« Finally!: The Truth About Conservative Christians | Main | Professor Roger Olson: An Interview »

2006.10.19

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Scott

Hi Peter,

I have followed the Caner-White-Ascol debate as well as the other dialogs in the SBC regarding Calvinism with some amusement and much disappointment. For the sake of full disclosure you should know that I have held to the historical Calvinist view of salvation for 30 years, and I have never belonged to or regularly attended a SBC church.

First, I have been shocked and dismayed at how brothers in Christ have treated each other. I level this criticism at both camps. Sarcasm and name calling are commonplace. Speculating about someone's intentions, frequently assuming the worst is par for the course. Second, I have been disappointed with how many non-Calvinists portray Calvinist theology. I don't know if it is done out of ignorance, a mean spirit, fear, or something else. Third, some Calvinist brethren seem intent on responding to every misstatement or slight. It reminds me of children fighting. Fourth, I am amused at how the non-Calvinist leadership in the SBC has responded to their reformed brethren. There is a scriptural response to Calvinism (I don't happen to agree with it), but instead of adequately interacting with Scripture and Calvinist exegesis, many resort to misrepresenting Calvinism. Of course, some may say that Calvinist SBCers are guilty of the same charge.

Consider me discouraged and frustrated.

Scott

selahV

Regarding "Attacks On Jerry Vines": I am honored to call you brother, Dr. Peter Lumpkins. I predict a hailstorm of comments. Maybe not here, but throughout the blogsites. Which brings me to my site's first posting. IS IT ME? God's grace be upon all who seek to honor Christ with words to come on any site. Are we SBC'rs going to have to set up a pulpit patrol that deciphers every word of sermons from each autonomous church? Do we need to have each leader bugged by the CIA in order to know when he hiccups, sighs, or prays? God have mercy upon us all...and I mean "all" as in every Christian believer...Calvinist or otherwise. SelahV

volfan007

peter,

you are my new hero! i listened to dr. vine's sermon and thought it was excellent. right on target.

what ascol and the other five point bloggers are doing to him about this sermon is exactly what they do all the time. nit pick and criticize and cause fights. i for one really do wish that all those who are into "five point, regenerated before you're saved" crowd would either start thier own denomination, or else join the presbyterians.

from the hills of tn,

volfan007

selahV

volfan: Where have you been? Sorry, brother. I don't wish what you wish. I pray for a knee bending, PPPL(private-public-prayer-language), Holy Ghost cleansing of Pentacostal proportions within the souls of the Bride. May we all examine ourselves a bit closer in light of His holy word. SelahV

FSUChris

With all due respect, it was not the "exegesis" that was a misrepresentation, it was all of the anectdotal strawmen and equating Calvinists with hyper-Calvinists. That's what was upsetting about the sermon. Also, Tom Ascol was very quick to point out that he was criticizing the message and not the man. Only Scripture is above scrutiny.

peter

Dear Scott,

Thank you for posting here, Scott, and I do appreciate your candid comment. I feel similarly to you. I am amazed sometimes that we cannot seem to accept one another based upon our spiritual commonality around not only the Cross in particular but the BF&M in general.

My big concern is, at least from my vantage point, that others must have some wiggle room to express how they see particular views--especially views I hold-- whether or not I feel it is accurate or not. That does not mean I cannot put forward a defense of my view. I think it does mean, however, that I possess no obligation either to myself or to my Lord to always vindicate what view I happen to hold. Somewhere I read "vengeance is mine, saith the LORD."

As for the ignorance of Calvinism, that SBCers possess, my Brother Scott, perhaps you are right. I'm not as sure though as you appear to be. From my reacquaintance into the issue, I am convinced that many Baptist Calvinists haven't a clue that there happens to be a very convinicng body of scholarship which exists that capably challenges the Calvinistic paradigm--indeed a capable scholarship beginning with Jacob Arminius himself. Thus that blade cuts double.

I personally am not anti-Calvinistic. I possess no innate desire to overthrow or censor Calvinists from SBC life. Why would I? Calvinists have been a major piece of the SBC pie from the beginning. What Calvinists cannot seem to understand or perhaps accept--at least the Calvinists with whom I have had considerable dialog--is that the SBC, for the most part, is non-Calvinist. It seems Lifeway just recently demonstrated such through their study. But even more importantly, the SBC, it seems to me, remains absolutely disinterested in embracing the 19th Calvinism of Boyce and company. One can call that awful, dreadful, heretical or whatever, but, it surely strikes me as being consistent with what is.

I trust you have a peace-filled evening, Scott. With that, I am...

Peter

peter

SelahV

Thank you my sister. And, I do not know if many will pick up the piece or not. Those things are hard to predict. But, I trust a voice of dissent may be offered in the midst of continued antagonism.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

peter

Volfan,

I am glad you stopped by. Hope the hills are lovely this autumn...

As for Calvinists leaving, my Brother Volfan, who would you have to cuss at? :)

Actually, I would think it painful for the SBC if they did leave--at least that's my view. From the beginning, there has been Calvinistic churches within the SBC. Indeed, we have lived together since 1845 with Calvinists and non-Calvinists.

But overwhelming, the SBC is decidedly NOT Calvinistic now--at least as Calvinistic as our Founders brothers would like. Every version of the BF&M--which, by the way, happens to be the ONLY confession of Southern Baptists-- surely can be read as MILDLY Calvinistic at best.

One must travel back in time prior to 1845 to get Baptistic confessions of NON-Southern Baptist Baptists, many of which were heavily Calvinistic.

Which, of course, is precisely the reason why London, Philly and other confessions are perpetually placed before us by our Founders' community as if those earlier confessions represent Southern Baptists more than Southern Baptist confessions--beginning in 1925--do today .

