A Word of Warning for the Trustees of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention

I have been a Southern Baptist most of my life. I was saved at the age of 10 at a revival meeting in a Southern Baptist church in West Tennessee. I graduated from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee and attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. I am a proud product of Cooperative Program giving. I have been proud of my association with the SBC because of the Cooperative Program and the opportunity it affords so many to partner in sharing the Great Commission in so many ways. Sadly, this attitude is swiftly changing.

I am very concerned about the soon coming election of the next president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. If the trustees look to Louisville for their next president, our church’s giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering will follow our giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering: $1.

I am sick and tired of this ever-growing list of appointees being chosen to lead the entities of the SBC and their ties to Louisville and this Reformed revival in the SBC. I do not believe I will be alone in this position. In fact, I KNOW I will not be alone in this.

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About sbcissues

Interested in bringing the issues facing The Southern Baptist Convention to light.
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71 Responses to A Word of Warning for the Trustees of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention

  1. jvarnon1 says:

    This is absurd. This type of bitterness is so prevalent among the non-Calvinists. Very few, if any, of your reformed brothers are speaking such nonsense. The non-Calvinists have to shoulder some of the blame for the spread or reformed theology. Reformed theology takes expository preaching very serious, and people are now excited to hear the Word of God preached word for word. Topical sermons and shallow theology have dominated the SBC far too long. (And you don’t have to be a Calvinist to preach expository sermons). Non-Calvinists also focus their criticism solely on the issue of election, while ignoring the fact that their Calvinist brothers are preaching Christ-Crucifued, repentance, and forgiveness of sins. People have grown weary of tidy sermons that fail to address the ugliness of the fallen world and constant sales pitches each week from pastors that just want their people to “do more.” I know that I’m generalizing, but I believe my point has been made. Simply put, the Armenians are getting out-preached. Start preaching the Bible and thank God for men who faithfully proclaim God’s Word, Calvinist or not. Preach the Gospel and the SBC will be just fine.

    • sbcissues says:

      Thanks for your generalized comment that has absolutely NO relevance to the topic. My focus is not on election as you suggest; I disagree with ALL 5 POINTS OF CALVINISM. I also disagree from an intellectual and Scriptural view point.

      To suggest that the preaching of calvinists is the answer to the problems in the SBC is very generalized as well. Since I believe their theology is seriously errant, it cannot be expositorily accurate.

      “Preach the Gospel and the SBC will be just fine.” Well apparently that is not the case or I would not have written this article. Little more complicated than you have tried to make it.

      • sethdunn88 says:

        You disagree with once saved, always save (Point “P” on the TULIP)?

        Don’t you disagree with the BFM 2000, then, which all IMB missionaries must affirm?

      • sbcissues says:

        Seth,

        I believe in the eternal security of the believer, the perseverance of the Savior or preservation of the saints. Perseverance of the saints posits an individual may stray into sin but will ultimately repent IF he or she is among the elect. I believe when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the heart of the new born believer, his destiny is eternally secure at that point.

  2. Theo & I totally agree with what you have shared here. And we believe one day we will have to give an account of the stewardship of God’s money. We also believe the majority of the people in the pew have no clue about anything that is going on or even who our leaders are or what they believe as far as Doctrines are concerned. Most Southern Baptist in the pew believe that all other Southern Baptist believe the same way they do on Doctrines. Thanks for your post.
    In Christ
    pam knight

  3. Bob Wheeler says:

    It may be out of my place as someone who is not in the SBC to leave a comment on this issue, but I would like to make an observation. I suspect that sometime within the next five years the SBC will split — over the gay marriage issue. The U.S. Supreme Court will most likely hand down a decision legalizing same sex marriage throughout the US in June, 2015. This will force churches all across the country to decide whether or not to perform such marriages, and most Protestant denominations will split over the issue. Some time after that the biblically orthodox churches will be labeled as bigoted hate groups and will lose their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status and will likely have to learn a whole new way of conducting business.
    Is it not possible that God has sent the Reformed revival precisely to prepare the saints for this? — to teach us to trust in a Sovereign God Who rules all things through His providence? My guess is that the conservative Southern Baptists who wish to remain faithful to God’s Word will tend to become more Calvinistic.

    • Bob,
      I disagree with you. First I do not see thd SBC spliting over the issue of gay marriage. We stand firmly in our posit on this issue. Yes there have been some pastors who have changed their position but those numbers are very very low. Also I do not see many changing their theological position on calvanism simply because situations have changed. We are firm in our theology and the Bible has not changed. I too get worried about all our appiontees coming from the reformed school. How ever I do not think that punnishing our missionaries is the right way. These people are on the front lines of ministry spreading the gospel.

    • sbcissues says:

      standingfirminfaith

      It is time to get the trustees’ attention. As long as there is chatter and the money continues to flow then nothing is going to change; I am confident that the leaders of the reformed revival in the SBC know the dollars are going to slow down at some point but they also know that 60% is still more than they could raise if they tried to do it on their own.

      The real sad part of this is that they are correct.

  4. rhutchin says:

    OK. I’m lost. What would change in the IMB with new leadership? World missions would still be world missions wouldn’t it?

  5. sethdunn88 says:

    Did you have a problem with “Louisville” when Mohler ran off the liberals who didn’t even be love scripture or just now with all the Calvinists who affirm innerancy?

  6. John C says:

    You know Lottie Moon was a Calvinist, right?

  7. Bill Conover says:

    So, ungodly strong-arm tactics and extortion is the proper response to a theological disagreement?
    The politics of the SBC arminian can be compared to that of liberal Democrat.

    Way to represent.
    smh

  8. Bob Wheeler says:

    Dr. Hadley,
    You say you went to Louisville Seminary. If you don’t mind my asking, what were they teaching there between James P. Boyce (who was a Calvinist) and Al Mohler (who is a Calvinist)? E.Y. Mullins? Where did the “traditional Southern Baptist understanding of the gospel” come from? What did they use there as a Systematic Theology text when you were there?

  9. Pulpit & Pen says:

    Lottie Moon was a calvinist…..

    • It is only God who saves…and God can even work through someone who is wrong in their Doctrines…but I believe He would have people in Leadership positions and everywhere else share a Gospel that is consistent with His Character. ….just because someone is famous and their name has been remembered down through history doesn’t mean they were correct in all of their Doctrine….God can use whatever or whoever He wants….from a burning bush to a donkey…He is God…but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look for Leaders that share a Gospel consistent with the Character of God….
      In Christ
      pam knight

      • Les Prouty says:

        Hi Pam. You said, “but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look for Leaders that share a Gospel consistent with the Character of God….”

        Do you believe that we Calvinists actually believe and share a false gospel?

      • Les, anyone who preaches that Jesus Christ did not die for everyone (1 John 2:2) is sharing a false Gospel….anyone who preaches contrary to the Truth that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9) is preaching a false Gospel….anyone who preaches that regeneration precedes Faith (Acts 2:37-38) is sharing a false Gospel….and anyone who preaches that man is incapable of freely responding to the Gospel (Romans 1:18-32) is preaching a false Gospel….and anyone who preaches that man cannot reject the Gospel (Matthew 23:37) is preaching a false Gospel….that is what I believe God has told us in His Word. (Romans 1:16)
        In Christ
        pam knight

      • sbcissues says:

        Sup Lester!

