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I don't want to make too fine a point of this but my reading around the history of that time makes me wonder if the focus on Calvinism was a way to justify slavery. God "decreed" this sort of thing. Some of the things Broaddus said in his bio of Boyce has me wondering. He made a big deal of Boyce seeing slavery as the best means to evangelize and disciple the slaves. Boyce was against succession until he realized that not succeeding could mean the end of slavery and he was against freeing the slaves on matter of evangelism and discipleship. Broaddus stated this in terms of explaining why Boyce supported succeeding from the Union.


So Peter, you find one man who disagrees with one point and another man who disagrees with a second point and suddenly you have dismantled the entire system of theology? Good for you.


JohnS, some would say you've completely missed the point.

Hint: it's not about the entire syteme of theology.


Lydia said "I don't want to make too fine a point of this but my reading around the history of that time makes me wonder if the focus on Calvinism was a way to justify slavery."

Author Bruce Gourley says in "Diverging Loyalties: Baptists in Middle Georgia During the Civil War" that the Calvinism that caused many Baptists to view the war as God’s providential hand guiding the Southern cause waned as early victories turned to defeat and all but disappeared from public discourse by the turn of the 20th century. http://www.abpnews.com/faith/history/item/7079-civil-war-changed-southern-baptists-historian-says#.T_CKMPUmguI

peter lumpkins

Max mentioned an important book. I have it, scanned it but have not gotten around to actually reading it thoroughly yet...

With that, I am...


It is on my list to read, too. Is there a kindle edition? :o)

I do think JohnS missed the point but I am finding that a lot in Reformed circles. If it does not fit the system, it does not compute. I think one part of the point is that our "founding" ALSO included less than the 5 points in some places (even seminary!) than the Founders would like for us to realize.

I am finding our theological history fascinating.


Hey, If you all get over to Amazon search for Diverging Loyalties by Gourley and click on the link asking for the book to be put on kindle.

peter lumpkins


Thanks. Why, of course not!

Though come to think of it there remains an abundance of Calvinists who maintain that if one of the classic 5 points is proved wrong, the entire system becomes jaded. Consider just one quote:

"Prove any one of them [i.e. the 5 points of Calvinism] true and all the others will follow as logical and necessary parts of the system. Prove any one of them false and the whole system must be abandoned. They are found to dovetail perfectly one into the other. They are so many links in the great chain of causes, and not one of them can be taken away without marring and subverting the whole Gospel plan of salvation through Christ" (Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1932). 59.

We could add to the above similar statements coming from Edwin Palmer, R.C. Sproul, Steele & Thomas, Arthur Custance, and others claiming that if one point falls, all points fall.

With that, I am...

peter lumpkins


I posted several months (years?) back on being "Calvinistic but not Calvinist." Founders-Calvinist Timmy Brister made a remark on his blog indicating while one might be Calvinistic and not hold to the 5 Points, one cannot be a Calvinist and not hold to the 5 Points. I happen to disagree. Even so, their definition of Calvinism being exclusively 5 Points is the stick of dynamite which blows their historical thesis to smithereens.

Note: I just logged 3 significant 19th century figures whom they normally claim as being a part of their "Founders" ideology, yet each of the three figures denied at least one of their non-negotiable doctrines. Hence, we conclude the "Founders"--even the "Founders" about which they normally pour accolades--cannot all be considered Calvinists, given their own definition of Calvinism. The best they can say is, they were Calvinistic. O.K. But even Mohler says those today who hold "perseverance of the saints" are Calvinistic too--a Calvinistic lite, if you will.

Hence, their historical ideology, I think, is in serious trouble. And, once people catch onto this historical confusion, respect for their theological-historical sentiments will be washed right down the sink.

With that, I am...


I am another who believes if any one of the 5 points of calvinism (so called) are proven wrong then the whole system is destroyed.

But again, just because this or that individual denies any of the 5 points neither prove the point to be wrong nor does sit destroy the system of theology called calvinism.

peter lumpkins


Fine JohnS. I accept you believe the 5 points hold together or fall together. But, it seems to me to follow from your admission, given Brantly, Broaddus, and Dargan's denial of at least one of the points, would thrust you into accepting that all three men, in rejecting at least one of the points, has effectively jaded the entire system. Perhaps not for you because you nonetheless hold the 5 points.

But so far as they are concerned, while they may have been Calvinistic in much of what they held, they were not only not Calvinists, but their view theologically sabotaged Calvinism the way you understand it.

With that, I am...


Peter, wait a doggone minute. I have been told by several YRR over the past year that if I affirm the BFM then Mohler considers me Calvinistic.