Oh well. Have a great evening Volfan. with that, I am...

Peter

Jim Porter

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was following some of the dialog at founders.org. I hesitated to post ... the site gets "intense" at times. As for me, I'm not SBC, I attend a Calvary Chapel. Personally, I'm studying salvation theology right now. Do you think Dr. Vine's section pertaining to "God's Character" alluded to the "Is God fair" issue? It seems he was just trying to say ... is this consistent with God's character as revealed from scripture.

In Christ ...

peter

Dear Brother Chris,

Thank you for taking the time to post here. Welcome.

First, my Brother Chris, I did not know I said Dr. Ascol persoanlly attacked Dr. Vines. The closest I came was this statement: "...the swipes at Dr. Vines from the Calvinist community for his sermon..." If that upset you, my Chris, I'm sure glad I did not write what I thought to write but didn't :)

Secondly, I think you need to go back and read Dr. Ascol's "passing thoughts" again. You must have missed where he wrote Dr. Vines' sermon constituted a "complete misrepresentation of the theological heritage of the Southern Baptist Convention and the theological convictions of thousands of Southern Baptist pastors..." In addition, you must have missed the alternate expositions Dr. Ascol offered and critique of Dr. Vines' analogies.

Oh, by the way, Chris my Brother, Dr. Ascol did indeed bring up "hyper-calvinism" in his post but he did not charge Dr. Vines as you have done with skewing it with historic Calvinism--at least where I can see.

Finally, Chris, this is just my observation--but it is my observation--when it gets to the point in the conversation when the shibboleth reply is "that's just a strawman!", I feel sure the dialog is over assuming it has ever begun.

Have a good evening my Brother. Stop in any time. And, I trust you'll be gracious in your anaylsis you post of Dr. Vines' sermon.

With that, I am...

peter

peter

Dear Jim,

Welcome. Always feel you may comfortably post here, my Brother. Consider it a "sanctuary" in the blogdom, if you will.

While we surely desire here rigorous dialog, I do attempt to maintain a standard that avoids the notorious exchanges one unfortuantely finds on so many sites.

As for the section Dr. Vines mentioned pertaining to God's character, I with you am unsure he wanted to addres the "unfair" protest so commonly raised in non-Calvinist circles against Unconditional Predestination.

Rather, I think Dr. Vines with you are dead-on about God's Character being in question if Unconditional Predestination--especially of the Reprobate--is Scripturally interpreted in such a way as to understand that God created an entire race of people made in His image for the specific purpose of damning them to Hell for eternity.
That was Calvin's "horrible decree" and a major issue brought against strict Calvinism from the very beginning, starting with Jacob Arminius himself.

As John Wesley purportedly said, if that is God's love, it is the kind of love that makes one's blood run cold. For non-Calvinists, it really is about God's character...God's love.

We have here several other posts, Jim, that may be of interest to you in your study. Perhaps your friends may desire to read them.
Know they too are welcome.

May peace be yours this evening, my Brother. With that, I am...

Peter

selahV

Hey Volfan: Been giving your suggestion about switching to Presbyterian faith some thought. Do you know if they have a website I could visit? selahV

Debbie Kaufman

Just a couple of corrections Peter. First monergism.com and John Piper are not Presbyterians. The only one is RC Sproul and if memory serves me we do have a Presbyterian minister who is involved in the SBC. Southern Baptists were even a thought in the early beginnings of the church We are not an island unto ourselves.

Secondly, I did not chide Jerry Vines. I gave accurate facts from the sermon as I was listening. I listened to it twice to make sure that I gave the correct information which I believe I did.

It's interesting that those who do not agree or believe Calvinism tell those of us who do what we believe. I know what I believe and why.What we say we believe is all that we believe with nothing hidden which is why I posted the sites that I did.

Debbie Kaufman

Correction: That should be Southern Baptists were not even a thought in the early beginnings of the church.

Debbie Kaufman

Forgive me another post and this will be my last. This is not going to develop into an open war as far as those such as myself is concerned. My point and the point of others is that both the view you hold and the view I hold can cooperate together and agree to disagree. This isn't a takeover on any point either PPL or Calvinism or moderation etc. This is about cooperation. This is about the missionaries not a war that some seem itching to have.

Jim Porter

Debbie mentions Eph 2:8 at her site. I've seen exegesis that says "gift" refers to salvation and others say "gift" refers to faith. Which is correct?

peter

Debbie,

I trust your day is going well. Thank you for taking the time to post here. Unfortunately, Debbie, you may have not remembered your post. Let me refresh your memory, if you don't mind, my sister.

You write: "Listen closely to the misinformation Dr. Vines gives..." and: "it saddened me that there was wrong information mixed with correct information as well as his ending statement" and: "I would just ask that one be accurate in their arguments" and finally; "With the availability of information there should be no reason not to describe accurately other doctrines and build one's arguments based on the truth of those facts."

I hope now, my sister Debbie, you can remember what you posted. Thus, my use of the term "chide" which, by the way, simply means "admonish", "reprove" "correct", etc. So if you were not attempting to set the record straight by offering some legitimate sites where solid info could be gleaned for Calvinism, I am at a complete loss as to the nature of your post.

Which, of course, brings me to the second thing correction to me. You write: "First monergism.com and John Piper are not Presbyterians". I obviously agree that Piper is not a Presbyterian. But then I wasn't refering to him. I was refering to not only Sproul but especially monergism.com, which, for the record, Debbie, is a site managed by the Presbyterian, John Hendryx. Indeed I had monergism.com in mind as I penned what I did for the simply reason that you specifically said of Mr. Hendryx's site: "The Q&A on monergism is full of questions and answers that are honest and to the point..."

