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May 31, 2013

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Ron F. hale

Peter,
I read the Report late last night and have pondered it a little. I am very positive about this statement. It is honest enough to admit our differences, yet point to the realities of what can be accomplished as we focus on reaching the world with the gospel. Blessings.

Louis

Thanks for posting a link to this.

Haven't read it yet.

But my immediate reaction is, "Do I have to read this...?"

Mary

Ok so what exactly was the purpose of this whole thing? Just a lot of nice sounding words seems like. UNITY! Calvinists and nonCalvinists need to get a long. Notice how the word Traditionalist is no where included in the document. How's that for respecting all within the SBC. It seems like it's what's been predicted - "look we talked about this and we decided we should all be nice to each other and get along so let the marginalizing begin!" UNITY is simply a word for no dissent will be allowed.

Jonathan Carter

Peter,

For some reason I did not see this article when I sent you an email, my apologies! But thanks for posting it here. It is a nice statement, but I am not sure that it accomplished any purpose. It tells us that we have similarities, and differences--something we already knew. It tells us that we should put them aside and work together for the sake of the Gospel--something we have already been told. I believe the statement would have been a bit better with a definition given of: Gospel, regeneration, and atonement. Because the truth is, there are many Calvinists and Non-Calvinists that are still working from different dictionaries. I hear the cry "can't we all just get along?" But the truth is--on some of the issues sited under "tensions"-- No, I can't. Just this young pastors humble opinion...

Paul Owen

This is a very carefully worded statement. Kind of admirable to be honest. And if it really expresses an intention for cooperative ministry between the different parties in the SBC, then maybe there is hope after all! But I have a few thoughts.

1. In light of this new unity, would the SBTS now be prepared to hire William Lane Craig to teach theology, philosophy and apologetics?
2. Why is the discussion framed in terms of Calvinism vs. non-Calvinism? This makes Calvinism the default position does it not? Why not Calvinism vs. evangelical Arminianism? How come the label Calvinism is allowed but Arminianism appears nowhere in the document?
3. I think that this admirable statement ignores an important issue. What to do with people in the SBC whose identity is shaped more by preaching TULIP than preaching the gospel of the cross? More by Reformed distinctives than Baptist identity? If people saw themselves first and foremost as Baptists and secondarily as Calvinists or Arminians, the problem would largely dissipate. But the identity of the YRR is shaped more by the Calvinist personalities on stage at T4G than anything else.
4. I hope the shapeless "non-Calvinists" who read the document notice that the wording throughout is shaped by the convictions of the Calvinist position, always being phrased in ways that require non-Calvinists to say less than they would want to say. There is no theological compromise or giving of ground on the part of the Calvinists in this supposedly joint statement. Obviously, bright men like Allen and Lemke could see the semantic wordsmithing taking place, but went along for the sake of promoting unity and good will.

Mary

Here are a couple questions that we don't seem to have answers for yet.

1. As the SBC moves forward are we going to see more theological diversity in leadership? Or are we going to see that only those who have signed the Abstract of Principles under Al Mohler are qualified to be leaders in the SBC?

2. Does this report once and for all acknowledge that there has been a serious problem with ministerial candidates going stealthily into churches hiding their Calvinism and causing damage? Is this an acknowledgment that those of us who have been sharing these experiences for years are not liars and conspiracy theorists. We weren't actually making things up? If so I wonder if some "Unity" bloggers will be posting their apologies for their mistreatment of those they've been dismissing as "conspiracy nuts"

3. Are we going to hear some repentance over calling those in the SBC heretics? Or is the Christian thing to do now to not apologize and just move along and act like certain segments of the SBC haven't hurled such divisive statements about the only place for the Gospel is reformed theology and the Trad Statement is semiPelegian?

Scott Shaver

Add this to the long list of statements, revisions, reports gaining the approval of a handful of messengers allegedly representing the will of "millions" of Southern Baptists who are about to become joint owners of a denominational enterprise with the likes of SGM, ACTS29, Emergent Church, YRR etc.

There is noting in this statement discouraging the arbitrary appointment of all-Calvinist faculty at any of the remaining seminaries having not already gone that way. In fact, the statement generally seems to imply that Mohlerism would need to notch one more seminary on its belt to achieve parity in a joint ownership arrangement. The statement concedes to further "reformation" efforts.

I do not see this ridiculous report (which most folks in the pews would throw away for sheer confusion after first few minutes of reading)as a "model" for unity, theological or otherwise.

I see it as a Title Deed to Co-Owners.

Now that each partner has a 50-50 share, who will end up snatching that controlling 1 percent?

Out goes the SBC, in comes the SBGeneva.

Let's see if the money comes in along with it.

Lydia

"so what exactly was the purpose of this whole thing?"

To keep the money flowing in?

"Four central issues have become clear to us as we have met together. We affirm together that Southern Baptists must stand without apology upon truth; that we do indeed have some challenging but not insurmountable points of tension; that we must work together with trust; and that we must encourage one another to testimony."

Trust? That is the biggest problem. We have witnessed years of deception and attacks from that movement and we are all of a sudden supposed to believe we can trust Mohler. I think this just buys them more time. If Mohler were truly concerned about building trust he would NEVER have signed his name to the T4G statement on Mahaney. He would not have dared.

Mohler is in charge of the SBC. Why don't we all just admit it?

The tyranny of unity. All this statement does is give some the cover to accuse anyone who disagrees with it as sinning. Which is exactly how SGM handled disagreements. Good job Al! I am just sad others went along with propping up Al. He should not have been on the committee. He has been the architect and project manager of the YRR behavior in the SBC. And he hangs around with immoral people like his Apostle friend Mahaney of the People of Destiny Shepherding cult.

