David Dockery: Prophet or Protagonist in the Rise of Calvinism?

As a consequence of the Conservative Resurgence, Dr. David Dockery, president of Union University in Jackson, TN, makes this prophetic statement concerning the rise of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention; he says:

“I predicted the rise of Calvinism in Southern Baptist life in the twenty-first century. Many could see that while recovering the Baptist doctrine of the truthfulness of Scripture (1979-present) some would reconnect to nineteenth-century Baptist leaders not only to reaffirm their commitments to the inspiration of the Bible but also to be introduced to the soteriological commitments of such men as Richard Furman, J.L.Dagg, Basil Manly Sr., Basil Manly Jr., John A. Broadus, James P. Boyce ….”  (1)

At first glance, this indeed seems like a very profound and prophetic statement! Why? Because the very thing that Dr. Dockery predicted has in fact come true. Is he a prophet or a protagonist?

Allow me to ask you three questions that will set up a concluding statement.

Question one: Could Martin Luther have predicted the start of the Protestant Reformation while he was writing The Ninety-Five Theses and preaching against the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church in order to raise money to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome?

Question two: Could Thomas Jefferson have predicted the American Revolution as he was drafting the Declaration of Independence?

Question three: Could President Lincoln’s Secretary of War have predicted the American Civil War while he was amassing troops, weapons, and supplies for the horror that might ensue?

I ask these important questions to prove this point– the people heavily invested in a movement or cause, know what may happen or could happen, at least more so than those who have no clue or idea of the developing rhetoric, emotions, or initial strategic plans. Dr. Dockery has been instrumental in promoting the rise of Calvinism for decades.

Ernest C. Reisinger includes the name of David Dockery in his book entitled A Quiet Revolution: A Chronicle of Beginnings of Reformation in The Southern Baptist Convention. The book was published by Founders Press in 2000 and summarizes the life and work of Reisinger as he rode the coat-tails of the conservative resurgence in the SBC and marshaled forces (people, money, strategy) to begin the Calvinist Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Reisinger tells of his beginning projects and the November 13, 1982 prayer meeting that took place at the Holiday Inn in Euless, Texas with the following people in attendance: Ernest Reisinger, Tom Nettles, Fred Malone, Tom Ascol, Bill Ascol, Ben Mitchell, and evangelist R.F. Graves.(2) This meeting was the start of the Founder’s movement that has worked diligently over the last thirty years to calvinize the SBC — beginning with our college and seminary students.

Then Reisinger gives praise to those who served as speakers at Founders conferences during its formative years. Dr. David Dockery is listed as an early speaker along with Al Mohler, Timothy George, John Piper, John MacArthur, J. I. Packer, Tom Nettles, Ligon Duncan (3) and more. Also, Ben Mitchell, one of Dr. Dockery’s professors at Union University was a speaker at the very first Founders Conference in August of 1983.(4) Dr. Mitchell has a prominent place on the new search committee of Union University as they seek the next president of Union University (Jackson, Tennessee).

In conclusion, since Dr. Dockery was actively involved in the early days of Founders Ministries as a conference speaker (1980s) then without question it would be very easy for him to make the bold prediction he made in the 1990s that Calvinism would rise in prominence and position in the Southern Baptist Convention in the 21st century. His statement was more hopeful than prophetic. However, his assessment is proving to be an accurate one.

What say you?

_____________________________________________________
(1) E. Ray Clendenen and Brad J. Waggoner, Editors, Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue, (B & H Publishing Group: Nashville, 2008) p. 35.

(2) Ernest C. Reisinger and D. Matthew Allen, A Quiet Revolution: A Chronicle of Beginnings of Reformation in The Southern Baptist Convention, (Founders Press: Cape Coral, 2000), 56).

(3) Ibid. 57.

(4) Ibid. 57.

About these ads

About sbcissues

Interested in bringing the issues facing The Southern Baptist Convention to light.
This entry was posted in Calvinism, SBC and Calvinism, SBC Issues, Southern Baptist Convention, Transformed Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to David Dockery: Prophet or Protagonist in the Rise of Calvinism?

  1. rp1964 says:

    Spot on, Bob. With the Building Bridges Conference, Dockery gave the appearance of an impartial moderator, while he is clearly an advocate of Reformed theology.

  2. DP Sayers says:

    I know a pastor in our area who decided to get his degree at Louisville a few years ago after retiring from law enforcement. When he told his father of his plans, his dad (a longtime SBC pastor) replied, “Don’t take your Bible, you won’t need it down there.” If the 5 inferences of Calvinism had to come along for the ride, then it was worth it in order to restore the Scriptures to the SBC seminaries. With a little diligence, we should be able to graciously hold off the Reformed over-correction, without tearing apart the SBC. See Lifeway online store for the book “Chosen or Not”. It will help.