So, Debbie, I do appreciate your corrections here. However, I do not at all see how I misstated your posts.

Finally, Debbie, for the record, it is not non-Calvinists in the SBC who have websites specifically geared toward persuading Calvinists to abandon their belief. If there are those, please my sister, steer me toward them for I would enjoy checking them out.

May His grace be yours. With that, I am...

Peter

Debbie Kaufman

I do remember well my entire post and I would not use the word chide. Dr. Vines did misrepresent Calvinism and I pointed this out.

I also know who runs monergism. My point is that his site does not just contain articles or material by Presbyterians. Sorry if I did not make that clear. Thank you for allowing me to comment, but I will not be commenting any further. I stand by my words and my posts here. No more needs to be said by me.

Kelly

I will be brief in my comments. To begin, I am an ex-Southern Baptist raised in the denomination for close to 20 years. For 14 years prior to this, my parents raised me in a Pentecostal background. I know the freewill argument well. I say that to preface what I am about to say.

I have been a long time supporter of Dr. Vines until I heard his talk on the subject of Calvinism. I was quite disheartened by his misrepresentation of what we believe and I was not at all surprised by the congregation’s willingness to embrace these misrepresentations as truth. I mentioned that I am an ex-Southern Baptist earlier. 15 years ago, the Lord began dealing with me on my beliefs about His nature, character, and attributes in light of salvation. I believed that God was powerful enough to change me, save me, and keep me unto salvation but I did not believe Him powerful enough to elect me without having first known that I would choose Him. , that all changed 5 years ago. In brief, I embraced the doctrines of grace and not with the help of Calvin, Spurgeon, Gill, Piper or any other known “Calvinist”. Rather I embraced the doctrines of grace from an intense attempt to prove the Sovereignty of God in salvation as known to reformed teaching as being wrong. It was God’s election of Abram, Isaac, Jacob, Paul, Lydia, and the study of the Passover and the Pascal lamb in light of an extensive study in John’s Gospel and Genesis that God instrumented to bring me to a point where I submitted to this truth.

I have been up front with every church, pastor, deacon, and brother in Christ with whom I have contact as to my being reformed in my views. This being one of the comments that Dr. Vines makes concerning us and to paraphrase him loosely he alluded that we are sometimes tricksters who seek to enter a church under false guise and change what they believe. I do not have the sermon available right in front of me to quote him word for word. In the last five years, I have had family disown me, friends quit speaking with me, and fellow brothers in Christ lie about me with whom I thought I had a good relationship and all of this because of their fear of what I believe. I will say this, I am open with people as to my beliefs but I am not overbearing as some of my likeminded brothers can be. Nevertheless, I am still ostracized because I believe in the Sovereignty of God in Salvation, that is I believe that the God who can and has called me into existence, created me in His image, appointing a time for my conception, birth, and death is also sovereign enough to appoint me unto salvation. This is but one epiphany, if you will, that came from my studies of God‘s divine attributes.

In April of this year, I reluctantly and with deep sorrow stepped away from my long held Southern Baptist tradition because of the intolerance toward what we who embrace the doctrines of Grace believe. I am not here to sway people one way or the other. I am here to say that I was sickened to the point of tears for how greatly this man of God mishandled the Word of God to prove his own point. He even went to the point of accusing us of certain things without providing names and proofs of what we are alleged to believe. In short, it reminded me of what occurred in the inquisitions and the Salem witch trials. That may sound harsh to some but for us who know what we believe we know that we have been and will continue to be misrepresented by those who fear or do not understand what we believe. I said that I would be brief and for a pastor, this possibly is

I am saddened deeply and disheartened by the visceral hatred that many Southern Baptists have for us who are reformed and I am a man with out a home because of it,
Kelly B. David
Lead Pastor
Sovereign Grace Reformed Baptist Church
Olympia, Washington

peter

Dear Kelly,

Thank you Kelly for sharing a portion of your story here. I understand somewhat of being abandonded by others for standing on something one has deeply come to believe.

As for being "sickened" by Dr. Vines "misrepresentation" of Calvinism, I fear, my Brother Kelly, your mind's well must be poisoned either because Dr. Vines is a Southern Baptist which you admit you left behind or because Dr. Vines actually does not see what you see in Scripture.

As I stated in my post, the Calvinist community is getting to the point that no one at all can bring any disagreement to Calvinist doctrine without the standard charge of "they don't understand" or "they misrepresent" or" they make strawman arguments", which is beginning to bring simply yawns from non-Calvinists such as myself.

I have had my own critics who have flung the same charges of misunderstanding at me, that I "misunderstood Calvinism". Perhaps I do. But it is not because I have not tried to understand the doctrines of grace, having embraced them for virtually all my spiritual journey up until only recently, relatively speaking.

I still retain much of my Calvinist leanings but no longer am I joined at the hip to systematic Calvinism. Nor do I interpret the DsG as do Baptist Calvinists. By the way, for that I am "shunned" by the Calvinist community.

For the record once again. While Dr. Vine, in my view, was mistaken on some historical data--at least the way I read the history and would invite dialog with him about that; Maybe I AM THE ONE MISTAKEN--nevertheless, he definitively did not misrepresent Calvinism at the core of its teachings. Calvinists should be mindful of that.

As for your new, heritage, my Brother Kelly, I wish you the best in it. However, Southern Baptists will have to make their own way. For now, unhappily for strict Calvinists, the SBC is not going to whoheartedly embrace their reformed belief.

Peace to you. With that, I am...

Peter

Tony

One quick comment. Peter said this:

"For Calvinists, the TULIP is the “faith once for all given to the saints” for which the Apostle Jude exhorted us to contend."

