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Jonathon Woodyard

Interesting conference. Seems non-Calvinist are more interested than Calvinist in discussing these things in this sort of venue. Just curious, when is the last time a conference was held to promote the doctrines of grace and a conference held to repudiate non-Calvinism? Anyway, a good take, in my opinion, is Dr. Ware in Gods Greater Glory as well as Mark Talbots chapter in Suffering and the Sovereignty of God. The conclusions may be rejected, but the reformed position is articulated nicely. And free-will is mentioned constantly.

Looking forward to listening to what is said


Mr. Woodyard,
I am a Calvinist, a Southern grad,had Bruce Ware as a prof, and disagree with a whole lot of what Mr. Lumpkins has to say here on this blog. But to ask the question "when is the last time a conference was held to promote the doctrines of grace" seems to betray an almost complete ignorance of what goes on in the "reformed" world. We are constantly having conferences from "together for the gospel" to "the Gospel Coalition" to the "founders conferences" and the "shepherd's conference" while these conferences may not be labeled "Great Big Calvinist Conference" look at the speakers and tell me that is not what they are. BTW, I love the conferences mentioned above and think everyone should attend them :)

Kevin Jackson

Good thoughts Peter.

Jonathon Woodyard


I have attended both T4G and TGC. They are stacked with reformed men to be sure. However, none of those conferences are held to promote the doctrines of grace in a way that this AL conference is held to refute such doctrines. Ignorance? Possibly. Denying that one such Calvinistic conference exists, is spot on. These conferences have continually been gospel centered and pastorally challenging. Having a conference with reformed men on the docket is different than hosting an entire conference to refute non-reformed theology...at least in my ignorant opinion.

Ron Hale

Your response seems to indicate that these fine pastors in Southwest Alabama are wrong spirited in hosting their conference.

After several decades of books, blogs, conferences, networks, journals, study bibles, and a growing list of college and seminary presidents and professors and SBC leaders of the reformed ranks ... aiming their message of reformation at the SBC - you have a problem with a group of pastors hosting a meeting to teach about the grace of God from a non-Calvinistic point of view?


darryl brunson

As one of the conference participants, I would hope that we are not acting out of ignorance. The fact that our little conference is garnering any attention is amazing to us. We are small churches taking a Biblical stand on our beliefs. Reformed Theology has been published, preached, taught, shared, and communicated in every possible venue and form. It has penetrated every facet of Southern Baptist life and entities. If you are not Reformed you are "ignorant" or Arminian or both. The fact is, it is because of the magnitude of Reformed Theology that you must begin there to descibe and explain who you are. That is what we are doing. It just happens to be a few churches doing it. If we had done this individually, you would never have heard about it. But, we are doing it together in a Bible Conference format. If you will check out those Reformed Conferences, you will also find they almost all have something in their promotion about the "one true gospel" or the "only churches who stand on the truth". Brothers, the line was drawn in the sand a long time ago, and a Reformed boot did the drawing. Our goal is to help our people with understanding Scripture, everything else is secondary. Thank you Peter for all you do.


I have also attended these conferences (granted I was not at the last tg4 conference) and loved them. To say that they do not promote the doctrines of Grace though seems a bit absurd. Yes they are "Gospel centered", the Gospel always being defined from a monergistic standpoint. Of course we do not claim that the "biblicists" are not saved but we regularly claim that God has has actually secured their salvation through the shed blood of Christ and that salvation is appropriated through the faith that God creates in them. We say that we are together for the Gospel and we always seem to define that Gospel in monergistic terms in my opinion. This does not bother me because I am a monergist but lets be honest and see why the non-Calvinist might be turned off by the way we talk, the speakers we invite, and the books available at these conferences.

As a side note I was not saying that the gentlemen from Alabama were "ignorant" I was simply saying that Mr. Woodyard seemed ignorant of what went on at "reformed" conferences, obviously this is not the case at all and I should not have used the word. I am fine with a Church in Alabama having such a conference. Baptist Churches are autonomous and they should challenge doctrines that they think are misguided. I appreciate their zeal even while I think they are wrong on this issue.

