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2008.12.09

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Tim Rogers

Brother Peter,

Please read this comment http://www.founders.org/blog/2008/03/john-316-conference.html#5904433381628664037>here. It was on Founders blog discussing the J316 conference by an anonymous poster. However, no one ever corrected the statement. So, if Founders are such as our Brother Timmy presents them to be, they certainly do not classify our President as Brother Timmy tries to paint him.

Blessings,
Tim

SelahV Today by Hariette Petersen

Peter, personally, I think it not worthy to make much at all of Bro. Brister's conclusions and addendums. The funny thing is the first thing I noticed before your analysis it that he didn't name names in number 4. And I haven't a clue where I'd fit in the whole matter according to Bro. Brister's insights. I'd probably be grouped with you because I know you and respect the brothers in Cat 1. Although, I believe I'm a Cat. 2.
This is nuts. selahV

joe white

It is really astounding that group 4 does not have any names in it, not even one example of a non-cooperating Calvinist! He can name 16 "Anti-Calvinists" (among others), but cannot come up with one name for group 4. Quite telling isn't it.

John Daly

I would hardly classify you as "non-cooperating," rather you're pretty darn available whenever someone needs to raise an issue or draw their blade. I've held, and will continue to hold to the Doctrines of His Marvelous Grace and it matters not to me one iota which way the SBC winds blow.

The SBC can welcome me as a brother or can mail me a pink slip (or e-mail to save costs) and my head will rest just as well. I guess the bottom line, in my life; the SBC is in a word--irrelevant. (Why I don't even use Lifeway material!)

I appreciate your frustration to feel that you need not deny the label anti-Founders. So while some may point to some "events that have widened the divide." I will point to the Blood that unites.

Norman

Thank you Peter. No tickets required for this train. All riders welcome.

peter lumpkins

All,

Thanks for stopping by. This may be the single, most alarming piece to date from Founders. To allow Founders & Brister to frame the debate--who belongs where; who is and is not cooperating--is simply not going to happen if I have anything to contribute.

In fact, for me, this is really a sand line drawn that Southern Baptists at large need to note. Nor can any of the theologians and leaders mentioned in Brister's piece take this lightly.

In the future, I plan on some posts dealing exclusively with Founders' agenda. Brister attempts to broad-brush Founders as irenic, peaceable and cooperative. Note, however:

"Calvinism is nothing more than biblical Christianity."

"These doctrines [the "doctrines of grace" or the five points of Calvinism] are foundational to a God-centered theology. They are the heart of historical, orthodox Christianity"

"We rejoice that the Southern Baptist Convention began its existence as a Calvinistic, reformed denomination. Even more so, we yearn to see the day when our vision for reformation is shared by our contemporaries and the generations to follow"

"...evangelical Calvinism is biblical Christianity"

"Liberalism runs by nature to an intellectual abandonment of the doctrinal content of the faith. A conservative, non-Calvinistic system runs by nature to a practical ignoring of the doctrinal content of the faith. In the end, there is no difference. Perhaps we will see that, another generation or two down the line, conservative, non-Calvinistic Baptist theology will end up being virtually indistinguishable from liberal theology."

"Calvinistic Christianity is nothing more and nothing less than biblical Christianity. It follows, then, that the future of Christianity itself is bound up in the fortunes of Calvinism"

Every statement of the above is taken from Founders manual for reforming the church and the SBC entitled "A Quiet Revolution" by Ernest C. Reisinger & D. Matthew Allen. Reisinger was the "founder" of Founders along with Tom Nettles, Tom Ascol and a few others.

Make no mistake: unless Founders is willing to publicly distance themselves from Reisinger's vision, there is no possibility of "cooperating" with non-Calvinists in the SBC. Founders are not wanting to cooperate with us; they are wanting to convert us.

With that, I am...

Peter

RazorsKiss

So, got any 5-point Calvinists that you would put into #3? I would also encourage you to provide some names for #4, since you think his lack of names is so problematic. Remember, though, that these people have to be unwilling to join hands with anyone who doesn't share their convictions, equate Calvinism with the Gospel, encourage Calvinists to leave the SBC, as it's hopeless to remain, and that Calvinism will solve all the SBC's problems magically.