So what is the deal. Calvinistic is ok or not ok. BTW: I read Boettner's book, too, and have wondered about this wobbly point system that seems to have more to do with convenience than a serious theology.

But, I think you make another excellent point with your entire comment because "going back to our roots" has been the stated reason for all this hubbaloo. Now, thanks to your research, we are seeing our "roots" are a bit more complicated and nuanced so when one throws in the fact that the Presbyterian wing of the "founding" SBC/SBTS also loved slavery, you have an even bigger problem appealing to a Calvinistic history. Can of worms? They opened it. But I am noticing that fewer of the YRR guys are making the historical appeal in the last week. (wink)

You know, it is a danger to always believe one or two leaders and everything they say. It helps for one to do one's own research. I am wondering if Mohler thought no one would check it out. Perhaps he does not know the history as well he thinks he does. But Some folks have specific agenda's they don't share.

But, lets step back from the theological aspects of the 5 pts and the fact the entire system fails without each one as many bonafide Calvinists, like Boettner, claim.

Here at ground zero, the point system is very wobbly. In fact, NOT being a 5 pointer....lets say you are a 3 or 4..... means you can disclaim Calvinism when convenient and you are hanging with those who would not like Calvin, but also passable while claiming Calvin for a more Reformed audience as long as a Calvinist leader vets you. with 3 or 4 pts you can be in the club so to speak.

It is very convenient. I am often told, well so and so Dean at SBTS is only 4pts and they allow him to be there so you cannot say they discriminate against Non Calvinists. And so on. I hear this constantly and points are counted like notches on a belt.

However, I also studied Calvinism and read Boettner's book so I knew the system failed if one pt is not believed. So this confused me as I noticed the point system here where there are lots of "Calvinists" that don't claim limited atonement, for example.

But then, I have never really thought it was about Calvinisn per se but about power. Calvinism is the slogan to rally young troops. It works. Perfect movement for young men. 'We have real truth you don't have. We are smarter than others. We are in your face bold with truth. We get to discipline people. We get power over others like a real magisterium'. Throw in their own church plant and the obligatory focus on sex coming out of the Reformed movement and what is not to like for a young man?

Instant power and position with lots of sex. Paid for by uncool Trad men and the casserole ladies. :o

There is a reason I love history and your posts are part of it. It is so nuanced and we have to read around every subject and not just the sanitized approved history of a country, person or institution.

Bob Hadley


While I am the FIRST to admit that I am NOT a historical buff and do not care to be, I am personally convinced that this breed of calvinism that is so popular today is not the calvinism of the past in the SBC. It is so easy to quote folks who have been dead... why the day will probably come when there will be those who will have Adrian Rogers calvinistic.. if you ask some today, you would think that calvinists are the ones who were responsible for the success of the CR... I guess CR now has two meanings: Conservative Resurgence and Calvinist Revival.

Personally, Spurgeon I believe was calvinistic... but nothing like those leading this revival suggests. And, there are hundreds of pastors preaching in churches today who are calvinistic and are doing a great job in their churches, some which are more calvinistic than others... but calvinism is not the primary focus of their preaching and ministry.

Today there are those whose focus IS reformed theology and its reach in influence in the SBC. This is the focus of my contention. Already alarmed at the extent of the influence of calvinism in the entities, I left Nawlins even more concerned as I observed committees and voting in the convention working itself.

The SBC is in deed in for some interesting days in the immediate months ahead.



Well.........at least we're headed in the 'right' direction. In another two weeks we will be at "ZERO POINT CALVINISM".I'd sign up for that! :)

Jeremy Crowder

I find the mention of Alexander Campbell interesting. Does anyone know how the Calvinists in the SBC dealt with Primitive Baptists during that time period? It seems to me that Primitive Baptists have a strict calvinism or a more pure form but few people seem to mention them. The slavery conversation is interesting but sadly not solid as many non-calvinists supported slavery an example is Methodists who were also split during the civil war. Also I suspect the ancestors of Free Will Baptists if the Church that recently banned interracial couples is any indication might have also been guilty. That being said I do think Calvinism has a force to it that is more strict when mixed with authority.


You don't affirm perseverance of the saints?


I don't speak for Casey, but I would say that Trads are probably very comfortable denying all five points of Calvinism. The Calvinism POS is not the same as what I think is the more Biblical idea of PREservation of the Saints - once God saves a person that person will stay saved, regardless of what that person does or does not do. Calvinist POS to many us puts way to much emphasis on man persevering - works after salvation - than on the fact that those whom God saved stay saved because God saved them. We see this attitude whenever the conversation of church discipline comes up. Calvinists have very legalistic ideas about what one must be doing and how one must act to really be "regenerate" - lot's of emphasis on shoulds and standards that the Calvinists set so they can decide whether a person is regenerate. Just look at the recent conversation where Calvinists think it's the horrible for churches to have patriotic church services.


