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2009.07.11

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Tim G

Peter,
Interesting thoughts and perspectives. You ask some great questions with this post.

Matt Svoboda

I thought it was appropriate for Akin to apologize to the Calvinists because he himself isnt a Calvinist, but any right thinking person can see that MC completely misrepresented Calvinism in his supposed "report."

When anyone does something like what MC did, presidents and everyone else have a right to "apologize" for him. His report was pathetic and shows whats wrong with the SBC. Misrepresent the "other side" and then attack it? I understand disagreeing with something, but AT LEAST be a man about it and represent it accurately.

With everything else in your post, I agree. They did stare awkwardly at the floor. Your positives were right on. But seriously, you fault the guys who apologized for MC rather than faulting the fact that they needed to apologize for him?

volfan007

This does sound a bit strange and concerning...especially the part about entity heads and Lifeway reps not encouraging giving to the CP. That is very concerning.

David

peter

David & Tim,

Thanks for stopping by.

Matt,

Thanks also. Just a few notes, if I may. First, to suggest Dr. Akin is not a Calvinist presumably because he bears the so-called "4-P" position, is not well-taken. He personally identifies himself as an "Amyraldian," a perfectly legitimate--not to mention precise--marker, identifying for us the specific brand of the multi-colored "calvinisms" to which one may adhere. I so wish more Calvinists would be so precise.

Also, I'm sure no one would question Dr. Akin's right to apologize to anyone whom he chooses. I certainly would not.

Rather my focus was not on his right to do so but wondered whether it was either morally necessary or expedient for him to do so. I concluded his apology was neither.

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

Byroniac

Ideally, I am waiting for Morris Chapman to apologize for his ignorant, mistaken remarks, but I am not sure if that will ever happen. On the other hand, I appreciate Dr. Akin's apology, even coming from someone who's not guilty of the specific offenses for which he's apologizing, because it indicates a helpful disassociation with incorrect statements (assuming from my point of view that Morris Chapman's statements are incorrect). It lets us Calvinists (of all colors and flavors) know that there are differences of perception in the SBC, and that these views are not uniformly unfavorable. Whether his apology is expedient or not, I cannot tell, as that too is probably a matter of opinion. Morris Chapman holds a position of authority and is to be respected for that authority. However, authority alone cannot insulate one from being reproved for error.

Dave Miller

I am in full agreement with Dr. Akin that Dr. Chapman's words were ill-advised and unnecessary.

However, an apology for someone else's misdeeds is not really an apology. It is an accusation.

peter lumpkins

Byron,

Apology for what? Dr. Akin did nothing for which to apologize. Nor was he representating Southern Baptists in apologizing. If so, by what means did he acquire this special assignment?

Furthermore, since Dr. Chapman was not speaking for Southern Baptists but for himself, there exists no reason to "disassociate" all other Southern Baptists from his view.

Dave, nailed it squarely, however: "an apology for someone else's misdeeds is not really an apology. It is an accusation." That's precisely what we need less of in the SBC--especially from those in top-tier leadership positions aimed at others in top-tier leadership positions.

Nor is this about "insulat[ing] one from being reproved for error."

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Dave,

In essence, I could not agree more. I would insist, however, the description used concerning Dr. Chapman was somewhat more provocative than "ill-advised and unnecessary."

With that, I am...
Peter

Tim B

I was in the hall when Dr. Chapman spoke. I just listened to it again. I am wondering why Dr. Akin and some of you are so upset with him calling on the SBC to unite around the mystery of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility in salvation. Could those of you who are critical please tell us exactly what he said that you believe needed apologizing for or exactly what he said that you disagree with? I have listened to his message twice and must have missed something.

Tim B

Byroniac

Well, unofficially, Dr. Akin represents those who agree with him I guess. And the point is taken about for whom Dr. Chapman was speaking, but I think the problem came about from where he spoke. I just wish he had spoken more accurately and cared more about objectivity. And yes, I can see what Dave Miller is saying about apologies and accusations, but accurate apologies are not out of place (though whether the accusation is accurate is a matter of opinion perhaps).