  3. "TennesseePastor" says:

    Thanks Bob – those who dig into history can find some very amazing things; thanks for this revealing information on a man that has seemingly walked the tight-rope without saying which side he is on. History and hirings speak for themselves — don’t they?

  4. otowood says:

    Poor choice of an example choosing Martin Luther to put with the other two men who were planning for war.

  5. DP Sayers says:

    Although ya’ll don’t know me from Adam (or Eve), I would like to help in the efforts to push back against the growing tide of Calvinism (most of which is really “half way” Calvinism), without throwing cold water on the genuine growth that is taking place in many churches today who profess to be Reformed. All three of our grown children attend an Acts 29 Church.

    A brief, but pertinent, intro: I was once a convinced Calvinist and deacon in an independent Reformed Baptist church in Orlando, which was being helped along by Ernie R., in the late 1970′s early 80′s. In 1984 our 3 year old son had a near drowning accident. While in Pediatric ICU, we were visited by one of our Calvinistic friends (now a pastor in SC). When my wife made the comment that our son would be in heaven if he did not survive the accident, our friend tried to correct her doctrine. I am still not sure if he meant that our son would definitely perish or if we could not know if he was elect. Upon hearing of the conversation I responded by saying that our friend was just taking his Calvinism too seriously. But it did get me to thinking… I knew logic was on his side if the Calvinistic definition of original sin and the “federal headship of Adam” was correct. The subsequent study led me to abandon my Calvinism and eventually write the previously mentioned (shamelessly plugged) book.

    I say all this in hope that we might focus our attention on the flawed doctrines within the Reformed schema and avoid the ad hominem attacks to those on the other side. As a Calvinist, I was quite happy to absorb personal criticism as “persecution for righteousness sake.” If we really want to get some traction in the tug of war going on in the SBC, we will need to keep it biblical and expose the practical implications of their doctrines. Perhaps the most glaring inconsistency among Calvinists is in the area of babies and small children. Their doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s GUILT says that every dying infant deserves to go to hell, but rare is the Calvinist who has the nerve to admit it. Why would Jesus use the faith of children as examples for adults if they are born dead in sin by the Calvinistic definition? Mt 18; Mk 10…

    Dr.Dockery is entitled to his views. Maybe we should ask him if he teaches that there are some babies born into his church that have no hope of ever being forgiven for a sin they did not actually commit and/or sins they could not prevent or even confess properly. Anyway, I hope this helps.

    • rhutchin says:

      “Perhaps the most glaring inconsistency among Calvinists is in the area of babies and small children. Their doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s GUILT says that every dying infant deserves to go to hell, but rare is the Calvinist who has the nerve to admit it.”

      In the Calvinist system, all are condemned and deserve to go to hell, and it is God who saves. God saves children in the same manner that He saves adults. God’s work in adults is manifested in their behavior and confession of belief while such is not necessarily seen in babies. Believers have confidence in the salvation of their children because they begin to pray for them often before they are even conceived. It is not unusual for other family members (especially grandparents) to make it a priority to pray for the babies in the family upon learning of a pregnancy. Believers have confidence that God both hears and acts on their prayers.

      What then of unbelievers who have babies? Who prays for them? Nonetheless, God can still save the babies of unbelievers but no unbeliever should ever express confidence that God saved their baby just because that is what God does. Especially so when he asks nothing on behalf of his baby.

      Some argue that God automatically saves any child before the age of accountability. If God does so, we all rejoice. God does not have to do so. Shame on the believer who does not intercede for the babies of unbelieving friends.

      • sbcissues says:

        rhutchin

        If God decided BEFORE the foundation of the world who would be saved and who would not, then you suggestion that the prayers of grandparents and parents is moot. In the calvinist scheme, Jesus died FOR the elect ONLY; so there is no benefit of prayer whatsoever; everything was settled LONG ago in the mind of God.

        If calvinism is true which I do not believe it is so given that, I do believe the prayers of believers for their children, grandchildren and for all those around us is beneficial and that is why the Scriptures say, The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)

      • rhutchin says:

        God knows the elect before He creates the world so He necessarily decided when He created the world those who would be saved. God also knew the means by which He would save the elect including the prompting of people to pray for individuals whom God intended to save. That God involves people in the salvation of people is part of His plan for it is people who preach the gospel which is the means that God uses to draw the elect out of the world. We have no reason not to think that God uses the prayers of believers also hardships of various kinds, the influence of other people in various ways and other means. That God saves is certain; the means God uses can take many forms.

        The Bible tells us that the “effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” and also that God “works all things after the counsel of his own will” which would include such prayers. Those prayers were known to God before He created the world and when God created the world, He ordained everything He knew concerning the world including the sin of Adam, the flood of Noah, the death of Christ, and the salvation of the elect and the prayers of the righteous. I do not know how we could conclude otherwise about God.

