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Aug 01, 2012

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Christian

Let me be the first to say, "AMEN!"

Jim G.

Hi Peter,

I appreciate all you are doing to research SB history to show that we have never been a doctrinal monolith with regards to Calvinism, despite what some may believe.

I also appreciate you laying your finger on the cosmological assumption driving Calvinism - divine determinism. Those of us who are actively resisting the spread of Calvinism in the SBC and evangelicalism at large must always be aware of the great problem lying within Calvinism - that same divine determinism. THAT is the real issue.

I know we often debate at the level of perseverance vs. preservation or the resistibility of grace or even particular vs. general redemption. In all honesty, these are symptoms, not the disease. I would submit that, while the above debates are important and ultimately practical and pastoral, the real problem (determinism) is often unaddressed.

Determinism - the belief that God ordains and renders certain all that occurs - is the band of Trojan soldiers inside the wooden horse. It is (along with a skewed view of humanity) the root of all that is debated between Calvinists and Trads. At the end of the day, determinism is a massive assault on the trustworthiness and character of God. It entails that God either both good and evil or neither. At the very least it makes God the grand designer and schemer behind all evil in the universe and the father and originator of every evil act. It assaults his integrity (a secret and revealed will with the secret always winning). It paints him as untrustworthy because he has decreed (and has rendered certain) every sin in the life of his regenerated elect. Finally, our own inborn (yet skewed due to the fall) sense of right and wrong testifies against determinism, because I have yet (thankfully) to see a Calvinist express anything but disgust and outrage at Jerry Sandusky, even though according to their theology he was decreed (and God rendered it certain) to molest every single one of those little boys, shattering their personhood while still children. No Calvinist is publicly glorifying God for his all-encompassing plan on that one. Thank God Calvinists do not follow their theological convictions and praise God for the goodness of his plan at the expense of such horrible and detestable acts - which they must admit were planned and rendered certain by the God who is love.

We must never take our eyes off of the real issue lurking within Calvinism - divine determinism. It is not a Christian idea. Rather it was imported to the faith by Augustine, a remnant of his Manichaean and Neoplatonic past. It was the banner under which some of the most ruthless Christians the world has ever known - the magisterial Protestant Reformers - united. Let us be diligent to stop the spread of this speculative and very destructive view of the God we love.

Jim G.

Lydia

Jim G, Totally agree.

Peter, this quote:

"The hyper-Calvinistic doctrines at a subsequent period became more prominent, and speculations were taught, until antimonianism in spirit, theory and practice prevailed to a ruinous extent among the churches in the Mississippi Valley. "

.....is what I see happening now. Antimonianism. Seriously, we are totally depraved. we have wicked hearts. We can do NOTHING good or righteous to obey God unless HE determines it which means we are puppets. Where is the New Birth? Where are new creatures in Christ?

No wonder the NC movement produces such arrogance and vitriol. If you are "chosen" and cannot ever "choose", then how you behave is not a indicator of real fruit. God chose you. It does not matter and the law of love is out the window. In fact, it was determined so whatever you say or do is "love". That determinism defines everything else.

peter lumpkins

Jim,

Thank you brother. And, I happily agree. I first lost confidence in Calvinism years ago over precisely the issue you assert to be at the center of what's at stake with Calvinism--i.e. God foreordains whatsoever comes to pass. I see no valid exit from the deterministic stage which makes God out to be the author of sin and evil despite vigorous denials Calvinists make to the contrary.

Further, adding an atonement which could be sufficient to save all but is not sufficient because God purposely fixed it to exclude the majority of the human race cannot, in my view, express the God our Lord Jesus Christ reveals in the gospel. For me, then, strict Calvinism becomes little more than a theological hull lacking a credible biblical basis.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins


Thanks, Lydia. I too see a strain of antinomianism within the YRR. In fact, though I am not at liberty to use his name (I've not asked), I spoke with a very well known Reformed theologian recently, and one question I asked him pertained to "New Calvinism." I asked him his view of the YRR and what's going on in Reformed circles. His very first response was, the YRR possessed overtures, in his view, of antinomianism. I almost spilled my drink in my lap!

With that, I am...
Peter

Stephen Garrett

Dear Peter:

This is my second time trying to leave my comment. I don't know why I have trouble posting comments on your web page.

I am a student of Peck's life. He fought the anti-missionaries and Hardshells and other Hyper Calvinists and Antinomians and no doubt objected to the born again before faith view. But, remember, he adhered to the Philadelphia Confession and was a Calvinist.

Blessings,

Stephen

peter lumpkins

Hey Stephen,

Sorry about the difficulty logging on, brother. Not sure what the problem is. It could be browser issues or a cookie or other. I do have filters in place but I'm quite sure you wouldn't be using the words I have banned if you get my drift.

As for Peck, it's not surprising he was a Calvinist. What remains relevant for our current discussion is, Peck seems to lay, at least in some sense, the "ruinous extent" among Kentucky Baptists at the feet of Regulars who went theologically hog-wild concerning regeneration precedes faith dogma, the doctrine which Founders Calvinists insist upon.

Thanks.

With that, I am...
Peter

Randall Cofield
Preaching "Regeneration precedes faith" deadly for Baptists in the Mississippi Valley in the 19th century--Peter Lumpkins

Baptist Faith & Message 2000

Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It (regeneration) is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria

peter lumpkins

Randall,

I've answered this ad infinitum, as nausem. I can point to several places, if necessary. Suffice it to say, to imply as you do, Adrian Rogers, who chaired the committee--not to mention Jerry Vines who served on the committee--that presented the BFM2K meant to imply what you suggest is so completely absurd, it needs no real response.

