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Aug 22, 2012

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Wyman Richardson

Peter,

I have not looked at the Gospel Project material, though I'm aware of it. I'm curious to know if you are aware of anybody who has posted examples demonstrating the alleged Calvinist bias in the material with citations from the material?

Wyman Richardson

Darryl Hill

Wyman, the anger and fuss has primarily been over the contributors to the Gospel Project, not its actual content. Pastor Green, who is mentioned above, actually quoted the material twice in his critique. Emir Caner, of SBCToday, reviewed it and didn't quote any sections of the material but did reference the phrase "spiritual leprosy" which was referenced in one lesson as evidence of calvinistic indoctrination. It is a tempest in a teapot in my opinion. Here are the 2 actual quotes Pastor Green used...

1. “It is also an act of grace that God would reveal Himself to us personally. God was under no obligation to pull back the curtain and let us see aspects of His character and evidences of His power. He could have spoken the world in existence and then never spoken again, leaving us in ignorance about our Creator and our purpose.”

Green said he thought this was teaching what he alleges to be the calvinistic view that God doesn't love people. Ironically, the section that contains that quote is teaching about God's love.

2. “The point of the story is not about the type of fruit, as if the fruit juices would poison the minds of Adam and Eve. No, the poison of sin coursed through their veins before the fruit entered their mouths. ‘It was the not the nature of the tree that made it dangerous, the bearer of covenant curse and death, but what it stood for, obedience to the word of God.’”

He saw in this quote that the curriculum was teaching that God is the author of sin and evil, which he also attributes to calvinism. His argument was that since the writer says that "sin" was "coursing through their veins" before they took a bite, that this is referring to God being the author of evil. I don't think that's what is being said at all, but that was his opinion.

All of the other criticisms have been about the contributors of the material and their calvinistic leanings. Also, there were some folks quoted in the material who have calvinistic leanings, even though their actual quotations are not particularly calvinistic. That's all I got.

Clark Dunlap

Oh Peter, here you go again. You could report what Bro. Green said without the 'ad hominems'. You again delight in stirring up trouble and I am sad that you have a voice to do so.
There are many on the TGP editorial team who are not calvinist. Are you accusing Stetzer of being reformed? Danny Akin? Trevin Wax? Who? Yeah, I know, Matt Chandler, Carson, etc. I don't even know for sure about others.
Also, the 300,000 opening orders for the curriculum is pretty amazing! Life&Work and Bible Book have been around a long time. This is new and its numbers are impressive. Why so dour about it? Was it to downplay ANYTHING that a reformed-style baptist has anything to do with, regardless of what damage you do to the body, the denomination, or Lifeway?
It certainly doesn't appear that Bro. Green sought to do this kind of damage. He honestly reported how the curriculum appeared to him and acted conscientously. God Bless Him.

Lydia

Peter, Not sure I can trust anything coming out of Lifeway from stats to declarations concerning curriculum. I would love to see the figures on what has been spent to date on TGP but not sure I would trust those either.

Mary

Dr. Caner's post today was really good. I find it disturbing that so many of the resources and quotes are from Calvinists. How can a curriculum not be biased when the additional resources they are directing you too are teaching Calvinism?

The Stats are interesting. The Calvinists of course are touting it as a great success when you've shown with your Stats - not so much.

Mike

Clark, it is too bad there isn't a like button! Peter it does appear that what Clark has said is so. To be fair, where do you stand?

Lydia

"also note with interest that though several future projects were mentioned for release in 2012, Dr. Rainer never mentioned The Gospel Project in his report. I find this entirely strange since The Gospel Project appears to be the chief promotional pursuit so far as LifeWay curriculum is concerned. Yet The Gospel Project does not appear to be on the radar in the 2011 annual report. Why? "

Good question. Very strange for all the hype involved and obviously it took a lot of money to produce and market but not mentioned in his report?

JD Hall

Neither in Greene's original post or in his subsequent interview was he able to articulate what, specifically (with references from the curriculum) was overtly "Calvinistic." He is now "unavailable for comment." This is unfair to the developers of the curriculum for him to "drive-by" Trevin Wax and the others, and then retreat without answering questions to substantiate his claims.

There needs to be more evidence presented than that the majority of contributors are Calvinists, because Southern Baptist Monergists like myself are going to say "that's because it's where you find the majority of respected scholarship."

peter lumpkins

Mike,

First, where do I stand pertaining to what?

Second, I wasn't going to give Clark's comment a response since it made entirely no sense to me given what I actually wrote. However, since you appear to believe that what "Clark has said is so," allow me:

First, Dunlap asserts without offering any hint as to what he refers, "You could report what Bro. Green said without the 'ad hominems'." Excuse me? What 'ad hominems'?

Second, Dunlap also asserts without the least indication as to how he knows that I allegedly "again delight in stirring up trouble." Really? And, what criteria would Dunlap employ to accurately judge what constitutes my inward desires? And, since you apparently agree with him, perhaps you could inform us all how you come to judge it so exactly what my desires happen to be, Mike. If you're going to judge my inward motives for what I write accusing me of perpetually desiring to stir up trouble, it's only right to at least inform us of your evidence for knowing what's in my inward most desires.

Third, Dunlap ridiculously claims that "many on the TGP editorial team" are not "calvinist" including Stetzer, Akin, and Wax. About the only way one could claim such is to ignorantly presume that legitimate Calvinism must exclusively be 5 Point Calvinism, a theologically-historically deficient notion. Convictional Calvinism is broader than the TULIP and incorporates deeply convictional Calvinists who do not embrace, for example, Limited Atonement. Hence, while Dunlap may assert my conclusion is incorrect, he can validly do so only if he begins with his erroneous assumption about Calvinism not mine.

Fourth, I clearly--clearly--and openly--openly--expressed precisely why I criticized the use of the 300K, an open expression Dunlap completely ignored while at the same time absurdly questioning why I'd have reservations about the 300K. I need not, therefore, re-express in the comment stream what I clearly wrote in the OP when, for whatever reason, a critic fails to read thoroughly before popping off about my intentions.

Finally, what Dunlap and apparently you, Mike, judge as "stirring up trouble" and therefore doing "damage" to "the body, the denomination, or Lifeway" I call openly expressing my own views in the public square. If you or another do not find my views palatable, kind, Christianly, sober, or lacking any other worthy virtue, I wholeheartedly encourage you to not read my site. I assure you: I am not writing for you. Nor is my message intended for you.

