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Chris Gilliam

Were you predetermined to write this or not? :^)

William Birch


Out of curiosity, did Founders critique Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue? After all, "The purpose is to provide the kind of serious engagement the book deserves. . . . Truth matters." Did Dialogue receive the same careful scrutiny as Whosoever Will "deserves"?

J. K.

'Name-calling' does not help us to resolve our theological issues. I am afraid I have engaged in such in the past. I will refrain from doing so in the future.



Allow me to ponder whether either fits my mood, bor. ;^)


So far as I know, they did not. With as much respect as deserved, neither did Founders actually critique Whosoever Will in any formidable way. Only one WW essay received any real engagement--Lemke's chapter on Irresistible Grace. Though Ascol mentioned that one of the Founder's essays was to take on David Allen's chapter critiquing Limited Atonement from a decidedly Calvinistic standpoint (all Allen's references were from Calvinists who definitively reject Limited Atonement!), the essay did not even deal with Allen's material. Instead he mentioned Allen a single time at the "critique's" beginning and then merrily rode off into the sunset.

In addition, Ascol touted Ken Keathley's 1000k word "reply" to Tom Nettles' essay review of his book, Salvation 7 Sovereignty, as a viable contribution to Founders desire for genuine fairness and dialog among family members. What a West Georgia hoot! Keathley was limited to 1,000 words in "replying" to Nettles' 14,000 word essay review of his book!


Thanks JK. I hope we can all be Christianly cautious and reserved as we attempt to offer our own perspectives on matters especially controversial.

With that, I am...

Tony Byrne

I may eventually respond to Nettles' critique of Allen's chapter on my blog. His response is full of basic fallacies. For example, he tries to deal with Allen's statement that no passage in the NT ever uses "world" as meaning only the elect. He only proves from some passages that "world" does not mean absolutely everybody (such as in 1 John 5:19) and acts as if he's proved his case. It should be obvious to anyone that proving "world" does not mean 1) absolutely everybody does not establish that it means 2) the elect only. Incidentally, any interpreter of the NT can acknowledge that "whole world" in 1 John 5:19 doesn't mean everybody, except by application. "Whole world" in that context refers to all unbelievers (whether elect or non-elect) under the sway of the wicked one as over against the believing community which are not. However, by application, all of us once were a part of the "whole world" under the sway of the wicked one, but God brought some of us out of that world when we believed by the grace of God. That should be basic stuff, especially for an historian who should be familiar with various historical interpretations.

Here's another thing: Nettles caricatures Allen's argument as if his chapter is arguing that God *EQUALLY* wills the salvation of all men, and then argues that the Calvinistic men Allen cites did not believe that. That is not Allen's argument in the chapter. He makes it very, very clear in the chapter that he's dealing with the *extent* of the atonement, or for whose sins Christ was punished (limited imputation/substitution vs. unlimited imputation/substitution). The Calvinistic men that Allen cites, such as R. L. Dabney, affirm an "unlimited expiation," or that Christ "expiated for every man" (Dabney's own words), but none of these men think that God *equally* wills the salvation of all men. Nettles' also didn't pay attention to the Calvinistic historians that Allen references (such as Richard Muller) that speak of a non-Amyraldian variety of Calvinistic universal substition, yet Nettles says Dabney rejected Amyraldism so it must follow that Allen is wrong. That's a basic non sequitur and one acquainted with the history of Calvinism should know that. So, while those associated with the Founders frequently complain that their opponents caricature their position and arguments, Nettles has engaged in the very thing he complains that his opponents are doing.

That's just a very small and brief example of the kind of thing I am talking about. I could go on, but I will save the rest for a potential response on my own blog. The Founders response is incompetent, even from a Calvinistic point of view. The sad thing is, the young and unstudied Calvinists on the Internet are going to appeal to these articles as if they are a decisive response to Allen. They aren't. It really appears that the high Calvinists responding are not bothering to check the sources in the footnotes. Simply put, **they don't read** or **check the primary sources**, even when you link to them on the Internet. They won't even bother reading the Dabney material I linked to above, unfortunately.

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