Byroniac

Sorry, I was on the phone. I meant to say, accurate accusations are not out of place when truthful and presented appropriately. But if someone is wrong, should not someone else say so? It does not matter if different levels or spheres of authority are involved (well, it does according to the flesh). I guess the crux of the matter is for me, is that something is either right or wrong. If it is wrong, then it is not wrong for others to agree and "apologize" for it, even if such is an accusation of wrong.

Byroniac

Tim B, I think DownshoreDrift has a pretty good take on it.
http://tinyurl.com/ljyc7l

peter lumpkins

Byron,

You're completely skirting the issue. First, that Dr. Chapman "mispoke" is an estimation with which many agree. That you wish "he had spoken more accurately and cared more about objectivity" is a concern, incidentally, you did not express concerning Greear's infamous soundbite. If I recall, your final words on Greear was "it was exaggeration." How totally cool!

In addition, "accurate accusations are not out of place when truthful and presented appropriately" means exactly what, Byron? The point I raised is precisely at this juncture: if it was not morally necessary for Akin to apologize, then the only alternative, it seems to me, is that it was expedient. But neither may we view it as helpful. Little hope exists negotiations will repair Akin's public relational breach with Chapman. It is exactly this the SBC needs less of.

What you mean by your last statement I cannot tell.

With that, I am...
Peter

Byroniac

There is a difference between exaggeration in the form of hyperbole and stating inaccuracies which to be charitable I think are based on misconceptions. I might possibly view Dr. Akin's apology as helpful if I believe what it references is in error and that he is expressing an understanding that the incorrect view is not the only one in existence. You are right though, in one sense, we need less of this (relational breaches and such) in the SBC, and the only way I can see for that to happen is to maintain both civility and accuracy.

Tim B

Byron,

I have heard Dr. Chapman's message three times. I don't care what other people say he said. Have you listened to the message? Or are you just going by what others have said? For me, it's one of those messages that stepped on some toes but if the shoe fits then wear it. If you are Calvinistic and you still believe in the "whosoever will" of John 3:16 and are content to live with the mystery of man's responsibility and God's sovereignty and are willing to unite around that then there was nothing to be offended about. On the other hand, if you are one of those Calvinists who believe that revival in the convention would begin with a restoration of 5 point Calvinism then you probably would be offended.

I tend to agree with Peter that the situation with Akin goes beyond what Chapman said. I wonder if he even heard the message before making his remarks.

peter lumpkins

Dear Byron,

If the only way way you can see less of "this (relational breaches and such)" in the SBC is to maintain both civility and accuracy, then your rationalizing Greear's inaccuraces while praising a third party "apology" for Chapman's inaccuracies does little, were one to ask me, in promoting either civility or accuracy.

With that, I am...
Peter

Byroniac

I haven't listened to the message myself, but the transcript is available by a link on the URL I gave earlier. There is much in his address with which I can wholeheartedly agree. However, there are some statements in it which are simply wrong, even though I believe them to be misconceptions on his part.

He is wrong when he states, "The Southern Baptist Convention is experiencing a resurgence in the belief that divine sovereignty alone is at work in salvation without a faith response on the part of man." There is no resurgence of such a belief in the SBC, and there never has been. God help us if it ever does.

He is also wrong when he states, "Some are given to explain away the 'whosoever will' of John 3:16." No true, born-again Christian (Calvinist or not) seeks to explain away any part of God's Holy Word. Though it is true that some theological systems seem to have more difficulty than others explaining certain verses of Scriptures, all orthodox systems of belief have their problem passages as it were, and all try to incorporate the whole of Scripture in the fabric of faith and practice.

He is wrong when he states, "The belief that sovereignty alone is at work in salvation is not what has emboldened our witness and elevated our concern for evangelism and missions through the ages." By this he probably means his interpretation of it and not the Calvinistic one. The very idea of the sovereignty of God emboldened Calvinist missionaries who proceeded confident in both God's ability and willingness to redeem His elect through the means of the preached Word or Gospel of God. One does not have to be a Calvinist to believe in God's Sovereignty (though in my personal opinion Calvinism provides more satisfactory answers to me personally than other systems of belief). But apparently he does not understand that in the Calvinist system of belief, faith to believe is itself a gift of God to His elect (some have called this Hybrid Calvinism in error in my personal opinion), and that properly understood, Calvinism should not be a license to sin or an excuse for apathy for souls.

