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It is rather apparent to me that you have read a lot of Calvin's works. Maybe you can help me answer this question. I'm pulling this quote from above.

"Calvin also believed that the civil government should play a coercive role in the establishment of religion."

Was Calvin's doctrine of Irresistable Grace influenced by his belief in coercive government or did his belief in coercive government influence his doctrine of Irresistable Grace? Do you know which one came first?




Good morning, my Brother. Your chicken/egg question is pungent and should you ever find yourself in a "Calvin Seminar" or some such, I suggest you ask your Professor the same penetrating question, for I'm quite sure he will look at you with a strange stare wondering why you are attempting to make him look a buffoon :).

And, though I am humbled by your words, Luke, know I do not at all consider myself well-read in Calvin nor surely possessing any self-perceived deep knowledge of the old don.

It does, however, seem to me, that Calvin, being a "man of his times" would surely have retained his idea of coercive force from his cultural context. After all, given his raw reformation courage, had he learned differently from Scripture, he surely would have possessed no hesitation in protesting such governmental force.

Hence, it seems that, if one were to choose which came first, the chicken (irresistible grace) or the egg (government force), I'd have to go with the egg myself.

Indeed, for all the contributions Calvin/Calvinism offered historic Christianity, they never seemed to shed their committment to compulsion. Poor Servetus (Calvin's dirty little deed). Poor Arminians (Dort's dirty little deeds).

Have a great day, Luke. With that, I am...


Seth McBee

It comes to no surprise that this article is one that I adhere to and thank you for the post as I grew up Southern Baptist and am very interested to see how the convention will turn out in the next decade even though I am no longer a part of it I have many family members that are.

As far as trying to figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg, I really try and take the biblical stance on what a lot of the reformers point to instead of influences. Take what Luther wrote on the Bible instead of some of his harsh language against the Jews...as an example.

Hope all is well with you Peter.


Hello Peter,

I should only add to the other comments that I appreciate both your posting this article, and the irenic, grace-focused tone of the author. Dr. George is emblematic of those "kinder, gentler" Calvinists, who nevertheless refuse to go "quiet into that good night" - to the chagrin, undoubtedly, of not a few men who belong to the theological kith of Dr. Hobbs. Surely this cannot be mistaken for some "extreme" Calvinist rant, brother Volfan's protestations notwithstanding. :-)

But just to show I am an equal opportunity critic, I might take issue with Dr. George's assertion that "Baptists are congregationalists." We here are neither presbyterians nor congregationalists, even though we are baptist in respect to his other observations.

And I agree with your comment concerning the egg Calvin laid over the relationship between church and state. Leonard Verduin has a great line in this regard: "The New Testament vision implies that as long as Church and State weed each in its own garden, there will be a tolerable modus vivendi." Calvin seems to be much more an heir of the Bishop of Hippo than, say, the apostle to the Gentiles here. I guess a man can't be right all the time...heh heh heh.

Grace and peace,




Thank you Seth. There is no doubt that your approach is a good one: How exactly could one go wrong by attempting to appeal to Scripture as Authority?

Grace, Seth. With that, I am...




Thank you for the comment. And, I say I must agree with you about the irenic tone of Dr. George. Indeed, the sticky feel I exeprience as I read his goo almost persuadeth me to be a calvinist :)

I attempted to get an interview with him to no avail. But just wait till my readership is up; he'll be writing me requesting to come on sbctomorrow!

I have a question for you, Timotheos, about a point George makes in his essay. He quotes from the AP citing it as the "first confession of faith drafted by Southern Baptists."

And, while it surely is true that Boyce (probably the actual penman of the AP, though in consulation with a couple of colleagues) was a Southern Baptist, was the AP actually proposed and accepted Convention-wide for the SBC as their confession of faith, or was the AP voted and accepted as a document specifically for the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary?

Grace to you, my Brother. With that, I am...




My limited understanding of the AP is that it was designed specifically as the guiding confession for Southern Seminary and drew from the well of the Philadelphia Confession.

I believe the SBC adopted their first convention-wide confession in 1925, based on the 1833 New Hampshire confession - although when the Convention was first formed in 1845, the Philadelphia Confession was the lingua franca amoung baptists in the South.

