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Very well said Peter.
I had no doubt that you would post in this way on this topic.
Thank you for your support.
I 100% agree with you about those who become evangelists of their doctrines rather than evangelists of the evangel, whatever their doctrinal position may be.


Thanks Peter, I didn't know how to say what you said but felt the rip in my heart when I read that information on Wes Kenney's site. I for one have plenty of Calvnist brothers and sisters who do not push anything upon me, nor do they do anything but love me and pray for me. selahV



Of course I dissent with your dissent of Calvinism. ;)

One thing I do like about you is that you do NOT take the Arbuckle approach to disagreement in this theological area. You are not afraid of the theological system, yet you respect those who disagree with you on it. And you seem to encourage healthy discussion on the matter.

We Calvinists have a name for what you referred to in your post, that of the over-zealous new "convert" to Calvinism who is pushy in his/her newfound beliefs: I've heard it called the "cage stage". Good grief, Charlie Brown, but I was definitely guilty of that, and I still suffer occasional relapses, which are simply marks of my spiritual immaturity. Now, I realize not all people are meant to be Calvinists (and not everyone will agree with my reasoning why, either).

Now, I do confess one thing. If I could wave a magic wand, -poof- and transform everyone here who's non-Calvinist into a Calvinist, I'd do so. Without apology. But fortunately for all of you, I can't. :)


Byroniac: where you been hiding? :)
fortunately? :)
you make a wonderful fairy-godmother!
I didn't know you were a Calvie (affectionately offered) :) selahV

John Daly

While I make no apology about holding to the Doctrines of His Marvelous Grace, I simply proclaim Law and Gospel. I can’t recall who said it but someone much smarter than I stated: “Let’s go to the grammar school of repentance before we attend the graduate school of election.” I very much appreciate the tone and spirit of this post.



I appreciate the fundamental agreement we've seen thus far here.  I do want to repeat that our Brother Terry Mott, though I do not know him personally, is not to be broad-brushed while criticizing the vote of the Association.

Also, Wes notes on his post that the discussion surrounding the motion by the Association was specifically slanted toward the most extreme circumstances.  One example was a preacher standing in the pulpit proclaiming some people sitting in the congregation were unsavable.   The Pastor who appeared to carry the most weight in the decision is Dr Paul Elam

He is also the Pastor who allegedly was--and even still is, as I understand it--being sniped by the unscrupulous staff member, bent on making the Church 'reformed', even attempting to start another Church with some of the members after he was released from his position. Guys like this simply need the snot beat out of them.

Calvinism's influence will never be eradicated from Baptist theology, nor from any Protestant theology, for that matter.  And, anyone who thinks he/she has never been influenced by Calvinism is either naive or deceptive.

All right, all right, that's as far as it goes!  Don't get your hopes up, Grosey.  I'm with Volfan.  We're still NonCalvinists--and despite that I'm now in Georgia--still Orange :^)

Grace, all.  With that, I am...


Scott Gordon


I appreciate the post. With all the vitriol we usually see with disagreements in the SBC blogworld, it's nice to have a reasoned and peaceable discussion and disagreement.

I find myself wholeheartedly aligned with the Reformed tradition. I find myself in complete agreement with you and others of similar persuasion about those crusading (militant?) hyper-Calvinists stalking around. I do feel that Dr. Mohler said it best in his interview posted on SBCToday.com...In the SBC it's not about Calvinists and non-Calvinists; it's about the varied levels of impact Calvinist theology has made on all of us. To hold to eternal security is to hold to a tenet of Reformed doctrine.


Chris Gilliam

Labels.. When will we mere men get over them. Could we not all agree:

1. God's Idea- Salvation.
2. Holy Spirit's Work- Regeneration.
3. Man's Christ submitted life- Demonstration.

Or put another way, God planned it, purchased it and places it on receiveing man and the evidence is it has been received is a changed life.

I think calvies and non-calvies (thanks selahv for the affectionate term)can share kool aid with this. I know I can share some with Peter.

Peter, thanks for exposing the real enemy- fear. Fear kills faith. I'm up for coffe anytime... Strong, and plain- Keeps me in shape for the debates!! I mean dialogs..


Peter: Can't the church discipline that dude somehow other than ejecting him from the building? May God give an extra portion of His sufficient grace to those who've been hurt in this church's ministry.

Chirs: I kinda think of a Calvie as some of my dearest friends who allow me to just "be" a BE-liever. maybe we could name me a Be-Vie. :)

GReat words of wisdom from you as always. selahV


OPPS...my fingers got tongue-tied and reversed the letters in your name, CHRIS. sorry. selahV



I like your affectionate term, "Calvie."

