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Jul 26, 2012

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Jordan Hall

Peter,

So long as you're referencing the 1925F&M, you might also want to point out that it specifically says that "faith is wrought by regeneration" in Articles VII and VIII - meaning that only those effectually regenerated by the Holy Spirit will have the "penitent and obedient faith" mentioned in Article VI, which you've so aptly quoted.

The evidence is pretty clear that the "strict Calvinists" are the traditionalists, after all.

Tim Rogers

Jordan,

You conveniently overlooked Article VI which says;

"The blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the duty of all to accept them by penitent and obedient faith." [Emphasis Mine]

As one looks at the BF&M 1925 are you willing to say that Repentance and Faith is a work? "We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties"...

peter lumpkins

Hi Jordan,

You assert, ‘the 1925F&M…specifically says that "faith is wrought by regeneration" in Articles VII and VIII’ concluding it means, “that only those effectually regenerated by the Holy Spirit” will have the "penitent and obedient faith" mentioned in Article VI.”  And, further you allege ‘The evidence is pretty clear that the "strict Calvinists" are the traditionalists, after all.’

First,  while I have not suggested “strict Calvinists” are not “traditionalists”—if by “traditionalist” one uses it in the broad sense of representing an historical theological stain within Baptist history—I’m supposing you mean to suggest by “traditionalists” the non-Calvinists who’ve recently confessed their salvific position as in line with the “traditional” interpretation since our specific confessional existence as a convention beginning in 1925. If the latter, then yes, I would say, Southern Baptists took a conscience, deliberate step away from strict Calvinism in 1925.

Second, to demonstrate your complaint, you cite the earliest BF&M with snippets strung together in a neatly constructed pattern to prove  your point.  However, anyone reading the section you cite will immediately object to your strange connection of the phrases you chose for the simple reason it makes the confession’s explicit words on the nature of the new birth in Article VII completely incoherent.  In fact, while you mention Article VII in your citation, you overlooked its contents entirely. Consider:

Regeneration or the new birth is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit, whereby we become partakers of the divine nature and a holy disposition is given, leading to the love and practice of righteousness. It is a work of God's free grace conditioned upon faith in Christ and made manifest by the fruit which we bring forth to the glory of God. (1925 BF&M, Article VII in full without textual proofs, embolden added)

To interpret the confession in the sense you do, Jonathan, makes the entire article on regeneration theologically nonsensical. Nor should we be surprised the confession would have this view since E.Y. Mullins was the chief author of it—along with other non-Calvinists like E.C. Dargan and Z.T. Cody. What is more, the language of the confession on regeneration and faith is very similar to Mullins’ language (all emphasis added):

  • “Observe now that the first and immediate result or attendant circumstance of the act of faith is regeneration and redemption.” (E. Y. Mullins, The Axioms of Religion: A New Interpretation of the Baptist Faith, p.33)
  • “The basis of their [church members] associations together is the common sense of need due to sin—a common experience of forgiveness and regeneration through the common exercise of faith.” (IBID, 35)
  • “Faith is the grace which is the root of all other graces. When genuine it leads to a godly life. It is the condition of all God’s gifts to us in Jesus Christ. It is the condition of justification and pardon, adoption and regeneration. None of these take place apart from faith.…The energy of God never comes into the soul in its regenerating power save through faith. (E. Y. Mullins, Baptist Beliefs, 42)
  • “Reducing redemption to a formula, we might put it thus: a + b = c. Let a stand for the efficient cause, Christ; b for the condition, repentance and faith, and c for the result, regeneration.” (E. Y. Mullins, Why Is Christianity True?: Christian Evidences, 296)

I’m sure you are aware Mullins is well-known in your circles as purportedly leading to the demise of Calvinism among Southern Baptists. Will you and others now cite the confession he chiefly pens as representative of your strict Calvinistic beliefs?  Simply fantastic is what I have to say…simply fantastic!

With that, I am…

Peter

 

peter lumpkins

Tim,

Hey, you stole my line :^).

With that, I am...
Peter

Max

"Salvation comes to the soul that comes to salvation. Forgiving Saviour and penitent sinner meet." (O.C.S. Wallace)

That's my favorite "whosoever" quote from a prominent Southern Baptist. I ran across that line in Dr. Wallace's book "What Baptists Believe." Published by the SBC Sunday School Board in 1934, this book was used in the Training Course for Sunday School Workers for several years. Another passage from the book:

"It is by the truth that men are made free and alive. But the truth does not effect the spiritual change working alone ... in order that truth may become effective for the transformation of sinful man, it is necessary for the living Spirit of God to use it upon the man; but, on the other hand, it is necessary for the man to know truth. Regeneration takes place only when the soul of the man yields to these ideas. His yielding does not regenerate, though his resistance may hinder regeneration. It is when his soul assents to the truth which has been lodged in his mind, and consents to the domination of these truths in the realm of will and purpose, that he is regenerated."