After all, that's the beauty of liberty is it not? It is also the benefit of the internet and RSS feed. You may unsubscribe anytime you feel I no longer--assuming I ever did, of course--bring the right beans to the BBQ.

I trust you have a good afternoon.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

JD

Thanks.

First, you assert 'Neither in Greene's original post or [sic] in his subsequent interview was he able to articulate what, specifically... was overtly "Calvinistic."' Well, perhaps not to your satisfaction. However, he is not required to meet your criteria. Were he attempting to persuade you or another strict Calvinist, perhaps your complaint would have validity. As it is, it makes no sense to conclude he was unable to articulate what, 'specifically... was overtly "Calvinistic."' He most certainly did meet his own expectations and the expectations of his church else he would not have concluded as he did. What is more, he plainly, repeatedly encouraged others--like you, for example--to do your own homework and come to your own conclusions, using your own expectations as your standards for what may or may not be overly Calvinistic.

Second, as for his being "unavailable for comment" I do not see how that is necessarily "unfair." Nor was it a "drive-by" for heaven's sake. Green was asked questions. He answered. Why would you insist on framing his interview in the darkest terms" O.K. so he didn't satisfy you. Well, truth be told he didn't satisfy me fully either. I would have asked some more questions (it may obviously surprise you, but I may have asked a few tougher questions than were asked). But again, I didn't do the interview. And, therefore to attempt to read between the lines or fill in the blanks or chronically whine about what he didn't do or say that I would have liked him to say is nonsense.

Third, your creepy admission that "that's because it's where you find the majority of respected scholarship" does your kind no good, JD. It smacks of the blatant theological snobbery strict Calvinists are, on the one hand, forever accused of, and on the other, inevitably deny. You give the former's accusation sharp teeth with which to bite hard in making their point.

And, for the record, so far as I am concerned, other than sheer, uninformed ignorance, I have no clue what can adequately explain how a person could actually hold such an absurd notion that reputable scholarship boils down to Calvinistic convictions. Oh boy...

With that, I am...
Peter

JD Hall

Peter,

Are you genuinely saying that the number of respectable theologians of long-lasting influence on the Reformed side don't greatly dwarf the number on the Synergist side? Not being snide here, but do you seriously see the two as being evenly distributed?

Randall Cofield

The hyper anti-Calvinists keep churning out criticisms of TGP. "We don't like that the editors are Calvinists" and "too many of the quotes are from Reformed sources" and (my personal favorite) "they referred to Adrian Rogers as 'A Voice From Church History' instead of 'A Voice From the Church.'"

Question: Peter, can you point to a critique of TGP where someone has dealt with its teaching on the Biblical texts in a meaningful way?

Does it not seem this would be incumbent upon those (including Pastor Green) who wish to publicly express their displeasure with TGP?

The whole "we don't like the editors" and "they're inflating their circulation claims" shtick is pretty lame.

Soli Deo Gloria

Lydia

Sheesh! One has to give lessons in "Thinking 101". If there is one thing I am finding Calvinists hate is freedom of expression they do not control or are unable to frame the debate and own the definitions. But that fits with the oppressive nature of "Calvinistic" Despotic Traditions.

Lydia

"Are you genuinely saying that the number of respectable theologians of long-lasting influence on the Reformed side don't greatly dwarf the number on the Synergist side? Not being snide here, but do you seriously see the two as being evenly distributed"

JD, Respectable to whom? Who decides? Is there a special panel that decides such things for the ignorant masses? What is the criterion? Published books? Peer reviewed?

peter lumpkins

JD,

What I am genuinely saying is reputable scholarship is no respecter of sides least of all a respecter of soteriological sides. Nor may one determine truth, as R.C. Sproul puts it, by counting noses.

Hence, entertaining the notion that our number of reputable scholars is bigger than your number of reputable scholars analogically reduces to a spat between junior varsity football players bragging that "we gots more big guys on our team than you gots on yours." JD, do you really want to waste life on a blog exchanging with me over something so entirely mundane?

With that, I am...
Peter

Max

JD says, in reference to the superior intellect of Calvinists, "that's because it's where you find the majority of respected scholarship."

Such statements are reminiscent of Dr. Mohler's suggestion that the Reformed faith is the only viable option for thinking Christians. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6lRMMvNCn8

There is certainly no shortage of arrogance in the ranks of New Calvinism!

peter lumpkins

Randall,

I've been as careful as I know how to make legitimate inferences from the current info we have on TGP. So far as I know, none of my actual inferences match your 3-fold complaint concerning editorial unlikeability, lop-sided citations, or quotation categories. Hence, I'll be glad to address anything I've written, inferred, or cited. But I'll leave comment on your 3-fold complaint for others to haggle about.

As for your question--"can you point to a critique of TGP where someone has dealt with its teaching on the Biblical texts in a meaningful way?"--I've answered it, at least partially, in my response to JD above (1st paragraph), for his assertion was very similar to your own: "'Neither in Greene's original post or [sic] in his subsequent interview was he able to articulate what, specifically... was overtly "Calvinistic."'

What is more, I also anticipated your question in the original post, endnote #2:

Here is the stark reality: nothing will count as verifiable evidence for Calvinistic bias in The Gospel Project material so far as anti-traditional SBC Calvinists are concerned. If knowing that virtually 100% of the team producing the curriculum will not even suggest the possibility of Calvinist bias much less the probability of bias, then there's little point in attempting to satisfy their unquenchable thirst for evidence which meets their standard as evidence.

The truth is, repeatedly Pastor Green made it abundantly clear he was definitively stating his conclusions based upon his research using his criteria while at the same time encouraging everyone else not to take his word for it but to do their own original research. He by no stretch either implied or hinted he was attempting to persuade a single other soul that his or his church's view should be embraced by Southern Baptists. While such a tentative, non-imposing position used to garner praise from us, it now apparently only draws more and more scathing skepticism on the one hand or a blank stare on the other.

With that, I am...
Peter

Mary

Am I the whole one who thinks that when the additional resources listed in the materials are all Calvinist resources that, that is a covert way to encourage study in Calvinism?

