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". . . innocence does not include the impossibility of sinning, but only the possibility of not sinning"

that is an interesting way of looking at mankind formed in the image of God . . .
as we have a conscience and a moral framework within us that helps us to evaluate situations and make decisions, we are not 'forced' by God to sin, it is of our own choice.

God cannot author sin, nor will His creatures to sin. He may permit them their choice to sin, but He cannot be the Cause of evil. It would be against His nature.


I actually found the full text to which you referred online. It was difficult at times because of the way it was presented but it was a very interesting read. In reading this, it appears to me that perhaps what Dargan DID NOT do was what I'm too often tempted to do...use philosophy to interpret or understand the Bible. For when Dargan left his discussion of salvation from God's "perspective", he then speaks totally in a language that written on a blog today would be labeled synergism at its finest and yet he was not concerned about how others may have perceived that in the least.

All of that to ask, is that largely our problem today...that we are too caught up in philosophical wranglings to examine ideas/concepts in the form that Dargan presented his beliefs? I'm not trying to simplify things too much but as I read much of this debate taking place as of late, I see too many people talking past each other in order to win a philosophical battle rather than understand a Biblical text and Dargan, it appears to me, was content to let the wranglers wrangle without letting it get his dander up.

Thanks for the excellent find.

PS: I know, I know, long time not write, but I have been reading as I'm sure you know from your visitors log.



A wonderful surprise. Thanks for contributing. It's been way too long but I understand.

I think you are essentially correct, Luke, which is one thing that separates by a mile many of the older Calvinists and the new Calvinists today. Note carefully in Dargan's book his chapter on election which sounds much like any Calvinist today would explain it. Yet, Dargan seemed to show no signs whatsoever that he appears to contradict himself. I think that's essentially because he was, for lack of a better term, a thorough-going "paradoxicalist."

I mentioned this same thing about Criswell whom Founders' Tom Ascol attempted to recruit as a "Calvinist" for his cause. Unfortunately, while Criswell may have been a "Calvinist" (he said he was), he was definitively not the kind of Calvinist Ascol, et al are now. He didn't give two shakes of a gnat's behind what any philosophically-minded critic said about his clear "libertarian" understanding of "free will". He saw both it and God's sovereignty as biblical truths and would not employ philosophical categories like "compatiblism" to make free will "fit" somebody's system. I think it's similar with Dargan. He appears more biblicist than systematic theologian. Text precedes theology.

The critics, however, have now painted themselves into a corner. They either must criticize one of their "founders" as teaching Semi-Pelagianism pertaining to the fallen human will or drop this Calvinist-Arminian nonsense that TS is "Semi-Pelagian" and therefore either "serious" error at best and "heresy" at worst.

Thanks brother.

With that, I am...


My husband and I use the phrase Criswell Calvinist a lot. Cavlinists were in the SBC we knew, but there were none like the ones we see in the YRR. And of course the Calvinists we knew way back didn't disqualify anyone who rejected Calvinism from any form of serving in the church. If you read Resienger you find that the Founders believe the fact that Calvinists "allowed" those who rejected Calvinism positions in the SBC is what lead to the liberalism that made the CR necessary. It's only by purifying all the institutions by making sure only Calvinists hold positions of authority that the SBC will be spared from fighting the CR again. It's very clear that the agenda to marginalize has always been from the Calvinists, of course those facts get ignored.


"Lessor known works by Dargan include The Bible Our Heritage and The Doctrines of our Faith: A Convenient Handbook for Use in Normal Classes, Sacred Literature Courses and Individual Study, the latter of which was printed by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1899, and the volume from which we will examine Dargan's understanding of Original Sin and Total Depravity."

So, he writes this, teaches at SBTS and this work was printed by the Sunday School board which I assume was distributed. Wonder why this was allowed? (wink)

What is funny is that I totally agree with all the quotes and he was a Calvinist!


Peter, you keep coming up with information that is not found in the indoctrination box that the Calvinists Seminaries are giving students. Giving them information that disagrees with what their indoctrination professors have taught them might lead to some kind of melt downs. Be careful for the sake of the mental health of the YRR. They can only process information they've been given in their boxes.

You saw what happened with th TS Statement - that just proves that the Calvinists are not being taught what the majority of the SBC believes - they've only been taught the straw men and caricutures, thus when it's something they haven't seen before it must therefore be some foul heresy. It does not compute that maybe they have been provided with the education that puffs them up so much. They've only been given very limited information while being told how brilliant they are with the limmited knowledge they hold.


"You saw what happened with th TS Statement - that just proves that the Calvinists are not being taught what the majority of the SBC believes - they've only been taught the straw men and caricutures, thus when it's something they haven't seen before it must therefore be some foul heresy. It does not compute that maybe they have been provided with the education that puffs them up so much. They've only been given very limited information while being told how brilliant they are with the limmited knowledge they hold."

Mary, this became obvious after the charge of SP and their parsing of history. Did they not realize their own sources for the charge of SP called Augustine's (and their own) doctrine of a determinist God, heresy? Their education is lacking. And we have been paying for it. It is one thing to be wrong but to beat people up with it or use it to accuse the brethren is beyond the pale.

