Modified Armininian: No Thank You Dr. Dockery

I was not able to hear most the conference hosted by the Kentucky Baptist Convention titled Calvinism: Concerned, Curious, or Confused. I did catch much of the question and answer part and Dr. Frank Page’s message to conclude the event.

I did not hear the phrase Modified Arminian made in the conference. I understand that we have Dr. David Dockery to thank for that calculated statement. It is my understanding that he made that statement in direct reference to Drs. Adrian Rogers and Hershel Hobbs. Let me say this for the record: I am NOT a modified Arminian nor am I any other kind of Arminian and I absolutely consider that statement to be egregiously maligning. This notion that anyone who is not a calvinist must be an arminian is either intentionally or ignorantly a mischaracterization being made mostly by those attempting to lend support to the former.

If Dockery wants to consider himself a Modified Arminian, then let him say that is what he is. It is obviously apparent Dr. Dockery is not qualified to speak about the theological perspective of others. It is interesting that he picked two giants in Southern Baptist history who are not here to answer the charge he leveled against them. I notice he did not include Dr. Paige Patterson in that group, not publically. I would be interested to hear Dr. Patterson’s response to this statement. Perhaps there are others who would like to respond as well. My prayer is that they do.

It was equally interesting that of all the comments made by the panelists, Dr. Chitwood chose to reiterate the use of this phrase as he ended the conference. I find this absolutely deplorable. As long as this is the effort that is characteristic of those seeking unity in the SBC, let me say I for one am not going to be on that bandwagon. I can add to the use of this statement, the recent charge leveled at the same group of semi-pelagianism made by Dr. Al Mohler and his band of young, restless and reformed minions.

As far as I am concerned, as a graduate of Union University where Dr. Dockery serves as President, I am ashamed that he had the audacity to make such an inflammatory statement and I believe he owes Southern Baptist’s an apology.

Bob Hadley, 1979 Graduate of Union University, pastor Westside Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, FL






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28 Responses to Modified Armininian: No Thank You Dr. Dockery

  1. Les Prouty says:


    I didn’t hear most of the conference. I did hear that last reference just prior to the prayer. Someone else said that it would be deemed “hate speech.”

    I take it you are very offended by it. But, it does seem to be plausible. Your theology and that of trads seems to be a modified Arminian position. I’ve said that before. No offense intended. But if one looks at Arminian theology, how and where do you all differ?


    • sbcissues says:


      My point is simple. If you want to call yourself Santa’s elf be my guest. If you want to call yourself whatever you choose to do then fine. But this continued effort being made by calvinist friendlies to label me and the Trads is inexcusable as far as i am concerned.

      I am NOT Arminian in my theology no more than I am Calvinist because I believe in eternal security. The effort is relentless to attempt to discredit those who do not toe the line according to their own theological leanings.

      Let me ask you this question… are you familiar with ANY names being thrown out there against calvinists by non-calvinists? Maybe I am missing them but I cannot think of one… even the hyper-calvinist term was made up by calvinists to say… that is not what I AM.

      All I hear is of strawmen arguments which by the way is the retort of calvinists as well against non-calvinist statements.

      I would really be interested in hearing your take on that; I could be wrong. Your thoughts?


      • Les Prouty says:


        Though I’ve yet to meet you (and we need to fix that by you coming to Haiti with me!), I appreciate you and I think we would get along fabulously socially.

        That said, It does seem to me that Trads are bending over backwards to say you all are not Arminian. And I understand why. It does have negative connotations in evangelical circles. But history helps define Arminianism. Help me out here. One definition, which I think is representative of the history of Arminianism, is:

        “Free-will or human ability.
        Conditional election.
        Universal redemption or general atonement.
        The Holy Spirit can be effectually resisted.
        Falling from grace.”

        Now I know you ALL reject “falling from grace.” But the rest seem to fit with the Trad statement. What am I missing? Do you not affirm 4 of the 5 points above? What is so bad about that? I really want to understand.


      • sbcissues says:


        There is a serious flaw to your logic. You state 5 phrases and say… you affirm 4 of the 5… well there are a LOT of analogies I could throw out that would fit that one…

        like similarities in monkeys and humans and say… since you fit all of those… you are obviously a monkey. You know as well as I do that the similarities apart from the differences do not make for a very qualified argument. It is demeaning and intentionally done so.

        If we say we are not arminian, why does it become your responsibility to continue the argument? An engine, a steering wheel, a windshield, bucket seats, a rear seat, a gear shift, a radiator, an alternator, electronic ignition all describe a car right? Yes.