      • sbcissues says:

        Interesting. God “works all things after the counsel of his own will” which would include such prayers.

        So now you have God determining who prays and what they pray for! But somehow, God does not determine who sins.

        Never ending saga with determinism.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob,

        “So now you have God determining who prays and what they pray for! But somehow, God does not determine who sins.”

        uh…no. That is a misunderstanding of what the bible teaches concerning the intersection of God’s will and man’s privilege and responsibility to pray.

        Here’s an easy example of God’s will and man’s responsibility working together.

        “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

        and…

        “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

        And yet, we also know that if a man does not work he shall not eat. And even closer to home, if God provides you food and you don’t cook it and actually put it in your mouth, well you starve.

        And notice, He even wants us to ask (pray) Him for the things He’s already promised.

        Thanks brother,

      • sbcissues says:

        I was commenting on rhutchins statement… that is WHAT he said.

      • rhutchin says:

        “Interesting. God “works all things after the counsel of his own will” which would include such prayers.
        So now you have God determining who prays and what they pray for! But somehow, God does not determine who sins.
        Never ending saga with determinism.”

        You have advanced the idea of a secondary nature in which a person always sins. This is the person’s natural condition and does not require God to intervene to bring about the sin that the person does. Thus, we should NOT conclude that God must cause a person to sin (although God does determine that the person sin).

        Alternatively, the person with this secondary nature always sins and never prays (at least not to the God in whom he does not believe). For such a person to pray, God would have to intervene in some manner to prompt the person to pray. Thus, we can conclude that God is the cause of a person engaging in prayer (and God determines the prayers also – e.g, Pray this way or ask for wisdom).

        Les Prouty offers examples of actions regarding those who are saved (not to be anxious and to pray). The unsaved would not have respect for what the Bible says about such things and would not follow this advice.

  6. rhutchin says:

    Dr. Dockery may have been instrumental in the Calvinist revival in the SBC, but the rise of Calvinism is probably the result of the truth expressed in the Calvinist system (regardless the abilities of some to accurately explain that truth). It is possible that Dr. Dockery saw a trend in the rising generation of people wanting answers to tough questions and being turned off by pastors who were not willing to address tough issues.

    Calvinism is a strong theological system that is built on the truths expressed in the Bible. Two of the major truths Calvinist have drawn from the Bible are that no person ever seeks God of his own volition and God works all things, including salvation, after the counsel of his own will.

  7. sbcissues says:

    Calvinism is an errant theological system that is built on half truths expressed in the Bible. It is only understandable as one looks through the lens of total depravity and inability and unconditional election and limited atonement and irresistible grace. I will let Perseverance alone but I believe preservation of the saints is a much better Scriptural concept.

    • rhutchin says:

      “Calvinism is an errant theological system that is built on half truths expressed in the Bible. It is only understandable as one looks through the lens of total depravity…”

      OK, a person can deny Total Depravity but I think that is difficult to do given Rom 3, 1 Corinth 1, and other Scripture. However, if you have developed a defense for the position that people are not Totally Depraved, maybe you can present it in the future (if you have not already done so). I have not seen a good argument against Total Depravity yet.

      Nonetheless, Calvinism does look through the lens of Total Depravity. I think Calvinism presents a pretty solid defense of that position. If Calvinism is wrong on this point, the question remains as to how any person is not saved.

      • sbcissues says:

        rhutchin,

        I have written on this and am confident you have seen it. I believe in a short statement, God’s choice to put Adam and Eve out of the garden is the cause of his sin nature. When Adam was banned from the garden, he lost his right standing before God. In this state of separation, no decision he makes is pleasing to God because any decision we make outside right standing before Him falls short of His glory and is sin. The decisions we make may be great decisions but when we are not rightly related to God everything we do is sin.

        The incarnation and the indwelling correct our rightly related positions in Christ. We were created in the image of God. God said just before He put Adam and Eve out of the garden, “man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.” As I see it, that statement alone kills the concept of total depravity unless one wants to contend that the Godhead is depraved AND God Himself here clearly says man knows good AND evil; while calvinism contends he ONLY knows what is evil.

        Nowhere in the Scriptures is it ever said that man’s created nature changed; if it did change that would mean God would have to have been the One who changed it. Man could not do so and calvinists contend with the argument of regeneration and God changing the depraved nature etc. I believe when man was put outside the garden, he took on a secondary nature; one of being separated from the created source of real life, which by definition is a form of death; spiritual death, being separated from God.

        Our acquired secondary nature rules our hearts and our lives BUT our created nature is still intact. God has chosen to reveal Himself in His Word; revelation requires a response. We are the ones who MUST respond; God does not decide who does and who does not respond. God has chosen to reconcile the world unto Himself and that is the convicting work of the Holy Spirit that follows revelation. This is why we are called to go to ALL the world and share the gospel with a lost and dying world; we share in the blessings of our salvation and the privilege of sharing the gospel with those who are lost.