Though, truth be known, I don't like the label "Calvinist" but I accept it due to widespread recognition of what it means. But I don't consider myself a follower of John Calvin. I do admire his theological brilliance, but I've heard troubling stories about his personal character. I also have a strong distaste for melding church and state together like they did at Geneva, which goes contrary to my Baptist principles.

But anyway, getting back to the topic at hand: this is no way to react to Calvinism. If Peter and others who agree with him are right, and Calvinism when properly examined does cave in on itself, then the proper response is not fear but reasoned debate. I respectfully submit that Peter is wrong here, and that Calvinism is right. But I'll also affirm I do not believe it is a salvation issue, and I could even be wrong about the whole thing.

Jim Champion


Great post. As a non clavie myself (who finds himself in awash in calvies at church, and family for that matter), I see a real danger in our convention finding yet ANOTHER nit to pick. Are not Baptism, PPL and alcohol enough?

Of course this is the reason that you and I find ourselves on the opposite sides of so many issues. there seem to be so many in our convention that are taking thier interpretations of second and third tier issues and elevating them to first tier issues that I fear (as do several of our friends from the blogs that you love to lampoon) that our SBC will lose the relevance that it has had for so many years.

If Terry Mott really did not agree with what was put out over his name, one would wish that he had the courage to Dissent with his association.


Scott Gordon

ah, yes, jim,

because to dissent is better than sacrifice...or something like that.

sola gratia.

J. Dale Weaver

Thanks for your words -- you strive to be honest and balanced in your approach to a variety of views, even when you don't agree.
I'm theologically a "Reformed Arminian," who happens to be a member of a Southern Baptist Church. I am, to say the least, a minority among SBC preachers and theologians.
I have to wonder if a ruckus would have been raised by some had this Baptist Association "taken a stand" against "Arminianism" within the SBC...?
Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I think there's room to differ as Baptists on our understandings of soteriology. I also understand that denominations have a right to define their theological "boundaries" and principles.
I guess my point is that maybe our churches and denominations should more closely relate to Kingdom principles than to boundaries set by man. We might get along better...Just an observation.

Chris Gilliam

Selah- Be- Via-- SBC...
Has a ring to it, maybe Peter can write a song, afix a tune to it. Might become the theme song for the convention this year!!!!

Plus, I would nominate Peter even though he's not a calvie and I am!

Maybe another tune, "I am a calvie, your not a calvie, who's a calvie, there's room for calvie, and room 'nough in the SBC for two. " Attached to the old Dr. Pepper advertisment ditti.



Man I am glad the Dr. isn't in Australia... with a ditti like that I'll stick to Pepsi (the poor pastors Coke).


Chris...Ain't God good? I just love it when a plan comes together. I was praying we'd have something we could all agree on over here. Although not all the players have weighed in, this may prove to be a first. huh, Peter?

There's an article in this week's copy of Baptist Messenger here in Oklahoma that could divert us all away from everything we are labeling ourselves. Seems Barna has a study out that says the thing most detrimental to reaching the lost these days is the name Christian. Bunches of us BE-Vias are opting out for "followers of Jesus" or "apprentices of Christ". Until Antioch we were just "people of the Way". Some folks wanna chop off Southern from the SBC; some think the whole name needs to go. I put up a survey on one of my new blogs asking what we should rename the SBC. So much more to chat back and forth about than we know what to think about, huh?

Hey, did ya hear where some knotheads did a study and said anyone who had the letter "K" in their name was more apt to strike-out in baseball. Weird what we look into and study, huh? selah-Be-Via :)

Bob Cleveland

Hey Peter, go grab your calendar and circle the date.

Fine post.

And with that, I am ...

Your Old Pentecostal Calvinistic Baptist friend.

peter lumpkins


Thanks. I think 'Reformed Arminian' is actually catching on much more. Many young Calvinists appear uninformed that James Arminius considered himself a 'good Calvinist' by suggesting he could put his own name on the writings of the overwhelming majority of all Calvin wrote. Nor surely did he ever think of himself or others with whom he followed were anything other than fully Reformed.

And, the question you pose is worth considering: "'What if' the Association had posed the exact opposite: that is, 'Arminianism' should not be debated but should be banned. We stand against Arminianism."

I think an outcry would have come nonetheless but perhaps possessing a different set of ears.

