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Douglas Belardi

any hope for the Synergistic Baptist Convention?

Austin Maddox

Not that Spurgeon is God but he did say that Calvinism is the gospel and his famous sermon entitled My Defense of Calvinism... How about that Yarnell and Allen ! :) Just having fun with the Baptist Identity Boys. Are you sure your not a calvinist Peter ? ;)

Henry Michael Imler

Well, they are "reformational ideas." Don't know about the biblical stuff, but reformationist certainly fits.


What's the difference between an erudite scholar and a Reformed intellectual?

Pride. Arrogant pride.

When you get to the point where you believe that all thinking people agree with you, what is that but prideful arrogance?


You know what confuses me? If it were the biblical truth, it would not be referred to as Calvinism. There would be no need.

This is one of those movements that is promoted using psuedo intelletualism and people fall for it. But when analyzed makes brings lots of confusion. And they simply say: You are not smart enough to get it. That is basically their message.

And you figure this out when talking to them because all their arguments are circular. They start with a wrong foundational premise.

People are drawn to the arrogant position of Calvinism. They are also drawn because it seems to be a backlash to all the seeker fluff out there. Not a day goes by that I do not hear a NCT say it is the "bibical" position as if those of us who have studied it in depth, listened to a zillion NCT sermons have not figured it out. It is a movement to attract followers of men. Pure and simple. They are almost at the peak of being as successful as the seekers were in marketing.

To make my point I know too many people who can quote Piper, Mohler, Mahaney, etc. That is all they do. They have their favorites and if you know the tune, you can pick out the guru they are parroting.

On the other side? I don't see the focus on following man so much. Which I appreciate.


Is this the entire video without editing?

peter lumpkins


No. I described this video upload as "a clip lifted from a video". And, I gave the link to the full video (12 mins or so) at the end of the post. Even so, it is Mohler's entire response on the exclusivity of "New Calvinism."

With that, I am...

tom jefferson

I heard a professor say once (at a SBC seminary) that he liked Calvin more than he liked Calvinists.

Me too.

Eric Opsahl

Mr. LMalone,
I am reformed and follow Christ Not Calvin, just like other "Calvinist". I used to get hung up on being called a Calvinist because it seems to give glory to Calvin as opposed to Christ. (I still will not call myself a Calvinist for that reason). That said, it's not unwarranted to use labels which help to distinguish what we believe. For instance, We use the term Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist etc. to distinguish where we are theologically. So while I think I agree with the undertone of your comment, if we were not called Calvinist it would just be another term?

Second, I'm wondering if it's fair to characterize Calvinism as a movement in that it's been around a very long time and some Baptist have embraced it for a very long time.

I would say, stay away from anyone who says you are not "smart enough" if you don't believe in "Calvinism".


Scot McKnight has an interesting post today about an SBC association in Kentucky that denied membership to a new congregation because their confessional statement was too Calvinistic.


peter lumpkins

Thanks Dr. Wayman. I'll check to see what McKnight says. We've had several SBs speak about it already. I plan to post on this myself.

With that, I am...

Paul Henebury

Mohler asks, "Where else can they go?" I answer, "To the Bible!" That is not being simplistic. It's obvious. That is the touchstone. Not Spurgeon. Not Edwards. Not Lloyd-Jones. And certainly not Piper or Mohler et al.

And to those who think Calvinism IS the Gospel (surely the daftest thing Spurgeon ever said - although he said something very similar about the 1689 Confession), well...all I will say here is that I attended a Reformed Seminary, and the understanding of non-Reformed positions was awful. We all tend to get myopic within a herd, so perhaps what's needed is a little less party spirit?

I have read more books by Reformed authors (mostly Puritans and such) than by any other group of Christians. I have greatly benefited from them. But I would never equate Calvinism with the Gospel (I wouldn't equate Arminianism with it either). To take that stance is to play ignorant and descend into one-up-man-ship.

I appreciate Peter bringing this problem to light. Someone needs to!


Wow, Peter, you are right. And, some people wonder why there's so much division in the SBC? And, why so many of us declare that aggressive Calvinism is the cause of a lot of it?



Ron Hale

It seems that several of our schools are taking a System of Theology and training students to look at the Scriptures through the prism of the "system" ... instead … of first allowing them (helping them) to work out their theology through the inspired Scriptures.

