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Tim Rogers

Brother Peter,

Great analysis and rebuttal. I believe you said it well when you said:

for Barrett, the sinner is not just enabled so that he may repent and trust Christ, but the Spirit's work is such that the sinner must repent and trust Christ because the sinner is irresistibly drawn to Christ. The sinner cannot not come; he or she must come when the Spirit works.
Your statement expresses the difference. But as you know, you are going to be told that you are wrong because you just do not understand Calvinist doctrine.


peter lumpkins


Thanks. Surely you don't think they will, do you? ;^)

Interestingly, one hears endlessly how Calvinism is so misunderstood. I've never quite got that. I think Calvinism is very easy to understand (what's hard is, to accept it!). Oh, there's some very tight distinctions within the more intricate parts of the system for sure, distinctions that may make one's head spin a bit. However, in the popular Calvinism so often presented, it's hardly right to suggest it is hard to understand.

With that, I am...

David B. Hewitt

Dr. L:

"1) Lemke fails to refute the distinction between the “general” call to all and the “special efficacious” call only to the elect (5-7); 2) Lemke fails to account for the negative impact of total depravity (7-8); 3) Lemke fails to distinguish between the two wills in God (8)."

I suspect the reason that Barrett didn't elaborate on these issues (the distinction between general call and special call, total depravity, and two wills in God) is twofold:

1.) He was limited by space. The Founders' Journal isn't that large a publication, and very often it takes more space to respond to something in a decent fashion than it does for the original writing.

2.) As you observed later, these are doctrines and teachings understood by Calvinists. Given that FJ is a publication that is read and subscribed to mostly by SBC Calvinists, Barret probably didn't think it necessary to lay the exegetical foundations for them.

Be that as it may, the distinction between the general call and the special or effectual call isn't that hard to find in Scripture. The general call can be seen in say, Matthew 22:14 while the effectual, special call is seen in Romans 8:30 (those who are called are justified, while not everyone who is called by the Gospel is justified). Many more verses exist, but it isn't my goal here to provide an exhaustive treatment of any of them. :)

Anyway, hope that was helpful. May God bless you, and should you wish to continue the discussion on those verses or others, I'd be happy to participate.


peter lumpkins


Did you read Matthew Barrett's paper? Because if you did, I'm wondering how you could make such incredible statements. You write, “I suspect the reason that Barrett didn't elaborate on these issues…” Where did you get the notion Barrett did not elaborate on the three flaws he articulated, and I quoted?  To the contrary, he most certainly did elaborate and did so adequately (at least so far as sufficient content is concerned) .  I recorded the page numbers after each one I listed. Hence, your “twofold” reason is either a complete guess—as in “I suspect”—or you did not read Barrett well.  In either case, your statement is completely irrational based upon the paper itself.

Even so, your rationale would not follow at all had Barrett not teased out his assertions “due to space” as you indicate  Those assertions constituted the core complaint Barrett leveled against Lemke. Hence, to suggest he not have space to tease out his chief complaint is absurd (for the record, Barrett’s review essay is 12 typed pages, single-spaced).

In addition, I actually never got around to Scriptures Barrett employs positively arguing his case (something I will probably do in the next installment).  Scan my review again, David. I suggested Barrett offered no exegetical rebuttal whatsoever in his critique of Lemke. Nothing.  Yet his stated focus was to demonstrate Lemke’s “exegesis" to be "erroneous.” Citing other texts contra Lemke—texts about which Lemke offered no comment--cannot be counted as demonstrative that Lemke’s exegesis is fallacious on the texts with which he actually dealt.

Now I am not interested in whether you can prove the difference between “general” and special” call on this thread.  I’d guess you’d fare no better than Barrett. Hence, we’ll wait till Barrett has his time before we go down that road with you.

In the meantime, I suggest you read Matthew Barrett’s paper thoroughly before attempting to comment about it again.

With that, I am…


Robin Foster


Happy New Year! Great post. I also find it troublesome that Dr. Lemke's scriptural references were not dealt with in detail. I also find it troubling that this issue was not dealt with another professor who is a four or five point calvinist. While I am not advocating an elitism among our seminary staffs, I would love to have seen how a Dr. Mohler or a Dr. Akin would have interacted with Lemke's chapter. It seems to me that the use of PhD students is a subtle back handed slap against the scholars who contributed to this book.

Thanks for pointing out the flaws contained in the response to Dr. Lemke.

peter lumpkins


Thanks. In conjunction with your point, Dr. Nettles ends his review in Founders Journal writing,

"They [i.e., the contributors to Whosoever Will] should be worried, however, if Roger Olson is right, that this is the scholarly argument against Calvinism by evangelical authors" (FJ p 44, emphasis original)

Not only did FJ assign graduate students to respond to seasoned scholars as you indicate, Nettles also seems to pooh-pooh Whosoever Will as a less than serious critique of Nettles' brand of Calvinism. This is apparently the kind of "family" disagreement Ascol had in mind.

With that, I am...

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