        We DO share differing gospel implications. One of us is terribly errant.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Hey Bob. Well I was asking Pam whether she thinks we Calvinists believe and share a FALSE gospel, not differing gospel implications. I’m still hoping she will come back here and reply.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Pam,

        Thank you for your clarity. It is apparent that you don’t count me and most Calvinists as brothers and with Paul would pronounce anathema on us for preaching another (false) gospel. I’m sorry to hear that and it saddens me to see a mainstream Southern Baptist regard me and most other Calvinists as preachers of a false gospel.

        I probably should respond to each of your markers for determing who is a false gospel preacher. My reply will be in ALL CAPS.

        “Les, anyone who preaches that Jesus Christ did not die for everyone (1 John 2:2) is sharing a false Gospel WELL THAT’S ME BECAUSE IN SPITE OF YOUR REFERENCE HERE, THE BIBLE DOES NOT TEACH THAT JESUS PUT AWAY THE SINS OF ALL PEOPLE OF ALL TIME AND REMEBERS THEIR SIN NO MORE.

        “anyone who preaches contrary to the Truth that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9) is preaching a false Gospel” I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE WITH THAT VERSE AND I DO NOT TEACH CONTRARY TO IT. NEITHER DOES CALVINISM.

        anyone who preaches that regeneration precedes Faith (Acts 2:37-38) is sharing a false GospeL I’M GUILTY AGAIN AS ARE SO MANY SOUTHERN BAPTISTS CURRENTLY AND BEFORE YOU. YOU HAVE THROWN A LOT OF PREACHERS UNDER THE HERESY BUS ON THIS ONE.

        “and anyone who preaches that man is incapable of freely responding to the Gospel (Romans 1:18-32) is preaching a false GospeL” WHEW! I’M SO GLAD I PREACH, AS DOES CALVINISM, THAT MAN IS CAPABLE OF FREELY RESPONDING TO THE GOSPEL.

        “and anyone who preaches that man cannot reject the Gospel (Matthew 23:37) is preaching a false Gospel….that is what I believe God has told us in His Word. (Romans 1:16)” WHEW AGAIN! CALVINISM ABSOLUTELY TEACHES THAT MAN CAN REECT THE GOSPEL.

        SO LOOKS LIKE I AND OTHER CALVINISTS ARE ONLY GUILTY ON TWO OR YOUR COUNTS OF PREACHING A FALSE GOSPEL.

        I SUPPOSE YOU SHOULD PRAY FOR CALVINISTS TO BECOME CHRISTIANS.

      • Les, I am sorry if I have given you the impression that I do not consider you a brother in the Lord. I have no way of knowing that. I have never met you or been a part of your life and only God knows the heart of anyone. I simply believe that anyone who teaches these doctrines are in error and just need other brothers & sisters in the Lord to pray for them and keep sharing the Truth with them . It is God who is at work and the Holy Spirit is the one who who reveals and teaches all Truth we are simply the vessel with which He works through.
        I know that Calvinist believe that He died for “the church” “His sheep” & “the elect” and I agree with Calvinist on that but as 1John 2:2 clearly states “not for just them but for the sins of the whole world”
        I also know that Calvinist believe that God “is not willing that any……of the elect……should perish but that all should come to repentance” Because they believe that 2 Peter 3:9 was written to only the church, the elect and not to the unregenerate. But That scripture couldn’t be more clear that it is meant for not only those who had been saved but to the whole world of unregenerate people.
        So when you say you totally agree with that are you saying you agree that that scripture is talking to not just the elect, or to His sheep , or to the Church, or chosen but also to the whole world of lost people….the “whosoevers” ?
        You are right faith is a gift that God has given not just born-again believers but as Genesis 1:26-27 explain God created man in the likeness & image of The GodHead (us, our) and 1 Thes.5:23 tells us that our bodies consist of spirit, soul, & body. Well we know that the Bible tells us that God is invisible Col. 1:15,1 Ti. 1:17….or a Spirit John 4:24….and we know God has a mind, emotion & will…which we all know is what the soul consist of……a soul is God’s and our ability …to think, to decide, and to choose …..and by doing that God gave everyone the ability to have & exercise faith. Because it is not about the gift but the giver of the gift. Because it is not about faith but it is about the OBJECT of our faith. God created everyone with the ability to exercise faith when He created them with a mind, emotion, & will (soul). Since everyone has the ability to exercise faith the important thing is this…..who or what is the OBJECT of our faith. When God created man in the garden he taught man alot of things about who and what He was as God and what He wanted Man to do and how He wanted man to do it. And for a while, we don’t know really how long, but for awhile man BELIEVED OR had FAITH IN what God was teaching him and telling him to do. Adam obeyed God and was living by FAITH (listening to God, believing, and doing what God said) but then one day satan came along and began to teach & tell man something different to believe & do and we all know what happened that day in the garden….BY FAITH man believed a lie and exercised FAITH by obeying the lie and eating of the forbidden fruit. Faith is this = total belief in and obedience to someone or something THAT envokes the activity of that person or thing on your behave. To have faith in someone means that that person is at work doing something on your behave…..it is not you doing anything…..someone can give me fact proven details about a chair and how it is made of super strength steel that has held up ten thousand pounds and even show me that by putting ten thousand pounds on it….and they may totally convience me beyond a shadow of a doubt that what they are telling me is true….but if all that takes place is that they have convienced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that that chair can hold me up if I sit in it….then I have not exercised faith in that chair…unless I go ahead and actually sit down in the chair I can never claim to have faith in that chair…..I can say I believe the facts about that chair but I don’t have FAITH IN the chair….why ? because it is impossible for me to exercise faith in a chair while standing….. and if I do exercise faith and sit down in that chair….it is not MY FAITH that is holding me up is it ?…..not…it is the chair that is holding me up….the chair is doing all the work…not me…..it is the OBJECT of my faith that is at work on my behave…I have said all this about Faith because I believe Calvinist have a wrong picture of Faith and how it works. No one can deny the fact that beginning as just babies everyone lives a life of faith. Everyone lives BY FAITH all the time….saved or lost…..we all live by faith…faith in our mommies & daddies..faith in our doctors..cars….even in that old rocking chair at grandmas…so yes I believe faith is a gift that God has given everyone….the important thing is who or what we put our faith in…the OBJECT of our faith is what counts….the giver not the gift….and again on the names I have threw under the bus….there is a name above every name and that name is Christ Jesus The Lord…..
        I know that Calvinist believe that man can only freely respond AFTER they have been regenerated.
        I know that Calvinist believe that man CANNOT reject God if God is drawing him and convicting him and sharing the gospel with him with the desire that that man will repent and be saved. I know that because of their belief in irresistable Grace. I have a special place in my heart for Calvinist and for praying for Calvinist….because a few years ago our oldest son got side tracked by these errors in doctrine and is what his dad and I would call a hyper-Calvinist. Of course he says he is not a hyper-Calvinist……he doesn’t even like to be called Calvinist…..he just preaches the Doctrines of Grace……but he is the Pastor of a Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Missouri….so I don’t hate or think all Calvinist are lost…..but I do believe they are in error in their Doctrines according to scripture and we just need to keep on sharing the Truth with them and lifting them up in prayer with the desire that they will one day see the Truth and that very Truth will set them free.
        Les, I’ll pray for you as I hope you will pray for me as we both seek Christ and His Truth…for He is The Truth we seek.