Everybody keeps screaming where is it? where is it? The addtional resources are directing people to read materials that promote Calvinism. Even a quote from a Calvinist could lead people to Calvinism. So when this sections are overwhelmingly Calvinists because if a bunch of Calvinists are writing their bias will be toward referencing their favorite Calvinist and Calvinist resources you have a subtle way of pushing people toward Calvinism.

Now understand it's not wrong to list resources that are Calvinists are to quote this reformed person or that one, but when these parts of the material are slanted overwhelmingly to one side and not labeled as "reformed" there's a serious problem.

peter lumpkins

Mary,

Below is a scenario I logged on the comment thread back in January when Round #1 commenced on The Gospel Project. To my recall, no one touched it then. Nor have any of the anti-traditional SBC Calvinists ever addressed it so far as I know.

The fact is, it’s purely intuitive common sense which rightfully deduces the high probability that if;

  • a) a Bible study curriculum touted as a “theologically driven study” the goal of which is to point people to Jesus and make the “profound truths of Scripture” accessible to everyone is;
  • b) written and produced by a particular team made up almost exclusively of those who strongly hold to a definitive, singular theological persuasion, then;
  • c) the “theologically driven study”produced will inevitably reflect the “profound truths of Scripture” as the particular team actually believe, a team made up almost exclusively of those who strongly hold to a definitive, singular theological persuasion. In the case before us, it is Calvinism.
  • In what follows in my comment, however, I stripped the present conflict over Calvinism and instead offered a similar scenario exploiting other theologies which could conceivably fit Southern Baptists:      

    Consider, however:

    Perhaps the next "Gospel Project" Lifeway could pursue would be to round up all the charismatic Southern Baptist writers we have, put them under an Advisory Council led by eminent, visible scholars of both Charismatic and Pentecostal persuasion including Gordon Fee, Amos Yong, Peter Althouse, J. Rodman Williams, and Stanley Horton to name a few. No one in this team could hold a non-Charismatic, cessationist view. The assignment of this prestigious team would be to develop a theologically driven study on The Holy Spirit. Let's see how this would fly.

    After that, Lifeway could consider rounding up all the Moderate Baptist churches in the SBC and pooling from them, the best writers for a new theologically driven study on Baptist Identity. The Advisory Council could be headed by Walter Shurden with members including Bill Leonard, Bruce Gourley, and Bruce Prescott among others. And, no one serves on the team who is not a moderately-leaning Baptist. How would this go over? Precisely as the study on The Holy Spirit did.

    Hence, I suspect the absurdity of this notion is surely complete by now.

    So, yes, Cal, I'd be a squeaky wheel if Lifeway posed a project which catered exclusively to the multiple factions within our convention --no matter the stripe--pulling an exclusively picked group to write theologically driven Bible study materials from an obvious truncated perspective yet publicized as if it's healthy and proper for the entire denomination…. .

    Since there exist innumerable Southern Baptists who are also theological Dispensationalists, Lifeway could put together a theologically driven study posing it to the entire denomination as "The Biblical Gospel Project." The Advisory Council could conceivable include John Walvoord, Zane Hodges, Dwight Pentecost, and perhaps even Hal Lindsay.* And, one may be fairly certain that a suitable plethora of capable Dispensational authors could be found to write a distinguished theologically driven study, all team members of which are visible, high-profile Dispensationalists.

    And we know that since all Calvinists in the convention are simply in theological love with dispensationalism, Calvinists would be ‘givin the high-five’ for this illustrious new material promoted by Lifeway as "The Biblical Gospel Project," a project exclusively composed by visible, high-profile, Dispensationalist believers.

    *some of these men here and above are passed on to glory


    It's very easy to see the absurdity in this proposal when we strip it of conflict and insert a theological paradigm not presently under our microscopic scrutiny.

    With that, I am…

    Peter

Randall Cofield

Mary,

Am I the whole one who thinks that when the additional resources listed in the materials are all Calvinist resources that, that is a covert way to encourage study in Calvinism?

Covert indeed! Poor guys didn't have a clue that anyone would pick up on that. Now you've blown their cover. ;-)

Randall Cofield

Lydia,

Sheesh! One has to give lessons in "Thinking 101".

How positively....."arrogant" of you... ;-)

Lydia

Randall, The arrogance comes from those who think anyone owes them asort of white paper to be peer reviewed by Calvinists written in a way they will accept according to their views/definitions/Augustinian filter. Ain't gonna happen. Can't happen. We do not believe in a Determinist God. It is that simple.

That is what we have all been trying to make you all understand. People ARE allowed their views whether you think they are stupid or ignorant or do not make their case according to your standards. This is the part of Calvinism that just blows my mind. The attempt to censor people using hyperbole, shame, insults, etc. I have lived with it for quite a few years now at ground zero. I am not sure if you understand that the percentage of arrogant and even spiritually abusive and controlling Calvinists I have met WAY outnumber the celebrity self seeking seekers I have worked with~ And that is saying a lot.The Calvinist take the cake!

And that is because of "indoctrination" that youare right and others are wrong.9Personally, I fear it is more complicated than that. I think many fear they might be wrong and that is why they are so thin skinned about disagreement on the doctrine)

So we say, we are going to present our views because we have been listening to how NC is the only place to go if you want the true Gospel and see the nations rejoice for Christ...and we do not have the mental processes to understand Calvinism, etc, etc....for a long time now in various forms from 20 somethings on up who emulate their leaders and favorite REformed celeb. I have seen YRR guys tell little old ladies to shut up in bible studies!One recently on SBCToday told me to "shut my piehole and go take care of my husband". I LOVED IT. That is what they are like here all the time. Little petty boys who are insecure and cannot stand to be challenged.

Seriously Randall, if you interact with the people who pay you to pastor them in this manner, I do wonder about their level of cognative ability.

Randall, I am not seeking followers after myself. Remember that. And I do not follow man. Especially those who are "unable" and "totally depraved". :o)

Answer me this? Why didn't Lifeway proudly proclaim their advisors/creators were Calvinists? Why not proudly proclaim that James MacDonald,an advisor, thinks congregational polity is from Satan? That ought to go over big in the SBC. :o), What are they afraid of if they think these men are great theologians?

