Ben Simpson wrote an article in response to one I wrote last week titled, Calvinism in the SBC: A Point of No Return where he took me to task arguing that I ought to leave the SBC. Fine. I normally would not publish this kind of post and the focus of my post has nothing to do with Simpson’s. The purpose of the post is a response to the comments of Chris Roberts who is one of the original authors or owners of SBC Focus.
In the comment section of the article, Chris Roberts a pastor here in Florida (on the gulf side) made some very disturbing statements. It is THIS kind of thinking that is actually the foundation for my conclusions in writing the original article in the first place. If anyone wants to think this revival of reformed theology is no big deal, I have some prime land in south Florida I would like to sell you… just send me a check and we will do the paperwork later.
Here is a portion of some of Robert’s comments.
That would be a universal work to all individuals to call people to salvation, but it doesn’t save anyone nor does it actually begin the work of salvation. If an individual has a peculiar sickness and he sees a commercial on the television for a doctor who can treat his sickness, that commercial hasn’t made the first step to the individual receiving his healing. The process of his healing hasn’t begun until he goes to see the doctor.
In the same way, the Trad statement portrays God as giving the world a commercial about himself: drawing, pleading, wooing, arguing – showing himself to the world the way a business might show themselves through a commercial. But nothing actually starts the work of salvation in an individual’s heart until that individual seeks it out.
This is actually a step removed from Arminianism. Theologically speaking, Arminians are in better shape than the Trad statement. Arminians agree with Calvinists about total depravity and they see the work of salvation beginning with God first changing the human heart – not wooing, not drawing, not calling, not convincing, but actually changing it – in order to enable us to come. Arminians agree that no human is capable of choosing Christ unless God first makes a very real change on his heart. The Traditionalist statement expressly denies this necessity.
I don’t anywhere deny that the person is responding to God, but it is in the same sense that a person picks up the phone to respond to a tv commercial.;God does not initiate the person’s response, the person initiates his own response.
God has offered salvation to all people. Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike agree with this statement. But just offering something is not the same as its application, its power and work on the individual. The Traditionalist statement affirms the offer, but nothing more. For an individual to be saved, he must take the initiative to reach out to God. God does not take hold of his hand, he must take hold of God’s. The offer is out there, but the offer of salvation is not salvation.
The Trad statement is semi-Pelagian. You already know I believe this. I have been quite open about it and have explained it over and over again. Semi-Pelagianism is a step removed from Arminianism. None of this is new.
Identifying disagreements does not destroy unity.
If those kinds of statements, that my theology as expressed to a large degree by the Traditional Statement on Salvation is semi-pelagian and actually worse than Armininism, (that part is fine!) it is the next statement that is disparaging; “Arminians are in better shape than the Trad statement.” Roberts has a disdain for Arminianism so there is no doubt as to his thoughts on the Trad theology. Why on earth would HE want to express theological unity with anyone like that? This is the guy that introduced the resolution for unity in the SBC. This is astounding!
Below are a couple comments I made in response to some of his:
For the record. Your outright ignorance in attributing semi-pelagianism to the traditional statement on salvation is an example of the exaggerated arrogance in the young, restless and reformed group that has been fostered by the influence of calvinism in the SBC over the last 15 years or so…
AND it is symptomatic of the reason I wrote the original article I wrote titled, Calvinism in the SBC: A Point of No Return.
Your response reminds me of Colonel Jessup’s answer in A Few Good Men.
I do not care to have unity with someone that considers my theology heretical and that is exactly what a semi-pelagian charge does.
I do not believe for a nano-second that you do either. Ought to be open about that too.
The SBC is in deep, deep trouble. Let me say this one more time. We may BOTH be wrong but one thing is absolutely crystal clear; we cannot both be right. As Southern Baptists we MUST choose what God we are going to serve; the God that efficaciously calls a select few dead, unregenerate men to life and gives them the faith He requires to become His children or the God who sent His Son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for the sin of anyone who would believe that He is everything He says He is and that He will do everything He says He will do and repents of his sin and asks God for forgiveness and knows that God will hear their prayer, He will forgive their sin and make them part of His forever family.
I believe the latter is the God of creation, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the God of the Bible. He is the God I will continue to serve. This is the theological position I believe needs to be restored to the entities of the SBC before it is too late. We are in the bottom of the 9th inning, two batters are out; the third batter is at the plate and the count is 2 strikes and 2 balls and the score is 3-2 in favor of the calvinists. The game is not over but it is about to be.