“The Gospel Project” – Webcast, March 14, 2 PM CST

Here we go again! Let the propaganda begin!

(For those who have not been here before: This project has as a distinguished group of advisers ALL card carrying calvinists; associated with major calvinist leading groups in the SBC and in general. That part is FINE. If LIFEWAY thinks there is a need for such a project then that is one thing. My point is, LIFEWAY ought to label such a project as The Gospel Project: A Reformed Perspective. I am NOT saying that the project is sub par or theologically incorrect; I just believe there is a reason ALL who are associated with this project to date are not just casual calvinists. The majority of SBC churches are non-calvinist; not ANTI-CALVINIST and they do not need to be purchasing literature NOT KNOWING what it is that they are buying. I make this very clear in other posts below but in case anyone comes here, I wanted to reiterate my concerns and my only concern.)

I want to encourage ALL Southern Baptists to take a look at The Gospel Project for yourselves and decide if it is indeed a curriculum you want being used in your church. If it is, GREAT! Just be sure to check it out. Don’t just think, “It is from LIFEWAY, we ought to buy it.” Not this time.

Dave Miller at SBC Voices opens a blog post with the following statement: His article can be read in its entirety by CLICKING HERE.

Here is his opening paragraph.

There has certainly been a wide divergence of opinion about the LifeWay Sunday School curriculum, “The Gospel Project.”  The Gospel Project identifies itself as a “ Christ-centered curriculum that examines the grand narrative of Scripture and how the gospel transforms the lives of those it touches.”  In a three-year plan of study, the curriculum traces the gospel story from Genesis to Revelation, attempting to do more than just present unrelated moral stories, but to weave them all together to explain the gospel, the theological underpinnings of the gospel and the missional life to which Christ calls those who have been transformed by that gospel.

Who could oppose that?

Here is my response.

I will begin with a quote from a comment posted on the blog.

“Should a one reject teaching on the whole of Scripture because he disagrees with the author on a subject that is not even covered in the material. Do we not have enough in common with each other to share the same gospel?”

You cannot have “The Gospel Project” without covering the material. You said, “If this were an openly Calvinist curriculum, there would be no problem with that at all.” I adamantly disagree.

The Gospel Project is an openly calvinist curriculum because it is written and advised by an openly calvinist group. This whitewashing of that FACT is pathetic. It as if calvinists are proud to be calvinist one minute and then the next all of a sudden they are not. This project is written by calvinists…  well… not really calvinists… some may be but we did not ask… we all adhere to the BF&M2000… but keep this minuscule minor fact in the back of your minds…  those same folk claim that the BF&M2000 is Calvinist confession…

Check out LIFEWAY’s information on the writers YOURSELF….

The Gospel Project Team (click to go to site)

General Editor: Ed Stetzer Managing Editor: Trevin Wax

The Gospel Project Advisory Council

These Christian leaders were part of a team who consulted on the creation of The Gospel Project.

Don’t get me wrong; it is GREAT that LIFEWAY published this list and were at least forthright in making this list public, otherwise it might have really gotten a clean pass with NO CRITICISM whatsoever. I applaud them for that.

It amazes me that a carefully constructed group of calvinists could be assembled to write a “theologically deep, Christ-centered, gospel-honoring curriculum” and it NOT reflect their theological underpinnings. In my opinion that in and of itself is enough to scrap the project… if that is the case. If TGP does not reflect the writers convictions about what the Bible says, then shame on them!

I can assure you if I were writing a SS curriculum for SB’s on The Gospel Project I would NOT write from a Reformed Theology perspective… and I would be open and honest about it. There would be no doubt about that.

You cannot write about the Gospel without being soteriologically centered! If this were a project about basket weaving then I could care less if the writers were calvinist or not. It is clear that Calvinists are NOT going to be upset that this project is available. I fully understand that and applaud that fact. I have no problem with it being produced and being bought by folks that believe the RT tenets.

The truth is this will probably be bought by churches that have no idea WHAT Reformed Theology is all about… they have no idea who T4G or TGC even are… if you asked them about regeneration they would look at you with this deer in the headlights look… they will have NO clue about what the distinguished writers associated with this project believe…

I have NEVER ONCE ever checked to see who it was that was writing SS material for our churches printed by Lifeway. Shame on me. If this project has done anything, it has opened my eyes to the fact that you cannot take anything for granted in this day and time. Thank you Lifeway for that timeless lesson.

