Southern Baptists and Jason and the Callers Together

SBC Today continues to press hard against Calvinism, this time by sponsoring a conference with four former “Calvinists” under the theme, “Leaving Geneva” (hello! Geneva is not in the South):

Please join us for supper! We will explore the journeys of four former Calvinists who have each found a spiritual home within our tradition. Afterward, we will entertain a brief Question and Answer Period. The cost is $20 and includes supper and books! Each registrant will receive:

Reflections Of A Disenchanted Calvinist: The Disquieting Realities of Calvinism by Ronnie W. Rogers

Chosen or Not?: A Layman’s Study of Biblical Election and Assurance by Doug Sayers

God So Loved the World: Traditional Baptists and Calvinism by Fisher Humphreys and Paul E. Robertson

The Return of Christ: A Premillennial Perspective by David L. Allen and Steve W. Lemke

Between the SBC at one end and Bryan’s logic at the other, Reformed Protestantism looks pretty darned moderate.

(All that coalition building, so few SBC Calvinists.)

Postscript: Calvinism in the SBC is like slavery in the SBC:

There are those today who take the view that the founders of the Baptist denomination (the ones who were right, anyway,) were Calvinists – and therefore all Baptists ought to be as well. This might be called the historical argument for Calvinism. If I were to argue that since many of the founders of the Southern Baptist Convention believed God ordained slavery, all Baptists ought to do so today, would you buy that historical argument? Or would you rather go to the scripture and try to see how at a particular time and in a particular culture, such a doctrine could actually be expressed as revealed truth? History, as I say, is debatable. Just for the sake of debate, why don’t we look at an interpretation of certain facts of history, and see if we can find some historical reflections that will help us in our conflicted present?


26 thoughts on “Southern Baptists and Jason and the Callers Together

  1. First thought that comes to mind:

    The writers of WCF were wise beyond their years when “Sola Scriptura” was the basis of chapter 1.

    Ignoring that Reformation premise gives you, well… the SBC remarks you just posted.


  2. It might be good to put a note somewhere here acknowledging that SBCToday is not an official SBC source and, although it represents a certain segment of Southern Baptists, hardly represents the SBC at large.


  3. Off topic, but if there’s interest in an OLTS NCAA bracket, I found our old league that Jed started in 2013 (even DGH played – maybe he will again!).

    Let’s show the babdists that Presbys know how to pick teams. If a Lutheran wins again like last year, I suppose that will be ok.

    Message me here on twitter if you are interested, if we get about 5 people or so in response, I’ll open it up and make it happen.

    You’re welcome.


  4. David, so how large do you think the Calvinist presence is in the SBC? I estimate that it’s only 10% Calvinist and maybe only New Calvinist at that, which isn’t very Calvinist. I mean, if Southern Seminary is the Calvinist flagship and it has a Billy Graham school of evangelism, how strong can the Calvinist grip be even at SBTS?


  5. Ah yes, March Madness and people filling out brackets and TELLING EVERYONE on the elevator how their bracket is doing.

    A good research project would be handing everyone the women’s draw instead of the men’s and seeing if more than 10% even suspect something is up.

    Oh yeah man, I got DePaul and Quinnipiac and Savannah State and Liberty in the final. Is that good?


  6. Kent,

    I’m happy to avoid it (Erik Charter was never a fan either, despite his love for Fantasy Sports (he even let me play fantasy baseball a year or two ago, what a guy)) but I thought I would throw it out there. Unlike my former babdist tendencies, I will not jam this down yours or anyone’s throats, as much as I want to.



  7. Or the conversations that go:

    Moron: Oh yeah, I got Duke all the way, they are always good, I’m a huge fan!!!!

    Me: Who is your favourite player for Duke this year?

    Moron: (silence)

    Me: What players in Duke’s history can you name?

    Moron: (indignation starting up….)