Too many people are defending their “system” and all the accouterments of it … instead … of defending and proclaiming the precious Word of God.

I’m thankful that I learned about a “transformed” Gospel, instead of a reformed Gospel.

Blessings and thanks for this piece!

Tim G

Your comment is exactly to the point and needs to be broadcast loud and far! You summed it up clearly and brilliantly!

Dana R


Thanks for your comments but I would like for you to open the Scriptures and not just deal with verses but CHAPTERS like John 10,17, Eph 1,2 , Rom 3,8,9, 1Cor 1 and I could list more that clearly teach what is referred to today as Calvinistic doctrine. I personally like to say that Calvinism did not originate from Calvin or the early Baptist but I like what Dr. Tom Nettles Clearly points out in his book that so many of the early SBC presidents believed what (Jesus and the Apostles taught).
A noncalvinist cannot teach Propitiation !! You guys like to try and use 1John 2:2 for your position of a General atonement but the verse TEACHES against you.... Please do a word study on the word World....see AW Pink on this. Jesus says...I died for my Sheep, Many, and Church. Matthew 1:21....You shall call his name Jesus for He shall(not make men Savable but saves them) save His People from their sins. Who are the His People Ron ? Revelation 13:8 and Revelation 17:8 teach that the names of the elect were written in the Lambs Book of Life from the foundation of the world not when you believe in Jesus like so many nonreformed teach.One believes because he was chosen to believe. Romans 8 and 9. Please know that I don't question your love for Jesus or that your walk with him is not stronger than mine because I'm reformed. I love my non reformed SBC friends and want to work together in the SBC together. I appreciate you...Peter.... You seem to love our Lord and His church.


"said, it's not unwarranted to use labels which help to distinguish what we believe. For instance, We use the term Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist etc. to distinguish where we are theologically"

Eric, In all the years I have witnessed to people, including in Eastern Europe, I have never once appealled to a label to distinguish what is truth. Only the Word.


"It seems that several of our schools are taking a System of Theology and training students to look at the Scriptures through the prism of the "system" ... instead … of first allowing them (helping them) to work out their theology through the inspired Scriptures.

Too many people are defending their “system” and all the accouterments of it … instead … of defending and proclaiming the precious Word of God.

I’m thankful that I learned about a “transformed” Gospel, instead of a reformed Gospel. "


That deserves to be read again. And again. I think the focus on ST has been the biggest stumbling block to being led by the Holy Spirit in understanding the Word and being transformed than anything else in our young seminarians lives. Jesus said HE was sending the Best Teacher and it was not Wayne Grudem but the Holy Spirit.

Instead of studying ST, they would do better to be on their knees before they read and study the Word.


Dana, I hate to keep pointing this out but can you discuss the differences in interpretations without ever using the terms Calvinist, Reformed, Doctrines of Grace? I hope you will give it a try in all your communications.

I am not a Calvinist yet I believe that salvation is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sin and need for a Savior. I deal in "books" and Covenants, not verses.

"A noncalvinist cannot teach Propitiation !! "

Now that is some declaration.



Thanks. I do love our Lord and His church but hardly to the degree I should I confess. On the other hand, given Mohler's implication of my way of thinking (or should I say, non-thinking), I have no convictions, have no desire to see nations rejoice over Christ, cannot offer substantial answers to questions people pose, and have no desire to see strong churches.

Virtually every Southern Baptist ought to be outraged at Mohler's snobbish theologically-driven nonsense including you, Dana. You say you love your non-reformed brothers and sisters in the SBC. you also say you'd be willing to work with us. So be it. I have no reason to doubt your word. On the other hand, I'd have every reason to doubt whether Dr. Mohler loves his non-Reformed brothers and sisters and desired to sit down and work with us, and no better evidence could be produced to validate my concerns than this present video.

With that, I am...

Ron Hale

Thank you for: The chapters cited, the history lesson, the encouragement to study Pink’s writings on the “world”, for not questioning my love and walk with our Lord Jesus, and expressing a desire to work together in the SBC.

Of course you are wrong concerning “Propitiation” – for Jesus is the propitiatory sacrifice (I John 2:2) “He Himself is the “propitiation” for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world” (HCSB). Christ’s death is the ground on which our righteous God can pardon a guilty and sinful world without compromising His righteousness.

As Southern Baptists moved away from the Charleston strain of Calvinism … the doctrine of Propitiation has not suffered and has been preached mightily in the SBC.