"Calvinist POS to many us puts way to much emphasis on man persevering - works after salvation - than on the fact that those whom God saved stay saved because God saved them."

This is not what I believe. I humbly disagree with your position, but that should be no surprise.


Wayne, that's fine that you disagree, just explaining why it's not a suprise that many of us Trads deny all five points of Calvinism. Denying the Calvinists POS is not to go over to the side that one can lose salvation which I think is what many think if they hear a denial of all five points.

I think your question shows a problem in these conversations and it's that everything has to go through a Calvinist paradigm. Persevering is a Biblical concept that Calvinists don't own. I'm afraid I'm not articulating this well, I'll think some more on it or perhaps someone can help me out here.



Thank you for disagreeing with me without being disagreeable. If you will indulge me for a minute, I wasn't trying to to squeeze every conversation "through a Calvinist paradigm", even though I can see where you thought that is what I was doing. It was my desire to point out that perhaps there are still some things that we can all affirm. I can see from your response that it's really not that simple. God bless.



Wayne, I would hope we could say together with Paul "I know my Redeemer liveth."

And no it's not simple because people in conversations make presuppositins of what the other side is actually saying. I've studied Calvinism and so I'm pretty comfortable with saying I don't believe what I've read from Calvinists abou POS. But the default position is not that I believe salvation given by God is something that can be "lost."

If we were to get into a discussion about POS we'd probably find areas of agreement, but overall I would not be comfortable saying I agree with the Calvinist position on POS.

What I've found and I think what the Trad Statement has shown is that one side of this conversation has not listened very well to what the other side is saying - they just assumed if one is not a Calvinist than one must be an Arminian or now we're seeing we must be heretics. And yet what is not happening is that people are not able to admit - you know I didn't really know what you were saying even though I thought I did so now I need to sit back and listen. And I think that's what your question shows, I'm assuming that if you see someone denying all five points that you're wondering if they believe it's possible to lose your salvation, I apologize if that assumption is wrong, but I think many jump to the conclusion when one denies all five points. But you see that it's really not that simple.


No it clearly is not that simple. It's a very complex issue that does not have a simple answer. You're absolutely right when you say that we need to be slow to assume.

About 15 years ago my sister and I had what was very close to a family splitting fight at a Thanksgiving dinner. I used to occasionally listen to Rush Limbaugh back in the day, and while I agree that he is a puffed up, often mistaken, loudmouth at times, he was entertaining and I did agree with much of his politics. My sister, however, had been deeply offended by things she had heard on talk radio from him and others. I did not know this when she started accusing me of hating homosexuals, and on and on. I was startled at why she would accuse me such hurtful things, and when I asked her she said it was because she knew that I listened to Rush Limbaugh.

The problem is that I was associated with every dimwit that ever called in to the show, and every dimwit she worked with that quoted the show and others like it. Now I know that there have been many things that have been said by dimwits in the YRR camp, and I cringe every time I hear them, but that doesn't mean that I agree with them.

At my church where I serve on staff, we support the cooperative program, take multiple mission trips every year, train our people in in purposeful personal evangelism, have revival meetings, and offer an invitation at every service. But we've had people who have been members for 15 and 20 years leave the church because they hear that my pastor embraces Reformed Theology. But he's not the boogeyman. He doesn't try and convert people to Calvinism - he wants them to come to Jesus. He doesn't make Calvinism an issue.

Unfortunately there are many churches in our area that like to make fun of, berate, and ridicule anyone who claims reformed theology. My wife has been ostracized at our kid's school because she was "outed" by one of the mothers. My college roommate moved to the area and is now serving at a church with 10 miles of us but has yet to return a phone call or email (I've tried about 10 times) because the church I serve is about 50/50 Calvinist/Traditionalists and I don't think he can take the risk of associating with scum like me.

Wow! That turned into a big purge. Sorry about that. It's tough being misunderstood. I know that you've experienced it as well. I am going to make every effort to try and understand and not assume.


Wayne, I think that some of this is regional and so you get a lot of these people who are in the YRR and feel the way you describe feeling. I could write a book of how badly the Calvinists in our area behave and give you the same types of experiences you've shared except it's Cals against Trads. The difference and the problems begin when I share a story and immediately I get declared a liar because the YRR hasn't seen what I've seen. I don't think you're a liar Wayne, I believe you when you share your experiences. It's very rare that I get the same type of respect and grace back from the YRR. And in fact blogs like SBC Voices will publish whole posts and have long discussions about how we're all a bunch of liars for claiming that Calvinist have done something wrong.