  8. D. G., I myself would not fall into the category of “very Calvinist,” from the perspective of many (I describe myself as simultaneously believing 4 1/2 points of TULIP and 3 1/2 points of non-TULIP). And while my own perspective is somewhat unique, I think the majority (vast majority?) of Southern Baptists fall somewhere in between the extremes on the spectrum of strict 5-pointers and those represented by SBCToday. Side note: Though generally Baptist in my overall perspective, I am somewhat sympathetic to yours on transformational Kuyperianism, Jason & the Callers, and a few other topics, and that’s why I read your blog, and have read some of your books.


  9. Anyone who has read the late Dave Hunt’s anti-Calvinist writings will find similarity to what Dr. Hughes penned. One wonders from his brief piece if Dr. Hughes (professor of missions & evangelism) has actually read any books about Geneva’s government in the 16th century, e.g., “Apart from 4 years spent in Strasbourg. Austria, Calvin essentially governed Geneva until his death. The laws he established and strictly enforced would be viewed today as direct intrusions into personal freedoms.” Clear Creek Baptist Bible College has no professor of church history; perhaps adding one would be a start in the right direction.


  10. “Please join us for supper! We will explore the journeys of four former Calvinists who have each found a spiritual home within our tradition.”

    Geez, more of this “journey home” crock? The only difference between this and anything that Brian Williams Bryan & the Callers say is that Bryan and his Monolith Men wouldn’t bother qualifying “home” with “spiritual.” Big tent, a real State, and a tradition that is totally consistent.


  11. Another relevant question might be is why all the energies of the SBTS et. al Calvinistic Baptists on TGC/T4G when amongst their own *denomination they are the minority? You would think that partnering with Presbyterians in their efforts would actually undo their intentions of bringing reform in the broader theologies of the Baptist church/*denomination.

    As a PCA member, it would feel disingenuous if the PCA was as aberrant on Calvinism (which history we claim) and yet PCA ministers partnered with Baptists to try and reform the PCA to it’s Calvinist pedigree. In the same vein, I would feel the same if I were a Baptist and the roles were reversed. What’s scary is that this is already happening.

    I am appreciative of the reforms that Mohler and the other Calvinistic Baptists brought to SBTS, but at the same time the direction of the Baptistic Calvinists’ attention towards the conference circuit seems to reinforce many of the critiques flying around. If your intention is to reform all of Christendom, wouldn’t you do that by planting Baptist churches and making Baptists, not some amalgamation of Baptipresbycostalists (thanks Chortles for that one)?

    If the Calvinistic Baptists want reform, why don’t they focus their energies where it counts and in a way that they will be heard by their counterparts in their *denomination, instead of making strange alliances that seem to say “See, we’re an interdenominational alliance that can send out the dictates of what is actual doctrine to be believed by all denominations whatsoever”. And it goes the same for Presbyterians too.


  12. Nate,

    As a Baptist, completely I agree. I nominate you honorary dunker for a day. I’ll have to contact the home office in Louisville to make it official though.


  13. Nearly equal numbers of pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention consider their churches as Calvinist/Reformed as do Arminian/Wesleyan, although more than 60 percent are concerned about the effect of Calvinism on the denomination, according to a new survey from LifeWay Research.

    LifeWay Research presented a slate of statements about Calvinism to a randomly selected sample of senior pastors in the SBC to gauge their theological inclination and whether they are concerned about the impact of Calvinism in the convention.

    Sixty-six percent of pastors do not consider their church a Reformed theology congregation, while 30 percent agree (somewhat or strongly) with the statement “My church is theologically Reformed or Calvinist.” Four percent did not know. This compares to 29 percent who agreed to this statement in an earlier survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors in 2011.

    Jstar, but can you trust Southern Baptists to know what Calvinism is. Do they even know they are evangelical?


  14. DG, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the pastors until they prove otherwise. I think the Calvinist movement in the SBC is somewhat reactionary to pragmatic Arminianism and fundamentalism.


  15. DXP was looooong this week (almost 2 hours).

    I’ll probably also listen to Bad christian dot com podcast then the drunks are on that show, since I have ties to the Xtian rock world of the late 90’s that bad christian podcast stems from.

    As reformed, our outlets are MOS and Reformed Pubcast. I have my opinions, but will refrain for now. JAS, same stuff, different day.


