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dr. james willingham

If Dr. Nettles had used a more biblical term rather than a party-spirit name, he would have been more accurate. However, in recognition of the reality of what he said, the term Calvinism, like Augustinianism, has been in use for a long time, i.e., the former for about 500 years and the latter for about 1500 years. Nevertheless the party spirit is a problem for the truths represented.

And these truths, TULIP being representative, do happen to be those teachings of truth in Holy Scripture which God is pleased to use to awaken a dead, unable and unwilling mankind to its final mortal and eternal danger.

What we have forgotten is that Jesus commanded the impossible response, e.g., Mk.10:17-27, the therapeutic paradoxes, if you please. Because we want a straight forward communique on our terms, we forget that the Lord is dealing with a madness hid under a skin deep charade of supposed civilization (Eccles.9:3). Such was the preaching which kept the Gospel alive during the ages of darkness and caused it to blossom into the Reformation (just consider Luther's Bondage of the Will or the writings of Wickliffe and the martyrdom of Huss or the martyrdoms of the Waldensians and the Lollards (whose beliefs can be found out by thoe willing to wae through Foxe'x Acts and Monuments), the works of the Puritans and Pilgrims and, yest, that intrepid Baptist John Bunyan and add Benjamin Keach, etc. for that period, and then the writings of Edwards, Whitefield, and even Wesley, who in response to Whitefield's effort to united the forces of the First Great Awakening admitted that some might be elect, some who might reach a state from which they would never fall, and who pressed for a response from the depraved even more vociferous than the Puritans. And shall I add John Flavel the Puritan weeping at his saddle for souls. But let us look more closely at Whitefield preaching in Charleston and pointing at a free African American and quote4 his test, "Israel, Prepare to meet thy God," and the Black man, like the Roman Soldiers in John's Gospel, went flying backwards and fell to the ground unconscious (he had come, unbeknownst to Whitefield, to disrupt the service) and later converted. Or shall I tell you about the Stevensons converted under Whitefield in 1747-48 and who had converts in the family down to the 20th century (I preached for one).

There is more, but Edwards Humble Attempt needs to be read and the promises in it pleaded for a Third Great Awakening. After all, it grew out of the First Great Awakening and produced the Second as well as the Great Missionary movement. O yes, did I tell you of Whitefield's Methodist chickens becoming Baptist ducks in South Carolina and Georgia? And have you notice that for the first hundred years of the SBC that the Presidents were Sovereign Grace believers with perhaps one or two exceptions? One in the 1800s wrote a book on Absolute Predestination. He was elected President of the SBC more than anyone else and of the Georgia Baptist Convention also more than anyone else.

The chosen ones are not chosen for their good looks, talents, etc.; they were chosen for their being a fallen and dead and rotten and bare bones people whose condition was hopeless.


With all due respect, Dr. Willingham, your lengthy diatribe rehearsing but a thick cloud of strict Calvinists does no better historical job than Nettles. You too bear the marks of theological reductionism. You seem to value little if anything worthy of mention in Baptist history but the Calvinism with which you agree.

And for the record, your claim that "for the first hundred years of the SBC that the Presidents were Sovereign Grace believers with perhaps one or two exceptions" is demonstrably false. There have been 60 presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention since 1845, the first 25 of which covered the first hundred years. Of those 25 who served the first century of Southern Baptist Convention existence, only the first seven presidents could fit your mold of "Sovereign Grace believers" beginning with Johnson in 1845 and ending with Boyce in 1888. Every single president after Boyce is arguably non-Calvinist or at most, Moderate Calvinist. Either way, none of the presidents past 1888 could neatly fit into your strict Calvinistic framework. If I am incorrect, please produce the goods, and I'll gladly concede.

With that, I am...


Welcome back!

And thanks for the link to the new site. I'll check in regularly.

I was amused to see my self as first commenter on your last post for six months. Think of it! Hundreds of viewers a week, just looking at my comment.

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