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Mar 15, 2013

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Mary

That man is so without clue it's hard to know where to even begin to correct all his caricutures and distortions.

Lydia

Mary, You just don't have the "mental processes" to understand it. :o)

Mary

Lydia, It would have been so much simpler if he'd have simply stated "you biblical illiterates just need to sit down, shut up and submit to the reformation of the SBC for your own good. How stupid are you that you don't believe in the Sovereignty of God. Sheesh! Stop causing all this trouble while the Founder's try to fix this mess you've made."

peter lumpkins

Anyone reading Blackburn's essay who has a Georgia smidgen of historical sense surely counts this piece just about as one-sidedly polemical as could be imagined. Blackburn has been and still is significant supporter and participant of the single most potent source of divisiveness over Calvinism in the SBC today--Founders Ministries. The untold number of churches which have split due, in large part, to the "quiet revolution" Blackburn's community has advocated in SBC life since the early eighties stands as the first witness against his polemic.

Second, whatever happened in the early 1920s does not necessitate our embracing what Blackburn suggests--we today have bought into a "subjective experience" which has become the "sine qua non of evangelicalism, instead of objective biblical, theological truth." Excuse me, Mr. Blackburn. I don't think I'll let you get by with suggesting the problem is not embracing biblical truth. I happen to believe the entire Bible is God's Word, infallible, inerrant and fully sufficient for belief and behavior just like Baptists have historically confessed. Just because I don't buy into a Calvinistic paradigm through which to view the Bible does not mean my hemeneutic is reduced to subjective experience overriding biblical objectivity. It simply does not follow.

Third, for Blackburn to argue the problem is philosophical imposition upon the Word of God--"...philosophical presuppositions are assumed before the Bible is read. God is sovereign, many will adamantly confess, but not absolutely"--remains fantastic to say the least. To the contrary, it's Augustinian Calvinists like Blackburn who impose Greek categories upon the nature of God, demanding a priori that sovereignty means determinism. Thus if we don't accept Calvinistic definitions--i.e. God is absolutely sovereign--then we've succumbed to postmodernism or emotional subjectivity. The fat is, I do believe God is absolutely sovereign. Period. But I do not believe God is absolutely sovereign the way Augustinian-Calvinists demand. I refuse to embrace the philosophical template of divine determinism, a determinism which has been shown here and elsewhere to be a foreign additive imposed upon the revealed Word of God.

Finally, it gets old to hear Calvinists continue to play the broken record--"Some of the greatest soul-winners, missionaries, and revivalists were all staunch Calvinists and Reformed in their doctrine of salvation." First, I've rarely, if ever, used this particular argument myself in dealing with Calvinists. One doesn't have to. There's plenty of evidence to show Calvinism's inadequacy as a viable biblical hermeneutic without using this particular point. What I will say, however, is, Calvinists conveniently overlook that men like Carey were going against the grain of their own theological system when they began to evangelize. They were bucking their own presuppositions.

In addition, to suggest stern Calvinism necessarily leads to non-evangelism is one thing. But to suggest strict Calvinism possesses tendencies toward non-evangelism is entirely another proposition. While it's obviously difficult to prove the former since we do have strong Calvinists who've been and are evangelistic, I'm not so sure the latter could not actually be argued by empirical evidence. In other words, take the cause-effect framework out of Calvinists' objection--i.e. Calvinism (the cause) absolutely spawns non-evangelism (the effect) is not true--and simply ask, does strict Calvinism (high Calvinism) possess characteristics which breed non-evangelism?...then I remain unsure that a viable point could not be made to this effect.

Anyways, Blackburn's piece remains absolutely unconvincing to those who've read in any depth the recent history of the Calvinism controversy in the SBC...

Debbie Kaufman

I agree with most of what Dr. Blackburn has written because it's the truth.

Lydia

Debbie, That means, according to Al Mohler, you have the mental processes to understand.

David (NAS) Rogers

"One, for over 50 years the evangelical world has been theologically poverty-stricken. Christian colleges and seminaries for decades have not focused on teaching biblical foundations and the whole counsel of God’s Word, which has produced ministerial professionals rather than Bible scholars."