Do I expect this project to be OVERTLY Reformed? Of course not. Will it inflame a lot of folks? Once again, No. Will it have subtle nuances that will reflect a RT mindset… I have no doubts that it will. A subtle suggestion here and there… there is NO way that it will not and everyone knows that is the case…

BUT… how dare anyone criticize a project BEFORE it comes out… just because everyone associated with the project represents a particular theological mindset that is diametrically different from the majority of folks the project is being marketed to.

AMAZING. Simply AMAZING.

><>”

Advertisements

About sbcissues

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

12 Responses to “The Gospel Project” – Webcast, March 14, 2 PM CST

  1. John W. says:

    Do you think this entire kerfuffle could have been avoided had they kept to the original design and purpose of the curriculum?

  2. John W. says:

    Bob, as to what I meant in my original comment, the curriculum, as well as the listing of the advisory board members, was originally made public over a year ago. The curriculum itself and the hiring of Trevin Wax to oversee the new curriculum was announced nearly two years ago. You and the select group of bloggers whom you follow did not start criticizing it until January of this year.

    All along, Lifeway has been open about the curriculum, even taking suggestions for scope and name of the curriculum. Neither you, nor anyone else who is criticizing the curriculum, chose to participate. Only now that the planning and designing phase is complete have you and others started to critique it.

    During the past two years, the curriculum has changed, most notably in its name and overall design of combining the elements of theology and gospel-clarity with missional application along with consolidating an adult, youth and children’s line of curriculum and giving it the title “The Gospel Project.”

    The driving force of the criticism you have leveled has to do with the perceived deceitfulness of the name of the curriculum. It has undergone a number of name changes in the last year. You could have participated in the discussion. I myself contacted Ed Stetzer and supported the name “Engage” as the title of the curriculum.

    So, do you think this entire kerfuffle could have been avoided had they kept to the original design and purpose of the curriculum?

    • sbcissue says:

      John,

      Thanks for the clarification. I am a “newbie” in this world of blogging. Sometimes I think I would have been a LOT happier had I remained outside it. I did not know ANYTHING about the Gospel project until I saw an article about it in BP a couple months ago. I also had NO IDEA that calvinism was as well positioned as it is in the SBC until just a couple months ago. Let me say, I understand there is a BROAD definition of Calvinism in the SBC today. I do not want to appear to make that statement in a derogatory manner either. It is what it is and I do not agree with the tenets of calvinism at all on any point; I also maintain the vast majority of SB’s will not come close to identifying with the 5 points of calvinism; depending on who is asking the questions.

      So, while I cannot speak for the comments of others mine are what they are and relatively recent in scope. I could say also that had I seen the list two years or so ago, it probably would not have registered with me because I was not aware of what I consider to be the much broader picture concerning the issue of the extent of the calvinistic influence in the SBC as I see it.

      To be honest, when I saw the phrase, “The Gospel Project” in the BP article it was the title that got my attention because the word “Gospel” itself has become such a deliberate watch word for the movers and shakers of the calvinist movement as if the SBC needed to be corrected in its otherwise shallow and pitiful concept and presentation of the “true gospel.” Had this project been named something else, like as you suggested, “Engage”, I would have in all probability not even given it another thought. That is NOT to say it would not have become an issue. I know of one other blogger who actually had made mention of the Reformed advisory issue before I did (which I did not see until a few days after I posted my comment) and then there were others who followed.

      Now once again for the record, my objection has nothing to do with the distinguished group that is responsible for this project. My concern rests solely on the marketing of The Gospel Project to churches that are not at all reformed in their thinking in the SBC and have no interest in becoming so. Of course the response from all connected with the project is “It is NOT a “Reformed curriculum.” I have publically accepted that statement.

      However, my contention that while is maybe correct to say it is not a Reformed Curriculum, it is fair to claim it is a Reformed Perspective. If it is produced and written (at least to date) by a carefully selected group of Reformed leading individuals then that was done so for a reason. It did not just happen. Since “the Gospel” is a MAJOR issue for this theological group, it is also irresponsible to expect them NOT to speak into this project what they believe by conviction is WHAT the Word of God says. Come on, to assume anything less is ridiculously condescending to this group of talented individuals. It is a Reformed Perspective because it is produced by Reformed individuals; that is a legitimate argument.