Lydia

"Covert indeed! Poor guys didn't have a clue that anyone would pick up on that. Now you've blown their cover. ;-)"

Randall, You would be shocked at how many people in the seeker world were buying Piper's books years ago and had NO idea he was a Calvinist. Think of it, it finally came full circle when Piper invited Warren to teach at DG! The irony still slays me! This is still happening in many circles with quite a few names including Driscoll, Chandler and Platt. But more are waking up and feeling like they were sucker punched. Why not proudly proclaim it oustide the T4G and GC circles? Because it does not sell more books or get more to the conferences.The Reformed wing outmarkets and out celebs the seekers in ways that are incredible to me. I did not think it could happen.It is Madison Ave Calvin style. Johnathon Edwards is my homeboy T-shirts!

A friend of mine told me recently that some friends of hers got involved in a neighborhood bible study started by Sojourn (as they are doing in many areas of the city). Her friends were a bit puzzled by some things the young guy was teaching that sounded "off" from what they understood about God and were discussing it with her. She said, that is Calvinism! Did he tell you he was a Calvinist, she asked? No. So they went back and asked him and he said he believed in the doctrines of grace, not Calvinism.

Randall Cofield

Peter

Me:


The hyper anti-Calvinists keep churning out criticisms of TGP. "We don't like that the editors are Calvinists"…

You:

So far as I know, none of my actual inferences match your 3-fold complaint concerning editorial unlikeability, lop-sided citations, or quotation categories.

You, from your article:

What I found was incredibly disturbing. I wrote then: First, few, if any, exceptions exist concerning the theology to which the editors and writers adhere who are preparing the Bible study curriculum for Southern Baptist congregations. In short, The Gospel Project Bible studies are overwhelmingly prepared by Calvinists.

Now allow me to draw a “legitimate inference”: You don’t like that the editors are all Calvinists.

Me:

Can you point to a critique of TGP where someone has dealt with its teaching on the Biblical texts in a meaningful way?

You:

Here is the stark reality: nothing will count as verifiable evidence for Calvinistic bias in The Gospel Project material so far as anti-traditional SBC Calvinists are concerned.

I didn’t think so.

Soli Deo Gloria

Mary

Moronic Statements around the internet department:

■There are traditionalists, who signed the TD this summer (last I heard the count was about 800, but I don’t know a final count). But the simple fact is that most non-Calvinists in the SBC decided not to sign that document


So all 7.5 million people enrolled in SS across the SBC knew about the document and made the decision not to sign the document and that means that everybody is a Traditionalist hater like the person making the statement?This is described as FACT???? PROVE IT PROVE IT PROVE IT!

And this:

....the Founder’s documents have some statements that could be interpreted as indicating that it is their desire to turn every SBC church into a thoroughly Reformed, five-point haven


The Purpose Statement of Founders

The purpose of Founders Ministries is the recovery of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the reformation of local churches. We believe intrinsic to this recovery is the promotion of the Doctrines of Grace in their experiential application


So how on earth could anybody think the Founders Minsitry means to "recovery the Gospel... in the REFORMATION of local chuches.... promotion of the DOG.....

You can't post a discussion on UNITY and then post such nonsense which #1 Attacks the people you hate and #2 tries to pretend like it's somehow up for interpretation when an organization very clearly states all over it's website that it's purpose is the Reformation of the SBC. This should be denounced by those who want unity. But it just gets dismissed like Al Mohler didn't really mean what everybody thinks he meant but you stupid fools won't shut up and more people are starting to pay attention so here we'll throw you a bone and suggest that even though you're an idiot who doesn't understand plain English maybe Al Mohler could say something nice. And words ain't gonna cut it anyway - it's actions that are needed.

The only action we got is the "SHUT UP ABOUT CALVINISM COMMITTEE." So the elite can say see we talked about now let's marginalize voices who disagree with the Calvinizaion of the SBC.

Mary

""I think many fear they might be wrong and that is why they are so thin skinned about disagreement on the doctrine"


This is a big point that I think shows the hysterics over the Traditionalist Statement. The YRR have been indoctrinated as to what everybody believes but here you have something that has been intentionally kept from them - People like Mohler, Akin and Ascol absolutely knew that the other side of Calvinism in the SBC is Traditionalism, but it didn't fit inside the box they wanted to give to the YRR so as to control them. So when faced with something they haven't been taught immediately you see the meltdown and the necessity to insist that you had to wear this semiPelegian label or to insist you really don't believe what that statement says so here let me rework it for you. It doesn't ever cross their mind that maybe this is something new that they haven't studied at their indoctrination camps and so they should perhaps sit back and listen for a while and then do some study outside the box they've been placed in by the elites.

peter lumpkins

Randall,

I am simply not going to tit/tat with you when no real engagement is brought to the table from your end. The level of the "comebacks" you inevitably log fails to connect virtually every time I get in a back & forth with you:

a) when you can show precisely how drawing conclusions about a literary teams' theological perspectives necessarily reduces to personal likeability or unlikeability, I'll entertain your complaint. Otherwise, I'll assume you have no real point to make, only a personal judgment assessment against me (i.e. the reason I have a problem with TGP is because I don't "like" the authors)

b) I'm not going to answer something I already addressed, Randall. Do you not even finish a comment before you return a response? Great Scott! I specifically pointed you to "my response to JD above (1st paragraph)" where I addressed your query. Rather than deal with that, you quote a follow up I offered only to log what I suppose you think to be a clever one-liner--"I didn’t think so." Yeah. Right.

So, since you appear to be uninterested in attempting to engage fully what I actually write, I'm through. I have neither interest nor energy to tit/tat with someone who'd rather mindlessly spar than genuinely communicate.

With that, I am...
Peter

JD Hall

Peter, did a blogger just say I was wasting my time commenting on a blog...in a comment he left on a blog?

peter lumpkins

JD

Excuse me?

peter lumpkins

All,

I found at least three comments in the spam bucket and just posted them. Mary, one was yours. I do not know why they were there. Sorry for the late posting of them.

With that, I am...
Peter

Lydia

Mary, If you notice...or at least I have seen it, Mohler never outright dissed the Non Calvinists in the SBC. That would be foolhardy as they are the largest donor base to the SBC in general. he does not have to. He simply says NC is the true Gospel or the only place to go...blah, blah. There is a reason for this. He is also careful what he says depending on the audience. He also was influential in starting T4G and brining in many Reformed outside the SBC to partner with us. He was building the brand for many years under the radar.

The internet is the worst thing to happen to him and others like DRiscoll, Mahaney, etc. It used to be so easy to strategize and control people using other people's money.

