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Great post, Peter.


thanks again, peter. also, just because 90% of the south milked thier own cows back in the 19th century, i'm glad that i buy mine at the store now. not everything in the past was hunky dory.



PETER: My pastor is a Mercer--only a non-Calvinist Mercer. He's been with this church for over 25 years. His staff nearly as long as he. The church has grown and grown and grown. We built a brand new facility debt-free because they outgrew the other facility. They continue to grow. I truly believe God has blessed this man of such faith and desire for His heart and purpose. Just thought you'd like to know. selahV

perry mccall

Excellent Peter! Thank you!



I was out all day yesterday. I appreciate the comments and the encouragement for the posts.

Grace to all. With that, I am...



PETER: I confess, I was bored. I wandered over to Founders. Dr. Ascol is promoting the 20th anniversary edition of Tom Nettles book, "By His Grace and For His Glory." Seems Ascol thinks it belongs in the hands of every pastor, seminary professor, church leader, etc. who will read it. Ascol seems to think that it is the key to getting Baptists reformed. And he's praying it is used to do that reforming.

Why would I want to fix something that's not broke? Why do we need to reform something that's not deformed? When are you going to write a book about Being In-formed? When you do, will you include testimonies about churches that have been torn to pieces because of people trying to "reform" it? Things like AJR and Mary have shared?

JonMark told the folks over there about your blogs on Cody and Mercer. I like that boy! He's got great taste in blogs. Blessings to you...selahV


SelahV, I always enjoy your posts. I wandered over to Founders myself. I keep telling myself I need to stay away from those sites that only raise my blood pressure, but I never learn. Right now I need to just log off the computer before I type something offensive.



Actually a publisher contacted me and I've sent a proposal into them. I have no word yet but who knows?

And I surely will consider some testimonials. Peace to you. With that, I am...


Jim U.


Please don't get the impression that all who hold to calvinistic views are always looking for a fight. Many are, but not all are.

I am hopeful that calvinists and noncalvinists can put away the harmful rhetoric (I have been guilty) and work together for the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We can debate, but let it be done in charity. As it has been said, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity"

Also, I thank you for your kind and gentle spirit.

Jim U.

One more note...

I don't think all calvinists are trying to "reform" the church in the way you think. Real reform needs to happen in our churches...

and by that I give a couple of examples of where we seem to be "broke": 1) lack of meaningful membership in many churches, and 2) lack of cultural engagement and evangelism in everyday life by many believers.



Jim U: Thankyou for your encouragement for my kind and gentle spirit.

Can you tell me what exactly is "meaningful membership in churches"? What is unmeaningful membership?

You think members "lack cultural engagement and evangelism"? What aren't these members doing that you think they should be doing? And in your church, does everyone do these things?

Thank you. selahV


Peter: I'm so glad others see your potential and recognize your gifts. I know I do and I know God does. selahV


Jim: I don't know how "all Calvinists" are in the churches. I just know a few by what I've read and what others are saying. I try not to judge others by what others say, so I go by what the Calvinists themselves are saying. And by all accounts, in most blogs, they appear to be saying that I (and others like me who are not Calvinist) are all wrong. That I am not informed enough to understand some special thing I'm suppose to understand in order to be informed. It's quite frustrating to have been a Christian this long, and loved people and served the Lord and know without an inkling of a doubt that someday my Savior will not reject my efforts or my ignorance. And then to read where what I believe isn't good enough, what I've taught others for over 30 years has been wrong.

I am concerned that the Calvinist community of believers think they have The Way, The Truth and The Life and that all the rest of us are unregenerated, stillborn, babies. I am not expecting anything from the "world"--the lost. Revelation tells us the world is going to get worse and worse. I am concerned that Christians are battling Christians and they are not aware that it isn't flesh and blood with whom they are battling, but realms of darkness filled with principalities and evil. "A house divided against itself will not stand."

I say all this, Jim U in complete sincerity, without malice, nor anger. I'm just very very concerned. selahV


Mary: thank you. Have you visited my sites? I don't get upset with Founders. I really don't. They just boggle my mind. I truly believe they believe what they are positioning themselves for is the right thing to do. I believe they believe we are all wrong if we don't fall into the 5-point steps.

I don't really understand all of the theology, Mary. I can't begin to explain the way they apologize and debate. But I do know when I'm being patronized. And at times that has occurred on Founders site. There is a thread of sarcasmism that I've encountered when I was just trying to understand. I've given up trying to understand them. I've accepted that they don't want me to understand. I don't understand that, but I can accept that, too.