Mary

The people who are loving this and jumping on the Unity band wagon are some of the ones who need to publically repent of their screams of "PROVE IT" all these years when they've attacked those who told the stories of the ministerial candidates intentionally deceiving churches. The fact that you don't see any apologies shows this is just about shutting people up by declaring "we've talked about this now you need to shut up because we decided to unify around UNITY and the Calvinization of the SBC."

Scott Shaver

The portion of the statement that deals with SBC "Tensions" offers the following: "While these tensions can be a source of frustration, especially when we are uncharitable toward those with whom we disagree, they have also been a great benefit to us, reminding us that God's ways are higher than ours, that no systematic construct can even contain the fullness of Scriptural truth, that it is we and not the Bible who are subject to error, that we should approach the Word with both fidelity to the past and readiness for further reformation ....

In other words: "We'll let you know God's will for your church through written fiat by a blue ribbon panel of theologians and pastors next time our systematic construct needs changing. Until that point, submit to the reformation and be sure to keep those checks and assets coming.

Paul Owen

Here are some examples of wordsmithing in the Statement:

1. Under The Lostness of Humanity: "and we deny any teaching that minimizes the truth about sin and the NEED of all persons to repent and believe"

Even hyper-Calvinists agree that all sinners "need" to repent and believe in order to be saved, even though without regeneration they have no capacity for faith or repentance. A better word to use here, which would more directly meet the concerns of Arminians and moderate Calvinists would be "responsibility," "natural ability," "obligation," or "capacity."

2. Under The Power of the Gospel: "We deny that the Gospel is without power to save anyone who repents and believes"

This is a meaningless statement. Who claims otherwise? As it is, it means (for the hyper-Calvinist), that the gospel has the power to save "any one of the elect." A better statement would be: "We deny that the gospel is without power to save every human being." That would address the concerns of Arminians and moderate Calvinists.

3. Under The Offer of the Gospel: "We affirm that the Gospel is to be made known freely to all in the good faith offer that if anyone confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord and believes in his heart that God has raised Christ from the dead, he will be saved."

This is something any hyper-Calvinist could affirm. Is the good faith offer only a human offer (limited by our ignorance of who is elect), or is it a "good faith offer" on the part of God as well? Further ambiguity is found in the words "if anyone confesses" (which could only be the elect for a strict Calvinist). A better wording in a true compromise statement, that would address the concerns of Arminians and moderate Calvinists would be: "whosoever (or everyone who) confesses," rather than "if anyone confesses."

Likewise: "We deny that the Gospel lacks any power to save anyone who believes in Christ...Anyone who understands the Gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit may, in prayer and petition, trust Christ through repentance and faith, and we should plead with all sinners to do so." For the strict Calvinist, this simply means that the Gospel has the power to save any of the elect whom God regenerates. Hence it really says nothing by way of a mediating statement. A better statement would be: "We deny that the Gospel lacks any power to save anyone. Anyone can understand the Gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit, and in prayer and petition, trust Christ through repentance and faith, and THEREFORE we should plead with all sinners to do so."

4. Under The Atonement of Jesus Christ: "the atonement He accomplished was sufficient for the sins of the entire world." Most strict Calvinists would be perfectly happy with this wording, as it expresses their viewpoint. It is not any kind of mediating statement. Arminians and moderate Calvinists would want to see something like: "He accomplished an atonement that was sufficient for the sins of the entire world." This would mean that God's intention in the act of atonement was to make a sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. As it is, it is merely stating that the atonement God accomplished (for the elect only) could have sufficed for the entire world if God had so willed it.

Furthermore: "We deny that there is anything lacking in the atonement of Christ to provide for the salvation of anyone." Note "anyone," not "everyone." Even to the hyper-Calvinist, this simply means that since God only provided atonement for the elect, there is nothing lacking for them. Again, a meaningless redundancy.

5. Under The Necessity of Conversion: "conversion involves the will of the believer as well as the will of God." Who claims anyone denies this? But does "will of the believer" mean the cooperation of the person, a consensual cooperation which is secured by God's grace, or does it simply refer to the necessary "effect" of God's irresistible regeneration? Again, this sounds like a compromise, when in fact it is just expressing strict Calvinistic doctrine under vague jargon. A better statement would be: "conversion involves the cooperation and consent of the believer as well as the will of God."

What needs to happen for the peace of the Church is that Calvinists have to grant that Arminians actually raise good points, and while we may never find complete agreement this side of glory, they should modify their theological statements in such a way as to actually acknowledge the strength of the opposing school of thought, rather than hide being vague and misleading jargon.

Trapper

All very nice-sounding words from people who *have* to say such things to continue in their roles, but the true hero will be the first one to say that a split MUST occur.

For what can those who believe God is a loving being who's done everything He can to enable those who voluntarily want to be of and with Him have in common with those who believe God is a nasty "Q" (of "Star Trek: The Next Generation") who intentionally created sentient beings he'd predestine to miserable lives and eternal torment as some sort of perverse vehicle with which he could impress his undisclosed cosmic buddies?

How can those who view the gospel as good news of rescue for those who are perishing be together with those who view "the gospel" as a magician's incantation that unlocks unknown sleeper cell members? How can two groups who use the same words but have opposite meanings for those words coexist under one banner with, supposedly, one purpose? I daresay they cannot and need to take the necessary action now.

Andrew B

Dr. Owen is spot on. The Truth part is worded so nobody objects. The devil is in the detail of the 'Tension'. It contains statements which are totally irreconcilable!