I even think he is wrong in a sense when he says, "If there is any doctrine of grace that drives men to argue and debate more than it drives them to pursue lost souls and persuade ALL MEN to be reconciled to God – then it is no doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ." Doctrines by their very nature can cause debate and division, and the test of spiritual truth is not in the measure of division and debate it causes, but by its nature and agreement with the Word. I do agree with him if I am understanding him correctly that a doctrine that leads away from Christ and from true evangelism cannot be true.

Morris Chapman asks some great questions at the end. Well, four out of the five are great questions. I take a personal exception to number 4 due to the fact that I have no real knowledge of how the SBC works, so I am not qualified to have an opinion on it one way or the other. But I think he asks very pertinent questions that deserve thoughtful and spiritually meaningful responses.

Byroniac

Peter, fair enough. I cannot change your mind on the matter. And mine will probably not change either, though I am open to correction. I think others here on this blog have done a better job of expressing my own opinions on the matter anyway.

peter lumpkins

Byron,

Perhaps we'll just chalk up the "open to correction" as hyperbole, Byron.

With that, I am...
Peter

Byroniac

Peter, I was hoping for both civility and accuracy, but I'll settle for accuracy, then.

Byroniac

Peter, reading back over my words, I did not mean to imply you are not open to correction. My words could be misunderstood and if so, that was not my intention at all. What I simply meant was, I could be wrong, and if presented the factual evidence to the contrary of my belief, I hope that I remain open to correction.

Steve G

Yes, I was present in the hall when Morris Chapman delivered his speech. I didn't feel threatened by it, and I basically concurred with his assessment regarding most things. At one moment I wondered if I was welcome, but that soon passed. Sadly, I agree that to apologise for someone else's remarks is more likey to take an accusatory position rather than an apologetic position, although the intent may have been apologetic. Here, as in Canada, nationally we have been caught up in a controversy over apologising to a "stolen generation" of aborginals removed from their homes for their own safekeeping and welfare when some full blood aboriginals were enacting a form of genocide on mixblood aboriginals. Whites removed mix bloods and palced them with white families or missions for education health and integration reasons.
The issue is "Is there a genuine case of wrongdoing for which apology should be appropriate?""Who should apologise?" "Should anyone apologise?" "Is apology appropriate at all?"
Perhaps more careful thought of these issues would prevent foolish controversy.
Blessings,
Steve

Chris Gilliam

Peter,

Thanks for the briefing. Coffee soon I hope!

Tim B

Byron,

It is your opinion and not fact that the statements you reference are not true. I have in fact had a discussion where a young SBC minister want to be insisted that the author's intent of "whoseover will" of John 3:16 was "the elect." I have had discussions with SBC calvinists who insisted that the "any" "not wishing that any should perish" referred only to the elect. It is a fact that there is a resurgence of some sort of Calvinism in the SBC and consequently, the conclusion that there is a resurgence of the unbiblical positions Chapman outlined. I think that the fact that there is an active fellowship within our convention that has as its stated goal: "to encourage the return to and promulgation of the biblical gospel that our Southern Baptist forefathers held dear." implying that any gospel that is not 5 point Calvinist is a deficient gospel is enough in itself to support Dr. Chapman's warning.

Byroniac

Tim B, there are Calvinistic reasons for the two scenarios you give. I cannot ask you to be convinced, only that you read the positions for yourself and the reasoning behind them. It might very well be just my opinion, but then again, I could be right. In my opinion, either Morris Chapman does not adequately understand Calvinism or his words do not support the understanding that he has. I may have misread the Founders on their position concerning the gospel, as I do not believe that the gospel has to have five-points of a theological flower known as a tulip to be soteriologically sufficient. Be that as it may, I cannot help but think that Calvinism is the true position of the Scriptures.

peter lumpkins

Byron,

I would be reluctant to make such bold claims concerning what MC asserted--albeit not stating it with near the careful accuracy he should. As mangled as it may have been, Dr. Chapman attempted to lament a much too obvious obsession of some with the sovereignty of God in salvation, so much so, that it completely overshadows the faith-response of human beings made in His image. And, if you do not see a resurgence of such an obsession in Baptist life, be my guest. But do not expect many of us who do to take your unsubstantiated denial seriously.