Got anyone that fills all those requirements? I don't. I'm pretty sure that the majority of the SBC is semi-pelagian, if not pelagian, but there's always hope for ignorance. It is found in the knowledge fo the truth. I'm sure a return to Biblical Calvinism is indeed the correct response to rememdy the mass apostasy on our hands in the modern SBC - but it's not a "magic" pill. It will take much diligence, and much dedication to bring men back to a faithful understanding of scripture, and apart from the traditions in the SBC. It's the removal of tradition in favor of Scripture. I don't think Calvinism is the gospel - but the anthropologically centered conception of autonomic free will as the centerpiece of so-called theology isn't the gospel - but it's sure preached as it is. Deny it if you wish, but I've been to those revivals, and I've heard Dr. Allen preach at my church. It's definitely the centerpiece.

Decisional regeneration is the bane of the SBC. What is the remedy for it? Unregenerate church membership is a scourge that leads to apostasy - what is the remedy for it? A lack of church disipline leads to antinomianism and the "carnal christian" conception of acceptable christian behavior. What is the remedy for it?

A return to Scriptural theology, and a departure from pop theology and anthropology masquerading as theology. So, yeah - a "cooperative" calvinist does not <>blindly cooperate with ascriptural doctrines. A cooperative calvinist can work with someone who does not agree, insofar as they still hold to scriptural theology. Where they depart from it, the cooperation ceases - and that is how it should be. What I find interesting is the insistence that the cooperation must be in one direction. Calvinists have to toe the non-calvinist line, and not express any doctrinal distinctives, or they are being "intolerant". Funny, that. What does that make you, Peter?

peter lumpkins

RazorKiss,

A) Why would I do the very thing for which I criticized Brister?

B) Since you are confident that "a return to Biblical Calvinism is indeed the correct response to rememdy [sic] the mass apostasy on our hands in the modern SBC," RazorKiss, I think that's swell. You have my express permission to keep right on believing such. But,

C) Do not clog our threads up again with long vitriol about Non-Calvinism with no real specific point. I'm not interested in exchange with settled incorrigibility, thank you very much. My time is limited.

With that, I am...

Peter

volfan007

When Razorkiss said,"I'm pretty sure that the majority of the SBC is semi-pelagian, if not pelagian, but there's always hope for ignorance," we pretty much see who is the divisive ones in the SBC. For someone to make a statement like this...along with Timmy Brister's post and lists...along with the Founder's manifesto...shows who are the divisive ones.

Peter, this is incredible...absolutely unbelievable.

David

Byroniac

Volfan007, Roger Olson's book on Arminian Theology makes the same assessment of semi-pelagianism in the SBC as Razorkiss does here, and he is by no means a five-point Calvinist, or seeking to be divisive. By the way, it is an excellent book, and an enjoyable read, though quite naturally, I completely disagree with his theology. But issues like this are doctrinal matters and there must be room for discussion I think, as an SBC layman anyway. Though doctrine is naturally a divider, I do not think that seeking doctrinal integrity and precision is at all a bad thing.

Byroniac

I should add, if I read Roger Olson correctly. Right off the top of my head, I cannot remember if he addressed the SBC specifically or not. But he made some good points in reference to semi-pelagianism in his arguments against it in the book.

peter lumpkins

Byroniac,

I suggest you read Olson's comments again about that. Our friend JohnMark makes it a point to sew that particular line on many blogs he frequents.

With that, I am...

Peter

johnMark

Byroniac,

I have made it a point as our friend Peter has stated. What Olson says in his book Arminian Theology is that most of American evangelicalism is either pelagian or semi-pelagian. If I remember correctly it's on pages 30-31.

In his interview with Michael Horton per the topic of my above comments Dr. Olson says the following.

Right. In fact in the book, near the beginning I say, with my Reformed friends, that garden variety evangelicalism in the pews-and too often in the pulpits-is semi-Pelagian, not Arminian. And yet it gets called Arminian by many people. The whole point of my book is to distinguish between those, between semi-Pelagianism and Arminianism, and I agree with critics who say that American evangelical Christianity is by and large semi-Pelagian-in the sense that they believe we take the initiative. I call it the theology of "Touched by an Angel." In that TV show, many times the angels would say to people, "All you have to do is reach out toward God, and then he'll come down and reach out to you." And there are songs, of course, that say much the same thing. And that's not Arminianism. Arminianism has always stressed and emphasized the initiative of God by prevenient grace. (Source)

Peter, I hope this is helpful and acceptable as I seek not to hijack this thread.

