« Why Calvinism is not for me by Peter Lumpkins | Main | Joe Biden and a note to Calvinists by Peter Lumpkins »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


"... many of us vigorously protest the dreadful deterministic philosophy undeniably embedded within the theological model Calvinism embraces."

Peter, that is indeed the bottom-line for me in this SBC debate. It's as if there is a Calvinist God, and another known by the SBC majority. But, perhaps, I'm a little sensitive about this right now after just learning that a missing child from a neighboring community was found raped, killed and thrown into a local lake. The thought that this man was decreed by Holy God to rape and murder an innocent child is unsettling to me - a misrepresentation of the character of the God I know. Scripture says that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy ... Satan is our enemy, not God. Some will argue that you describe a "hyper" extreme view of God's sovereignty, but the underlying deterministic philosophy in general Calvinistic theology is hard to escape.


I literally just sat through my Philosophy class and the lecture happened to be determinism. Another great article Peter.

Adam G. in NC

talk about a one trick pony! Geesh!

peter lumpkins


I'm quite sure many Calvinists will accuse me of sporting hyperism which has little, if anything, to do with what I'm proposing here. I'm suggesting that the Calvinistic model is fundamentally oriented toward philosophic determinism. That's John Calvin. And, those who desire to wed themselves to his exhaustive fore-ordination of every single act and thought of humankind will just have to eat the fatalistic beans he's cooked from philosophy not Scripture.;)


interesting how relevant I am (ha ha!!)

Adam G.

No pony show here I'm afraid. I'm only dealing with the most significant issue facing Southern Baptists and have been doing so since 2006. If you're tired of it, perhaps you can find something more edifying to you on another site. Peace!

with that, I am...

peter lumpkins


I almost forgot: I too feel what you do concerning the horrible incident about which you speak. To attempt to lay that devilish act at God's decretal feet is monstrous at best. Strict Calvinists who desire an answer other than decretalism have nowhere to turn in times like those except falling back on non-Calvinist responses--permissively allowing evil's existence but not purposely causing evil's existence.

With that, I am...


Imagine you are a victim of rape and listening to a pastor talk about God directing every single molecule since before creation and forerordained every single event and if you do not believe that means you do not believe God is Sovereign.

What this really boils down to is that none of us has any responsiblity for what we do. The Calvinists say the rapist was just being their depraved self.

So think about it from the rape victims point of view. A born again believer is raped. We know Calvinists believe the rapist was just being normally totally depraved and God decided not to allow them to be saved.but what abaout the victim? God foreordained SHE would be raped on that date and time.

Is it any wonder that Calvinism either dies out eventually or goes liberal... over time? Is it any wonder that many Puritan descendents in the NE became Unitarians?

Bart Barber

"From my standpoint, rigid Calvinism is as much about philosophy as theology and unhealthily depends upon both for its warrant to exist in lieu of sound, consistent biblical exegesis."

This is precisely my opinion, as well, and accurately describes the principle reason why I am not a Calvinist. I do not believe that it is dangerous or offensive that we have brothers and sisters in the SBC who are Calvinists, and I believe that we face many issues far more important than this one, but I am not a Calvinist and you have stated articulately in the preceding quote the primary reasons why.

Steve Martin

This is from my pastor's blog (this morning). I don't think you'll hear Calvinists saying these things. Or many others, for that matter:

From time to time I flip through the television channels to watch various T.V. preachers, just to see what they’re up to. Not long ago I came across a woman who was speaking to a packed auditorium of several thousand people. I listened in for a few minutes and the message was clear; if you expect anything from God, if you want success, you had better get your life in order.

It didn’t seem to occur to the preacher that these folks had spent the last week doing just that in any number of ways, mostly with limited or no success, and that some relief might be in order. It’s hard to understand why she would simply remind them of their wounds and then put the verbal whip on them to try harder. It’s also hard to understand why people would return week after week and subject themselves to reminders, couched in omnipotent terms, of their inadequacy. Well, actually, it’s not hard to understand at all.

Preying on people’s fears, inadequacies and brokenness works. And it works precisely because we are so terribly vulnerable in this life. Once we get our wits about us in this world it becomes quite obvious that to get along we have to be good for something. We must demonstrate our value in tangible ways. Some are more or less up to the challenge, some fail miserably, and most people wobble along in fits and starts anxious for security, looking for shelter from the storm. They are suckers for bootstraps religion. Nothing else in life is free, why should God be free?

Well, based on the generally lackluster performance most of us produce in this life I can fully appreciate the question. I’ve asked it myself. And the answer, surprisingly enough, has been given by God Himself.

“When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”

We call that the Good News. It is what I was hoping the T.V. preacher would get around to but she never did. So, here, in an unvarnished quote from that late purveyor of God’s glorious grace, Gerhard Forde, is the word of irrepressible freedom delivered to you this day; it is a word of pure gift.

“We are justified freely, for Christ’s sake, by faith, without the exertion of our own strength, gaining of merit, or doing of works. To the age-old question, ‘What shall I do to be saved?’ the confessional answer is shocking: ‘Nothing! Just be still; shut up and listen for once in your life to what God the Almighty, creator and redeemer, is saying to his world and to you in the death and resurrection of his Son! Listen and believe!’”
(Gerhard O. Forde, Justification by Faith (Philadelphia, 1983), page 22.)

Isn’t it great? There is nothing left to do. Christ Jesus has done it all! Let go of your bootstraps, sit back, relax and take a deep breath of the free air. The Son has set you free!


And then Gerhard Forde used to say (he’s with the Lord now),

“Now that you don’t have to do anything…what do you want to do?”

Bart Barber

"principal reason" not "principle reason"

Sorry. mea culpa

stan schmunk

Philosophical (NOT theological!) determinism...exactly!

The comments to this entry are closed.