O.K. I'll go ahead and throw a firecracker. Back prior to Dr. Jerry Falwell's death, he made the provocative statement, suggesting "Limited Atonement" was heresy on Liberty Mountain.

Frankly, I did not think that much about it, even chuckling a bit when I first heard it saying to myself, "Uh, Oh. Get ready to rumble."

Heresy can be a strong word. I am stingy with it myself, preserving it for only the foulest deviances from historic faith.

Others are not so stingy, employing it for slighter, lighter differences in belief. Indeed there's a heck of a lot more doctrines on Liberty Mountain they just as well could label heresy. I may fit 'heresy' in my view of the Second Coming, since I do not hardly cross my 'T' at the precise moment as do they.

Consequently, when Dr. Falwell said 'we consider that heresy here', it just didn't register as all that much, given the context of Liberty Mountain's more frequent use of the term.

Many of my Calvinist brothers blew a fuse, caught fire and rolled around in the dirt for a week until the fire burned out. "Calvinism is heresy!" Get Falwell! Liberty teaches James Boyce was a heretic! Al Mohler is a heretic!

As the smoke thickened, I enjoyed a humorous paradox our Calvinist brothers were not enjoying. No matter how loud Dr. Falwell yelled 'Calvinism is heresy' (he didn't exactly say that), it did not make Calvinism heresy.

The historical kicker is, that it happens to be Calvinists themselves who officially, fully and completely condemned Arminians as heretics and hung the lucky ones by the neck until they were dead.

So, while Arminians have not condemned Calvinists as heretics, Calvinists have condemned Arminians heretics and enforced their ruling by the king's sword.

Sorry for the tome, Dale. Just thought I'd redeem myself to all my noncalvinist readers (just kidding...).

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


peter lumpkins

Hey Bob,

Thanks for popping in and also for the kudos. But you have forgotten I am from Tennessee. We are much slower than you guys at Crimson Tide.

So, forgive me, but I do not get the 'date' you desire me to circle.

Told you I was slow. Grace. With that, I am...



Having experienced first hand militant Calvinists I can certainly emphathize with those in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, I'm afraid we're going to see more of this because it really is all or nothing for some of these folks. It's one thing for Mohler to say there shouldn't be division and quite another fact that those coming out of Southern are armed with a "5 year plan to reform a church by Mark Dever. You have to slowly boil that frog don't you know and once the frog realizes where you're going it's dinner time.


Well, I've experienced first-hand militant anti-Calvinism, of the Arbuckle variety, best I could tell. 'Twas not pleasant, in the slightest. And my intentions were good, or so I thought: I simply wanted to make reference to the Scriptures, in the proper context.

I think a good model to follow is the communications exchange that took place between Whitefield and Wesley. Of course, I take Whitefield's side in the matter, but both corrresponded with Christian grace. And ultimately, both never reconciled on the issue.


Well, actually, at the time, I was more guilty of trying to teach the "system" as it were, now that I think about it honestly. I was wrong for not being Scriptural about it.


Peter, Dr. Byrd told me we couldn't redeem ourselves. :) so I'm glad you were kidding. selahV

Bob Cleveland


The date I agreed with you.

Well, other than the times we might've agreed on non-essentials. Like how to be saved, inerrancy of the bible, inconsequential stuff like that.


Richard Coords

According to their statement of faith:

"Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners"

This reminds me of the former Baptist Deacon that I ran into, some time back, who tried to refute a Jehovah's Witness, but who instead, ultimately became one, and there he was, sitting in my livingroom with his granddaughter, also a Jehovah's Witness.

Be careful what you wish for. If you WANT a Calvinist debate, expect to encounter people who KNOW what they are talking about, and who are WELL VERSED in what they are talking about. I don't know too many *stupid* Calvinists. Most of the ones that I run into, seem to know their proof-texts awfully well. In my experience, if you put an avg Calvinist up against an informed Non-Calvinist, I'll bet on the "avg" Calvinist. They're typically much better trained in their theology, and in how to argue it.

Debbie Kaufman

Richard: I know what I believe and why based on what I see the Bible teaching. I'm sure that's what you meant to say. :) There isn't a training camp or boot camp for Calvinists. :)


Here's another date to remember! I think Debbie made a statement we can all agree with, "I know what I believe and why based on what I see the Bible teaching." If anyone wants to say they get their beliefs from some place else, that's a whole different problem.

Please note that I did not say it was a statement we couldn't find fault with because if there is one thing I have learned in blogworld is that anyone can find fault with any statement!