        I am not sure WHY some are saved and others are not. I understand the god of this world has blinded the eyes of them that are lost and I also know that there is NO ONE that God CANNOT save. I understand that. I believe He has made a way of escape for all who believe; I do not believe He has provided a way of escape for a select few. I cannot answer all the answers but I do know that total depravity and inability are not sustainable in the Scriptures and especially in the Old Testament. I do not believe it is sustainable in the New even given the popular proof texts commonly offered. Even the texts you cite do not demand a total depravity conclusion although they CAN support that position. One has to bring the position to the text as opposed to getting the concepts from the texts themselves.

      • rhutchin says:

        “…God’s choice to put Adam and Eve out of the garden is the cause of his sin nature. When Adam was banned from the garden, he lost his right standing before God. In this state of separation, no decision he makes is pleasing to God because any decision we make outside right standing before Him falls short of His glory and is sin…I believe when man was put outside the garden, he took on a secondary nature; one of being separated from the created source of real life, which by definition is a form of death; spiritual death, being separated from God…Our acquired secondary nature rules our hearts and our lives BUT our created nature is still intact. God has chosen to reveal Himself in His Word…”

        You basically express the concept of Total Depravity in your statements. Your points are that each person has a sin nature and any decision a person makes is sin – no person can choose salvation absent something external to him affecting his ability to make such a decision.

        God reveals himself in His Word without which no person would be saved. It is the preaching of the Word that is the necessary external influence affecting salvation in a person. Take away the preaching of the Word and a person cannot be saved. You seem to be saying that the created nature is intact and perhaps is quickened and begins to rule over the secondary nature when a person hears the gospel preached.

        Regardless, your concept of the secondary nature ruling over the hearts of people is Total Depravity – and in that condition, no person is able to choose salvation – so that secondary nature must be dealt with in order for a person to be saved. Otherwise why would you even speak of a secondary nature.

      • rhutchin says:

        “I am not sure WHY some are saved and others are not. I understand the god of this world has blinded the eyes of them that are lost and I also know that there is NO ONE that God CANNOT save. I understand that. I believe He has made a way of escape for all who believe; I do not believe He has provided a way of escape for a select few.”

        Of course, you know why some are saved – they believe the gospel. God has made a way of escape – but ONLY for those who believe (God so loved the world that He gave his son so that ONLY those who believe could have eternal life) – whether there are few who believe or many is immaterial, isn’t it?

        The real issue is why some believe and some do not. Going further, the question here is why anyone would not believe.

        Let’s start with the position that people have a free will and can choose whether to believe. Let’s make it libertarian free will. The person with libertarian free will can choose otherwise – he considers the evidence and makes a rational decision. The rational decision for a person exercising free will is to believe the gospel – who rationally chooses eternal death over eternal life?

        Yet, some choose NOT to believe. This is an irrational decision. Because it is irrational, we know that something has interfered with the person’s free will and ability to make rational decisions. The conclusion: any person who rejects the gospel does not have free will and cannot make rational decisions. So, what’s wrong? They have this corrupt secondary nature that you speak about under which they can only sin. That secondary nature is corrupt; this voids the person’s free will and they cannot make a rational decision to believe the gospel. A person is released from that secondary nature through the preaching of the gospel thereby regaining their free will after which they make the rational decision to believe the gospel. Those who do not believe the gospel are not affected by the preaching of the gospel and never regain free will. Of course, that’s Calvinism (in part).

  8. DP Sayers says:

    God saves children in the same manner that He saves adults. God’s work in adults is manifested in their behavior and confession of belief while such is not necessarily seen in babies. Believers have confidence in the salvation of their children because they begin to pray for them often before they are even conceived.

    Not much comfort at the funeral of an infant or small child; especially if the just shall by their faith. It makes perfect sense that children who die would perish in the Reformed system. They were born dead in sin and never showed any evidence of regeneration or that the irresistible gift of faith was given to them. They would perish just like any other reprobate soul that never heard the gospel.

    In true Calvinism, God’s decision of who to save and who to “pass by” is an immutable eternal decree made long before anyone ever uttered a prayer. Prayers do not determine election in their system, election determines the prayers.

    We can see why many Calvinists become Presbyterians and hold to the myth that the children of believers are in a special place of grace; but Esau was born to believers and it did him no eternal good… that is if Calvinism is correct.

    • rhutchin says:

      “It makes perfect sense that children who die would perish in the Reformed system. They were born dead in sin and never showed any evidence of regeneration or that the irresistible gift of faith was given to them. They would perish just like any other reprobate soul that never heard the gospel.”