Mark

peter lumpkins

JohnMark,

Thanks. And, whatever indicative of your concern not to "hijack this thread," I assure you, my brother, that is the least of my personal concern.

Yes, I've read your challenge before and thought it a little weird popping here and there citing Olsen as an authority, especially on this point.

What your citation does not do, JohnMark, is give sufficient justice to Olson's purpose in his remarks. At least as far as his book goes, Olson desired to forge a theological distinction which Calvinists routinely deny. For them, according to Olson, Calvinists mistakenly assert semi-pelagianism = Arminianism.

Olson has a very good reason for this: he wants to show in his book that, contrary to Calvinistic critics, Arminianism--that is, classic Arminianism, or, in his terminology, "Arminianism of the heart" and not "Arminianism of the head"--is nothing more or less than Reformation faith. Thus, apart from the larger context, the point you're attempting to make with Olson's little jab looses luster quickly, JohnMark, and looks more an attempt to exploit than inform. At least that's my take on it.

Now, for the record, I personally talked with Dr. Olson about this very issue in his book. The following is my question and his answer verbatim (the entire interview is in my archives):

Peter: Dr. Olson, in the Introduction to Arminian Theology: Myths & Realities, you write: "The thesis of this book is that Arminianism is at a disadvantage in this controversy because it is so rarely understood and so commonly misinterpreted both by its critics and its supposed defenders." But Dr. Olson, I hear so often that Arminianism is rampant in America’s pulpit--usually by Calvinist apologists. What do you make of that?

Dr. Olson: "Well, it’s a misunderstanding. What’s rampant in America’s pulpit and pews are not Arminians but semi-Pelagians. But what has happened is that Calvinist spokesmen have equated those two, mistakenly in fact. Arminianism is not semi-Pelagianism. But over the years, many Calvinists have come to equate them and to simply use them interchangeably.

The difference is this: in classical Arminianism--in real Arminianism--if someone gets saved, it’s because God came to them first; the initiative is God’s. God calls them and God enables them. That’s called prevenient grace.

But you don’t hear that in pulpits a lot. What you hear in pulpits and pews is what scholars call semi-Pelagianism; although they don’t know it’s called that.

And that is a very different idea in that God is kind of standing at a distance, waiting for us to take the initiative and, if we take the imitative, take one step toward God, then He will come near to us, and perhaps save us if we do the right thing. That is not Arminianism.

Arminianism is that God comes to us first, through the gospel which can be efficacious in our lives through a sermon, a song, a witness, or reading the Bible. But that God the Holy Spirit reaches into our lives first, through prevenient grace, and partially regenerates us, then we have to actualize that with our free will decision which God’s grace makes possible.

Without God’s prevenient grace, we would not be free, so we don’t believe in Free Will, we believe in the Freed Will. Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism believe that humans have inherent free will apart from any supernatural grace. So, there is a very important difference there."

Hope this assists. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Oh, JohnMark, I meant to ask you, How did you like his book? What was the most outstanding chapter in it? What do you think of Olson's take on Finney?

With that, I am...

Peter

Luke

Peter,

Thanks for posting that Q/A from your conversation with Dr. Olson. I think I will head back into your archives and review that interview. Very interesting stuff to think upon.

Luke

John Daly

"...and partially regenerates us, then we have to actualize that with our free will decision which God’s grace makes possible."

And that is the proverbial fork in the road where we take different paths.

Steve

HAhaha.. I found Brister's article quite funny.... I count 7 of the men he lists in category 1 as personal friends whom I hold in the highest esteem! How can they be "non-cooperative"?
Get real Mr. Brister!

Byroniac

Peter, for what's it worth: I don't consider you a non-cooperative non-Calvinist. I thought I understood what one was until I read Brister's post. Now I am left scratching my head, because I have met some people personally I would categorize as "non-cooperative non-Calvinists" without hesitation. I do disagree with you concerning the hyper-Calvinism issue, true, but that's probably not surprising.