        Bob, I do believe all of God’s workings in and through man is by His Spirit…Man apart from God can do nothing….the very same nothing that Jesus claimed about His self in John 5:19,30….
        and Bob, I don’t believe scripture teaches that people go to hell BECAUSE of their sin….because Jesus did pay it all….Jesus did die for the sin of the whole world…and no one will be paying for their sins in hell….people are in hell BECAUSE they rejected the blood payment for their sins…people are in Hell BECAUSE they rejected Jesus God’s Only Son…..Jesus IS salvation….Jesus is the GIFT……Jesus is the propitiation for sin…..reject Him and you will spend an eternity in Hell……it is like a person with cancer….the doctor says I can cut that cancer out of you and you will be completely void of cancer….but that person rejected that offer andsoon after that died ….now that person didn’t die BECAUSE of cancer that person died BECAUSE he rejected the cure for cancer……
        and I believe I shared about the ability or inability in my response to Les.
        I do believe in revivals….and I pray that everyone within the SBC would be refreshed by the Spirit of God and His Truth…..and I include myself in that….
        I could go on forever talking with you…..I love sharing Christ and His plan and purpose in creating man….and how He has provided His very own Son to accomplish that plan and purpose first by sending Him to earth as a baby and then raising Him from the grave so that He could send Him right back to us by His Holy Spirit coming to live inside of us…..God, who is invisible, created man in such a way and fashion so that He as The Invisible God could live inside of man and in a love relationship with the man He created, He could reveal who and what He is to the world. So that an invisible God could be seen in and through a physical body. A body that He created soley for His own Glory. A body that God wanted to have a relationship with. Where the man He created and FIRST LOVED & REACHED OUT TO would BE ABLE to respond bacl to Him out of
        Love for
        Obedience to
        And Dependance on
        His Son Jesus Christ alone…..His Son Jesus Christ would Live the Christian Life in and through man as man yields his body as an empty vessel to Christ…..Christ who IS THE CHRISTIAN LIFE and man yielded to Him as instruments of HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS…..now Calvinist ought to like that….because it is …ALL CHRIST ALONE……keep me in your prayers as I continue to share the Truth of …..God In The Man…
        In Christ
        pam knight

      • Ken Miller says:

        Pam Knight

        Your comments here and in the following one in response to Les are extremely profound and accurate.

        Too bad multitudes of other SBCers are not willing to stand up for God’s word as clearly and unambiguously.

        I have already taken steps to assure that none of my contributions are available to the NAMB and the SBC leadership and will follow closely to determine if the IMB follows the same principles as the NAMB and SBC leadership. If they do, I will also exclude the IMB from my offerings.

        May God bless you as you continue to speal out for the Lord.

        With gratitude,
        Ken Miller

      • Ken Miller says:

        Pam Knight

        Sorry, the word in the last sentence should read “speak” instead of “speal.”

        My proffreading is obviously not what it should be.

        Ken

      • Les Prouty says:

        Pam, thank you for your kind reply. I left for Haiti Sunday morning and have limmited (and expensive) access to internet thru Wednesday. I hope to have a longer reply late in the week. God bless you.

        Les

      • Les Prouty says:

        Pam, I’m back from Haiti and again thank you for your kind remarks. I’d like to reply to what you said by again using ALL CAPS. The use of all caps is in no way intended to be “shouting” online. Just much easier for me to distinguish my remarks from yours.

        I simply believe that anyone who teaches these doctrines are in error and just need other brothers & sisters in the Lord to pray for them and keep sharing the Truth with them . It is God who is at work and the Holy Spirit is the one who who reveals and teaches all Truth we are simply the vessel with which He works through.

        NOW THAT’S MUCH BETTER. TO SAY WE ARE IN ERROR IS A) QUITE POSSIBLE AND B) LESS OFFENSIVE THAT SAYING WE PREACH A FALSE GOSPEL. THE TRUTH IS THAT CALVINISTS PREACH THE SAME GOSPEL AS NON CALVINISTS…NAMELY THAT JESUS CAME TO SAVE SINNERS (TO USE A BIBLICAL PHRASE) AND THAT SALVATION IS BY GRACE ALONE THROUGH FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE. THAT’S THE SAME AS YOU BELIEVE. THE DISAGREEMENT IS IN OUR PRIOR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS BEHIND THAT. I.E. FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE, ETC.

        I know that Calvinist believe that He died for “the church” “His sheep” & “the elect” and I agree with Calvinist on that but as 1John 2:2 clearly states “not for just them but for the sins of the whole world”

        AND THIS IS ONE OF THOSE BEHIND THE SCENES ISSUES. WHETHER I BELIEVE THAT THAT VERSE TEACHES THAT JESUS PAID FOR THE SINS OE EVERY INDIVIDUAL WHO EVER LIVED OR NOT HAS NO BEARING AND IN NO WAY CAN AFFECT THINGS WHEN I TELL SOMEONE THAT JESUS CAME TO SAVE SINNERS OF EVERY RACE, CREED, COLOR, SEX, ETC.

        IF GOD IS GOING TO SAVE THAT PERSON I COULD TELL THEM SOMETHING TRULY BIZARRE SUCH AS, “WELL THE BIBLE SAYS THAT JESUS WAS GOD, BUT I DON’T BELIEVE THAT AND IT SAYS THAT HE CAME TO DIE AND RISE FROM THE DEAD SO THAT SINNERS CAN BE SAVED, BUT I DON’T BELIEVE THAT EITHER AND IT SAYS THAT ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS HAVE FAITH IN HIS JESUS BUT I DON’T BELIEVE THAT EITHER. HEY FRIEND THAT STUFF IS ALL HOGWASH!” AND YOU KNOW WHAT? AS MESSED UP AS THAT WOULD BE, GOD CAN STILL SAVE THAT PERSON!

        I also know that Calvinist believe that God “is not willing that any……of the elect……should perish but that all should come to repentance” Because they believe that 2 Peter 3:9 was written to only the church, the elect and not to the unregenerate. But That scripture couldn’t be more clear that it is meant for not only those who had been saved but to the whole world of unregenerate people.

        WELL DEAR SISTER, IT IS NOT AS CLEAR AS YOU STATE IT. IF IT WERE SO CLEAR, THEN VERY CAPABLE AND GODLY AND LEARNED THEOLOGIANS WOULDN’T DISAGREE WITH YOU.

        So when you say you totally agree with that are you saying you agree that that scripture is talking to not just the elect, or to His sheep , or to the Church, or chosen but also to the whole world of lost people….the “whosoevers” ?

        I BELIEVE THAT THE PASSAGE TEACHES THAT GOD IS NOT WILLING THAT ANY OF HIS PEOPLE WILL PERISH. IF HE IS TRULY **WILLING** THAT NONE WOULD PERISH, NONE WOULD PERISH.

        You are right faith is a gift that God has given not just born-again believers but as Genesis 1:26-27 explain God created man in the likeness & image of The GodHead (us, our) and 1 Thes.5:23 tells us that our bodies consist of spirit, soul, & body. Well we know that the Bible tells us that God is invisible Col. 1:15,1 Ti. 1:17….or a Spirit John 4:24….and we know God has a mind, emotion & will…which we all know is what the soul consist of……a soul is God’s and our ability …to think, to decide, and to choose …..and by doing that God gave everyone the ability to have & exercise faith.