      The reprobate die in their sins because God chooses to pass them over and not save them as He does the elect. Those whom God saves can include any person of any age. Certainly, any believer who prays for the salvation of their children should have the same confidence as David that they would see their children again. What better hope does a parent have than that given to them by God?

      • sbcissues says:

        Personally I find the following statement reprehensible: “The reprobate die in their sins because God chooses to pass them over and not save them as He does the elect.”

        I do not believe God “chooses to pass ANYONE over”; He saves those who repent and believe by faith in the provisions God gave on the cross.

        Your last comment is equally interesting. You said, The reprobate die in their sins because God chooses to pass them over and not save them as He does the elect.

        Is this hope that the believing parent WILL SEE THEIR children again or is the hope that they CAN PRAY?

        Here is another question… do children of the non-elect who die in infancy fall under God’s protection?

        Can you comment on DP’s statement concerning the absence of regeneration which Calvinism establishes as an answer to total depravity and election. I am not aware of ANY provisions with respect to being among the elect apart from regeneration. Is it possible for an infant to go to heaven without regeneration taking place in the calvinist system?

        Just curious on that one.

      • rhutchin says:

        “Personally I find the following statement reprehensible: “The reprobate die in their sins because God chooses to pass them over and not save them as He does the elect.”

        I do not believe God ‘chooses to pass ANYONE over’;”

        Yet, even you say that God has chosen to pass over those who do not repent and believe. The Calvinist also says that God passes over the reprobate because they refuse to repent and believe. Thus, you and the Calvinist agree. Don’t you? Don’t you agree that God saves ONLY the elect – ONLY those who repent and believe?

        You also seem to agree that God knew the elect (those who would believe) and the reprobate (those who would not believe) when He created the world and not one of the elect would be lost and not one of the reprobate would be saved.

        So, the statement does not appear to be as reprehensible as you say.

      • sbcissues says:

        rhutchin,

        You are not quite as smart as you pretend; If you look at MY statement, I said, “The reprobate die in their sins because God chooses to pass them over and not save them as He does the elect.”

        My point was ( and I KNOW you understood this) that God does not select the elect and in passing over others CAUSE THEM TO BE REPROBATE. You see the reprobate are those “left behind”; the non-elect. That is what I find reprehensible,

        Now you and I do agree that the elect are those who repent and believe. So given that, it is impossible for one to be saved without repenting and believing so we both believe salvation is synergistic in that God has made provision FOR salvation and saves those who repent and believe (man’s responsibility.)

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob,

        You said, “My point was ( and I KNOW you understood this) that God does not select the elect and in passing over others CAUSE THEM TO BE REPROBATE. You see the reprobate are those “left behind”; the non-elect. That is what I find reprehensible,”

        First, we agree that God does not cause the reprobate to be reprobate. Reprobate are born that way.

        Second, do you really find it reprehensible that God leaves some behind? Or am I missing what you are meaning?

        Thanks brother.

      • sbcissues says:

        You are missing MY point,

        Since ALL are sinners and equally so, the fact that God selects the elect by default means He selects the reprobate for they are not reprobate BECAUSE they are sinners, they are actually reprobate because God does not save them as He does the elect… in the calvinist scheme of things.

        That is not the case where God saves them that repent and believe… for calvinists believe God saves and THEN the elect repent and believe which is an act of sanctification which is what the original article was about…

        and THAT is not being discussed in this thread, which I find very interesting.

  9. rhutchin says:

    “Here is another question… do children of the non-elect who die in infancy fall under God’s protection? ”

    Meaning, are the children of the non-elect saved? We have the examples of those infants who died in the flood of Noah, the destruction of Sodom, the city of Jericho, and the case of the Amalekites whom Saul was ordered to destroy (Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass). None of the adults who were destroyed in these cases are described in language to indicate that they were elect.

    Were the infants of these non-elect saved in these instances? The Bible is silent on this issue. Given that God destroyed the infants together with the adults, it appears to me that the infants were not saved. If God chose to save the infants, that would be great.

    So, does God save the infants killed in abortions by unsaved parents? If yes, then we can conclude that abortion saves many infants who, if allowed to live, would be lost forever. Abortion, then, would have its positive points.

  10. Les Prouty says:

    DPSayers,

    Rhutchin agree on almost all points of Reformed theology, as far as I can tell. On the question of infants dying in infancy, I believe that the majority view among the Reformed is that all infants dying in infancy are regenerated and immediately go to the Lord.

    That said, it is true that the WCF sort of left it open when it says that “elect infants dying in infancy…” Some hold that elect infants only go to Jesus and many others hold that all infants dying in infancy are elect and are thus with Jesus.

    In both cases, we all agree that there is not a lot of hard biblical support for any position. I believe that Spurgeon held to the view I hold as well as does John MacArthur and maybe Al Mohler?