        But it also describes a boat. IS a car a boat or a boat a car? No. the differences additionally define the positions.

        Calvinists KNOW that Baptists may be confused about being calvinist but as a general rule, they KNOW they are not Arminian whether they have any idea what Arminian even means, So… I stand by my original position that I am NOT a MODIFIED or any other kind of arminian.

        I ask you as a brother and a friend, to respect my position.


      • Les Prouty says:


        “It is demeaning and intentionally done so.”

        I’m sorry if I offended you. It was not intentional. As I said in my FB message to you, I’m just trying to understand.

        God bless,


      • reyjacobs says:

        This is what being friendly or tolerant of Calvinists leads to: They begin almost immediately to control ALL the terminology. Sovereignty instantly ceases to have any reference to kinship or emperor-ness and becomes “micromanagement.” Grace ceases to mean mercy or favor and becomes “power of enabling.” Sin ceases to be an act or a violation of God’s Law and becomes an entity a power a being. And Reformed ceases to refer to something that has been modified from an older state of being to something else (as Catholic modified to become Protestant) and now means “Calvinist.” Etc. etc. The whole language will be changed by this trouble makers. Pretty soon, it will be like the Tower of Babel: Nobody will understand anyone else.

      • Les Prouty says:


        Are you having a hard time tolerating us Calvinists? What shall we do? Shall SB Calvinists leave?


    • reyjacobs says:

      Well, Les, where you Calvinists belong is in the Presbyterian church, so yes, you should leave. Not a one of you is even committed to believer’s baptism or immersion. You all follow Calvin’s error on baptism, so to pretend to Baptists is a big lie on your part. You are only in the SBC to cause problems because that’s what Calvinists love to do.

      • reyjacobs says:

        And whoever deleted my comment that Calvinists are Modified Manicheans is a silly silly person. First, that is exactly what they are. Whereas the Manicheans treated matter as evil inherently, Calvinists treat being human as a sin. Is it not a Calvinist catchphrase to say “Sin is not something we do; sin is what we are”??? That’s Manicheanism, but with one minor modification: rather than making the evil inherent in phsyicality or matter they make it only inherent in humanity.

      • Les says:

        Alright reyjacobs, now stop beating around the bush and tell is what you really mean. And this time don’t be so graceful, like referring to SB Calvinists as liars. Turn yourself loose man.

        Here’s hoping you find a grace filled day ahead of you.

      • sbcissues says:


        You are a GUEST at this blog. To suggest that ALL calvinists are not committed to believer’s baptism or immersion is in error and very much out of line. The charge that they are in the SBC to cause problems is in even greater error. For the record, calvinists love God and love to see others love Him as well. Now, the fact that they see the process that one becomes a Christian as different than I do, does not lead to the inaccurate conclusion that you draw here.

        As for the deletion of your comment, I deleted it because it was a one sentence post that sought to classify calvinists with no explanation. Funny, because I have accused calvinists of calling non’s with all kinds of names, semi-pelagians, arminianians and now modified arminians… and I asked the question… what do non-calvinists call calvinists?

        I had not heard anyone do that and here you go doing what I said I had not seen done… while I have no idea what background you are, I am confident you are a non-calvinist. So thank you for tearing that argument down…

        Since you have stated the reason for your statement, I will let it stand. However, in the future, please be respectful in your statements as people from all walks read these posts. Some understand the nuances of calvinism and many do not. I want them to be able to find helpful information so that they can make up their minds where they stand themselves.


  2. Frank Gantz says:

    Bob, why so quick to take offense? If you’ve been around Dr. Dockery at all, you have to know he hasn’t a maligning bone in his body. Take a few deep breaths.

  3. Rick Patrick says:

    Every time a Calvinist calls me a Modified Arminian, I am going to refer to them as a Modified Christian. Eventually, they will either learn to refer to the theological position of another using their preferred term, which is the gentlemanly thing to do, or they will grow weary of being called a Modified Christian.