David B. Hewitt

Dr. Lumpkins, this is something certainly worth considering, and would give excellent opportunity to address the Scriptures in the matter! The "this" I refer to is a question you raised in the OP:

"Consider: Is it possible that the 1689 confession is caught in a little inconsistency here? I don’t know why it would not be possible. After all, confessions are not infallible, are they? Even so, affirming one thing, then denying what many perceive is a necessary conclusion from the affirmed premise(s) as does Galyon’s quote, does not necessarily solve a problem—much less remove an alleged inconsistency. If I am correct, just what does Galyon hope to accomplish by citing the 1689 Confession? That the standard Calvinist response has been credalized? That’s hardly a sufficient response."

The suggestion that the 1689 Confession is inconsistent could certainly be a launching point for a very beneficial discussion. I may well take it up in the future (though I'm a little behind in a previous promised response that I'm currently working on).

Anyway, hope you are well.



The majority of churches within the SBC are non-calvinist churches some of which are anti-calvinistic churches. Yes, there has been a recent resurgence of reformed doctrine.
The Building Bridges conference was a fair handed look at the issue of Calvinism. Conferences like the John 3:16 conference and now your conference are just an attempt to tear down the strawman caricatures of Calvinism that have been around FOREVER. You are not teaching your congregations about responses to the teachings of thre reformed faith but merely indoctrinating them to be anto-calvinists.
Arent there bigger problems within the SBC other than attacking your Calvinistic brother in Christ. Why dont you for instance have a conference on how unbiblical the altar call is for example. Or lets say, how there is no "magic prayer" for salvation. There is no such thing as asking Jesus into your heart. Or how Finneyism is alive and well in many SBC churches today.
if you really desire to have your congregations learn about calvinism, here is a novel idea...ask calvinists to speak at your conference. Then you can speak as to what you believe. But that might mean that some of the congregation may actually listen and come to embrace the doctrines of grace.
The SBC doesnt need another anti-calvinistic conference. But thats ok, keep running the younger generation out of the SBC and we wont have to worry about the SBC in the next 25 years.

peter lumpkins


Thanks for logging on, brother. And, I am grateful any single thing I do may assist the good people of God even in the smallest way. I also appreciate your sharing your heart for the conference as well as wishing you and all the participating churches the best...


You write,

"The Building Bridges conference was a fair handed look...Conferences like the John 3:16 conference and now your conference are just an attempt to tear down the strawman caricatures of Calvinism..."

Really? Did you attend the BBC, Sam? Have you read the follow up collection of papers from the conference? What about J316? Did you attend that conference? Have you read the follow-up collection of papers as a result of the conference? I'd really like to know, for someone who comes here insinuating "strawman caricatures" toward Calvinism presumably is prepared to produce the goods.

Nor is it helpful to glibly cite the triple danger of "altar calls," "magic prayers," and "Finnyism" as if either were a major problem for Southern Baptists. If you want to continue commenting, either offer serious engagement or don't bother logging in.

I trust your evening well.

With that, I am...

Chris Gilliam

Thanks Peter for the post.

Rick Patrick

Several have commented on the issue of whether or not we really need any "non-Calvinist" conferences. The reason I think they are necessary is that they balance out all of the Calvinist ones. I am a non-Calvinist Southern Baptist Pastor. According to Lifeway's 2006 survey, that places me among 90% of all Southern Baptist Pastors on this issue. However, at the 2010 SBC Pastors Conference which I attended in Orlando, at least 50% of the Pastors on the program were Calvinists. While that may not make it a "Calvinist" conference since the discussion was not primarily soteriology, one cannot help but wonder about the disproportionate share of Calvinist preachers chosen.


Thank you for writing. It was worth the read.

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