So, since at least 1963 and somewhat before, seminaries have not taught the Scriptures. I went to a fairly moderate to liberal Baptist college and then went to what was considered at that time to be the most conservative SBC seminary. The seminary taught me a rigorous emphasis on biblical exegesis as the basis for constructing one's theology. And by practicing that methodology I have yet to become a Calvinist sixteen years after my final degree there. I guess if the exegetical facts don't fit the theory then ignore the facts. Now I can become a Calvinist.

hariette

Blackburn wrote:

"As a young Christian I often heard, “God can’t do anything unless you allow Him.” God is powerless unless man’s will allows Him to work is the standard view among many Southern Baptists. God is more like Aristotle’s “unmoved Mover” than the God of Daniel (Dan 4:34-35)."

WHERE on God's green earth did that man grow up as a "young Christian"? I have NEVER heard these things until 2006 when debate erupted over the calvinism issue and anyone who was NOT a calvinist, was accused of believing this poppycock. selahV

Lydia

"WHERE on God's green earth did that man grow up as a "young Christian"? I have NEVER heard these things until 2006 when debate erupted over the calvinism issue and anyone who was NOT a calvinist, was accused of believing this poppycock."


Harriet, Good to "read" you! ;o)

Thanks for pointing that part out. A standard view among many Baptists?

I was thinking much the same thing when I read it. I never once heard such a ridiculous thought when I was growing up in different SBC churches. Nor was I ever taught such drivel.

And, like you, I have only heard such sentiments in the last few years or so in various forms. Such as we view God as a sort of wimpy grandpa up there wringing His hands over us.

Hmm. I am wondering if we should write in and insist he "prove" it by giving us some specific examples (name of church, pastor, etc) since it was a "standard" view among many Baptists.

But even more confusing is that he sounds as if he wants to cooperate with such wrong thinking people.

Mary

Gee who would have thought that Debbie agrees that only Calvinists know anything about the Bible and only Calvinists are smart enough to be teaching in schools. Who could have guessed that one.

Lydia & Hariette, what he's claiming is not what SBC churches have ever taught. It's the lies and distortions that Calvinists like him have to use to indoctrinate young men into Calvinism. "You believe in the Sovereignty of God don't ya? Well you have to be a Calvinist then! Only Calvinist can believe in the Sovereignty of God. You either believe you saved yourself or God Saved you - which side are you are on?" eithr the man is woefully ignorant about what nonCalvinist/Traditionalist actually believe or he is intentionally being deceptive. Either way this is exactly the kind of talk that shows Calvinists do not want to dialogue, they do not want to get along, they want to launch grenades and attack all the while imagining themselves as victims.

He obviously missed the memo where he was supposed to keep his views on the down low that all problems in the SBC go back to rejections of Calvinism and only the complete reformation of the SBC will solve all problems.

What's always a hoot is how Calvinists will trot out the Calvinists don't evanglize card - the people bring that up are always the Calvinists themselves. BUT please do not try asking about what actually fruit this resurgence in Calvinism is producing. It's gets really funny when you see on these blogs about how evangelistic these YRR believe themselves to be but then you ask them "So how many did you baptize last year?" and then they go ballistic - "Numbers don't mean anything! You people are obssessed with numbers!" How many of these Calvinists churches are refusing to fill out their annual forms? Gosh if they were such wonderful evangelists you'd think we'd be seeing a revival in the SBC since there is such a revival of Calvinism.

But this letter pretty much hits all the points of Calvinist hubris and rhetoric. Only Calvinists know the Bible, only Calvinists are capable of teaching, it was when the SBC alledgely left Calvinism that the SBC trouble began.

Rick Patrick

Blackburn writes: "It seems some are not listening to Dr. Page. Instead, there are rumors that some want to oust Reformed and Calvinistic people out of the Convention. Hence, the buzz and dis-harmony and it begs the question: Why?"

It never ceases to amaze me how Calvinists frame the issue of this "buzz and disharmony" as if SBC Traditionalists had started it. Blackburn should tell that to the woman who emailed me yesterday thanking me for writing about this issue in Southern Baptist life. She told of a Calvinist Pastor who came to her church, promised to teach in accordance with their beliefs, but then promoted Calvinism among her children, which of course split the church wide open. When confronted about teaching them differently from the beliefs of their parents and the church, the pastor said, "I've got to preach the Bible." It is not those of us teaching what we have always taught that are splitting churches and, by extension, the convention. It is those who are introducing new beliefs in unsuspecting congregations.