Lydia

":4. Iope the shapeless "non-Calvinists" who read the document notice that the wording throughout is shaped by the convictions of the Calvinist position, always being phrased in ways that require non-Calvinists to say less than they would want to say. There is no theological compromise or giving of ground on the part of the Calvinists in this supposedly joint statement. Obviously, bright men like Allen and Lemke could see the semantic wordsmithing taking place, but went along for the sake of promoting unity and good will."

The statement not only provides cover for Mohler and what has transpired up to now in this movement but also provides cover for the future because if one has a problem and speaks out, one is going against the statement. This is classic Mohler. Mohler has been the #1 most divisive person in the SBC over the last 8 years or so with his statements, allegiance to the Neo Cal movement, etc. Yet this statement pretends none of that took place. It gives total open door for Calvinism to spread even more and take over the leadership of the rest of the entities.

If we really want to win the world for Christ in a great commission then it behooves us to have leaders who model Christ instead of what we have seen with the T4G statement where molested children are dismissed and seen as less important than celebrity pastors. The world gets it and sees the hypocrisy.

We are only fooling ourselves.

Mary

Peter/Lydia, I think Lydia posted a comment she meant for the Mahaney thread - it should be moved so as not to be missed by those watching that thread :)

Lydia, the idea that we're supposed to ignore everything that's happen and move on now is so disturbing. How can I have UNITY with people who've told me over and over that I was a liar and/or delusional when I described things that have happened in my life? Those people just get a free pass now? How can we have UNITY when one of the authors of this statement is the man at the top of an organization who's avowed purpose is to "reform" the SBC because people like me have "lost the Gospel" How can I have UNITY with people who have called what I believe heresy? None of that get's addressed by this committee. This is just a statement put out to declare the issue has been discussed and anybody who doesn't get on the Calvinism train is be marginalized.

Mary

Bad news. The UNITY thing didn't make it through the day at Pravda. Someone brought up the subject about Calvinists being fired at Colleges and then someone else was all "well what about Mohler and his discrimination at Southern" and then someone else was all "you liar Mohler never ever did anything wrong" and then someone posts the idiotic idea that Paige Patterson signed the Abstract so there! as if we're to believe that Patterson and Mohler have the exact same interpretation of the Abstract and Mohler would actually hire someone like Patterson. So same ol' same ol' Calvinists going around acting like everybody lies and are idiots. Just another day at Pravda!

Lydia

Yes, I have noticed the "unity tyranny" has already started. And guess what the charge is? "Extremist". Disagree? Bring up the facts of past behavior or words and you are an "extremist". So who have these extremist been? Who gets to define who they are now?

Mahaney must be proud. This is what it was like at SGM. You don't agree? You are an extremist that must be marginalized.

I cannot believe the Trads fell for this. They have only handed the real "extremists" a ready made charge. Because as you know, they get to define.

And now it will be all about the totalitarian niceness which is total fake. If you want to see what this looks like in extreme, read sgmwikileaks. That is where those guys are headed.

My guess is that this "unity" deal is more about Guidestone than anything.

Lynn Gray

It seems like a very good statement. I as a Calvinist Southern Baptist remain eager to cooperate alongside my SBC brothers and sisters who have different understandings on the issue.

While from time to time I will in love attempt to show others what I believe to be true of the Bible I have no desire to force anyone to my views. Nor do I have a desire that those who see Calvinism differently be forced to leave my church or the convention or leadership positions in either of these.

By His Grace,

Lynn Gray
Deacon - Morning Star Baptist Church - Meeker Ok
Chairman, BGCO Historical Commission

Max

I just read the statement ... Kumbayah.

Scott Shaver

Lynn,

Are you speaking as a private Baptist or as a positioned titled supporter of the Oklahoma Baptist Convention? I can understand your bias for the current regime if that is the case.

Lydia

Anyone else see the irony that the T4G statement was released a few days before the SBC Unity doc? Two of the Unity committee members released the T4G doc, Mohler and Dever, which defended Mahaney and was full of outright misrepresentations. Now we see this document and our entity President quoted in major media representing the SBC.

Both Mohler and Dever were on the Unity committee for the SBC.

I think the Unity doc provides Mohler with cover as far as the SBC goes and I think he is smart enough to have understood that.

Max

While the "Statement" accurately framed the issues, particularly the tensions, I’m not sure anything has changed. Calvinist committee members can pat each other on the back, as well as those who represented the non-Calvinist majority, while they all sing Kumbayah. The reformed amongst us can still read their interpretations into the affirmations and denials … “all” can still mean “all the elect” … “entire world” can still mean “entire world of the elect” … etc. Likewise, a call to endorse the BFM2000, with its theological wiggle room, still provides ample space for everybody under one big tent. Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike would not be threatened by the terms and conditions of the document.

I don’t think any of us expected anything else from the committee … unity was their mission. To seriously address the deep seated disagreements with spines of steel would have interfered with the desired agree to disagree unity at this juncture in SBC life. Thus, the Mohler machine momentum goes forward with little impact … he knows that.

Lydia

Max, This was a statement basically saying, do as we say not as we do. They have showed no serious leadship making any moves that would show anyone their words are not just empty words.

Mohler, instead of admitting any past divisiveness, released the T4G statement which was "in your face" supporting Mahaney over people who were abused as children "under his care" ( PDI/SGM terminology for leaders)

Ascol was chosen to be on the committee yet
has not changed his Founders mission that basically states you and I do not have the true Gospel. So much for unity.

The YRR are happy as the statement actually gives them cover for their "extremism" because they now get to define it.

If this is the face of our "leadership", no thanks. They are looking like men who are protecting their retirement status.

Perhaps they do not know that part of the Great Commission is "being" a Christian as in being the "kingdom" now. Integrity and character matter. Molested children matter.