        YES FAITH IS A GIFT FROM GOD. WE AGREE ON THAT. BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT EVERY HUMAN EVER BORN SINCE ADAM (SAVE ONE) IN HIS OR HER NATURAL BORN STATE CAN DECIDE FOR HIMSELF IF HE OR SHE WILL BECOME A CHRISTIAN. EVERY PERSON EVER BORN (SAVE ONE) IS BORN AS AN ENEMY OF GOD AND HATES THE THINGS OF GOD AND LOVES THE DARKNESS, NOT THE LIGHT. IT TAKES A TRULY SUPERNATURAL OCCURRENCE UPON A GOD HETER TO CHANGE THAT GOD HATER SO THAT THE GOD HETER WILL THEN WILLINGLY AND ENTHUSIASTICALLY EXERCISE BY HIS OR HER WILL TO BELIEVE THE GOSPEL AND BECOME A GOD LOVER.

        Because it is not about the gift but the giver of the gift. Because it is not about faith but it is about the OBJECT of our faith. God created everyone with the ability to exercise faith when He created them with a mind, emotion, & will (soul). Since everyone has the ability to exercise faith the important thing is this…..who or what is the OBJECT of our faith. When God created man in the garden he taught man alot of things about who and what He was as God and what He wanted Man to do and how He wanted man to do it. And for a while, we don’t know really how long, but for awhile man BELIEVED OR had FAITH IN what God was teaching him and telling him to do. Adam obeyed God and was living by FAITH (listening to God, believing, and doing what God said) but then one day satan came along and began to teach & tell man something different to believe & do and we all know what happened that day in the garden….BY FAITH man believed a lie and exercised FAITH by obeying the lie and eating of the forbidden fruit. Faith is this = total belief in and obedience to someone or something THAT envokes the activity of that person or thing on your behave. To have faith in someone means that that person is at work doing something on your behave…..it is not you doing anything…..someone can give me fact proven details about a chair and how it is made of super strength steel that has held up ten thousand pounds and even show me that by putting ten thousand pounds on it….and they may totally convience me beyond a shadow of a doubt that what they are telling me is true….but if all that takes place is that they have convienced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that that chair can hold me up if I sit in it….then I have not exercised faith in that chair…unless I go ahead and actually sit down in the chair I can never claim to have faith in that chair…..I can say I believe the facts about that chair but I don’t have FAITH IN the chair….why ? because it is impossible for me to exercise faith in a chair while standing….. and if I do exercise faith and sit down in that chair….it is not MY FAITH that is holding me up is it ?…..not…it is the chair that is holding me up….the chair is doing all the work…not me…..it is the OBJECT of my faith that is at work on my behave…I have said all this about Faith because I believe Calvinist have a wrong picture of Faith and how it works. No one can deny the fact that beginning as just babies everyone lives a life of faith. Everyone lives BY FAITH all the time….saved or lost…..we all live by faith…faith in our mommies & daddies..faith in our doctors..cars….even in that old rocking chair at grandmas…so yes I believe faith is a gift that God has given everyone….the important thing is who or what we put our faith in…the OBJECT of our faith is what counts….the giver not the gift….and again on the names I have threw under the bus….there is a name above every name and that name is Christ Jesus The Lord…..

        I HAVE ACTUALLY USED THE CHAIR ANALOGY MYSELF IN MY GOSPEL PRESENTATION (AS A CALVINIST). BUT THE KIND OF FAITH YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT (Everyone lives BY FAITH all the time….saved or lost…..we all live by faith…faith in our mommies & daddies..faith in our doctors..cars….even in that old rocking chair at grandmas…so yes I believe faith is a gift that God has given everyone) IS NOT SUPERNATURAL. THAT IS LIKE THE “FAITH” I PUT IN AMERICAN AIRLINES YESTERDAY TO GET ME BACK FROM HAITI. YES I HAD ENOUGH TRUST TO GET ON THE PLANE. I HAD TRUST OR FAITH IF YOU WILL, IN HE PILOTS TO FLY US HOME SAFELY. BUT THAT IS REALLY JUST A HOPE. IT’S A HUMAN EMOTION VOID OF 100% CERTAINTY. THE ONLY 100% CERTAINTY IS GOD AND HIM DOING WHAT HE HAS DECLARED HE’D DO, NAMELY SAVE SINNERS WHO COME TO HIM IN FAITH. PROBLEM IS, NO ONE WANTS TO COME TO HIM IN FAITH. REMEMBER, THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT WE ALL ARE GOD HATERS PRIOR TO CHRIST. I DIDN’T MAKE THAT UP. THAT’S WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS. THIS POINT IS IMPORTANT. YOU AND I HAVE VASTLY DIFFERENT VIEWS ON WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT MAN’S FALLEN CONDITION. AND THAT DIFFERENCE IS THE CRUX OF THE MATTER BETWEEN CALVINISTS AND YOUR VEW, BOB’S VIEW AND SO MANY OTHER NON CALVINISTS.

        I know that Calvinist believe that man can only freely respond AFTER they have been regenerated. TRUE. SPIRITUALLY DEAD MEN CANNOT AND DON’T WANT TO RESPOND TO GOD. THE BIBLE SAYS THAT HEY CAN’T UNDERSTAND THE THINGS OF GOD OTHER THAN MERE INTELLECTUAL INFORMATION. BUT THAT MERE INTELLECTUAL INFO IS NOT ENOUGH TO SAVE THEM.

        I know that Calvinist believe that man CANNOT reject God if God is drawing him and convicting him and sharing the gospel with him with the desire that that man will repent and be saved. I know that because of their belief in irresistable Grace. ULTIMATELY, YES THAT’S TRUE.

        I have a special place in my heart for Calvinist and for praying for Calvinist….because a few years ago our oldest son got side tracked by these errors in doctrine and is what his dad and I would call a hyper-Calvinist. Of course he says he is not a hyper-Calvinist……he doesn’t even like to be called Calvinist…..he just preaches the Doctrines of Grace……but he is the Pastor of a Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Missouri….so I don’t hate or think all Calvinist are lost…..but I do believe they are in error in their Doctrines according to scripture and we just need to keep on sharing the Truth with them and lifting them up in prayer with the desire that they will one day see the Truth and that very Truth will set them free.
        Les, I’ll pray for you as I hope you will pray for me as we both seek Christ and His Truth…for He is The Truth we seek.

        THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS PAM. IF I’M IN ERROR, I JOIN YOU IN PRAYING THAT I WILL SEE MY ERRORS. BTW, I’M IN MISSOURI, ST. LOUIS AREA. WHAT PART OF MISSOURI DOES YOUR SONE PASTOR ON?

        BLESSINGS,

        LES

  10. Giving less money to missions? Why Bob, one might think you were starting to come around to my way of thinking!

  11. So you will forgo participating with your fellow Southern Baptists in our mission to fulfill the Great Commission because of a disagreement over a theological issue that is inside the lines of orthodoxy? Wasn’t there a certain IMB president who admitted to speaking in tongues? Did you threaten to withhold your churches giving because of that? What if someone in your church designates more than one dollar to the IMB or to NAMB? What will you do then?

    • sbcissues says:

      I can think of a number of theological positions that are “inside the lines of orthodoxy.” I will not support them. I do not like calvinism any more than I like catholicism. I can name some more but I do not believe it is necessary.

      If someone designates monies I will cross that bridge IF it happens.

  12. Tyler says:

    “I have been proud of my association with the SBC because of the Cooperative Program and the opportunity it affords so many to partner in sharing the Great Commission in so many ways. Sadly, this attitude is swiftly changing” You should have come to T4G then. The whole conference was about evangelism and the Great Commission. You would have loved it.