Hi Ron –

Do you believe Jesus is the Christ? Do you believe in justification by faith alone? Do you believe in the sovereignty of God? Do you believe in continuity (or discontinuity) between the old and new covenants? Do you believe in the flood? Do you believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures? Do you believe readers need the Holy Spirit's help in interpretation?

I could go on. Here's why I ask: because everyone interprets Scripture based on a certain framework (pulled out from Scripture) in order to make sense of the Bible as a whole. Where difficulties arise in the interpretation of a particular passage, it helps one to ask: what does the rest of the Bible say about this?

I wouldn't throw out systematics for biblical just as I wouldn't dare throw out biblical for systematics. The two are helpful for each other. Ever wonder why Luther wrote Of the Law and Gospel? Or Calvin The Institutes of the Christian Religion? Or Tyndale A Pathway into the Holy Scriptures? The answer is: to help Christians read and interpret the Scriptures.

Here's what Calvin said about The Institutes: "When it was then published, it was not that copious and labored work which it now is, but only a small treatise containing a summary of the principal truths of the Christian religion; and it was published with no other design than that men might know what was the faith held by those whom I saw basely and wickedly defamed by those flagitious and perfidious flatterers" (The Author's Preface, Commentary on the Book of Psalms, xlii).

In other words, he wrote it to help students of the Bible interpret the Bible. Tyndale's work above was the same. His was an on-ramp (a pathway) onto the interstate (the Bible) so speak.

Now I have no problem with the question of whether a particular on-ramp is best, useful, or wrong. You can find lots of bad ones, no doubt. But when it comes to whether or not these men loved the Scriptures and wanted to help their readers understand and know the Scriptures, there should be little doubt. Sure, the times were different back then—it was a time before Pietism, Pietism being a time when the Bible was studied by more believers as literacy rates rose and Bibles were put in their hands. Then again, lots of Christians are Bible-illiterates these days as well! I still think a framework (pulled from a comprehensive study of the Bible) can be helpful—not infallible—but helpful.

Here's how I understood your comment. Please tell me I'm wrong! I interpreted it this way: those who know better (that the Bible needs no on-ramp) are giving an on-ramp (systematic prism) to the Scriptures instead of letting the Bible speak on its own terms. Believe what you want here, but the professors I know want students to understand the Bible—but to recognize that we aren't interpreters in a vacuum. I'm sure there is a reason why it is possible to hand a new believer a Bible, say read it and tell me what you end up with, and problems come up—like heresies! Or, do you take him aside and say: the Bible teaches the Trinity, that Jesus is the Christ, that salvation is by grace through faith, and here is what the Bible means by faith, and so on?—and let me show you where!

In short, you don't do systematics in order to chain down the Bible. You don't do biblical in order to avoid a coherent interpretation of the Bible. Systematics aren't perfect. Neither are those interpreters who call themselves biblicists. Do some elevate a system to revelation? Granted, it's possible. But that's altogether a different problem than a hermeneutic pulled from Scripture that helps one understand the coherent message of Scripture as a whole.

In Christ,



Hi Peter –

I suppose I understand. When I hear non-Calvinists speak of what I hold by conviction as sub-Christian or whatever, it irks me, strikes me as prideful, and causes me to think others just don’t understand what I believe and how I could believe it is biblical truth.

Here is where we should be careful. To avoid snobbishness. Even a hint of arrogance. That is a problem of sinful men and I (nor anyone else) is exempt from a temptation to denigrate another’s convictions. When I hear non-Calvinists do that, I hope not to return the favor. All the while I know that there are some true, sometimes important differences between my convictions and theirs. And I so want more common ground!

I guess I just want it all: humbleness, biblical convictions, cooperation in the SBC, and a hope for change—whether I toward the Bible where I need it, or the non-Calvinists the same.

In Christ,


Austin Maddox


Did Jesus pay for the sins of all who died before Christ who were not Justified ? After Christ ? Did Jesus turn away the wrath of God on all who have ever been created ? If so, why are people in Hell suffering today..God's wrath ? In my opinion a noncalvinist cannot teach correctly "Propitiation". Though we disagree.. love you my brother..keep sharing the gospel and discipling the saved.