    • Les Prouty says:


      Fair enough. “Eventually, they will either learn to refer to the theological position of another using their preferred term, which is the gentlemanly thing to do…”

      Would you mind henceforth referring to me as a scripturalist? 🙂


      1: one who derives his religious beliefs and general philosophy of life from a body of scripture teaching a single harmonious system of doctrine
      2: one learned in or a devoted student of a body of scripture

  4. willfrankcar says:

    I am 100% confused. I recognize your and non-Calvinists’ desire to not be referred to as Arminian. However, how you can you describe the comment as “egregiously maligning,” “inflammatory,” “deplorable,” or “demeaning and intentionally done so.” As a “modified-Calvinist” I see no problem with someone who is Arminian. It is a valid soteriological position, just one I do not hold to. Concerning eternal security Arminian are open on the position, some hold to it, others do not (as opposed to Calvinism where all hold to it). Also I do not see where it has negative connotations in evangelical circles (contra Les). To be exact I would say there are probably more Arminian evangelicals than Calvinist (I do not know that, just reckoning). Finally, many evangelicals, including myself, have great respect for numerous Arminians, such as the Wesley brothers. Again, not trying to be confrontational, I understand and respect your desire to not be referred to as Arminian, but I do not see where being referred to as such is maligning. Wrong, yes; maligning, no.

  5. sbcissues says:


    The term modified arminian was intentionally used and I am guessing carefully chosen in advance of Dr. Dockery’s introduction of it. If I find it deplorable or egregiously maligning, then it is what it is. I am sure I do not have to tell you that the fact you do not see a problem with Dr. Dockery’s comments is really immaterial. For the record, I do not have a problem with someone calling themselves an Arminian either.

    What I find problematic is Dr. Dockery’s use of the term to identify me and those in the SBC who are not calvinist.

    Thank you for your input.


  6. Casey says:

    Let me say this for the record: though I agree with much of what he writes, I am NOT of one of Mohler’s “band of young, restless and reformed minions,” nor am I any other kind of minion and I absolutely consider that statement to be egregiously maligning. As long as this is the effort that is characteristic of those seeking unity in the SBC, let me say I for one am not going to be on that bandwagon. Why? Because what I find problematic is sbcissues use of the phrase to identify me and those in the SBC who are Calvinist.
    That was all a bit silly, but true. Seriously, it’d be nice to see more swords beaten into ploughshares in these sorts of discussions. Theological shorthand is necessary and often appropriate, and though it has the potential to offend our dispositions need not be so needlessly offended. I’m not accusing sbcissues of this, just issuing what seems to be an obvious reality among the SBC blogosphere in recent months. Bloggers with backbones and a strong dose of grace might lighten the mood and get us somewhere in this discussion.

  7. sbcissues says:


    You are correct in your assessment of the statement you mention, “I am NOT of one of Mohler’s “band of young, restless and reformed minions,” nor am I any other kind of minion and I absolutely consider that statement to be egregiously maligning.” That statement was intentionally over the top although in all fairness there is more to it than many realize and since I did not name names, I will leave it there. There is a twitter army of folk and everyone knows it and it is perfectly fine. So, to say that I have attempted to identify you or anyone else who happens to be calvinist in the SBC is equally over the top as well. The phrase is there for those for whom the shoe fits and they do exist.

    as for the swords beaten into plowshares is a bit late because the non-calvinists have not even brought out the swords yet. The point that everyone seems to be missing is the FACT that Mohler and others have very effectively positioned themselves everywhere in positions of influence in the SBC… and that is not going to change easily if at all. Anyone that is familiar at all with the dynamics of all this political wrangling and maneuvering understands that people’s reluctance to get involved in something of this magnitude always favors the one seeking to take control. It is a fact.

    There are usually a few that will see what is going on and voice those concerns and then it is up to the grassroots as to how they will respond. Some of that is beginning to play out now. We will simply have to see what happens in the months to come. Time is on Mohler’s side and I believe he knows it. He and others have done a masterful job. If the SBC heads into Baltimore on its current course, I believe the SBC will leave there forever changed. Hopefully the rapture will take most of us out of here before that convention.


    • Casey says:


      Blanket generalizations in public conversations [i.e. a blog like this] can be dangerous. If specific individuals were in mind that’s fine, but choosing to carpet bomb the crowd probably isn’t the best strategy.

      I don’t think the ploughshares comment was late, especially if, as you claim, swords haven’t been drawn yet. Just because there is more than could be said than the “Traditional Statement” doesn’t mean that lines haven’t been drawn in the sand. My reference was geared more toward the often heated nature of the debate, not the theological content per se. Dr. Greg Wills has a fascinating read on the history of SBTS, in which he chronicles the story of the SBC and gives a detailed history of the underpinnings behind Mohler’s ascent to the presidency. Of course it was strategic, I would hope every appointment made in an SBC seminary would be strategic. Dr. Paige Patterson at SWBTS was a strategic appointment. I would assume the Atlantic Coast College of the Bible and Seminary would make strategic appointments as well.

      I’m with you on the grassroots approach to change. Let’s pray for deep roots so the grass doesn’t wither.