Anyway, that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it...



Thanks again for the great articles! I am sorry to hear the the interview with George is a no-go. I own a copy of his galatians commentary. It is a solid commentary. Have you read his book published by LifeWay called amazing grace? I think, but am not sure if that is the title of it.
Blessings in Christ,


Stephen, Seth, or Timotheos: I asked a question on another site and was told I should take my question elsewhere because it had nothing to do with what ails SBC today. I'm not sure if any of you are So.Bapt. and Calvinists. But I know a lot of bloggers are Calvinists who pastor Southern Baptist churches. Maybe you can help me.

My question was this: "According to Calvinist belief, are the "elect" saved already but just don't know it?"

I also added to that question because the host defined what the "good news" was. In that definition was a phrase: "So what is this good news? Well, it begins with bad news: people are lost, rebellious sinners who are estranged from the God of all creation. This God is holy, perfect, without sin, and he demands we obey his law and be the same. But because of the sin of the first man and our continued identification with that sin, we cannot do what God demands. Left to ourselves, we are without hope, justly deserving of God’s wrath and eternal punishment for our rebellion. But there is good news: though he did not have to do this, and we certainly did not deserve it, God has provided a way for sinful rebels to be reconciled with him. God the Son took on human flesh as Jesus of Nazareth. He perfectly obeyed God’s law, which we could never do. He died a criminal’s death on a cross, absorbing the punishment for our sins and satisfying the wrath of God. And after three days of being really, totally dead, God brought him back to life in a victory over the power of death. Furthermore, any rebellious sinner who turns from this life of rebellion and embraces these truths will be forgiven of his sin, the perfect righteousness of Christ will be credited to him; he will be reconciled to God—even adopted as his spiritual son. We will enjoy eternal life in the presence of God, first in heaven, and eventually on a restored, sin-free earth, following the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The following question is the one followed my first to the bloghost regarding elect, "Are they the people you say "are lost, rebellious sinners who are estranged from the God of all creation?" And the rest of the people are like stumps in a harvested forest? Just wondering."

I have reread my post and this question and for the life of me I still think it was germaine to part of what ails the SBC, but also it was speaking to the gospel definition given in the bloghost's site. But I must be WAY off base because he told me to go somewhere else and ask the questions. So here I am. Back where I know folks who are Calvinists will answer my questions without being upset with me or threatened by the questions or consider it already answered by dozens of other folks.

I might just be one of those people who need things repeated to me before I "get it". For this I apologize and beg forebearance and tolerance.

I'm not one to take my question at mind to another who has not been speaking on what I'm questioning about, because I think that leaves you disadvantaged to my thinking pattern when I asked the question. But since I still want to know the answer to my question without someone thinking it's irrelavent, here I sit, typing it to you guys.
Anybody want to answer? Thanks, SelahV

Seth McBee


good question that is very easy to answer because Arminians and Calvinists believe the same here, or at least I do as with any "group" there are many answers but know that the hyper Calvinist might answer differently, but they are far from the truth in their exegesis of Scripture.

This is very simple, when they asked the apostles, how are we to be saved, Acts 2:38 says to repent and be baptized (I am not going to explain why baptism doesn't save here for the sake of staying on subject) Also, Paul tells us to believe in our heart and confess with our mouth. No one is saved until they believe.

Where the Arminian and the Calvinist differ is that the Calvinist would say that every single person that is elect WILL be saved. They will repent, they will follow. No questions asked...John 6:37 says that all that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. Then verse 39 states that Christ loses nothing and will raise it up on the last day, then verse 44 continues with this sentiment, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

The continuity of this passage, for the Calvinist is one where we believe that all those who the Father gives the Son (the elect) will be drawn, will come, will be raised up. 100%

But will only be "saved" when they come to the Father or in our thoughts, repents.

Hope this helps.


John 12:32

Seth McBee

is that a defense of something? just typing in a reference does nothing to add to anything...We have had great discussions on Peter's site, so don't ruin it with just typing Scripture references...

I will take a guess and what you are referring...I will draw ALL men to myself...

am I right?