Back to the assertion of "semi-pelagianism" being divisive, my point to Volfan007 is that such an assertion need not be divisive (though it certainly can be). Whether Calvinists are guilty of wrongly categorizing or not, the fundamental assertion of Olson's remain that some are semi-Pelagian. We shouldn't have to wait for a non-Calvinist to say something like that in the interest of doctrinal integrity and persuasion for it not to be divisive.

Todd Burus

Peter,
I love how you attack Timmy's credibility by implying he has left off people who should be in category 4 and then conveniently avoid saying who he has missed. Isn't this part of the "sweeping" and "baseless" accusation that you detest?

peter lumpkins

Todd,

I answered similarly RazorKiss in #8.

With that, I am...

Peter

Todd Burus

Peter,
I just don't get how you allow yourself to imply wrongdoing on the part of a brother and then refuse to justify this charge. You seem to have a much higher standard for other people here.

Dr. James Willingham

Dr. Finn seems to be like Dr. Akin. They want to have the five point calvinists clearly distinguished and left out in the field, separated from all the rest and having to justify themselves and their position. Well, the truth is that is utterly false to the founders like Gano, Stearns, Craig, Manley, Mercer, Furman, and a host of others. It was people like those who followed Stearns that allowed for the preaching that Christ tasted death for every man and that it would not be a barrier to fellowship. Thus, the original position was clearly particular redemption. the real liberals are the founders (note: I do not use Founders as I am not sure where some of these are coming from, but I am willing to have some fellowship with them until I find out where they are coming from). There are plenty of sovereign grace preachers in the convention who owe their positions to the pastors they had in their youth. Now as to the evangelistic value, I think these truths are more inviting, more wonderful, more winsome in the long run than any other position. EACH ONE OF THE TULIP DOCTRINES IS AN INVITATION TO BE SAVED ALONG WITH PREDESTINATION AND, YES, EVEN REPROBATION. Our problem is we have so few people who do any thinking outside the box, so few who have any comprehension of how paradoxes work. We also do not realize just how liberal (in the best since of the word) the original teachings were. Think of uniting separates and regulars, persuading General Baptists to adopt particular redemption, making converts in quantity and quality, working with political leaders like Washington, Jefferson, et. al. The climax of the reformation occurred up and down the seaboard of America from 1730-1820, and it moved the reformation from being a gospel recovery operation to an outgoing missionary and evangelistic endeavor. Luther Rice stated, "Predestinaton is in the Bible and you had better preach it." What could be more fascinating than to think the great missionary endeavor started with people like him. He chaired Sandy Creek Assn.'s Committee that drew up the Confession of 1816. On that committee was Basil Manley (later, Sr.), whose son would write the abstract of principles. We could be on the verge of a Third Great Awakening, one that might fill the whole earth with His knowledge and glory as the waters cover the sea. Sovereign Grace was clearly the theology at the beginning, but it requires a bit of mental and spiritual stretching to comprehend how it could move as it did people to begin the Great Century of Missions. There were then, I think, people who wanted to stop those great awakenings and that missionary movement, and there are people today who wish to do the same. Personally, I think we need to study Edwards, Whitefield, and Wesley to see how to conduct ourselves. Theological disagreements are allowed by the Lord that we might learn how to live and act as Christians. If anyone takes offense at what I have said, please remember I had no intention of doing such a thing. I have been praying for another great awakening for 35 years, and we can learn to work together and still be faithful to the Lord and His word. We can choose to reject the rancorous spirit, choose to ignore and forgive that which irritates and frustrates us. We can learn like John Leland to compromise in such a way that we make others and ourselves feel like the gainers in the bargain. I use compromise in the best sense of the word of a mediated settlement. Consider how hard it was for the Believers of South Africa to work through the Reconciliation Commission and try to forgive each other for the crimes of apartheid. I remember a former marine in 1969 saying he did not feel about African American like others, since he had held his buddy in his arms while he died of the gun shots intended for that marine. The former marine said, "He saved my life, and I cried like a baby." The love of God for us is greater than we imagine, and He wants us to love one another in the same way.

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