The following is a comment I left at SBC Voices concerning an article, titled, “Is There a Reformed Conspiracy to Take Over the SBC?” The article can be read by clicking HERE.
For the record, there is no Reformed conspiracy to take over the SBC. You are correct. A conspiracy would involve a “secretive” effort. Calvinists are way past that point and are successfully extending their reach farther and farther into SBC Life. There is a marked difference in the Convention and the entities. You are correct in your statement that the SBC is an annual meeting of messengers who vote to do or not to do certain things.
The entities of the SBC are entirely different. The trustees make decisions that determine the direction of the various entities. The trustees of NAMB elected the new President. They voted “sweeping changes” of NAMB in Feb 2011. The same thing is true of the seminaries. Trustees are responsible for the leadership and direction of the entity they are charged to oversee. Same for Lifeway. Trustee appointments are crucial to the overall health of the convention because the entities are kind of like a rudder on a ship. It may be one of the smallest parts of a ship, but it is the most important part when it comes to navigating the direction of the ship.
While I do not claim any conspiracy theories, there has been a definite effort to get key people in key positions in the various entities to give the Reformed Platform the visibility it needs to prosper and the viability it needs to persevere. To try to argue against this is ludicrous. Here is an excellent article that speaks to the positioning of key people in the seminaries, NAMB and Lifeway that are clearly and carefully charting the course for a Calvinistic led SBC. The article is titled, “Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention: Code RED” Most of you know I wrote the article.
Anyone who understands how the SBC works understands that those who control the entities eventually directs the future of the convention. Like it or not, it is the way it is. The Reformed minority has managed to gain control of the entities and that is reality. They have done a masterful job in accomplishing so much with so little attention on what they have done.
Although there are several conversation points on Dave’s article, I will focus mine on the following:
Dave wrote, “And that is where the problem (positions of influence in the SBC) arises. Calvinists are no longer contented to sit silently in the rear pew. Calvinism is now a real threat in the SBC to those who view the doctrine as a threat to the gospel and to Christianity. It can no longer be ignored. Those not willing to coexist with it must fight against it.”
My concern can be seen in the statement in bold above: who view the doctrine as a threat to the gospel and to Christianity.
It is crystal clear that the influential Calvinists in these leading positions clearly understand THE GOSPEL as that presented in the DOG. For the Calvinist, Calvinism IS the most consistent form of Christianity. Why should you expect me to sit back and say… I do not agree with you guys on that minor detail but hey… I can agree to disagree; let’s just all get along and cooperate and hey… it is no problem that you are teaching that to college and seminary students that are going to go into our churches and teach something that we do not believe in… there is no problem with THE GOSPEL PROJECT that is written by leading Card carrying calvinists who are not going to write literature that is inconsistent with their theological perspective… come on! We all know better!
of course I am sadly omitting the caveat here… that the reason I am not a calvinist is because I don’t really understand it because if I did understand it, I would be one. This is not an issue that I can in good conscious just “agree to disagree on.” How a person passes from death unto life is not something that I can compromise on. Here is the truth of the matter; neither can the Calvinist. The calvinist does not like my position any more than I like his. It is a fact and that is not, no never going to change!
Dave is exactly right: “There is no question that a Calvinist-influenced SBC will have a somewhat different future than a Calvinist-free SBC.” We are already seeing evidence of that in the confessional nature of the church plants being started by RT groups. The very minute the RT group knows that they can change the BF&M to reflect a Calvinist position, they will do so. I would not expect anything less. Seminary professors that are not reformed will be shown the highway. Entities will be tightly controlled and churches that send money will be probably continue to be tolerated; with the possible exception of a few that I can think of!
The cry to lay down our arms and lets all get along is ALWAYS the cry of the underdog. ALWAYS. Is there an easy fix for this situation. No. It is not going to just go away. Each side has its moral compass and its own convictions and each must stand their own respective ground. It is not a matter of one side hating the other. It is a position of conviction that each equally shares that must prevail to assure our children and grandchildren and their respective generations that the SBC will continue to carry the banner of Christ forward.
Your own That is the nature of Baptist life. Each constituency advocates its vision and whoever is in the majority sets the direction.” sums up my position as well as any. The majority is not yet calvinist. However, the direction of the convention is turning way too fast to suit me and I believe that majority that really has no idea what is going on.
Do not expect the heat to go down; my prayer is that the heat rises enough for the people in the pew to wake up and understand what is going on and decide who is going to determine the convention’s future. The non-Calvinist led convention or the Calvinist led entities.