Me now:
That's not fair, Peter. You need to acknowledge that. For those that think the TULIP represents true doctrine, they only think it is a PART of the Apostolic body of truth given to the saints to defend. It's not as if they think the TULIP is the sum total of the "faith once delivered to the saints."

I think you were venting here, rather than thinking calmly and accurately, Peter. However, I am not saying this to negate or argue against any other point in your post. I just wanted to comment on the unfair comment above.

Are there some bonehead "Calvinists" who seem to act as if the TULIP is the sum total of the faith? Sure. But that certainly doesn't warrant your general comments above concerning historic Calvinists.

p.s. Not every critical comment on the IDEAS that Vine's argued for is an "attack on Jerry Vines." As you know, one can "attack" another's ideas or arguments without attacking their person or character. The title of this blog entry seems to not allow for that distinction.

peter

Dear Jim,

Thank you, my Brother Jim, for your question about whether faith is a gift of God. And, were that question asked of me with no contextual basis, I would be inclined to answer in the affirmative for the simple fact is, as Apostle James reveals, everything good and perfect comes from the Father of Lights and if faith is a good and perfect thing, then it must come from God.

However, the context you bring about whether Paul said in Ephesians 2.8-10 that faith is a gift, I would not be so ready to hop on that bus. For Calvinists, they MUST take a seat here, else a major tenet of their view of unconditional election crashes and burns.

Unhappily for them, exegesis is on the side of non-Calvinists here who, for the most part, believe that Paul was talking of not faith being the gift of God but salvation itself being the gift of God which faith lets us receive.

Listen to Wesley: "Faith, with an empty hand, and without any pretense to personal desert, receives the heavenly blessing. And this is not of yourselves - This refers to the whole preceding clause, That ye are saved through faith, is the gift of God."

Compare our good Baptist Strict Calvinist scholar John Gill. He writes: "and to the moving cause of salvation, the grace of God, he adds the means, or instrument by which it is received and enjoyed, which is faith; and that is denied to be owing to the power of men, but is said to be a gift of God". Thus Gill believes that Paul is refering to faith being the gift but Wesley refers to salvation as the gift of God. Modern day Calvinists--at least those in Baptist circles--predictably take Gill's side.

What remains interesting is John Calvin agrees with Wesley! He writes in his commentary on Ephesians: "Many persons restrict the word gift to faith alone. But Paul is only repeating in other words the former sentiment. His meaning is, not that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift of God." Another instance where modern Calvinists have dumped the old Don and chartered new waters.

Others--especially those steeped in NT Greek--believe Paul was refering to salvation and not faith being a gift. The renowned Greek scholar and Baptist, Professor A.T. Robertson writes that the gift "refers not to faith" but to salvation.

I hope this helps, my Brother Jim. Have a grace filled day. With that, I am...

Peter

peter

Tony,

I trust your weekend was a gracious one. Thank you for taking the time to post here.

As to assessing my psychological state at the time of my post, I do than kyou, my Brother. But were you my present shrink, I fear I would not offer you full payment. To my recollection, I do not recall at all "venting" as you put it. But thanks for your diagnosis just the same, Dr Tony.

Also, if the title is the biggest criticism that can be levelled toward my little post, I think it a marvelous success. Again, my gratitude, Tony, for pointing that out. I shall spend more time in the future thinking up better titles for my post.


Finally, you write my Brother: "Are there some bonehead "Calvinists" who seem to act as if the TULIP is the sum total of the faith? Sure. But that certainly doesn't warrant your general comments above concerning historic Calvinists."

Of course, I was not refering to all Calvinists, not to mention dubbing them boneheads. Rather, I was speaking directly of my encounters and understanding of Founders Calvinists within the Baptist community. And, in my numerous conversations with them, this very much--at least from my perspective--describes them quite accurately in fact. Not bonehead mind you. Only that they seem to think the DsG are The Faith for which to contend. By the way, if they did not, for what purpose is the Founders?

Thank you again Tony. May God grace your life today. With that, I am...

Peter

Tony

Peter said:

"However, the context you bring about whether Paul said in Ephesians 2.8-10 that faith is a gift, I would not be so ready to hop on that bus. For Calvinists, they MUST take a seat here, else a major tenet of their view of unconditional election crashes and burns."

Me now:

As the rest of your post points out, not all Calvinsts have argued that faith is said to be the gift of God according to the Ephesians verse. There are other passages that argue for the view the regeneration logically preceeds (or that it's causally prior) faith. Once again, you're engaging in unfair generalizations.

One can be Calvinistic and think that Paul, in Ephesians 2, is saying that salvation is the gift of God. A Calvinist need not use that passage as a proof-text, as you seem to suggest **at the beginning of your post**. They might go to the verse you sighted in James and argue inferentially, or they might go to Philippians 1:29, where it's plainly stated that belief in Christ is "granted" to some.

The Calvinistic view of Unconditional Election doesn't hang on a particular interpretation of Ephesians 2:8, as your words above seem to suggest.

SelahV

Peter: Good morning to you!
SOOOOO....I click on one of the blogger's names and up pops this little window asking for my internet password. Internet, mind you. An unidentified screen asking! So, I click off and say to myself, "C'est la vie! I don't need to know anymore anyway. Thank you my intercessing Lord."

I PRAY YOUR DAY IS FILLED WITH ALL GOD'S PERFECT GIFTS. SelahV

Tony

Peter said:

"Of course, I was not refering to all Calvinists, not to mention dubbing them boneheads. Rather, I was speaking directly of my encounters and understanding of Founders Calvinists within the Baptist community. And, in my numerous conversations with them, this very much--at least from my perspective--describes them quite accurately in fact. Not bonehead mind you. Only that they seem to think the DsG are The Faith for which to contend. By the way, if they did not, for what purpose is the Founders?"