  13. Bob Wheeler says:

    Pam,
    Only a Hyper-Calvinist would deny the free offer of the gospel and the sufficiency of the Christ’s death to atone for the sins of the whole world. But most of us Calvinists believe in a vicarious, substitutionary atonement — that the death of Christ was an actual payment for sin. And if Christ died for the whole world in THAT sense, then no one is in hell — their sins have all been paid for. Surely you don’t believe that, do you?
    And only a Pelagian believes that an unregenerate sinner has the natural ability, in and of himself, to respond to the gospel. You don’t believe that either, do you? My Bible says that faith is a gift from God (Acts 13:48; Phil. 1:29). That’s why we pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to accompany the preaching of the Word (I Cor. 2:1-5). You do believe in revival, don’t you?

    • sbcissues says:

      Bob

      You are painting two extremes and then painting the calvinist position as the only option in the middle. You wrote, “But most of us Calvinists believe in a vicarious, substitutionary atonement — that the death of Christ was an actual payment for sin.”

      If that were true as you suggest then there is no need for repentance or regeneration for that matter. If Jesus died on the cross for the sins of a select few then their redemption was completed on the cross. So your own suggestion fails. Now you will answer… no repentance must precede forgiveness. Interesting because that is MY POSITION. That is NOT where our differences lie; the difference lies solely in how one repents and so your vicarious substitutionary atonement position does not address that issue. I believe Jesus died not to pay the penalty for the sins of all men; He died to pay the penalty for those who repent and by faith believe the gospel.

      The pelagian argument is a poor attempt illogically pointed to by calvinists who suggest that as the opposite position to calvinism. Sorry that will NOT Work here.

      • Bob Wheeler says:

        “I believe Jesus died not to pay the penalty for the sins of all men; He died to pay the penalty for those who repent and by faith believe the gospel. ” — That is, in fact, a good statement of the Calvinist doctrine of Limited Atonement.
        As for the Pelagian bit, I am simply asking Pam if she believes that an unsaved person has the natural ability to understand and respond to the gospel. Both Calvinists and Arminians would say “no”; a Pelagian (such as Charles G. Finney, for example), would say “yes.”
        And, in a sense, I am painting two extremes and putting (biblical) Calvinism in the middle. What the two extremes have in common is that they are both trying to be more logical than the Bible. The one side (Hyper-Calvinism) starts with the sovereignty of God and then tries to argue that since God always does exactly what He wants to do, if He does not save everyone it is because He does not want to. Arminians and Pelagians (and they are different from each other — there aren’t too many true Arminians around today in American Evangelical circles) start with human responsibility and then argue that the Bible cannot possibly teach predestination. But we have to look at everything that the Bible says, not just a few of our favorite proof texts — and the Bible paints a more complicated picture.

      • sbcissues says:

        Here is the deal. I do not really believe a “hyper calvinist really exists. I believe a hyper calvinist is a figment of the calvinist’s mind who when he is backed into a corner… he points to the hyper calvinist and says that is what THEY believe. Calvinism is calvinism.

        Now that is not to say that all calvinists are the same because they are not. Calvinism is calvinism. God saves those He has chosen to save and those are the only ones who will be saved and there is no possibility that they will not be saved.

        The opposite of that is may be pelagianism. However just as you suggest, there is a middle ground on BOTH sides. I believe God has chosen to reveal Himself to the world…. to ANYONE who will listen and consider the claims of the gospel given the convicting reconciling work of the Holy Spirit. God has chosen to reveal and reconcile the world unto Himself… both require a response on man’s part and God’s response is conditioned by my response.

  14. Bob Wheeler says:

    Dr. Bob
    You do have Primitive Baptists down in your neck of the woods, don’t you? They are generally considered to be Hyper-Calvinists — they typically deny the free offer of the gospel.

  15. Bob Im sorry but I replied to you at the bottom of my response to Les…..sorry

    • Bob Wheeler says:

      Thanks for pointing out the location of your response — I have to confess that I missed it.
      I have heard a theory similar to yours — that Christ actually paid the price for the sins of the entire human race and that the only reason any one goes to hell is for the sin of rejecting Christ. i believe that Lewis Sperry Chafer advocated something like this.
      The problem with the theory, however, is that there are passages of Scripture that say that the judgment of God falls on sinners because of the various sins that they commit. Paul begins his discussion of justification in Romans by asserting that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men . . . (1:18). He then gives a vivid description of human rebellion, and concludes by saying “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death” (1:32). He then goes on in Chapter 2 to describe the Last Judgment. “But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.” (2:2), and describes “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds . . . Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil … For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law” (vv. 5-12).
      There are also passages which restrict redemption to those who are actually saved: “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Tit. 2:14), and “for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

  16. Alastair says:

    The man who wrote this blog a foolish man in need of repentance.

  17. Frank Morgan says:

    It is interesting to me that the original post used the word “I” 11 times in my quick count and the words God or Christ not once. Without taking either theological side (though I do have one) Therein lies the problem in my estimation.

    • sbcissues says:

      Seems your critique of my remarks fails by the same measure; in fact you used “my or me or I” more times per word than I did in my original article.

      • Frank Morgan says:

        Let’s see:
        Me – once
        I – referring to myself – once (once more referring to the way you used it)
        My – twice
        That’s a total of 4 – so much less than 11. Not only did you miss the point, you also proved you can’t count.

        When people in the SBC stop thinking about I, me and my like you did in your post and start thinking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then and only then will we solve the problems in the SBC. Unless you want to boldly come out and say that God’s will was NOT done in the choice of David Platt then you need to get over yourself and get on board with the leadership of the SBC who were put in place to find the man whom God chose to be the next leader of the IMB. That may or may not have been your personal preference – at this stage what you have control of is whether you are going to respond out of your pride and arrogance or whether you are going to support the decision of our leadership. It is time for all of us to fall on our faces and pray that God will make David Platt into a mighty and powerful and effective tool and leader in directing our missions. We owe him nothing less.

      • sbcissues says:

        ok… some people are slower than others I am sorry for NOT BEING CLEARER.

        You used me or I 4 times in 3 lines and 1 word. I used the same 11 times in 14 lines… which is 3.2 times MORE lines (I am not counting words) than you did. So compare your 4 words in 3 lines to my 11 words in 14 lines, your critique of what I wrote fails by your own measure.

        So lets try not to be so cute in your retort. It is not very becoming.

        You do not know me from Adam… so I personally find your comment, ” at this stage what you have control of is whether you are going to respond out of your pride and arrogance or whether you are going to support the decision of our leadership.” highly offensive.

        The facts are… every hire in the SBC entities with the exception of Frank Page have been calvinists… and I am not at all happy with that… and it does not matter what you or anyone else thinks about it. It has nothing to do with my pride or my position on evangelism or missions. For the record that is why I have been a SB for most of my life.

        I detest calvinism. I am appalled at the level of calvinism in the ranks of the leadeship of the entities of the SBC and again for the record I can care less what you think about my position.

        I do not need you or anyone else telling me what I need to do or not do where my association with the SBC is concerned.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Hey Bob. I know you’re all riled up these days and that you detest Calvinism and all. but this Frank fella? I’ve known him for 26 years. He is a good brother and loves Jesus.

      • sbcissues says:

        Les,

        I appreciate your confirmation on Frank being a brother. I can only respond to what he has written and his very first post was aimed at my character and that is now and was then absolutely unacceptable.

        I will as you well know, discuss theological differences till the cows come home but to come at me with a charge of arrogance and ignorance is absolutely unacceptable. I CAN be arrogant if I try and I am close to trying.

  18. Frank Morgan says:

    You wrote, “I can care less what you think about my position. I do not need you or anyone else telling me what I need to do or not do where my association with the SBC is concerned.”