The 'double payment' theory so strongly advocated by John Owen--a theory toward which you allude--has been thoroughly debunked by Calvinists themselves. I refer you to David Allen's exhaustive critique of limited-particular atonement in Whosoever Will. Founders Ministries devoted an entire journal to criticizing Whosoever Will but failed miserably to critique Allen's chapter other than dispute a single reference and conclusion to one Calvinist source Allen cited. They simply ignored Allen's massive--not to mention devastating--critique.

With that, I am...

Austin Maddox


Good day brother. Did Jesus take away the sins of all (As you view All) on the Cross ? Was Jesus raised from the dead for All ? If so then you have some explaining to do because our Jesus by His resurrection did the following: 1. Insures our Regeneration(Eph 2:5-6,Col 3:1) (Our=Believers because those in Hell are not regenerated which you will agree) 2. Insures our Justification(Rom 4:25, Eph 2:6,Phil 2:9) 3.Insures That We(believers) will receive perfect Resurrection Bodies as well(1 Cor 6:14, 2 Cor 4;14, 1 Cor 15:20). So, if noncalvinist are going to say and believe that Jesus paid for the sins of all the people ever created then you MUST say that Jesus was Raised for ALL and are you willing to go there ? Do you believe Jesus was raised for all the people in Hell suffering before his death ? After ? Love you my brother and keep preaching and discipling and wanting the SBc to get stronger..love you brother.

Ron Hale


Thanks for the time and attention that you gave to your response; it is very thoughtful and kind in tone.

Please allow me to share an "article" from the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics (XXIV):

WE AFFIRM that a person is not dependent for understanding of Scripture on the expertise of biblical scholars.

WE DENY that a person should ignore the fruits of the technical study of Scripture by biblical scholars.

Dr. Norman Geisler gives the following commentary to the article:

“This article attempts to avoid two extremes. First, it affirms that one is not dependent on biblical "experts" for his understanding of the basic truths of Scripture. Were this not true, then a significant aspect of the priesthood of all believers would be destroyed. For if the understanding of the laity is contingent on the teaching of experts, then Protestant interpretive experts will have replaced the teaching magisterium of Catholic priests with a kind of teaching magisterium of Protestant scholars.

On the other hand, biblical scholars do play a significant role in the lay understanding of Scripture. Even the very tools (Bible dictionaries, concordances, etc.) used by laypersons to interpret Scripture were produced by scholars. And when it comes to more technical and precise understanding of specific Scripture the work of experts is more than helpful. Hence the implied exhortation in the denial to avail oneself of the fruit of scholarship is well taken.”

Kevin, I am simply saying that the Bible must come first in our study, and Scripture is best interrupted by Scripture.

From laymen to leaders, we are first dependent on the Holy Spirit to help us understand the truths of Scripture and then apply it to our lives (in every aspect of living).

Our theology rises up from the study of Scripture – personally and corporately as a like-believing & practicing people choose to walk and work together.

Today I am seeing so many guys reading the same books, going to the same conferences, reading the same blogs, asking the same questions, giving the same answers – and getting upset at the same “push-backs”. It seems they are the guardians of their “system of theology” instead of God’s Word.

Again thanks for your passion on this matter!



Well, no I don't. Why should I explain here what Dr. Allen in detail debunks elsewhere? tell you what. I'll give you space to write a major review & response to Allen's chapter on this blog. What do you say?

With that, I am...


Besides, I've discussed this topic thoroughly elsewhere, responding to the very questions you raise, brother.  Dog, I'll even give you space to refute what I posted much less Allen!  Here and Here.

With that, I am...


Hi Ron –

Thanks for your response! I suppose it would have been easier to post that article from the Chicago Statement—well put. Here’s one point I love in your response: that interpretation should be corporate and not just individualistic. I hope that will be a reminder that we are not to drop doctrine in favor of cooperation, and, in some sense, vice-versa as well. Have a blessed weekend!

In Christ,


Rick Patrick

"If you're a theologically minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you're committed to the gospel and you want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see gospel built and structured and committed churches, your theology is just gonna end up being something like this New Calvinism or you're gonna have to invent some other label for what's just gonna be the same thing. There just are not options out there." -- Dr. Albert Mohler

Lifeway Research has estimated that ninety percent of Southern Baptists are not reformed believers in this New Calvinism. Am I missing something, or did Al Mohler just infer that the majority of our convention does not desire the five worthy goals in the "if" portion of his statement? Is there no room for non-Calvinism in his vision of the Southern Baptist Convention? Is there no one in our entire convention leadership structure possessing the gravitas to hold Mohler accountable for making statements such as this one?