There's no doubt what "whosoever" meant to Southern Baptists 80 years ago! Speaking of "Whosoever Will", I sure miss that old song in LifeWay's 2008 revision of the Baptist hymnal ... along with "Whosover Meaneth Me." I wonder what's going on with that?

William Marshall

Brother Peter,
You quoted from Revelation 22, which I preached on Sunday so it caught my attention. I do understand that calvinists and non-calvinists mean something different when they use the term 'whosoever', but I did want to ask you a quick question. You stated that calvinists believe: " In other words, "whosoever" is none other than the Elect." Does that mean that non-calvinists think that people will come to Christ who are non-elect? I have always thouht that both groups recognize that only the elect will actually come (even though they disagree on the nature/basis of election). Just wondering what you think and if I misread the OP. Thanks,

wm

Max

William Marshall - I see that Peter is out of office today in a post he made on another blog, so thought I would offer some input pertaining to your inquiry re: non-Calvinist view of election. I'm sure that Peter will respond to you as well. The following is posted in "A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation":

"We affirm that, in reference to salvation, election speaks of God’s eternal, gracious, and certain plan in Christ to have a people who are His by repentance and faith.

We deny that election means that, from eternity, God predestined certain people for salvation and others for condemnation."

Scripture supporting that position can be found in the cited document at http://sbctoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/A-Statement-of-Traditional-Southern-Baptist-Soteriology-SBC-Today.pdf

P.S. I hope the drought lifts soon in the Sikeston area, both within and without the church, and that those cotton fields will be seen as white unto harvest. I used to live in that area and know that there are multitudes of desperate souls in need of being elected into the Kingdom in the fires of revival.

William Marshall

Max,
Thanks for the response. It seems from the 'traditional statement' that only the elect (those "who are His by repentance and faith") will actually make up the 'whosoever' group. Thus, both calvinists and non-calvinists believe that "the 'whosoever' is none other than the elect." Hope that makes sense.

Thanks for your hopes and prayers for Sikeston. I just heard some thunder rumbling outside so that's a good sign. I pray that the Lord will use His servents to thunder from the pulpit on Sunday and rain down grace on the hearers (probably used that analogy enough at this point). Again, thanks for your thoughts,

wm

Max

William Marshall writes "Thus, both calvinists and non-calvinists believe that "the 'whosoever' is none other than the elect."

William, the essential difference between Calvinist and non-Calvinist as I see it is "when" the elect get elected. To the Calvinist, the elect were predestined to be so in eternity past, with no human will involved. To the non-Calvinist, the elect get elected when they exercise human responsibility and by a voluntary act of their free will accept Christ through repentance and faith. Thus, the elect are the "whosoever wills"! It's amazing how many more get elected in response to anointed red-hot evangelistic preaching! Praise God! May the Gospel hearers in Sikeston access grace by faith. Pick that cotton!

"Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life."

Robert

Eze 33:11 "Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn (repent) from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, oh house of Israel"

Isa 30:15 "For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning (repentance) and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not."

What was John the Baptist and Jesus' message of the true Gospel?
Mat 3:1 "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Mar 1:14 "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD,
And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT YE, AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL."

Scripture teaches clearly that one will receive the Holy Spirit AFTER repentance and belief.
Act 2:38 "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Eph 1:13 "In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,"

Pro 1:23 "Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you."

This call goes out to the whosoever, all, every man, world, the ends of the earth! Throughout all of scripture, we are taught that God is NO respecter of persons.
Act 10:34 "...Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."

Act 17:30 "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:"

2Pe 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

Jesus referred to the Word of God as been "seed". Luke 8:11
He often used natural examples to explain spiritual principles. Life is produced when a seed and an egg combine. If God's Word is the "seed", our faith is the "egg". Spiritually speaking, regeneration or new life comes forth when God's Word (seed) is mixed with our faith (egg). How do we get our faith? It comes by HEARING the word of God. Rom 10:17. It is not just litening to it, but "hearing, understaniing and obeying it." That is the definition for "hear / shamah" throughout the scriptures. It perfectly brings into unity all scripture. We do not "hear," and "not do"...scripture defines that as a dead faith. James 2:20 / James 2:26

Hbr 4:2 "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it]."


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