      That is MY sole point. Let churches know up front the legitimate “theological bend” of the individuals responsible for bringing the Gospel Project to Lifeway. Personally, I do not understand the firestorm of criticism at my suggestion unless there is this fear that making it known publicly that this project is produced by reformed individuals and the result is that it will not sell. In my opinion, that is not the SBC’s problem. It may be Lifeway’s problem but not the SBC.

      All I want is for individuals to know what this project is and let them make the decision if it is indeed what they want as a SS curriculum for their church. This whole experience has also sadly made me open my eyes to what Lifeway is producing because it is clear at least to me, Lifeway is no longer a safe haven of literature for ALL of our churches. To me that is the saddest reality of this whole mess.

      I am just one person who happens to have an opinion and has dared to voice it. “So, do you think this entire kerfuffle could have been avoided had they kept to the original design and purpose of the curriculum?”

      I cannot answer question that because I have no concept of what the original design and purpose of the curriculum was. I am inclined to believe what we have is exactly what was originally planned since it seems to me there is no reason to suspect otherwise.

      ><>”

      • John W. says:

        I don’t think most Southern Baptists and SBC pastors are as oblivious as you assume. Stetzer has a degree from TEDS and there has been excitement about D.A. Carson partnering with Lifeway for a while. The basic idea for this curriculum has been talked about among SBC’ers at least the last two annual meetings. Stetzer, Carson, Platt and Chandler are becoming “household names” throughout many SBC churches.

        I think that most Southern Baptists acknowledge that the Baptist Faith and Message is a sufficient confession to guide how different Southern Baptists partner and cooperate together.

        The fact that so many Southern Baptists have been aware of this curriculum for so long and not one has raised the issue of Calvinism speaks volumes more to me than a handful of bloggers in the last month and a half exposing conspiracies.

        Can you name any leaders in the SBC known for missiological, expository preaching, connecting the text of all of Scripture to the overall narrative of the Gospel, who are NOT connected to or represented by this group?

  3. sbcissue says:

    I maintain the vast majority of people in the pew cannot tell you the difference between a rose and a tulip except to say… a rose is red. I also maintain, there are a number of folks in a reformed listed church that would not affirm a lot of what Calvinism actually teaches if the right questions were asked by a non-Calvinist. Polls are funny animals… they can say pretty much what you want them to say if you ask the right questions at the right times to the right people and then use the data collected to answer your questions the way you want them to be answered. That can be a real sweet deal.

    As for the excitement of DA Carson and Lifeway partnering together… that is obviously a one-sided level of excitement because those who do not know who he is could care less and those who do and are excited, will by definition be of the reformed stripe. I also maintain, this issue of calvinism in the SBC has been relatively quiet for a long time… everyone knows it is here and always has been… but we have cooperated together in spite of our differences and that has been great… well… UNTIL the highly successful efforts of a select few have now become obvious in engineering a very well constructed plan to become ensconced in the entities of the SBC to the point that there is no longer an ability to hide the fact. That fact is now clearly evident in virtually ever facet of the primary entities of the SBC… but clearly not so evident in the people in the pew who are paying the bills. Seems like the SBC has a similar problem as a convention that we have in our country; who is best qualified to lead and take care of the sheeple; the national entities or the state and local entities. Interesting.

    “The fact that so many Southern Baptists have been aware of this curriculum for so long and not one has raised the issue of Calvinism speaks volumes more to me than a handful of bloggers in the last month and a half exposing conspiracies.” You have your view of things and I have mine.

    Your last question is for me moot. To insinuate that there is a need for some who are clearly outside the SBC to help bring the SBC in line with the “True Gospel” is most assuredly not necessary and to suggest that these individuals and their unquestioned theological bias is necessary to lead the SBC to stronger ties to a true gospel that says “God and God alone saves who He and He alone chooses to save” is way off base. Are there highly qualified individuals in the SBC who are more than capable of producing such a project who are NOT card carrying calvinists, ABSOLUTELY.

    Lifeway simply chose to go in this direction and only time will tell if it will pay off for them. One thing seems evident in the criticism of those who have expressed criticism of this project; that criticism is virtually most ALL Calvinist and it is against the publicity related to the Calvinist association in its production as if that ought not even be a remote concern to anyone; Enter the popular phrase of 2011-21… “it is in line with the BF&M2000.”

    That is nothing more than political wrangling to justify their position, which is fine. The problem is there are those who consider it unfair for me to voice my opinion and somehow I am made out to be the problem. Well, that tactic too is being used every day somewhere as well.