In addition, you conclude, "There is no resurgence of such a belief in the SBC, and there never has been...' A good rule of thumb when making historical analysis--do not be so certain. All one has to do to prove you wrong is find one example. I have two examples: Georgia and Alabama. The archives bear out the waxing/waning Calvinist debate about as far back as you'd like to go.

You also state MC is wrong when he says, "Some are given to explain away the 'whosoever will' of John 3:16." A)That strict Calvinists are prone to clump the "all" passages into a neat little category of "objections to Limited Atonement" is so thoroughly documented, it needs no defense whatsoever. B) Aggresive Calvinists systematically gut John 3:16's "whosoever" of its prima facie meaning, and pushes through the backdoor the verbage of eternal election, making the "whosoever" the elect--and the elect alone--chosen to receive the gift of faith.

Sproul's view is, from my observations at least, run of the mill in aggressive Southern Baptist Calvinist circles. Concerning this, Sproul writes: "John 3:16...promises that whosoever believes will not perish. The text explicitly teaches that if someone does A (believes), then he will not have B (perishing) and will have C (eternal life). The text says nothing about who will believe or who can believe" (Willing to Believe, p.99). This is the type of double-speak MC was attempting to get at, Byron. And, yes: it exists in the SBC.

Moreover, since we are speaking of very accessible verses--accessible to the unlearned masses--the point you make concerning "all orthodox systems of belief have their problem passages as it were" is bled dry. We're not referring to "problem passages." To the contrary, if a person cannot understand John 3:16, a person is incapable of understanding any verse in the Bible. Period. The very perspicuity of Scripture is at stake at this point.

You further assert, "The very idea of the sovereignty of God emboldened Calvinist missionaries who proceeded confident in both God's ability and willingness to redeem His elect..." And, Byron, who are these missionaries empowered by His sovereignty who went looking for "God's elect"?

For my part, what you've just stated may be the clearest example of the way aggressive Calvinists often skew the Great Commission of our Lord. For them, the Great Commission Jesus instituted is not about finding lost people, nor saving people from the flames of hell, nor preaching the good news to those perishing. Why heaven's no!

The Great Commission is about gathering God's elect, revealing who's already saved from the foundation of the world. In other words, the church evangelizes not to reveal Christ but to reveal the elect, not to save the reprobate (in fact preaching only makes his judgment more severe and God's justice more glorious!) who desparately needs salvation.

Rather the church evangelizes to summons the elect concerning whom it was impossible to perish. After all, they constitute the "whosoever" of John 3:16, do they not?

You further write: "But apparently he does not understand that in the Calvinist system of belief, faith to believe is itself a gift of God to His elect (some have called this Hybrid Calvinism in error in my personal opinion)..." Unfortunately, Byron, you do not understand that not all Calvinists view "faith as a gift."

I'd be particularly careful in my bold pronouncements about what "the Calvinist system of belief" believes and does not believe. While one can be broad and get away with it, it's much more difficult to nail down "the Calvinist view" in many particulars.

With that, I am...
Peter

Byroniac

Peter, I qualified my assertions with "in my opinion" in reference to Morris Chapman's opinions. Though perhaps I did not do it consistently like I should have, my last comment included that modifier rather clearly. Why you admonish me for making "such bold claims" seems rather lost on me then. Or perhaps it was the "he is wrong" part? Must everything be prefaced by, "in my opinion" in order to pass your criticism, or judging from my last comment, is even that insufficient?

I stand corrected however on my history, and for not accurately representing all forms of Calvinism, as I am rather narrow-minded as to what I believe Calvinism is and is not. Even so, I can see where I was wrong in your explanation.