I do want to say that I respect Allen Cross and his words in even acknowledging there are problems with Mohler behavior and words. But it is naive. People do not understand how things work in that rarified stratosphere of celebrity Christianity. Mohler will "apologize" if he thinks his position demands it. But I think he will simply say he has explained his words, always cooperated with non ?Calvinists and leave it at that. And I doubt Page or any of the others have the nerve to press such a thing.

When we have to ask our leaders to repent, I often think of this blog post which spelled out my views perfectly but written about elders instead of entity heads but I think it still applies:

http://jamaljivanjee.com/2012/04/please-pray-for-our-elders/

Here is what I think applies:

" I want them to realize that putting a descriptive term like ‘elder’ (one who is wise in the faith) upon a person who is not wise in the faith makes no sense. Instead of being frustrated with these people, simply see them for who they are, and who they aren’t."

Just substitute leader for elder. Mohler has proven he is not wise (or a unifier) as an entity leader. Why are we looking for him to all of a sudden be wise and part of a unity process?

What do we expect when many of the same people sealed documents for 15 years and engaged task forces to go around messenger votes? Where is the wisdom or even the shame in our leadership? Frankly they are not spiritually wise.

Lydia

Most ironical statement of the day: We cannot prove that Calvinists do not have a Calvinist bias.

Folks, I honestly do not know how to engage such thinking it is so far out of the realm of logic. That would be like saying, prove Trads do not have a Trad bias. Or, prove Liberals do not have a Liberal bias. Or how about one has to prove that Margaret Thatcher does not have a Tory bias. or prove that Ronald Reagan does not have a conservative bias.

Is logical thinking really this dead? What is even more frustrating is the Calvinist bias is not really the issue. Just slap a "Proudly REformed" sticker on it and be done with it. But instead, they try to pretend it is illogical, mean, hateful or wrong to think there would be any bias when all the creators/advisors are Calvinists.

Pretening they did not even know the creators/advisors of TGP were Calvinists is the bigger issue. Then trying to insist we have to prove that Calvinists do not have a
Calvinist bias! Did I just walk into the world of circular thinking that is "Calvinism"? I cannot "prove" a Calvinist has a Calvinist bias....so it must be that they don't!

Mike

Peter lets face it. Your perceived projection of a lack of grace is well known (and no I do not intend on giving 59 examples of this to prove my point. If it isn’t apparent to you, then go back and read any 5 of your posted articles plus your responses and I am sure you will find more than enough to convince you). Simply put, you rub people the wrong way.

That is why I wanted to be fair to you and allow you to defend yourself, in the event my perception was inaccurate. Based on your sarcastic, graceless response, you clearly displayed (at least to me) that my assessment is true.

Peter, you stated that “Dunlap also asserts without the least indication as to how he knows that I allegedly "again delight in stirring up trouble." Really?”

I say yes REALLY. Again, he nor I need to present numerous examples of these claims. You Peter, are the author/originator of this blog. You certainly know the context of the conversations on this blog. To have him or anyone else “defend” themselves with these types of examples is pure silliness.

You also asked, “And, what criteria would Dunlap employ to accurately judge what constitutes my inward desires?”

As I stated above, the perception that you give off is not a pretty one. To answer your question I would say that because the overflow of the heart causes the mouth to speak, you my friend, not Dunlap, or anyone else, have got some splainin’ to do before you can ever ask that question since his response was to your perceived actions. Your heart motive appears to overflow in your writings. And that apparent motive is not pretty.

You then asked me to “inform us all” how I come to judge is so exactly what your desires happen to be. Again, to answer that question refer to my response above... By the way, who is “us”?

When you have time, I would love for you to write a post on exactly what “legitimate Calvinism” is. Im sure it would be really interesting and even more, informing since I have never heard the term “legitimate Calvinism” (is that your term and definition?). By the way, if you did write that article, would you allow real live Calvinists to correct you if you were wrong in your assessment? Or would the criteria that determines just what a “legitimate Calvinist” was, be developed by you?

Now then let me clearly state, Calvinism minus Limited Atonement IS NOT broader than the TULIP... quite the opposite. Calvinism minus Limited Atonement limits Calvinism. When you remove anything from something, there is less (2-1=1).

Peter, Calvinism is larger than TULIP. Calvinism is so much more than 5 points. Since you try so hard to rail against Calvinism, I would think that you would know this Peter. Since you do not, maybe you should not accuse others of “ridiculous claims”, “ignorant assumption” and “erroneous assumptions” until you know what those you write about, actually believe. When you do make these accusations, you are the one who comes off as the one who is ignorant, not others.

Last in regards to your suggestion of me not reading your blog, that is the most inane and immature comment I have heard from you yet. Let me ask you how you could possibly ask such a stupid, yes stupid, question? Why in the world would I not want to defend myself and my understanding of God against someone who is perceived to be intentionally misrepresenting what I believe and someone who appears to continually desire to stir up trouble for those who hold fast to his understanding of God and who He is?

As long as you give me a voice on this blog, meaning that if I am no longer heard on this blog, it is because you have silenced me, I will defend these perceived attacks. Period.

peter lumpkins

Hi Mike

Your words are embolden and my response follows:

Peter lets face it. Your perceived projection of a lack of grace is well known… Simply put, you rub people the wrong way. I addressed your comment and you return with a personal evaluation of me?  Ummm… Well, no I don’t have to “face” anything, Mike. I am not here to satisfy your personal desires about how I should or should not communicate.  And, if I do, in fact, “rub people the wrong way” by speaking my thoughts, well, that’s life. Besides, that’s just another one of your personal evaluations. How about let’s talk about the ideas, Mike.