    Thanks for your comments.

    ><>”

    • John W. says:

      Bob, you are absolutely right about the status of the majority of the SBC. Most cannot clearly articulate ANY sound doctrine. Most do not even regularly attend church.

      I don’t know if I would refer to them with a pejorative like “sheeple,” but it’s clear they are in need of sound biblical teaching. And notice the circumstances that have lead to this problem. The pragmatic church growth and evangelism methods that have resulted in so many false conversions and inflated numbers has happened with non-Calvinists at the helm of every SBC entity for nearly a century!

      It’s clear that what the thousands if not millions of SBC’ers and the millions in our country and billions around the world who have never heard the Gospel need is NOT a theological debate, but what they need is Jesus.

      It is for this reason I implore you to see the need to join together with like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ to support initiatives that will help SBC pastors to better disciple and equip their flock. There’s no doubt that there is a great need for more gospel centered, Christ-honoring curricula. The Gospel Project is just one of many curriculum that attempts to provide this. I beg of you to be a help instead of a hindrance.

      And as a side note, you can call it “political wrangling” if you wish, but what allows both you and me to join together in spite of our differences for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission is the Baptist Faith in Message. That was the original purpose of the BF&M in 1925, and it is the reason it is still used today.

      • sbcissue says:

        I agree with your following statement, “The pragmatic church growth and evangelism methods that have resulted in so many false conversions and inflated numbers has happened with non-Calvinists at the helm of every SBC entity for nearly a century!”

        The problem has NOTHING to do with non-Calvinist or Calvinist leadership but everything to do with a number of factors that have lead to this decline and understand the Calvinist influence has not been the solution to the problem and is not now. There are outstanding Calvinist and non-Calvinist pastors that are leading great churches and there are a vast number of other churches that are struggling and declining because as you have indicated, discipleship and prayer have not been grasped and taken hold of in the pews of our churches.

        I do not have a problem with The Gospel Project; it simply amazes me that everyone that engages me in a discussion will NOT acknowledge the possible problem of having a radically reformed group putting this thing together as if they are confused as to WHY that is a problem or point of concern.

        Let me say something else. For decades calvinist and non-calvinists have coexisted very well together. I cannot remember a time in my life as a Southern Baptist that I can ever remember anything of this magnitude being carried out… since blogging was not that much of a factor even the CR was not anything like this is.

        So the question is, whose fault is it? Did I have anything to do with the calvinist influx of NAMB, the IMB, the seminaries, Lifeway, The Gospel Project? No. Not one thing. All I did was raise the flag and say… hey… look at what has happened while no one was really paying attention… and now all of a sudden I am the bad guy?

        Sorry… that dog will not hunt. Anyone with a half a brain knew this day would come and it is not anywhere close to being over and I am not apologizing for what someone else has done. Not today.

        Can I agree to disagree and sit down and take one for the team, depends on which team we are taking about and what each decides to do about it. I am for changing the BF&M… that is for sure… one way or the other, win, lose or draw… I am for seeing it clarified.

        ><>”

  4. John W. says:

    Why would you say there is a “possible problem of having a radically reformed group putting this thing together “ if you were willing to cooperate with other like-minded believers who affirm the BF&M… who are writing a curriculum we have been assured and reassured is within the bounds of the BF&M… and is produced by Lifeway, which has promised to produce material in line with the BF&M… unless you simply cannot abide by the BF&M as a confession of faith?

    The founding principle of the “Grand Compromise” by E.Y. Mullins in the original BF&M was to produce a confession of faith, modeled after the New Hampshire Baptist Confession but broad enough on certain doctrines, including soteriology, as to allow the maximum number of churches, Calvinist and non-Calvinist, to cooperate together to fund the Cooperative Program and partner together for missions and evangelism.

    For decades, thousands of SBC Calvinists have given money to the CP, graduated from SBC seminaries, supported Lifeway and other SBC entities and cooperated with other Southern Baptists usually with exactly zero Calvinistic representatives in the entities. Now, from the perspective of Calvinists, who for decades have had no choice but to partner with non-Calvinists at every level of every entity in the SBC, all this rhetoric against the Gospel Project by a handful of non-Calvinists seems incredibly petty and extraneous.