    I’m out.


  16. Tom, you’re going to church yet, right?

    The only thing anyone here wants to hear from you is what its like when you do start attending again. Other than that, you should stop posting, like Erik did.

    Spaulding out.


  17. The “Calvinists” who teach and get their phds from Southern Seminary are being published by the “two wills” folks at Presbyterian and Reformed. This “coalition” agrees that God has a will to save those God has not elected to salvation. One such book is Salvation by Grace: The case for Effectual Calling and Regeneration, by Matthew Barrett, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 2013.

    Throughout the book the reference to “historic Calvinism” is used as a code word to mean the “universal sufficiency” view of Andrew Fuller, who reacted against earlier “traditional” baptist and Reformed views. The idea is to appeal to a broad tradition, at least for appearance sake, but in the meanwhile to exclude and marginalize other historic views. The same strategy is used by Kenneth Stewart to argue that Reformed people should be more “evangelical”.

    God’s law does not depend on the ability of humans to keep it for that law to be legitimate. And God can and does command all sinners to believe the gospel. Barrett writes as if responsibility depends on ability. Barrett assumes that God loves all sinners. When other Calvinists equate love and election, and covenant and election, Barrett falsely accuses them of making duty depend on ability.

    Barrett is doing exactly what Andrew Fuller did, which is confusing the gospel with the law. It was Andrew Fuller who said that if God commanded all sinners to believe the gospel, then we must make some kind of distinction between “moral inability” and “natural inability” so that we can say that all sinners can be told that God loves them. If we want to think of historic “colalitions”, we could remember that Andrew Fuller got his views from the New England Theology (and Jonathan Edwards). Instead of merely saying that God commands all sinners to believe the gospel, the Andrew Fuller–Southern Baptist approach of Michael Barrett turns this into the “will of God” and then confuses God’s precept with the idea that God “ wishes and desires” to save all sinners. It comes down to an accusation that, since God commands you to believe the gospel, then that must mean that God wishes (unsuccessfully in many cases) that you would believe the gospel, and that those who deny this are being “insincere” when they call people to believe the gospel.

    Southern Baptist J. P. Boyce (in his excellent Abstract of Systematic Theology): “Because Andrew Fuller sees the atonement as a symbol indicating sufficiency for all, he presents salvation as being there as a free-for-all. Fuller,in his The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptance, believes that man is naturally capable of keeping the Law and that the Gospel is merely a kind of law to be obeyed. He therefore teaches that though Christ died symbolically for everybody’s sin, it is efficacious where man’s agency is involved in following law which points to Christ. In this way, Fuller dodges the issue of whether Christ actually died for His elect only or for all sinners.”

    But contemporary Southern Baptist David Allen objects to the historic view of Boyce– Whosoever Will, 2010, p 83—”Redemption understood as literal payment makes the atonement secure its own application.”

    Andrew Fuller–“if the specificity of the atonement be placed in the atonement itself, and not in the sovereign will of God, it must have proceeded on the principle of PECUNIARY satisfactions. In commercial payments, the payment is equal to the amount of the debt, and being so, it is not of sufficient value for more than those who are actually liberated by it. (letter to Ryland #3, 2:708)

    For Andrew Fuller, Christ’s death is specific only because of God’s sovereignty not because of God’s justice, and not because of the nature of the atonement. I agree that there is a time gap between Christ’s reconciliation and the elect receiving that reconcilaition, but we must not use this distinction to deny God’s imputation of specific sins to Christ and the nature of the justice of Christ’s death at the cross.

    btw, Dabney the Reformed theologian is no better than Andrew Fuller on this point. Dabney claims: “Satisfaction was Christ’s indivisible act, and infinite vicarious merit, the whole in its unity, without numerical division, subtraction or exhaustion. ,,The expiation is single and complete, and in itself considered, has no more relation to one man’s sins than another….Only as it is applied in effectual calling, does the expiation become personal and receive a limitation.” Systematic , p 528

    Of course, it would have been easeir to simply say “new calvinists” with a sneer. It’s like saying “hyper”. It’s quick and requires no thinking…


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