Finding a statement that we can agree with, now that's a rare bird too!

Blessings to All,


Trish: How true that you say "Finding a statement that we can agree with, now that's a rare bird too."

If I said that God is good all the time, someone would find fault with that as well. selahV

Richard, good words and sound advice for those of us who sit thinking, or not thinking, about our understanding of God and His place in our lives. selahV

Debbie Kaufman

Amen Trish.

Debbie Kaufman

Amen Trish. Thank you.



I'm going to have to make an exception to your statement, "God is good all the time." I believe God exists outside of time, and is therefore not subject to it in the proper sense. His goodness existed before He created time, and will continue unabated when He causes time to be no more.

See, I just had to prove you right. ;)

Richard Coords

I just finished listening to Jerry Vines' sermon on Calvinism, in his "Baptist Battles" series. First of all, it was the best sermon that he had ever preached, even though I disagreed with him over his acceptable of Unconditional Election (which logically puts you on the hook for the rest of it, despite special pleadings to the contrary). For once you go down that path, you are committed to all of its inescapable, logical conclusions. But that's not my point. My point is concerning Vines' testimony of a Calvinist Sunday School teacher, and how he handled it. Vines took the Arbuckle approach, and simply forbade it from being discussed by one of his rogue Sunday School teachers, and invited him to teach it at a different church, so that he could go and "kill some other church," but not his. So my question is this: Are we being hypocritical by castigating Arbuckle, while ignoring the fact that Vines does virtually the same thing "in practice"?

If you are going to invite debate on the subject, at least present two "informed" sides. Otherwise, any avg Calvinist will bamboozle the greatest of the non-Cals, such as Norman Geisler. I'm sure that most Cal's have seen the YouTube video of James White bamboozling non-Cal, George Bryson. So be careful what you wish for. I have no problem with a Calvinist debate, as long as their is a competent speaker on "both" sides, and I'm not convinced that Geisler or Bryson are a match for James White or Phil Johnson. Clearly, despite brief moments of James White himself getting bamboolzed over over preemptive Regeneration by Dave Hunt, for the most part, despite all of his ugly Ad-hom personal attacks, he argued convincly against Dave Hunt on many points.

So, again, be careful what you wish for, and be sure not to be hypocritical about the Arbuckle condemnation.

Richard Coords

In other words, if you invite the JW into your house to discuss the Bible, you had better have researched the matter completely, or else you will end up like the Baptist Deacon in my livingroom. If you invite Phil Johnson, RC Sproul or James White into the SBC for a formal debate, you had better have someone on the other side, who has a clue, or else you should expect a massive church split. If you think that the competent opposition is someone who embraces Unconditional Election but who rejects the rest of it, expect a massacre.



Thanks for your input and your generous evaluation of Dr. Vines. Also, I appreciate your desire to be consistent.

I do digress somewhat though. I am not sure a comparison between associations of independent churches on the one hand and methodologies they employ or ought to employ and the way a particular church handles its own affairs stands legitimate.

For one thing, Associations are typically much looser, not insisting on a particular theological nuance from every single Church who is affiliated with it. And while that may be the case at large with Church-wide membership, it is typically not the case with either staff or 'lay' leadership who are in 'teaching positions' and who periodically give expositions about Church vision, doctrines, beliefs, etc. It's reasonable to expect leadership to be on the same theological page.

From my perspective, it is neither wrong-headed nor improper, not to mention 'hypocritical', to expect those who teach and/or are employed by the Church, to teach doctrine consistent with and not contrary to the theological heritage of the Church.

This would even be more particularly significant, if a pastor as influentially perceived to be Pastor/Teacher as Dr. Vines at First Jax. The same would hold for Dr. Rogers at Bellevue. Nor would I suspect, when he was alive, did he invite theological digression from those basic teachings he expounded from the pulpit. Frankly, I don't think many Pastors would.

Indeed I personally have no reservations whatsoever that Dr. Elam, pastor at FBC, Pauls Valley, OK nor the Church herself saying to the rogue staffer 'We do not wish you any longer to be a part of this fellowship' and doing so, not necessarily giving him an opportunity of teaching 'his side'. Their theological heritage obviously was respectably in place.

Nonetheless, to then attempt to impose on other Churches in the Association and/or the OBC their conclusion concerning Calvinism by 'standing against it'--as Arbuckle surely is attempting--does not follow at all.

As for having 'debates' in Churches, personally,I see no use for them. Perhaps conversations or dialogs are helpful.

Grace, Richard. With that, I am...


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