    God bless.

    Les

    • sbcissues says:

      Les,

      We agree on one thing; concerning the eternal destiny of infants, “there is not a lot of hard biblical support for any position.” However, given the calvinist position regarding total depravity and inability and inherited guilt, regeneration would have to be essential for eternal security, correct? That ALSO falls under your statement that “there is not a lot of hard biblical support for ANY position.”

      We both believe God will do the just thing.

  11. DP Sayers says:

    rh said: “Certainly, any believer who prays for the salvation of their children should have the same confidence as David that they would see their children again”

    Wow. Church history will have all too many instances of believing parents who prayed for children who were not saved. I was a Calvinist for many years and never heard, or read, of anyone teaching that the elect will be identified by praying parents. I wonder if Isaac prayed for Esau’s salvation.? I’ll bet he did; and if the Calvinists are correct about Esau’s reprobation then the prayers were not effectual. Question: Who would have been praying for Jacob’s salvation when God allegedly made the decision to forgive him before the foundation of the world?

    rh said: “…Given that God destroyed the infants together with the adults, it appears to me that the infants were not saved.

    Wow again. Question: What did these infants do to deserve the lake of fire…. forever? Do you really believe that God eternally damns people… just because? Or that He damns people because of a sin they did not actually commit and/or sins that they could not prevent…or even confess properly.

    Is contrite faith something to boast about? Is 57:15 If we are proud of our faith then we have the wrong kind.

    • rhutchin says:

      “rh said: ‘Certainly, any believer who prays for the salvation of their children should have the same confidence as David that they would see their children again.’

      Wow. Church history will have all too many instances of believing parents who prayed for children who were not saved.”

      The focus of attention here has been on infants. Given the example God provides of David, I see no reason not to believe that God is telling believers that they should have complete confidence that He will honor their prayers and save their babies who die in infancy.

      You raise the issue of older children. Here, I see God telling us the same thing. The prayers of believing parents for their children will be effectual. If there are exceptions, then the parents can still be confident that God will do what is right. God has told us to trust Him and He will be always be faithful to honor our trust.

  12. rhutchin says:

    “Now you and I do agree that the elect are those who repent and believe. So given that, it is impossible for one to be saved without repenting and believing so we both believe salvation is synergistic in that God has made provision FOR salvation and saves those who repent and believe (man’s responsibility.)”

    and

    “Since ALL are sinners and equally so, the fact that God selects the elect by default means He selects the reprobate for they are not reprobate BECAUSE they are sinners, they are actually reprobate because God does not save them as He does the elect… in the calvinist scheme of things.”

    Under your secondary nature view (which I see to be no different than Total Depravity), all people are reprobate as all have this secondary nature (at least all adults). The action of a reprobate person is to reject the gospel so long as the secondary nature rules the person’s choices.

    In some manner, God overrules the secondary nature in the elect (or, passively, the secondary nature is overruled in some manner) giving a person free will that they exercise to make a rational choice – to accept salvation. If that secondary nature were to be overruled in all people, then all people would choose salvation – all would be saved. If some still reject salvation, that tells us that their reprobate condition was never changed – the person was not freed from the secondary nature that rules over them.

    So, what is going on? If God saves those who repent and believe, how does a person shed his secondary nature so that he can repent and believe? Calvinists say that God regenerates the elect (i.e., removes the rule of the secondary nature over the elect) and this results in the elect choosing to repent and believe. The non-elect are passed over. What alternative explanation have you come across to explain how the secondary nature can be dethroned in the non-elect and they still reject the gospel?

    • sbcissues says:

      rhutchin,

      The reprobate comment was referring to the calvinist position; I believe a reprobate is someone who is not saved or has not yet been converted and is headed to an eternity in hell. So my position has absolutely NOTHING to do with total depravity and inability. Just thought I would get that out in the open..

      I do not believe man lost his created nature; God created man in His Own image and man is still created in His Own image. That is our created nature. However that nature has been thwarted because God put man out of the garden and in doing so, he inherits a secondary nature to his created nature; the created nature is still there however the secondary or acquired nature is dominate because man does not have right standing with God. Since man does not have right standing with God, his created nature is subject to his acquired secondary nature which is his sin nature.

      Through revelation and reconciliation, which are BOTH God’s initiatives, God speaks to fallen man and both revelation and reconciliation demand a response on man’s part. Calvinists contend man cannot make a positive decision toward God unless and until God changes his totally depraved nature and gives him a new heart and even more pointed, gives him new life.

      Since man is created in the image of God, he can certainly respond to God as I see it. Once an individual confronted with the claims of Christ and the cross and the empty tomb, he has no choice but to choose to accept the free pardon of sin or reject it and continue on this path of self sufficiency and self dependence.