That is why I wanted to be fair to you and allow you to defend yourself, in the event my perception was inaccurate. Based on your sarcastic, graceless response, you clearly displayed (at least to me) that my assessment is true. So, let’s see:  I have the worst of motives…horrible desires to cause conflict…desires you personally can read and know…but you, Mike, have the aura of innocence hanging over your head—“I wanted to be fair to you and allow you to defend yourself…” In addition, my straightforward response is described as graceless sarcasm when not a syllable in it bears any resemblance to sarcasm. This is just another personal evaluation you write, not based on the words I pen but the way you feel about me

Peter, you stated that “Dunlap also asserts without the least indication as to how he knows that I allegedly "again delight in stirring up trouble." Really?”…To have him or anyone else “defend” themselves with these types of examples is pure silliness. You completely overlooked my point, Mike. Perhaps if you’d stop trying to evaluate me personally and actually read carefully the words I write, you would have understood I was not asking for examples from Dunlap for anything. Rather I was implying the impossibility of you and Dunlap knowing what my desires are. Mike, you have no way of knowing that. But to suggest you do by referring me to me last five posts is the real silliness here. You could check out my last 1,000 posts and still you could not know what’s in my heart. Hence, you cannot judge my heart’s desires. I suggest you read Matt 7:1 and begin to put that into practice.

You also asked, “And, what criteria would Dunlap employ to accurately judge what constitutes my inward desires?” As I stated above, the perception that you give off is not a pretty one… To answer your question I would say… you my friend, not Dunlap, or anyone else, have got some splainin’ to do…  Unfortunately, more personal assessment of me. How about dealing with the words I write and stop trying to understand or interpret my inner psyche?  Nor, Mike, am I obligated to explain anything at all about me personally. Sorry. If you cannot be satisfied with engaging ideas, you need not come back here and expect me to lie down on a couch and you delve into my innermost desires. My blog exists for other purposes I’m afraid.

You then asked me to “inform us all” how I come to judge is so exactly what your desires happen to be. Again, to answer that question refer to my response above... By the way, who is “us”? Well, your response above is not only nonsense, it directly flies in the face of Jesus’ words in Matt 7:1 pertaining to judging your brother's heart. So looking there does us no good. By the way, the “us” is the thread community. It is public after all.

When you have time, I would love for you to write a post on exactly what “legitimate Calvinism” is. Im sure it would be really interesting and even more, informing since I have never heard the term “legitimate Calvinism” (is that your term and definition?). “Legitimate Calvinism”?  Mike, this is hilarious. It shows precisely how some of you sometimes read with your emotions rather than your brain. Rather than seeing I was using the term “legitimate” to question Dunlap, you took it as me creating a special term.  What a Georgia hoot.  

By the way, if you did write that article, would you allow real live Calvinists to correct you if you were wrong in your assessment? Or would the criteria that determines just what a “legitimate Calvinist” was, be developed by you? Mike, to imply I lack articles on this blog concerning Calvinism and my straight-forward take on it is so fundamentally ridiculous it’s hard to even respond. 70% of the blogs I write deal with some facet of Calvinism for crying out loud. And, the thread is open. I do not disallow commenters to challenge my notions based on whether or not they are Calvinists. All one has to do is consider the thousands of comments left by Calvinists. Sheeesh.

Now then let me clearly state, Calvinism minus Limited Atonement IS NOT broader than the TULIP... quite the opposite. Calvinism minus Limited Atonement limits Calvinism. When you remove anything from something, there is less (2-1=1). I haven’t a clue what you are talking about. I explicitly noted that Calvinism is not restricted to five point Calvinism. What your comment means I cannot detect.

Peter, Calvinism is larger than TULIP. Calvinism is so much more than 5 points. Since you try so hard to rail against Calvinism… maybe you should not accuse others of “ridiculous claims”, “ignorant assumption” and “erroneous assumptions” until you know what those you write about, actually believe. Until you can show how I’ve misunderstood someone’s position or have been unfair to one’s position, your exhortation is meaningless. I take great care in reading a position before I critique a position. So either be specific or drop the point, Mike.

Last in regards to your suggestion of me not reading your blog, that is the most inane and immature comment I have heard from you yet. Let me ask you how you could possibly ask such a stupid, yes stupid, question? Let me see if I understand. Here’s what I wrote that’s supposed to be the the most inane and immature comment you have heard from me yet:

If you or another do not find my views palatable, kind, Christianly, sober, or lacking any other worthy virtue, I wholeheartedly encourage you to not read my site. I assure you: I am not writing for you. Nor is my message intended for you.

After all, that's the beauty of liberty is it not? It is also the benefit of the internet and RSS feed. You may unsubscribe anytime you feel I no longer--assuming I ever did, of course--bring the right beans to the BBQ.


So, my encouraging you not to read my site if you find it unedifying is the most inane and immature comment you have heard from me yet? My implying my blog is not for you is immature?  And, my suggesting the beauty of liberty is that you are not required to read constitutes a frame of mind so amazing that you find yourself wondering how it is possible I could ask “such a stupid, yes stupid, question”? It’s moments like these I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or be angry that I have to put up with such profound absurdity. It makes a guy want to shut all comments down and keep on writing without the useless gutter banter. Maranatha

Why in the world would I not want to defend myself and my understanding of God against someone who is perceived to be intentionally misrepresenting what I believe and someone who appears to continually desire to stir up trouble for those who hold fast to his understanding of God and who He is? You don’t have to. Nor do I have to put up with accusations I’ve intentionally misrepresented others, including you, Mike. What you’ve just implied is, I’m lying about your words. I do not at all find that helpful or acceptable. Thus far it’s been about your feeling and psychological evaluation of me. Now you’re insinuating I’m deceptive. Don’t ever come back here and do that again, Mike. 

As long as you give me a voice on this blog, meaning that if I am no longer heard on this blog, it is because you have silenced me, I will defend these perceived attacks. Period. Well, no it won’t be because I’ve “silenced” you. Had you paid attention to what you called the “stupid, yes stupid, question” you would have concluded that liberty’s beauty is, I cannot silence you. You have a blog, don’t you?  How am I going to silence you?  On the other hand, if you think I’m going to wade through your long emotional spews of psycho-sessions where you judgmentally slam my inner life contra the Lord Jesus (Matt 7:1), I think you really need to reconsider. I am uninterested in winning you over even if I could, Mike. I do not blog to satisfy you or anyone else. I have this blog to post on issues I think are helpful to the majority of Southern Baptists.

I hope I’ve been both clear and fair with your words.