    It’s as though Calvinists are made to feel that they are not supposed to be a part of the SBC, and any sign of desire for participation is automatically assumed to have ulterior motives. You seem genuinely shocked that BF&M affirming Southern Baptists are serving in SBC entities and writing SBC Sunday School curriculum. You may not realize it, but you’re treating Calvinists as second-class Southern Baptists. You’ll let us ride on the bus, but we have to sit all the way in the back, and we SURE can’t sit in the drivers seat.

    I get what you’re saying about non-Calvinists not liking that many Calvinists involved in writing curriculum. I honestly do. But as some point, you have to realize that the SBC is a really big tent, and occasionally you’re going to have to support something or someone you don’t fully agree with. Calvinists in the SBC have had to consistently do it for years. Now, one line of Lifeway curriculum has a majority of Calvinist writers and non-Calvinist act like the world is going to end! Well, maybe the Mayans were right! 🙂

    At some point, you simply have to trust that your Calvinist brothers and sisters in the SBC are telling the truth about wanting to partner together to fulfill the Great Commission, and not just looking for an opportunity to pull the wool over your eyes or stab you in the back. The BF&M is what sets the boundaries to allow that partnership to happen. If having the BF&M in common is not enough to allow cooperation, then what is the point of being Southern Baptist?

    You say , “I am for changing the BF&M… that is for sure… one way or the other, win, lose or draw… I am for seeing it clarified.”

    Clarified in what way? Specifically, what would you add or change?

  5. sbcissue says:

    There is a big difference in sitting under the tent and being in charge of the tent. I believe in the priesthood of the believer and the autonomy of the local church and with that comes theological positions I may or may not agree with. I understand that my positions may or may not be acceptable by others. I have no problem with that. NONE.

    I also have no problem with calvinists sitting in the drivers seat IF that is ok with the rest of the SBC. I simply want to voice my concerns as to WHAT it happening because I feel there are a number of people who share my position. I had no idea there was as much going on with respect to the leadership and direction of the entities of the SBC and I am confident that there is a vast majority of folks in the pew that have no idea all this is taking place as well. if they did, there would no doubt be some changes. So I express my concerns and let the chips fall where they may.

    You wrote, “Now, from the perspective of Calvinists, who for decades have had no choice but to partner with non-Calvinists at every level of every entity in the SBC, all this rhetoric against the Gospel Project by a handful of non-Calvinists seems incredibly petty and extraneous.” Sorry. It is what it is. I want it to remain that way; the change and the irritation has been brought on by aggressive calvinists who do want to change the current culture of the SBC as you have indicated. i do appreciate that… for MOST I read fail to even acknowledge what is obvious.

    As for the GOSPEL PROJECT, once again, all I ask is that folks be made aware of WHO IT IS THAT is responsible for it being produced… this radical (not a bad word) group of calvinists were selected for a reason and this project is a REFORMED PERSPECTIVE. Again that is not a bad thing; unless lifeway and the people writing it are ashamed of the Reformed part… and if that is the case then they are publicly admitting their fear that it will not sell IF people learn about the theological slant of the people producing the project.

    Like it or not, MY POINT IS VALID.

    I have no doubt that my “Calvinist brothers and sisters in the SBC are telling the truth about wanting to partner together to fulfill the Great Commission” especially if they can gain access to the funds to accomplish what they believe is their right and destiny to do. The problem is that many have been openly critical of what is and what is not the “TRUE GOSPEL” and the obvious difference in what God does and does not do when it comes to conversion and the atonement etc. If we differ in our theology it is one thing to cooperate and get along it is another to take a back seat to that theology. I understand wanting to move up… however in moving up there are ramifications and repercussions and that is where the friction is today. The calvinists have moved up and there are those who are saying… not so fast. I am one of them.

    You wrote, “occasionally you’re going to have to support something or someone you don’t fully agree with. Calvinists in the SBC have had to consistently do it for years. Now, one line of Lifeway curriculum has a majority of Calvinist writers and non-Calvinist act like the world is going to end! Well, maybe the Mayans were right! :)” I do not have to support something I do not agree with. That is a false assumption on your part. It seems to me that if anyone is acting as if their world was coming to an end, it is not me but the promoters of The Gospel Project; for as I have already alluded to, IF SBC churches realize that calvinists are responsible for TGP, it will not sell and that will be the end of their world. Once again, not MY problem.

    Since the BF&M is now recognized and it has become such a valuable document to the extent that it is being touted for the first time in my SBC life, maybe the SBC needs to clarify its position with respect to RT and the Doctrines of Grace. Again, there is a big difference in a BF&M for cooperation and a BF&M for control. Two completely different perspectives.

