I started blogging in 2006. The reason I gave then, is the reason I state now: the aggressive Calvinist agenda being promoted among Southern Baptists. In 2006, Founders Ministries was the kingpin blog. Tom Ascol peeled every non-Calvinist banana who dared mention the "doctrines of grace." Indeed it would be hard to name a then, mega-church pastor in the SBC, who did not feel the wrath of Founders' blog and blog thread. They were "exposed" for the "Arminians" (i.e. "heretics") they were... >>>
A new day arrived for Southern Baptists when the "young, restless, and reformed" became the official trend among seminary students, students especially enrolled in Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The reader may recall Southern seminary actually being anointed as "ground zero" by "young, restless, and reformed" insider, Colin Hansen, in his 2008 book bearing the title, Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists.* An entire chapter (chapter 4, pp.69-94) outlines the key role Southern seminary has played in shaping the new Calvinism taking place among young Southern Baptists.
While I was surely not the first one nor the only one to sound the alarm about aggressive Calvinism taking over the Southern Baptist Convention, it remains true there were few Southern Baptist bloggers who dealt with the issue from a non-Calvinist standpoint. The reason is simple: there were few, if any, Southern Baptist bloggers who were non-Calvinist. In fact, I cannot name a Southern Baptist blogger besides myself ** who was also writing on the aggressive Calvinist agenda in 2006. Nor can I blame them honestly. It is well known that if one did mention Calvinism or write a post about the doctrines of grace from a decidedly non-Calvinist perspective, one would be swarmed with the Calvinist mafia who would intimidate by their sheer numbers the blogger who dared post on the issue.***
The good news is, others are speaking out about the aggressive new Calvinism. For example, Brad Whitt is a fresh, young voice who lately has expressed his concern over overly aggressive Reformed moorings among his generation. In addition, some local associations and churches are taking it upon themselves to address aggressive Calvinism when sadly virtually all of our mega-church pastors have become stone-cold silent.****
Moreover, it's not just non-Calvinists making the case. Howell Scott's recent post entitled "SBC's New Calvinism and Patriotic Worship: Part 1" reveals his own concern over the rising influence of Reformed theology among Southern Baptists. He writes:
While many grassroots Southern Baptists (especially pastors and ministers) are aware of the Calvinist leanings at Southern, I would venture to say that many of those same folks — including alumni of SBTS like myself — were unaware of just how strong an influence the new Calvinism has on the SBC’s oldest seminary. (As a convictional cooperating Southern Baptist first and a Spurgeon Calvinist second, I find myself somewhat surprised at the headway that the new Calvinism has made at Southern and within the Convention since I graduated in 1997.)
Being both a graduate of Southern seminary and a convictional Calvinist himself (i.e. "Spurgeon Calvinist"), Scott pours the coffee for those too sleepy to realize that there exists in our Cooperative Program-funded seminaries an unhealthy focus on Reformed thinking, Reformed thinking masquerading as Baptist thinking instilled into the theological framework of future Southern Baptists. The level of intensity is dangerous and fully capable of destroying the fellowship of free churches known since 1845 as The Southern Baptist Convention.
If grassroots Southern Baptists do not stand up soon and say something similar to the following, Southern Baptists can look but for a gloomy future:
"Wait just a doggone minute here. You're taking us right back to where we were prior to the Conservative Resurgence. Nine of ten Southern Baptists didn't embrace an errant Bible but the seminaries in large part were teaching our young students the Bible erred, a doctrine the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists denied. No thanks. We've had enough. We believe in inerrancy, and we mean for our young preachers to be taught the theological principles we hold dear. Now is no different. Nine of ten Southern Baptists do not believe in "Reformed thinking" but our seminaries--especially Southern and Southeastern--are teaching our young students what nine of ten Southern Baptists reject flat out. We've had enough, and we mean for our young preachers to be taught the theological principles the overwhelming majority of us embrace and hold dear."
It's time. The window will remain open only so long.
With that, I am...
*I have a review I wrote for Hansen's book I never posted. I may put it up this week
**as fast-gun, Will Sonnet used to say to would-be gunslingers who wanted to take him down, "I'm the fastest gun--No brag, just fact." Hence, I am not stating this to "brag"; rather I'm just stating it as a fact so far as I know
***few practice this method now. Well, few except for you know who...
****saddest of all is perhaps Johnny Hunt who apparently has made amends with aggressive Calvinism and even now seems to consider himself an "Amyraldian Calvinist"