I think the Trad guys got used to provide cover for Mohler and Devers T4G statement. That statement PROVES Mohler has redefined "unity" and speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

Hobart M. Tucker

I guess I'm thinking what everyone else is: What is the practical impact of this statement of “unity?”

-- Does this mean Tom Ascol will renounce the Founders’ ministry goal to “Reform” (i.e “Calvinize”) SBC churches?

-- Will Al Mohler retract his insistence that “Calvinism is the shape of the future, because the options otherwise don’t very much exist”? [And, importantly, will he hire and give significant leadership at Southern to someone other than a “4.5 Calvinist”?]

-- What about Danny Akin. Does he intend to expand his theological study beyond the “Presbyterian brothers” he admits are the greatest influence on his religious philosophy?

-- In that regard, does Kevin Ezell agree to stop forcing Acts 29 church plants down the throats of Southern Baptists?

Despite all the work to wordsmith a document that everyone could “unanimously” endorse, the reality is that the chasm between Calvinists and non-Calvinists still exists in the fundamental understanding of what John 3:16 means:

-- Does God so love the “world” to allow “whosoever will” to come to Christ, as explained by examining the Word “precept upon precept” (for instance examining John 3:16 against 1 John 2:2), or does He limit His love to only the preselected “elect,” as defined by the manmade system of thought known as Calvinism? In other words, can we really love Jesus, or are we capable only of responding robotically?

-- Does God draw us through our hearing the Word and seeing His name lifted up (like a light in the darkness), or are we dragged to Him by preprogrammed behavior (pre-creation regeneration of a select few, also konwn as "regeneration before faith")?

Ironically, the most critical point in the document was not inked as a joint statement but included as an expression of one individual’s endorsement. Tammi Ledbetter wisely called for “honesty regarding doctrinal convictions on the part of candidates interviewing with churches” and “integrity in the search process as to who they are and what they believe.”

Such openness would give congregations the freedom to make an informed decision as a local community of faith – and if applied on a larger scale, would do the same for the SBC.

Her endorsement qualified upon forthrightness was on the mark.

Unfortunately, it was not an endorsement the crusading Calvinists on the committee made.

Consider these two points:

-- In September 1938 Germany signed the Treaty of Munich -- causing Neville Chamberlain to declare “there will be peace in our time” -- only to invade Czechoslovakia not six months later.

-- More recently, Americans watched the Communist Parties of the Soviet Union and China orchestrate revolution around the globe even while both advocated that there be “peaceful coexistence” among communist and capitalist governments. Vietnam and Cuba are painful reminders of what this political policy actually meant.

I am not comparing Calvinists to Hitler, Khrushchev or Mao.

I simply am making the observation that before there is celebration in the streets about the harmony that has been forged, there should be some due diligence to try to understand what is meant by what has been said.

You get what you inspect, not what you expect. Or as Reagan put it, "trust but verify."

Max

Hobart M. Tucker writes "... the reality is that the chasm between Calvinists and non-Calvinists still exists in the fundamental understanding of what John 3:16 means"

Indeed, this continues to be a problem. Can two distinctly different views of God's plan of salvation truly co-exist in a single denomination?! Sure, I know that the "Statement" points to a legacy of mixture in the camp on this essential tenet of Christian faith, but New Calvinism has a radically different look and feel to it. The YRR movement continues to proliferate in SBC ranks, as our entities fall to a handful of reformed leaders ... a great disservice to the majority of Southern Baptists in 45,000+ churches.

I realize that our Calvinist brethren are not fans of Charles Finney, but Finney offers wisdom for all Southern Baptists to consider at this juncture. From his book “Revivals of Religion”:

“It is evident that many more churches ‘need’ to be divided. How many there are that hold together, and yet do no good, for the simple reason that they are not sufficiently agreed. They do not think alike, nor feel alike … and while this is so, they never can work together. Unless they can be brought to such a change of views and feelings as will unite them, they are only a hindrance to each other and to the work of God. In many cases they see and feel that this is so, and yet they keep together, conscientiously, for fear a division should dishonor religion, when in fact the division that now exists may be making religion a by-word and reproach.”

Lydia

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gdm95YENyYY&feature=player_embedded

This past Sunday at Sovereign Grace church of Louisville. This person signed the T4G statement AND was on the SBC Unity Comittee.

Dever's words Transcribed:

“What a joy this is. It’s a particular privilege to be here. . . . We know a number of the brothers and sisters involved here. We’re thankful for you all – thankful for the ministry you’ve had in our church over the years. The Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) churches in general that I’ve had to do with have marked fruits of the Spirit in them - more marked than any other group of Christian churches I know of. And I am thankful for that. . . “

Folks, this is sick and why Unity is a pipe dream. Either molested children matter or they don't. Mahaney built a SHEPHERDING EMPIRE that taught reporting molestations to the "ungodly" government was wrong.

Is this where the SBC is headed? Shepherding cult? I think it is.

Max

OK ... I've had it! After 50+ years in Southern Baptist ranks, this is getting too weird for me. Guess I'll start church shopping. Perhaps Presbyterian (whoops, what was I thinking?!) ... Church of Christ (no, couldn't do without a piano) ... Pentecostal (no, there's that "evidence"thing) ... Methodist (do they still shout?). Good Lord! What a mess! Maybe I'll just be a Christian - not go to church, but be the church.

Lydia

http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/people/item/8552-dever-adds-praise-for-c-j-mahaney

ht: Boz Tchividjian tweet

Max, they are sending us a message and it is not about Mahaney. It is: We own this generation of young guys (and some old ones, too). They follow us no matter what we do.