The purpose of the Founders is more than to call the church back to a solid understanding of the operations of God's grace. Dr. Ascol is not so reductionistic to think that the TULIP constitutes the totality of "the faith once delivered to the saints," yet you accuse him of just that sort of reductionism. Dr. Ascol is calling for integrity in all areas of church thought and practice, not merely for a sound biblical soteriology. He's made that point several times on his blog.

Since a certain concept of God and his saving purposes undergird so much of a sound ecclesiology, of course they are arguing strongly on those theological points. If they are true concepts, then who can blame them?! As you know, ideas have consequences. If the ideas behind the TULIP are true, then the ramifications for all of life are quite profound. If they are not true, or just partially true, then the ramifications are still profound. Indepth discussions on these soteriological topics are well worth the time and effort, so long as the conversations are civil.

Whatever the gospel is, we need to make sure we understand it properly and proclaim it clearly. This is absolutely crucial, particularly for the nature of our corporate meetings. No thought that you will ever think is as important as what you think when you think about God, for it will impact every dimension of your life. That, it seems to me, is what Dr. Ascol is all about, and that's a good thing.

peter

Tony,

The problem is, my Brother Tony, the question did not deal with whether "regeneration precedes faith". Thus I fail to see its relevance to the question. Sorry.

By the way, Tony, do you believe Paul teaches in Eph 2 that faith is a gift? Just curious. Also, could you steer me to some modern strict Calvinists within Baptist circles that view faith as a gift but that it is not taught in Eph 2.8-9? Just again curious...

From my view, Calvinists do not give up any ground so easily when it comes to viewing faith as a gift--at least that's what I gather from my conversations with them. And rightly so, it seems, since faith is part and parcel of the unconditional predestination including the means to accomplish it.

Finally, I do not see at all, Tony, the relevance of bringing up Phil 1.29, which again remains unclear that Paul viewed faith as a "gift from God" in the sense Calvinists appear to maintain.

Have a great day, my brother. With that, I am...

Peter

peter

Tony,

My Brother Tony, your brief comments are turning into longer and longer tomes.

Of course, I did not, as you strangely state, "accuse him [Dr. Ascol] of just that sort of reductionism." My words on the post where I mentioned Dr. Ascol speak for themselves. Anyone can check that.

Also, I think, my Tony, you need to reread your post. You appear--at least from my perspective--to contradict yourself. At one juncture, you are reprimanding me for accusing Dr. Ascol of "reductionism" and then on the other hand, you're arguing for the very thing I was speaking about in my post--namely: "Since a certain concept of God and his saving purposes undergird so much of a sound ecclesiology, of course they are arguing strongly on those theological points. If they are true concepts, then who can blame them?! As you know, ideas have consequences. If the ideas behind the TULIP are true, then the ramifications for all of life are quite profound."

Indeed, I like your way of saying it better than mine! So we can after all, "reduce" all areas of life to our view of God and salvific purposes--at least they "profoundly affect" all of life. Ummm. Sounds like TULIP to me...

have a great day, Tony. With that, I am...

Peter

peter

SelahV,

Great Scot, SelahV! You are a prophetess or the daughter of one indeed! My stat meter has gone besurk with non-familar readers of my current post. Not to mention those who choose to comment...

To you, I shall listen more intently in the future, my SelahV.

I remain sorry for the nasty stuff you are experiencing on the net. It can be a jungle. Be careful.

To you a very fine day as well. With that, I am...

Peter

Tony

By the way, you may be getting frequent visits to your blog now because Triablogue has linked to you here:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/10/lumpkins.html

Tony

Peter said:

“Tony,
The problem is, my Brother Tony, the question did not deal with whether "regeneration precedes faith". Thus I fail to see its relevance to the question. Sorry.”

Me now:
How is faith the gift of God except in the sense that God grants a new heart and enables the sinner to believe savingly? That’s what Calvinists mean when they say faith is the gift of God. It’s not as if faith is some abstract object dumped into the passive laps of the elect, but that God renews the affections through regeneration with the result that the elect voluntarily believe.

Peter said:
“By the way, Tony, do you believe Paul teaches in Eph 2 that faith is a gift? Just curious. “

Me:
He may teach that by implication, for Paul usually puts works in antithesis to faith, as I am sure you know. I think he is saying that salvation (which is by grace through faith) is the gift of God’s grace. One might infer that since faith is included in the gift of salvation, that it is itself a gift, but I don’t think one has to rely on this passage to gather that concept. Scripture is clear enough in other passages that faith in Christ is the result of God opening the heart in His grace. I don’t think it’s an either/or situation, as if it’s salvation that is a gift or faith is a gift. All of salvation is the gift of God, and so the instrumental means whereby we enter into union with Christ must also be of God.

Peter said:
“Also, could you steer me to some modern strict Calvinists within Baptist circles that view faith as a gift but that it is not taught in Eph 2.8-9? Just again curious...”

Me:
I was responding to your exact words as previously stated. You spoke of “Calvinists,” (no modifiers) who “MUST take a seat here, else a major tenet of their view of unconditional election crashes and burns.” You didn’t say “modern strict Calvinists within Baptist circles” must take a seat here. So, I sought to correct your hasty generalization. As far as Strict Baptistic Calvinists go, I am not sure. I don’t know what you mean by “strict” either. You may use that label differently than I would.

You may want to look into the views of Thomas Schreiner. He’s a competent Baptistic and Calvinistic exegete, but not one that I would call “strict.” I wouldn’t turn to John Gill to understand Calvinism. He was definitely a hyper or pseudo-Calvinist.