      Sidenotes and Curiosities:
      In what ways will the SBC be “forever changed”? I’d highlight again Wills’ book on the SBTS as a great example of the change of course that can be wrought in a ship as large as the SBC.

      I’m not pre-trib or pre-mil. Though I’m open to being corrected in mid-air, should that day come. 🙂

  8. sbcissues says:

    Thanks for the civility of the dialogue. The strategy that I am speaking of is that which has taken place since Dr. Mohler’s assent at Southern. There is a concerted effort by some to do with the SBC what he has done with SBTS. In March of 2000, Al Mohler in a Founders’ Day address at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was highly critical of E Y Mullins’ influence in leading to what he termed “An ‘autonomous individualism’ that has ‘infected’ the Southern Baptist Convention through the doctrine of soul competency and driven Southern Baptists of the 20th century away from biblical authority.” I believe he and others are determined to right the SBC ship and bring it to the reformed position he believes is more Scriptural.

    I do not believe that to be the case. The strategic placement of individuals is far more reaching than appointments in the seminaries. The calvinistic influence is now firmly planted in all of the entities. Key individuals have been and continue to be very successfully placed in the various entities of the SBC. Committee appointees are being carefully chosen and the impact of those appointments are becoming more and more evident. The non-calvinist contingency has been lax in their engagement and as a result are suffering the ramifications of not doing so.

    The question that is yet to be determined is can the non-calvinist contingency turn the tide at this point? The old saying, “too little too late” may well be the case. As I see it, only God can keep the SBC from becoming a reformed convention now. 23 months is a very short time to undo what has been being done over the last 10+ years.

    I like your statement, “I’m open to being corrected in mid-air, should that day come. 🙂 ” When it comes, a lot of things will no doubt be corrected! Won’t be any calvinists in heaven like there won’t be any atheists in hell. We will ALL know better! 😮


  9. Bob,

    Do you think four-point Calvinists should be expected to identify themselves as such when talking with a church search committee? Why not four-point Arminians, especially when the fifth point was left open-ended by the original Arminians such that holding to eternal security does not contradict the teachings of Arminius?

  10. sbcissues says:

    If I know that my theological position is markedly different from a church that is considering calling me their pastor, NO MATTER WHAT THOSE THEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES ARE… I believe it is MY RESPONSIBILITY to share those differences in advance of being called to be that church’s pastor.

    Period. This is especially true where calvinism is concerned. I have heard a lot of the pat answers: “I am not what THEY think I am as a calvinist.” “It is every pastor’s responsibility to lead the church from where they are to a more Biblical position.” “Every pastor ought to be focused on leading the church to be gospel centered.” “If they don’t ask, I am not going to bring it up.” The pastor search committee was not that thorough.”

    Chris, we both know calvinism is an issue in the SBC community. Guys can dance around their responsibility all they want to and they are the ones who will stand before God one day and have to give an answer for what they did and how they did it.

    I am kind of confused as to the relevance of your question to this article. My point in THIS article has to do with calvinists continuing to call non-calvinists all kinds of names that they themselves repeatedly deny. It is as if some of you guys seem to know more about what we think that we do.

    And, seems to me the Scripture is clear when it says, if what you are doing offends your brother then you ought to stop it. Now we can disagree on our interpretations of the Scripture; but to repeatedly call the other group names and tag them with labels is demeaning and I believe intentionally so directed, which is unbecoming of a Christian.

    That is what this post addresses.


    • Bob,

      You want people to take the label Calvinists even if they don’t want it (and even if they don’t agree with all 5 points), while defending other people from having to take the label Arminian or semi-Pelagian if they don’t want it. There’s an inconsistency here.

  11. sbcissues says:


    I said if one’s theology is different from the church they are looking at pastoring THAT PERSON OUGHT TO SHARE THOSE DIFFERENCES WITH THE COMMITTEE BEFORE BECOMING THE CHURCH’S PASTOR. I answered the question YOU asked me about. If you do not want to call yourself a calvinist, I don’t care. If you hold to the Doctrines of Grace and a church you are going to pastor does not, then I think it is imperative you discuss it with the committee UP FRONT.

    If you believe that it is God and God alone who determines who is and is not saved and you KNOW the church that is looking at you as their future pastor does not understand the salvific process to be that way, THEN I believe YOU ought to discuss that with the committee BEFORE you go to be on staff with the church. If you are concerned about what they might think if you did reveal it to them, then that is reason enough to discuss it with them!

    For the record, I am not interested in calling anyone anything they themselves do not do identify with themselves. It is not an issue with me.