The actual identity of the elect is unknown. So there is no skewing of the Great Commission that I can see when we proclaim that God's ultimate redemption is of His elect and them only, because in the process of preaching the gospel we see the Great Commission acted out, in "saving lost people" and "saving people from the flames of hell" and "preaching the good news to those perishing" which ends up being, "gathering God's elect," but this is not the same as, "revealing who's already saved from the foundation of the world" (I do not hold to the Hyper-Calvinist doctrine of eternal justification, if this is what you are implying, but regardless, they are not "saved" from before the beginning of time, but elected to salvation which comes about in God's timing and regeneration resulting in conversion). Skewing is possible, but not necessary at all. And, I do not know the identity of the elect and the reprobate. I am glad I do not, because I could not handle the knowledge. It would make evangelism much easier because people could be targeted with 100% efficiency, but God reserves the knowledge of the elect to Himself while commanding the Church to preach the Gospel in Christ's name.

I honestly do not know, so I am asking, do not all five-point Calvinists view faith as a gift? Perhaps not. I know I have heard a four pointer who seemed to say that faith was not a work but something the person actively does. But it does not seem to be a stretch to say faith is indeed a gift.

I have a couple (or more questions) I want to ask, now.

What is a strict Calvinist? You don't define it in your comment.

What is an aggressive Calvinist? You don't define that either. Is this the same thing as an extreme Calvinist which I have heard others say on this blog? Why or why not?

And why use these terms? Are they documented somewhere? I have less trouble accepting some terminology like "Dortian Calvinist" because I can see its definition and intent, than these terms which you present without any defense.

peter lumpkins

Byron,

First, Byron, because you "qualified [your] assertions" concerning MC's address with "in my opinion" is supposed to do what? How does such qualification negate the "bold claims" you made which I referenced?

---"There is no resurgence of such a belief in the SBC, and there never has been"
---"The very idea of the sovereignty of God emboldened Calvinist missionaries who proceeded confident in both God's ability and willingness to redeem His elect..."
---"...in the Calvinist system of belief, faith to believe is itself a gift of God to His elect (some have called this Hybrid Calvinism in error in my personal opinion)..."

In addition, no less than 5 times in the comment I addressed you boldly asserted--in your opinion, I fully concede ;^)--MC was wrong.

Hence, if you make the claims, even if only your opinion in the form of claims, then please do not feel as if you are "admonished" if the claims, expressing your opinions, come under scrutiny.

Know also comments do not necessarily need to "pass [my] criticism" but are subject to my criticism if I'm a mind to. For the life of me, I'm not sure why you'd even bring such up.

You write: "I stand corrected however on my history, and for not accurately representing all forms of Calvinism, as I am rather narrow-minded as to what I believe Calvinism is and is not. Even so, I can see where I was wrong in your explanation."

Byron, as far as I am concerned, this is a major problem here. Without a blink, you a) stand corrected about history b) concede inaccuracy concerning Calvinism c) admit narrow-minded identifying Calvinism but d) cannot see where you were wrong. How such makes any sense whatsoever, I'd like to know. More humorous, with your admissions above, what is one to make of your bold assertions--even if opinions they may be-- concerning MC errors?

As far as the explanation concerning my point about evangelizing being gathering the elect rather than reaching the lost, thank you for your hearty agreement; "in the process of preaching the gospel we see the Great Commission acted out...which ends up being, "gathering God's elect,".

Byron, as far as the "strict," "aggressive," "Dortian," qualifers goes--along with some of the other qualifers I've used like "high", "4Point," and "moderate"--they are sufficiently documented in my many ramblings on this blog. For more technical definitions of say, "strict," "high," and/or "moderate" I suggest you look at standard theological works. I do use them, I trust, in full consistency with what you'll find there.

With that, I am...
Peter


Byroniac

Sorry, Peter, but now I'm going to have to add the question, "What constitutes a bold claim, then?" You are going to have to define that as well before I have a hope of understanding you. I simply stated he was wrong, and briefly stated why I thought so, without much detail (I'm beginning to see a pattern here: speak too much and you're charged with obtuseness and verbosity, speak too little and you're charged with making bold claims or not adequately explaining things; I give up).

Your other qualifiers of Calvinism may be sufficiently documented elsewhere in your opinion, but I confess no clear definitions of such have ever crystalized in my mind when reading your use of them. And what about that "extreme" Calvinism thing? Does that get a pass just because it's not yours?

