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Jan 27, 2014

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Max

"Christ and His Apostles did not persecute; neither does the true church of Christ."

Says it all ... the plumb line which should measure the actions of all Christians. Trying to justify Calvin's treatment of Servetus in the context of time and place is a futile excuse by modern day hero worshippers of the man and his teachings. The Apostles themselves put it this way:

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere" (James 3:17). "He that saith he abideth in him (Christ) ought himself also so to walk, even as he (Christ) walked" (1 John 2:6).

Chosen before the foundation of the world? Certainly! – “that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4) … Predestined? You better believe it! – “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29) … Called? Yep! – “to walk worthy of your calling” (Eph. 4:1). Thus, we have been saved with a purpose in mind and that doesn’t include persecution of believers whose theology is contrary to ours. Love has been the test of the true church and individual churchmen within it from the first century forward. Love never fails.

Nate

"Thus, we have been saved with a purpose in mind and that doesn’t include persecution of believers whose theology is contrary to ours. Love has been the test of the true church and individual churchmen within it from the first century forward. Love never fails."

This is true, yet failure is everywhere and with everyone, including the forefathers or those who disassociate themselves from Calvin and are repulsed by his sinfulness in the death of Servetus. Or need we merely mention the formation of the SBC and the hideous, murderous, sinful, and racist history of the denomination?

And there are many who attempt to excuse the SBC's past while reminding Calvinists of Servetus' murder. History is replete with the sinfulness of men, Calvinists and non-Calvinists, Presbyterians and Southern Baptists alike.

Take the plank out of your own eye and you can see clearly to get the speck out of your brother's.

Servetus is a blot on Calvin, no doubt. The formation and existence of the SBC in its first decades is no less a blot.

peter lumpkins

Nate,

I don't think either Max or this post argues slave ownership of early Baptists in the south is morally acceptable which appears to be the implication you're making. I've more than once alluded to its atrocity. There is clear argument, however, made by many Calvinists that Calvin's behavior with Servetus can be effectively attributed to his being a "child of the times" so to speak. We deny this and will continue denying this by posting more judicial renderings of John Calvin's murderous behavior against heretics.

Nate

I wasn't implying that Max was saying that, so Max, if you thought that, I apologize.

Peter, I also don't deny that some (not sure what you think "many" is) Calvinist's want to excuse Calvin in the Servetus matter. And I think it is good to remind folks of this. However, I think you have beaten this one to death, pun intended.

My response to Max was that I agreed wholeheartedly with his statement about what believer's are to be about. My reminder about our SBC heritage was merely to point out that our hands are not clean either, and you Peter, could, just as easily, start posting article after article about our SBC forefather's who justified what happened to blacks in the South and why the SBC defended it.

I guess in the end, I'm getting bored with your pummeling of Calvin about Servetus. But hey, it's your blog.

peter lumpkins

Nate,

Thanks. I can appreciate your point about being bored with my supposed "pummeling" of the issue. But from my side of the pond, since I've only posted 6 pieces mentioning Servetus, two of which were actually quotes of others without commentary, coupled against a background of 6 prior years of blogging in which, so far as I recall, I never really mentioned Servetus in any serious way, not to mention the virtual silence of any other SBC blogger taking up Calvin and Servetus, I think we're operating under slightly different nuances of what "pummeling" means.

I continue to appreciate your readership nonetheless. Lord bless...

lydiasellerofpurple

"My reminder about our SBC heritage was merely to point out that our hands are not clean either, and you Peter, could, just as easily, start posting article after article about our SBC forefather's who justified what happened to blacks in the South and why the SBC defended it."

Nate, I am glad you brought up our Founders. Who were they and what was their doctrinal foundation? The same foundation of those who have been asserting the SBC's need to return to our "founder" roots.

Do you not see the connection? Have you not read up on the beliefs of, say Boyce, as one example for whom we named a college after?

Why anyone would want to return to the beliefs of our Founders I cannot imagine. It is something we moved on from for a good reason: The determinist god they believed in and founded the SBC on was not on their side after all.

Max

"The formation and existence of the SBC in its first decades is no less a blot."

Nate, I couldn't agree more. As author Bruce Gourley says in his book Diverging Loyalties: Baptists in Middle Georgia During the Civil War, "the Calvinism that caused many Baptists to view the war as God’s providential hand guiding the Southern cause waned as early victories turned to defeat." Sovereign God did not predetermine and bless racism nor the persecution of believers with contrary doctrinal belief, whether it be by the hands of a great denomination or an idolized theologian.

Praise God that Southern Baptists repented of racial sin and moved forward. There are now 4,000+ SBC churches pastored by African Americans. The world is a better place when Christians exercise their free will to make God's will their own.

Nate

Lydia,

If you believe that the only racists in the SBC were Calvinist founders, you need to wake up from your dream. The SBC was still, well into the Jim Crow era, in many areas of the South, still segregated and hostile towards those who weren't.

Again, you simply making my point that we are all prejudiced to some level and that it is very easy to cast stones at others believing ourselves to be without sin.