Your church sounds to me like what I knew in the SBC growing up. Calvinism wasn't the be all, central theme around which everything in the church is defined. These guys today are not like the "old time" Calvinist who were content to work side by side with Trads. All these new church plants by the YRR will have no place for Trad SBCers. It's my experience that to be qualified to serve in any capicty in these YRR churches you must be a Calvinist in good standing. There's a whole big discussion to be had regarding forcing church members into siging contracts and agreements.

So I say all that to say - I know there are plenty of Calvinists in the SBC who are just going about their business and don't understand what all the fuss is about. I don't really care what you're doing in your own church. It all sounds great, but you're autonomous and more power to you. The HUGE PROBLEM today in the SBC is that the Calvinists who are in positions of authority in the SBC are not willing to coexist in the sand box with Trads. When Calvinists have been placed in authority at the institutional level - they've pushed out the Trads and force everyone to conform to Calvinism. I would like an SBC that serves the entire SBC not this institution serves this portion and that institution serves that portion. Dividing up the baby that is the SBC will only destroy it.

But I think it's important to note that since the TS the discussion has moved beyond just abosolute denial that Calvinists have taken over institutions to now somehow it's only right and fair that Calvinists control institutions. I can't help but wonder if more and more people are having their eyes opened as to who wants to kick out whom in the SBC.


"And no it's not simple because people in conversations make presuppositins of what the other side is actually saying. I've studied Calvinism and so I'm pretty comfortable with saying I don't believe what I've read from Calvinists abou POS. But the default position is not that I believe salvation given by God is something that can be "lost."

Boy, the gist of what you are saying is so true. When I first started considering the Reformed position and was doing a ton of reading, listening, etc, I kept thinking there was something wrong but I could not put my finger on it until I realized their definitions of things were different than what I thought the definitions were. That is a huge problem.

One example is when they were talking about Total Depravity it certainly did not fit what I thought scripture was saying and then I finally realized one day they were defining it as total inability.

Another problem is that you get comments like: You don't believe in Perseverance of the SAints! As if that is a heretical position. Perhaps the definitions are different. Perhaps we need to look at Hebrews 10 together. Instead it is a jumping on people and quite frankly, people are tired of it.


Wayne, We have Calvinist on ministerial staff at our church. They are not trying to make anyone a Calvinist. But I will tell you that at least one has shared with me that he thought he was going back to the greatest seminary in the SBC to get his M.Div (he is in 40's) and was stunned at what he encountered at SBTS. He wants no part of the YRR wing of the SBC and could not wait to get out of there.

There are so many horror stories out there that people hear the word Calvinist, YRR, etc and run from it. It is our own Calvinist leaders who have brought us Driscoll and Mahaney. And guess what? They have liked them all along and agreed with them. now, that is scary.

Please do not try and paint the people in the church as ignorant rubes or unfair. The YRR has brought this on themselves and all Calvinists. Even Calvinist Steve CAmp is telling them to stop acting that way. I hate to say this but they do not act like Christians but bullies. There is little love for the sheep but a need to force their doctrine down people's throats and tell people how wrong they are.

I even know of a YRR contributer to SBCVoices who says that since churches are too dumb to ask the right questions it is their fault they get a YRR when they interview. What this sadly misguided young man does not realize is that these people automatically give their trust based upon their educational associations in what they have always thought were godly institutions.

Why would someone ask if the person they are interviewing has plans to take over the church to Calvinism? Sadly this YRR attitude means churches will start asking questions. This attitude that they cannot see in themselves is not godly. It is dictatorial and worthy Stalinist tactics. Using people's trust, tolerance and even their ignorance against them. Is that Christlike? But in this young man's mind, it is justified because they are ignorant. It is astounding he has the nerve to put that in writing. It has probably been deleted by now by Mr. Unity.

That is why I call them bullies. Is there such a thing as a Christian bully? I believe they think their doctrine of total depravity protects them in salvation. They do not really believe they CAN be Christlike nor that it matters in this life. Or they have redefined Christlike to not include love. Or they have redefined love. This has been very clear in some of the comments over at Today. This is a different religion from what scripture teaches in the New Covenant about the new birth.


Lydia, you see it from that Roberts guy who keeps insisting that everyone has to agree with his definition of SP and his reformed resources. Calvinists believe they own all definitions and you are forced to defend yourself on their terms which actually shows an inability to defend their position since they can only defend themselves within their own boxes. They cannot, absolutely cannot think out side the box of indoctrination they've been given by the Calvinists.

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