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Peter, always interesting to read about or Baptist history and to see how clearly there are those who would distort it to push and agenda.

The thing that's frustrating about this type of discussion is that I don't know how many people realize that the reason to bring this discussion outside the ivory tower is because there are those who wish to claim that we have "lost" the Gospel of DOG and to push this idea that we need to get back to our foundation in DOG. Implicated in this idea that we've lost our way when we've lost (not the Calvinism of some of our Founders) but this new neo Calvinism is that the contributions of all the nonCalvinists who have contributed greatly to make the convention what it is today don't matter. The history of nonCalvinists in the SBC is worthless. Thus the need to clean house and take back the convention to its orgins. In fact not only is the history of nonCalvinists in the SBC not important, but these neoCavlinists such as the Founder's movement would claim that is the nonCalvinists who have caused the SBC to lose it's way thus opening the door in the seventies for the liberals. Thus the need to "reform" the SBC one church at a time.

I always wonder Peter, how many churches in the SBC were founded after someone like Mohler admits that nonCalvinism became the major influence? I know in my area, where you have the churches begun as a result of urban sprawl their beginnings would have been from the 50's'.

The point I think that needs to be gotten across here is that even for churches who never had any foundation in Calvinism, Al Mohler et al believe those churches need to be reformed, thus he only hires 4 & 5 point Calvinists to churn out only Calvinists candidates for any type of ministry position. Those churches and their history do not matter. They must be reformed. Because being nonreformed is not exceptable to Al Mohler, Founders et al.

peter lumpkins


I think you are essentially correct, Mary. It surely was not until Southern Baptists grew more and more distant from strong Calvinism, with the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists being non-Calvinist, that the convention grew by quantum leaps. And, while no causal relationship can be forcefully made, it nonetheless bears worthy reflection.

With that, I am...


Thank you Peter for shedding additional light on Southern Baptist history and identity. I continue to be amazed that Dr. Mohler has not been called into account for his words and actions. I find it incredible that he was not challenged in the early days of his rebellion against SBC majority belief and practice. His 1993 convocation address at Southern entitled “Don’t Just Do Something; Stand There!” was filled with warnings which majority SBC leadership should have more effectively dealt with while the window was open. In his charge to rally his Southern troops around the Abstract of Principles, he made the following statements:

“The Abstract remains a powerful testimony to a Baptist theological heritage that is genuinely evangelical, Reformed, biblical, and orthodox.”

“We bear the collective responsibility to call this denomination back to itself and its doctrinal inheritance. This is a true reformation and revival … ”

It’s clear that Dr. Mohler is on a mission, passionate about his cause, truly believes his theological confession, and is intent on altering the SBC landscape to nothing less than a reformed entity via the release of an army of young, restless and reformed seminary graduates into SBC churches.

His 1993 words may very well be prophetic:

“Those who teach the ministry bear the greatest burden of accountability to the churches and to the denomination."

"It is with a single man that error usually commences.”

Perhaps it’s time for the SBC majority to “don’t just stand there; do something!”


Max, it's really disturbing to watch so many flat out deny that there is an agenda to Calvinize the SBC in light of the clear words and actions of Al Mohler and Founder's. There's a point where some have gone from being willfully ignorant to a willfully lying.

Peter, and I think the point about why we have to talk about what the history of the SBC is because the Calvinists believe themselves to be so superior with their belief that they "started" it. Thus all the years of contributions of nonCalvinists are to be denied and even demeaned - we "lost" the Gospel when we lost DOG therefore nothing good could have happened if the Calvinists we're not the ones doing it.

Distorting the history is also a propaganda tool to inflame the YRR - "the SBC belonged to Calvinists and it was stolen from us so it's our right to take it back by any means necessary." But I think the reality is if we were to look at over 40,000 churhes in the SBC their history might show that at the church level the majority of churches were founded on nonCalvinism and yet the Calvinists beleive they own the SBC.

Bruce H

How was Limited Atonement measured in Heaven? My theology leans upon both pro and non thoughts here. Not to appease anyone but because eternal things cannot be contained, measured and weighed. How is it that we can say for certainty that one or the other is absolute if eternal things are incomprehensible to mortals? Both have supportive scripture. I'm Calvinistic and I can see that. Sometimes I wonder if we are on the verge of the 38th Chapter of Job in our Calvinistic and Non-Calvinistic arguments, just before God begins a series of questions on our great understanding of how He designed things?