With that, I am…

Peter

peter lumpkins

All,

Just so we’ll be clear concerning my strong albeit clear and necessary response to “Mike.” It’s not that “Mike” is a green newcomer to this site. He’s been around since at least June--just prior to the SBC this year. Apparently, he “stumbled” upon my blog while surfing for something else. What I find telling, however, is “Mike” almost invariably logs on mostly to give us all “what for” preaching to us that we all need to “repent”. Let me show you what I mean by offering a few samplings of his contributions here:

  • ---“Referring to the maturity of the conversations coming from both camps as a cesspool is pretty specific. Your fan club does no better than the fan club of the Driscolls etc... Snide, sarcastic, condescending remarks against fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are nothing less than wickedness. You know it and your followers know it...So yes, I say repentance!” source
  • ---“You guys (yes I am speaking to those of you who speak wickedly and who are anti-Calvinists) have to stop. This is horrible. Peter, Im sorry to call you out publicly but I know of no other way of contacting you. Peter you are part of the problem just as the moderators of the "Calvinist" blogs who do not promote brotherly love are part of the problem. Your job as not only a Christian moderator but as a pastor is to not allow sinfulness grow in the flock you are immediately over nor those whom you influence from afar. Brother you are not doing this. In fact you seem to be promoting it. Peter, stop it. From a man who loves you, to a man who holds the very Spirit of God within him, the same Spirit who lives within me, STOP IT!… Peter please do not respond with a scathing review which nit picks every word I have said and which throws the focus off of what I have said. This is a plea for you, not the other guy who may or may not be a Calvinist, who spews venom or allows it on his blog, but a plea for you to stop. Lovingly, I say, you ARE part of the problem. Please do not continue to be part of the problem. “ source
  • ---“Lydia, your right the YRRs who act as you state ARE WRONG. No ifs and or buts about it…  [however] Your comments, as well as those from others on this blog, specifically are highly offensive and saddening to read, not just to Calvinists but to other "camps" as well.” source
  • ---“Lydia, please, reread your post….  Too, I want to encourage you to remember Paul’s words to Titus in chapter 2 where he wrote, “You must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine… teach the older women to be reverent in how they live, not to be slanderers… but to teach what is good [so that]… they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure… so that no one will malign the Word of God.” ….You are to be a reflection of your Maker and in at least your actions on this blog, you have not been doing this. There are younger women who read your comments and are influenced by them. They see the hatred, the vileness, the mean things that come out of your mouth…  are they being taught that it is “all about me”; “It’s all about what I want”; “Im number one and Ill verbally run over who ever I want in order to express my opinion”? Let me remind you that there is no grace in those responses. “…Mary… The supposed actions of these you are so hateful towards are absolutely not an excuse for your actions. Period… “ source
  • ---“[Lydia]…You actually are thinking wrong. As I said, God placed a love for you on me and you are the one that I am addressing. If I were trying to prove my point in regards to me being either a Trad or a Calvinist, you would have seen that in my responses to you. You are right, I am rebuking you. But Im doing it in love. Im glad that you have realized that I am rebuking you. I ask you to reflect to see if what I am saying is true or not. … Lydia, I dont think little of you. I think enough of you to loving rebuke you. Whether you realize it or not, I hold you in high regard” source
  • ---“Lydia, Mary I am at a loss... Sadly, I will stop speaking the Truth in love to you. Thus I will not contact you again. You have my word. May you be blessed and seek your joy in Him.” source
  • ---“[Tim]…If in fact that is what was communicated, then your remark of "You do not have to stop by here and play the role of the Holy Spirit" was uncalled for. That is what I called you out on….Tim you are reading too much into what I stated. Never, not once, did I mention anything in regards to the post. What I called out was you and your apparent sophomoric response to what Randall called you to” source

  • My point in logging a significant portion of “Mike’s” commenting history is to show a fairly consistent pattern he’s developed at SBC Tomorrow. For some reason, “Mike” apparently concludes it’s perhaps his responsibility to “rebuke,”  “call out,” and “correct” commenters here whom he feels fails to meet his personal criteria of crossing "over-the-top" so to speak. As I recall in scanning all his comments, while there were some amicable, more reasonable  and sober moments when he “backed off,” so to speak, his imagined role as an ambassador for cleaning up our alleged “cesspool” two characteristics stood out ahead of the pack:

    a) ever how congenial and/or courteous his comments became, “Mike”  seemed to devolve back into the let-me-preach-you-a sermon-to-rebuke-the-godless-vile-words-your-write mode. Hence, his latest flurry above against me personally rather than Lydia, Mary, or another makes fairly good, predictable sense given his prior pattern;

    b) out of all the comments I read that “Mike” logged, I cannot remember a single one when “Mike” actually engaged the issue of the original post or even a side-issue spawned in light of the thread. Rather “Mike” overwhelmingly was busily personally “correcting,” “rebuking,” and “calling out” either me or another commenter. And, while I cannot imagine there are no exceptions to this (after all, I read though them quickly), I stand confident the consistent pattern exists. And, I am perfectly willing to stand corrected on that.

    Even so, I shall continue doing what I have been doing. I will raise questions on this site about theology, ethics, and other issues affecting particularly Southern Baptists, offering my honest albeit far from perfect assessment of the issue I raise and shall do so in the most congenial, straight-forward way as my own literary gifts and abilities allow.

    Furthermore, I will neither stand down nor remain silent on the issue of aggressive Calvinism in the SBC no matter the curious unbaptistic calls to be silent while Dr. Page's "advisory" committee on Calvinism does "its" job. I have been speaking out publicly on this particular issue since 2006, and those who've followed for some time know it was the particular reason I started blogging in the first place.

    Nor, might I add in closing, will Calvinists like "Mike" who come on this site and demand I "stop it" affect me in the least in moving forward. My own purpose for SBC Tomorrow not only does not address "winning over Calvinists" to "my side" (personally I have no desire to "win" Calvinists to "my side." They need to come to their own conclusions concerning what Scripture teaches. If I have a part in that, so be it; if not, so be it.), neither does my purpose bow to their own aspirations about how I ought to run this site. In short, their pay-grade just doesn't cut it. I answer to One far more authoritative than any man could ever obtain--including even an elder-board mentality (wink wink!).

    Finally, at the risk of "Mike's" wrath coming down hard for
    mentioning such a "stupid--yes stupid" thing, I encourage those who read this site to continue if they find it helpful (and helpful despite some of the orneriness that takes place at times).

    However, if you find this site drags you down, offers no help to you, but only makes you angry or depressed, please, for the sake of your spiritual life, move on. Not only do I encourage you to do so, in my view, you're obligated to do so. I learned early in 2006, blogging is a place where, if one commits to deal with provocative or controversial subjects, one must expect, at sometime or another, to end up not only being splattered with mud, but sadly flinging some one's self. That's not how it ought to be; rather that's realistically a description of how it actually is.