Max

Lydia, your comment "We own this generation of young guys ..." is a heart-breaking statement. From my vantage point of SBC-YRR churches in my area, that appears to be the case. We appear to have largely lost a generation of Southern Baptists to the reformed movement. They take their cue from prominent reformed leaders, both SBC and non-SBC. They wait anxiously for the next Mohler Moment, Driscoll Drivel, or Piper Point. A young Southern Baptist pastor in his 20s-30s who is not reformed is a rare and endangered species (at least in my area). The Pied Piper has done his job and Mohler reinforces the message: “Where else are they going to go? If you’re a theological minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the gospel and want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see gospel built and structured committed churches, your theology is just going to end up basically being Reformed, basically something like this new Calvinism." Can you smell the coffee cooking? The window was open for a moment to deal with this trend, but the Calvinism advisory committee appears to have been a hung jury ... and SBC Mohlerization continues unhindered.

Scott Shaver

Max,

I know how you feel except that me "being the church" would carry even my love for Mullins to an illogical extreme. :)

How bout we just stay in the SBC, keep teaching our kids and others in Sunday school the difference between denominationalism and Christianity (especially with regard to Baptists)?

Develop some more folks like Pete Lumpkins whom God might send as thorns in the flesh for hyper-calvinism and other theological aberrations.

A lot of the younger high-school to mid-twenty leaders in our church want nothing to do with SGM, Mohler, YRR types based on conversations that sprung from, all places, the recent calvin-flavored Sunday School material the church picked up from Lifeway.

Some of the adult teachers for these young people decided to use the material but did not allow the material to dictate their teaching. The material was used instead as an exhibit for teaching students how to discern the "winds and wave of doctrine" from the sufficiency and simplicity of the gospel message.

How many folks in your local church actually buy into the various flavors of garbage being peddled by some of the joint-owners of this mundo bizzaro denominational apparatus?

As long as the galloping creedalism, endless theological rancor, and gnosis of calvinism doesn't trickle into our local fellowships from Nashville or any of it's seminaries (any seminary for that matter), I'm sure our pastor will keep preaching John 3:16 in its rightful context and our members will keep hearing that message with an appreciation for the responsibility and competency of the individual soul in Christ.

We'll still be Baptist, "Southern" if we prefer.

And God help the young or older seminary trained pastor or staff member (regardless of credentials,education,pedigree) who strolls in with an agenda to remake or reconstitute our local fellowship according to his or her own theo-political preference.

SBC still gets our money (some of it), so they'll continue to have to tolerate the views of folks in the pews like me.

The SBC has no teeth nor control over the fellowships which grace it with financial support. This is the bottom line and best rationale IMO for staying Southern Baptist.

Gives me greater appreciaton for the words of Morgan Freeman to the parole board member in The Shawshank Redemption:

"Go ahead Sonny.. sign your forms and stamp your papers, just stop wasting my time."

Mary

Take heart Max, a major blog is pushing for the nomination of a 2nd VP Candidate who thinks we should all enjoy Mixed Martial Arts for the Glory of God, Harry Potter is so great he wrote a whole Bible Study around it, but Veggie Tales is bad, drinking is wrong for him personally but ok in general, and he may after a year get around to researching whether or not he thinks the Trad Statement is Semi Pelegian or not. And oh whenever what has now been acknowledged as fact by the recent Calvinism Committee - that candidates have been deceptive in going into churches - he has always dismissed as conspiracy theory and demanded PROOOOOOF! A real Unity kinda guy who always dismisses anything that's not proCalvinism as crazy tin foil hat conspiracy. LET THE UNITY COMMENCE!

Scott Shaver

Mary:

I must confess I expressed the same sentiment on the blog you reference that I'm about to express here.

Forget the backtracking of Jared Moore on some of the wacky things he's implied including the "Semi-Pelagian" nature of the "Traditional Statement".

This is the first time in my 55 year old life I've seen a self-promoting candidate for an SBC office testing the waters by running campaign interviews on an internet blog site.

Real case of the position seeking the man huh?

Oh Well, good luck Mr On again Off again Cessationist and Champion of All Things Reformed for the goal of Unity.

I remember now why I quit attending SBC annual meetings.

Sheeesh.

j.c. roberts

and don't forget Moore also strongly opposed the "sinner's prayer" on the floor at last year's convention

Mary

Oh JC, I forgot the sinner's prayer! He's vehemently agin it! And I also forgot how he rebuked anyone who thinks Baptism numbers tell us anything about anything because zero baptism is the exact same thing as 1,000! And people are fools for looking at numbers anyway!

Scott, I see he's trying seriously to back peddle on the Trad Statement - it looks like's he's trying to move to Trads aren't heretics but the Statement that the Trads signed is heresy so Trads must just be really dumb and not pay attention when affixing their names to doctrinally statements.

Seriously, he needs a big name like Mark Dever to nominate him. Dever should declare Jared Moore as an example of the fine young leadership we can expect to lead the SBC in the future - "he loves the bloody MMA for the Glory of God! He loves Harry Potter for the Glory of God! Veggie Tales is bad so avoid it for the Glory of God! Drink to the Glory of God! The Sinner's Prayer is bad, bad, bad! Keeping track of Baptism is bad, bad, bad REPENT SINNERS! Trads aren't really heretics but they sure are dumb bless their hearts!" UNITY! Gotta love it!

Scott Shaver

J.C.

What do you mean he "opposed" the sinner's prayer on the floor of the convention?

Mary

Oh Scott! The Calvinists were so pleased with Jared. If Jared still has a blog with archives you should go back in the history and read some of his stuff. He's the Calvinists idea of a "Unity" candidate - just like when Mr. Unity offered a "Unity" resolution last year right after he called Trads heretics. That is a classic. Jared's right up there pretending he wants "Unity" with his history.