Debbie Kaufman

That's not what I said. I agree with Dr. Blackburn Calvinism has been one of the controversial issues, but definitely not the most divisive. For the past 75-80 years there has been a détente between non-Calvinists and Calvinists. From time to time, skirmishes erupted, but eventually we settled down and went back to fulfilling the Great Commission.

However, in the past 5-7 years the peace has been disturbed. So tumultuous has been the furor that attempts surfaced to build bridges and restore peace.

Two examples were the Building Bridges Conference at Ridgecrest (2008) and Dr. Frank Page’s appeal at the SBC in New Orleans (2012) in which he passionately pled with us to stop the in-fighting about Calvinism and get on with fulfilling our Great Commission mandate.

Page indicated he was forming a commission to present a report at the 2013 Convention on how Calvinists and non-Calvinists can continue to work together, as we have done “decade upon decade upon decade.”

It seems some are not listening to Dr. Page. Instead, there are rumors that some want to oust Reformed and Calvinistic people out of the Convention. Hence, the buzz and dis-harmony and it begs the question: Why?

In my mind, there are at least three reasons for this.

One, for over 50 years the evangelical world has been theologically poverty-stricken. Christian colleges and seminaries for decades have not focused on teaching biblical foundations and the whole counsel of God’s Word, which has produced ministerial professionals rather than Bible scholars.

With the advent of the subtle influence of postmodernism, there was a mixing of theological terms. For example, anyone who is moderately Calvinistic is almost automatically branded a hyper-Calvinist. This seems is apparent to me in some recent interviews I have read where the terms Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism were wrongly used synonymously and interchangeably. and there are also other things I agree with. Some things I disagree with.

Mary

Of course Debbie, if we're not Calvinist it's because we've embraced postmodernism, we've mixed theological terms, where Calvinism isn't taught there is no focus on biblical foundations and the whole counsel of God's Word. Only Calvinists are Bible scholars. Those who don't embrace Calvinism are theolgically poverty stricken. Oh and let's not forget you don't really believe in the Sovereignty of God unless you're a Calvinist. We get it Debbie, you agree that Calvinists are our superiors and that if only we'd allow the Calvinists to take over as the Founder's wish things would improve.

This all coming from a man who is part of the ministry whose avowed purpose is to reform the SBC - where are those to go who don't wish to be reformed? Who exactly started the buzz about kicking people out.

And please spare me the tripe about Building Bridges. The Building Bridges confererence was made up of 50% Five Point Calvinists and the remaining 50% were mostly Four Pointers. It's the U that counts. If you disagree with the U in Calvinism there is no place for you in the SBC according to Founder's and those who support them such as Al Mohler and company. Where Calvinists are in charge no one is qualified for a position of leadership who disagrees with Calvinists on the U and their definition of the T. People can run around declaring that this person or that person isn't a Calvinist - people like Danny Akin or Trevin Wax, but you'd better believe those people have to pass the litmus test to have any kind of position in the SBC. People are being forced out, but it ain't the Calvinists. That's what all the brouhaha is about and Frank Page's so called committee is just going to be another joke where he comes forward to declare we've talked about this so let's all get along now - nothing is going to be done because the Calvinists control Frank Page and his postition in the SBC. He's who's buttering his bread and he will be reporting exactly how Al Mohler dictates he report.

Lydia

"It never ceases to amaze me how Calvinists frame the issue of this "buzz and disharmony" as if SBC Traditionalists had started it. Blackburn should tell that to the woman who emailed me yesterday thanking me for writing about this issue in Southern Baptist life. She told of a Calvinist Pastor who came to her church, promised to teach in accordance with their beliefs, but then promoted Calvinism among her children, which of course split the church wide open. When confronted about teaching them differently from the beliefs of their parents and the church, the pastor said, "I've got to preach the Bible." It is not those of us teaching what we have always taught that are splitting churches and, by extension, the convention. It is those who are introducing new beliefs in unsuspecting congregations.

Rick, Have one just like this on my radar from friends where this started 2 mos after hiring a new Youth pastor who is attending SBTS. They did their homework, made clear what they believe as Non Calvinists, potential youth pastor agreed and then within a few months started teaching Piper as the greatest influence in Christendom, Dever and others as if they were Jesus Himself.