    With that, I am…

    Peter 

    Randall Cofield

    A few quotes from The Gospel Project projecting the horrible Calvinism you guys are up-in-arms about:

    “The God of the Bible in
    the very first chapter is not
    some abstract ‘unmoved
    mover,’ some spirit
    impossible to define, some
    ground of all beings, some
    mystical experience. He has
    personality and dares to
    disclose himself in words that
    human beings understand.
    Right through the whole
    Bible, that picture of God
    constantly recurs. However
    great or transcendent he is,
    he is a talking God.”
    –D. A. Carson

    “You called and cried out
    loud and shattered my
    deafness. You were radiant
    and resplendent, you put to
    flight my blindness. You were
    fragrant, and I drew in my
    breath and now pant after
    you. I tasted you, and I feel
    but hunger and thirst for you.
    You touched me, and I am
    set on fire to attain the peace
    which is yours.”
    –Augustine

    “No real faith was ever
    wrought in man by his own
    thoughts and imaginations;
    he must receive the gospel as
    a revelation from God, or he
    cannot receive it at all.”
    –Charles Spurgeon

    “Religion operates on
    the principle of ‘I obey—
    therefore I am accepted by
    God.’ The basic operating
    principle of the gospel is ‘I
    am accepted by God through
    the work of Jesus Christ—
    therefore I obey.’ ”
    –Tim Keller

    “The voices of visible
    creation…are equally clear to
    everyone…giving everyone
    the one message, that they
    were made by someone and
    do not exist of themselves.”
    –Diodore of Tarsus

    “God’s speech in nature is
    not to be confused with the
    notion of a talking cosmos,
    as by those who insist that
    nature speaks, and that we
    must therefore hear what
    nature says as if nature were
    the voice of God. ‘Hear God!’
    is the biblical message,
    not ‘Listen to nature!’
    Nature is God’s created
    order, and in nature God
    presents himself.”
    –Carl F. H. Henry

    “The created realm (creation)
    is a spectacular theater that
    serves as the cosmic matrix
    in which God’s saving and
    judging glory can be revealed.
    God’s glory is so grand that
    no less a stage than the
    universe—all that is or was
    and will be, across space and
    through time—is necessary
    for the unfolding of this allencompassing
    drama.” 6
    –James M. Hamilton Jr.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

    peter lumpkins

    Randall,

    "...projecting the horrible Calvinism you guys are up-in-arms about:"

    First, I've personally not focused on the "Calvinism" within TGP. Nor have others on this site for that matter--at least to any substantial degree. While I've read the entire first quarter of the adult material, I've not offered any kind of analysis on the actual lessons (and probably won't until we get a substantial bank of material available). Rather I've consistently focused on the number of "Calvinists" who produced the material--almost exclusively "Reformed."

    Second, offering great quotes from TGP, it seems to me, hardly affects the conclusion to which Green and his congregation came in their rejection of TGP. You may think differently, and Green and his congregation bless you in your conclusion. Why can you not bless them in their conclusion? The only ones who required satisfaction in their decision are members of Green's church. And, at least from the criteria they employed, they judged the material so sufficiently promoted Calvinism that they could not in good conscience use the material.

    Third, the irony is striking in the actual quotes you offer above, quotes which in some sense lend credibility to Green's analysis. If I recall correctly, he claimed that most of the sources quoted in TGP were Calvinists. And, what do you quote? Out of the seven quotes you offer from TGP, six are definitively strong Augustinian-Calvinists.

    With that, I am...
    Peter

    Robert Carter

    Peter,

    I would agree with you that Pastor Green's 2 quotes from the material don't say, or even imply, what he read into them. Possibly, he went to the material predisposed to find something "pushing Calvinism"? There seems to be an inferred assumption that if someone tends toward a Calvinistic theological framework then they must be a bad theologian, or have an agenda. That's not really a fair accusation. Not everyone has an agenda.

    Also, I couldn't help being a bit amused at the downplaying of the 300k number. Seems pretty significant for something new in Baptist life. Anyone who's ever been a pastor in an SBC church knows how difficult it is to go through all the red-tape to get a congregation to vote to switch material. More will come to this new curriculum, I suspect. Plus, it doesn't seem too long ago that the exact same people downplaying the 300k people were stoked to have 800 people sign a silly statement after pushing it heavily including at the SBC convention. 300k or 800? We're Southern Baptists. Our defining book of the Bible is Numbers. Seems, then that 300k might be more significant than presented.

    Bob Hadley

    IN looking at the 300K figure I want to go to Stetzer's own comment with reference to the popularity if TPG..

    Needless to say, we are thrilled that so many have decided to use the curriculum. I was just looking at the list of churches using it and it is amazing. We are glad to see that lots of different denominations are using the curriculum: Evangelical Free, Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, non-denominational, and Lutherans (one Lutheran church using thousands of the student guides). The biggest user is a part of the Restoration movement! But, what is encouraging is that there are churches of all sizes and places, different denominations, and ministry styles. We are just thrilled that this will be a great help to so many churches. It's great to see people care about theology and mission and want to study it together.

    So, let's be clear... the 300K are not Southern Baptists perhaps half of them are and the largest user is apparently not Southern Baptist...

    As to the statement that "not everyone has an agenda" then pray tell WHY Lifeway decided that it was necessary to use an exclusive all calvinist club as advisers? There had to be a reason for doing so and to suggest that is not the case is absurd! Furthermore, to even attempt to suggest that this group is not going to share their theological convictions is equally absurd; for if they do not then this project will not be worth reading in the first place.

    There is always an agenda.

    ><>"

    Bob Hadley

    One SLIGHT correction in the 300K number is Wax's following statement, “By year’s end, it’s likely that 300,000 people will be using these materials,” Wax said. “Knowing that we can have a small part in serving so many people is a humbling responsibility we hope to steward well.”

    So, this figure is now an adjusted projection, not a reflection of actual orders. This is a quote in an article in the Florida Baptist Witness dated August 24, http://www.gofbw.com/news.asp?ID=14317

    So... we are even further back on the number of Southern Baptists set to actually use TPG at the present. Speculation and projections are a wonderful thing indeed!

    ><>"

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