When the PCA Might actually Want to Follow Southern Baptists

I do not pretend to know the Byzantine world of Southern Baptist life but I do follow one SBC website, SBC Today, to keep tabs on the opposition to Calvinism in the Convention. Some of the staunchest voices against the so-called Calvinist takeover appear at SBC Today.

Another arresting wrinkle to these anti-Calvinists is first their defenses of Paige Patterson and their current opposition to Social Justice Warriorism. Here is an excerpt from a resolution the editors posted today:

Whereas social justice is showing it’s true colors at George Washington University and other campuses in 2018 where they are holding classes and seminars seeking to combat “Christian Privilege,” and attacking Christianity for it’s prominence in society using the social justice ethic, wherein the seminar at GWU students are taught “American Christians receive things they don’t deserve and are not worthy of getting,” and

Whereas Southern Baptists ought to furthermore be warned by the example of the Methodist and Episcopal denominations that have already embraced the social justice movement, and instead of growing in number, these same denominations continue to lose membership at an alarmingly fast rate, and

Whereas we have a present crisis point in the Southern Baptist Convention, in that the same social justice has been recently defended and promoted by Russell Moore of the ERLC within the Southern Baptist Convention, with Dr. Moore writing multiple articles and hosting events promoting social justice, and

Whereas the social justice agenda in the Southern Baptist Convention has become pervasive in some seminaries and state conventions, even to the point that it is apparently an unwritten rule not to speak against the social justice movement, or one’s job or position will be in jeopardy, and

Whereas we are repeatedly warned in Scripture concerning such error and being deceived, with Ephesians 5:6, Hebrews 13:9, Colossians 2:8, and 1 Timothy 4:1 being just a few of these warnings, and

. . .Whereas true Christian theology builds people up to be resilient in the face of trials, but social justice seeks to stoke discontentment (1 Corinthians 10:10; Hebrews 13:5), and

Whereas our own denomination must reject this harmful social justice philosophy in it’s entirety, and

Whereas biblical doctrine and the Christian ethic must be chosen over social justice, then be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 13–14, 2018, decry and reject the terms and framework of social justice as insufficient to adequately reflect the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Christian worldview; and be it further

RESOLVED That the entities of the Southern Baptist Convention be encouraged to avoid the terms “social justice” and social justice warrior” when referring to Christian ethics or activism, and that the Holy Scriptures be used as a guide without mimicking the verbiage of the Anti-Christian social justice movement, and be it

RESOLVED That all SBC Colleges and Universities be encouraged to review their teaching programs with special attention given to Humanities Departments to ensure that Marxist based social justice is not being taught in our colleges, universities, and seminaries, and be it

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches in preaching, teaching, and in discipleship to address the issues of racial reconciliation, poverty, the environment, sexual and gender issues, immigration, and education from a Christian worldview and reject the ideological underpinnings and verbiage of the social justice movement.

So here’s another wrinkle. Why are Calvinists in the PCA and SBC more prone to heed the calls for social justice while the opponents of Calvinism in the SBC find it easier to spot the errors implicit in certain efforts to use the gospel to underwrite politics? Just today, another Protestant declaration went live and invoked the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. to support a set of policy ideals that target the Trump administration’s errors. Will the recent defenders of King in the PCA and SBC worlds sign this new resolution? I doubt it if only because the worlds of Red Letter Christians and The Gospel Coalition are so far apart, and such support could be toxic in PCA and TGC networks.

But of late, they have been tracking in remarkably similar trajectories. And when that happens, when those who affirm total depravity, limited atonement, and perseverance of the saints wind up in gospelly poses with Protestants for whom Calvinism is bizarre, Reformed Protestants want to know what’s in the New Calvinist water.


10 thoughts on “When the PCA Might actually Want to Follow Southern Baptists

  1. This is a fair critique of New Calvinists. As Kuyper said, the Gospel must not be reduced to mere “humanity or colorless piety.” I find YRR crowd often advocates a strange brew of both: on the one hand they tend to have strong fundamentalist tendencies (Tim Challies, Matt Chandler), but on the other hand they tend to be politically involved social justice warriors (David Platt, Russell Moore).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daryl,

    Is Russell Moore a Calvinist of any kind either New, Old or Middle Aged?

    Why do you believe the “Calvinists in the PCA and SBC [are] more prone to heed the calls for social justice while the opponents of Calvinism (Arminians) in the SBC find it easier to spot the errors implicit in certain efforts to use the gospel to underwrite politics?

    Finally, how about the Associate Reformed Presbyterians? Are they holding the fort like the OPC or are they like the PCA in collusion with the Southern Baptists?


  3. Russell Moore, the sacramentalist fan of C S Lewis and the “mere catholic” plays the role of “Baptist statesman” (following the great success of Carl Henry and Chuck Colson in leading away from fundamentalism into responsibility for “the” culture) says we need to articulate the gospel, but then he doesn’t. Moore is very much like Mohler in this respect, because his priority is “kingdom world view” and not at all about getting into the details of the good news of election and the atonement. The Southern Baptist business model depends on a coalition of Arminians and people who think they are something more than Arminians.

    Herman Hoeksema asked that a recently placed American flag be removed from the church sanctuary during worship.The date was February 10, 1918. Three days later, the of February 13, 1918 carried an front page article that claimed the following: ” H. Hoeksema, pastor of the 14th Street Christian Reformed Church, believes that the American flag has no place in a church and that the national anthem should not be sung there” .

    The president of Hope College, G.J. Diekema. President Diekema was quoted in the Sentinel: “If at this crisis we spend our time in theological hair-splitting instead of patriotic devotion we are near to treason. After a beautiful eulogy on the Stars and Stripes, Mr. Diekema said, “If the flag stands for all that is pure and noble and good, it is worth of being unfurled in any building on the face of the earth. The very portals of heaven would welcome such an emblem.”
    Similarly, the pastor of Hope Reformed Church, Rev. P.P. Cheff, insisted that “it is not only not wrong to display the flag in church and to sing the national anthems there, but in times of national stress like these it is a positive duty.”



  4. Glad I’m no longer a member of the PCA. My observation, which is tainted and biased, is that since they are more concerned with what the world thinks of them, than with pleasing and being obedient to Christ, it’s only a matter of time before they join the ranks of dead presbyterian denominations.


  5. That context of translating John Owen for the masses changes everything.
    Tim Keller makes it about “you”.

    John Owen –“Be fully assured in your hearts that the Father loves you. Have no fears or doubts about His love for you. The greatest sorrow you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to Him, is not to believe that He loves you.”

    John Owen–“If this word whosoever be distributive, then it is restrictive of the love of God to some, and not to others,–to one part of the distribution, and not the other. And if it do not restrain the love of God, intending the salvation of some, then it is not distributive of the fore-mentioned object of it; and if it do restrain it, then all are not intended in the love which moved God to give his Son. Secondly, I deny that the word here is distributive of the object of God’s love, but only declarative of his end and aim in giving Christ in the pursuit of that love,–to wit, that all believers be saved. So that the sense is, “God so loved his elect throughout the world, that he gave his Son with this intention, that by him believers be saved. ”


    he loves you
    And you know that can’t be bad
    Yes, he loves you
    And you know you should be glad
    Oh, he loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
    He loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah


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