    Thus my use of the words pride and arrogance. Thank you for proving my point. I do know you. You fully reveal yourself in this blog. You have expressed yourself many times on these pages as someone who is intolerant of the beliefs of other Southern Baptists who equally love the Lord and who happen to interpret the inherent word of God differently than you do. The fact that many who interpret it differently hold leadership positions in the SBC ought to cause you to question your interpretation. Instead it causes you to focus on silliness like “4 words in 3 lines” as if that matters.

    Look at your last post again. It focuses on you and what you think. It does not focus on God or on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Go back and look at most of your posts. They do the same thing. That, my friend, is pride. Your original post was the equivalent of “if they won’t play by my rules, I’m going to take my ball and go home.” Again pride.

    I’ll ask you bluntly: David Platt has now been selected as President of the IMB. Are you as a practicing Southern Baptist willing to give him your full support and cooperation, including financial support? Or, are you going to stand in defiance to the leadership decision of your denomination?

    • sbcissues says:

      Frank,

      You do NOT know me and apparently that includes what I reveal in my blog. We disagree theologically. I detest calvinism. That has nothing to do with personal pride or arrogance. It is a statement. It has NOTHING to do with the condition of my heart nor my relationship with the Lord nor my love for people. I can argue that calvinists are no more tolerant of my theological position than I am theirs OR they would not be so intent on “getting the gospel right” in the SBC. This calvinist revival in the SBC is sickening and for me to simply sit back and casually let it continue to happen without sharing my views would be irresponsible on my part.

      I will defend your right or anyone else’s for that matter to believe what you want to believe. I believe in the priesthood of the believer, which by the way calvinists do not; Mohler and company believe in priesthood of believers… meaning we as individuals need to believe what the whole believes. I disagree. I believe in the autonomy of the local church. If a church wants to be reformed or deformed then so be it. It is not my responsibility to determine what they believe nor is it theirs to determine what I believe when it comes to the message contained in the Word of God.

      That being said, is NOT the same for the SBC. The SBC is an entity set up as a cooperative endeavor of “like minded believers.” We are at a point where we are not “like-minded believers” and the race is now on to move the SBC to a reformed denomination and that is what I write about. Before someone jumps up and makes a big deal of the SBC has always had reformed roots I am well aware of that BUT this most recent revival is far more reaching and far more encompassing than it has EVER BEEN in the SBC. Calvinism today is on the front burner of every aspect of SBC life and that has taken place without any real cooperative effort on anyone’s part. It has been a carefully orchestrated plan on the part of a few and a very successful one at that.

      However, the final chapter has not been written on this issue and I will do everything with in my power to stop this movement.

      • Frank Morgan says:

        When the conservatives properly ran the liberals out of the convention the inevitable but unintended consequence was a return to our Calvinistic roots. After all, when we once again began focusing on what the Bible actually says and once again began interpreting the Bible correctly there would be no other correct alternative but that. So the “revival” is simply a reflection of the conservative movement – nothing more. Now that is my opinion and you obviously disagree with that opinion and we can disagree and still be Christian brothers.

        I agree that you have a right to defend your beliefs but while doing so we also as have a responsibility to support the leadership and programs of our denomination. Dr. Patterson, who very clearly disagrees with David Platt theologically, very eloquently offered him his support on Wednesday in his article 10 Things That We Owe Dr. David Platt.

        My question is, are you willing to do the same? I asked you a blunt question previously and so far you have refused to answer. I’ll ask it again below. You claim I do not “know” you. The answer to this question will reveal to all of us very much where your heart and true motives really are. Here’s the question:

        “David Platt has now been selected as President of the IMB. Are you as a practicing Southern Baptist willing to give him your full support and cooperation, including financial support? Or, are you going to stand in defiance to the leadership decision of your denomination?”

      • sbcissues says:

        When the conservatives properly ran the liberals out of the convention the inevitable but unintended consequence was a return to our Calvinistic roots. After all, when we once again began focusing on what the Bible actually says and once again began interpreting the Bible correctly there would be no other correct alternative but that.

        That is YOUR interpretation. I might argue that cleaning out one demon just opens the door for others.

        I do not believe the Bible pictures God’s gift of salvation as one that He and He alone decides who does and does not repent and is saved. I am sorry. I cannot tolerate that interpretation any more than I can the pope the voice of God in the world.

        So I respectfully disagree with your take on the calvinist revival.

        Will I support David Platt? No. I think I have made myself clear even BEFORE his name was announced. Since he is in my opinion the WORST hire, my position will not change anytime soon.

      • Max says:

        “… the race is now on to move the SBC to a reformed denomination …”

        Brother Bob – With this appointment, Calvinization of the SBC at the national leadership level is now largely complete. Some claim it was a conspiracy by a few intent to change SBC identity, but it has really been an open book. I find it incredible that Dr. Mohler, SBC’s obvious reformed leader, was not challenged in the early days of his rebellion against SBC majority belief and practice. His 1993 convocation address at Southern entitled “Don’t Just Do Something; Stand There!” was filled with warnings which SBC leadership representing a non-Calvinist majority should have more effectively dealt with while the window was open. For example, in his charge to rally his Southern troops around the Abstract of Principles, he made the following statements:

        “The Abstract remains a powerful testimony to a Baptist theological heritage that is genuinely evangelical, Reformed, biblical, and orthodox.”

        “We bear the collective responsibility to call this denomination back to itself and its doctrinal inheritance. This is a true reformation and revival … ”

        That mission has been accomplished in my estimation. Most SBC entities are now under Calvinist leadership, with only a few seminaries straggling behind. It will take a couple of years before majority SBC members in 45,000+ churches to realize what has happened. To date, they have been uninformed, misinformed, or willingly ignorant regarding the trend toward changing SBC belief and practice to a distinctly reformed slant. Only time will tell how Calvinization at the top level will play out in the ministries of millions in the pulpit and pew across North America and on international fields.

        Thank you Brother Bob for your stand. I know your love for Him, the Truth, God’s people, and a lost multitude around the globe has motivated your writing. May God bless your ministry in the days ahead.

      • sbcissues says:

        Thanks brother.

  19. Alastair says:

    Bob Hadley…repent.

  20. Bob Wheeler says:

    I guess my question is this: if David Platt can subscribe to the current version of the Baptist Faith & Message, what’s the problem? Or are you arguing that the SBC isn’t big enough to contain both Calvinists and Arminians, and that BF&M should be amended to make it more explicitly Arminian, and drive the Calvinists out of the Convention?

    • sbcissues says:

      WEll… I am not for the SBC being more arminian than I am calvinist. I understand that in the minds of many that is the breakdown… however nothing could be farther form the truth. You guys all act as if this complaint is an isolated one… but just look at the entities and their calvinist ties… LIfeway… NAMB, SBTS, SEBTS, MEBTS, ERLC, and now IMB.

      Come on… all this did not just happen… the only qualified leaders are calvinst??? I do not think so.