Johnathan Pritchett

I thought Mohler wasn't about second and third ticket items being front and center.

I'd debate him on Calvinism. The Calvinist view of God's sovereignty is way too low for my tastes, and they misunderstand key texts like Romans 9, Ephesians 1, and John 6 so badly, it is laughable when they think they claim to "stand with Paul"...when they clearly do not even understand what he wrote.


"Lifeway Research has estimated that ninety percent of Southern Baptists are not reformed believers in this New Calvinism"

Rick, I am wondering if the stat to look for is how many of our seminary grads are Calvinist. That may explain the disconnect.

Eric Opsahl


Don't think we would disagree on your point. I don't appeal to a label either.


Rick Patrick:
hi, as far as I know (and I don't know a whole bunch), there are plenty of men "in our entire convention leadership structure" who possess "the gravitas to hold Mohler accountable for making statements such as this one". However, they just aren't coming to the front. All we have is little old bloggers like Peter, sitting in "his mama's basement, dressed in furry slippers and a big terry robe" to address the issues at hand.

According to Dr. Mohler, not only do we SBs lie, live in homophobia, but now...could it be we don't even know how to share the gospel? are we all lost if not reformed? selahV

Austin Maddox

Well, the Callvinist Flyswatter is reporting that Mohler spit on Adrian Rogers grave...What a sad statement Charles...Shame on you !! I could say Mohler's comments has James P Boyce , John L Dagg, PH Mell smiling in their graves rejoicing over Mohler's comments. Both sides just need to stick to the facts. Comments by the Flyswatter like that need to be swatted and if Founders made comments that Mell, Boyce, and Dagg are smiling in their graves need to be swatted as well(To my knowledge Founders didn't say these things). Straight up ... If Mohler can make comments like that in front of a small group of reformed men like myself then he should " Man up" and say it to the SBC. See guys...my comments are fair and balanced :) BTW, Ron u are wrong on Propitiation but I love u in Jesus.

William W. Birch

Thank you for this, Peter!


Re. Limited Atonement, the term is not found in the bible, there are two aspects to this atonement: one is limited involving some, the other involves "all", analogous to the 2 goats of Lev. 16. Not seeing the distinction of both aspects lies at the heart of the debate between the calvinist position and the arminian position.

The atonement is limited when the idea of "substitution", Christ taking our place, is contemplated. Without exception, the texts dealing with that idea have "many", "us", "the church", as object.

The atonement is "universal" not because all are (or will be) reconciled to God on the basis of Christ's sacrifice, but because for God Christ's sacrifice is enough to make Him "propitious" towards the entire world. In "propitiation" (as opposed to "substitution), God has enough in the sacrifice of Jesus, seeing His blood sprinkled on and before the mercy-seat, to cover the sins of the entire world. Nothing more could have been done and nothing less. Minimizing the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice and blood is an attack on His work and God's appreciation of it.

First Christ gives himself for a propitiation. God is completely satisfied with Christ's sacrifice: that good news can be spread to the entire world.
For the sinner who comes in faith to Christ, confessing his sins, putting them on Christ as his scapegoat and he can know that they are carried away never to be seen again: that's substitution; only for those who believe in Christ.


I agree with Mohler, and here's a few more. First-

"It is very odd how difficult it seems for some persons to understand just what Calvinism is. And yet the matter itself presents no difficulty whatever. It is capable of being put into a single sentence; and that, one level to every religious man's comprehension. For Calvinism is just religion in its purity. We have only, therefore, to conceive of religion in its purity, and that is Calvinism."

B.B. Warfield

And then here's another favorite from J. Gresham Machen-

"Calvinism is not a specific variety of theistic thought, religious experience, [or] evangelical faith; but just the perfect manifestation of these things. The difference between it and other forms of theism, religion, [and] evangelicalism is difference not of kind but of degree. . . . it does not take its position then by the side of other types of things; it takes its place over all else that claims to be these things, as embodying all that they ought to be."

J.G. Machen

I would affirm both of these statements as well.

peter lumpkins


Your gross nonsense precisely demonstrates the divide between aggressive Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the SBC. You cite two staunch Presbyterians in agreement with Mohler, implicating 90%+ of all SBs as theologically sub-Christian.

With that, I am...

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