I don't really understand why you say, "Know also comments do not necessarily need to 'pass [my] criticism' but are subject to my criticism if I'm a mind to. For the life of me, I'm not sure why you'd even bring such up." Why wouldn't I? If you are criticizing something, rightly or wrongly, does it not then fall into the status of being your criticism?

Peter, there is no dichotomy in my mind between "gathering the elect" and "reaching the lost" and I am sorry that there is in yours. Instead of inserting a "rather than" between the two, I would happily insert a "because of" or "as a result of" or something similar. Again, the identity of the elect is unknown, and thankfully so (at least for me). I can preach God's grace and mercy indiscriminately because I trust the Holy Spirit to call to salvation, not the power or eloquence of my words or the charisma of my person, or formulating the right salvation appeal or anything like that along those lines. And I'm not saying that that's all that Non-Calvinists wind up doing, though some do (and some Calvinists as well, and both are mistaken). How this equates to hearty agreement honestly escapes me; I actually stated the contrary to your assertion, while remaining within my theological system.

Peter, I must say that talking to you is interesting to say the least. To say we disagree on some things is putting it mildly. I only wish I could figure out how to explain where I am coming from but so far I am unable.

William Marshall

Bro. Pete,

I recognize that your post was dealing more with Dr. Akin's apology than with what Dr. Chapman said. Yet, I was wondering, do you agree with his (MC) statement: "The Southern Baptist Convention is experiencing a resurgence in the belief that divine sovereignty alone is at work in salvation without a faith response on the part of man."

Thanks for your time,

wm

peter lumpkins

William,

Thanks. Surely it was good to see you at the SBC. Joe & Kristy were jealous!

You asked if I agreed with MC's statment concerning a supposed SBC resurgence that "divine sovereignty alone is at work in salvation without a faith response on the part of man."
The way he states it, categorically no.

As I mentioned to Byron, MC botched the wording of that really good. I think he meant to simply say the sovereignty of God is so strongly held, human faith-response is thoroughly eclipsed. Alas, he didn't. Instead he gave many Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike sufficient reason to question his words.

On the other hand, were it stated in a way indicative of a growing resurgence of Calvinism in the SBC which is aggressively active in remaking the SBC into a "Reformed" Baptist body, the answer is categorically yes.

Hope this helps.

With that, I am...
Peter

William Marshall

Bro. Pete,

Thanks for the clarification, good to see you as well.

wm

peter

Byron,

I suggest, if you do not understand what I am saying, Byron, please be specific where I'm vague, when I'm vague.

You write: "I simply stated he was wrong, and briefly stated why I thought so." To the contrary, Byron, I gave three--three!--examples of what I dubbed "bold" claims in your comment. The first makes a universal denial. That's what I mean by bold.

The second makes a rather ridiculous assertion indicating Calvinist missionaries were somehow enflamed to do missions based upon their strong sense of God's sovereignty. That's what I mean by bold.

Third, you alluded to "the Calvinist system of belief" to which I cautioned, one better be broad not narrow in these type assertions. That's what I mean by bold.

Byron, could you please tell me what Jesus said in the Great Commission? Did He focus on eternal election? Eternal predestination? Inward calling? Is any form of the command to evangelize in the NT offered in the framework of whom God chooses to bestow the gift of faith because He eternally chose him or her to believe? If not, my young friend, you'd darn well better have a dichotomy in your mind.

Nor is it helpful to continue asserting "I don't know who the elect are." No point I've made is dependent on upon one knowing the elect's identity so far as I know.

The church's commission is consistently placed in the framework of seeing people saved, not gathering the elect...preaching and calling on people to turn to God, not being chosen before the foundation of the world.

The focus on election and evangelism has been particularly an apologetic device used by Calvinists who defend Calvinism's non-aversion to evangelism. O.K. I don't have a real problem with that...at least at this juncture. But to move beyond such an apologetic tactic to reading the tactic back into the NT's pristine command to go into all the world and preach the gospel is anachronism on steroids.

Now, I stand to be corrected. Show me correction from the NT and I'll be glad to concede. If you cannot, perhaps it's best to drop it.

Now for the last time, Byron, that the way I've employed terms on my posts offer "no clear definitions" which ever "crystalized in [your] mind" may be unfortunately true. However, that they actually possess no clear definition and/or consistent usage is a matter altogether different. I suggest you pay a wee bit more attention and, when you can, document my both my vagary and/or confusion.