      This can be an on-going process of revelation and reconciliation that continues until that person breathes his last breath in this life. Just because a person is not saved today does not mean he will not be saved tomorrow or next week or next year for that matter. Actually the same thing is true of the calvinist elect person as well; just because one is not saved or regenerated today does not mean he WILL NOT be regenerated at some later date.

      The only REAL difference in our positions is the issue of regeneration preceding repentance and believing faith. We both believe repentance and believing faith are essential to salvation; we simply arrive at that point in differing directions. However, that being said, that difference is paramount to both of our respective positions and it is really one that cannot be compromised. It is not a secondary or tertiary issue. It is primary because it basically is the difference between someone being a calvinist and not being a calvinist and we cannot both be right.

      I do not believe man has the ability to approach God on his own; his is a response to the revelatory and reconciliatory work of the gospel message and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit on the hearer. One cannot be saved apart from the gospel message and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.

      This is what i see in the salvific work in a person’s heart.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob,

        You said, “his is a response to the revelatory and reconciliatory work of the gospel message and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit on the hearer. One cannot be saved apart from the gospel message and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.’

        So my question for you is this. Does God get the gospel preaching to every human that ever lives? Do you believe He does that?

        Les

      • sbcissues says:

        No. I do not believe He does because He has charged us with the responsibility to be His hands, feet and mouths where the proclamation of the gospel is concerned. I have read that charge over and over again but do not see the significance in the charge.

        It really has NOTHING to do with our choice to choose where the gospel is concerned WHEN it is presented. Maybe I am missing something.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob,

        Ok. So you don’t believe He gets the gospel to every human that lives. Yet He could. Do you not see the issue with this view of yours?

        You find it reprehensible that a Calvinist would say that God passes over some. Yet you have no problem with God choosing to let some people enter an eternity of hell without ever having His Spirit convict them and give them their opportunity to accept or reject Jesus?

        Bob, if we have a reprehensible view then so do you. The net effect is the same. God stands by and leaves some destined for a hellish eternity.

        les

      • sbcissues says:

        I disagree. Your position is that God handpicks those HE WANTS to save leaving multitudes to die with NO HOPE whatsoever. In fact, you believe that Jesus died on the cross for a select few and on the cross Jesus sealed the fate for the reprobate.

        I believe the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to ALL WHO BELIEVE. It is our responsibility to take the gospel to the 4 corners of the earth or to the guy next door… share Christ with him and HIS CHOICE determines his eternal destiny. His response is exactly that; his response to God’s initiative in revelation and reconciliation.

        Guess who will have to give an account for our responsibility to share the gospel? God? No. You and me. And for the record, I am grateful for your faithfulness to do just that.

        The reprehensible part has to do with what you and I claim is God’s responsibility in the salvation of the world He sent His Son to die for. I do not for the life of me see how you can read the same Bible I read and then say, “God is the One who gives life to ANYONE prior to repentance and believing faith” is simply beyond me. I fully understand HOW you come to that conclusion but I simply cannot understand or the life of me WHY anyone would choose that stance.

        As I see it, calvinism tarnishes the character and love of God and I have a terrible disdain for the theological position…. NOT those who hold it but for the theology itself.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob,

        You said, “Your position is that God handpicks those HE WANTS to save leaving multitudes to die with NO HOPE whatsoever. In fact, you believe that Jesus died on the cross for a select few and on the cross Jesus sealed the fate for the reprobate.”

        My position is that out of all of hell deserving, sinful humanity God chooses to save some. In fact, many over all of history. That is grace. No one of any ever born deserves heaven. Some getting heaven is grace. The rest are left to their own desserts. They get what they rightly deserve. And yes, I do not believe that Jesus paid the sin penalty of anyone who is in hell.

        “I believe the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to ALL WHO BELIEVE. It is our responsibility to take the gospel to the 4 corners of the earth or to the guy next door… ”

        Agree!

        “…share Christ with him and HIS CHOICE determines his eternal destiny. His response is exactly that; his response to God’s initiative in revelation and reconciliation.”

        Yes, his choice to reject Jesus determines his eternal destiny.

        But what of the guy who never receives God’s initiative? You are not really dealing with what I’m saying. You condemn Calvinism for allowing some sinners to perish with what you call no chance to receive Jesus…to not even give them a choice as you say.

        But in your view, if you agree that some will never hear the gospel preached to them, God allows them to perish as well. Even if you and I are responsible to share with them and we don’t. God still allows them to perish without ever having a choice. Right??

        In your view, God is passing those people by as well. Right??

      • sbcissues says:

        Les,

        There is a fallacy in your reasoning in the following statement; You condemn Calvinism for allowing some sinners to perish with what you call no chance to receive Jesus…to not even give them a choice as you say.