Mary

Seriously, if the Calvinists were actually sincere about wanting Unity the first thing they would do is get ahold of Jared Moore and explain that he is not all what is needed in the SBC to promote Unity than they would nominate Eric Hankins since they're all so happy with the Calvinism Report. But since "Unity" is really just code for the Calvinists are taking over and everybody who doesn't like it needs to shut up - it would be a huge shock if even a symbolic move to unity were made.

Jason Mathers

Peter, Im just curious about your thoughts on this. I know he comments here at times. http://sermon.net/jordanhall/sermonid/1200030258

Lydia

Mary, hee hee. Some needs to tell poor Jared about the "Fall". He did not get the memo.

Andrew Barker

Mary, thank's for the link. Jared's diatribe has listed 20 problems Jared has!

Peter, I note it took him until point .18 to get round to Hitler. Good going then! ;-)

Mary

Poor Jared, he's not supposed to have to answer for his past words because now he really wants to be a Unity Candidate and we're all supposed to sing la la la and forget what a jerk he's always been. It's called gothcha now if you ask him to account for his words that he's always so proud of.

And for those who maybe don't know their recent SBC History. Calvinists like Jared referred to the nonCals in the SBC as Arminians - assuming those who denied they were Arminians were just idiots who didn't know what they believed. So for anyone to pretend that they weren't using the term Arminians as a descriptor of NonCalvinists in the SBC back then is - oh how you say? Deceptive?

There were a couple of other interesting titles that came up on Jared's blog when I tried to google but strangely the page no long exists when you click through.

Mary

Isn't it funny how Jared still doesn't offer an opinion on the Trad Statement? Just doesn't have one personally, hasn't had one for a whole year! He's so busy! He's got plenty of time for acknowledging all the atta boys but no time to figure out what the SBC has been talking about for the last year.

Pretty much this demonstrates that nothing has changed in the SBC. Calvinists get to do whatever they want, say whatever they want and they are never ever held accountable - but get defended for the offenses. And the nonCals - they gett put into moderation. How's that for UNITY!

Mary

Here we go, someone found this quote from the Unity Candidate:

Jared Moore of Dr. Adam Harwood
“Denying that Adam’s sin brought guilt to all persons who ever lived…is virtually ‘another gospel’… we must never-the-less state clearly what this denial is – – heresy if not worse” -Jared Moore


Not really sure what's worse than heresy, but hey it's awful nice that the Calvinists have decided they can accept heretics in the SBC as long as they keep sending money!

Max

My mind keeps flipping back to the following line in the advisory committee statement: "... we should approach the Word with both fidelity to the past and readiness for further reformation ..." Since Calvinism is all about "reforming" us to "reformed" theology, perhaps I'm reading more into that quote than I should, but it appears to be an admission that the majority Southern Baptist belief and practice I have know for 50+ years just doesn't cut it and needs to be reformed (?). I've always felt that Southern Baptist witness was focused on a message of "transforming" lives, rather than "reforming" us to a system.

But, then again, I'm a black & white sort of guy and very uncomfortable with gray (compromise, etc.). Speaking of gray, another quote from the report got my attention. Committee member David Landrith: "... there is room for various shades of thought on this topic." I'm sorry folks, but gray is a shade of black in my mind. We need a clear trumpet sound, with one message, one mission to a lost world.

Mary

Turns out Jared does have a position on the Trad Statement:

Jared Moore June 27, 2012 at 1:42 am

Rick, if I signed a statement that said, “God will save His church; therefore, evangelism is not needed.” What would you think. You’d think, “That’s a Hyper-Calvinist statement.” Then, when I told you that I believe evangelism isn’t “needed,” but it’s commanded and God expects His church to evangelize, it may clarify my position, but it doesn’t change the fact that the statement in and of itself is a hyper-Calvinist statement. If clarification isn’t in the document itself, the document says what it means and means what it says.

Why don’t you and the other traditionalists reword your statement better instead of demanding that everyone assume something beyond the statement itself? (Which is what most have done. Most have assumed that the Traditionalists are not semi-pelagians even though the statement contains the language). Why don’t ya’ll change your statement? You crafted it; can you not change it as well? If people on both the Arminian and Calvinist side say it’s semi-pelagian, then reword the statement. Say what you mean in the statement itself.

Max

Since Jared Moore's candidacy for SBC's prestigious 2nd VP slot has been woven into the comment thread, does anyone else remember his photo with a chainsaw at SBC Voices just prior to last year's convention? With a legend indicating that this was what awaited Traditionalists at SBC-New Orleans. Not very Vice Presidential acting, I would say ... nor a display of unity. Scarey actually!

An alert for Traditionalist messengers attending SBC-Houston: let it be known that there will be a reformed Twitter attack just prior to the 2nd VP vote to rally the YRR to scramble back from coffee shops to the convention center to cast their vote for Jared ... a lesson learned from the election of the current 2nd VP.

Scott Shaver

Guess I'll have to spew my cynicism in here.

My comments with regard to the candidacy of Jared the Unifier have me "held in moderation" over at Pravda.

LOL.

Jared still posting and still shredding his internet archive as I write. LOL

Mary

Here's Jared Moore on the Sinner's Prayer:

http://sbcvoices.com/is-the-sinners-prayer-the-magical-formula-that-converts-the-soul-nope/

Although I am an evangelical Southern Baptist, I believe the Sinner’s Prayer is NOT essential; and should be viewed as detrimental to the salvation and growth of Christians

Scott Shaver

It's a joke. IMO

The SBC is a cosmic gag reel. All this marginalizing and labeling and name-calling and money down rat holes for the purpose of deciding which group of preacher/professors with their attendant theological preferences get to be denominational kings, mouthpieces and high-salaried employees?