When Peter began this blog, I read because he is a friend. I kept reading even though most who disagreed with him treated him on multiple occasions like he had just fell off the turnip truck. It didn't bother me, it saddened me. It saddens me that so many others have such great love for their faith--their Lord--but cannot embrace another in the Lord who doesn't agree with them. It baffles me.

I have a person in my life who has done absolutely nothing but create havoc for me and those I love. But I do everything I know how to be kind and loving. Even though this person believes I am just blowing smoke and am insincere. I just keep on leaning on the Lord. And showing my love whenever possible. I even defend this person's behaviour....make excuses for it. If we love the lovely, that is a great thing, it is the unlovely the Lord calls us to love.

Some folks say they love, but the way they express love is not even close to what Jesus said love is. And Paul wrote exactly what love isn't. And I see a whole lot of love that "isn't" in the blogs around the web. It's heartbreaking. And I'm just one dumb woman. I wonder what the Lord feels when He sees. I truly do.
Don't get worked up over what you read. Just love 'em. Pray for them. I ask God to bless them real good. I ask Him to give them His wisdom, understanding and purity. I ask for the fruit of His Spirit to grow within them...AND most of all me.
God bless you sweet Mary. Love, selahV

Jim U.


Meaningless membership means that being a member of a church is very similar to a social club or something. Go to church on Sunday to hear preaching and music, but that's it. It means many believers don't want to invest in one another's lives and keep one another accountable for their actions (there is more to it, but this should suffice).

I think the reason we don't engage the culture and make evangelism a way of life has something to do with our (SB's) tendency to withdraw and isolate ourselves from culture. I think too often we've separated our "church life" from our "work life" or "family life" or "secular life."

No, in my church we are a work in progress. I, myself, fail at being a good church member and regularly sharing the gospel. Hence, "reforming." There's a saying... semper reformanda... always reforming. It's just the idea that we're never coasting... never complacent... always refining our thinking... always adjusting our behaviors to match our theology.

You said, "I don't know all calvinists in the churches."

That's one of the points I wanted to get across. You know some calvinists on some blogs. Please don't let your idea of calvinistsc come exclusively from the blogs. Bloggers are a small minority of all people.

I don't think of all noncalvinists as unregenerate... just those who don't believe the gospel of Jesus Christ... I think we can agree on that much.



Jim U: No that doesn't suffice. Sorry. How are other members to keep other members accountable in your estimation? And what are we keeping them accountable to? Are we to buddy up with someone and follow them around and watch their every move, judge their every motive, weigh every word they say and report their every action back to some committee in church or something? I have been a minister's wife for over 23 years. In our ministries, many judgemental members have come to us to report another's actions. They've come to us to whine and bellyache about others not "loving the Lord" because they aren't at every meeting that the church has. All the while, my husband and I know exactly what those members had been doing when the other members were pointing fingers at them. We felt no need to defend them because they were in actuality doing the work of the Lord. And while it may have helped to still the wagging tongues and rebuke the attitudes of the whiners, it would have served little purpose in changing the piety which the whiners had in their hearts or remove the speck from their eyes. Often we found ourselves doing a third-party illustration in which we shared the possibility that another might well be just as faithful as they, but in a different way.

So, dear Jim U, what is the solution that you have? How do you keep members accountable? And for what do you see scripturally they should be held to account for?
Unholiness? Their thoughts? Their actions? One man's meaningless membership could be another man's meaningfulness. Not all of us need the same things. Not all of us are called to be servants in the sense another person is. The Spirit gives out His gifts to all as He sees fit. What if my gift is not the same as another's? How can a person who is sitting home praying, fasting and sending out encouragement cards be held accountable for the service of visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, or evangelizing door-to-door. (Don't know if you see that as necessary but that may be one area others think others should be active while in fact the Lord has not called them to that action.)

Okay...I just answered the first part of your response to me. I'm going to go read the rest of the response and comment back to you on it. this is very very interesting. I love the fact that you are willing to talk with me. Thank you. selahV


Jim U: You said, "I think the reason we don't engage the culture and make evangelism a way of life has something to do with our (SB's) tendency to withdraw and isolate ourselves from culture. I think too often we've separated our "church life" from our "work life" or "family life" or "secular life." "

Okay, Jim...here's where I am having difficulty. How do you see Southern Baptists withdrawing themselves from culture? In the 4 churches we've pastored I've not seen this. In the multiple churches I've been privy to visiting and knowing via other members, I do not see this segregation from society. I see people struggling to be Christians in an unChristian environment. I've watched and seen people who have been verbally attacked, fired, and condemned for their positions as Christians in a New-Age world. I've seen the Christians in multiple churches take stands against society for their stands against churches and their faith.

