things such as T4G and GC, etc, etc.

"This is a wake-up call to all general baptists - we are now heretics"

But he gives us a pass. We are only ignorant herectic'. Decieved out of ignorance, perhaps? We are too stupid to know we are heretics and if we affirm the BFM we are really NC anyway. We were just too ignorant to know it. Talk about arrogance. My goodness, Peter has nothing on him!

"Also, see the brilliant political move going on here? Mohler is pulling a Bill Clinton by "moving the center."

Jim, you have hit on it exactly about moving the center. I believe that Mohler thinks he has the gravitas to convince people of this. And he might. A lot of people in our convention do not question him at all and revere him as a doctrinal genius which is really a political strategy genius. All of it is a bit too Orwellian for me.

They are becoming tiresome. Too big brotherish for this Baptist.

Max

"Calvinism is the shape of the future, because the options otherwise don’t very much exist."

I'm working my way through the 81-page link (thanks Peter). At first pass, this appears to be a Mohler-Manifesto. He is making a public declaration of his views, motives, and intentions ... theology and philosophy ... and vision for tomorrow's SBC. If majority Southern Baptists want to know what steers this man and what he really thinks about the rest of us, here it is. Whew!

Louis

Again, Mohler has said some good things here. I think that people are overreacting to the whole thing, frankly.

Ron

“So let it be written, so let it be done!”

I hear the ancient voice of Ramses (Yul Brynner)in these declarations:

1. All Southern Baptists are Calvinists – So let it be written, so let it be done!

2. All Arminians are heretics – So let it be written, so let it be done!

3. The Baptist Faith and Message excludes Arminianism - So let it be written, so let it be done!

4. Calvinism is the shape of the future -- So let it be written, so let it be done!

5. There are anti-Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the SBC ... but THEY ARE CALVINISTS -- So let it be written, so let it be done!

Since we haven't heard any push-back concerning these comments on behalf of our state editors ... could it be that our history has been re-written in a single day?

peter lumpkins

Louis,

I concede Mohler said some "good things." And, perhaps in due time I'll get around to actually reviewing the entire speech, including the "good things" that I think he spoke. Yet, since you frankly think people are "overreacting to the whole thing" what would you characterize as a proper reaction in contrast to overreaction?

Do you deny Mohler spoke some fairly provocative statements in his presentation? If not, then I suggest you re-read this thread carefully, for some raised reasonable questions to some parts of his speech. Or, if you think nothing worthy has been raised thus far to spawn some weighty discussion, I'll be glad to give it a shot myself.

With that, I am...
Peter

lmalone

"Again, Mohler has said some good things here. I think that people are overreacting to the whole thing, frankly."

Louis, I can see where you might think that. You are an elder in an elder led church that is Calvinist. You are also on the SBTS Foundation board. I would expect you to think it is an overreaction.

peter lumpkins

Mohler's truncated historiography seems evident in his reading both the New Hampshire and 1925 BFM as strictly Calvinist documents when both documents clearly are not. NCF represents a thoroughly diluted Calvinism--even compromised Calvinism in large part due to Ben Randall making such theological headway with the Free-Will Baptist movement--while the 1925 BFM is even further away from Calvinism. I thought it interesting Mohler viewed, for the most part, Mullins positively in this speech whereas in other contexts Mullins is tarbabied with spawning Liberalism in the SBC. Moreover, Mullins was anything but a strict Calvinist; and being a strict non-Calvinist, he was the chief author of the 1925 BFM.

With that, I am...
Peter

Robert Vaughn

Saying "the New Hampshire Confession of Faith was again a modification of these things" and "the Baptist Faith & Message and the New Hampshire Confession is clearly out of the basically Calvinist direction" doesn't seem to be the same as "reading both the New Hampshire and 1925 BFM as strictly Calvinist documents." The NHC and BFM are modified and diluted Calvinism. But one of the points historically is that they came from the background of Calvinism and moved toward the direction of Arminianism -- rather than coming from the background of Arminianism and moving toward Calvinism.

The descriptor "thoroughly diluted Calvinism" fits the BFM better than it does the NHC. NHC is diluted or modified, but still hangs on to language that puts regeneration before repentance and faith -- repentance and faith being fruits/evidence wrought by regeneration (Articles 7 & 8). Though it sounds similar, I read the BFM as flipping this language to conviction, repentance and faith preceding regeneration, or as God's means in bringing it about.

Tim Rogers

Brother Peter,

I was instructed in Baptist history by both conservative and moderate History Profs. Both acknowledged Mullins used the New Hampshire confession in direct opposition to the Philadelphia Confession. Don't know how Dr. Mohler has moved the New Hapmshire confession to one that is a strict Calvinist document.

Blessings,
Tim

Paulette Hill

And remember Dr. Mohler stated last year that pastors were God's appointed ones to save God's people from ignorance. LOL
Doesn't the Holy Spirit give us spiritual gifts to use in His service? And to the best of my remembrance we have the Holy Spirit to lead us unto all truth. And just because we are sitting in the pew, we are ignorant. Dr. Mohler, I think not, some of us have the gift of discernment and we are wising up.
Thank you,
David

Robert I Masters

Imalone,
you said....."Louis, I can see where you might think that. You are an elder in an elder led church that is Calvinist. You are also on the SBTS Foundation board. I would expect you to think it is an overreaction. "

The truth......Louis is actually an elder at an elder-ruled church. A distinction with a difference!!!!

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