Meanwhile, millions of non-SBC-messenger types who live, worship and serve in local Baptist churches don't have a clue as to what their preachers, denominational agencies and seminaries are contending for. The ever-evolving treatises, peace reports and confessional statements serve only to exacerbate the collective madness.

In a nutshell and for the most part, up and coming SBC leaders are contending for themselves first, their theologies second, their retirements third ... and I have no idea where the general spiritual welfare of normal Baptist people fit into their list of priorities other than needing money.

I realize now why some of my more liturgical friends used to refer to our Southern Baptist denomination as "Byzantine" in its operation.

Also apparent is the reason why the numbers of SBC messengers to its annual meetings have decreased to the point where you could rent a local Elks Lodge to accommodate the crowd.

I've heard low attendance explained away by SBC leaders as a result of the CR wars concluding so that peace reigns in the denomination.

Hogwash!

Looks to me like there will be a war going on as long as the SBC stands. When you've finally expelled all enemies of God and His Word from your ranks, more can be created as needed from within the ranks. This seems to be the DNA of the SBC.

In what way does the SBC really attempt to model Christ's high priestly prayer for his followers in the eyes of the world?

Give me just one example.

They can call this Christianity until frogs sprout wings but it still smells like dung to a lot of us, theologically orthodox or not.

When God becomes so small and vulnerable that "men of high intellect and impeccable character" have to start beating up and denigrating other Christians as heretics in order to defend Him, our theologies need some serious overhaul.

In short, I would rather be labeled a heretic than to "unify" with the current SBC mindset.

Mary

Peter, you know better than me how to read these types of reports:

http://blog.lifeway.com/factsandtrends/2013/06/05/number-of-sbc-churches-increased-last-year-members-attendance-and-baptisms-declined/#.Ua-vjIl5mc1

It seems to me that in this past decade as Calvinism has risen and we've pushed forward these wonderful young leaders that the SBC has been in decline. One wonders what happens in the next year when more and more people get fed up with the continued Calvinization of the SBC and if the SBC is actually going to appoint someone like Jared Moore as 2nd VP - you wonder how many just throw up their hands and give up.

Lydia

I am starting to think the sBC needs to pass out red pills at the next convention. We are in an alternative universe. Just a year ago, they sky was falling over the Trad statement. Not only did the YRR take the Trad statement as a PERSONAL offense but it was declared heretical in semi varying ways. It seemed to be a personal afront to the YRR followers that there were actually Baptists who were ALLOWED to disagree with their great movement and leaders. They had never heard of such a dastardly thing!

If you are not sure about this, go read some of the early threads at SBCToday during and after the Trad statement was released. Some of those voices are now claiming unity and brotherly love and none seem to remember their own divisive and quite frankly condescending and down right mean comments!. It is as if it never happened! That is just plain creepy.

And, as Matt Redmond noted (Reformed blogger) that since the T4G and TGC statements on Mahaney, there is a whole lot of deletin goin on all over in the YRR movement.

Have we entered sociopath world? In other words, we are all supposed to pretend the last 6 years or so never happened and join hands in kumbaya. And if you don't, if you are leery then you are an "extremist" and "divisive". That ridiculous charge has already started over at Pravda by one of the worst offenders in the early Trad statement days! Now it is all brotherly love.

Is repentence not needed in YRR land because you are totally depraved even Born Again, so fake is expected? Is it as Mary has declared for a long time that being Calvinist means never having to say you are sorry? (Or wrong?) I mean if they are willing to have unity now, what changed? Are they merely overlooking heresy or decided it is now not a big deal? (Actually, they do whatever their leaders do. They are not known for independent thinking)

I am telling you all that movement has deep psychological problems and it comes from the top. We are talking moral relativism and situational ethics dressed up as sound doctrine. No thanks. The only way I play in that world is if it is secular and I am paid enough to deal with it without compromising my integrity. But as a believer? I quit doing fake Christianity years ago. Al Mohler is NOT going to represent my beliefs to the world as the SBC.

I am very disappointed there are not enough men in the SBC who have the bravery and courage to stand up to him concerning his T4G statement concerning Mahaney. What are they scared of or perhaps they agree with him that not reporting molestations and hiding behind the 1st Amendment to protect child molesters is a good thing?

Curtis

As a Calvanist we all agree on the main thing sharing the gospel. How it is recevied is where the diffirence comes in. So I say we go forward sharing and in the end the result whether you are Calvanist or Non Calvanist is not up to us but God. If you win them they are still lost. God must change them.

Max

Scott Shaver writes "Looks to me like there will be a war going on as long as the SBC stands."

In my humble (but accurate) opinion, Scott is right. I have been a Southern Baptist for 50+ years. I have observed countless battles - flesh not spirit. From local church brawls to denominational wars, the world knows SBC as the bunch that are always fighting about something. It has become one of the most unholy, cantankerous institutions on the planet!

This thing has taken on a character of itself, rather than the nature of Christ. More church folks show up for contentious business meetings and chicken dinners, than prayer meetings. Count them! Our fusses range from color of the carpet to color of the preacher. Worse still - when some poor struggling seaman, lost and dying in the waters of this world, navigates himself to the "church", he is snubbed by the whole bunch: "I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me - refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul."

The "C" battle may very well be our last before our candlestick is removed. If there is no movement to a solemn assembly to repent and pray in Houston, count us down and out. I realize we silenced their voice long ago, but Southern Baptists could sure use a prophet at this juncture to point a boney finger in our face with a call to "Repent or else!"

Scott Shaver

Holy Grail for SBC hyper calvinists is the same as it was for Paige and the judge.

Seminaries and church planting agencies.

