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Jun 28, 2012

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Max

Peter writes "Hence, the Traditional Statement recently released by Dr. Eric Hankins at SBC Today, a statement categorically denying both Limited Atonement and Irresistible Grace, can hardly be said to go only as far back as 1963 as Tom Ascol wrongly suggested."

I offer another pre-1963 text from a prominent Southern Baptist in this regard. O.C.S. Wallace wrote "What Baptists Believe" in 1934. This book was published by the SBC Sunday School Board and used extensively as a training course for Sunday School workers as the prevailing SBC belief and practice in the 1930s. In his book, Dr. Wallace writes:

"Here is a Sovereign who has became a Saviour. In this great transaction of grace we see a shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. If it is said that this electing grace does not include all who need salvation, the answer must be that it includes all who are willing to become the heirs of salvation. Salvation is not narrowed in the goodness of God, but in the waywardness and resistance of men ... Salvation comes to the soul that comes to salvation. Forgiving Saviour and penitent sinner meet."

Lydia

Keep it coming, Peter. It is such a blessing to read these posts showing a different history than the one presented. As a history buff, I know that history is often more nuanced than what people present to argue a certain position. Much of it is rewritten, reinterpreted or ignored.

peter lumpkins

Excellent quote, Max. It will be more and more difficult in the future for some Baptist Calvinists to deprive SBCers of their theological mosaic by marginalizing voices in our Baptist heritage which do not meet the approval of Calvinist elites.

Grace.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Thanks Lydia. Let's see, Limited Atonement is denied by a prominent Baptist (19th century). Now, Irresistible Grace is denied by a prominent Baptist (19th century). Tomorrow, total depravity will be denied by a "founders" Baptist Calvinist (19th century). Good heavens. We're down to 2 Point Calvinism! ;^)

With that, I am...
Peter

Max

Peter, I recently picked up a tattered copy of Dr. Wallace's book "What Baptists Believe" for a quarter at a yard sale. It must have been predestined. I've already got my 25-cents worth!

Here's another gem of a quote from that book illustrating what Southern Baptists professed 80 years ago:

"It is by the truth that men are made free and alive. But the truth does not effect the spiritual change working alone ... in order that truth may become effective for the transformation of a sinful man, it is necessary for the living Spirit of God to use it upon the man; but, on the other hand, it is necessary for the man to know truth. Regeneration takes place only when the soul of the man yields to these ideas. His yielding does not regenerate, though his resistance may hinder regeneration. It is when his soul assents to the truth which has been lodged in his mind, and consents to the domination of these truths in the realm of will and purpose, that he is regenerated."

Hmmmm ... sounds remarkably similar to affirmations and denials in the "Traditional Statement."

Lydia

A "Founder" denies total depravity? Oh my.


Now how many points does it take to be considered an SBC Calvinist? I forget. Or perhaps they are busy lowering the points as we speak. LOL.

Mary

But, but, but, Peter, Tom Nettles said....

peter lumpkins

Mary, you are a funny girl! Hope all is well...

With that, I am...
Peter

David Benjamin Hewitt

Dr. Lumpkins:
Read the post, and I am most curious about this part:

"He later peels back the skin on many Calvinistic proof texts for irresistible grace as it's related to predestination and thoroughly exposes the thin veneer offered by High Calvinists as their biblical rationale for the "I" in T.U.L.I.P.—texts including Acts 13:48; Romans 8:29, Ephesians 1:5,11; Psalm 60:3; Romans 11:2-5."

As you didn't provide Brantly's exegesis of these texts and how he "expose[d] the thin veneer offered by High Calvinists" do you have a link to where we could see this message you have quoted from here? Or, could you perhaps post them here or another post? I would love to read what he had to say.

Many thanks,
sdg,
dbh

A poster in support of moments of humor

Peter,

The problem is quite clear. You were not around at that time with your impressive nose for non-calvinists. Had you been there you could have sniffed out these people so that they could be appropriately marginalized.

(This is a jest in fun, please have a sense of humor)

peter lumpkins

All

One tires of childish games played by some bloggers today. One blogger posted a comment on the post here, a comment to which I responded. He claims he posted another comment on another post (and perhaps he most certainly did try to post a comment; I have no reason to think he’s making it up) but for some reason he charges I declined to post it. He wrote (yes, in a main blog post):

I left a comment which has not yet been approved by Lumpkins to be published… . Why has Lumpkins declined to publish my comment and observation?  I cited this and said that it appeared, from this part of the citation, that Brantly did not accept the Arminian explanation of things.

First, why even publicly question this in the first place? His first comment was published. Why would I refuse to publish the second? But why not shoot me an email instead of jump to conclusions? Or why not try again?

