When's the last time you either heard an exposition (mp3) or read an endorsement on a Southern Baptist blog concerning Romans 9, the contents of which were not decidedly strict Calvinism? And the answer is...
Malcolm B. Yarnell III is presently Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (//link). He is Editor for the Southwestern Journal of Theology as well Editor of BaptistTheology.org (//link). Furthermore, Dr. Yarnell directs two other educational programs at the seminary: The Oxford Study Program and The Center for Theological Research.
On September 30, 2009, Dr. Yarnell spoke in seminary chapel on the subject, "God's Electing Purpose," based on Romans 9. In the introduction, he makes clear how competing schools of systematic theology conclude the interpretative process of Romans 9 in manipulating Paul's masterful treatise of eschatological Israel to match their ideological assumptions brought to the text. Neither strict Calvinist nor strict Arminian escapes Yarnell's knife. Indeed he whittles away suggesting a priori filters dangerously come close to exploiting God's Word, not exegeting God's Word.
From my perspective, Dr. Yarnell stands as a worthy theological heir to what Leonard Verduin calls in his book, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, "men on the second front." By the "second front" Verduin means the Radical Reformers1, those who held high hopes Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin--indeed all those we cherish as the magisterial Reformers--were dead serious about sola scriptura, but nonetheless, stopped short of full reformation and in many ways fell back into the quagmire of Rome's "Christian sacralism" with its despicable "doctrine of the two swords."
More significantly rejected by "men on the second front" was the medieval hermeneutic with its hopeless obsession with philosophical speculation. Consequently, the hobbled church limped along on the crutches of scholasticism.
Out of this ecclesiological disaster marched the men on the second front. They refused to follow magisterial Reformers back to Egypt for hermeneutical garlic and onions. Instead, divorcing themselves from the blinders of medieval interpretation, they embarked upon a simple, straight-forward reading of the Word of God.
Dr. Yarnell follows their path. A judicious exposition of Romans 9 results.
Below are links to either watch the streamed message via the SWBTS site, or, if you just want to listen as you are doing other things (less effective, of course), an mp3 link exists for your convenience.
With that, I am...
PeterLink to watch "God's Electing Purpose" (Romans 9:1-33)