Peter said:
“From my view, Calvinists do not give up any ground so easily when it comes to viewing faith as a gift--at least that's what I gather from my conversations with them. And rightly so, it seems, since faith is part and parcel of the unconditional predestination including the means to accomplish it.”

Me:
I didn’t say that Calvinists give up any ground when it comes to the idea that faith is a gift. I simply stated that they need not go to Ephesians 2:18 to necessarily sustain the point. This is what you seemed to say, i.e. that they have to go to **that passage** to sustain their viewpoint, otherwise all is lost.

Peter said:
“Finally, I do not see at all, Tony, the relevance of bringing up Phil 1.29, which again remains unclear that Paul viewed faith as a "gift from God" in the sense Calvinists appear to maintain.”

Me:
You don’t see the relavance of Phil. 1:29?

NKJ Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

Paul clearly says that not only is sanctified suffering granted to them, but belief in Christ is “granted”. One can bring out the point by saying, “For to you it has been granted…to believe in Him.” And that verse isn’t relavant? Also, you yourself argued that faith is the gift of God by inferring it from the book of James.

Tony

Peter said:
“Tony,
My Brother Tony, your brief comments are turning into longer and longer tomes.”

Me:
That is the result of some of the questions and issues that you raise. If one requires soundbite responses, then we will not get anywhere in our understanding. Blogs (especially this one because of it’s format) are not the best place for such dialogue, as you know.

Peter said:
“Of course, I did not, as you strangely state, "accuse him [Dr. Ascol] of just that sort of reductionism."

Me:
You stated that “Calvinists” believe that the TULIP is the “faith once delivered to the saints.” Then I pointed out that Calvinists don’t believe that. Then you said that you were speaking not of Calvinists in general, but of the Founders type, such as Dr. Ascol. How then do you now say you were not accusing Dr. Ascol of reducing the faith once delivered to be that of the TULIP? You were in fact accusing Ascol and others of that.

Peter said:
“My words on the post where I mentioned Dr. Ascol speak for themselves. Anyone can check that.”

Me:
Yes, let them go back and check. They will see that my last comments above are accurate.

Peter said:
“Also, I think, my Tony, you need to reread your post. You appear--at least from my perspective--to contradict yourself. At one juncture, you are reprimanding me for accusing Dr. Ascol of "reductionism" and then on the other hand, you're arguing for the very thing I was speaking about in my post--namely: "Since a certain concept of God and his saving purposes undergird so much of a sound ecclesiology, of course they are arguing strongly on those theological points. If they are true concepts, then who can blame them?! As you know, ideas have consequences. If the ideas behind the TULIP are true, then the ramifications for all of life are quite profound."
Indeed, I like your way of saying it better than mine! So we can after all, "reduce" all areas of life to our view of God and salvific purposes--at least they "profoundly affect" all of life. Ummm. Sounds like TULIP to me...”

Me:
It sounds like the TULIP to you because you didn’t understand my point. There is more to the nature of God and his saving purposes than the TULIP. All of redemptive history is related to an unfolding of God’s gracious nature and his saving purposes, and not just his special purposes concerning the elect and how he works in them to will and do his good pleasure. So, when I speak of God’s nature and his saving purposes, I am not filtering all of those concepts through a narrow decretal grid. There is more to God’s nature and his saving purposes than what is associated with his decretal will.

In fact, there is more to God’s saving purposes than that which concerns human beings. God makes all things new, even the heavens and the earth. That important biblical point is not seen in the TULIP, so clearly I meant more than what you immediately assumed. Since I believe that Christ died for all mankind, I would also include that in God’s saving purposes. If his death is really sufficient for all, just as the Canons of Dort (as well as Calvin) say, then that sufficiency must be ordained of God, since he ordains all that comes to pass. However, that idea is also not in the TULIP, but it is articulated at Dort. Thus, “God’s nature” (His being Triune, omnibenevolent, omnispatial, omnipotent, omniscient, etc.) and “his saving purposes” (which encompases everything he’s doing in the universe and history) is not reducible to the TULIP.

SelahV

TONY: YOU SAID: "How is faith the gift of God except in the sense that God grants a new heart and enables the sinner to believe savingly? That’s what Calvinists mean when they say faith is the gift of God. It’s not as if faith is some abstract object dumped into the passive laps of the elect, but that God renews the affections through regeneration with the result that the elect voluntarily believe."

I am new to this dialog regarding Calvin and Calvinists and 5-pointers, TULIPS, Strawmen and such. But since you, Tony, said "That's what Calvinists mean....", can I assume you are the spokesman for ALL Calvinists?

I ask this, Bro. Tony, (if you give me license to call you brother), because as I've been reading all the blogs (including Founders), I keep finding more and more folks who say they are Calvinists but explain their views in very different ways.

Can't blame them much. As a Southern Baptist preacher's wife, I've had to succumb to many ideas of what my role in the life of individuals and churches should be as defined by everyone from deacon to pianist.

It's just all so confusing. And I don't think God is the Author of confusion. And when I read His Word, I get peace, comfort, edification, confirmation and a multitude of other things. Doctrine via Calvin? Or Armenius? I can't find them in my Bible.

Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. SelahV

SelahV

PETER: Prophetess? Oh yeah! I like that! No one really wants to believe these are the last days. Nor do they like to go down the road of God "pouring out His Spirit upon" women and children. However, having said that, let me plug the male gender. I do not believe woman are to be pastors of churches. I simply can't find any references in scripture to support that. Of course, I can't read Hebrew or Greek. So who am I to judge? SelahV

peter

Dear Tony,

You seem to assume, my good Tony, I have inquired into your belief system. I beg to differ. My post was about Dr. Vines.