It’s true after a series of exchanges, I frequently end up warning commenters the exchange on this particular item is coming to an end. Most commenters respect that and have their final say. Others push it past the limits of reasonable exchange and won’t stop. When that happens I’m known to stop publishing their comments (of course many like this because they now have bragging rights that I refuse to publish their comments.). I do this for two reasons:

1) there comes a time to holster one’s pistol and stop shooting. Either they are all dead or they are out of range of your short shooter;

2) the host blog where one is commenting as a guest is entitled to the last word on any exchange. This is standard etiquette. I have no right to demand someone else give me the last word on anything they write. I don’t expect it elsewhere; nor should anyone expect it here. At times I’ve allowed people to have the last word. At times I’ve had the last word elsewhere. Even so, when the blog host says, let’s move on, I don’t think I’ve ever attempted to usurp his or her decision to do so. The wonderful thing about the internet is, I can go back to my pad and write anything I want to write about it, and then I get the last word! 

Even so, Stephen’s Garrett’s comment did not remotely qualify for non-publication. And, as I explained to him, his comment was not in the spam bucket either. Nor did I get an email from typepad that I received a comment from him on my site (when I receive comments on posts, typepad sends me an email; but when a comment goes to spam for whatever reason, I get no email). Hence, his comment probably got gobbled up by the cyber-blackhole.

Second, why would I refuse to post an innocuous comment like he claims he posted?  Here’s what his lost comment apparently contained:

Brantly said:

"That the Holy Spirit does exert a greater influence upon some minds than upon others within the pale of the same visible administration of means; and that this greater influence must account for the conversion of some, whilst others remain unconverted, is what I fully believe."


This is a partial line from the quotation I cited from Brantly. Garrett then suggested “that it appeared, from this part of the citation, that Brantly did not accept the Arminian explanation of things.”

O.K. That’s a fair question to raise—not a point well taken as I show below—but a fair challenge nonetheless. But it hardly comes to the level of my necessarily hiding it or declining to post it for heavens’ sake.  What are some of these guys thinking?  Do they think their questions are so intelligently inspired that non-Calvinists like me can only survive the devastating analysis of Calvinists by declining to publish their probing questions? Like another Calvinist here, this comes across as theologically smug and implicitly arrogant, and caves in to the commonly projected stereotype that Calvinists are priggish, theological bluenoses. Enough of that.

Now to respond to Stephen’s point.

First, I never implied Brantly was accepting the “Arminian explanation of things.”  I never mentioned Arminianism. At all. To simplistically cast soteriology into an either/or polemic as in “either one is Calvinist or one is Arminian” is the standard method of argumentation Calvinists like Garrett pursue (and Arminians like Roger Olson). Baptists like myself argue that while Southern Baptists have been influenced by both Calvinists and Arminians we are necessarily neither. What I did do was show Brantly rejected the standard Calvinist notion of irresistible grace.*

Second, from my perspective, Garrett surely needs to salvage Brantly as a strong Calvinist, and I can understand. Brantly was pastor of First Baptist Church Philadelphia, the stronghold for Calvinistic Baptist confessionalism. Out of Philadelphia came the most widely used Calvinist confession based upon the 2nd London Confession. Yet here is Brantly pastoring the church there and apparently denying one of Calvinism’s darling doctrines. Oops.  That’s not good. It very well could mean that for all the historical hoopla about Calvinistic confessions, Baptist churches in the 18-19th centuries may have tolerated a lot more theological diversity than Baptist Calvinists today admit. It may also suggest that just tallying up the number of churches that had Calvinistic confessions during the “Founders” days, a tallying often going on by Founders historians like Nettles and Ascol to “prove” all Baptist churches were basically Calvinist, determines jack squat for what the people in the pews actually believed.

Third, no, it makes no sense to cite the words Garrett does to deny Brantly rejected irresistible grace.  That the Holy Spirit exerts a greater influence upon some than others does not equate to the Calvinistic notion of irresistible grace. Heck, I believe that. What Brantly flat out rejected was not greater grace but irresistible grace. He plainly says, the grace that initially comes to us in salvation is “persuasion…illumination, [and]…attraction” but is “far from the asperities of constraint; the efficiency which it possesses, though approaching towards compulsion, yet stops short of it.” (embolden added). He even says, point blank:

“…the grace of God as put forth and exerted in the salvation of sinners, is not irresistible*…it does not so oblige any to be saved, as that they cannot procure final condemnation for themselves, if they please” (embolden added)

Brantly explicitly denies irresistible grace. And, of initial grace for salvation he uses the actual words not irresistible. Yet Calvinists like Garrett will not even believe Brantly’s own words. Instead  Garrett tires to soften them by suggesting he didn’t have the “Arminian explanation” of them. This is pure nonsense. Brantly denied the irresistibility of grace, the very same denial as Arminians make. Does that make Brantly an Arminian. No. On irresistible grace, it makes Brantly a biblicist.

With that, I am…

Peter

*for the record, nor did I mention “effectual grace” as Garrett suggests

peter lumpkins

All,

To Stephen’s credit, he acknowledged my explanation about the comment on his blog, and we thank him.

Blessings, Stephen.

With that, I am…

Peter

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