I've seen mothers condemned for desiring to home-school their children because they want their children to learn not brainwashed.

I've published a Christian family-newspaper which literally changed the editorial voice of a local paper. Not everyone is me. Not everyone is you. Not everyone is walking on the pilgrimage of Christianity at the same pace. To say that we need to reform our churches because not everyone is in step with a few is ludicrous.

Scripture says that "...He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ--right up to the time of His return--developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you."Phil.1:6.

Please, Jim, tell me what exactly the steps are to "reform" a church if not the theological position of said church? Are we to have some hiarchy of people setting standards for each and every church? (like the Vatican) Are we to have a lower hiarchy setting the standards for each and every member? Where does the Holy Spirit fit into this? Where does the Word of God and each person's responsibility to His Lord fit in? Who is the Gatekeeper of each person's soul, heart, mind and body?

I don't want that responsibility. My husband is one of the finest pastors I know. He left the responsibility in the pew when he finished a sermon. Are you saying we should each exhort, admonish and reprove our brothers and sisters? I don't see that. I just don't. Not everyone is gifted with those gifts.

My gifts are encouragement and discernment. I'm very very careful with the discernment gift. I'm extremely liberal in the use of encouragement. this is not to say God has not called me to exhort and reprove. But He gives each of us the means by which to do that and it is to be done in love.

I do not hold all Calvinists in a glass jar and believe all are like the some that I've read about. But I will say this. Dr. Ascol concerns me. His site is a breeding ground for condemnation toward folks like me who do not see his way of reformation as necessary for my life and my church. My church is a leader in the SBC in my opinion. I believe it could very well be one of the finest churches I've ever been a part of. By no means do I feel every single solitary thing we do in our church is what every other church in Lawton should be like. Nor do I feel every member in our church is perfect. But I do believe that the theology and positions held by Founders would reverse any forward progress our beloved church offers the Kingdom of God. People are all growing in the Lord...just as you said you are. I do not feel it is one man's responsibility to put a reformation book in every pastor's, leader's, seminary professor's, and student's hand and pray for them to read it to reform their church to a theology that is not scripturally sound to all who read it.

I think it is a responsibility of us to get a BIBLE in every man, woman and child's hands and teach them how to read it. How to pray for God to reveal to them their gifts and the wisdom to understand His Word for their individual life.

That's my take on it. And since I am certain that Founders will not rest till they do what Dr. Ascol suggests and prays for, then I will not rest till someone who is as eloquent with words as he (Peter) will write a book that explains the differences in theology in a way that all Baptists can understand who occupy the pews in said un-reformed churches.

I dearly love people who have conversed with me on this subject. Seth, Luke, PTL, Greg Alford, Timotheos, you and others. They are people I can trust are truly men who love the Lord. I'm most certain that many who love the Lord mean well in their endeavors to enlighten the rest of us. But for me, I just can't see pushing my theology down the throats in whatever means necessary. I've been led to the water...and been shown the path by Founders...and I don't like the taste of the water. So I'm not drinking. I truly hope this doesn't offend you. Because I think you, Jim U, are a man who loves the Lord and I would never want to offend a brother in Christ--EVER. I'm just trying to share my heart. selahV


Jim U: You also said, "I don't think of all noncalvinists as unregenerate... just those who don't believe the gospel of Jesus Christ... I think we can agree on that much."

The operative word in your statement is "I". You may not think of all noncalvinists as unregenerate...but many other Calvinists do. And what I CAN agree on is that ANYONE who doesn't believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is unregenerate...unsaved...and not born of the Spirit. Unfortunately, I can't tell who they are because of their theology or their confessions. Only Jesus knows the hearts of men. We get a dim view through a dull window. You see, we have lots of wheat fields filled with tares. I met a Mormon on Brad Reynolds' site who claims to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I cannot believe in my heart he is regenerate with his faith because he professes it. So in the spirit in which you said we agree, I DO agree with you. I'm just leary of blanketing all who speak with their mouths and minds as proof positive of their regeneration. I kinda lean heavier on the fact that we will know they are Christians by the love they show fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
So...now that I've taken over Peter's site...which is his fault for being off on a holiday, I will wait your answers to my thoughts. I enjoy this dialog, Jim U. I pray God blesses our conversation with the peace in which I feel in my heart and the measure of peace within yours. SelahV

Jim U.


Concerning the accountability issue: Meaningful membership means that when a person joins a local body of believers the submit themselves to one another out of love for Jesus and one another in the church.