    That is my opinion for what it is worth. I appreciate yours. Remember this; toleration and acceptance is always the cry of the minority group seeking to become the majority position. I understand that fact but also understand the risk of doing so.

    ><>”

  6. John W. says:

    You said, “I also have no problem with calvinists sitting in the drivers seat IF that is ok with the rest of the SBC. I simply want to voice my concerns as to WHAT it happening because I feel there are a number of people who share my position.”

    That’s good, and I encourage you in that effort to voice your concerns.I hope you or someone else will bring it up at the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans this year so your voices can be heard and you can confront those responsible and find clarity.

    You said, “As for the GOSPEL PROJECT, once again, all I ask is that folks be made aware of WHO IT IS THAT is responsible for it being produced… this radical (not a bad word) group of calvinists were selected for a reason and this project is a REFORMED PERSPECTIVE.”

    I hope you will be able to interact during the Webcast next week and bring this up if viewers are allowed to ask questions. You’ve said here and elsewhere that the project is a Reformed perspective even after Thom Rainer, Ed Stetzer and Trevin Wax have said that it is not a Reformed perspective. Do you believe they are lying or confused? Trevin Wax also previously said that the Advisory Council and writers are not all Calvinists and were not chosen because of their soteriological beliefs (there are many different views represented). Do you believe he was also lying?

    The original purpose of the Gospel Project, back when it was called GospelEPIC, then Engage: Theology+Gospel+Mission, then TGM, and before being consolidated with a youth and children’s curriculum which was already being produced and given the new name, was to be a missiological/practical curriculum with a Christ-centered narrative hermeneutic. The Advisory Council were chosen based on their expertise in one or both of those of those areas, so I have to side with Trevin Wax on this one.

    You said, “Again that is not a bad thing; unless lifeway and the people writing it are ashamed of the Reformed part… and if that is the case then they are publicly admitting their fear that it will not sell IF people learn about the theological slant of the people producing the project.”

    Let me add that I will be very disappointed if the curriculum has a Reformed slant after the editors et.al. have said it does not. But I do not think it will have a Reformed slant because Thom Rainer, Ed Stetzer and Trevin Wax have said it isn’t, and I trust them. But I don’t think your argument that “If TGP does not reflect the writers convictions about what the Bible says, then shame on them!” is technically valid. These Calvinists, just like many Calvinists and non-Calvinists who have written Lifeway curriculum and other materials for decades, are perfectly capable of writing on theology, salvation, scripture and the gospel within the bounds of the BF&M and in such a way that Southern Baptists of different theological views can can agree with their statements and conclusions.

    Let me give you one really big, applicable example. In 1925, a Calvinist (Edgar Young Mullins) borrowed a Reformed confession (New Hampshire Baptist Confession written, in 1833 to differentiate Triennial Baptists from Free Will Baptists) and write the Baptist Faith and Message. Now, as you have pointed out, the majority of the people who affirm the BF&M, including yourself I assume, do not adhere to Calvinism. So clearly Calvinists can write about doctrine without exuding Calvinism.

    And while we’re on the subject of the BF&M, you said, “Since the BF&M is now recognized and it has become such a valuable document to the extent that it is being touted for the first time in my SBC life, maybe the SBC needs to clarify its position with respect to RT and the Doctrines of Grace.”

    I’m sorry you are unaware of such an important part of Southern Baptist history. I would encourage you to look into how non-Calvinists like Herschel Hobbs and Duke McCall utilized the BF&M in respect to Dale Moody and other seminary professors back in the 1960s.

    You said, “The problem is that many have been openly critical of what is and what is not the “TRUE GOSPEL” and the obvious difference in what God does and does not do when it comes to conversion and the atonement etc. If we differ in our theology it is one thing to cooperate and get along it is another to take a back seat to that theology.

    I would be inclined to agree with you, if this curriculum were from a systematic theology perspective. Calvin was the preeminent modern systematic theologian and Calvinism is specifically a systematic soteriological perspective. But this curriculum is missional and Christ-centered narrative hermeneutic. If you follow much of what Carson or Chandler teach, this shows up in the “Creation-Fall-Redemption-Restoration” narrative of Scripture and the “God-Man-Christ-Response” perspective of the Gospel. This is NOT systematic theology. You will also find these approaches in much of Akin’s, Stetzer’s and McDonald’s teaching as well (which would explain why all these men were part of TGP!)