    My issue is with how those who are promoting calvinism in the entities of the SBC are positioning themselves in the entities and how the influx of that influence has the potentiality to lead the SBC of tomorrow. That is a very real present danger and it is what it is. You are in favor of the changes that are being wrought and I am not. You are in support of those who are positioning themselves in the various entities and I am not. You are welcome to share your support and I am welcome to voice my opposition.

    Your continued use of labels are intentionally derogatory and not at all appreciated nor necessary or beneficial. Let me give you an example. I could remind you that the folks of the Westboro Baptist Church are calvinist. 5 point calvinist. In a 92-page publication “God Loves Everyone — The Greatest Lie Ever Told” Phelps speaks of his theology and to the use of world in John 3:16… he notes that Jesus is not speaking of the people of the world… but rather “the world of believers” (whether they are Jews or Gentiles). Those are the people God loves. Those are the people for whom Jesus died. Jesus didn’t come to condemn those people – He came to save them. But everyone else is already condemned, because they don’t believe.”

    Guess what, look at this next argument, “You’ll say “but doesn’t ‘whosoever believes’ mean that everybody has the chance to believe?” Nope. Turn a few pages to John 10 (you may be surprised to find that there is actually more to the Bible than John 3:16, but believe me, there is). You will find in John 10:11 that Jesus says “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Later on in verse 26, Jesus says to some unbelievers: “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” Sound familiar?

    He continues, “Furthermore, the only people who can believe are the ones whom God has ordained to eternal life. “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48. So, if you have been ordained to eternal life, that means that you will believe, you are one of God’s sheep, God loves you, and He sent His Son to die for you so you wouldn’t be condemned. If you have not been ordained to eternal life, that means you are not one of His sheep, you NEVER will believe and are already condemned.”

    You can read more on this at the following link, There is a link to part 2 on that link as well.

    Now… my point is this: your argument in continuing to label the majority of Southern Baptists and especially the signatories of the Traditional Statement on Salvation as ‘semi-pelagian” simply because you are seeking to discredit them and your reasoning for doing so is “if the label fits then you have to wear it.” Well, I can do the same thing with the association of these radicals and their affinity to calvinism. You will cry to high heaven saying that is an unfair association and any effort on my part to seek to tie this group to calvinists is unfair. The problem is, while your argument of our being semi-pelagian is questionable at best, Westboro’s calvinism is not debatable.

    The truth is as you see it, anyone who does not believe in the tenet of total depravity and inability, is semi-pelagian. There are similarities… but as you will see, similarities are not the whole story. You believe some of the same things Phelps believes and uses to frame his convictional actions, controversial as they are. However, we would both agree that you and he do not share the same theological convictions and draw the same conclusions. The differences are what separate you both.

    So the similarities are only one side of the association of labels. The differences also must be taken in to consideration before labels are to be applied. For example, you have fingers, toes, a head, a brain, ears, teeth and two arms and two legs and walk upright. That does not mean that you are a monkey. You see even though those similarities are the same, the differences distinguish us and keep us from being called monkeys.

    The differences we propose as non-calvinists distinguish us from being called semi-pelagian but you do not seem to be able to accept that fact and relish in continuing to level the charge and that is as far as I am concerned as egregious as me claiming you and Phelps share the same theology. Get the picture?

    If the label fits, well I hope you get the picture… since you seem so bent on forcing the issue.


  12. reyjacobs said “Calvinists treat being human as a sin.”

    Interesting observation…. or opinion of observation. That would point to what I’ve told you about Genesis 6.

  13. Please correct me if & where I am wrong. I am not a calvinist. I am a Biblicist/Traditionalist.
    Before Augustine, John Calvin, Arminius, & Pelegius, there existed the Church that was
    founded on that day of Pentecost. That Church was Biblicistic, & I believe that Church stood for
    & taught what I call Biblicistical Theology. With the arrival of Augustine & others, The Biblicistic
    Theology was covered up, buried, and/or put to death. The name of Traditionalist is, to me, just a
    replacement for the word biblicist.
    The term pelegian refers to a time long after the Biblicistic Church went under ground. It
    also relates to a Calvinistic paradigm. Traditionalists are people who do not follow ANYONE
    from the time of the Calvin/Arminian problem! We follow Biblicistic Theology, If you want to label
    us, call us Biblicists. NOT nonCalvinst, not Arminianists, nor any other names smeared with the
    paradigm of the era of John Calvin! There are other views! Break free from your Blinders!
    God bless all,
    John G.

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