Read the whole chapter of John 12 and it becomes very plain, remember that Scripture cannot contradict and so John 12 has to go with John 6 when it says that all that I draw will come and I will raise him up on the last day. If you believe that Christ will draw every single man on earth that ever lived then according to John 6 you would be a universalist...which I assume you are not. So how does this tie in? Earlier in John Jesus kept saying, "the hour has not yet come" over and over. Now it says that the King is coming on a donkey...who's King? Then it says that some Greeks came to try and find Him in John 12:20 notice what the next verse is in John 12:23...the hour has come. This must have been pretty significant for Christ to say that they hour had come...it seems to relate to these Greeks who were searching for Him. Then Christ explains that "if I am lifted up I will draw all men to myself" meaning He is the King of both the Jews and the Gentiles, He will draw both kinds to Himself.

All doesn't always mean all.

Look at Acts 22:15, Paul is told to be a witness to "all" men, this obviously doesn't mean every single human on the planet.


Sorry scripture offends you.


As a Calvinist would respond Seth - bad exegesis.

Seth McBee

Rella, I don't understand what your point is? It would be like speaking to a Jehovah's Witness about Christ being God and him just responding: Colossians 1:15

I am not "offended" by Scripture the way that you are intending your remark to it, I am offended at how bad you are trying to "converse" a subject.

We have had great conversations on this website between Arminians and Calvinists and you are not adding to anything by just quoting verses, exegete them for me so I can see your meaning...

That is a conversation between two people.

Seth McBee

If this is how you respond to people who differ in opinion to you, you are very immature in your dealings. I appreciate Peter and the others here, selahV and the such who really want to discuss, where this is obviously not your intent, if you want to just "bash" Calvinists go somewhere else, if you want to discuss as we have been doing, please discuss.


Seth, this isn't your blog so I'm not sure why you think you have the right to tell me or anybody to "go somewhere else." You obviously have issues with me so I would suggest you simply ignore anything I post.

Seth McBee

I am just letting you know what kind of response you will get if you continue "bashing" (probably too strong of a word) Calvinists instead of discussing. I know this isn't my blog, but if you are not here to discuss you won't get much accomplished being here

It has been pleasant discussing with my fellow brothers, I would tell the same thing to a fellow Calvinist if they came on this board to lash out.


Well Seth you must of missed them lashing out Herschal Hobbs cause you sure didn't speak up on that one. I was under the impression this was Peter's blog, I wasn't aware that you somehow have a say as to who posts here or even get to dictate how they post. No wonder you feel you have the right to chase away those you feel are bashing Calvinists. Since you are predestined to not ignore me, I am now going to choose to ignore anything you address to me.

seth mcbee

the only I said anything in this thread is because selahv asked a question..i didn't notice the other comments...you can ask peter and selahv about previous discussions, as that is what they have been...discussions, that is why I said something to you...i didn't even attack your "response" but responded with exegeting scripture then you came back and said I was offended by scripture...again...i have enjoyed peter's blog because of our discussions, instead of generalizing people into a class

Richard Coords

Hello Seth,

It's a bummer that I got the boot from the Gadfly. I really enjoyed our conversations, and I guess Alan just got frustrated that I somehow wasn't addressing his exegesis on 2Peter 3:9, which I felt that I did. In any case, I enjoyed conversing with you guys.

You address John 12:32 from the perspective of John 6:37, 44 and I'd like to invite you to view what I've written on that passage. The people that were "given" have no explicit reference to an eternal decree. The people the Father had given were those who were the Father's to give, i.e. John the Baptist, Nathaniel, Simeon, Elizabeth, ect., ect. It is my understanding that these who were given to Jesus were those who belonged to the Father, and Jesus said that if you loved the Father, then you would love Me because I have proceeded forth and have come from Him. Hence, they "will" come. They were being passed from the Father's flock to the Son's flock, and hence John the Baptist stated, "I must decrease and He must increase." These are sheep changing hands, not an eternal decree. That was the Father’s draw and since the cross, Jesus has been drawing all men. I'm interested in your thoughts on that subject.

Here is a link to a detailed discussion on these matters:


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