    That is how these folks have been teaching the Gospel and the overarching narrative of Scripture for years, so I assume that teaching will be featured in the curriculum as well. Both of those approaches are WELL within the bounds of the BF&M and neither one necessarily assumes a Calvinist theology (which explains how there can be different kinds of Calvinists, as well as non-Calvinists, involved with the production of the curriculum).

    You said, “I do not have to support something I do not agree with. That is a false assumption on your part.”

    I should have stated more specifically, if someone wants to be a part of the SBC, they will have to support things they do not agree with.

    Here is what I mean:

    Every time your church gives to the CP, you’re providing salaries, funding programs and projects, and supporting curriculum writers, seminary students, church planters, missionaries and a whole host of other denominational servants at the local, state and national level. Out of all those people who receive your CP dollars, some are Calvinists and some are not, some are dispensationalists and some are not, some are premillennialists and some are not, some believe in a pre-tribulational rapture and some do not, some are cessationists and some are not, some hold to the regulative principle of worship and some do not, some prefer contemporary worship and some do not.

    Now, I assume you and your church have a position on all these issues. So how do you justify giving a single penny to the CP unless you do so while agreeing to support people and things you do not agree with?

    The way you justify it, as the risk of sounding redundant, is through the BF&M. What you and your church and all those people share in common is what the BF&M says, and on theirs and your areas of disagreement, the BF&M is silent. That allows you to partner even with people you disagree with. It has always been a broad confession to encourage inclusion, and never a narrow confession to promote exclusion. That was the purpose of the BF&M in 1925, and that’s its purpose now.

  7. sbcissue says:

    I think we have both said about all that can be said with respect to this issue and I really do appreciate your comments and perspective; there that word pops up again! Perspective. We all have them. Imagine that. You do not see a problem with The Gospel Project. I do. Two very different perspectives and two very different conclusions.

    If Calvinism were not a hot topic in the SBC and if this were the only issue, then it would have flown right under the radar and there would be no foul. Agreed. However, there is all this attention being focused on what is and what is not the true gospel and the need for the true gospel to correct all that is wrong in the SBC in the failing numbers of baptisms and unregenerate membership, etc. Although I have not made it a habit of checking Lifeway literature I have been made aware of Lifeway literature’s references to other outside sources and sermons to “support and further explain the brief comments” in the lessons. it is what it is. A fair balance may be arguably necessary and you are correct, we have all supported a lot of folks who have theological ideologies and quirks that differ from my own. It is when these different groups move to the front of the line that they become an issue. So your assertion “The way you justify it, as the risk of sounding redundant, is through the BF&M.” is not really correct, not for me. I look at the overarching vision of what I believe to be the thrust of the SBC and that has been my incentive to be supportive and that has been the cooperative aspect. That is fast changing (and at times has been before.)

    Calvinism has come from the middle of the pack to the head of the line and is now taking control of the future of the SBC and I am simply saying publicly as loud as I can… that I do not approve and the Gospel Project may be the least of the issues, but it is still an issue and I believe a grave one. I think that is clear in this blog.

    You can assert that an radically overt group of Calvinist advisers is nothing to be concerned with. You may also assert these individuals are capable of writing a fair and unbiased curriculum. Well I can assert there is a reason this close knit group was selected and their theological underpinnings was a factor in their selection and their contributions are expected or else this very select group would not have been chosen in the first place. I believe this group will deliver exactly what they are charged with delivering and it will be a Reformed Perspective because that is the ONLY perspective these individuals have!

    I will be on my way to Tn from FL on the 14th so unfortunately I will not be on the webinar. Boo Hoo. Do I expect this project to be oozing with Calvinism? No. Do I expect it to be subtly suggestive, yes. Will the curriculum be beneficial to all who read it, perhaps. Can God use it for His glory? Absolutely.

    So what is my problem? I guess the best way I can sum it us is with a story I read some time ago. A daughter came to her dad and asked him to go see a R rated movie and gave him all the reasons why he ought to allow her to go with her friend to see this movie. “It is not THAT bad… just a little edgy here and there..” So dad said… ok… but you have to eat some cookies I baked last night! What… eat some cookies? How bad can that be? There is one think I must tell you… I put a little dog poop in em… not much… just a little… won’t hurt you… how many do you want?

    It is what it is.

    ><>”

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