        I did not say that at all; what I said was that God deciding who gets to be saved is the problem I have. IS that the same thing as the lost NOT hearing the gospel and not repenting, no. Did they have any chance to repent? I do not know ALL the means that God may choose to make that determination. Where MY push back comes is in YOUR position that God graciously saves SOME from an eternity in hell.

        There is a very BIG difference in saying not everyone hears the gospel and the name of Jesus and therefore they have no more chance to be saved than the non-elect of the calvinist… but that is NOT the case. It may produce the same result for that person and I will not argue that point. We both believe whatever God does is just and fair and righteous.

        I simply disagree that the Biblical picture of the Love of God is for a select group that He has determined to graciously save. He said He would save them those who repent and call on the Name of Jesus. He NEVER said, He would decide who those people would be, which is what calvinism contends. That is the aspect that I find totally repulsive.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob,

        With all due respect you continue to ignore what I’m saying, or I’m not being clear. I’ll try one more time using a Q&A format. You can then correct the answers I’m going to project on you. So, I will be answering as I think you would answer.

        Q: Are all men sinners deserving hell and damnation?
        A: Yes

        Q. Would God be perfectly just to save no one?
        A: Yes

        Q: So, if anyone is saved it is by God’s pure grace?
        A: Yes

        Q: Will all people be saved?
        A: No.

        Q: Will some people be saved?
        A: Yes

        Q: Since some will NOT be saved, is God short changing them in some way since He is saving others but not them?
        A: No

        Q: If God does not send some sort of preacher to every human some time in his/her life and those humans die w/o Christ and spend eternity apart from loving God, have they been short changed by God?
        A: No.

        Q. Can God be charged with being unjust if He allows some to die never having heard the gospel and thus never having had an opportunity to repent and believe?
        A: No.

        Above is how I think you would answer those questions. As would I.

        So here’s the thing. Some will never hear the gospel. They will never have an opportunity to repent and believe. Is God being unfair to them? If you answer no (as I would too) then you and I agree. God is passing them by. He is allowing them to be born, live and die w/o ever having an opportunity to hear of Jesus and an opportunity to repent and believe.

        You end up at the same place with respect to those people as the Calvinist ends up with respect to the reprobate. God leaves them in their sin and spiritual ignorance. That’s all I’m saying. Now you can ignore what I’m pointing out. But it is true brother.

        At the end of the day though, we agree that we need to be out there sharing Jesus with the lost.

        Les

      • sbcissues says:

        Les,

        I appreciate your determination to put us both in a level plain. However, it is not working. First of all, I do not know WHAT God does or does not do with respect to the eternal security of EVERY HUMAN BEING ever born. All I know is what the Bible says about my responsibility to carry the gospel message to the world. So your list of theoretical questions may or may not be applicable and the conclusions you draw from the logical progression that you present may or may not be accurate.

        I do not believe God makes the determining choice as to who repents and believes. That is about as simple as I know to state that. Does that mean that God necessarily gives EVERY human being the same chance to repent and believe, I do not know. I do not believe the Bible answers that question primarily because it is God’s decision who He saves and there is no need for Him to explain that process to me. All I need to know is that i have a responsibility to repent personally and then lead as many people to repentance and believing faith as I possibly can.

        As for the argument of our being in the same boat where the reprobate are concerned, that is equally incorrect. Please note that I am not speaking for others; I am speaking for my own personal theological position. All men are sinners in need of a Savior. The wages of sin is death. we both agree at this point. Where I disagree and differ with the calvinist position is simple. In the calvinist mindset, God determines who are and who are not the elect and by virtue of one not being able to choose Christ, God’s choice is that the depraved individual be a reprobate. Reprobation is God’s sole choosing.

        You argue that men are reprobate and God chooses to rescue some. I argue that all men are depraved and are sinners in need of a Savior and the calvinist position is that God’s choice determines who are the elect and who end up as reprobate.

        With respect to the differentiating aspect from my perspective, I believe man is obligated to choose to accept or reject the message of the gospel and that choice that he makes falls under the consequences that God has set for him. So the person who is saved is saved not because God decided he would repent but because his choice was to choose according to the the promises and provisions revealed to him in the Word of God and the unction of the Holy Spirit. The reprobate is the one who remains in his unrepentant state, who does not accept the provision and promises of God for his salvation.

        This position does not require that God give an equal measure of His grace to anyone. Somehow, our responsibility comes into play to walk beside and nurture and live a Christian life in front of those in the world so that God might grant them repentance, (I Tim 2:25) I believe that passage simply means that God forgives those who repent; it does not mean that God gives them the ability to repent. I do not believe men repent because they are saved; i believe men are saved because they repent.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob,

        Thanks brother. Would that every Calvinist and non Calvinist would interact as you have with me. You are a gracious man of God. I think we’ve beat this horse enough on this thread. Look forward to the next one.

        Les

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s