I can handle arrogance. I can even handle ignorance. But we really should refuse to pay for churning out both ignorant and arrogant from our seminary.

Here is a comment from SBCToday from a Calvinist and I am hoping this guy is not an SBC pastor that we subsidized his education:

'rhutchin says:

June 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Real Biblical truth can be systematized. This was done in coining such terms as “the Trinity,” “the rapture,” and “total depravity.” None of these terms appears in the Bible, but people looked at all the verses in the Bible that speak to these issues and concluded systematically that these concepts are taught in the Bible. This was not a process that Calvin created.

As the document under discussion addresses only the issue of salvation, then I will limit my earlier claim to salvation.

If you are non-Calvinist, then we know that you have difficulty in certain areas. First, you have no idea how to deal with God’s omniscience. Second, you have subscribed to the imaginary problem of evil which was foisted on believers by non-believers. Third, you have this notion of “libertarian free will” which simply does not exist. If it did exist, God would have to have extended it, equally, to all people and all people would either accept Christ or all would reject Christ. If libertarian free will works then you cannot have one person choosing opposite to another without one person not having that free will.

If the non-Calvinist disagrees and knows some good books where a smart non-Calvinist has sorted out these problems (especially omniscience), tell me because I would love to read them. Only books that you have actually read count. I get tired of reading books that people make claims about (like the Bible) and have not read."

God help us and save our people from these types. PLEASE do not give them any power or influence as elder rulers or "keys to the kingdom" (Dever) to decide who is saved and who isn't.

Chris Roberts

It is my normal tendency to avoid commenting on this blog. I made an exception when the post was about me, I'll make another exception here.

I'm inclined to agree with you - this fellow was certainly semi-Pelagian, with a much greater clarity than the Statement possesses. If you want to say that what he says is what the signers believe, then you are helping to justify criticisms that the Statement is semi-Pelagian.

I would note, though, that the views of one homiletics professor in a seminary known to have slid into liberalism does not require rewriting the theological history of the school.

I am curious about one quote you include, and wonder if you know any more context that might shed light. He says:

"The religions and superstitions of men, their sacrifices and forms of worship, indicate a more or less well-defined consciousness of a guilty distance from God. Among the people where there is any correct teaching concerning God, this dim consciousness becomes more definite and pronounced, and often leads to genuine and sincere repentance of sin and a yearning unspeakable for the forgiveness and love of the Great Ruler of the universe"

If he is saying what I think he is saying, he believes that general revelation - indeed, natural knowledge - about God can be sufficient to lead a person to repentance and "yearning". He does not quite go so far as to call this salvation, but he's certainly using salvific language. Did he believe that it was possible for pagans to be born again without a knowledge of the gospel?


Well,there ya go. Chris Roberts declares it's so, so that just makes it so.

And of course we see the Calvinist belief that leaving Calvinism equals a slide to liberalism. Way to push that Founders agenda.

Now who wants some unity after being called a heretic and being guilty of sliding into liberalism?

I don't know why the Calvinist won't post here. They're just so warm and fuzzy with their belief they are way better and smarter than everybody else in the room. Just real respectful and humble that way.

Chris Roberts


The comment about liberalism was more an observation that no one doubts that Southern has never had a consistent history - there have been drastic changes along the way, one more voice in the mix hardly changes things.

On whether or not there is a liberal component to this theology, I say a little about that on my blog: http://tcnr.me/lgfga

Chris Roberts

Responding to my own question, scanning some of Dargan's volume shows places where he seems to clearly affirm the need for a believer to hold the gospel, not simply to express a general repentance and faith. That being the case, he would not see the possibility of pagan salvation apart from a hearing of the gospel. Still digging, but encouraged.


Of course rejecting Calvinism leads to liberalism, thats the reason the Founders say the SBC needs to be reformed - to get rid of all us intellectuall inferior, biblically illiterate liberals. Glad to see you're going for that unity thingy with your superior declarations and accusations of heresy and liberalism. Keep up the good work.

peter lumpkins


First, you can keep your sideways insults to yourself, brother. I've heard this similar line before--"my normal tendency is to avoid commenting on this blog [or another blog]"--from those like J. Merritt, J. White, and several others, making it appear that the community to which they've come is beneath them. It was a needless line, Chris; and if I may be blunt, it lends weight to the stereotype that Calvinists are routinely arrogant and snobbish.

The truth is--at least from my perspective--we had a short but good conversation in NOLA. And, that could have been a fair start for some amicable exchange whether here or elsewhere. But it's implicit, self-exalting snobbery like you've just logged, Chris, that seals the coffin shut for any meaningful exchange whether with me or with many others on this site (and other sites that do not commend your views). And, please understand: we can exist with or without your contribution, my fellow Baptist pastor. We will continue doing our thing, I assure.

Second, I'm very glad you concede concerning Dargan's view (so we can agree on at least some things). The problem is, instead of seeing his view as a legitimate historic view among Baptists, you pull an historic rabbit out of the hat and accuse his of Liberalism! Sweet heavens! Is that all you can do? Simply say SBTS had slidden into Liberalism? In the 19th century? Ascol, Mohler, and Nettles swear Calvinism didn't begin to wane untill well into the 20th century. Now you come along and suggest SBTS had slidden into Liberalism.