They are not really honest and I question the integrity of that movement. They believe they are being 'true to God' so they "lie to people". It is unbelievable what we are churning out of our seminaries. There is an integrity problem in this movement. And they use what they think is our ignorance to be dishonest.

Hmm. Who else did this sort of thing to people for their own good and to "Glorify God"? Oh yes, Calvin in Geneva.

Problem is, in our neck of the woods, we mainly have SBTS to pick from. People are taking their children out of a much loved church over it. I can tell you right now, my children will not learn the determinist god paradigm as truth. They can when they are of age but not now. I want them to know that God loves them with a passion they cannot fathom!

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. "

CS Lewis

Mark

Peter,

Your meaningful analysis of what Stealth Calvinist are doing to SBC Churches is spot on. (speaking from personal experience)

I have a note on file I sent to my former Calvinist Pastor describing in detail my struggle in trying to understand his Preaching Style. Which he vaguely described as "Truth".(a year into his tenure)
In this note I repetitively used words like his "Methodology" and "Exegesis" style seemed Cryptic. In this note I stated that he embraced his "Methodology" more than the "Message" of Christ.
All the while he chose to keep his Doctrine a mystery to me.

He had to have known I was seeking real "Truth" of where he was coming from. Did he exchange the word "Truth" for 5 Point Calvinism?

When I discovered he was a 5 Point Calvinist or Hyper-Calvinist, 2 years into his ministry he resigned rather than fully disclosing his doctrine to the leaders of the Church, who wanted some clarification and also wanted to know why he didn't disclose his 5 Point Doctrine.
(his only response was how did they find out?)

He created division that almost killed our Church while wiping out our church budget when he departed. (leaving 250.00 in the account, a funny even number to leave in the account) We haven't fully recovered from this fiasco.

I'm sure some of your readers and colleagues have heard the word "Truth" as a qualifier for Hyper-Calvinism.

Debbie Kaufman

I find it interesting that only a minority of people find Calvinists to be liars, and all the other accusations. That is not the case with a majority of people in the SBC. I think it's sad that some have to continue to ostracize people and for what? Power and it is a game, a game of loving to fight.

You have rewritten SBC history and history in general yet Calvinists are liars. You give antecedence with absolutely no proof. Yet Calvinists are deceitful and liars. Next will be who? I think you are wasting your time, at least I hope so. This has been going on for 7 plus years, 20 plus years actually, and it's time to stop. I would love for you to stay and cooperate, but maybe you need to find or start another Convention. Just for the infighting to stop. This is my last word on the subject.

David

Peter, please stop blogging. Calvinism and non-Calvinism aside, you need to do something more useful. For the sake of all of us in the SBC and outside of it, please stop.

Lydia

"I find it interesting that only a minority of people find Calvinists to be liars, and all the other accusations. "

Debbie, Do you have some research or a study you can link to help us out?

Would your statement above not also apply to yourself with this statement you made in the same comment?

'You give antecedence with absolutely no proof.'

Lydia

"Peter, please stop blogging. Calvinism and non-Calvinism aside, you need to do something more useful. For the sake of all of us in the SBC and outside of it, please stop."

David, Let me know if this actually works with adults. If it does, I will try it, myself. :o)

Mark

Debbie,

As you know there are several dialects within the Calvinist school. And within those dialects you are not going to have a doctrinal consensus.

A 1 Point Calvinist isn't going to embrace scriptures the same as a 2 Point Calvinist and a Hyper-Calvinist who is heavily into "Election Theology" may think anybody who doesn't think like them will be heretics.

You have many different combinations of Calvinist that exist that are not only spreading confusion within the Calvinist School but more importantly spreading confusion within the congregations of the SBC.

The Stealth Calvinist Pastor that left our church refusing to fully disclose his 5 Point Doctrine even to the Church Elders, chose to resign but not before he split the church, while attempting in making himself a martyr to the people he befriended.

He did the same thing in his former church. (splitting the church without disclosing his Doctrine even to his friends) He Split his first 2 churches he preached at, within an 18 month tenure and a 2 year tenure.

The SBC can't sit back and allow the Calvinist to spread a Doctrine that even the Calvinist they can't even agree among themselves.

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