When I post again on something that may touch on some other issues, cool. We can dialog then. But I simply cannot keep up with your long posts. Sorry.

Grace today. With that, I am...

Peter

Tony

SelahV,

No, I am not the spokesman for “ALL” Calvinists, and I never claimed to be. I just claimed to be studied on the history and theology of Calvinism on some points enough to be able to articulate the basic consensus. Also, just because certain concepts are articulated differently, it doesn’t follow that the concepts themselves are different. I seek to be as refined and accurate as I can, since I know that exaggerated speech has caused many to stumble.

As far as learning what Calvinism and Arminianism is, I wouldn’t rely on blogs. One of the cries of the Reformers was “Ad Fontes,” or “to the sources.” One should go to the original or primary sources to learn the historical differences. That requires a lot of work, but one must do that in order to benefit from the teachers that God has given the church throughout her history.

If one reads their bible, one cannot help but see things that pertain to the age-long disputes between Augustinians and those who differ throughout church history. As you know, the bible clearly speaks of some who are elect. Paul praises God in Ephesians 1 for everything that results from this special election, i.e. all the blessings in the heavenly places. Thus, the truths that pertain to God’s efficacious plan should inspire us to praise him and confidently hope in Him while we suffer in this present evil age. The fact that all things move and have their being in God provides a basis for confident prayer. Sound thinking about God’s nature is the basis for sound Christian living. Loving God with all our minds requires diligent work and effort to understand what he has revealed in his word, and that at least includes his appointment of some unto eternal life through the Son and by means of the Holy Spirit.

God is not the author of confusion. The remaining pollution of sin in our hearts is the cause, and it warps and biases our thinking. The noetic effects of sin (i.e. the effects of sin on our minds) are the most strong when dealing with truths pertaining to our condition in contrast to God holiness. Sin causes us to rebel against any notion that God is the boss of us. Even believers still struggle with the idea that God is absolutely sovereign and does all his pleasure.

God may test us at times to see if we will submit to his word. He may tell us to not eat flesh and blood in the Mosaic law, and then tell us through his Son that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood (Jesus tested and sifted through his disciples with this idea). This may leave us in confusion for a time (since it seems like a contradiction), until we content ourselves with submitting to scripture. Once we submit, he may give us understanding. We should not favor one truth against another, but submit to ALL of the truth and wait on God to get discernment. Good theology consists in making careful distinctions, so we must be cautious. I would encourage you to read my post on paradox and mystery here:

http://theologicalmeditations.blogspot.com/2005/06/paradox-and-mystery.html

If you would like a good overview of the five points of Calvinism from one that I would consider balanced, check out R. L. Dabney’s The Five Points of Calvinism here:

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/dabney/5points.htm

I hope that helps...

Kelly

Dear Sir,
My reason for being sickened is not because Dr. Vines does not see things in Scripture the way I see Scripture neither am I sickened nor is my mind poisoned by Dr. Vines being a Southern Baptist. That is quite presumptuous for you to remark in such a way. I admitted that I reluctantly left the Southern Baptist Convention, reluctantly left. That does not mean nor have I alluded to any ill feelings. I stated clearly that I am disheartened by those who misrepresent what we believe.
As you stated concerning our handling of those with differing views, you did so incorrectly. We, and I especially have no problem with people disagreeing with what I believe as long as the dialog does not lean toward misrepresentation. I am most spirited in my discussions on the subject but I leave room for my fellow brothers to disagree with what I believe and present Scripture to counter what I have provided. Therefore, by your comment you too have misrepresented our or at least my stance. You can yawn all you like but your quickness to presume that my problem is with Dr. Vines being a Southern Baptist is arrogant. Let me explain something, I have a mentor with whom I have never discussed my theological beliefs concerning this issue specifically because I know what his reaction might be. This is how hateful one particular pastor has been toward me. He called my friend and told him what I believe or at least his version of what I believe and yes I have heard his version and it is an outright lie; this man that I considered my mentor will have nothing to do with me because of what this pastor told him.
Furthermore sir, if you tire of our charges of misrepresentation then by all means stop misrepresenting us. We do not believe that babies go to hell. Dr. Vines is equating us with Presbyterians possibly because of their view of Covenantal theology and infant baptism but as Baptists we disagree with this teaching. And yes, he did misrepresent our view of particular redemption or limited atonement and he received applause for his statements. He did misrepresent our understanding of perseverance of the saints by suggesting that we base God’s preservation of the Saints on works and by suggesting that we cannot have hope that we are saved. He did misrepresent us in and as a whole and used his pulpit time to toss grenades without naming names, providing adequate resources to back his charges and he did this in the name of not being there to bash Calvinists rather than present the Word of God and let it speak without presumptions.
In concluding sir, I am not at all surprised by your final statement to me concerning the loss of another Southern Baptist. You stated, “As for your new found heritage, my Brother Kelly, I wish you the best in it. However, Southern Baptists will have to make their own way.” Of course I did not tell you that I know of twenty other families who have also left for the same hateful remarks and another 3 who are seriously praying about the possibility to leaving. I did not suggest that my leaving the Southern Baptist Convention would be a detriment to the cause; I would hope not to be so arrogant as to suggest that. What I said is that the intolerance on the part of many Southern Baptists who do not hold to the reformed view led to my departure and that I left reluctantly. I did not want to leave but I knew that the lack of openness to dialog, the backbiting, and full on frontal attacks from the pulpit, I was an associate pastor in the last congregation and yes the pastor attacked me from the pulpit, were too much to handle.
This is my final post to you seeing that I might cause you to fall into a lull of boredom from my statements and your lack of interest in why another Southern Baptist has left the camp. I leave you with this word of advice, be careful of how quickly you run people out of your denomination you may find the liberals making a full on assault to take back what they think is rightfully theirs and with us conservative, and mind poisoned, as you call us, reformed believers gone, the battle would and will be fierce. I say this because I have actually heard a liberal suggest this.