As Max noted, praise God that there are now 4,000+ SBC churches pastored by blacks, but this has only taken place in the recent past, not prior to Jim Crow. Calvinist and Traditional Southern Baptists share equally in our racist past.

peter lumpkins

Nate,

Drop the issue pertaining to racism please. I've been very clear we do not and have not attempted to cover over it. Nor have we here suggested any defense concerning it. I've explained to you why I brought up the issue of Servetus to begin with. Many Calvinists themselves defend Calvin by suggesting he was a "man of his times," implying we should not be too hard on him. Unless you can make that analogous with what I've argued here, I'm unsure what you're trying to communicate by continuing this line of exchange.

Nate

Peter, I was not insinuating anything against your post, rather Lydia's insinuations concerning SBC history and heritage. I will desist from commented on this post anymore, but I do think that Lydia (and Max) deserved the same "drop the issue" from you since they were the ones who jumped on my comment and implied that only Calvinist founders in the SBC were guilty of racism.

My post, in response to Lydia, was not against you and I wasn't stating that you were trying to cover up anything.

Have a good evening.

peter lumpkins

Thanks Nate!

dr. james willingham

Lydia, I would not talk, if I were you. The Roman Catholic list of atrocities amounts to more than a 1000 years of horrendous crimes of torture and murder by the most heinous means of multitudes of people. As one who has studied the history of the Inquisition (not just the Spanish Inquisition), I must say it is one of grisly horror. That institution of the Vatican was world wide in scope, wherever Catholicism was in control as far as I have been able to determine. By comparison Calvin does not amount to very much (though what he did was just as detestable as what the Catholics did). Even within the past century (early years of the 1900s) the father of a friend of mine was tortured by being placed in an Iron Maiden, an invention of your denomination's institution, the Inquisition. And if things do not go to suit some Catholics as in Missouri, they will threaten physical violence against those who vote contrary to their wishes as happened in the case of members of the church I pastored (who even passed out the Catholic literature on the issue...which was not reciprocated by the Catholics at their church). Sorry, but I ain't impressed, as the saying goes.

Lydia

Dr. W,

I am not claiming there were not horrible atrocities committed by the Catholic church historically. I totally agree about that. What I cannot understand is why there is this need to bring up Rome's evils when Protestant Reformation evils are mentioned? Do you think Rome's evils cancels the Protestant ones out?

Might I remind you of the protection of child molesters in the "Reformed" movement?

My kids try it with me all the time. "Bobby did it more, mom". I don't buy it from them either.

Instead of pointing fingers to who is worse, why don't we clean our house up?

Bill Mac

Lydia: I think Dr. J is mistakenly assuming that you are Roman Catholic.

Patrick

"Might I remind you of the protection of child molesters in the "Reformed" movement?"

Hmmmm....I'm not sure there's really an actual connection between those two items. I completely understand that you'd like for there to be one, and I'm sure you probably see one, but in the rational, real world, I have my doubts.

Andrew Barker

Dr. Willingham, your comments do not bear close inspection. Since when has the 'number' of wrongs been the issue as far as scripture is concerned? Surely, it is whoever has broken one or the least of these commandments who is guilty, is it not? And quite what the relative of a friend in the Iron Maiden, whom you have mentioned twice now, has to do with this is beyond me. There's plenty of ammunition if you wish to bash the Catholic church. If you want some more, look at the way the Irish nuns treated orphaned children in the fifties and sixties. But before you sound off, just remember the saga with SGM and what may or may turn out to be seen as the worst case of child abuse in the history of the evangelical church. All done on Reformed ground by followers of Calvin! Do you really think this balances it out a bit!

Frankly, whether or not you are impressed is hardly the issue.

Andrew Barker

PS I forgot to say "The Pope may be Catholic, but I don't think Lydia is" ! :-) LOL

Scott Shaver

Dr. Willingham:

If you're interested in sampling the modern-day equivalent of the religious rhetoric which led to the friend of your father's appointment with an iron maiden....check out the insights of your buddies Hall and Phelps at Pulpit and Pen.

I don't hear Catholics talking like this.

Lydia

Patrick,

The connection is: Enabling and excusing evil in the name of Jesus.

Lydia

"Lydia: I think Dr. J is mistakenly assuming that you are Roman Catholic"

Hee Hee. I can add another one to my repertoire of labels from the Reformed/Calvin wing:

Arminian
I am really a Calvinist but don't know it
Semi Pelagian
The full monty Pelagian
Open Theist
Now: Roman Catholic

I am one busy gal. :o)

Dan

Gee, I read in couple of histories, and heard from a few seminary professors, that Michael Servetus was condemned as a heretic by both Catholics and Protestants (Calvin was NOT the sole judge, jury and executioner)and that Calvin intereceded for a form of execution not as painful as burning at the stake. The details are important, some might argue. BTW, I am not defending Calvin, only pleading for 'the rest of the story', as Pual Harvey would say.

peter lumpkins

Dan,

 

I’m afraid you’re much too late for the party—see here, here, and here.

Lord bless

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