In addition, for Dargan to have been published at the BSSB in 1899, his views must have been well received for a substantial period prior to that. Nor can the problem be laid at E.Y. Mullins doorstep because he didn't take the presidency until 1899, the year Dargan's book was published.

Third, even though you're actually meeting the challenge I offered--i.e. either accuse Dargan of Semi-Pelagianism or apoligize to TS supporters (you chose the former)--you should know you're begging the question by accusing both Dargan & TS supporters of embracing Semi-Pelagianism.

Try as you may, Chris, you have not been convincing in your accusation about Semi-Pelagianism. I've corrected twice--once in person as well as on the blogs--your definition of Semi-Pelagianism as being driven by "Reformed" dogmatics rather than scholarly work in the area, offering as an alternative Rebecca Hardin Weaver's acclaimed work. You summarily dismissed it. Even so, unless you can overturn her scholarly work, you're simply blowing smoke in everybody's face.

Fourth, I'm not sure what Dargan believed about pagans not hearing the gospel. I don't think he mentions it, at least in the portions I read. What he did do, however, is use language about the fallen human will very much like the Baptist Faith & Message of 1925--"whereby his [Adam's] posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors." Yes, "Liberal" and "Semi-Peligian" that he was, Dargan was on the Baptist Faith and Message Committee that wrote our first confession of faith (1925). Surprise, surprise! We've now got a "Liberal" "Semi-Pelagian" writing our confession for us ;^)

Indeed Dargan had similar views to depravity as did Mullins. Mullins wrote:

"Men are not condemned therefore for hereditary or original sin. They are condemned only for their own sins. They are called to repentance and faith by the gospel. It is their own act of rejection which is the basis of their condemnation" (The Christian Religion in Its Doctrinal Expression 302)

My simple point is, Dargan's view was not out of step with Southern Baptists during the last quarter of the 19th century.

I hope for you a good evening, Chris. Maybe we'll meet up elsewhere on the net.

With that, I am...

Chris Roberts

I've continued to browse through Dargan and want to retract my earlier comment that he was semi-Pelagian. Looking further at Dargan's works, I'm not sure that you haven't missed some significant statements which would modify the way you have presented your quotes. Your quotes are accurate in that you say what he said, but you have not said all that he said, and other things he says seem to indicate that God must first change the heart before man gets to the place of being able to respond to the gospel. Man's work is required (no Calvinist would disagree with that), but man's work is only possible after God first changes him, and only possible by God's continued working in him. There are places where I would likely still disagree with Dargan, but it looks like he may be no semi-Pelagian. If all he said were what you quote, it would be hard to avoid the charge of semi-Pelagianism, but that is not all he said.

I should have looked closer at Dargan's writings before agreeing that he is semi-Pelagian. That was my mistake, I was sloppy in making the claim based on a handful of quotations, and I apologize. At some point I'll read the book in full and that should give a better perspective on what he was actually arguing.


I have no intent to hijack here. Comments are closed from last month, and I'd like to say "thanks" somewhere.

I took your advice from the May 30 blog and read Baggett & Wall's "Good God." It was an excellent read. I'll work my way through other books you recommended as I can find them.

peter lumpkins

Yes, Chris, and which quotes would that be? You curiously offer none. Hence, unless you can show how I allegedly "cherry-picked" these quotations which you appear to imply, we'll just assume you've merely offered rationalization to prop up a failed point.

My guess is, you're looking in his chapter on election which has absolutely no bearing on what he says on anthropology because Dargan was not a systematic theologian as much as a biblicist at this juncture. Hence, he could have a strong view of election while at the same time arguing for a robust free will, something you and most new Calvinists cannot accept.

Nor does it appear probable to make Dargan hold regeneration-precedes-faith with the kind of anthropology he held. I'd like to see your rationalization for doing so though I doubt you'll do so here.

Nor do you seem to get it that Dargan along with Mullins (among others) wrote the 1925 BF&M which clearly denies regeneration precedes faith. Article VII says, "It [regeneration] is a work of God's free grace conditioned upon faith in Christ..." Hence, I'd do a lot more reading were I you before charging Dargan with something he didn't believe yet again.

With that, I am...

peter lumpkins


Thanks my brother. Perhaps we'll do some more book-notes soon!


With that, I am...

Les Puryear

Let us not forget that Chris Roberts is a Calvinist pastor in a non-Calvinist church. I have a few questions for Chris.

1. Did you tell the Search Committee that you are a Calvinist? If so, did you make sure they understood the differences between Calvinism and their current beliefs?
2. Did you tell the Search Committee that it was your intent to "reform" their church?
3. Did you tell the Search Committee how you planned to "reform" their church?

Brother Chris, I have no problem with anyone being a Calvinist. What I do have a problem with is the Calvinist agenda to "reform" all SBC churches to Calvinism. Your answer to these questions will illuminate for all readers on all of the many blogs which you comment what is your true agenda.

Thanks for your forthcoming response.

The Original Les

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