Kelly

To those who may attempt to look at my "blog" site, let me state that I do not have one for one specific reason. I do not have the know how to put one together. My name is Kelly David. I am a Pastor of a new church plant in Olympia, Washington. The church is Sovereign Grace Reformed Baptist Church. I have nothing to hide. I say this because I did read that one poster has attempted to look up others who have posted anonymously and I do not wish to suggest that I am doing this to have any sense of anonymity.
Kelly David
Lead Pastor
Sovereign Grace Reformed Baptist Church
Olympia, Washington
Email: preecherman1@yahoo.com

peter

Dear Brother Kelly,

As for whether I "misrepresented" your views as did Dr. Vines, I will defer to my readers. Thank you for your very long and "spirited", I might add, post. With that, I am...

Peter

volfan007

kelly and all founder type five pointers,

maybe the best thing for yall to do is to start your own denomination. maybe being a part of the sbc and trying to convert it to five pointism was a big mistake. besides, if 90% of the sbc are non-five pointers, and we dont wanna be either, maybe the best option yall have is to start your own.

now, i am not saying this to be mean and hateful. but, this maybe the best way for all concerned.

from the hills of tn,

volfan007

ps. we whipped bama........glory!!!

Debbie Kaufman

Now why does your comment not surprise me volfan?

SelahV

Volfan: I thought you'd run out of tylenol. where're ya been brother?Whether 5-pointers (as you call 'em) leave or stay in the SBC, isn't the point is it? Tell me, please, when one commits a dastardly private sin like coveting another's wife/husband,it is an individual sin which must be confessed to bring that one back into fellowship with God, right? So when the eye says to the ear I'm not gonna listen to you, it's simply because the eye has no ears with which to hear. It's an eye, after all. Can the eye actually say that when it knows it is part of the body and must cooperate with its other parts in order to perform its corporate purpose--to walk down the aisle and meet the Groom?

Volfan, dear heart, I know you know there is a lost world out here and in TN. Are we or are we not suppose to be about making the Bride's dress?

I adore you, Volfan. You do crack me up, though. I thought Sister Debbie wasn't gonna post here anymore. I need to go back and read that thread. Nice to meet you, Debbie, I'm SelahV

Debbie Kaufman

Okay so I peeked. :)

Nice to meet you as well SelahV.

volfan007

selah,

i count five pointers as brothers in Christ. i thank God for everything good that they do for the glory of the Lord...just as i look at my pentecostal brethen and thank God for all the good that they do for the glory of the Lord. i just dont believe that we can all fit inside the same tent to worship and serve the Lord together. cuz, if i get up and preach that wallering around on the floor and speaking ecstatic jibberace is wrong....then the pentecostals will not like it. or, if i get up and preach that the Lord wants to save the whole world, and that God is not fatalistic, then the frozen chosen will get upset with me. so? what do you suggest?

i say....let the pentecostal brethren and sistren do thier thang, and let the five pointers do thier thang, and those who believe right like me will do our thang. i mean, more power to them, but somethings will cause us to separate.


from the hills of tn,

volfan007

Michael

A house divided against itself will fall you redneck. I cannot see how God is honored in the attitude of if yuns dudnt like what we here believes then jus git out.

Michael

The hills are alive with the sound of rednecks from Tennesse. Wait! I think I hear banjos.

SelahV

Now, now fellas. Play nice.

VOLFAN: What do ya do when cousin Dubya comes over to sit on the front porch and play his ecoustic guitar right in the middle of yore banjo rendition of By And By? You know yore mama ain't gonna have ya kicking him offen the porch. She's gonna have ya'll kiss and make up. She's gonna have ya'll harmonizing and lickin' your greasy-slick fangers from her fried chicken. Family is family, my brother. I have some kinfolk I'd rather not discuss religion, politics or even Fords and Chevys. But dad is daddy after all. And whether he be a Church of Christ or not, I gotta keep him in the tent without offending him. AS TO what a preacher's suppose to preach? My husband says when all else fails, preach Jesus. He'll take care of everything that needs taking care of. SelahV

SelahV

VolFan: P.S. and ya might check with God. He's pretty good at decyphering all that stuff He wants said in His pulpit. :) SelahV

SelahV

Volfan: And another thang... You've been called of God to preach, right? Your church called you there cause they thought (I hope) God called you there. Should your congregation get annoyed and feathers get ruffled, sit down and have a chunk of chocolate cake and sweet tea and talk it over. But if hymnals (what are they?) start flying through the air, THEN ya have a problem. I suspect, though, your problem ain't with your own autonomous church but with others within our denomination. And that, my brother is a harder nut to crack. That seems to be the real issue as I'm reading through the blogworld. Who really wants whom to stay or leave? It's a mixed bag from what I'm seeing. But then I ain't always able to find my glasses, so maybe I'm blinder than a bat! SelahV

Michael

By the way, what ever happened to soul competancy Voltair, you said that you believe the right way but whose to say that the Pentacostals or flower children are not right and you wrong? I can hear the banjos now. SelahV, you have it right about the autonomy idea. This is the problem with people like Voltan here, they are like liberals, they decry autonomy while liberals decry tolerance until it comes to those who disagree with thier agenda. Maybe it is you my redneck brother who should leave.

The comments to this entry are closed.