As for yet another descriptor with which you suddenly find yourself contending--"extreme"--I haven't a clue the context to which you refer.

With that, I am...
Peter

Byroniac

Peter, I see what you mean now by bold and concede those.

As for dichotomy, of course there is a dichotomy between ultimately lost and saved, but what I do not understand is that you seem intent on separating "gathering the elect" from "reaching the lost" if the two were somehow incompatible. In my belief system, those two phrases do not form the dichotomy, though admittedly (and even in yours), the ultimate destination of all people on earth does form a dichotomy.

But for the rest of it, such concepts such as predestination, inward calling, and the like are found earlier in the Scriptures in earlier teachings of Christ given before He gave the Great Commission to the Apostles. Just because Christ does not repeat these teachings in the Great Commission does not negate their existence or even their use as a foundation for that Great Commission itself, at least in my belief system. These beliefs form the foundation for evangelistic success in my mind, because the elect have been chosen by God, God has chosen the means of the Gospel and those He sent to preach it, and the elect will be redeemed. So, it is not "reading the tactic back into the NT's pristine command" but rather reading it forward in my view, based on all the teachings given in the apostle's lives before Christ's crucifixion, things they would easily remember. I believe these things were given to the apostles not to become part of their message to the lost, but to comfort and strengthen their faith as they were sent out by God Himself. No anachronism is here to be found, I think.

And OK, Peter, I stand corrected on the definitions of terms you've given. I was speaking more out of frustration than anything. But the "extreme" label has been used here on this blog by others, which in my opinion, lacks sufficient definition and I cannot help but wonder why you allowed it.

peter

Byron,

I asked a simple question: Where in the GC are the concepts I mentioned? Finding none, you offer vague allusions to the concepts presumably elsewhere in the Gospel writings, thinking such alleged presence justified your procedure.

For me, it's this type of theology-driven interpretation which makes havoc of God's Word, eventually leading to complete avoidance of what the text of Scripture actually says.

How convenient! If eternal election, predestination, effectual call, etc. cannot be found in the text one interprets, presume it's there anyway and keep right on believing that one's preconceived notions imposed upon the text justifies one's belief.

I learned long ago, Byron, the simple interpretative principle: text precedes theology. The best in Calvinism gets its clues textually. Unfortunately, your answer may very well tell precisely how you come to many of your conclusions: assume them; then interpret texts accordingly.

I don't want to be unfair, but that's exactly how you've handled the GC passage I mentioned.

With that, I am...
Peter

Byroniac

No, Peter, I think you are missing my point entirely. This is not a matter of the correctness of interpretation. I was dealing with your assertion that I dropped down "to reading the tactic back into the NT's pristine command to go into all the world and preach the gospel is anachronism on steroids." It's not a matter of, does the GC include the concepts we discussed. I freely admitted it did not, but somehow that is not sufficient.

The concept I was dealing with is the idea of the foundation for the GC. The GC rests on a theological foundation given by Christ before, as He commands to make disciples of that very foundation (teachings and doctrines). It has nothing to do with anachronism, convenience, or presumption. It is simply assuming that the GC has a theological foundation and that it would include the teachings of that foundation, if not explicitly, then implicitly. Even if, for the sake of argument, my interpretation is wrong, the interpretation is based on the Scriptures in the life and teaching of Jesus which precede the GC chronologically, so there is no anachronism intended.

And you are right, text does precede theology. In this case, a lot of text (and theology) preceded the GC. I am not sure why you think I am assuming the meaning of texts instead of reading them directly. I am merely telling what God has revealed to me in my private study of the Word, so it simply becomes a difference of opinion I guess.

I don't think you intend to be unfair Peter, but I don't see a problem with how I've "handled" the GC. I merely presented the idea of a theological foundation for the GC, which precedes it both in Scripture and chronologically, and that it's not unreasonable to assume that theology can be implied.

peter

Byron,

I did not ask for a theological foundation of the Great Commission. Nor did I ask for a "concept" suggesting such. I asked if, in the words of Jesus, to the disciples, standard Calvinist jargon was present. You now say, no, it was not. Then you qualify such by saying it assumes it.

