On Tuesday July 17, Pastor Ralph Green of Calvary Baptist Church in Bel Air, Md. posted a message to his church members about plans they had to being using The Gospel Project in their Sunday School. I called and spoke to him about his article. He said, “I was excited about the prospects of having a Biblically based curriculum that did not attempt to cover 5 chapters of Romans in 30 minutes. One afternoon one of my deacons came to him with the news that the advisory board was overwhelmingly Calvinist.” This information led to a thorough study of the material before it was released to the different departments of the church. Pastor Green had planned to use the curriculum in all of his classes. His article speaks for itself. You may read it by CLICKING HERE.
After receiving the literature, Pastor Green said he and another pastor spent “days digging through this curriculum once we received the shipment to see for ourselves. We found it to be biased in how it explains and interprets the study themes. There are numerous subtle seeds of the Calvinistic approach to Scripture and many that are overtly obvious. The more we read and studied the curriculum, the more convinced we have become that this curriculum is not suitable for use here at Calvary.” Pastor Green said the curriculum had a majority of footnotes and references to Calvinistic writers, some that were not even Southern Baptist. He said, “Many of my people would investigate these references and would not be pleased with what they found out.”
“Honestly, I was in shock for several days as I wrestled with this curriculum. I feel as though the sacred trust has been violated because the publishing arm of my convention seems to be embracing reformed Calvinistic theology. You should know Lifeway does not depend on cooperative program dollars and they are a for profit organization based on what they sell. They are guided by a President and Trustees who’ve been duly elected by our convention so there is accountability there. We are sending this curriculum back to Lifeway and I’ll be writing letters to President Thom Rainer and the board of trustees expressing my disappointment over this curriculum and explaining why we’ve pulled the proverbial plug on “The Gospel Project” curriculum.”
Pastor Green admitted that he had to call the deacon that shared this information with him into his office and told him, “You know you have been a pain in the neck to me don’t you?” He said, “I had to admit to that deacon that he was right and that he was glad he had the insight to come to him with this information knowing that everyone was looking forward to using the literature.”
Finally Pastor Green said, “I encourage all SBC pastors I know to examine this for yourself and see the agenda within The Gospel Project curriculum. I hope you’ll send it back to Lifeway as well with your observations.”