      • Bob Wheeler says:

        I just read with interest your archived blog post about David Platt’s message to the 2012 Pastor’s Conference. I can see where there is a real issue here, but I thought your comments were a little perplexing. On the one hand you agreed that there is a problem with “Easy-Believism,” but then criticized Dr. Platt for questioning the salvation of people who have prayed “The Sinner’s Prayer.” It sounds like you agree with the diagnosis but disagree with the therapy.
        I’m not entirely comfortable with the way Dr. Platt worded some of his comments. Reformed theologians have traditionally distinguished between “historic faith” (a bare profession of faith that rests on social and cultural factors) and “true saving faith.” But how to tell the difference between the two? If you give an invitation and the end of an evangelistic message and ask for an immediate response, don’t you run the risk of encouraging professions of faith before they have truly been convicted of sin? And if someone makes a profession of faith, and is baptized and joins the church, but shows no change of life, what evidence is there that he has been born again?
        This is not a problem for a Presbyterian church — they freely admit that it is impossible to tell the difference and that their church is a mixed multitude of genuine believers and false professors. But Baptists believe in a regenerate church membership — to our way of thinking the new birth should make a visible difference. And thus it is critical to know exactly what the new birth actually is. Is it a real change of heart produced by the Holy Spirit? Or is it some largely invisible, mysterious event that happens after the person has decided, with the free-will that he already had, to “invite Christ into his heart”?
        I also don’t think that there is anything necessarily wrong about praying “the sinner’s prayer,” — provided that it is done sincerely. “They that call upon the Lord shall be saved.” But how do we know if it is sincere? It is here that the spiritual counselor must be careful and exercise some discernment. He needs to take the time to talk with the inquirer to find out what is really going on in his heart — and in some cases his counsel should be to wait — to wait for a genuine work of the Spirit to produce real conviction of sin.
        With a little bit of wisdom and maturity I think that David Platt will be just fine.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob Wheeler,

        I agree with much of what you say on this blog. One thing you said I feel I need to address, speaking as a ruling elder and past teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) since 1992. You said,

        “And if someone makes a profession of faith, and is baptized and joins the church, but shows no change of life, what evidence is there that he has been born again?
        This is not a problem for a Presbyterian church — they freely admit that it is impossible to tell the difference and that their church is a mixed multitude of genuine believers and false professors.”

        This statement may leave the impression that we in the PCA see no problem with false professors of faith. I’m sure you know that isn’t true. The fact is, it is true that we recognize that the visible church on earth is mixed. There are certainly true and false professors in the visible church (local congregations). But that is not because every effort humanly possible guided by the Holy Spirit and the Word is not made to keep admission to the visible church as pure as possible.

        I dare say that very few Baptist churches go to the lengths we go to in membership interviews and classes to ascertain as best as we can that the person professing faith or transferring membership to us is a genuine believer. And, contra most Baptist churches I’m familiar with, we actually practice church discipline, sometimes to the point of excommunication (sadly) when one persists in known, unrepentant public scandalous sin. So it’s not quite right to say that we (PCA) “freely admit that it is impossible to tell the difference and that their church is a mixed multitude of genuine believers and false professors.” Yes, truly there is no way to see in someone’s heart (same limitation for you our Baptist brethren) but that does;t prevent us from sometimes having to judge someone’s repeated, unrepentant behavior and coming to a place where we declare them as an unbeliever and remove them from our midst.

        “But Baptists believe in a regenerate church membership — to our way of thinking the new birth should make a visible difference.”

        We agree that “the new birth should make a visible difference.” But you and I both know that practically Baptists face the same limitations we Presbyterians face…we cannot see inside the heart. The truth is Baptists do not have a 100% regenerate membership. No church does. In fact, Bob H. knows well a fellow named Chris, a former (thankfully) Southern Baptist pastor who recently declared himself an atheist. So these things are not 100%.

        Blessings brother.

      • sbcissues says:

        Bob,

        I understand your perplexity. You are misreading my point. I am not saying that the sinner’s prayer works 100% of the time. I could also say that the sinners prayer and easy believism really have very little to do with each other which is a major plank in Platt’s argument. Understand, much of his message is based on a reformed position where it is God who brings someone to the point of repentance through regeneration and not the message of a preacher asking people to raise their hands if they want to repent and be saved.

        There is MORE to my position than what is written in the article you reference. In all honesty, I am not aware of ANY measuring stick that allows me to determine who is and is not saved. You talk about a changed life that is evidence of a changed heart. I agree that is the way it OUGHT to be but the hard reality is, that is certainly not always the case. The church is a body of baptized believers who are ALL on differing rungs of the ladder of life and just because someone is struggling today does not mean that God through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit may not be bringing His child home. Remember, we actually learn more about God’s marvelous mercy and His amazing grace during times of trial than we do in times of plenty. So while we are supposed to inspect the fruit, we also have to understand that it is God who saves and it is God who sustains the saved.

        Where is the balance there? I do not know.

        Your final comment is interesting as well. You wrote, “in some cases his counsel should be to wait — to wait for a genuine work of the Spirit to produce real conviction of sin.”

        I do not believe it is MY call to determine who God saves and I believe in the work of the Holy Spirit to the point that whatever He does is His doing not mine. Who am I to say that the whole process of one “falsely saying the sinner’s prayer” is not a step in the right direction and the Holy Spirit continues to work in that person’s heart until real repentance takes place?

        We can chase that rabbit all the way to the north pole and than back to the south and not really accomplish much.

        “With a little bit of wisdom and maturity I think that David Platt will be just fine.” I am not that optimistic. I do not believe he is standing on a very solid foundation in calvinism and as such is misguided. I do understand that his evaluation of my position would be very similar; I do believe we are both headed for heaven but not on the same track.

  21. Bob Wheeler says:

    Les,
    I guess my understanding of the issue (I went to Westminster Seminary) is that Presbyterians have been traditionally divided on the issue. As a PCA elder you are undoubtedly familiar with the 19th Century debate over the Revised Book of Church Discipline, which found Thornwell and Dabney on opposite sides of the issue, and with Thornwell sometimes being accused of being a Crypto-Baptist! I think that sometimes Presbyterian apologists have tried to argue that the ideal of a regenerate church membership is unattainable because regeneration is “a secret work of God’s grace,” and therefore a session is not in a position to tell who’s born again and who is not. This type of argument is probably more common in Scotland than it is here in the US. I am also aware that while Presbyterians will baptize infants, they typically look for signs of a genuine conversion when admitting candidates into communicant membership. I think they are being a little inconsistent here, but thankfully so! It means that in actual practice most Bible-believing Presbyterian churches function like believers’ churches. Baptists traditionally have held that no, we cannot know definitively who is regenerate, but what we are looking for is “a credible profession of faith in the judgment of charity.”
    This is where the issue of “Calvinism” may play a part (Calvin would have been mortified to know that people would use his name to refer to a type of theology — isn’t the whole point of Reformed theology “Deo soli gloria”?). If it is true that an unregenerate sinner is totally depraved — spiritually blind and enslaved to sin, and if he is saved by irresistible grace, then we would expect to see a definite change in a person’s life when he comes to know Christ. He has a new nature, new motives, new desires, a new understanding. If, on the other hand, we hold to the more Pelagian type of anti-Calvinism (and I’m not sure exactly where Dr. Hadley stands on this particular issue, but the name of Charles G. Finney certainly comes to mind), then the unregenerate sinner in his natural condition has to have the ability already to repent and believe — presumably God would not command him to do what he did not already have the ability to do. But that raises the question, what exactly is regeneration? The answer is that it is just the human being deciding to change his mind (Finney once preached a controversial sermon on this theme) — there is no change that somehow enables him to do what he could not have done before. What difference, then, does regeneration make? At that point it is virtually impossible to say.
    Admittedly in the case of a new Christian it can be very difficult to tell if his conversion has been real and genuine — he may give every appearance of being a sincere and enthusiastic believer, and it is only when we see a consistent pattern over time that we can see whether or not there has been a difference. But when there is no apparent interest in prayer or personal Bible study, no hunger for the word and no concern for the lost, then frankly there are no signs of spiritual life and no evidence of regeneration — he is still spiritually dead. And I must say I am concerned about churches, and I know plenty of them, where you can get 90% of the congregation out for a fellowship dinner but only 10% out for prayer meeting. If someone genuinely knows the Lord, prayer should be his life-blood. What happened to the other 80%?