How do we hold them accountable? We should do so according to Scripture. Specifically I have Matt. 18 and Gal 6 in mind. It should be done privately and not with an attitude of "I'm better than you." It should be done with gentleness and love and with genuine concern for the erring brother or sister.

I, for one, want this... need this in my life. If I am engaging in persistent, unrepentant sin, I want a dear friend to compassionately rebuke and exhort me to repent.

Concerning the cultural engagement: I thought you might say you haven't seen this. That's why I said my observations were anecdotal... meaning in my personal and perhaps limited experience.

The churches I have been a part of have struggled with the tension between withdrawing completely from the world and becoming part of the world and have usually erred on the side of withdrawal.

That's great if it's not your experience... just saying that's one area where some of our churches need "reforming."

I think you agree with me that our churches should submit to and become more aligned with what the Scripture teaches. That's what I mean when I say that some of our churches need "reforming."



Jim U: aligning with the scriptures is an ongoing process for everyone in every church. The Lord is working on each of us all the time. So if that's what you mean by reforming, I'm happy. I'm afraid that is not what many others mean by reforming. They mean to take a perfectly well-functioning church and attempt to change their doctrinal thoughts and theology. SelahV


Jim U: Matthew 18 has alot of verses in it and not all are directly positioned about the way one should go to a brother or treat a brother. (or sister) For instance, verses 1 through 5 concern the humility in which we as Christians should position ourselves so as not to offend the "least" (most importantly a child).
Then 6 through 10 speaks of the punishment of such offenders. And the warnings to offenders.
Then we have the lost sheep parable. Here's where I find the Calvinist theology disturbing to me. It seems not all sheep are lost and the one must be an elect and in my thinking, how do Calvinists determine if the lost sheep is an elect? It's not God's will than one of these little ones should perish. Are the perishable expendable because they do not conform to the reformed what of thinking?
Then we have 15 through 20 which deals with the offended brother. The sin suggested in verse 15 is a sin a brother does against you, personally. So do Calvinist believe that it's okay to go point out the failings of another to another who sins against another? Or do they leave it to the individual who has incurred an offense? And if the offense is forgiven and let go, is it necessary for others to intervene? I've got more to say, but have a luncheon appointment. Will get back to you. selahV


Jim U: I'm back. Had a great lunch. Cried alot, but good lunch, nevertheless.
Back to Matthew 18:15 through 19. The Lord says if your brother sins against you...go and tell him his fault between you and he alone. Then if that fails...get a couple others and go talk to him but if he doesn't want to hear the church folk you take with you, then just treat him as you would a tax collector. (Personally, I treat tax collectors with fear and trembling, but that's another issue).
But then the most amazing thing is said in verses 18 and 19. It says whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever is loosed is loosed.
Verse 18 and 19 leave me with the impression that it is up to us to release another from his sin towards us and by that we loose it in heaven. In other words it will be null and void in the Kingdom to come. I tend to set this passage with the Lord's prayer (as it is commonly called). "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors."

And what a testimony to others who know about the problem between the first two folks, if in fact it is resolved anyway. Even if the brother doesn't see the err of his ways. Ya know?

Especially if it is taken to the church and the church agrees that they should all forgive the fella since the person first offended is willing to let it go. Don't you think?

The Lord gives us this example of how to handle folks who sin against us, but the Lord also tells us not to let the sun go down on our wrath. And not to judge another by the speck in his eye till we remove the board from our own. So if the person who is sinned against, would follow the Lord's teaching in that way, there probably wouldn't be much need to follow the plan in Matt. 18:15-20, don't you think?

I think the Lord is trying to get us each to tend to ourselves and our own hearts first. I think He wants us to examine our own hearts. And I think His Holy Spirit can do a fair job in convicting, correcting and chastening. But that's just my take on it. I'm rather non-confrontational and passive when it comes to people who wrong me. How 'bout you? SelahV


Jim U: so then we come to 21 through 35. Seems like ol' Peter wants a number of how many times he needs to forgive that offense. And basically, Jesus says every time. And the illustration given by Jesus in the parable is summarized with "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."(vs.30.

Basically I think Matt. 18 isn't so much telling us to go correct anyone. But to restore everyone. And to make sure the process begins with me first. Hard stuff to swallow, but that's the way Jesus was. Forgive your enemies. Bless those who despitefully use you. Pray for them. Be kind and repay evil with good.
Guess that's gonna keep me from going to too many folks about how I, in my pride-filled sensitivity, am slighted by another. Okay. This may not be at all what you meant when you told me to look at Matt.18. If so, can ya give me your take on what you meant. I'm just speculating based on my view of Matt. 18. I shall now go take a look at Galatians. selahV

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