Paige and the judge got a little more than they bargained for in their alliance with extreme calvinism.

They can talk about unity all they want. One side or the other is gonna have to lose in this deal.

Regardless of what the Calvinism report suggests that can be agreed upon in principle by both sides, Hyper calvinists have no apparent theological or personal issues with lack of principle.

Again their goal is control and dominance at the local church level regardless of what they sign or agree to.

Scott Shaver

You sound kinda like one to me Max. Wouldn't wish it on anybody though.

Being in the pulpit for 20 years and in the pew for the last 10 has given me a completely different perspective on a lot of this stuff.

Folks in the pews are having a hard enough time sifting through all the commercial products coming out of the SBC, they don't have time to read their confessions, revisions, reports on top of the other "tools and aides".

Mary

Scottie, Scottie, Scottie, (shaking my head) you've been playing over at Pravda and they really don't appreciate it. See the rules are the Calvinists have had a zegatrillion blogs over these last many years where they have said pretty much whatever they want - they call people heretics, they make all kinds of parodies about how dumb everyone except the Calvinists are, they caricature what everyone who isn't a Calvinist believe etc. etc. And you know what else they do Scottie? They talk about how the SBC needs to become a completely new SBC in order for them to continue to grace us with their prescense They're like political liberals who claim to love America but it needs to be completely destroyed before it's acceptable to them. The SBC has to become all the things it's not been to be acceptable to the Calvinists - drinking, tongues speaking - just fill in the blank everthing the SBC has traditionally been is now bad and Calvinists love to ridicule those who think the SBC ever was anything good before they started their takeover. They have to destroy what most of us know about the SBC in order to save it and so the projection that when someone doesn't get on board their save the SBC by destroying and making it into something new band wagon they attack with "YOU HATE THE SBC WHY DON'T YOU LEAVE" Which if anybody's keeping score it's always the Calvinists pulling the Why don't you just leave card. Because you're not supposed to have an opinion except the approved by Calvinist opinion. So the rules are Calvinists can have a zegatrillion blogs where they say anything they want and the Trads/nonCals will have their blogs vilified because they are not approved content of the Calvinists Party! Just look at the meltdown of a couple of Cals over at SBC Today because somebody posted an historical article about the Puritans killing a woman for dissent. These Cals are modern day Puritans - there will be no dissent. LET THE MARGINLAZATION BEGIN FOR THE SAKE OF UNIT TO THE PARTY! (Anybody notice that it's the Calvinists who are giddy with the ideal that somehow they're going to shut people up?)

Lydia

FYI-T4G revised the statement defending Mahaney AFTER they took it off facebook and posted it to their site. Here is a synopsis:

http://boarsheadtavern.com/2013/06/02/36868/#more-36868

On the SGM situation and statements — I don’t have much to add that hasn’t already been said by Chris, Bill Kinnon, Internet Monk, and assorted other blog outlets. I did find it interesting (and if it’s been mentioned elsewhere and I missed it, please forgive me) that Dever, Mohler and Duncan altered their statement when they migrated it from Facebook to the T4G website. Thankfully, Bill Kinnon had the opportunity (and foresight) to Evernote the original Facebook post. Here’s the paragraph in question, first from Facebook (Kinnon’s Evernote capture) and then later from T4G’s website:


A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry. No such accusation of direct wrongdoing was ever made against C. J. Mahaney. Instead, he was charged with founding a ministry and for teaching doctrines and principles that are held to be true by vast millions of American evangelicals. For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way. We do not regret that decision. We are profoundly thankful for C. J. as friend, and we are equally thankful for the vast influence for good he has been among so many Gospel-minded people. [emphasis added]

Here is the change:
A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry. We believe this lawsuit failed that test. For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way. We do not regret that decision. We are profoundly thankful for C. J. as friend, and we are equally thankful for the vast influence for good he has been among so many Gospel-minded people. [emphasis added]

The “teaching doctrines and principles” bit is the part that really stood out to me in the original. It hearkened back to what Mohler said in the days immediately after the SGM story originally broke publicly in July 2011. From the Louisville Courier-Journal (and for some reason, block quote isn’t working):

“Any time you’re going to take on the role of leadership, you’re going to have critics” Mohler also supported Sovereign Grace’s highly centralized leadership structure in its churches, with “very strong pastoral direction” and internal discipline.“It’s something clearly called for in the New Testament,” he said. Mohler said he knew this practice has had online critics for years. “Basically there are people who are very uncomfortable with the strong kind of spiritual direction that comes through the Sovereign Grace Ministries,” Mohler said. “It’s very hard to criticize it on biblical terms, as you’ll see on most of those Web sites. It basically comes down to the criticism, ‘I don’t like that.’”

David Fitch (see here) and a commenter over at Internet Monk 28 May SGM discussion (“Miguel”) have hit the nail on the head. This is dividing evangelicals, including conservative evangelicals, along existing fault lines re: church discipline, pastor/laity relations and authority in the local church. And when you talk about authority in the local church in conservative evangelicalism, you’re often talking about the authority of the chief pastor-theologian. Which also means that, in many cases, you’re talking about celebrity and branding (and books and conferences). Hence, authority questions in the local church can have significant brand knock-on effects.

Scott Shaver

Mary:

You've caught me red-handed.

Check out the J.D. Hall meltdown against Dave Miller and Jerod Moore in the early morning hours of 6/7 over at Pravda.

Its a real gem of a case study for those in a pickle trying to figure out how much Calvinism they would like to ingest.

peter lumpkins

Lydia,

Thanks for the heads up. I just posted a piece on this. I've meant to stay tuned but VBS at church this week has had my hears...and hands...and feet..and, well just about everything! These kids are the best...

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