You then have this tidbit to say: "And you are right, text does precede theology. In this case, a lot of text (and theology) preceded the GC." Oh my.

Byron, your point is absurd. Given your understanding, not only no saying of Christ can be taken on its face, no latter saying of Christ can correct a former misinterpretation of Christ's Word!

Again, assuming the theological baggage you want to bring to the words of Jesus, you necessarily have Him sending them out, gathering the elect, inflamed with an unwavering confidence that the gospel will not fail because the elect was chosen before the foundation of the world; therefore, the Holy Spirit will irrestibly draw them to Him whom they proclaim as dying on the cross for the sins of the elect alone, by working in them a new birth so that they may repent from sin and exercise the faith-gift the elect--and only the elect--receive. You apparently find in the text what your pre-conceived theology demands.

Poor, poor Paul. How duped he was to think it was so simple: "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes; to the Jew first and also to the Greek." But wait. Perhaps all the Calvinistic jargon can be assumed when he speaks so simply.

Thus, predestination again becomes the launching pad for understanding the simplicity in Christ, the power of the gospel, and evangelizing the lost to Christ.

For my part, Byron, I suggest you simply let well enough alone. The hole in which you have descended is deep. When sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ begins taking on an identity which begins with predestination, the NT is turned on its head. It begins to serve one's theology rather than reveal one's God.

Even Calvin himself cautioned about depending so much on such eternal mysteries. Indeed he refused to discuss predestination prior to salvation. Not so with you. Rather you appear to insist on starting with it.

With that, I am...
Peter

Byroniac

But, Peter, I am not starting with or insisting on starting with predestination prior to salvation when discussing with the lost, if that is what you are implying. I said as much two comments ago when I said, "I believe these things were given to the apostles not to become part of their message to the lost, but to comfort and strengthen their faith as they were sent out by God Himself." I had the idea that all truths of Scripture, which includes my view if correct, could be taught later to disciples after salvation according to the leadership of the Spirit of God and the personal maturity level of the disciple. And I have said it elsewhere in the context of salvation when I have said that one does not have to embrace Calvinism to become a Christian (in other words, one does not have to embrace my version of predestination to enter into salvation), and I trust I am not changing that opinion now.

No, the point of a lot of text and theology preceding the GC is not absurd. Your own beliefs require it, I think, because you have acknowledged elsewhere the same meaning for disciple I used here (or intended to use, which is a learner of theology and doctrines). Whether my personal interpretation is right or wrong neither proves nor disproves this assertion. I thought it was pretty well provable on its own merits. It does not that I can see require your view that "not only no saying of Christ can be taken on its face, no latter saying of Christ can correct a former misinterpretation of Christ's Word" I am not asserting that meaning cannot be found in the text itself, and to my knowledge never asserted, much less required that. Obviously the GC itself has theological meaning, and it builds on the foundation of all that Christ gave before, whether you take your own view or mine in the matter. So I am not finding in the text what my preconceived theology demands, simply saying that Scripture can add to Scripture which adds to Scripture, and Scripture compares with Scripture, and no part need disagree with another.

See, this is the odd thing. I actually agree with you wholeheartedly when I read the first two sentences in your last full paragraph concerning Calvin and the eternal mysteries. I do not believe that sharing the Good News requires teaching predestination or a Five-Point Calvinist view of God in order to be valid. If I did begin with predestination and made that the focal point and center of glory in the message of salvation, I would probably indeed be turning the NT "on its head." Even if predestination is not true, I am still not requiring it in teachings of salvation to the lost, and I am not requiring proof of election for an effort to be made in evangelism, and I am not asserting that the identity of the elect can be known perfectly by any mortal person, Calvinist or not, here on Earth, as such specific knowledge rightly belongs only to God.

Peter, I do not know how much clearer I can possibly be. I simply do not have any more energy to explain my position. So I am content to leave you with the final word.

peter

Byron,

I'm through as well. The circles you are drawing are making me dizzy.

And, if you think you are not reading into the text, continue on course. But do not be surprised when interested parties do not understand what you're saying. Not because you're position is complicated but because your position is confusing.

With that, I am...
Peter

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