    • sbcissues says:

      Bob

      You wrote, “If, on the other hand, we hold to the more Pelagian type of anti-Calvinism (and I’m not sure exactly where Dr. Hadley stands on this particular issue”

      The pelagian position is simple. Man has within himself the ability to repent and approach God ON HIS OWN. I do not believe that to be the case. I also do not believe in total depravity and inability as posited by both calvinism and arminianism.

      I believe man is a sinner and as such is separated from God and cannot approach God on his own. God has chosen to reveal Himself to man thus the initiative is God’s through revelation and then reconciliatory work of the Holy Spirit in reconciling the world unto Him. Both revelation and reconciliation are God’s initiative and both demand a response on man’s part.

      So, while I am not calvinist or arminian and do not accept the tenet of total depravity or inability, I am also not pelagian because I like you believe God must take the initiative in the salvific process and man’s response to His initiative determines His response with respect to forgiveness and one’s being born again.

      My theological position does not fit any of the more common categories most commonly discussed.

    • sbcissues says:

      Bob,

      One other observation with respect to the following statement, which by the way I believe to be 100% accurate… If it is true that an unregenerate sinner is totally depraved — spiritually blind and enslaved to sin, and if he is saved by irresistible grace, then we would expect to see a definite change in a person’s life when he comes to know Christ. He has a new nature, new motives, new desires, a new understanding.

      The problem presented in the statement that you made is that YOUR statement is the LOGICAL CONCLUSION of the process you described. It would make no sense for God to effectually call someone to new life as described in the reformed salvific process and NOT effectually bring about a new creature with a new nature. The problem is, in the calvinist system, effectual call only brings about repentance and new birth not sanctification.

      Before anyone throws me under the bus here… let me explain what I believe is what does take place in the salvific process. God does indeed give the new-born believer a “new nature” but that new nature has to be nurtured and matured. It is a process that begins as the new born believer learns to walk with God. Some begin that journey better than others. Some respond to the power of the gospel better than others but it is the Holy Spirit that takes that person where he or she is and moves them to what He wants them to be as THEY allow Him to do so. Sometimes the process of maturity for one is a much smoother road than it is for another.

      Sometimes the benefits of the Christian life are more evident in one than in others. Sometimes the journey starts out well with some and does not end so well and starts out rocky with others but ends well. That is why I said earlier that I do not believe there is a measuring stick that we can use to determine what God is doing in the heart and life of an individual. We have to walk beside them ALL… warts and all and trust God to do what He does best.

      It would seem to me that this varying process would be difficult to fit into an effectual call scenario as you suggest in your comment that I highlighted. I believe you are correct in asserting God’s initiative in regeneration as posited in calvinism would necessarily demand an effectual synergy in at least the initial steps of sanctification but it is obviously clear that this is not the case in people’s lives.

      Regeneration is monergistic but sanctification which encompasses everything ONCE new birth takes place is synergistic and must be so or else you make God directly responsible for sin in the new born believer. So I believe your statement is actually a stumbling block to the calvinist position because God must be monergistic in sanctification if He is indeed monergistic in conversion. Since He is not monergistic in the latter, then I do not believe it is possible to assert that He is monergistic in the former.

      Just my thoughts to your statement which by the way began with “If it is true that an unregenerate sinner is totally depraved — spiritually blind and enslaved to sin”, which I have already stated I do not believe to be true.

      • Bob Wheeler says:

        It is true that the relationship between regeneration and sanctification can be hard to understand. The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines sanctification as “the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness,” which might give the reader the impression that sanctification is monergistic and that the believer doesn’t have any role in it at all! And yet the great Puritan theologian John Owen could write a whole treatise on “the Mortification of Sin,” based on Rom. 8:13 (“If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live”), in which he talks a great deal about man’s responsibility in the matter.
        In a way this all reflects the way the Bible describes the matter. Paul could point to conversion and say that there are certain things that are necessarily true of a believer, but then go on to exhort believers to live responsibly as Christians. We have “crucified the flesh” (past experience) and “live in the Spirit” (present reality) but are responsible to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:24,25). So, are we sanctified at conversion or aren’t we?
        But that brings us back to the question, what exactly is the change that takes place in the new birth? I think that what we should look for in a new convert is a clear account of spiritual experience — how did he come to be converted? Was there are conviction of sin? A conscience decision to trust in Christ as Savior?
        As for more experienced professing Christians, we should be able to see a consistent pattern of life. The question comes down to this: is he trying to live for Christ or is he living for self? Rather than look for the inevitable failures in the Christian life, we should look for the positive signs of life. The question is, does the professing Christian WANT to please Christ? What are his desires and motives? And where we don’t see any interest in spiritual things — there is no prayer and no time spent in the Word — there is no spiritual life. There is no basis for assurance of salvation.

    • Les Prouty says:

      Hey Bob W.,

      Thanks for your reply. Yes I’m familiar with the history of the issue. Couple of things:

      “I am also aware that while Presbyterians will baptize infants, they typically look for signs of a genuine conversion when admitting candidates into communicant membership. I think they are being a little inconsistent here, but thankfully so! It means that in actual practice most Bible-believing Presbyterian churches function like believers’ churches. Baptists traditionally have held that no, we cannot know definitively who is regenerate, but what we are looking for is “a credible profession of faith in the judgment of charity.””

      I’m not sure I’d agree that this is inconsistent. We genuinely acknowledge that an infant is being admitted to the visible church, just as are adults. We do that knowing that we can’t peer into the heart or the secret things of God. So to me it is understandable to hold out for a credible POF for these infants when they are older. Now, I do have good brothers who also see an inconsistency and go on to paedo communion (though they are not allowed to practice or teach it).

      On the effects of regeneration, I agree with what you wrote. True regeneration, according to the bible, will produce change. It’s not perfect and it has fits and starts and might resemble the graph of the S&P 500 or the Dow over the last 100 years (some ups and downs, but an upward trend for sure). But change nevertheless.

      “But that raises the question, what exactly is regeneration? The answer is that it is just the human being deciding to change his mind (Finney once preached a controversial sermon on this theme) — there is no change that somehow enables him to do what he could not have done before.”

      Yes and amen.

      • Bob Wheeler says:

        I hope you’re not saying “amen” to Finney’s sermon!

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob W.,

        Oh my. No I am not saying amen to Finney’s sermon. As I read my last response and my amen again, I see where it could look like that. But no. I was saying amen to you pointing out the flaw with the Finney approach…that according to Finney and sadly so many other moderns, it’s just a human deciding on his own to “change.” That there’s no need for an external agent necessary to effect change in the heart.

        So no sir. I was not and do not affirm Finney in any way I can think of. Sorry for the lazy attempt to agree with YOU over against Finney and his descendants.

      • Les Prouty says:

        BTW Bob W., in addition to engaging here at Bob’s place, which I like to do, you should also consider engaging at SBC Voices. Good posts there too. SBC Today not so much for me. Got myself banned over there (for what I still don’t know). But hardly anyone engages there anyway. But here and Voices are two good places to engage with brothers.

        Blessings.

  22. Pingback: Rick Patrick: Sewing Up His Own Schism | Seth Dunn

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