Both sides see the other as not having full knowledge or understanding. That would be saying that we are seeing each other as weak in this area. "No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary." 1 Corinthians 12:22 Then how can we see others within our denomination or individual churches as weak and honor them? That may be our greatest challenge as Baptist, to see each other as "necessary" in the Baptist body of Christ. I have taken that challenge as I teach my class in a non-Calvinistic church.

Am I a compromiser? I don’t think so. Give me good reason to abandon my thoughts above. Thank you.


Peter: perhaps the word "knowledgeable" is where Dr. Mohler's statement finds its thrust. Perhaps anyone who says anything opposite of what he says is not knowledgeable in his opinion. Just a thought. Of course, I'm not gonna stand and ask him to clarify it for me. He scares me. selahV

Chris Gilliam

Again a great essay. I so appreciate that you expose agenda for what agenda is. Understand this puts me at odds with many who would love to claim me as brother if it suites their cause. I am glad for brothers like you who, respect, engage, debate and love despite our differing of understanding. On a different note, I would love for you to do an expose on the 2nd London confession of (1689?).

Ron Hale


Thanks for your research and historical perspective that you bring to the table.

These men are operating by the principle if you write it and say it loud enough and long enough ... many will believe it ... even if history proves it is not true.

Last ... I like your touch of Christmas with the Santa hat.



About 20 years ago, I asked an old retired prof at SBTS (now dead) why most SBC churches never mentioned the Reformation or even Calvin. I loved his answer. He said that many of us (SBC) believe our people were hiding from the Reformed magistrates.




Also OT, I wish someone somewhere would write a post about Biblical Gluttony. You see so many fools around the internet equating what is a socio-economic problem of obesity in this country to what the Bible calls gluttony. It's as ridiculous as when nonChristians claim Christains don't follow the Bible because they eat shell fish. A commplete lack of understanding of what is actually going on, but an excuse to use something biblical - gluttony - to excuse bad behavior and attack Christians with a a holier than thou attitude.

Maybe if the seminaries weren't so intent on indoctrinating they could teach a little common sense.


Telling statement gleaned from genuine SBC Founder (first Secretary of the SBC) James B. Taylor's series Virginia Baptist Ministers (c. 1860):

"the view now generally adopted by the Baptists, viz., that the atonement is general in its nature"



Taylor was the first Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board.

Bob Hadley

There is a major difference in saying that Calvinists are Baptists and always have been (which is an accurate statement) and saying Baptists are Calvinists and always have been (an inaccurate statement) and Mohler knows the difference but because the two statements sound so similar he thinks he can get away with saying it. The problem that I have is with the whole Calvinist/Arminian argument in the first place. Augustine started his postulates and others listened to him and began modifying his initial statements and then here comes John Calvin and he changes some things around and adds some things to his system of theology and we have been debating these issues for centuries and we are more divided to day than we have ever been.

I personally think all this debate has taken our eye off the ball so to speak and we find ourselves trying to define our theological positions using calvinist/arminian terms and we are fighting a battle in futility... kind of like the dog chasing his own tail.

I can care less that Calvinists and Arminians all agree on Total Depravity as if that settles it in an argument... no it does not! And my favorite statement that I hear is that the Synod of Dordt said that one position was heresy... look at who made up that synod... that would be like taking up an issue today and going to the Founders to listen to the argument and render an opinion!

If being reformed is the only option, then I am in BIG trouble but the Lord promised me several years ago that He would be with me as He was with Moses. I was actually driving my car and I had to pull over and get out of my car. I got home that afternoon and the Sword of the Lord was in my mailbox and on the top of the page was the heading, "As I was with Moses, so will I be with you." I almost had a pentecostal moment and my neighbors thought I had lost my mind... well except the few that really knew me... they just considered the source and went on about their business.

Oh well... I am glad Mohler will not be standing at the Pearly gates asking the password to allow me to get into heaven...

Grateful to be in His Grip!




You said:

"Calvinists are Baptists and always have been (which is an accurate statement)"

This is incorrect. Calvinists are historically on the Paedobaptism side of Baptism. As you know, Baptists affirm "Believer's Baptism" and deny Paedobaptism. Therefore it is erroneous to say "Calvinists have always been Baptists." Just a clarification.

Bob Hadley

I was refering to Southern Baptists. But for additional clarification, the thrust of the statement was really that Southern Baptists have not always been Calvinists. Your statement even further solidifies my position so thank you.


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