Have a nice day.

With that, I am...
Peter

P.S. Dr. Vines is still living. Ask him if he thinks the committee intended to confess regeneration precedes faith. What a West Georgia hoot!

Randall Cofield

Peter,

Just posted what the BF&M2K actually says, brother. And it is consistent with SB confessions all the way back to our founding, regardless of what Drs. Rogers and Vines thought/think "the committee intended to confess."

Soli Deo Gloria

peter lumpkins

Yes, I mentioned the ones who actually wrote the thing as well. Your view would have us ignore even living witnesses as to what the statement means. What a hoot!

Even more, your assertion that regeneration precedes faith is "consistent with SB confessions all the way back to our founding" is simply uninformed history I'm afraid. Here's a comment I left for another at your side of the table who tried to play that joker. He never returned to correct his sloppy rendering of the first confession. In addition I’ve dealt with this on many other occasions as well. Nor is your reading as straight-forward as you insist. I can demonstrate that too, but it won’t matter. If I take the time, you’ll just leave mad.;^)

Sorry.

With that, I am...
Peter

Randall Cofield

Peter,

Even more, your assertion that regeneration precedes faith is "consistent with SB confessions all the way back to our founding" is simply uninformed history I'm afraid. Here's a comment I left for another at your side of the table who tried to play that joker. He never returned to correct his sloppy rendering of the first confession.

I'll be happy to respond to your assertion that I am "uninfomred" historically.

Beginning with the influential New Hampshire Confession of Faith 1833:

Of Grace in Regeneration We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again (37); that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind (38); that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth (39), so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel (40); and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life (41).

Abstract of Principles 1858

Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God's free and special grace alone.

It is unquestionable that the framers of the Abstract (Basil Manly, Jr., under the direction of James P. Boyce) understood regeneration to precede faith and repentance.

BF&M 1925

Regeneration or the new birth is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit, whereby we become partakers of the divine nature and a holy disposition is given, leading to the love and practice of righteousness. It is a work of God's free grace conditioned upon faith in Christ and made manifest by the fruit which we bring forth to the glory of God.

Notice the order is reversed here (per Mullin's anti-Calvinism) to the point of becoming nonsensical: Regeneration is "free grace" BUT it is CONDITIONED upon faith. That ain't free grace.

Thankfully, this was corrected in the BF&M 1963:

Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And, of course, the BF&M 2000 retained the historic Southern Baptist understanding that regeneration precedes both faith and repentance:

Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

To contend that regeneration preceding faith and repentance is not the historic position of Southern Baptists requires the anti-Calvinist to revise history.

Soli Deo Gloria

peter lumpkins

Randall,

First, no matter what NH or the AP state, neither are our confessional beginnings as Southern Baptists, an official confessional beginning indisputably originating in 1925. Yet you want to nonetheless suggest we "corrected" our original 1925 position in 1963 at the height of a) moderate leanings on the one hand, and b) at the lowest point in our conventional history so far as commitment to Calvinism is concerned. Again, you offer an unbelievable rendering of our confessional history.

Not only was Adrian Rogers the chair of the BFM2K edition of our confession--a non-Calvinist if ever there was one--but none other than Hershel Hobbs, an undeniable, rigorous opponent of Calvinism, chaired the 1963 BFM. Yet you want us to accept that Dr. Hobbs "corrected" the supposed fallacious idea that regeneration is conditioned upon and thereby consequent to saving faith that Mullins taught and we expressed in 1925, an idea he firmly embraced but nonetheless switched it to exactly the opposite--regeneration precedes faith???

And, since Southern Baptists were apparently so much more Calvinistically inclined in 1963--a presupposition hardly demonstratable--they agreed with him and thus we got back on the right track so far as regeneration precedes faith is concerned? Is this what you want us to embrace, Randall?

Like I say: I think you are a bit historically uninformed. And, unfortunately, your uninformed approach makes our history make no sense whatsoever.

With that, I am...
Peter

Randall Cofield

Peter,

First, no matter what NH or the AP state, neither are our confessional beginnings as Southern Baptists, an official confessional beginning indisputably originating in 1925.

Wow. So the SBC existed for 75 years without confessional influence. I think our forebears would take exception to that. :-)

If the actual words of the confessional statements do not mean what they do in fact say, there is no basis for discussion here.

I think most folks are capable of reading the plainly worded statements and comprehending what they are positing, but thanks for the exchange.

Soli Deo Gloria

Eric

Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

So what does this mean if not that the Holy Spirit changes ones heart which THEN leads to Faith?

Isnt it the 1925 ver. that says what you want it to say?

Eric

Are you saying that this "chnage of heart" is simply a conviction of sin, which the person then has a choice to accept or reject.
So:
The "change of heart" is not a regeneration of the heart.

David Benjamin Hewitt

Peter, Jim, Lydia:

Your comments about the nature of determinism and by implication, God's eternal decree, are most interesting (even if I do disagree with your conclusions and how you have represented the doctrine at a few points). Would you, Peter, be willing to develop this in a future post? I think it has the potential to produce some helpful dialogue, by the grace of God.

sdg,
dbh

David Benjamin Hewitt

Some previous comments I made on the matter about six years ago can be found here; comments are still open too. :)

I do hope to interact with you about this, Dr. Lumpkins, as I do believe it to be a critically important topic for the sake of the glory of the Name of our God and the building up of His people.

sdg,
dbh

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